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Two former Popes to be honoured in canonisation

Two former Popes of the Roman Catholic Church are set to become saints at an unprecedented twin canonisation by Pope Francis, that has aroused both joy and controversy in the 1.2 billion member Church.

Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the modernising Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II, who reigned for nearly 27 years before his death in 2005, will be declared saints in a ceremony tomorrow.

A tapestry featuring Pope John Paul II is seen in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentil

While John died half a century ago, critics say the canonisation of John Paul - which sets a record for modern times of only nine years after his death - is too hasty.

Some critics also believe he was slow to grasp the seriousness of the sexual abuse crisis that emerged towards the end of his pontificate.

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Cardinal O'Brien leaving Scotland for 'spiritual renewal'

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who admitted that his sexual conduct had "fallen beneath the standards" expected of him when he resigned, "will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance."

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who admitted that his sexual conduct had 'fallen beneath the standards.'
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who admitted that his sexual conduct had 'fallen beneath the standards.' Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Read: Cardinal admits sex misconduct.

Cardinal O'Brien resigned as the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland at the end of February.

Pope Francis makes decisive break with Vatican Easter tradition

Pope Francis has given yet another sign of how different his papacy is going to be. Not for him the tradition and splendour of St Peter's for the Washing of The Feet ceremony.

Instead he went to a Detention Centre in Rome and washed the feet of twelve young inmates, as Juliet Bremner reports they included two women, one of whom was a Muslim:

More: Pope breaks with tradition as he washes feet of young inmates

Pope breaks with tradition as he washes feet of young inmates

Pope Francis has broken with tradition in an Easter ritual as he washed and kissed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention centre on Holy Thursday. Previous Pope's have maintained the traditional foot washing within the Vatican with priests.

Two of the 12 were young women, an even more remarkable choice given that the rite re-enacts Jesus' washing of the feet of his male disciples, the inclusion of women has been banned by some dioceses.

Pope Francis washes the foot of a prisoner at Casal del Marmo youth prison in Rome
Pope Francis washes the foot of a prisoner at Casal del Marmo youth prison in Rome Credit: Reuters

Orthodox and Muslim detainees were also included in the twelve according to news reports.

"This is a symbol, it is a sign - washing your feet means I am at your service," Francis told the youngsters.

"Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service."

Pope Francis completes 90 minute meet-and-greet

Pope Francis has concluded his inauguration with an epic meet-and-greet session during which he received 132 representatives of nations and international organisations.

Pope Francis has left St Peter's Basilica after greeting guests from more than 130 nations.
The newly inaugurated pontiff signed off with a more few handshakes.
Pope Francis spent an hour and a half receiving the succession of dignitaries to complete the inauguration ceremony.

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