Hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful are expected to travel to Rome to witness the canonization of two former popes on Sunday. The Catholic Church was shaped in large part by the pontiffs John XXIII and John Paul II. But critics have also been expressing doubts over the canonizations.
At the beginning of the 1960s Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council together to reform the church. Pope John Paul II is greatly admired by many Catholics thanks to his charisma and charm. In his home country of Poland and in Eastern Europe he is remembered for his firm opposition against communism. But his critics point to his authoritarian style and his measures to reduce the influence of social reformers within the church.
Prerequisites for canonization are two miracles attributed to the person to be declared a saint or that person's death as a Christian martyr. After John Paul's death two people claimed to have been miraculously healed of disease after praying to him. Just one miracle has been credited to Pope John but the present Pope Francis has allowed his canonization to proceed. John Paul died in 2005, and for many Catholics, his canonization is happening too quickly.
Thanks to media attention the canonization ceremony in Rome will be seen by millions of people around the world. But is the ceremony a mere spectacle with little meaning or does it mark an important historic event for the Catholic Church?
Tell us your opinion: Canonization: The Significance of Sainthood
Alexander Görlach - He holds two doctorate degrees in theology and linguistics. He is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of the German debate magazine The European. Previously, Görlach worked for the German national TV station ZDF, the dailies "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", "Süddeutsche Zeitung", "Die Welt", and served as online editor of the political magazine "Cicero". He regularly appears as an analyst on N24 television and lectures on digital change at the Free University in Berlin.
Stefano Casertano – He is the correspondent for the italian newspaper Pagina 99 in Berlin. He also taught international politics at Potsdam University, and was a Senior Fellow at the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security. He served as international affairs advisor for the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and published four books about geopolitics, starting with a History of Cold War in 2009. In 2010, he has been nominated "Italian Young Leader" by the US-Italy council; and "Aspen Young Fellow" by the Aspen Institute.
Claudia Keller - after completing her degree in history and German studies, she worked as a trainee for the Berlin daily newspaper „Der Tagesspiegel“. After finishing her journalistic training she stayed on at the „Tagesspiegel“ newspaper in Berlin as an editor. She writes primarily about topics such as religion, integration and education policy. At the same time she also publishes articles in the weekly paper „Die Zeit“ and in the magazine „Chrismon“.