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Thousands witness canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II

Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 01:53

April 27 - Pope Francis proclaims his predecessors, John XXIII and John Paul II, saints in front of more than half a million pilgrims. Vanessa Johnston reports.

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More than half a million pilgrims pack the squares and streets of the Vatican Sunday to witness history being made. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) HUNGARIAN PILGRIM, ENAKO PARJA, SAYING: "We are very proud to be here and we are very excited to see the celebration." Pope Francis proclaimed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II as saints of the Catholic Church. The double canonization is unprecedented in the church's history. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS SAYING: "These were two men of courage, filled with the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God's goodness and mercy. They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful." Retired Pope Benedict made a rare public appearance. The Vatican said more than 800,000 people filled the basilica area. The ceremony was not without controversy. Some say John Paul II's sainthhood came too soon, nine years after his death, and that he didn't properly address the church's sexual abuse scandal. At the end of the ceremony Pope Francis took to his popemobile to greet the crowds.

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Thousands witness canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II

Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 01:53