EWTN Catholic Q&A
John Paul the Great
Question from Scott Vaughn on 04-07-2005:

Is there a formal procedure for maybe officialy giving the title "the Great" to John Paul II? And if there is, what is it? Also, since his writings are so profound and have affected Church teaching so much (especially the Theology of the Body) is there a chance that he could be declared a Doctor of the Church. Is there a procedure for giving this title to someone? Thank you. Scott Vaughn Birmingham, Alabama

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 04-08-2005:

The title of "the Great" is not officially granted to a pope. Rather, as I understand such things, it is placed as part of the judgment of the faithful and of history. The title has been granted only rarely: Leo I (440-461), Gregory I (590-604), and Nicholas I (858-867).

As for Doctor of the Church, it is likely that the title will be granted upon him by some future pontiff in consulation with the appropriate officials.