Pope John XXIII's beatification cause is in its final phase, with canonisation likely during next year's Jubilee celebrations if investigations continue at their present rate. Vatican sources quoted by the Italian daily Il Messaggero nominate 5 March, 3 September and 1 November as options for the ceremony.
    However there must be a decree on the heroic degree of his virtues before the process is complete. It's hoped the commission of cardinals and bishops will give their verdict before summer.
    A miracle obtained through his intercession must also be verified. An investigation has been made of the inexplicable healing of Sister Catherine Capitani, the 57-year-old mother superior of a Daughters of Charity hospital in Sicily in 1966. According to the Italian press, the medical commission of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints established that Sister Catherine's cure was "instant, perfect and lasting," and, therefore, "scientifically inexplicable." A commission of consultant theologians must now analyse this cure to see if it really was due to the intercession of Pope Roncalli.
    If the results of the study are positive, the commission of cardinals and bishops will repeat this study. Once the decree on the miracle is promulgated -- and this could happen before the end of the year -- John XXIII could be beatified.
    John XXII died 36 years ago, on 3 June, 1963. In order to avoid a beatification by acclamation, suggested by some bishops who participated in Vatican Council II, 34 years ago, Paul VI proposed the joint opening of the beatification causes of Pius XII and John XXIII.

10:09am 27/4/99 / Zenit


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