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Popes and Saints

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome that Pope John Paul the Second plans to beatify two of his predecessors next month. The two popes who will be elevated on the ladder toward sainthood influenced the Roman Catholic Church in very different ways. Pope Pius the Ninth is regarded by many as an arch-conservative, known for promulgating the doctrine of papal infallibility. He's also known as the pope who insisted a Jewish boy in Rome be raised a Catholic, against the wishes of the boy's parents. Pope John the Twenty-third, by contrast, is renowned for liberalizing the Church with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

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