John Paul II to be beatified on May 1

John Paul II is to be beatified on May 1, 2011 -- a key step on the path to sainthood -- the Vatican announced on Friday, after Pope Benedict XVI signed an official decree.

The beatification was given the nod by Benedict because of John Paul II's "imposing reputation for saintliness... in life, in death and after death," the Vatican said in a statement.

The process of beatifying a pope is usually lengthy, but calls for John Paul to be canonised came immediately after his death in 2005.

The beatification follows the announcement this week that the Congregation of the Causes for Saints had approved the Polish pope's first miracle.

The commission confirmed that French nun Marie Simon-Pierre was miraculously cured of Parkinson's disease through the intercession of John Paul II, who also suffered from Parkinson's.

One miracle is required for beatification and two are needed for sainthood.
 

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