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John Paul II Will Become a Saint, Could Be as Soon as December

Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 07:11 PM

By Teresa Meek

Pope John Paul II has met all the criteria for becoming a saint and will officially be canonized as soon as Pope Francis gives his approval and sets the date for a ceremony.

CBS News reports a possible date for canonization is Dec. 8, the Catholic holy day of Immaculate Conception. The date falls on a Sunday, which is usually when canonizations occur.

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John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He became the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years, and emphasized human rights during his tenure, according to biography.com. He opposed the death penalty and communism, and is credited by some as helping to end communism in Poland.

In 1981, he was shot by an assassin, but later recovered and forgave the attacker.

John Paul II died in 2005 and since then has been on the Catholic church’s "fast track" program toward sainthood, a program he started himself in 1983 to make the sainthood process quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Some in the Catholic church’s hierarchy aren’t comfortable with the fast track program because it results in popes being canonized too close to their own tenure, CBS reported.

Some of the church’s highly-publicized problems such as sex abuse and financial scandals began under John Paul II’s reign, CBS said.

Still, none of the fast track saints were canonized as quickly as St. Anthony of Padua, who died in June 1231 and was canonized less than a year later by Pope Gregory IX, the Catholic Reporter said. And St. Francis of Assisi was canonized just 18 months after his death in October 1226, the site said.

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