Pope Francis announced Monday that late popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be made saints at an unprecedented joint ceremony on April 27, 2014. The pope made the announcement — which has been expected since the Vatican confirmed miracles attributed to the two pontiffs in July — during a meeting with cardinals inside the Apostolic palace on Monday.
The double canonization is seen as a bid to unite Catholic conservatives and liberals, according to Vatican watchers. "John XXIII is generally a hero to the church's progressive wing while John Paul II is typically lionized by Catholic conservatives,"The National Catholic Reporter's John Allen explained. He said that the decision could be interpreted as "a statement that any attempt to set them at odds is artificial, and that what they had in common is more fundamental than any perceived differences."
Blessed John Paul II, known as an evangelist who made 104 trips outside Italy, served as pope from 1978 to 2005 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011. Blessed John XXIII, known particularly for convening the Second Vatican Council, was pope from 1958 to 1963 and was beatified by Blessed John Paul II in 2000. John Paul II's canonization is the fastest in modern history.
Pope Francis announced the upcoming canonizations in a meeting of cardinals known as a Consistory:
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