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"Benedict XVI was aware of the interest aroused by the beatification of John Paul II and of the excitement with which so many Christians awaited it."

Juan Luis Lorda, theologian at the University of Navarra, highlights the rigor of the process: "The Pope wanted to speed it up, but without skipping any step".

17/01/11 09:14
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The theologian Juan Luis Lorda. PHOTO: Manuel Castells

"Pope Benedict XVI was aware of the enormous interest aroused by the beatification of John Paul II and of the enthusiasm with which so many Christians awaited it. And he wanted it to take place with agility, but without skipping any step". This is what Juan Luis Lorda, professor of the School of Theology of the University of Navarra, assured on the occasion of the confirmation by the Holy See.

The beatification is a very concrete process," added Professor Lorda, "because it is a matter of judging in all seriousness whether a person has lived Christianity in an exceptional way and thus can serve as an example. Therefore, the first thing is the process of virtues: to study if they were lived well. And this is done by gathering documented testimonies, questioning reliable witnesses, and investigating the doubts that arise and the critical testimonies, to see what foundation they have".

"It is not that he has not made mistakes, because everyone makes them. But rather, driven by the love of God, he came to live the Christian life in an exceptionally good way. All his writings, private and public, are also studied to see if they are in conformity with Christian doctrine and holiness," he said.

The theologian of the University of Navarra emphasized that in the process "God is also asked to confirm that sanctity, through a miracle among the people who have come to his intercession. This is also analyzed with great rigor. There must be clear medical evidence. And the case is examined by a commission of medical experts and then by theologians. Then it is studied by the cardinals of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and, finally, it is passed on to the Pope, so that, if he sees fit, he can approve it, as has happened in this case".

Great contribution to the Catholic Church.

Juan Luis Lorda remembered John Paul II as "a man of faith, of optimism and good humor, of illusion, with great intellectual and artistic sensitivity; with a spirit of dialogue; and with a clear idea of the Church's status and of the keys to move forward".

He also emphasized his doctrinal contribution, as demonstrated in his opinion by "the set of important documents on almost all the points core topic of Christian doctrine, among them the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Code of Canon Law". Among other milestones, he also emphasized his renewal of the Church's social doctrine, his promotion of ecumenism and dialogue with other religions, and the multiplication of the Holy See's relations with other nations.

Related articles by Juan Luis Lorda:

The beatification of John Paul II (Diario de Navarra, 15-01-2011)

The Intellectual Keys of John Paul II (Our Time, 2003)

The Pope who was not on the lists (Expansión, 2-04-2005)

General balance of a pontificate