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I’m sure that most Catholics, and many non-Catholics, have heard the news that Pope John Paul II has been moved closer to sainthood. On the other hand, many Catholics and probably most non-Catholics may have no idea of the process of canonization. For instance there are four steps to sainthood in the Catholic church. Likewise, to receive a payday cash loan there are also four steps. First you have to qualify to apply. Qualifications are pretty straight forward: must be a US citizen residing in the US, must be 18 years old, must have a bank account, and must have a steady paycheck. Step 2 involves your request being matched to a lender who will notify you that you are able to get the loan. Third step: You agree to the terms and sign the loan agreement. The fourth step: 24 hours after applying the money is transferred to your bank account. Being sanctified is a more drawn out process since it involves being beatified and canonized which are based on the person having preformed at least two miracles. For folks who are desperate for fast cash, their miracle is in receiving the money within 24 hours of submitting an application. For a person attaining sainthood, it is only after the “candidate” is recognized for preforming a second miracle can the Pope declare the person a saint.
John Paul II was extremely influential and beloved, and calls for his sainthood began at his funeral (or before). With the approval of the canonization authorities, his successor Benedict XVI began the process immediately rather than wait for the customary five years after death.
To begin with, sainthood requires “veneration”. The deceased candidate must be officially declared to be “heroic in virtue”. For those of you not familiar with the seven virtues of the Catholic tradition, they are faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Pope Benedict XVI declared Pope John Paul II venerable in December of 2009 (I remember it well; I was just beginning my home refinancing, and this became one of those odd paired connections that my memory sometimes makes).
This is not to be confused with the title “the Great”, which has been applied to John Paul II since his death (including by Benedict XVI, in his initial address as Pope). There is no formal Church process for this title, it simply comes about through common usage. Even so, John Paul II is only the fourth Pope to be commonly referred to as “Great”.
The next step is “beatitude”, an acknowledgement of (in layman’s terms) paranormal holiness, which requires a confirmed miracle. Benedict XVI declared the condition fulfilled by the case of a French nun who recovered from Parkinson’s disease after her community prayed to Pope John Paul II for intercession.