VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has prayed before the tomb of Pope John Paul II on the eighth anniversary of the much-beloved pontiff's death.
In his three weeks as pope, Francis has jolted the Catholic Church with several gestures that broke with tradition, including renouncing certain liturgical vestments and washing the feet of a Muslim woman during a Holy Thursday ritual re-enacting Jesus Christ's washing of his apostles' feet.
But the Vatican said his visit Tuesday evening to St. Peter's Basilica to pray before John Paul's tomb and those of Popes John XXIII and Pius X was evidence of his "profound spiritual continuity" with popes past.
On Monday, Francis visited the necropolis underneath the basilica where, according to tradition, St. Peter is buried.
Francis was elected pope March 13.