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Vatican downplays pope miracle report

Theologians to get French nun 'cure' assessment after Easter

07 March, 18:40
Vatican downplays pope miracle report

(ANSA) - Vatican City, March 5 - The Vatican is downplaying a Polish newspaper report claiming a miracle cure attributed to late pope John Paul II in his beatification cause was not in fact miraculous.

Warsaw daily Rzeczpospolita reported Thursday that French nun Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who testified in 2005 that she had dreamed of the recently deceased pope shortly before recovering from Parkinson's Disease, in fact suffered from a similar disease which is not terminal.

There was no official response from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints but an authorised Vatican source said the nun's miracle was still the one being examined in order to clear the way for the beatification.

The examination of the nun's case is still at an initial stage, he said.

Experts will hand a report to a medical commission which will give its considered opinion to theologians and cardinals after Easter, the source said. "The miracle is 'sub judice' and it is absolutely premature, as well as false, to speak of it being disproved or approved," the source said.

Vatican experts said this would inevitably mean a delay in the beatification, pushing it back from November 2010 to early 2011.

The Vatican has received more than 240 reports of alleged miracles attributed to the intervention of John Paul but intends to stick with the nun's case, Vatican sources insisted.

John Paul cleared the first hurdle towards sainthood in November when his "heroic virtues" were recognised.

This rekindled speculation that he might become a saint on the fifth aniversary of his death, next month, but the Vatican said it would take longer. One miracle is needed for beatification, the second step to sainthood.

A second one is required for the third and final step, canonisation, when someone becomes a saint.

Candidates for beatification must overcome a complicated and lengthy vetting process.

In the case of pontiffs, the procedure is usually much longer because the Vatican must examine much more material given the mass of responsibility and decisions made by popes.

However, Pope Benedict XVI put John Paul II's beatification cause on a fast track, waiving a rule requiring a five-year wait before the start of the process.

New reports of miracles attributed to John Paul II's heavenly intervention are said to arrive in Rome every week.

photo: Sister Simon-Pierre

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