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Late Pope John Paul II beatified, one million faithful attend

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI has praised Pope John Paul II for having restored Christianity as a religion of hope, speaking during the beatification Mass of his beloved predecessor before more than a million faithful.

In his homily, Benedict said the Polish-born John Paul helped turn what appeared to be the "irreversible" tide of Marxism with his courage and faith and "helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian."

Benedict moved John Paul a step closer to possible sainthood in a Mass Sunday held under sunny skies and amid a sea of Poland's red
and white flags - a scene reminiscent of John Paul's 2005 funeral.

The beatification, the fastest in modern times, is a morale boost for a church scarred by the sex abuse crisis.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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