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On John Paul II's Cause for Beatification

Interview With the Postulator, Monsignor Oder Slawomir

ROME, JULY 20, 2005 (Zenit) - The cries of "Santo subito" -- Sainthood now! -- heard at Pope John Paul II's funeral were heard again June 28 when his cause for beatification officially opened in Rome.

In this interview with the newspaper Avvenire, the postulator of the cause, Monsignor Oder Slawomir of Poland, talks about some details of the process of beatification.

Q: What material has been gathered in John Paul II's cause for beatification?

Monsignor Slawomir: First of all, we must recall that it is a process that is following a very particular course -- because of Benedict XVI's early decision to open the cause for beatification, and because of the fact that it has to do with a Pontiff.

For this latter reason, all the magisterial writings elaborated during his pontificate are not part of the process. We have gathered all of the texts Karol Wojtyla wrote before his election as Pope, and the non-magisterial documents of his pontificate, in practice, five books.

Q: Are there no other documents from the years of his pontificate?

Monsignor Slawomir: We must see if there is anything left in John Paul II's personal files.

Let's not forget that in his testament, of which Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz is executor, he stated that his notes should be destroyed. If there is anything left, it should be consigned to the diocesan tribunal and examined by the Historical Commission of the Vicariate of Rome.

Q: How many testimonies have been collected?

Monsignor Slawomir: We have prepared a list of 100 people. It is still a provisional list, and in the course of the process others may be included. Individuals have been chosen who can testify about John Paul II's life at different stages, about his life, virtue and reputation for holiness.

Q: What are the first steps of the process?

Monsignor Slawomir: The college of censor theologians must be appointed, whose task is to examine the writings collected and see if they are in conformity with doctrine. The hearings of witnesses must begin, who come from all over the world.

Q: Can you predict how long this process will last?

Monsignor Slawomir: For the time being, it's absolutely impossible to predict its duration.

The material to be studied is enormous, and a decision must still be made about what juridical technique will be followed for the collection of testimonies; if all of them will or will not be heard; if the tribunal will go to each country to interview the witnesses; if a request process will be opened in the places where each of them lives, or if the collaboration will be requested of the tribunals of the dioceses where they live.

Because of all this, one could say that it will all begin in the fall. Nothing other than this can be said at this time.

Q: There are those who say that this process will end directly in the Pope's canonization.

Monsignor Slawomir: For the time being, I can only say that it is a pious wish. The technical work can be considered as normal, in short.

Of course, the ultimate competence in this matter is the Holy Father's, and he can decide what he wishes.

Q: There are others who say that there are already documented miracles. Is this true?

Monsignor Slawomir: Above all, it must be said that the competence on the recognition of a miracle belongs to the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, not the diocesan tribunal.

Our investigation must gather different signs and, in fact, many have arrived, including by e-mail, with their corresponding documentation. However, I can say that, for the time being, there are no proceedings open on any miracle.

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