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Beatified: John Paul II giant of 20th century and hero of christianity.

Vatican crowd of 200000 people honoured John Paul II. Photo Credit Getty Images

VATICAN CITY — Lauding John Paul II as a giant of 20th century history as well as a hero of the church, Pope Benedict XVI moved his towering predecessor one step closer to sainthood on Sunday in a celebratory Mass that drew more than a million people to Rome.

“He was witness to the tragic age of big ideologies, totalitarian regimes, and from their passing John Paul II embraced the harsh suffering, marked by tension and contradictions, of the transition of the modern age toward a new phase of history, showing constant concern that the human person be its protagonist,” Benedict said, speaking before the largest crowds to swell Saint Peter’s Square since John Paul’s funeral in 2005.

Benedict declared John Paul “blessed,” meaning that, READ MORE HERE