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Letter from Rome: Canonizing popes and demythologizing the papacy

Every pope who has led the Church since the time of the Second Vatican Council will have his own feast day
Pope Francis salutes the audience during his Angelus prayer from a window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on June 26

Pope Francis salutes the audience during his Angelus prayer from a window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on June 26. (Photo: AFP)

Published: June 27, 2022 05:47 AM GMT
Updated: June 27, 2022 05:48 AM GMT

Pope Francis has probably done more than any Roman pontiff in modern history to reform and demythologize the imperial papacy.

And yet the paradox is that no one has ever canonized so many dead popes. In less than 10 years in office, Francis has declared three of them saints — John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II. And soon he will make John Paul I, the pope who reigned for only 33 days, a "blessed".

After the Sept. 4 beatification ceremony, which has just been confirmed, every pope who has led the Church since the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) will have his own feast day on the liturgical calendar.

The only exceptions, of course, are the two who are still alive — Benedict XVI and Francis.

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