VATICAN officials have dismissed media claims that Pope John Paul II could be beatified as early as October after receiving “popular acclamation” as a saint from Catholics worldwide.
“This is complete fiction. Although it’s possible the process could be speeded up, such dates are totally imaginary,” said Jesuit Father Hieronim Fokcinski, an official of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.
Jesuit Father Paolo Molinari, one of the Vatican’s longest-serving postulators of saints’ causes, said he would not be surprised if Pope John Paul were canonised someday.
Calls for Pope John Paul’s canonisation have proliferated since his April 8 funeral, during which placards were held up calling for him to be declared “subito santo”, Italian for “saint immediately”.
Current Church rules require detailed examination of all archival material on a sainthood candidate as well as the cross-examination of witnesses and the compilation of documentation on the person’s life.
A commission of historians and theologians must also carry out investigations before a group of cardinals refers the case to the Pope for a final decision on the candidate’s “heroic virtues”.
Speaking to journalists on April 9, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said a decision to speed up a possible cause for Pope John Paul II would “depend solely on the next pope”.