This time it looks like they are tearing up the rule book.
On the second anniversary of his death, 61 percent of Poles want John Paul II to be canonized without going through the usual first step of beatification.
Last year, Pope Benedict dispensed with the customary five-year waiting period before the process can begin.
But this fast track saintification really got up steam under John Paul II. He created more saints in a shorter period than any other pontiff. He began waving of the five year time rule, when he kick started the canonization of (the highly controversial figure of) Mother Theresa.
But still: to become a saint is still tricky, but not as tricky as it used to be.
The Vatican still has to have ‘proof of miracles’.
The favourite seems to be finding people ‘cured’ of an illness that doctors cannot explain.
For instance, Fox news (well, why not?) reported that JP II was responsible for the miracle cure of French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who had Parkinson’s disease, just like the Pope himself.
Her cure came on the night of June 2, 2005, exactly two months after the pontiff's death, she said. In her room after evening prayers, she said an inner voice urged her to take up her pen and write. She did, and was surpassed to see that her handwriting — which had grown illegible because of her illness — was clear. She said she then went to bed, and woke early the next morning feeling "completely transformed."
"I was no longer the same inside. It is difficult for me to explain to you in words ... It was too strong, too big. A mystery."
The process (since 1983 the rules are like this) requires a potential saint to go through various phases. A person becomes a "Servant of God", then a “Venerable” then “Martyr”; and then after miracles are ‘proved’ they become “Blessed”. To get from Blessed to Saint requires another miracle.
Of course, using the criteria ‘cure that medical science cannot explain’ is ...well...unscientific. Just because science cannot explain something today does not mean it cannot tomorrow. Some pretty daft reasons for creating saints must have been given in the past.
But that’s not the point. This is religion, not reason.
So why is Pope Benedict – and John Paul II before him – so keen to speed up the canonization process? Is it because they know that we live in a world of diminished attention time spans? Is this a canonization process for the ‘want it now’, impatient, tabloid, instant gratification 21st century, when everything has to happen NOW!
Isn’t this just the dumbing down of canonization – the inflation of saints?