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Pope Francis Canonizes John XXIII and John Paul II

Pope Francis presided over the Catholic Church’s first ever dual-canonization ceremony Sunday.

Pope Francis Canonizes John XXIII and John Paul II
Flickr / Catholic Church England and Wales
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Huge crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sunday to attend the first-ever dual canonization of former Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.

This is the first time the Catholic Church has canonized two saints at the same time. It’s also the first time two popes were present for a canonization: current Pope Francis led the ceremony and Pope emeritus Benedict, who resigned the papacy last year, was among the cardinals and bishops in the audience. (Via BBC)

The Vatican estimates a crowd close to a million strong filled St. Peter’s Square beyond capacity for the ceremony. Television screens elsewhere around the city and online displayed the ceremony for those who couldn’t make it into the square. (Via Los Angeles Times, The Vatican)

The historic occasion was not without friction, leading to headlines like these highlighting just how fast John Paul II reached sainthood. (Via NBC, The Washington Post)

The Washington Post says that makes his the fastest elevation to sainthood in modern times, “raising eyebrows among traditionalists for packing a painstaking process that can sometimes take centuries into nine incredibly short years.”

“At his funeral in 2005, millions chanted ‘sainthood now.' His failure to respond to the sex abuse crisis has some saying he should not be made a saint.” (via NBC)

“Traditionally the canonization process doesn’t begin until five years after the candidate’s death. But John Paul changed the lives of so many people around the world that the process began just weeks after his passing.” (Via CNN)

But for their roles in reforming the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said both John Paul II and John XXIII earned their new status. “They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them.” (Via The Guardian)