VATICAN CITY – The church official spearheading the cause to make Pope John Paul II a saint said Monday he has finished a roughly 2,000-page draft of a report supporting the late pontiff's canonization.
Two days before the Vatican marks the third anniversary of John Paul's death, Monsignor Slawomir Oder told Vatican Radio that he has turned over the report to the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The report summarizes and analyzes all the documentation about John Paul's life and virtues that had been gathered since his 2005 death, including testimony from witnesses and his own writings.
"In the past days I have submitted a semifinal version," Oder said. "It's about 2,000 pages that need further technical and editing adjustments, but we can say that in its entirety, the report is complete."
Now, an independent Vatican official, the Rev. Daniel Ols, must review Oder's report and give it the final go-ahead for an official presentation to the Congregation, which must then gather committees of cardinals and bishops to discuss the merits of the case.
Oder declined to give a timetable for that, or say when the Vatican might decide to beatify John Paul.
The Vatican's complicated saint-making procedures — which can include the weighing of favorable and unfavorable information — require that a miracle attributed to the candidate's intercession be confirmed before beatification. A second miracle is necessary for canonization.
Pope Benedict XVI put John Paul on the fast track to possible sainthood just weeks after his death on April 2, 2005, waiving the customary five-year waiting period.
Such a waiver had only been granted once before, to Mother Teresa, who died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003.
John Paul's sainthood process is progressing quickly, with milestones reached at nearly every anniversary of his death.
Last year, the investigation into John Paul's life and virtues was officially closed, and French church officials turned over to the Vatican documentation about a purported miracle attributed to his intercession.
Benedict will preside over a Mass on Wednesday marking John Paul's death.