Two popes make two predecessors saints

P(ANSA) – Vatican City, April 27 – Two popes on Sunday made two popes saints at a ceremony in St Peter’s that broke a string of records.BRFirst, it was the first time, at least since the Middle Ages, that two popes – 20th century titans John Paul II and John XXII – were elevated to sainthood on the same day, becoming worthy of veneration by the world’s one billion Catholics.BRSecond, it was the first time two living popes – Francis and his predecessor Benedict XVI – officiated at a ceremony of this kind.BRThird, John Paul was the fastest person to be made a saint, just nine years after thousands screamed ‘Santo Subito’ (Saint Now) at his funeral in 2005.BRMore than one million pilgrims came to Rome for the long-awaited event at which the most popular pope in years, Francis, gave the highest Vatican seal of approval on the similarly soaring popularity of his two most momentous recent forerunners.BRA quarter of a million people crammed into St Peter’s Square from 05:30 in the morning, while the remaining three quarters of a million gathered at maxi-screens erected by Rome city council.BRThe long-awaited event – the biggest jamboree in Catholic Church history since the 2000 Jubilee – was attended by some 100 heads of State and government.BRA roar erupted from the faithful in St Peter’s when Francis came out of the basilica to warmly embrace Benedict.BRAnother ringing round of applause came when two relics – skin from John and blood from John Paul – were placed next to the altar. Then, when the proclamation of the saints came, the loudest cheers of all rang out from those squashed into the square and the many others watching the event on huge screens nearby.BR”Halleluja,” shouted some pilgrims as thousands of Polish flags were waved.BRThe event has been seen as a savvy nod to both the liberal and conservative wings of the Church, as tensions between them have risen amid a groundswell of hope for change sparked by the new Argentine pope, celebrated by Time and Rolling Stone as a possible harbinger of revolution.BRThe progressive constituency was represented Sunday by both Francis and the ‘good pope’ John XXIII, who appeared set to usher in epoch-making sea changes himself with the 1960s Second Vatican Council.BRThe more traditional one saw the charismatic, globe-trotting John Paul bracketed with his milder-mannered and lower-profile successor Benedict as equally intransigent watchdogs of doctrinal truth.BRThe elevation of the iconic popes was expected to boost the already sky-high approval ratings of Francis, whom observers see as combining the crowd-pleasing and visionary qualities of John Paul with the reform-minded daring of John XXIII.BRBut the canonisations have not been without controversy.BRWithin the Church, procedural nitpickers have carped at the waiving of a standard wo-miracle requirement for John XXIII, with some conservatives taking it as another sign Francis wants to take them outside their dogma-friendly comfort zone.BROutside the Church, victims of clerical sex abuse have frowned at the ultimate laurel going to John Paul, who they say winked at the sins of Legion of Christ founder Marcial Maciel, a serial abuser both of generations of seminarians and of the children he fathered with several women.BRThe Survivors Network of Abuse by Priests (SNAP) claim the mark of sainthood on the Polish pope sends out a “dangerous signal” when the Church is still trying to atone for decades of rape and cover-up.BRThe pope’s biographer George Weigel responded that John Paul “acted decisively” when faced with evidence of mounting scandal in America.BRSo while the pope who had the vision to take on turbo-capitalism and take down Communism may have had a lesser blind spot on Maciel, admirers say, his mega-stardom while alive and now-attested holiness will soon make the Legion of Christ murmurings fade into distant memory.BRAs for John XXIII – already the only pope to become a vibrant protagonist of a masterpiece of modern English literature, Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers – the canonisation simply sets the seal on a truly saintly man who, like Francis, reached outside the Church and down to the unfortunate to try to change perhaps the most influential religious body in the world.BR /P
pa href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”View the original article here/a/p

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply