Never before has a pope in functions and other retired had officiated Mass in public, so the presence of Benedict XVI was another element of a historic day for the Catholic Church
The pope Francisco declared saints to its two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II to 800,000 people on Sunday in an unprecedented canonization ceremony, which took another historic border with the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI. Never before has a pope in functions and other retired had officiated Mass in public, much less in a ceremony to be held in two of his most famous predecessors. The presence of Benedict also reflected the balance Francisco was considered to canonize Juan XXIII and John Paul II, showing the unity of the church to honor a conservative and a liberal pope.
Francisco clearly established point in his homily praising both men for their work associated with the Second Vatican Council meetings that modernized innovative institution to 2,000 years. John called the Council while Juan Pablo took care to ensure the interpretation and implementation of the more conservative side.
"John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the saint to renew and update the Church spirit, and keep close to their pristine figures, figures that the images have given us through the centuries," Francisco said.
He praised John XXIII for letting God take him to convene the Council and welcomed the emphasis on the family that had the reign of John Paul, a case in which Francisco was also interested.
"Both were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century," Francisco said. "They lived the tragic events of the century but they were overwhelmed by them."
It was Benedict who put John Paul on the fast track to be declared a saint just weeks after his death in 2005, responding to the chants of "Santo Subito" ("saint now") chanted in Italian that arose during his funeral. His canonization was the most expeditious of modern times.
After Francisco changed the rules of canonization of Vatican to decide it was not necessary evidence of a second miracle that set the standards for declaring someone a saint.
Francisco took a deep breath and paused for a moment before reciting the formula for declaring saints, as if moved by the story that he was about to join.
He said that after discussion, consult and pray for divine help "declare and define that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II are saints and included among the saints, who are revered by decreeing that way for the whole church."
The crowd that stretched from St. Peter's Square to the Tiber River and beyond broke into applause.
"This is a historic moment," said the Rev. Victor Perez, who led a group of high school John Paul, of Houston, Texas, and waited nearly 12 hours to get close to St. Peter's Square. "Juan Pablo had a great impact on the Church, completed the work of the Vatican Council. Honors today surrender to what God has done for the past 50 years in the Church."
Even in places like in native Poland of John Paul the bells were rung in celebration, in the early hours of the morning the atmosphere in the square was peaceful and quiet, perhaps caused by the gray sky and fatigue of those who slept different from the festive atmosphere and May 2011, when John Paul II was beatified and in which groups of people danced and sang for hours before the mass.
The Vatican estimated 800,000 people viewed the Mass in Rome, 500,000 in St. Peter's Square and surrounding streets and the rest through TV screens that were placed in public places and streets of the city center.
When the ceremony began, the Via della Conciliazione, the main avenue leading to the square, nearby streets and the bridges crossing the Tiber River were jammed.
Polish pilgrims waving flags with the red and white colors of the beloved homeland of John Paul II were among the first to arrive at the square before dawn on Sunday; were contained by civil defense workers wearing reflective vests colors trying to keep order.
" Four potatoes in a ceremony is a great event to see and be present , because history is written before our eyes ," said the Polish Dawid Halfar amazed .
"It's wonderful to be part of it and experience all this ," he added .
Benedict had promised to remain "hidden to the world " after he resigned last year , however , Francisco convinced him out of retirement and asked to participate in the public activities of the church.
Benedict sat alongside other cardinals in St. Peter's Square during the rite at the start of Sunday mass. He and Francisco briefly greeted the arrival of the current pontiff.
In a sort of test, Benedict attended the ceremony in February in which Francisco ordered 19 new cardinals. But a Mass together is something different, something that happens for the first time in the history of 2,000 years of this institution, which shows the desire of Francis to show continuity in the papacy despite differences between personalities and policies.
John, who reigned from 1958-1963, is a hero for liberal Catholics since the Second Vatican Council convened. At these meetings the church took steps to modernize as the celebration of Mass in local languages instead of Latin and promoting greater dialogue with members of other faiths, especially Jews.
During his papacy a quarter century, from 1978-2005, John Paul II supported the overthrow communism in Poland by supporting the Solidarity movement. His condition globetrotting and the launch of the highly popular World Youth Days stimulated a new generation of Catholics, while his defense of the traditional conservative doctrine strengthened after the turbulent '60s.
"Juan Pablo was our pope," said Therese Andjoua, a nurse of 49 years who traveled from Libreville, Gabon, along with 300 other pilgrims to witness the ceremony. She wore a traditional African attire with images of the two new saints attached.
"In 1982 he went to Gabon and when he kissed the ground and said:. 'Rise up, advance and do not be afraid,''' recalled as she rested on a pallet of water bottles" When we heard it was going to be canonized, we got up. "
Numerous were the faithful who came from Latin America, some important economic sacrifices.
The Mexican Juan Medina, 20, a student, pleaded very happy: "A gift from God to be here in the canonization of the two popes, especially John Paul II, which is like a Mexican saint for at much loved our country and for the many times I visited. "
Colombian priest Jorge Henrique said the canonization of the two popes "was very well received in my country because we are predominantly Catholic."
Chilean Rosario Poblete, 48, said she had prayed in San Pedro Valparaiso, Chilean port suffered a violent fire which caused deaths and serious injuries.
"We are here for them and we prayed for all the families who have lost their families," she added.
Ricardo Asiares, 51, heads a group of over 30 people from a parish in the Chilean city of Viña del Mar, acknowledged that "had been a major expense for coming to Rome, but when it comes to food for the spirit, as this ceremony, no sacrifices. "
Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from over 90 countries attended the ceremony. About 20 Jewish leaders in the United States, Israel, Italy, Argentina, the country of birth of Francisco and Poland, will also participate in a clear sign of improved relations between Catholics and Jews reached in the popes from John and Juan Pablo.
traslation: Belén Zapata