Mother Teresa Beatification May Come this Year, Says Archbishop

VATICAN CITY — Archbishop Henry D'Souza of Calcutta, India, said he was confident Pope John Paul II would beatify Mother Teresa soon, possibly by the end of the year.

The Calcutta Archdiocese planned to formally close the cause's initial information-gathering stage Aug. 15, when the process will move to the Vatican's Congregation for Sainthood Causes, he told Fides, the Vatican's missionary news service.

“I hope the congregation will find everything in order. Who knows, the beatification may even take place before the end of the year.

“I would not be surprised. It all depends on the work schedule of the congregation and the Holy Father's decision,” he said.

In addition to transcripts of hundreds of interviews with people who knew Mother Teresa, as well as a “massive” amount of documentation relating to her life, he said the archdiocesan commission would be submitting case files for “a number of miracles” attributed to Mother Teresa's intercession since her death in 1997.

“I cannot say much more. The case of a woman in Raiganj (India) cured of cancer is one of the miracles presented,” Archbishop D'Souza told Fides.

In Rome, a sainthood official familiar with Mother Teresa's cause said it would be virtually impossible for her to be beatified within the year unless the Pope waived some procedural requirements.

Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel, who served as a consultant to the arch-diocesan commission, said the Vatican's examination and approval of beatification causes normally lasted many months and even years.

Under the procedural rules, he said, the Vatican would appoint an official to guide the process after the arrival of all the paperwork, which in Mother Teresa's case is thought to run at least 40 volumes. That official would oversee the drafting of a summary, though still hundreds of pages, which would be submitted to the examination of a panel of theologians.

The theologians normally are given two months to read through the document and express an opinion.

If positive, the material would be presented to the bishop and cardinal members of the congregation for study, and if approved, to the Pope.

Evidence of miracles would also have to be examined separately by a panel of doctors and scientists, he said.

Pope John Paul has already shown himself willing to bend the rules in Mother Teresa's case. In 1999, less than two years after her death, he waived a five-year waiting period before the opening of sainthood causes.