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With sainthood decree, Francis stokes John XXIII comparisons

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News Friday that Pope Francis has unexpectedly approved sainthood for his predecessor John XXIII, the pope who sparked wide changes in the church in the 1960's, may again stoke comparisons the two pontiffs, who are both noted for a certain jovial, reform-minded style.

Days after Francis' March election as Bishop of Rome, some noted church historians were already asking if he'd act as John XXIII, a beloved figure among some U.S. Catholics for his decision to open a 1962-65 worldwide meeting of bishops to consider nearly all aspects of the faith.

Highlights from Pope Francis’ first encyclical

VATICAN CITY -- Less than four months after being elected, Pope Francis published his first encyclical on Friday (July 5).

But the 82-page “Lumen Fidei,” (“The Light of Faith”)  is only partially Francis’ work. As Francis himself told a group of cardinals and bishops in May, the encyclical was written “with four hands” together with retired Pope Benedict XVI.

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