John Paul II's Sanctity Began Early, Cardinal Says

Presides at Solemn Closing of Diocesan Investigation

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Pope John Paul II's intense relationship with God was already profound in his youth, said Cardinal Camillo Ruini at the close of the diocesan phase of the Pontiff's beatification process.



Cardinal Ruini presided over the closing session of the diocesan investigation today at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on the second anniversary of the death of John Paul II.

The solemn opening of the diocesan phase took place June 28, 2005, less than three months after the Pope's death.

The Vatican phase will now begin with the elaboration of a report to be prepared by a collaborator of the postulator of the cause, under the guidance of a relator of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

In his homily during the closing ceremony, Cardinal Ruini, the vicar of Benedict XVI for Rome, commented on John Paul II's intense spiritual life.

Boyhood

The cardinal said that Karol Wojtyla's spiritual life was "already strong, intimate and profound in his boyhood, and that [it] never ceased to develop and grow stronger, producing fruits in all dimensions of his life."

Cardinal Ruini added that God never sheltered Wojtyla from the trials of life, but rather was constantly "associating him ever and anew to the cross of his Son ... giving him the courage to love the cross, and the spiritual intelligence to see, through the cross, the face of the Father."

The cardinal continued: "In the certainty of being loved by God and in the joy of returning this love, Karol Wojtyla found the meaning, unity and aim of his own life.

"All those who knew him, from near or only from afar, were struck by the richness of his humanity, by his complete fulfillment as a man.

"But even more illuminating and important is the fact that such fullness of humanity coincided, in the end, with his relationship with God, in other words with his sanctity."

Faith

Cardinal Ruini said that the faith of John Paul II was that "of a man who, in a certain sense, had already seen the Lord, and who had made the direct experience of the mysterious and salvific presence of God in his spirit and in his life."

It is because of this faith, continued the cardinal, that Wojtyla had felt "the necessity and the duty to offer and transmit to all the truth that saves."

Cardinal Ruini also recalled the last moments of John Paul II.

With the help of those present in his apartment, John Paul II prayed "all the daily prayers: adoration, meditation and he even anticipated the office of the readings for Sunday," said the cardinal.

The cardinal continued: "Then, he said with an exceedingly weak voice to Sister Tobiana Sobotka, his authentic guardian angel: 'Let the Lord come.'

"Afterward, he entered into a coma, and in his room the vigil Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday was celebrated."

The cardinal said that Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul II's personal secretary, managed to give the dying Pope "drops of the blood of Christ."

Divine mercy

Cardinal Ruini said that divine mercy was the center of John Paul II's spirituality: "From it he learned to overcome evil with good."

Numerous Poles attended today's ceremony, accompanied by now-Cardinal Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, who also presided over a prayer vigil in the Vatican Grottoes.

Also present was Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, who was cured of Parkinson's months after the death of John Paul II, close to Aix-en-Provence, France.

The 46-year-old woman religious attributes her cure to the intercession of the Pontiff.

Next phase

The process of beatification passes now to the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes, whose prefect is Cardinal José Saraiva Martins.

The cardinal told Vatican Radio today "that John Paul II was dispensed from the five-year waiting period after death, prescribed by canon law, to begin the cause of beatification, but was not dispensed from the process."

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said: "Therefore, the Vatican dicastery proceeds now to review all the documentation that has arrived to us, following the paths indicated by the juridical prescripts.

"The prescripts of canon law must be respected."