As we have pointed out before, these are rather unique times in the Catholic Church. Having two living Popes is not something we are used to, but equally unique is the fact of having two Popes canonized on the same day, something that has never been done before.
One of the reasons put forward for combining the two Canonizations is that each was involved in Vatican II. Pope John XXIII, of course, is the Pope who called for the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II is the one who implemented many of its changes. As a result each Pope also had his supporters and detractors, largely depending upon their point of view regarding the changes (and sometimes excesses) of Vatican II.
The Vatican has made no official announcement yet, but it is possible that Pope Francis will be joined by Pope Emeritus Benedict at the Canonization ceremony on April 27, 2014. This would be something that has no precedent…and as we have learned quickly, Pope Francis likes to spice things up a bit.
So for those planning to attend the Canonization be prepared for one of the largest crowds ever to attend such an event and make your reservations without delay!
And read our previous blog post for some tips about attending the Canonization.