John Paul II declared Venerable, moves one step closer to sainthood
Source (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI has signed a decree recognizing the late Pope John Paul II's life of “heroic virtue.” With his signature, Benedict XVI throws the door wide open to the beatification of the much-loved Polish Pontiff and gives him the title "Venerable."
On Saturday morning, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints led by Archbishop Angelo Amato met with Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate their 40th anniversary as a dicastery of the Holy See and to present decrees for papal approval. Pope John Paul II's name was among the Congregation's nominations for those possessing “heroic virtue.”
The next step towards canonization of John Paul II is a second decree to be signed by the Pope that attributes a miracle to him. It is thought that this miracle will be one that has already taken place but has not yet been officially recognized. The miracle involves a French nun who was cured of Parkinson´s disease through John Paul II's intercession.
Following the approval of his first miracle, Venerable Karol Woytilya would be eligible for beatification, and pending a second miracle, he could be declared a saint.
The Vatican has processed his case in record time. Since the Pontiff´s death, less than five years have passed. Five years is the normal amount of time that must go by before the Holy See can begin the investigation process. In this case, Pope Benedict made an exception just a little over a month after John Paul II's death in March of 2005.
Among other documents signed by Benedict XVI on Saturday morning were decrees authenticating the heroic virtue of Pope Pius XII, Pontiff during World War II; the martyrdom of Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Polish priest killed in 1984, and a second miracle attributed to Bless Mary McKillop, who will now become Australia's first saint.
Here is what people say about him.
"Throughout a hard and often difficult life, he stood for social justice and on the side of the oppressed, whether as a young man facing the Nazi occupation in Poland or later in challenging the Communist regime. He never wavered, never flinched, in the struggle for what he thought was good and right." —British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Voicing a strong moral vision, Pope John Paul II forged a legacy as one of the Catholic Church's most influential and controversial leaders. The 264th pontiff traveled more and beatified more people than any pope in history, and supporters and critics alike agree on the immense significance of his 26-year papacy. –CNN
Read HERE what people say about this saintly Pope during his death in April 2005. See the Dalai Lama paying tribute here
Pope John Paul II prays next to the Stone on Unction (see the image here), inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 26, 2000. The pontiff, on the last day of his six day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visited the three holy sites of Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
•Prince Charles' office said his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles has been moved to Saturday so he can attend the the pontiff's funeral.
•Turkish authorities have rejected a request from Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who shot and gravely wounded the pope in 1981, to leave prison to attend the pontiff's funeral, his lawyer told Reuters. The pope forgave his would-be killer two years after the shooting that would mark the start of his slow decline in health.
•The U.S. Senate passed a resolution paying tribute to the pope by a 98-0 vote Tuesday afternoon. The resolution called him "one of the greatest spiritual leaders and moral teachers of the modern era." The senators said John Paul II fostered "harmony between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christians, reached out in friendship to Jews, Muslims and members of other faiths, and warmly promoted interfaith understanding."
•Pope John Paul's funeral brought together the single largest gathering of heads of state in history, surpassing the funerals of Winston Churchill (1965) and Josip Broz Tito (1980). Four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers, and more than 14 leaders of other religions attended, alongside the faithful. It is likely to have been the largest single gathering of Christianity in history, with numbers estimated in excess of four million mourners gathering in Rome
•At the funeral itself, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I attended in the honorary first seat in the sector reserved for delegations from churches not in full communion with Rome; this was the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch attended a papal funeral since the Great Schism. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was present at a papal funeral for the first time since the Church of England broke with the papacy in the 16th century. Also for the first time ever, the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, Patriarch Abune Paulos attended a papal funeral.
•It is thought that billions of people watched the funeral either by actually being in Vatican Square, watching it on television live, or watching a taped or replayed version later that day. It is unknown whether the funeral was the most watched event in history; if so, it would overtake two other funerals holding that spot, that of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 and that of Michael Jackson in 2009. The Vatican welcomed some four million visitors during the memorial week, which cost an estimated six million euros
Funeral Photos of Venerable John Paul II LIFE
Dignitaries at Venerable John Paul II's funeral HERE
Special Report from CNN
U2 Salutes John Paul II
Muslims Paying Tribute to Pope John Paul II