The report is finished and there are just a few technical tweaks to make, but today the Vatican announced that the report on the possible beatification and canonization of Pope John-Paul II is finished. The announcement of the report comes just a few days before the third anniversary of his death. Once the report is released Benedict XVI will determine it if the announcement of his beatification is imminent.

Usually the process towards the status of Blessed and later Saint takes many long years for the process to come to conclusions. The Holy See today is careful to remind Catholics throughout the world that the persistent prayer and devotion to the late Pontiff is a key consideration in the process of beatification.

Benedict XVI set the cause on the fast track shortly after he became Pope and waived the traditional five years waiting period for the investigation to begin. Mother Teresa’s sainthood cause received the same papal approval from John-Paul II after her death. There has been a reported miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope John-Paul II so far, which fulfills the requirement for his beatification. A second miraculous cure or intercession is needed for the process to conclude with the Pope’s sainthood. According to the ZENIT news reports, there is no clear indication as to when Benedict XVI will make an announcement regarding the beatification of his immediate predecessor.

Wednesday will mark the third anniversary of John-Paul’s death and Benedict XVI will preside over a celebration of the Eucharist in memory of the late Pope at Saint Peters Basilica.

The completion of this preliminary investigation brings John-Paul a step to being raised to the dignity of the altars in the Roman Catholic Church. At the time of the Pope’s death, there were popular sentiments that hoped for his immediate declaration of sainthood. Banners that proclaimed, “Sancto subito!” or “Sainthood Now!” dominated the crowds during his funeral liturgy. Perhaps with the results of the investigation completed, Pope Benedict XVI will proclaim the,”Blessed!” nature of John-Paul and officially recognize the late pontiff’s exceptional life and papacy.

There are also those that want the late Pope to be considered among the ranks of Popes that are designated as, “Great!” as well. Benedict XVI in various discourses and homily’s has referred to John-Paul as, “Great!” However, there is yet to be an official pronouncement on the subject. John-Paul’s lengthy and productive papacy however does seem to place him in the category of “Magnus!” or Great. During his tenure as Pope, the Church realized the fall of Communism, the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Revised Code of Canon Law for both Western and Eastern Rites, the suppression of Marxism and Liberation theology and the recognition of 1400 plus Blessed and almost 500 new Saints.

If John-Paul II is declared Blessed, he will join John XXIII in this designation. John XXIII was the Pope that convened the Second Vatican Council and died in 1963.

Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author that writes on Catholic subjects and topics. He writes daily @ . His column is ,”Nothing Left Unsaid!”

He also writes a daily column @ and was recently featured by http://BBC.UK fo his comments on Islamic expansion.

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