Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree on Friday attributing a miracle to the intercession
of the Venerable Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, clearing the way for his beatification,
which is to take place this coming May 1st.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, shared more details about the Decree and the coming beatification with the director of Vatican Radio’s Italian section, Roberto Piermarini.
RP: Your Eminence, the Pope has approved the publication of certain decrees on three miracles, one martyrdom and the heroic virtues of five Servants of God. Among all of these, there stands out the decree on the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable John Paul II. Which scenarios are open now?
Cardinal Amato: Certainly, the decree on the miraculous cure of Sister Marie Simon Pierre Normand, attributed to the intercession of the great Pope a few months after his death, is what will most resound in the Church and the world, owing to the great reputation for sanctity enjoyed by Pope John Paul II. This decree opens the way for his beatification, which will take place in Rome this coming May 1, the first Sunday after Easter: Divine Mercy Sunday.
RP: Can you tell us about the course that the cause of the great Pope has taken?
Cardinal Amato: I must say that this case had two facilitations. The first concerns the Papal dispensation of the 5-year waiting period before opening a cause, and the second was the placing of the cause on a “fast track” that by-passed the waiting list. There were, however, no corners cut with regard to the rigor and accuracy of procedure. The case was treated like any other, following all the steps prescribed by the law of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. On the contrary, if I may speak further to one of my first observations: precisely in order to honor the dignity and the memory of this great Pope, to avoid any doubt and overcome any difficulties, the case was subjected to particularly careful scrutiny.
RP: What more can you tell us about the miracle?
Cardinal Amato: The miracle is the cure of French Sister Marie Simon Pierre from Parkinson’s. The disease was diagnosed in 2001 by her physician and by other specialists. Sister received proper treatment, which was not, however, apt to cure the disease, but only to attenuate her pain. At the news of the death of Pope John Paul II, who had suffered from the same disease, Sister Marie and her companions began to invoke the deceased Pontiff, asking him for healing. On June 2, 2005, tired and overwhelmed by the pain, Sister Marie made her intention to be released from professional work known to her religious superior. Her superior, however, invited Sister Marie to trust in the intercession of John Paul II. Sister Marie then retired for the night, which she passed quietly. On awakening she felt healed. Her pains had disappeared, and she felt no stiffness in her joints. It was June 3, 2005, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sister Marie immediately interrupted her medical treatment and saw her doctor, who could only confirm that Sister Marie had been healed.
RP: There are other figures in the list today [Friday]?
Cardinal Amato: In addition to Pope John Paul II, there is a figure of great cultural significance: Prof. Giuseppe Toniolo, a father, professor of Economics at the University of Pisa and a great exponent of Italian social Catholicism; there is the moving story of the brutal martyrdom of five Bosnian Catholic women religious of Institute of the Daughters of Divine Charity, who were killed in hatred of the faith simply because they were engaged in the rescue of children and the poor. The beatification of these servants of God, and also of the venerable Mother Antonia Maria Verna, foundress of the Institute of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea, is imminent.
RP: Regarding the other Decrees?
Cardinal Amato: The other decrees concern the heroic virtues of the Sicilian Antonio Franco, Prelate of St. Lucia del Mela, the German Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan, founder of the Salvatorians, the American priest Nelson Baker; the Spanish adolescent, Faustino Pérez-Manglaro, postulant of the Society of Mary; finally, the Brazilian Beguine Francesca de Paola of Jesus, who spent her life in prayer and the exercise of charity toward the poor. They are all fascinating figures whose reputation for holiness is widespread in their countries of origin, who offer examples of gospel witness that are extremely relevant to our contemporary world.