Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Pope Paul VI will be beatified on October 19. The news which was rumored this week was confirmed Saturday by Pope Francis, who authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to publish the date and a decree concerning the "miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) , the Supreme Pontiff , born September 26, 1897 in Concesio (Italy) and died August 6, 1978 at Castel Gandolfo (Italy). "It was Benedict XVI to recognize the "heroic virtues" of the Montini Pope on December 20, 2012.
The miracle referred to is the inexplicable recovery of an unborn child in the United States, dating to 2001: a fetus in the fifth month of pregnancy was in critical condition because of the rupture of the fetal bladder, the presence of fluid in the abdomen and the absence of fluid in the amniotic sac. Doctors had diagnosed the probable death of the child in the womb, or serious malformation and had also suggested the possibility of an abortion. The mother, however, refused and, at the suggestion of an Italian nun whom she had met, she turned in prayer to the intercession of Pope Paul VI. Subsequent analysis showed the improvement in the unborn baby's condition and the birth took place in the eighth month by Caesarean section, with the infant in good general health. The child, whose name is not revealed for privacy, it is now a teenager and leads a normal life .
Little understood and thus not
very popular, Paul VI was a great reformer of the Church. He
was responsible for bringing the Second Vatican Council to a conclusion, with
the approval of documents such as Lumen Gentium (on the Church),Sacrosanctum
Concilium (on the liturgical reform), Gaudium et Spes (On the Church in the
Modern World), the Unitatis Redintegratio
(on ecumenism) , Dignitatis Humanae (religious freedom).
He was responsible for the institution of the Synod of Bishops (1965) and departments such as the Commission for Social Communications (1964), the Council for the Laity (1967), the Commission for Justice and Peace (1967), the Secretariat for non-Christians (1964) and for non-believers (1965), Cor Unum (1971) and the international Theological Commission (1969).
A fundamental milestone in the
history of religions was his embrace with Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in
Jerusalem during his journey to the Holy Land in 1964 that the following year
led to the joint statement with the lifting of the excommunications that the
two Churches had launched against each other in 1054, thus beginning a new era
in relations between Catholics and Orthodox.
He was also author of deeply significant acts such as the renunciation of the papal tiara, put up for sale in 1964 to help the needy, his gifting to Mother Teresa during his trip to India in 1964 of the car he had used in those days, the abolition in 1966 of the Index of Forbidden Books, in 1968 of the papal nobility and in 1970 (the centenary of the fall of Rome) of the papal armed forces.
Again, it was Paul VI who
established the World Day for Peace in 1967, celebrated for the first time in
early 1968. On Christmas Eve of that year he celebrated Mass at the steelworks
in Taranto - an unprecedented gesture - to
revive the friendship of the Church towards the world of labour.
Among the many and important documents of the pontificate, most remember Populorum Progressio of 1967 and Humanae Vitae of 1968. The first is "a solemn appeal for concerted action for integral human development and the development of all mankind" and which states that the social question is global problem and that "development can not be reduced to mere economic growth. In order for it to be authentic, it must be integral, which means to promote the good of every person and of the whole of man". Humanae Vitae, often remembered only for how it responded to the issue of contraception, is also the text in which the Pope - starting from the concept that sexuality is a gift from God and not a commodity - affirmed the relationship between freedom and responsibility, between love and openness to procreation.