The Catholic Archbishop of Westminster has welcomed the announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that the late Pope John Paul II will be beatified on 1 May 2011 in Rome.
The Pope yesterday (14 January 2011) issued a decree saying that the cure of a French nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease was 'miraculous', and attributed to the former pontiff. This is the last step needed for beatification in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who is the spiritual leader of Catholics in England and Wales, responded: “I warmly welcome the news that Pope John Paul II is to be beatified. Pope John Paul II is held in great affection by Catholics and people of good will. So many people here remember with great affection his visit to us in 1982."
He added: "We also thank God for the powerful witness of his life and teaching, as well as the astonishing example he gave in suffering and death. His heavenly intercession will be sought by many.”
John Paul died in 2005 after 26 years as Pope. A second miracle claim is needed for John Paul II to officially become a saint.
Other Christian churches ascribe sainthood as a quality of all faithful believers, or special exemplars, but Protestants do not set aside individuals in the same way as Catholics, and Anglicans and Orthodox Christians also handle the attribution somewhat differently.
Claims about the nature and substantiation of miracles also differ among Christians, with some remaining critical about the claim that what constitutes a 'sign' of God's love and grace (this is what the word literally means in biblical language) necessarily involves a breaking of the God-given natural order.