Francis deeply influenced by both saint popes: Owes papacy to JPII but style like John XXIII

The Associated Press

A press hall attendant holds the curtains adorned with portraits of late Pope John Paul II, left, and John XXIII prior to the start of a press conference at the Vatican, Friday, April 25, 2014. Hundred thousands of pilgrims and faithful are expected to reach Rome to attend the scheduled April 27 ceremony at the Vatican in which Pope Francis will elevate in a solemn ceremony John XXIII and John Paul II to sainthood. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

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John was known as the "good pope" — affable, rotund, with big ears, warm eyes, a gentle smile and an excellent sense of humor. For those enthralled by Francis' papacy, it all sounds familiar though Francis himself has admitted he has an "authoritarian" streak.

The Rev. Robert Wister, a professor of church history at Seton Hall University, said the message to take home from Sunday's canonizations — which might witness two living popes (Francis and emeritus Benedict XVI) honoring two dead ones — is that there can be different approaches to the papacy, different types of popes, different applications of church teaching depending on the signs of the times.

"We're still one church," he said.


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