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Consultors clear the way for John Paul II beatification

Blessed John Paul II's notebooks are set to be published on February 5

Pope John Paul II could be beatified this year after the Vatican approved a miracle attributed to his intercession, reports in Italy have suggested.

Medical and theological consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have found that the healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s after praying to the pope is scientifically inexplicable.

The miracle must still be approved by the bishop and cardinal members of the congregation and Pope Benedict XVI, but the approval by the consultors represents a major hurdle in the beatification process which has been overcome.

It is likely Benedict XVI would celebrate his predecessor’s beatification in Rome, despite his usual practice of leaving it to local bishops and dioceses. Andrea Tornielli, the Vatican watcher who first reported the story, believes the most likely dates for a beatification would be the anniversary of John Paul II’s death on April 2, the anniversary of his election to the papacy on October 16 or finally his birthday on May 18.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun who was diagnosed with aggressive Parkinsons in 2001, was forced to quit her job at a maternity ward in Arles because of her illness. After the pope’s death in 2005, her order began praying for John Paul II’s intercession. According to the testimony, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre woke up with her condition cured after having written John Paul II’s name on a piece of paper. Reports suggested that the nun’s condition had worsened again.

According to Tornielli, one of the specialists had questions about the diagnosis of Parkinson’s and wanted to verify that the nun had been indeed cured from that disease.

Pope Benedict waived the five-year waiting period normally required after the death of a person before the process of beatification can begin.