A Double Canonization for Popes John XXIII and John Paul II

4/27/14
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
4/25/14:

Pope Francis Declares Sainthood for Two Beloved Predecessors

Pope Francis on Sunday will preside over a pomp-filled ceremony to declare Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII saints—an event that commemorates the legacies of two of the Catholic Church’s most popular popes, both instrumental in shaping the current pontiff’s groundbreaking reign.

The rite in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, canonizing two of the Catholic Church’s most popular popes, is likely to be a history-making event, given the strong possibility that Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned last year, will also be in attendance. That would mark the first time in the church’s 2,000-year history that two popes would honor the memory of two previous ones. (See their lives in pictures and video in an interactive timeline.)

Pope Francis chose to hold a single ceremony to canonize the pair, bringing together two popes who are closely associated with the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65, which led to significant reforms in the church. Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963, launched Vatican II, as it is commonly known, while John Paul II’s nearly 27-year papacy, which lasted from 1978 until his death in 2005, oversaw the implementation of large parts of the reforms.

“To carry out a double canonization is a message to the Church: These two are good people,” Pope Francis told reporters on the papal plane back from celebrating the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro last summer.

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