Date set for canonisation of John Paul II and John XXIII
Former popes to be declared saints in Vatican next April
Pope John Paul II kneels to kiss the ground at Dublin airport at the start of his three-day visit to Ireland in 1979.
Pope Francis announced the date during a meeting with cardinals inside the Apostolic Palace today.
Francis announced in July that he would canonise two of the 20th century’s most influential popes together, approving a miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession and bending Vatican rules by deciding that John XXIII did not need one.
Analysts have said the decision to canonise them together was aimed at unifying the church since each has his own admirers and critics.
In July, Francis approved a second miracle attributed to John Paul, opening the way to the fastest canonisation in modern times.
He also approved sainthood for John, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and who oversaw sweeping reforms to modernise the Church, even though he has only been credited with one miracle since his death.
Francis is clearly a fan of both: on the anniversary of John Paul’s death this year, he prayed at the tombs of both men — an indication that he sees a great personal and spiritual continuity in them.