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The Cause for John Paul II's Beatification

Interview With Cardinal Saraiva Martins

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 3, 2006 (Zenit) - The prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes says that he cannot tell when John Paul II might be beatified, since the process hasn't arrived at his dicastery.

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins talked about the cause with us.

Q: How is John Paul II's cause of beatification proceeding?

Cardinal Saraiva Martins: Benedict XVI has dispensed from the established waiting period following death to initiate the cause of beatification, but he has not dispensed from the process itself, from either of the two phases. And this is often confused.

The Pope has dispensed from the five-year wait following death which canon law calls for. In the case of Mother Teresa of Calcutta [the previous Pope] granted a dispensation of two and a half years. In John Paul II's case, the Pope has dispensed from nearly the entire five years.

Nevertheless, John Paul II's case is still in the diocesan phase, which is the first phase. Since he died in Rome, the case is handled in the Diocese of Rome. That is, the point of reference is the Vicariate of Rome. Therefore, it is the bishop-vicar of Rome who must direct the procedure, and at present he is proceeding with the research.

All unpublished documents relative to John Paul II must be collected, for example, his writings, whether personal letters or diaries. Testimonies of the faithful must be gathered attesting to John Paul II's holiness. Those who are convinced he was truly a saint must go and are going to the Vicariate of Rome to give their testimony on John Paul II's holiness.

They must complete questionnaires and sign to attest to what they say. These testimonies will be part of the "positio" [report] that will be examined by theologians, doctors, etc. Therefore, for reasons of seriousness, all that is said must be signed by the one who says it.

The diocesan phase of John Paul II's beatification began in September, when this dicastery issued a decree.

It is not possible to know when the work will end, or how long this phase will last. And it does not depend on this Vatican dicastery. No one may intervene in the diocesan work under way.

Q: When, therefore, do you think the work will end?

Cardinal Saraiva Martins: This depends on the vicariate. In addition to the research the Vicariate of Rome is carrying out, there is also a rogation in Krakow. Research also began there.

The process will only reach the Congregation for Sainthood Causes when Rome's diocesan phase is finished; we cannot interfere given its seriousness.

Once this phase is finished, the whole dossier, all the documents collected, will be sent to the Holy See, to this dicastery. Then the second phase will begin, the Vatican phase.


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Beatification, Pope, John Paul II, Martins, Sainthood, Saint

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