Pope John Paul II set for sainthood

Pope John Paul II may be canonised by the end of this year after a second miracle attributed to him was approved by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 2 July. Pending the signature of Pope Francis, the ceremony would likely take place in December, ending the Vatican's current Year of Faith. John Paul II, who received "Blessed" status on 1 May 2011 following the first miracle attributed to him, required a second miracle in order to be proclaimed a saint.

The first miracle occured on the night of his beatifcation when a French nun experienced an inexplicable recovery from Parkinson's Disease. The second miracle remains a closely-guarded secret but Vatican sources told Italian news agency ANSA that it will "amaze the world".

When John Paul II died in 2005, crowds in St Peter's Square began chanting "Santo subito" (saint at once). The canonisation of the hugely popular Polish pontiff will be seen as a good news story for the Vatican whose bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), is mired in controversy following the recent arrest of a senior prelate as part of an investigation into the bank's affairs. This was followed on 1 July by the resignation of the bank's director and deputy director, who stood down "in the best interest of the institute and the Holy See."