Saint John Paul II by October?

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Pope John Paul II has passed the final step in the formal process required for him to be officially declared a saint, a popular and respected Italian news website is reporting.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican dicastery that oversees saints' causes, has called "inexplicable" a healing attributed to the late pope, reports Andrea Tornielli at Vatican Insider, which is run by the Italian daily La Stampa.

If true, the finding would pave the way for the healing to be officially declared a "miracle" -- the second of two required before the late pope could be officially declared a saint by the church.

Pope Benedict XVI previously approved in 2011 as miraculous the healing of a French nun who said she had prayed for the late pope's intercession to heal Parkinson's disease. Following that approval, Pope John Paul II was officially beatified -- the last step before sainthood -- in a formal ceremony on May 1, 2011.

As all saints' causes must be approved by the pope before concluding, Monday's news could mean Pope Francis will have to evaluate his predecessor's potential sainthood in coming months.

Over at Vatican Insider, Tornielli speculates if the late pope's official sainthood could be celebrated as early as this October.

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