Friday, March 20, 2009

Polish press reports John Paul II to be beatified on April 2, 2010

.- Pope John Paul II could be beatified on April 2, 2010, exactly five years after his death, according to a report in the Polish newspaper Dziennik, which claims the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has already made the decision.

At the beginning of this month, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow said the beatification process of Pope John Paul II was about to be concluded and that Benedict XVI himself wanted to close the process “as soon as possible” because that “is what the world is asking for.”

The beatification process of John Paul II began on June 28, 2005, two months after the death of the Pontiff thanks to a dispensation granted by Pope Benedict. The dispensation waived the normal five-year waiting period after a person dies that the Church requires before a cause for canonization can be opened.

Pope John Paul II:

Pope John Paul II who died at age 84, revolutionized the papacy, contributing to the collapse of communism in eastern Europe but alienating many Roman Catholics with his conservative social views.

Pope John Paul II celebrates a mass. The Pope died after a long struggle against crippling infirmity which inspired Christians the world over, ending a tumultuous 26-year reign that shaped world politics.(AFP/File/Gabriel Bouys)The first non-Italian pope in four-and-a-half centuries, and the first from eastern Europe, the Polish-born Karol Wojtyla was immensely popular, imposing his own style and agenda on the papacy, eschewing the pomp that surrounded his forebears and seeking contact with ordinary people.

He travelled to 129 countries, taking his message directly to his flock of more than one billion believers and displaying public relations skills unknown to his predecessors.

Born in a small town near Krakow, in southern Poland, the son of an army officer, on May 18, 1920, he was brought up by his father after the death of his mother when he was eight.

He became a parish priest and rose steadily through the Church hierarchy until, as bishop of Krakow, he became widely known to Western ecclesiastical authorities during the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965.

When Cardinal Wojtyla was elected pope in October 1978, he was 58, a robust sportsman and a relative outsider amid the vast bureaucracy of the Holy See.

The advent of a Polish pope catalysed the anti-communist working class movement, the birth of the communist bloc's first independent trade union, Solidarity, and the steady thaw of the communist glacier that lay over eastern Europe.

In 1981 the pope nearly died when a right-wing Turkish fanatic, Mehmet Ali Agca, shot him at close range in Saint Peter's Square. The pontiff survived after extensive surgery, but his health was badly affected thereafter.Under his leadership, the Vatican opened diplomatic relations with Israel in 1993 and he was the first pope to pray in a synagogue in 1986