Tuesday, November 03, 2009
By Nick Squires in Rome
Published: 4:50PM GMT 02 Nov 2009
The late Pope John Paul II could be beatified within months, setting him on the path to full sainthood Photo: AP
The mayor of Rome, who would play a pivotal role in organizing the event, said the beatification of John Paul is expected to take place "at the latest" by 2010.
Speaking on a visit to Krakow, in the former Pope's native Poland, Gianni Alemmano said: "These are internal decisions (for the Vatican) but it is expected to take place at the latest by next year."
Vatican observers say the most likely date for the beatification would be April next year, on the fifth anniversary of the popular Pontiff's death.
Beatification precedes canonisation and involves a complicated process including the verification of miracles attributed to the person being considered.
A miracle normally takes the form of the curing of a disease or affliction which has no scientific explanation. A second miracle is then required for sainthood.
In John Paul's case, the miracle under consideration is said to have taken place when a French nun was cured of Parkinson's disease.
The process leading to sainthood usually takes decades, but Pope Benedict XVI launched the beatification process for John Paul just two months after his predecessor's death on April 5, 2005.