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Cardinal cautions patience for Mother Teresa, Padre Pio causes

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, has cautioned the faithful not to be impatient in awaiting the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and the canonisation of Padre Pio.

Catholic World News reports that Cardinal Martins told the Italian daily Avvenire that the causes of both Mother Teresa and Padre Pio still require a great deal of investigation. Moreover, he added - despite several recent published reports - the miracles attributed to the two candidates have not yet been formally recognised as authentic.

The cause of Mother Teresa is still in an early stage, the cardinal pointed out. Her cause was only opened in August of this year, and although the investigation by the Calcutta diocese has been concluded, the documents collected there must now be edited and approved by the Vatican Congregation. Since there are 80 volumes of documents in the dossier, Cardinal Martins observed, "this stage will take a lot of time."

The cause of Padre Pio is much further advanced. Having already been beatified by Pope John Paul II in May 1999, Padre Pio requires only the ratification of another miracle to make him eligible for canonisation. The Italian journal Famiglia Cristiana has reported that medical investigators have approved the veracity of a miracle: the cure of an Italian boy suffering from meningitis in January 2000. However, that miracle has not yet been submitted to the scrutiny of the theologians and prelates of the Congregation.

Cardinal Martins suggested that it would be unrealistic to expect that Padre Pio would be canonised in 2001 - especially in light of the extensive preparations that would be required to handle a crowd of the size the Vatican would anticipate for that event. The ceremony would more likely take place in 2002, he said.