ROME (RNS) Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be formally declared saints on April 27, 2014, the Vatican said Monday (Sept. 30). Pope Francis made the announcement during a meeting with cardinals gathered in Rome.

(RNS) Pope John Paul II participates in a procession in August, 2000. RNS file photo courtesy Universal Press Syndicate.

(RNS) Pope John Paul II participates in a procession in August, 2000. RNS file photo courtesy Universal Press Syndicate.

John Paul, who was pope from 1978 to 2005, and John, who reigned from 1958 to 1963, are considered two of the most influential religious leaders in the world in the last century, and they represent two poles in Roman Catholicism — John XXIII is a hero to liberals, while John Paul II is widely hailed by conservatives.

Francis said in July that he planned to canonize them together, the first time two former popes will be declared saints at the same time.

Francis seemed eager to make that pairing work, perhaps as part of his effort to try to heal some of the internal divisions in the church.

While John Paul was on the fast track to sainthood, the canonization process for John — who convened the Second Vatican Council and helped usher the church into the modern world — was moving much more slowly.

But Francis bent the rules so that a second miracle would not be required for John to clear the last hurdle for canonization.

(1969) Pope John XXIII, 76 when he was elected in 1958, caught the imagination of the world through his pastoral goodness, his strides for peace and his convening of the Second Vatican Council. At his death in 1963, between the first and second session of the Council, he had become one of the most loved men in history and a Pope whose impact has remained undiminished. Religion News Service file photo

(1969) Pope John XXIII, 76 when he was elected in 1958, caught the imagination of the world through his pastoral goodness, his strides for peace and his convening of the Second Vatican Council. At his death in 1963, between the first and second session of the Council, he had become one of the most loved men in history and a Pope whose impact has remained undiminished. Religion News Service file photo


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The calls for John Paul to be made a saint started even before he was buried eight years ago last April: His funeral was marked by chants and banners reading “Santo Subito!” (Sainthood Now!) from the throngs of the faithful on hand.

Benedict XVI, who succeeded John Paul II, quickly bypassed the normal five-year waiting period after a person’s death in order to start the meticulous process for declaring someone a saint. That cleared the way for what will be the fastest canonization ever in modern times. While John Paul’s will take nine years, the sainthood bid of Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva took 27 years — currently the quickest known canonization.

Two miraculous cures have already been chalked up to prayers addressed to John Paul.

A Vatican spokesman said that Benedict, who has largely remained in seclusion since his retirement last February, would take part next spring in the canonization Mass, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Rome.

6 Comments

    • It would be wise of gay people, if they wish to receive due respect, to be duly respectful of others and not follow the same, nasty gossip tradition that has been used in such illiterate, ugly, prejudiced ways against them.

      • Gay rumors have long been bandied about regarding Ratzinger, Benedict XVI. So what? Being gay doesn’t disqualify one from being pope any more than from performing any other office–unless you’re ignorantly going to require heterosexuality as a condition for the job. I can’t see the need for that in any situation other than a man marrying a woman.

  1. Though I think it’s time to end the outdated presumption of beatification and canonization, especially based on so-called miracles, the pairing of the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II raises lots of questions. It makes it look like the Vatican can find the miracles claimed to be needed when needed.

    It would have raised a deserved outcry to canonize Pope Wojtyla so soon and leave the good Pope Roncalli hanging in the wings, especially after Wojtyla did so much, even before his arranged successor Ratzinger, to “reform the reform” of Vatican II, Good Roncalli’s blessed legacy to religion, the church, and the “people of God.”

    One is left wondering if Wojtyla wasn’t paired with Roncalli just to get an easy pass on Wojtyla. True, Roncalli wasn’t the performer Wojtyla was, but is it about drama or solid religion? Will church politics ever end, even under good Pope Francis? This canonization process was at its finalization stage when Francis was elected, and in an institution as royal and mighty as the Catholic Church it isn’t easy, even for good people like Francis and Roncalli, to make big changes quickly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.