John Paul II to be Beautified

Vatican City – Pope Benedict XVI announced Friday that all obstacles on the way to the beautification of John Paul II had been cleared and that the ceremony is to take place on May 1, 2011.

The official decree confirmed that the healing of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre from Parkinson’s Disease, was in fact, a miracle.  The Pope’s declaration came after a thorough investigation by independent, objective, Vatican appointed experts.  In response to reports that Simon-Pierre had suffered a relapse last March, the Congregation for the Cause of Saints explained that the sister had “misunderstood her symptoms after an all-night poker tournament in her French convent, fueled by espresso and Four Loko ™.”

When reached for comment, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre said, “This is amazing!  The Pope finally declared what I knew all along to be true:  that Pope John Paul II healed me of Parkinson’s.”  Upon reflection, Simon-Pierre added, “No wait…I think I’m supposed to say that God healed me of Parkinson’s through the intercession of Pope John Paul II – yeah, that’s it.”

With this certified posthumous miracle, the final criterion for John Paul II’s Beautification was met.  In his remarks, Pope Benedict praised the faithful for the patience that they demonstrated during the “lengthy and deliberative process” that church officials underwent to determine the former Pope’s eligibility.  “We take these things as seriously as we do any element of Catholic faith and practice, like marriage annulments and abuse allegations.”

Beautification is the Catholic tradition of exhuming an honored corpse for an extra application of makeup.  After the May 1 ceremony, John Paul II will be one step closer to Sainthood, the most elevated status in the Roman Catholic Church.  More formally known as Canonization, this occurs when the corpse of one so designated is exhumed and shot from a canon in a skyward direction, symbolizing the hope of direct and forceful entry into heaven.

The requirement for the Canonization of John Paul II is a second posthumous miracle, and there are early reports that this has already occurred.  Even as the Pope Benedict was issuing his decree, a recently-erected statue of Pope John Paul II outside of the Gemelli hospital in Rome, his “third home,” was reported to be be lactating.

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