Pope John Paul II's Beatification and the Road to Becoming a Saint
John Paul's beatification -- a stage in which an individual is known as "blessed," and one of the final steps before obtaining sainthood -- has been scheduled for May 1. He reached that stage of the Catholic Church's sainthood process after Pope Benedict XVI officially agreed there was evidence that John Paul had performed a miracle.
The miracle supposedly occurred after a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, prayed to the late pope and subsequently recovered from Parkinson's disease.
So how, exactly, does the sainthood process work? Surge Desk breaks it down.
1. Someone who lived a supremely righteous, virtuous life dies
This is a stringent process, so the person who dies must have lived an exemplary life, such as Pope John Paul II apparently did.
2. A cause is formed
The process of becoming a saint, or canonization, is long, involved and even quite expensive, so the people who are pushing for someone's sainthood must organize themselves. They will work with the Catholic Church and collect evidence, information and money, as necessary, during the proceedings.
3. A nomination is submitted
Someone must officially nominate the deceased person for sainthood.
4. An investigation takes place
The bishop of the diocese of the person who died initiates an investigation into the nomination. This investigation looks into the life the person led, including whether he or she lived a virtuous life and whether there is any preliminary evidence of miracles performed. The investigation will also look closely at the individual's writings to see what they say about the person's faith in God and relationship with the Catholic Church.
5. The Congregation of Rites becomes involved
The findings from the investigation go to the Congregation of Rites in Rome, the Vatican organization that handles sainthood nominations. From here, the Congregation of Rites conducts its own investigation into the person's background, writings, alleged miracles, etc. The members of the congregation hold a debate, twice a month, over the person's qualifications for sainthood. If they decide to move forward, they issue a decree announcing so.
6. One miracle is certified
The candidate for sainthood must be credited with performing at least one miracle (unless he or she was a martyr, in which case this process is a bit different). The Catholic Church investigates whether the miracle took place, with pretty stringent guidelines on what constitutes a miracle. The pope must sign off on the miracle.
If a miracle is certified, the person becomes beatified. Now, he or she is known as "blessed."
8. Proof of another miracle
To move forward in the process, another miracle is required, with the same steps as before.
Once there is proof of a second miracle, the person can be canonized, officially becoming a saint.
Pope John Paul II to Be Beatified May 1
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre: 5 Facts About Pope John Paul II's 'Miracle' Nun
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