In a surprise announcement Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta has begun today the process for the beatification of Pope Francis.
In this unusual move – the Church normally reserves beatification until after death – the archbishop is calling on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to surrender to what he calls ‘the will of the people’, and following a now established custom, to declare his successor like his predecessor, a saint.
Said a spokesperson for the archbishop: ‘There is a groundswell of support for this move. Francis the Merciful is already an object of devotion to many. He is bigger than Elvis or the Beatles.’
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, head of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was not available for comment.