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Pilgrims hold a sign that reads, "santo subito" ("sainthood now"), during a vigil on the eve of the beatification of Pope John Paul II at the ancient Circus Maximus in Rome April 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Leading Vaticanista Andrea Tornielli reports today that the Vatican’s medical experts have approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Paul II, a major step forward for his cause for canonization.

Tornielli reports for La Stampa’s Vatican Insider:

It all happened in great secrecy, with maximum confidentiality. In January, the postulator of the cause, Mgr. Slawomir Oder, submitted a presumed miraculous healing to the Vatican Congregation for the Saints for a preliminary opinion. As it is known, after the approval of a miracle for the proclamation of a blessed, the canonical procedures include the recognition of a second miracle that must have occurred after the beatification ceremony.

Two doctors of the Vatican council had previously examined this new case, and both gave a favourable opinion. The dossier with the medical records and the testimonies was then officially presented to the Congregation, which immediately included the examination in its agenda. In the past few days it was discussed by a committee of seven doctors, the council (presided over by Dr. Patrick Polisca, Pope John Paul II's cardiologist), Pope Benedict XVI's personal physicians and now Pope Francis's. The medical council also gave a favourable opinion, the first official go-ahead by the Vatican, by defining as inexplicable the healing attributed to the intercession of the blessed Karol Wojtyla.

This is the overcoming of the first fundamental hurdle, given that the alleged miracle must now be approved by theologians and then by the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation, before being subjected to the Pope for the definitive "yes". In any case, the approval of the council is considered the most important step; in fact, neither the theologians nor the cardinals are involved in the clinical evaluations concerning the case.

While noting that discussions about a possible canonization date are “premature,” Tornielli speculates that if the miracle receives the necessary approvals John Paul II could be canonized as early as October. The late pope’s feast day is October 22.
 
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Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
 
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