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Papal spokesman hopes for quick beatification of John Paul II

Rome, Jan. 20 ( - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the director of the Vatican press office, disclosed that he is hoping for the rapid beatification of Pope John Paul II (bio - news).

Speaking to an Italian television audience on Thursday night, the longtime spokesman for the late Pontiff said that "I am convinced of his holiness."

Msgr. Slamowir Oder, the Polish cleric who is postulator of the cause for beatification of John Paul II, told the Roman news agency I Media that he, too, hopes for a quick conclusion of the process. However, the postulator declined to set any date for the end of the initial inquiry. "We have to do things in a scrupulous fashion," he said, noting that the results of the beatification inquiry must stand up to the tests of history. The process will include a careful consideration of any reasoned opposition to the late Pope's beatification, he said. Moreover, the inquiry is collecting a prodigious amount of testimony, which must be weighed carefully. Msgr. Oder disclosed that, in answer to a request for written testimony on the life and virtues of John Paul II, the beatification inquiry has received more than 2 million letters, from all around the world.

Navarro-Valls, who has continued to act as chief spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news), said his close contact with John Paul II enabled him to witness the late Pope's personal sanctity. During the television interview he dwelt at length on the intensity of John Paul's prayer life. He recalled one occasion when, arriving for a meeting with the Pontiff, he was told that the Pope was praying in his private chapel, and he could wait for him there.

"I went in and waited quietly," Navarro-Valls recalled. "About 40 minutes went by, and John Paul never moved." Finally, he said, the Pope turned, noticed his presence, and apologized for keeping him waiting.



Copyright 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved