Pope John Paul II on Fast Track to Sainthood

A second confirmed miracle qualifies him for canonization

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Eight years after the death of Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Church is on track to canonize him faster than any saint in recent memory. According to CNN, The Vatican reportedly approved a second miracle attributed to the Polish pontiff, which is one of the final steps in canonization.

The sainthood protocol requires a person to perform two miracles posthumously. The first miracle leads to a candidate’s beatification, which Pope John Paul II achieved in 2011 after reportedly curing a nun of Parkinson’s disease. Pope John Paul II’s beatification process was faster than that of Mother Teresa of Kolkata by an estimated two weeks.  His second miracle, which insiders tell CNN happened to a woman in Costa Rica recovering from a brain injury, will mean he qualifies for canonization.

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The fastest canonization on record belongs to Josemaria Escriva, the founder of the conservative group Opus Dei, who became a saint 27 years after his death.

The Polish pontiff’s speedy path to sainthood is rather unusual in the history of the church, but fits more recently with a modern trend of easing the sainthood process. As the New York Times reports, less than a third of all 264 popes are saints, most of whom were canonized in the first centuries of Christianity. Only five popes were recognized as saints in the second millenium, the last of whom was Pius X, who died in 1914 and was made a saint in 1954 by Pius XII — a 40 year delay.

But the expedited process is fitting for Pope John Paul II, who canonized 482 saints during his reign. For now, the world waits as a group of doctors examine the miracle’s legitimacy, followed by a team of theologians who will also decide if the act is credible. Once they reach a general consensus, the body of cardinals must approve his sainthood before Pope Francis signs off with his rubber stamp.

MORE: Life After the Papacy: What Lies Ahead for the Pope Post-Abdication