Pope's canonization of Paul VI, Romero personal, political

The tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vati

The tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vati

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, horse mounted police ride past the tapestry of martyred Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero hanging from a ba

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, horse mounted police ride past the tapestry of martyred Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero hanging from a ba

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 filer, the tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of th

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 filer, the tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of th

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will canonize two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today.

Sunday's ceremony is likely to be emotional for Francis, since he was greatly influenced by both men and privately told confidantes he wanted them made saints during his papacy. The two represent the epitome of the outward-looking church that Francis has championed, one that is close to the poor and fights injustice.

Paul VI and Romero also endured strong opposition from within the church in life and after death — a fate Francis is experiencing now amid the church's burgeoning sex abuse and cover-up scandal.