Italian newspapers have been rife with reports of alleged miracles attributed to Pope John Paul II, fuelling speculation he may soon be put on the path to sainthood.
Vatican rules, though, are clear: For a miracle to be considered in the saint-making process, it has to have occurred after John Paul's death.
But that hasn't stopped the frenzy surrounding popular calls for John Paul to be put on the fast-track to sainthood.
Archbishop Edward Nowak, secretary in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, added to the speculation after he was quoted as saying a decision on starting the saint-making process could come as early as October, when bishops from around the world meet in Rome.
Nowak concurred that all the letters the Vatican had received so far of supposed miraculous cures wouldn't count toward John Paul's saintliness.
"But since you only need one for beatification and one for canonisation, if there are so many of these 'signs' that you hear about, it shouldn't be difficult to have new ones," he told the newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Some of the old "miracles" have been given prominent play in Italian newspapers, including the case of an unidentified American Jewish millionaire afflicted with a brain tumour who attended Mass with John Paul in 1998.
The Turin daily La Stampa, reported that some weeks after the audience, Dziwisz was told "that the tumour had completely disappeared in the span of a few hours".
Another case is that of Jose Heron Badillo, who was four-years-old when John Paul visited his hometown of Zacatecas, Mexico, in 1990. The boy, who suffered from leukemia, was selected to hold a dove as part of the airport ceremonies to welcome John Paul.
"The pope told him, let the dove... [continues]
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