Skip to main content

Popes John XXIII and John Paul II to be declared saints in April

From Ben Wedeman, CNN
updated 6:02 AM EDT, Mon September 30, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • To become a saint, a person needs to lead a holy life and perform two miracles
  • John Paul II is said to have cured a French nun and a Costa Rican woman
  • Pope John XXIII is only recorded as having performed one miracle after his death
  • But Pope Francis has decided that there are sufficient grounds to canonize him

(CNN) -- Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be declared saints in April, the Vatican said Monday.

The announcement came after Pope Francis met with cardinals to discuss the planned canonizations of two of his predecessors. The ceremony will take place on April 27.

It will be the first time two popes will be canonized at the same time.

Why does a pope become a saint?

To be named a saint involves a series of steps, but the qualifications are straightforward, according to the veteran Vatican analyst John Allen.

"You put a holy life and two miracles together, according to the Catholic system, you've got a saint," he said.

Interpreting the Pope's recent comments
Pope breaks with tradition, shocks world
Gay Catholic: Pope Francis gives me hope
The Roman Catholic Church will declare Pope John Paul II a saint, the Vatican announced Friday, July 5. The Polish-born pope, pictured in 1978, was fast-tracked to beatification after his death in 2005 and was declared "blessed" barely six years later -- the fastest beatification in centuries. Here's a look at the most widely traveled pope and his journeys around the world: The Roman Catholic Church will declare Pope John Paul II a saint, the Vatican announced Friday, July 5. The Polish-born pope, pictured in 1978, was fast-tracked to beatification after his death in 2005 and was declared "blessed" barely six years later -- the fastest beatification in centuries. Here's a look at the most widely traveled pope and his journeys around the world:
Pope John Paul II
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
Photos: Pope John Paul II Photos: Pope John Paul II

The calls to canonize John Paul II began even before he had been buried. People attending his funeral in 2005 held banners saying "Santo Subito," short for "make him a saint now."

Their call was heard.

Bypassing the normal five-year waiting period, Pope Benedict XVI set in motion the process to canonize his predecessor.

John Paul is said to have miraculously cured Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun stricken by Parkinson's disease, several months after his death.

Read more: Pope names first Native American saint

The church says the second miracle occurred when a Costa Rican woman with a brain aneurism recovered after praying to John Paul.

John XXIII, revered for his role in the Second Vatican Council, is only recorded as having performed one miracle after his death in 1963.

"Pope Francis has decided that there already was a decree of heroic virtue saying that the man had lived a holy life," Allen says. "There already was one miracle certified for his beatification in 2000, so Pope Francis has decided he doesn't have to pass go, doesn't have to collect $200, he can go directly to sainthood."

In fact, canonization by the Catholic Church simply formalizes on earth what is already in place in heaven, Allen points out.

"It's not like Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II, will suddenly become a saint when the canonization ceremony occurs," he says. "The belief would be he is already in heaven with God, living the life of a saint. All that's going to happen when the ceremony occurs is that the church will officially recognize that."

CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
ISIS has captured the minds of a new generation of global jihadists. What does it mean for al Qaeda?
updated 11:26 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Think that U.S. President Barack Obama has done a back flip on Iraq and Syria? Think again.
updated 11:38 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Treated with all due respect, volcanoes can offer some stunning vistas. Just don't fall in.
updated 1:22 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
The blogger, the hacker, the PM... and Kim Dotcom? New Zealand's election campaign erupts in scandal.
updated 10:36 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
In the aftermath of that deadly day, the enemy quickly became clear. But now a plurality of extremist threats tests global resolve.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Soviets put stray dogs into orbit. Then, next thing you know...
updated 5:28 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Her name is Thokozile Matilda Masipa, and she is the woman who will rule whether Oscar Pistorius is a murderer.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
After months -- if not years -- of speculation, the tech giant's first foray into wearables has arrived. Here are our first impressions.
updated 8:41 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Steven Sotloff's family believes ISIS paid rebels to alert the group about his location in Syria.
updated 4:05 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Bali might be a popular tourist destination but there are crowd-free corners worth exploring.
updated 7:20 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Scots are preparing to vote on the future of their country. Will they decide to leave the UK?
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT