Pope John Paul II is to become a saint, the Vatican has announced.
Pope Francis has authorized a second miracle attributed to the late pontiff who reigned from October 1978 until his death in April 2005.
This clears the way for the Polish-born pontiff’s canonization which is expected later this year.
Pope Francis also approved the sainthood of Pope John XXIII who reigned from 1958 to 1963,though no second miracle has been attributed to his intercession.
John XXIII, known as “Good Pope John” because of his kindly demeanour, is credited for calling the reforming Second Vatican Council, but died before it was completed. He was beatified by John Paul II in 2000. The Second Vatican Council which convened between 1962 and 1965 enacted sweeping reforms to modernize the Catholic Church.
A precise date for the canonization ceremonies which are likely to attract hundreds of thousands to Rome, will be set by a meeting of cardinals, the Vatican said.
John Paul II has been on a fast-track to sainthood since his death on April 2, 2005. Just six years later he was beatified by his successor Pope Benedict XVI.
John Paul had already been credited with asking God to cure a French nun of Parkinson’s disease, the same malady he had.
Two confirmed miracles are usually required under Vatican rules for the declaration of a saint. The second miracle attributed to his intercession is the inexplicable curing of a Costa Rican woman who prayed to him for help with her medical condition on the day of his beatification in 2011.
Canonisation, the final step in declaring a deceased person a saint, requires the attribution of one further miracle to the intercession of the candidate after they have been beatified.
John Paul II streamlined the path to sainthood, and himself created more saints than all previous popes combined.
His progression to sainthood is the fastest in modern times.