JPII Beatification in 2011?

Insiders say this could be the year.

John Paul II could be beatified in 2011, perhaps even before the summer, according to the veteran Vaticanista Andrea Tornielli.

Writing in the Italian daily newspaper Il Giornale Jan. 4, he reported that, in recent weeks, the medical advisers of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have produced “a favorable view on the miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope Wojtyla — the healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s — and the documentation in recent days has also passed the scrutiny of theologians.”

He said the cause now moves to the cardinal and bishop members of the congregation who have just received the dossier on the miracle. They are to cast their vote in a couple of weeks.

Tornielli reported it is “theoretically possible” John Paul II could be beatified on April 2, 2011, the sixth anniversary of his death, or a date in May. October is another possibility, as that would coincide with the anniversary of his election to the papacy.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Jan. 4 that the final step before beatification requires the pope’s approval and that the pope is free to make his own decision on the matter.

However, the beatification ceremony will require a good deal of planning to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims expected, and so it’s probably doubtful it will happen until around the end of the year.

The Vatican hasn’t yet commented on the speculation.

In 2005, Pope Benedict set Pope John Paul on the fast track to beatification by waiving the normal five-year waiting period for the introduction of his sainthood cause.

The initial diocesan phase of the cause was completed in April 2007. After a team of theological consultants to the Congregation for Saints’ Causes studied the 2,000-page positio, the document that makes the case for beatification, Pope Benedict formally decreed in December 2009 that Pope John Paul had heroically lived the Christian virtues and can be referred to with the title Venerable.

CNS contributed to this story.