VATICAN CITY — The director of the Holy See Press Office said July 5 that the consistory of cardinals that will discuss the canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II may be held in September, with the ceremony taking place a few months later.
“There will be a consistory in autumn, possibly in September, but we still don’t know the exact date,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Catholic News Agency shortly after it was announced that Pope Francis has approved the causes for the canonization of his two predecessors in the See of Peter.
The consistory (gathering of cardinals) “will be the official occasion in which the Pope and the cardinals will make the decision on the date of the canonization,” he explained.
“We can expect that this canonization will probably be the same occasion for both popes: probably before the end of the year, but there still isn't a fixed date.”
Father Lombardi says he believes it will be the first time that two popes have been canonized on the same occasion in the recent past, and said, “I don't have information about the past regarding a similar situation.”
He added, however, that “there have been simultaneous beatifications,” noting the case of John XXIII and Pius IX in 2000.
On July 5, it was announced that Pope Francis had paved the way for the canonizations of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII. The previous steps towards John Paul II’s canonization had been completed in recent months.
In the case of John XXIII, however, the Vatican has only verified one miracle as having been obtained through his intercession. Normally, two miracles must be approved before an individual is canonized.
While this situation is out of the ordinary, Father Lombardi explained that “this is something that is in the power of the Pope; it's not something particularly special.”
“A miracle is a theological vision of the Church, the proof, the proof of the power of intercession and the confirmation from God's side of the sanctity of a person. But it's not a dogma of faith that is necessary in any way.”
“For example, martyrs are beatified without any miracle, which means that miracles, because of tradition and theology, are commonly requested, but it's not an absolute necessity.”
The spokesman noted that it is “very interesting” that John XXIII will be canonized this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, which he had convoked.
John XXIII, known as “Good Pope John,” is most noted for having opened Vatican II and for his 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris (On Establishing Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity and Liberty).
John Paul II is beloved throughout the world for his charismatic nature, his love of youth and his role in the fall of communism in Europe, as well as his world travels during his 27-year pontificate.