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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 May, 2003, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Pope creates new Spanish saints
Pope at Madrid Mass
The Pope is in Spain after a nine-month travel break due to ill-health

Pope John Paul II has created five Spanish saints at an open-air mass in Madrid attended by up to one million worshippers.

"We inscribe them in the book of the saints, and establish that in all the church they be devoutly honoured among the saints," the pontiff told the crowd.

The ceremony honoured two priests and three nuns - all 20th Century Spaniards admired for their work with the poor.

They include Pedro Poveda, a priest murdered in 1936 during the opening days of the Spanish Civil War.

The Church says 4,184 clergy were killed during the war by the ruling Republican side, which accused the Church of backing the fascist leader, General Franco.

"Let yourselves be inspired by these marvellous examples," the pontiff said in his homily.

He was speaking at a giant altar set up in Madrid's Plaza Colon, which was dominated by a vast canvas portraying the new Spanish saints.

NEW SAINTS
Pedro Poveda (priest)
Jose Maria Rubio (priest)
Angela de la Cruz (nun)
Genoveva Torres (nun)
Maravillas de Jesus (nun)

The 82-year-old pontiff later ended his two-day visit with an audience with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia and other members of the royal family, who saw him off at the airport.

The Pope has now created 469 new saints - more than any of his predecessors.

The BBC's Robert Piggott says the atmosphere was relaxed, but the fervour that greeted the Pope was more muted than when he visited 10 years ago.

The papal visit to Spain marks the resumption of his overseas tours after a nine-month pause due to ill health.

At a rally on Saturday the Pope told a crowd of some 600,000 young people that they should be "artisans of peace" and work against a "spiral of violence, terrorism and war".

He also warned of the dangers of "excessive nationalism" - an apparent reference to the Basque separatist movement with its history of violence in Spain.

He received a pop star's welcome, with cheering and flag-waving.

Young people listen to Pope John Paul II at the Cuatro Vientos air base in western Madrid
Turnout for the rally was much higher than the organisers expected

The Pope, opposed to the war in Iraq, told the crowd: "Your response to blind violence and inhuman hate should be the fascinating power of love.

"Conquer enmity with the force of forgiveness."

The BBC's David Willey, travelling with the Pope, said the pontiff, who turns 83 this month, seemed invigorated by the presence of so many enthusiastic young people.

The Vatican says 94% percent of Spaniards are Catholics, but our correspondent says church-going in Spain is on the decline, as in other traditionally Catholic countries of Europe.

It was the pontiff's fifth visit to Spain since he became the Pope in 1978, and his 99th foreign trip.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Robert Pigott reports from Madrid
"They came in their hundreds of thousands to see the Pope"



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