Popes head to sainthood, with 2014 joint canonization date

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Pope Francis announced the date on Monday for Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII to receive their official declaration of sainthood: April 27, 2014.

He made the announcement during a meeting with his cardinals, The Associated Press reported. Just a couple months ago, the pope had announced that he would be canonizing the pair at the same time.

The joint canonization ceremony is aimed at bringing the Catholic Church together, given that each of the popes has their own set of supporters and followers — and critics.

“John XXIII is generally a hero to the church’s progressive wing while John Paul II is typically lionized by Catholic conservatives,” said John Allen, from the weekly National Catholic Reporter, in Agence France-Presse.

The decision could be perceived 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,” he said.

Two confirmed miracles are generally needed for sainthood. Pope Frances did approve John XXIII for canonization based on just one, though, AFP reported.

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