Friday, January 14, 2011

Pope paves way to beatification of John Paul II

The process of beatification, or declaring the late pontiff to be "blessed", is a crucial step towards making him a saint.
John Paul II died in 2005 after a papacy of nearly 27 years.
The Vatican credits him with the miraculous cure of a nun said to have had Parkinson's Disease.
Church officials believe that the Polish pope, who himself suffered from the condition, interceded for the miraculous cure of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a Frenchwoman in her late forties.
She has said her illness inexplicably disappeared two months after John Paul II's death, after she and her fellow nuns had prayed to him.
Church-appointed doctors agreed that there was no medical explanation for the curing of the nun, although last year there were some doubts about the validity of the miracle.
A Polish newspaper said that a doctor who scrutinised the nun's case had concluded that she might have been suffering not from Parkinson's, but from a nervous disorder from which temporary recovery is medically possible.
Million expected
Up to a million people are expected to gather in Rome for the beatification.
Mourners at John Paul II's funeral on 8 April 2005 chanted: "Santo subito!" - or "Make him a saint right now!"
The following month, Pope Benedict put him on a fast track to sainthood by dispensing with Church rules that normally impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate's death before the beatification procedure can start.
Work is under way in St Peter's Basilica to make space for John Paul II's tomb since, in accordance with tradition, the remains of popes who are beatified are moved up from the crypt to the nave.
"John Paul II's coffin will be moved in St Peter's Basilica from the Vatican crypt without being opened," said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.
His body will not be displayed but placed in a tomb under a simple marble stone reading "Beatus Ioannes Paulus II" (Blessed John Paul II).
In order for John Paul II to be canonised as a saint, a second miracle would have to be verified following the beatification.

Silvio Berlusconi in probe over teenage dancer Ruby

Mr Berlusconi is suspected of abusing his power by trying to have the Moroccan girl - known as Ruby - released from a police cell.
Some reports say the probe includes allegations of underage prostitution.
Lawyers for the 74-year-old prime minister dismissed the claims as "absurd and groundless".
Mr Berlusconi has previously admitted calling the police on her behalf, but says he did nothing wrong.
The dancer, who reportedly attended parties held by Mr Berlusconi last year, has denied suggestions that she had sex with him.
She was being questioned over theft allegations when Mr Berlusconi called the police on her behalf.
He apparently told them that she was a relative of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.
The case came to light last November, and prosecutors at the time questioned Milan police over Mr Berlusconi's involvement.
In a statement on Friday, Milan prosecutors said they had issued a summons to Mr Berlusconi inviting him to come and talk to them.
The prosecutors have not given details of the allegations.
The investigation is the latest in a string of legal difficulties for Mr Berlusconi.
On Thursday, a law shielding him from three unrelated trials was significantly watered down by a ruling of Italy's Constitutional Court.
He could eventually face trials for bribery and fraud related to his business dealings.
Mr Berlusconi told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that he found the Constitutional Court hearing "laughable".
The prime minister has argued he is the target of left-wing prosecutors

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