Briefly noted

April 17, 2007

The Roman Catholic Church will investigate a life-saving miracle attributed to the late Pope John Paul I, bringing the pontiff who served only 33 days in 1978 one step closer to possible sainthood. His papacy was one of the briefest in history, ended by an apparent heart attack. In 2003, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints opened the way for his beatification, the rank just below sainthood. To qualify, a candidate must have been a martyr or have a miracle attributed to his or her intercession. An inquiry by John Paul’s native diocese of Belluno, Italy, concluded last November without finding evidence of such a miracle. Now another tribunal will consider a man in the Italian region of Apulia who claims he was cured of lymphoma 14 years ago through the intercession of the late pope.

Saying that apologies don’t go far enough, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested the Church of England should consider paying back the money it once received as compensation when the hundreds of slaves it owned were freed. Williams said March 26 that the church and other organizations profited from the “historic legacy” of compensation after Britain outlawed slavery in the early 19th century. The leader of the Church of England said the church still has a responsibility to make amends in some fashion. The immediate problem, he said, is in deciding where the money should go, or how much money might be involved. “I haven’t got a quick solution to that,” he conceded.