Benedict XVI "fast tracks" sainthood investigation of John Paul II
ROME, May 13 - Pope Benedict XVI said today that he had decided to forego the rules of the Roman Catholic Church and immediately put his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, on the road to potential sainthood.
The pope's announcement effectively dispensed with a church law that requires a five-year waiting period before beatification cases can be opened, and thus put John Paul, who made more saints than all other popes combined, on the sainthood fast track.
Benedict's brief statement, made in Latin to a group of priests gathered at St John's Basilica on the 24th anniversary of the assassination attempt against John Paul, also set off a long round of applause.
That outpouring of affection is indicative of the wave of advocacy for John Paul's beatification, the last step before sainthood, that has swept over Rome and much of the Church since his death on April 2.
During the John Paul's funeral, the faithful waved banners and chanted calls for the Polish pope to be made a saint right away while Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seemed to hint at John Paul's saintliness when he said, "We can be sure that our beloved pope is now at the window of the house of the Father, and he sees us and he blesses us."