Pope Makes Pius XII and John Paul II “Venerable”

Pope Benedict XVI has declared two of his predecessors Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II as “venerable”, the first of three steps to become a saint.

The surprise announcement was met with criticism from the Jewish leaders. Pope Pius XII was pontiff during World War II. He is accused of not doing enough to save the lives of many Jews during the holocaust. The Holy See defended it by saying that his silence was to help other Jews hidden in Rome and abroad.

These heroic virtues were used to make him “venerable”. The title is given to a person who under church investigations has lived a life of exemplary holiness and heroic virtue.

The Jewish leaders meanwhile want the status to be delayed until more World War II archives from the Vatican can be reviewed – which is only allowed starting 2014.

Meanwhile Pope John Paul II’s venerable status came only 4 years after his death. The sainthood process actually has to start 5 years after the person’s death. This waiting period was waived for the late pope.

He is expected to be beatified next year after a  Sister Marie Simon Pierre, a french nun, was miraculous cured from Parkinson’s disease that was attributed to the Polish pope and documented several months after his death in 2005.

A posthumous miracle without any scientific explanation is needed for beatification, the second step. Another miracle will make the person a “saint”.