Pope clears sainthood for Italian millennial known as 'God's influencer'

Pope Francis holds the weekly general audience at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis has attributed a second miracle to an Italian teenager who in his short life used his computer skills to spread the Catholic faith, clearing the way for him to become the first saint of the millennial generation.

Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006 aged 15, was informally known as "God's influencer". Born in London, he grew up in Milan where he took care of his parish website and later of a Vatican-based academy.

Francis took the decision during a meeting with the head of the Vatican's saint-making department, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, a statement said on Thursday.

Acutis was beatified in 2020 after one miracle was attributed to him. The attribution of a second miracle means he can now be elevated to sainthood, but the Vatican did not say when this would happen.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that only God performs miracles, but that saints who are believed to be with God in heaven intercede on behalf of people who pray to them. A miracle is usually the medically inexplicable healing of a person.

Due to his "important role in evangelization through the internet", Acutis was named as a patron of last year's World Youth Day in Lisbon, organisers of the event said.

(Reporting by Sara Rossi; Editing by Alvise Armellini and Frances Kerry)