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The late Pope, John Paul II, has been officially beatified at a ceremony at the Vatican in front of hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful.
Among those at St Peter’s Square is French nun Marie Simon-Pierre, who says she was cured of Parkinson’s Disease.
Her apparently miraculous cure is part of the case for the beatification, the last stage before sainthood.
It comes amid criticism of the Church for the speed of the beatification and the clerical child sex abuse scandal.
Much of the abuse occurred while John Paul II was Pope, from 1979-2005, and the Church has been criticised for not doing enough to punish those found responsible.
Police in Rome estimated that one million people had come to the city for the event, including large numbers of pilgrims from the late Pope’s native Poland.
Her disease worsened after the pope’s death, and her order prayed for his intervention to ease her suffering. Then after writing his name on a paper one night, she woke up the next day apparently cured and returned to work as a maternity nurse with no traces of the disease.
But according to the Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, one of the doctors charged with scrutinising the nun’s case believed she might have been suffering from a similar nervous disease, not Parkinson’s, which could go into sudden remission. A report on the paper’s website went further, saying that the 49-year-old nun had become sick again with the same illness.
The Vatican was making no comment on the grounds that the late pope’s case was still under examination.
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person’s entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name (intercession of saints). Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process. A person who is beatified is given the title “Blessed”.
He had so many hats.