In the moments after Pope John Paul II's death had been announced, the crowd who had gathered in St Peter's Square started chanting "Santo Subito!", “Saint Now!”. In a few weeks’ time the crowd will get their wish, John Paul II will be made a saint by the Vatican.
In the second part of his series for Heart and Soul exploring the mystery of miracles, Mark Dowd will explore their magic and mystery, the role they play for the church and the faithful and also their importance in the decision to name saints.
In order to be named a saint the church requires evidence of two miracles. In John Paul’s case he was credited with the recovery from a seemingly terminal illnesses - of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, and a Costa Rican lady, Floribeth Mora who was cured of a brain aneurysm after, she tells Heart and Soul, she prayed to John Paul.
Mark hears from Jackie Duffin, a Canadian doctor who was asked to investigate the recovery of a cancer patient proposed as a miracle. She then went back into the archives and was amazed to find that contrary to belief that religion and science were polar opposites, scientific methods and discovery have been integral for centuries to the whole miracle process.
The canonisation of John Paul II is controversial. The decisions to halve the number of miracles needed from four to two was made ironically by John Paul when he was Pope, and the decision to make him a saint has been made very quickly. We find out why.