TAGAYTAY City, March 14, 2014 – A senior Vatican analyst’s fearless forecast is that the upcoming double canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will draw an extraordinarily huge crowd of 6-7 million people to Rome, Italy on April 27.
“From a TV point of view, this is going to be an oceanic crowd. It could easily suprass the total turn out for John Paul II’s funeral mass in 2005, which was conservatively estimated to be 5 million people, so you could be talking 6 or 7 million [for the double canonization],” said former senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter John Allen, Jr. in a press conference at the Divine Word Seminary last Wednesday.
According to Allen, who has been covering the Vatican for two decades, the Italian cult following of John XXIII could easily draw in 1 million “screaming Italians”, while devotees of John Paul II could reach 2-3 million people, many of them Polish, coming to Rome for the April 27 canonization.
Aside from these, the author of several books like “Conclave: The Politics, Personalities, and Process of the Next Papal Election” and “Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith” said the fact that regular crowds at St. Peter’s Square during Pope Francis’ reign have become three times bigger than they were during Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s time will definitely add up to make 6-7 million people a reasonable estimate.
“Just for me from a visual point of view, it’s going to be a tidal wave of humanity… The turn out will be staggering,” Allen, who is now associate editor of the Boston Globe, emphasized.
Allen gave a symposium on “The Pope Francis Effect” last March 12 at the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City. He also had a dialogue with Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as part of a fund-raising dinner for mission last March 13 at the Eaton Centris in Quezon City.
He is a Vatican analyst for CNN and writes a regular column titled “All Things Catholic.” [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]