Pope praises John Paul II ahead of beatification

Posted April 21, 2011, at 8:24 p.m.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI warmly praised his predecessor Pope John Paul II in a Holy Thursday address days before John Paul’s May 1 beatification, holding him up as a example of faith amid Western indifference to Christianity.

Benedict said that “for all the shame we feel over our failings” the world must not forget what he called radiant examples of faith such as John Paul.

The pope cited John Paul after reflecting in his homily in St. Peter’s Basilica that people in the West seemed tired of their faith, bored with their Christian traditions “and no longer wish to know faith in Jesus Christ.”

“When Pope John Paul II is beatified on May 1, we shall think of him with hearts full of thankfulness as a great witness to God and Jesus Christ in our day,” Benedict said.

Later Thursday the pope washed the feet of 12 priests from the diocese of Rome in a ceremony in St. John Lateran Basilica symbolizing humility and commemorating Jesus’ last supper with his 12 apostles on the evening before his crucifixion.