TODAY   |  April 25, 2014

Spokesman: Canonization of Pope John Paul II 'not a rush'

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke joins TODAY to discuss the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, and the controversy surrounding the move.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> let's bring in vatican spokesman greg burr. greg , good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt, how are you?

>> i'm doing well, thanks. a lot of people are asking this is the fastest process to saint hood in the history of the catholic church for john paul ii ? why the rush? why do it so quickly?

>> well, i mean, rush is an opinionated word there, because there are things that have actually happened faster. the pope can do whatever he wants. i think there are two important things here, matt. one is, it's not a rush, but off number of people who wanted this. pope benedict , we thought was one of the most conservative popes in the world until he resigned, of course. but obviously a very prudent man. somebody who knew john paul ii for the better part and worked with him for the better part of 25 years. and he's the one who signed off on the normal five-year waiting thing. five-year wait before a process actually starts. so benedict did that. i think that's one sign that we were pretty safe. the other is just the enormous outpouring of people coming for john paul 's death. that's part of the saint-making process. it's not exactly a democratic process , but people do vote with their feet .

>> when you go back and look now at john the 23rd and the canonization of that pope, the normal procedure is two miracles are presented. with that pope, there's now been one miracle presented. i don't mean to make it an opinionated comment again, but, you know, why do away with the tradition there?

>> yeah, you're good on that. that's one for pope francis to answer. but the pope essentially is allowed to do what he wants. john the 23rd has certainly been one of the most revered figures. it's often been done in the past as well, matt, so no controversy there. it's often been done in the past where a second miracle has been waived. it's waived all the time in the case of martyrs. i think it's the immense popularity, the immense importance of john the 23rd for the church, and it's also just an incredible sign of unity having the two popes together.

>> all right, greg burke at the vatican this morning. greg , thank you very much. we'll have more from the vatican coming up on "weekend today."