'Miracle' doubts delay sainthood for John Paul II

Pope John Paul II's fast-track to sainthood is in danger of derailment after doubts were cast yesterday on the prerequisite miracle, in which the former pontiff was said to have cured a nun of Parkinson's disease.

John Paul was put on the path to sainthood by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, just a month after his death in April 2005. The Catholic Church normally waits five years after a potential candidate's death before starting the process, but an exception was made in the case of the much-revered Polish pontiff, who was the Pope for 26 years.

News of the "miracle" that was supposed to qualify him for beatification emerged three years ago when the French nun, 48-year-old Marie Simon-Pierre, claimed that her Parkinson's symptoms vanished in 2005 after prayers were made to the recently deceased John Paul, who also suffered the condition. Sister Marie said that as her whole order prayed on her behalf, she scribbled the Pope's name on a piece of paper only to wake up the next day completely cured. At the time she said: "It'"s like a second birth. I feel like I've discovered a new body."

Now, however, the Polish Rzeczpospolita newspaper has reported that Sister Marie Simon-Pierre has experienced a return of Parkinson's-like symptoms; some Italian newspapers have suggested her original condition may not have been Parkinson's at all, but a neurological illness with similar symptoms that can go into temporary remission.

A Vatican spokeswoman denied reports in La Stampa suggesting that emerging doubts about the nun's "cure", had seen the date for John Paul II's beatification put back until 2011. "There was no set date for the process, so there's no question of a delay," she told The Independent. She would not comment on reports that medical experts had raised doubts about the miraculous nature of the recovery. "The process, in which leading medical experts advise the Vatican, is conducted in secret," she said.

John Paul II moved closer to sainthood in December last year after Pope Benedict bestowed on him the title "venerable". Evidence that he performed a miracle is required for the next step, beatification. Evidence of a further miracle would be needed for him to be declared a saint.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Exciting career prospect for ...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Media Sales - OTE up to £30,000

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935