Pope John Paul II, the globe-trotting pontiff who led the Catholic Church for nearly 27 years, and Pope John XXIII, who called the reforming Second Vatican Council, will be declared saints, the Vatican said on Friday.
The Vatican said Pope Francis had approved a second miracle attributed to John Paul, a Pole who was elected in 1978 as the first non-Italian pope in 450 years and died in 2005. His progression to sainthood is the fastest in modern times.
The Vatican also said Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council - which enacted sweeping reforms to modernise the Church - would be made a saint even though he has only been credited with one miracle since his death.
The canonisation ceremonies, which are likely to bring hundreds of thousands to people to Rome, are expected this year.
John Paul had already been credited with asking God to cure a French nun of Parkinson’s disease, the same malady he had, before he was beatified in 2011.
Two confirmed miracles are usually required under Vatican rules for the declaration of a saint.
The second miracle attributed to his intercession is the inexplicable curing of a Costa Rican woman who prayed to him for help with her medical condition on the day of his beatification.
In the case of Pope John XXIII, who was known as the “good pope”, Francis waived the customary rules requiring a second miracle after beatification, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. John XXIII was beatified in 2000.
Francis, who has tried to instil a spirit of simplicity and reform in the Church since his election in March, is known to have great admiration for the reforming Pope John, who was born of peasant stock in northern Italy.
John Paul went down in history as the “globe-trotting pope,” visiting every inhabited continent in more than 100 trips outside Italy.
LAST DAYS WATCHED BY WORLD
His struggle with ill health was watched by millions around the world on television towards the end of his life.