Benedict XVI could participate in the canonisation ceremony next April for Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII, the director of the Holy See’s Press Office announced, reports the Catholic News Agency.
During a September 30 press conference at the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi did not rule out that the former Pontiff could be present at the canonisations.
“There is not legal or doctrinal reason to keep Benedict XVI from taking part in a public ceremony,” he said.
It would be an unprecedented canonisation ceremony: Pope Francis, accompanied by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, would canonise the initiator of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed John XXIII, as well as Blessed John Paul II, known as the pilgrim Pope.
Fr Lombardi also commented on the choice of April 27 – Divine Mercy Sunday, which is held the second Sunday of Easter – for the canonisations.
He explained that the Holy Father chose this date because of John Paul II’s devotion to Divine Mercy and because his beatification also took place on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011, which fell on May 1. Pope John Paul II died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.
He also said that because a large number of pilgrims are expected to attend the canonisations, the second Sunday of Easter will be ideal, allowing many travellers to come from around the world.
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