Pope John Paul II "likely" to be beatified in 2009
Pope John Paul II's beatification - the first step towards sainthood - is "likely" to take place in 2009, according to the Roman Catholic Church official in charge of promoting the late pontiff's canonization cause, the dpa reported.
John Paul who died in 2005, is likely to be beatified "by the (Northern) spring of 2009" Monsignor Slawomir Oder was quoted as saying Tuesday, by the Italian Bishops'Conference's newsagency, SIR.
Oder who is tasked with compiling evidence of John Paul's holy works, made the remarks during a recent visit to the island of Ischia near Naples, SIR said.
Pope Benedict XVI on May 9, 2005, began the beatification process for his predecessor, John Paul, waiving a rule that five years must pass after a person's death before the process can begin.
The Vatican has cited "exceptional reasons" for speeding up the process for John Paul whose funeral was attended by several hundred thousand people, many of whom cried "Santo Subito!" ("Saint now!").