Half a million people attended the canonization ceremony at St. Peter's Square Sunday where Popes John Paul II and John XXIII were declared saints by the Roman Catholic Church, according to the Vatican.
"We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enrol them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church," Pope Francis formally proclaimed in Latin, Reuters reported.
Delegates from over 100 countries attended the ceremony, including more than 20 Heads of State such as King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, ex-president of the Republic of Poland Lech Walesa, and president of the Argentine parliament Julian Dominguez, among others. more >>
Amid public debate sparked by Prime Minister David Cameron's recent statement that Britain is a Christian nation – a view supported by more than half the country's public – former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, tells a newspaper that Britain is now a "post-Christian" society, which, though remains haunted by Christianity.
Britain is "post-Christian in the sense that habitual practice for most of the population is not taken for granted," Williams, who is now master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, told The Telegraph in an interview. "A Christian nation can sound like a nation of committed believers, and we are not that."
Williams, a member of the House of Lords, added, "It's a matter of defining terms. A Christian country as a nation of believers? No. A Christian country in the sense of still being very much saturated by this vision of the world and shaped by it? Yes." more >>
Pope Francis proclaimed his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints at a historic ceremony Sunday in the presence of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square.
"John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries," Francis said before some 800,000 people, according to The Associated Press.
A reigning pope and a retired pope were together in a Mass in public for the first time. Also unprecedented was the concurrent canonization of two former popes. more >>
The miraculous healings and apparitions of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII were recently described at a news conference by first-hand witnesses, three days before their joint canonization.
Speaking at a conference at the Vatican on Thursday, Floribeth Mora Diaz said that some people thought she was crazy to believe that John Paul II helped heal her brain aneurysm in May 2011, six years after his death. She described it, however, as a "blessed craziness, because I'm healthy," Catholic News Service reported.
The Costa Rican woman is said to have gone through an "inexplicable recovery" thanks to the Polish pontiff on the day of his beatification, which the Vatican said was a double miracle since not only was she healed, but the faith of her family had been restored. more >>
Swedish megachurch leader Ulf Ekman who formerly led the Word of Life charismatic church in Uppsala explained his decision to convert to Roman Catholicism, and revealed that he was "bombarded with questions" by his congregation, some of whom understood his decision, and some who didn't.
"Well, it became very quiet. And when it becomes quiet in a charismatic church, then you know people are thinking. When I'd finished there was actually spontaneous applause. That surprised me a lot and many, many people came up to me afterwards," Ekman said in an interview with Catholic Herald.
"Then, the day after, we had a question-and-answer session. I stood for two hours and they bombarded me with questions about Catholicism. The rest of the week all our pastors were ready to help people and answer questions. Every night there were sessions for that. So there has been a mixed feeling. Some understand. Some don't understand at all." more >>
The Roman Catholic Church is set for major celebrations around the world to mark the canonization of popes John Paul II and John XXIII on Sunday.
The Vatican discussed their sainthood during a Tuesday press briefing, saying, "Father Giovangiuseppe Califano, the postulator for John XXIII, said as a 15-year-old seminarian Angelo Roncalli was already making resolutions that were intended to help him become a saint for real. He said Pope John's sainthood was characterized by a deep humility and he was both a shepherd and a father," according to Vatican Radio.
"Roncalli, he continued, opened new horizons to the Church by convening the Second Vatican Council and was a capable communicator who by using simple every-day expressions succeeded in entering immediately into the hearts of people. Father Califano went on to explain how the words 'obedience and peace' were not just Roncalli's episcopal motto but were at the root of his sainthood as they characterized his life at the service of the Church." more >>