1 May 2011

John Paul II officially beatified

10:11 pm on 1 May 2011

The late Pope, John Paul II, has been officially beatified at a ceremony at the Vatican with hundreds of thousands of people attending.

A testimonial was given by a French nun who said she was cured of Parkinson's disease after praying to the pope.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand said her ailment disappeared in a matter of hours, in June 2005.

The Vatican has deemed that what it calls Normand's otherwise inexplicable cure after she and her fellow nuns prayed to the dead pope was due to John Paul's intercession with God to perform a miracle, thus permitting the beatification to go ahead.

A second will miracle will have to be attributed to John Paul's intercession for him to be declared a saint by the Church.

Police in Rome estimated that 1 million people had come to the city for the event, including large numbers of pilgrims from the late pope's native Poland.

St Peter's Square, in the Vatican, was packed, with the faithful waving banners and flags as Pope Benedict XVI delcared his predecessor blessed, or beatified.