Vandals deface Pope John Paul II memorial before canonization

KRAKOW, Poland Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:34pm EDT

KRAKOW, Poland (Reuters) - Vandals daubed paint across a stone memorial commemorating the late Pope John Paul II in his home region of southern Poland on Wednesday, days before he is to be made a saint.

Police fenced off the memorial in the center of Krakow as municipal workers tried to remove the paint, a Reuters reporter said. Officers did not comment on who might have been responsible, or why they committed the act of vandalism.

John Paul, who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005, will be canonized on Sunday and remains for many Catholics a towering model of faith and commitment.

Many in his home country consider the former pope to be one of the greatest Poles to have lived. But he is not universally admired in Polish society and some liberals believe he held back progress on issues such as contraception, abortion and homosexuality.

He lived in Krakow before he was elected pope.

(Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; Writing by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Christian Lowe and Andrew Heavens)

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