Monthly Archives: April 2014

John Paul II, a giant among popes

The first non-Italian pope in more than 450 years, and the first Polish pope ever, Pope John Paul II was even more of an outsider than John XXIII. Born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice in 1920, he lost his mother when … Continue reading

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Pope Francis’ Homily for the Canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II

At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus. He had already shown those wounds when he first … Continue reading

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John XXIII: the journey to Rome of the boy from Bergamo

The journey to the papacy of Angelo Rocalli, born near Bergamo in Lombardy in 1881, the first son in a large family of peasant farmers, was an unlikely one. A papal diplomat of no great rank, he found himself suddenly in high … Continue reading

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Saints can fail yet be holy (and that goes for popes too)

Although the millions who will visit Rome this weekend and watch the ceremonies from around the world show the immense popularity of Pope Francis’s decision to canonise his predecessors Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, the decision has not … Continue reading

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John XXIII and John Paul II, ‘twin bookends’ of Vatican II

Popes John XXIII and John Paul II are not linked only by their holiness, their popularity, and their emphasis on mercy, but by the Second Vatican Council. John Paul’s biographer George Weigel describes the two popes as the Council’s ‘twin bookends’. The Council, which … Continue reading

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The secret of what makes the two popes saints

Speaking yesterday at a Vatican press briefing entitled ‘Why Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II are saints’,  Fr Giovangiuseppe Califano, the current postulator for John XXIII’s canonisation – the fourth since 1966 – said that the heart of … Continue reading

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When the faithful put saints on the fast track

Sunday’s historic double-canonisation has involved modifying or suspending the normal legal processes the Church uses to verify sanctity. But that’s not because John XXIII and John Paul II are popes but because the fame and devotion they inspire are all the evidence that is needed. From the earliest … Continue reading

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