Pope Francis made history on Sunday, elevating to sainthood John XXIII and John Paul II, two of his most famous papal predecessors, in a ceremony bearing themes of hope and reconciliation for the world’s one billion Roman Catholics. With crowds filling St. Peter’s Square and spilling out across Rome, Francis presided over an elaborate Mass beneath drizzly skies, canonizing the two towering figures of 20th-century Catholicism, men who also hold very different legacies in the church.
Pope Francis has declared Popes John Paul II and John XXIII saints, in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands. He praised his two predecessors as "men of courage" at the Vatican service, the first time in history that two popes have been canonised at the same time. The Mass was attended by Pope Emeritus Benedict, who quit as pope last year, and roughly 100 foreign delegations.
Pope John Paul II should not be made a saint this weekend because of his abject failure to bring to justice sexually abusive priests and the bishops who covered up their crimes, victims of clerical sex abuse said today. The late Polish pontiff could have prevented "thousands" of children from being raped by pedophile priests but instead chose to ignore the scandal in the interests of protecting the image of the Catholic Church, victims from three continents said on the eve of his canonization.
One was a man who shook the very foundations of the Roman Catholic Church by ushering in revolutionary reforms through the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. The other was a charismatic globe-trotter who stared down communism and taught the world lasting lessons of how to die.