During his 27 years as pope, John Paul II canonized so many people that some dubbed the Vatican “the saint factory.”
Nearly 500 saints were canonized under his watch, compared to 300 in the previous 600 years.
But now, his own legacy is under question.
Some Catholics are asking if declaring him a saint in 2014 may have been too hasty.
Reuters’ Vatican correspondent, Philip Pullella, has been following the story.
“John Paul's canonization cause was controversial from the start [...] Some people argue that a pope should never be canonized [...] If a pope is declared a saint and then many years later or even a few years later, information comes out that would doubt the original process, this could shake the faith of people in the church's ability to deal with these things which make these declarations.”
For John Paul II, that information seems to have arrived in the form of Theodore McCarrick.
He was a star of the U.S. Church who was expelled from the priesthood last year after an internal investigation found him guilty of sexual abuses of minors and adults and abuse of power.
John Paul promoted McCarrick in 2000 to be archbishop of Washington D.C., despite persistent rumors of sexual misconduct.
Last week, the Vatican issued a report on the ex-cardinal, which has raised questions once again on John Paul’s sainthood.
“The McCarrick report again, raises the possibility that John Paul had turned a blind eye to reports of sexual abuse."
John Paul’s sainthood was already questioned, even before the McCarrick report.
The debate cuts to the heart of how sainthood works and how fast it should move in modern times.
“In the early church, people were just declared saints by acclamation. So essentially these people went when someone died, the community decided that this person was a very holy person and just was declared a saint. Then in the Middle Ages, there was trafficking and fake relics and things like that. So anyway, it was institutionalized later with a process that lasted for centuries."
The process of declaring sainthood is rigorous and originally could not start until 50 years after a person’s death.
But John Paul cut it to five years and permitted fast-track exceptions.
When his successor Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, he waived the rule, allowing John Paul’s cause to start only weeks after he died.
As a result, he was declared a saint just nine years later.
“Nine years, if you consider that sometimes the canonization process takes decades and centuries. This took only nine years. That said, we're living in modern times with much, much easier to gather information [...] So things move a lot faster than they did before.”