Pope benedict proclaims saints

Saint Peter's Square was crowded with thousands of pilgrims from the different nationalities of the five new saints. The newly proclaimed role models of the Catholic Church included a Chilean Jesuit, two Polish prelates and two Italians, a Capuchin brother and the founder of a religious order.

The pilgrims waved flags, cheered and applauded as the pope read out their names.

It was Pope Benedict's first canonization ceremony. It is early to say if such events will be as common as with his predecessor. Pope John Paul II canonized 482 people during his long papacy.

Pope Benedict has approved the start of the canonization process for only one person so far, Pope John Paul himself. He has also decided that he will not preside over beatification ceremonies, but designate cardinals to celebrate those masses.

Sunday's mass also closed a three-week synod of bishops held at the Vatican. Most of the 250 bishops who attended the gathering were present in the square for the ceremony.

During his homily, Pope Benedict reaffirmed the Catholic Church's rule on priestly celibacy. He called celibacy a precious gift and the sign of undivided love toward God. He also said lay Catholics had to show their faith clearly, saying no dichotomy is admissible between faith and life, reports Voice of America. I.L.