It appears that releasing his first encyclical today wasn't enough for Pope Francis. According to a Vatican Radio news report, Federico Lombardi, SJ, the Vatican spokesperson and director of the Holy See Press Office, called journalists back for a suprise second press conference after the earlier announcement of the encyclical, The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei). The news this time was that Pope Francis had approved the cause for canonization of two of his predecessors, Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II.
Pope Francis is making an exceptional move, too, in announcing the canonization of John XXIII without the standard second miracle.
The Vatican Radio report explains:
Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, Friday morning, Pope Francis approved the promulgation of the decree and also convoked a special Consistory of the College of Cardinals to discuss the canonization of the Polish pope in depth.
Furthermore, he approved the favorable votes of the Ordinary Session of the Congregations Cardinals and Bishops regarding the raising to the altars of sainthood of Blessed John XXII.
This slightly unusual gesture was explained by Fr. Lombardi who told journalists that despite the absence of a second miracle it was the Pope’s will that the Sainthood of the great Pope of the Second Vatican Council be recognized.
Fr. Lombardi stated that a canonization without a second miracle is still valid, given that there is already the existing miracle that lead to the Roncalli Pope’s beatification. He also pointed to ongoing discussions among theologians and experts about whether it is necessary to have two distinct miracles for beatification and canonization. Certainly, he added the Pope has the power to dispense, in a Cause, with the second miracle.
However, there was no mention of dates. Neither for the Consistory nor for the Canonizations. Fr. Lombardi did not rule out that both celebrations could coincide, and he did express his belief that they would take place by the end of the year. Either way any date would be established during the Consistory.