ROME — Pope Benedict XVI said Friday he had begun the process for the sainthood of Pope John Paul II, overriding the usual five-year waiting period following the death of a possible candidate.
The pope made the announcement during a meeting with the Roman clergy at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, first telling the assembled priests, "and now I have a very joyous piece of news for you."
Immediately following Pope John Paul’s death on April 2, there were calls from faithful for his sainthood. At his funeral Mass, pilgrims held up banners saying "Santo Subito" ("Immediate Sainthood").
The announcement came on the anniversary of an 1981 assassination attempt by a Turkish gunman against John Paul in St. Peter’s Square.
The pope read a letter in Latin in which the Vatican official in charge of sainthood, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, announced that Benedict himself had authorized the beginning of John Paul’s path to sainthood. The announcement drew a standing ovation from the Roman priests.
Benedict, who had been seated, stood up to join the clergy in applauding the major tribute to his predecessor. [Source]
This is not exactly a surprise, but cool none the less.