Pope beatifies John Paul before a million faithful
Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI has beatified Pope John Paul II before more than a million faithful in St. Peter’s Square and surrounding streets, moving the beloved former pontiff one step closer to possible sainthood.
Speaking in Latin, Pope Benedict declared on Sunday that John Paul II could now be called “Blessed” and that his feast day would be celebrated on October 22, the anniversary of the late Pope’s 1978 installation.
The crowd erupted in cheers, tears and applause as an enormous photo of a smiling John Paul was unveiled over the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The beatification, the fastest in modern times, is a morale boost for a church scarred by the sex abuse crisis, but it has also triggered anger from victims because the scandal occurred under his 27-year watch.