Pope John Paul II, who notoriously called gay people ‘evil’, is to become a saint next year.
Pope Francis has announced the former leader of the Catholic Church, who died in 2005, as well as John XXIII, who died in 1963, will be jointly blessed on 27 April 2014.
He will bending Vatican rules requiring saints to have performed two ‘confirmed’ miracles.
John XXIII performed only one – reportedly healing an Italian nun of a haemorrhage in 2000.
In 2005, the vehement anti-gay John Paul II performed his first ‘miracle’ when he healed French nun Sister Marie Simon-Pierre.
She allegedly recovered from Parkinson’s Disease after praying to the late pope, although it has been suggested several times she did not actually have the ailment. The Vatican has refused a medical autopsy to validate the claim.
The second ‘miracle’ is believed to have happened when John Paul II was beatified on 1 May 2011. A woman claims she was ‘healed’ on the same day.
In his time at head of the Catholic Church, John Paul II was deeply opposed to gay rights and said transgender people should not be allowed to have any position within the Catholic Church.
In his book Memory and Identity, he said the push for same-sex marriage was part of a ‘new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.’
He also described equal marriage as threatening society and culture, adding family ‘must never be undermined by laws based on a narrow and unnatural vision of man.’