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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2006, 22:08 GMT 23:08 UK
Pope urges John Paul canonisation
Pope Benedict XVI with a picture of John Paul II in Wadowice
Pope John Paul II remains hugely popular among Poles
Pope Benedict XVI has said during a visit to Poland that he hopes to see his predecessor, John Paul II, shortly elevated to sainthood.

The Pope's comments came during a visit to John Paul II's home town of Wadowice on the latest stage of his Polish trip.

He later told hundreds of thousands of young people who had gathered to see him in the town of Krakow to remain true to the teachings of Jesus.

Benedict XVI is to visit the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz on Sunday.

The German-born Pope, who is said to have insisted on including Auschwitz in his itinerary, will honour the memory of some one million Jews killed by the Nazis there during World War II.

Sainthood call

During an hour-long visit to Wadowice, Benedict XVI visited the house where John Paul, then known as Karol Wojtyla, was born and raised - and which is now a museum dedicated to the Polish pope's life.

He was shown photos and artefacts such as the late pope's skis and camping equipment.

He also stopped in the nearby baroque church where the young Karol was baptised and later became an altar boy.

Crowds in the town's market square sang hymns and waved yellow and white Vatican flags as Benedict appeared.

The 79-year-old pontiff told a cheering crowd that he prayed John Paul II "may soon be elevated to the glory of the altars".

Many Polish Catholics believe the former pope should be declared a saint as soon as possible.

Echoes of John Paul

On Saturday night, Benedict XVI told hundreds of thousands of young people in Krakow that they should model their lives on Christian values.

He urged them to avoid being influenced by secular values that regarded Jesus as "a king of the past who is not for today and certainly not for tomorrow".

The crowd swayed and sang, holding candles in the twilight.

According to the BBC's David Willey, Pope Benedict XVI is copying everything his predecessor used to do - down to greeting young people who gather outside his residence each night.

But, says our correspondent, he does not have the huge charisma of John Paul II - and nor can he ad-lib to the crowds in the way his predecessor used to, for obvious language reasons.


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See Pope Benedict visiting John Paul ll's birthplace



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