Unity theme of #2PopeSaints

[Sunday]’s canonisation of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II drew 800,000 people to Rome.

I spoke with a small fraction of the massive crowd that filled the streets near the Vatican, but every one of them agreed: Two popes, two saints, two more reasons to be happy.

Much of the commentariat – and I include myself in that class — has found issues to explore in this double canonization: the fast-tracking of John Paul II, the waiving of the second miracle for John XXIII, the politics of saintmaking and the ongoing tensions over the Second Vatican Council.

I’ve maintained that the double canonisation is a unifying move by Pope Francis, an attempt to build a bridge between constituencies in the church who identify with the “liberal” John XXIII or the more “conservative” John Paul II.

I still believe that’s true. But among those in today’s crowd, and probably throughout the global Catholic population, that kind of analysis was not all that relevant.

“The were both good people, holy men. John XXIII was a man of vision. John Paul II was a man of action. But they had the same intention – to bring the church closer to the people,” said Rosemary Fabregas, a Catholic from San Francisco who sat in front of a Jumbrotron screen outside St Peter’s Square.

An Italian pilgrim, asked about the saints’ differences, put it this way:

“Differences? I don’t know. The important thing is that they were both very spiritual and they both loved the poor.” Continue reading.

John Thavis is a journalist, author and speaker specialising in Vatican and religious affairs. 

Source: John Thavis

Image: Salt&Light/YouTube

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