Pope John Paul II, who famously described gay rights advances such as same-sex marriage as a “new ideology of evil”, will be declared a saint on 27 April 2014, Pope Francis has announced.

The Pope said in July that he would canonise Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, his two predecessors, after approving a second miracle attributed to John Paul.

In his 2005 book, ‘Memory and Identity’, Pope John Paul II attacked advances on gay rights including same-sex marriage writing: “It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this [same-sex marriage] is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.”

John Paul II has been on a fast-track to sainthood ever since his death. Just six years after he died, he was beatified by his successor Pope Benedict XVI who retired earlier this year.

In recent months Pope Francis II has been noted for using far less fire and brimstone in his pronouncements on homosexuality.

In September, Pope Francis said the Roman Catholic Church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception – and that he was choosing to avoid discussing those subjects.

Speaking to reporters in July during a plane journey back to the Vatican following his trip to Brazil, Pope Francis said that gay people should not be judged or marginalised and should be integrated into society.

However, in June, Pope Francis warned the French against following “fashionable ideas” in relation to the country’s equal marriage law. 

Three years ago as cardinal he warned that efforts to legalise equal marriage in Argentina would “confuse and deceive the children of God.”