The Vatican has argued that sainthood cases are based on the record of the person, not the pontificate.
Asked how John XXIII, elected in 1958, could be canonized without a second miracle, the Vatican spokesman insisted that many theologians believe that a second miracle isn’t required. He said Francis had approved a decision by the cardinals and bishops of the Vatican’s saint-making office.
‘‘Certainly the pope has the power, in a certain sense, to dispense of the second miracle in a cause, and this is what happened,’’ Lombardi said.
He stressed that this decision didn’t represent any relaxing of the Vatican’s overall standards for canonization, but represented a unique situation, given that the church this year is marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II.
‘‘John XXIII is someone who we know is beloved in the church, we’re in the 50th anniversary of the Council which he started, and I don’t think any of us have any doubts about his virtues,’’ Lombardi said.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul’s longtime secretary, was clearly pleased that his pope would finally be made a saint.
‘‘John Paul II’s holiness was simple, humble, of service,’’ Dziwisz wrote in Friday’s Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. ‘‘He lived for God and brought others to God.’’
Javier Cordoba in San Jose, Costa Rica, and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed to this report.
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