Popes John Paul II, and John XXIII to be made saints

(JTA) – Two post-Holocaust popes who played key roles in fostering Catholic-Jewish dialogue will be declared saints, the Vatican announced.

The Vatican announced July 5 that Polish-born Pope John Paul II, who reigned from 1978 to 2005 and made bettering Catholic-Jewish relations a cornerstone of his papacy, will be made a saint after a second miracle was attributed to him in the years since his death.

It said that Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958-1963, will be canonized even though only one miracle has been attributed to his intercession. John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, which in 1965  issued the Nostra Aetate declaration that called for Jewish-Catholic dialogue and rejected the ancient Christian stigma against Jewish as killers of Jesus.

Two miracles usually are required for canonization, but Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said it was Pope Francis’ specific will that John XXIII be made a saint without a second miracle.

Lombardi said no date had been set for the canonization ceremonies, but that they probably would take place this year and could coincide.

In 1986, Pope John Paul became the first pontiff to visit a synagogue, and in his historic visit to the main synagogue in Rome, he embraced Rome’s then-chief rabbi and declared that Jews were Catholics’ “older brothers in faith.” In April of this year, an international conference was held in Jerusalem to honor Pope John XXIII and his positive relationship with Jews, Jewish memory and the Jewish world.