The Vatican has today confirmed that Blessed Pope John Paul II will be canonized, although a date has not yet been set for the ceremony.
Reading from a statement, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters this afternoon that Pope Francis had approved a decree on a miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession. He also said the Holy Father had approved a “favourable vote”, taken by a commission of cardinals and bishops, “on the canonization of Blessed Pope John XXIII.”
The commission has decided to “convoke a consistory” so that both canonizations can take place at the same time, but it’s not clear yet when as Pope Francis wants to hear the opinions of cardinals first.
“No date has been set,” Father Lombardi said, “but it is very likely that there will be one canonisation ceremony before the end of the year.”
Although a miracle has not been found due to John XXIII’s intercession since his beatification in 2000, Father Lombardi said that in this case, Pope Francis has agreed to skip the usual second miracle required for canonization.
Concerning the miracle attributed to John Paul II’s intercession, the Vatican has yet to release details, but it is understood to concern the healing of a severely ill woman from Costa Rica.
Spanish newspaper La Razon has identified her as Floribeth Mora, and said she suffered from a cerebral aneurism that was inexplicably cured on May 1, 2011 — the very day of John Paul’s beatification. Her family were praying for her at the time; she had been given only a month to live.
Her doctor, Dr. Alejandro Vargas, told La Razon that the disappearance of the aneurism “surprised me a lot” and that he couldn’t explain it “based on science.” Some reports say the exact details of the miracle, which will “amaze the world”, will be revealed later today by Costa Rican doctors.
The first miracle that led to John Paul II’s beatification in 2011 concerned Sister Marie Simon Pierre, whose recovery from Parkinson’s disease could not be explained by a Vatican panel of medical experts.
Today’s announcement was part of a series of decrees issued today for sainthood causes. Among them was a decree approving a miracle needed for the beatification of the Venerable Alvaro del Portillo who succeeded St. Josemaria Escriva as the Prelate of Opus Dei.
The miracle involves the instantaneous healing of Chilean new born baby Jose Ignacio Ureta Wilson. Soon after birth in August 2003, he suffered a cardiac arrest lasting longer than 30 minutes, and a massive haemorrhage. His parents prayed “with great faith” through the intercession of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, says Manuel Fandila Sanchez, spokesman of Opus Dei. “When the medical team thought that the baby had died, without any additional treatment and in a totally unexpected way, the heart of the new born baby started to beat again, reaching 130 beats per minute.”
Ten years later, Jose Ignacio “leads a normal life.”
As with John Paul II, Bishop Alvaro’s cause brought to light numerous other accounts of favours received through his intercession. Opus Dei says that Bishop Alvaro’s beatification “will most likely take place in Rome,” which is where he died.
Born in Madrid on 11 March 1914, Alvaro del Portillo was known as a “profoundly good and amiable man, able to transmit peace and serenity to souls.” As well as being Prelate of Opus Dei and among other achievements and acts of holiness, he carried out numerous tasks for the Holy See, including taking an active role in the Second Vatican Council and was for many years consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.