BY A STAFF REPORTER
DURING A THREE day trip to the Czech Republic and Poland, Pope John Paul II plans to recognise as saints a controversial 17th century Catholic priest and a 13th century noblewoman known for her charitable works.
The May 20-22 trip includes meetings with leaders from other Christian churches who have complained about the decision to recognise the sainthood of Blessed Jan Sarkander, a priest killed by Lutherans during a religious war. Also listed on the papal schedule are meetings with Czech President Vaclav Havel and Polish President Lech Walesa, two main political leaders in the struggle that toppled East European
The trip will be the Pope's second to the Czech Republic and the sixth to his native Poland since being elected to the papacy in October 1978.
Missing from the schedule is a papal event at the St Vitus Cathedral in the Czech capital of Prague. Ownership of the 14th century cathedral is currently being fought over by Catholic and government officials. Czech Church officials initially had expressed hopes that a papal event would be held in the cathedral. The Pope, who will also meet the Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, is not planning to discuss the delicate church state ownership issue during the trip, said a Vatican official knowledgeable about Czech affairs.