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John Paul II: Saint Soon(er) Than You Think

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In an unseemly rush, the Vatican leaders are claiming they feel an upsurge of support to name the barely deceased John Paul II a saint. (Claims of miracles -- two are needed before someone can become a saint -- have already started flooding in.) According to the New York Times, some of this is political (trying to push cardinals into supporting a really conservative candidate by showing how much people loved JP II); some is just the rush of emotion after the outpouring of affection for the Pontiff. It's all dubious Catholicism (at best), since sainthood is traditionally a slow and careful process that typically doesn't even begin for five years after someone dies and usually takes AT LEAST decades if not centuries before winding up. He would be only the fourth Pope in the last 900 years to be named a saint.

However, it would be appropriate in some ways for John Paul II, who turned the Vatican into a Saints R Us factory. JPII churned out almost 500 saints -- more than all his predecessors of the past 2000 years COMBINED. After that rush to judgment, sainthood has been so devalued that it wouldn't seem so extraordinary to pass the honor on to him so quickly.

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