Popes John Paul II, John XXIII to be made saints
Faithful hold a poster of the late Pope John Paul II as Pope Francis leads a Pentecost vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in May. (Reuters/Stefano Rellandini)
John Paul had already been credited with asking God to cure a French nun of Parkinson’s disease, the same malady he had, before he was beatified in 2011.
The second miracle attributed to his intercession is the inexplicable curing of a Costa Rican woman who prayed to him for help with her medical condition on the day of his beatification.
His struggle with ill health was watched by millions around the world on television towards the end of his life.
After martial law was declared in Poland in 1981, he is believed to have told then-Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev that if Russia invaded Poland, he would return home.
His successor, Benedict, waived a church rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can even begin.
He is already considered a saint by millions of his countrymen in Poland, having supported their bid for freedom on the world stage for 11 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Liberals in the church say John Paul was too harsh with theological dissenters who wanted to help the poor, particularly in Latin America. Others say he should be held ultimately responsible for sexual abuse scandals because they occurred or came to light when he was in charge.
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