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Popes become Saints

  • April 28th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Rome canonisation 2014At a Vatican service, 28.4.14, the Pope performed the canonisation rite for his two predecessors, John XXIII and Jean-Paul II . The former Pope Benedict XVI shared in the service.

John 23Pope Saint John XXIII, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, was a humanitarian leader for the whole world who captured the imagination of many in a time of vast social change.

In his four and a half years, he convened the Second Vatican Council in 1962, which committed the Catholic Church to ecumenism with the other Christian faiths, and brought in a new vernacular liturgy, celebrating community.

As a Vatican diplomat he had made several interventions to save the lives of Jewish people during the Nazi occupations; his affirmation of teachings against contraception and abortion, while orthodox, were phrased also as signs of respect for human rights.

His generous and passionate approach, akin to a Christian humanism, looks to have struck a chord with Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis.

He died from cancer aged 81 in 1963; Pope Paul VI in 1965 initiated his cause for canonisation.

JohannesPaul2-portraitPope Saint Jean Paul II, Karol Józef Wojtya, was Bishop of Rome for nearly 27 years, up to his death in 2005, after a long period of ill-health, at 84.

He was shot and seriously wounded by a would-be assassin in 1981, the motivation for it never proved; there were other attempts against the life of the Pope, far less effectual in the way they were carried out.

John Paul visitsAn inspirational and worldly figure, he visited the faithful in 129 countries, see map.

His early visits as Pope to his native Poland exerted moral force against the communist system there, widely credited with bringing on its final rejection and demise. He would proclaim: “Don’t be afraid.” He went back there nine times.

The cause for his canonisation began soon after he died.