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Love and mercy: the unity theme of the two-pope canonization

Today’s canonization 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 canonization is a unifying move by Pope Francis, an attempt to build a bridge between constituencies in the

The debate over canonizing two popes

The double canonization Sunday of two popes, John XXIII and John Paul II, is a first in church history, and it’s prompted a debate among commentators: Has the church rushed too fast to declare John Paul a saint, especially in view of his record on clerical sex abuse cases? Is the addition of John XXIII to the canonization roster merely a political balancing act by Pope Francis? And should popes be canonized at all – is it really possible for the church to make a dispassionate judgment on the holiness of men who sat on the throne of Peter and were called “Your Holiness” in life? The record-setting speed of John Paul II’s canonization does, indeed, raise some questions. The “Santo subito!” (Sa

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