Pope John Paul II
Photo: AFP

Pope John Paul officially beatified

Masses pack St. Peter's Square as Pope Benedict XVI presides over ceremony moving former pontiff closer to possible sainthood

The late Pope John Paul II was officially beatified Sunday at a ceremony attended by hundreds of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square, in Vatican City.


Pope Benedict XVI read a Latin formula proclaiming his Polish predecessor, who died in 2005, a "blessed" of the Roman Catholic Church, the last step before sainthood.


Hundreds of thousands of people jammed St. Peter's Square and surrounding streets to witness the moving of the beloved former pontiff a step closer to possible sainthood.

St. Peter's Square this morning (Photo: AFP)


A place of honor was reserved for Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, a French nun who suffered from Parkinson's disease but whose inexplicable cure has been attributed to John Paul's intercession with God to perform a miracle, thus permitting the beatification to go ahead.


The Vatican will have to attribute another miracle to John Paul's intercession after the beatification in order for him to be declared a saint.


The late pope was beatified on the day the Church celebrates the movable Feast of Divine Mercy, which this year happens to fall on May 1, the most important feast in the communist world.


The beatification is a morale boost for a church starred by the sex abuse crisis, but it has also triggered a new wave of anger from victims groups because the scandal happened under John Paul's 27-year watch.


AP and Reuters contributed to this report






פרסום ראשון: 05.01.11, 12:38
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