NBC got a jump on the John Paul II story on Friday as Anne Thompson filed from St Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Now both NBC and ABC sent correspondents to the Vatican to observe the ceremony in which five trunks of documents examining the late Pope's life were formally submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for scrutiny to establish if he was a true one. They include the tale of the cure of a Parkinsonian French nun. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas (subscription required) gave us the test to verify that the results of her prayers to the late Pope constitute a true miracle: "sudden, complete, inexplicable." There was not much of a story--no more than a seal being plunged into hot wax--but, as usual, ecclesiastical pageantry provided ornate visuals to mark the start of Holy Week. The track record shows that the average time for the next step, to beatification, for deceased popes is more than 40 years, noted NBC's Jim Maceda: "Only two popes have been named saints since the C16th."
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