Catholic World News

Pope Paul VI beatified

October 20, 2014

In an October 19 Mass in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI, whose 15-year reign (1963-78) saw the conclusion and initial implementation of the Second Vatican Council, the revision of the sacred liturgy, and the publication of seven encyclicals, including Humanae Vitae.

The Mass of beatification, which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attended, was the closing act of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

Christ’s statement that we must render to God the things that are God’s “calls for acknowledging and professing – in the face of any sort of power – that God alone is the Lord of mankind, that there is no other,” Pope Francis preached. “This is the perennial newness to be discovered each day, and it requires mastering the fear which we often feel at God’s surprises.”

“God is not afraid of new things!” he added. “That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways. He renews us: he constantly makes us ‘new.’ A Christian who lives the Gospel is ‘God’s newness’ in the Church and in the world. How much God loves this ‘newness!’”

Pope Francis continued:

When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!

In his personal notes, the great helmsman of the Council wrote, at the conclusion of its final session: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and Savior.”

In this humility the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.

During the Angelus address that followed, Pope Francis paid tribute to Blessed Paul VI’s Marian devotion and teaching on evangelization.


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