TWO POPES, TWO SAINTS: Hundreds of thousands of faithful jam St. Peter's Square for declaration of sainthoods
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/27/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Two pontiffs, one active, the other retired - Pope Francis and Pope Benedict were on hand to elevate two previous Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II to sainthood. Hundreds of thousands of the faithful jammed St. Peter's Square in Rome for the ceremony in an once-in-a-lifetime event.
Two pontiffs, one active, the other retired - Pope Francis and Pope Benedict were on hand to elevate two previous Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II to sainthood.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It was also the first time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church that a living and a former pope performed a mass together. Pope Francis was joined by emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.
The faithful came, many camping out in order to claim spots for the mass. Others prayed in all-night vigils in churches in downtown Rome. Flags and banners proudly waved, bearing the colors of both the Vatican and Poland, Pope John Paul's homeland.
Some say that Pope Francis wished to unite the church with the dual canonization. "Pope Francis' decision to canonize the pope loved by Catholic traditionalists together with the one favored by Catholic liberals is seen as part of his effort to keep Catholics united, inside one big tent," radio journalist Sylvia Poggioli said.
Pope John Paul II, pope from 1978-2005, was a favorite among conservative Catholics. He was canonized on Sunday along with the late Pope John XXIII, who was popular among liberals.
John Paul was described as a globe-trotter and was the first non-Italian pontiff in nearly 500 years. He was also the first pope to visit a synagogue and a mosque. His support of Poland's Solidarity movement helped topple that country's communist government.
Poggioli says that John Paul didn't entirely escape controversy. "It's speculated that his experience with Poland's communist regime, that often discredited priests with false accusations may have led him to turn a blind eye for so long to clerical sex-abuse scandals that festered under his papacy, and which critics say still tarnish his legacy."
John was a hero to liberal Catholics for convening the Second Vatican Council, which allowed church-goers for to hear mass in their local languages instead of Latin.
Known as the "Good Pope" after his 1958-63 reign, John "had his promotion to full sainthood decided by Pope Francis," reported the BBC.
"Francis recited the saint-making formula in Latin, saying that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance 'we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church,'" a Vatican spokesperson said.
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