VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II has moved a step closer to sainthood.

A Vatican official says a commission of theologians approved a miracle attributed to his intercession, clearing a key hurdle.

The case now goes to a commission of cardinals and then Pope Francis.

John Paul’s canonization is possible in autumn to coincide with the 35th anniversary of his election, though the official said last week on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to reveal details about the case that it may be too soon.

The Polish-born pope has been on the fast track for sainthood ever since retired Pope Benedict XVI waived the traditional five-year waiting period and allowed the investigation into his life and virtues to begin just weeks after his 2005 death. John Paul was beatified in 2011.