Vatican City: Late pope John Paul II`s beatification on May 1 comes at the end of a complex inquiry by the Vatican that has attributed a miracle to him, putting
the pontiff on the path to sainthood.
The procedure was launched soon after John Paul`s
death on April 2, 2005 amid popular calls from many Catholics
for him to be made a saint.
The first step to sainthood is beatification, which
confers "blessed" status on lay and clerical figures
recognised as remarkable by the Catholic Church.
Under the Church`s strict rules on saints, the
procedure to determine whether any miracles can be attributed
to the person in question is normally not launched until at
least five years after their death.
But John Paul himself found a way to speed this up,
allowing the popular Mother Teresa to be beatified in 2003 --
just six years after her death.
It was thanks to this quicker route that John Paul
II`s own beatification procedure was launched just two months
after he passed away.
The procedure is launched by the bishop of the region
in which the candidate died. In the case of the Polish pope, it was therefore his successor Pope Benedict XVI -- head of the world`s Catholics and the bishop of Rome.
The first step is to establish "a reputation for
In order to do this the "postulator" leading the
inquiry collects statements and examines the person`s
He then send his findings to the Vatican and they are
pored over by theologians and historians.
The dossier is then given to the "promoter" whose role
is to try to find anything left out that could be unfavourable
for the candidate.
If the dossier is valid, the candidate is declared
There then needs to be another procedure -- this time
with medical doctors involved -- to show that the candidate
has performed a miracle.
After further consultation by bishops and cardinals,
the dossier is transmitted to the pope, who signs a
The miracle attributed to John Paul II is the healing
-- apparently unexplainable by science -- of a French nun
affected by Parkinson`s just after the pope`s death from the
For the "blessed" to become saints there needs to be
another process called canonisation in which the Vatican has
to prove a second miracle.