For Card Becciu, Paul VI “was a heroic and brilliant witness of Christ, light of the world.” He was the pope “of dialogue with everyone: within the Catholic Church, with the brothers of other Christian Churches, with non-Christians and non-believers, always with the passion of evangelisation, to bring to every man the light of Christ, the love of Christ.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Paul VI will be canonised next Sunday. He led, concluded and brought the Second Vatican Council into the life of the Church and the world. He created bodies such as the Synod of Bishops and was an example of charity. He was "constantly supported by that Spirit of Christ that nurtured his inner life and his countless and brave initiatives,” said Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as he illustrated the character and personality of the late pontiff.
"Before his election to the Supreme Pontificate, Mgr Giovanni Battista Montini served as the right-hand man of the venerable Pius XII. Later he was very close to John XXIII. Upon becoming pope, he made his successors – Albino Luciani, Karol Wojtyła and Joseph Ratzinger – cardinals. Thus, Paul VI’s figure and mission must be seen in terms of the historical continuity of the living tradition of the Church."
Paul VI, who died on 6 August 1978, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, was a heroic and brilliant witness of Christ, light of the world. It is precisely this deep and strong Christocentrism that constitutes the driving core of his spiritual profile and extraordinary magisterium. His love for Jesus and his Church, whose renewal claimed all his strength and more, was usque ad finem, to the very end.
With this in mind, we understand his life as an ongoing journey of holiness, from infancy to the presbyterate, from the work in the Roman Curia to the Ambrosian chair, from pastoral outreach to the Throne of Peter.
Speaking about Mgr Montini, Card Becciu noted that the pope was witness to the great tragedies of the 20th century: two world wars, the totalitarian systems of Fascism, Nazism and Communism, then the extreme violence of terrorism. "There were also thorny questions within the Christian community: the years of the immediate post-Council were the most difficult and painful of his pontificate".
"In all these events, he was constantly sustained by the Spirit of Christ that nurtured his inner life and his countless and brave initiatives. The most obvious were: the liturgical reform, the internationalisation of the Roman Curia with the establishment of new dicasteries, the establishment of the Synod of Bishops. The other great novelty were his apostolic journeys to the different parts of the world, at the service of evangelisation and peace."
"From a doctrinal point of view his magisterium was not much less. For their pastoral immediacy, his general audiences on Wednesday (one of his initiatives, which his successors followed) show a special originality as an ongoing catechesis for the People of God. His teachings illuminate many aspects of the faith and of the Christian existence and shine for the work, sometimes heroic, in defending the truth, life, the family, peace, the authenticity of love."
He was the pope "of dialogue with everyone: within the Catholic Church, with the brothers of other Christian Churches, with non-Christians and non-believers, always with the passion of evangelisation, to bring to every man the light of Christ, the love of Christ.”
"Paul VI’s heart overflowed with the expression of the purest spirituality of the Council: an ‘inner reform' of the Church, all oriented towards holiness, uniting prayer and dogma, charity and truth, motivating the People of God in the diversity of vocations, in ecumenical dialogue, in its true openness to the world to better communicate the light of Christ.”
“Paul VI’s whole life was driven by a great love of his neighbour, as a young lay person, as a priest, bishop and pope. It is like a continuous growth and expansion of charity up to the charity of the Pope as universal pastor, vicar of Christ the Good Shepherd. He exercised this charity in particular in Rome during the Second World War, promoting charitable assistance and hospitality for those persecuted by the Nazis and the Fascists, especially the Jews, and then in his Milanese episcopate. As pope, he always be worked for justice and peace, in the dynamic of the Gospel ".
"One of the things he said, so well-known that is has become almost a proverb: ‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses’ (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41). So, precisely this sentence seems to be the most authentic biography of the pontiff who uttered it – Paul VI –, himself the messenger of the light of Christ and an exceptional teacher of the faith in God and in man.”