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Sainthood Process Begins for Late Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

The Roman Catholic Church has officially begun the process of beatifying the late Pope John Paul II.

The ceremony opened Tuesday in Rome's Basilica of Saint John Lateran. Officials involved in the procedure are swearing to objectively seek the truth in considering the issue.

Beatification is the final step before possible sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI waived the usual five-year waiting period, allowing the process to begin less than three months after the pontiff's death in April.

The Vatican must find evidence of at least two miracles directly linked through prayer to John Paul II after his death, in order to canonize him. One miracle must be established for beatification. An inquiry can take years.

Pope John Paul II led the Catholic Church for more than 26 years. Pilgrims at his funeral carried banners and chanted the Latin phrase "Santo Subito," which means "Sainthood Now."

Some information for this report provided by AP.