Pope John Paul II has cleared the final obstacle before being made a saint, awaiting just the final approval from Pope Francis and a date for the ceremony that could come as soon as Dec. 8, a Vatican official and news reports said today. The ANSA news agency reported that a commission of cardinals and bishops met today to consider John Paul's case and signed off on it. A Vatican official confirmed that the decision had been taken some time back and that today's meeting was essentially a formality.
One possible canonization date is Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. John Paul could be canonized together with Pope John XXIII, who called the Second Vatican Council but died in 1963 before it was finished, the official said. There is reasoned precedent for beatifying or canonizing two popes together, primarily to balance one another out. Such was the case in 2000, when John Paul beatified John XXIII, dubbed the "good pope," alongside Pope Pius IX, who confined Jews to Rome's ghetto, condoned the seizure of a Jewish boy, and allegedly referred to Jews as dogs. (Read more Pope John Paul II stories.)