Former Popes John Paul II and John XXIII to be canonized

Pope John Paul II Visits United Nations Credit UN Photo Evan Schneider CNA Pope John Paul II Visits United Nations. / UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

Pope Francis has approved the cause for canonization of two previous Popes, Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII.

The announcement was made on July 5, the same day as Pope Francis' first encyclical, "The Light of Faith," was released.

The previous steps towards Bl. John Paul II's canonization had been completed in recent months.

In the case of Bl. John XXIII, however, only one miracle has been formally approved by the Vatican. Normally, two miracles must be approved before a person can be canonized.

Although such a decision is unusual, Vatican press office director Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., explained that it is within the authority of the Pope to waive the second miracle for a canonization cause.

Since there was already one approved miracle that allowed Pope John XXIII to be beatified, the canonization will still be valid, even without a second miracle, he explained.

He also referenced talks among theologians about whether separate miracles for beatification and canonization are necessary.

Bl. John XXII is known for his encyclical, "Pacem in Terris," and for calling the historic Second Vatican Council. The Church is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the council during the Year of Faith.

Bl. John Paul II became famous throughout the world during his 27-year papacy for his charismatic nature, his love of youth and his world travels, along with his role in the fall of communism in Europe. The beloved Polish Pope died in 2005, making his 2011 beatification one of the quickest in recent Church history.

Pope Francis is calling for a special Consistory of Cardinals so that the canonization of Bl. John Paul II may be discussed.

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