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Pope John Paul II’s papacy, which began in 1978 and lasted 27 years, saw him become one of the best-loved popes in history, but why has Pope Francis cleared him for sainthood?
The process of canonisation is one that has changed a lot in the past couple of decades, particularly during John Paul II’s papacy. Until 1983, in fact, the process could not be initiated before at least five years had passed since the candidate’s death and, even then, canonisation could take centuries. Pope John Paul II also removed the ‘Devil’s advocate’ from the process, meaning that there is now no one to contest the evidence needed for someone to be cleared for sainthood.
It is still a requirement, however, for a candidate to have performed two proven miracles after their death before they can be canonised (apart from Pope John XXIII who was given a special waiver by Pope Francis to be canonised after performing one). John Paul II has now supposedly performed his two miracles, but what are they?
Miracle #1: In January 2011, the Vatican confirmed that John Paul II had cured a French nun of Parkinson’s disease. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre who had suffered for years due to the disease was literally miraculously cured overnight. During a press conference, she told the press how she woke up on the 3 June 2005 – just three months after John Paul’s death – and “leapt out of bed” with her body “no longer insensitive or rigid”. As the doctors confirmed, Sister Pierre was completely cured of the disease that had previously forced her to quit her job as a maternity nurse.
Miracle #2: The second miracle happened as the first one was being cleared, when an aneurism in a major blood vessel in the brain of a Costa Rican woman suddenly disappeared after her family had prayed to a shrine dedicated to John Paul II. The neurosurgeon on the case, Alejandro Vargas Roman, said that the disappearance of the aneurism had “no scientific explanation” and, in fact, the Vatican’s doctors and theologians have declared it to be miraculous, thus meaning that John Paul II will soon be known as Saint John Paul II.