Pope John Paul II to be beatified on May 1

Pope Benedict XVI will beatify the late Pope John Paul II, his predecessor, on May 1 at St. Peter’s Square in Rome, reports the AP. Beatification is a major step on the path to sainthood, according to the AFP.

During his Sunday blessing, Pope Benedict XVI said, "All those who knew him (John Paul II), all those who esteemed and admired him cannot help but rejoice with the Church for this event."

Residents of the late Pope’s Polish homeland were overjoyed by the news. "To us, he was a saint even before the beatification process began," Mateusz Malinowski told the AFP.

According to the AP, John Paul II is credited with helping end the decades-long communist rule in Eastern Europe in the 1980s. However, it was also during his tenure when allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy were revealed.

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