VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI moved his beloved predecessor one step closer to sainthood on Friday, confirming a miracle by John Paul II and setting May 1, the first Sunday after Easter, as the date of his beatification.Read the rest here.
Sainthood would follow after the confirmation of one more miracle.
Thousands are expected to attend the beatification ceremony. Benedict is expected to celebrate the Mass himself, a much-needed bright spot in his papacy, which in recent months has been weathering a sex abuse scandal in Europe and violence against Christians in the Middle East.
Wildly popular, John Paul was seen as a man of his time, a Pole who marshaled the Catholic Church’s energies to help end the cold war. But he was also criticized for how he handled a sex abuse crisis that burgeoned in the United States as early as the 1980s.
At John Paul’s funeral in April 2005, the faithful filled Saint Peter’s Square crying “santo subito,” or “sainthood now.” Benedict honored their wishes, putting John Paul on a fast-track to sainthood, waiving the traditional five-year waiting period for the process to begin, but insisting on a thorough investigation into his life.