Friday, November 04, 2005

Ex-Pope begins road to sainthood

Adam Easton
BBC News, Warsaw


Pope John Paul II
People who knew the late pope will give testimony in private
Leaders of the Roman Catholic church in Poland have met in Krakow considering evidence for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II.

It is a process that could ultimately lead to him being named a saint.

Five Church officials were appointed to hear testimony about the life of John Paul, who died in April, and spent half of his life in the city.

The ceremonies began with a Mass in the Cathedral where almost 50 years ago the pope officiated as a young priest.

Leading the service was John Paul II's former private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.

Afterwards five church officials were sworn in as members of a tribunal.

Their job will be to hear testimony from people who knew the late pope.

Private testimony

The evidence will be given behind closed doors.

Even the list of witnesses is private, but the media here have reported around 100 people will testify, including Archbishop Dziwisz.

Pope Benedict XVI launched the beatification proceedings in June.

He waived the customary five-year waiting period to start the process following public calls to name John Paul II a saint as soon as possible.

But Church leaders here say the procedure will take time and is unlikely to be completed before Benedict's scheduled trip to Poland next June.

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