Sat 25th Oct 2014 | Last updated: Fri 24th Oct 2014 at 18:39pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Latest News

Pope declares Paul VI lived a life of heroic virtue

By on Thursday, 20 December 2012

Pope Paul VI (Photo: PA)

Pope Paul VI (Photo: PA)

Pope Benedict XVI has advanced the Cause of Pope Paul VI by recognising the Italian pope as having lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way.

He also recognised a miracle attributed to the intercession of an Italian martyr who, with an estimated 800 other people, died at the hands of Ottoman invaders in the 15th century, and he recognised a miracle attributed to the first Blessed to be born, live and die in Colombia, Blessed Mother Laura Montoya. They can now be declared saints.

The Pope formally recognised the martyrdom of 33 victims of the Spanish Civil War and advanced the Causes of 18 other men and women.

During a meeting today with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the Pope signed the decree approving the heroic virtues of Pope Paul VI, making him “Venerable”. Before Pope Paul can be beatified, the Vatican must recognise that a miracle has occurred through his intercession.

Born Giovanni Battista Montini 1897 in the northern Italian province of Brescia, Pope Paul VI is probably best remembered for seeing the Second Vatican Council through to its end and helping implement its far-reaching reforms.

He is also well remembered as the author of Humanae Vitae, his 1968 encyclical reaffirming Church teaching that artificial birth control is intrinsically wrong, which became a focus of controversy and dissent.

Amid the strains and pressures following Vatican II, he received the nickname the “Hamlet pope” for his reportedly anguished decision-making and his evident suffering over problems of the Church. However, he was also remembered as a strong leader who decisively guided the Church through a time of crisis.

Pope Paul was the first modern pontiff to start visiting local churches around the globe, making nine major trips abroad.

Prior to his election, he spent more than 30 years helping to run the Vatican’s diplomatic machinery at the Secretariat of State, but his diplomatic skills never overshadowed his priestly love of serving those in need.

He worked on behalf of prisoners and the politically persecuted during World War Two, pleaded for peace to world leaders, appealed for the lives of condemned terrorists and kidnapped politicians, and donated the papal tiara to raise money for the poor.

He was elected pope in 1963 and died at age 80 in 1978. The Rome diocese officially opened his Cause in 1993.

Pope Benedict recognised miracles attributed to the intercession of three people who, along with 800 companions, can now be declared saints. They are:

Blessed Antonio Primaldo and an estimated 800 other laymen killed by Ottoman soldiers in the southern Italian costal town of Oltranto in 1480.

Blessed Mother Laura Montoya, the first Blessed to be born, live and die in Colombia. Born in 1874, she founded the Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of St Catherine of Siena, to work among the indigenous peoples of Colombia. She died in 1949 and was beatified in 2004.

Blessed Mother Lupita Garcia Zavala, also known as Mother Maria Guadalupe, the Mexican co-founder of the Congregation of the Servants of St Margaret Mary and the Poor. She lived from 1878 to 1963.

Pope Benedict also signed decrees that pave the way for numerous beatifications:

He recognised the martyrdom of 33 priests, religious and a monk killed between 1936 and 1938 during the Spanish Civil War.

He recognised the martyrdom of Fr Miroslav Bulesic, a Croatian priest killed by Italian partisans in 1947.

The Pope approved nine other decrees recognising men and women for having lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way and declaring them “Venerable”. Recognition of a miracle attributed to each candidate’s intercession is needed for that person’s beatification.

  • Ghengis

    Naiveté is not a virtue nor is compromising Catholic culture with 1960′s modernism. Paul VI hall is an example of this unfortunate type of mistake as its the ugliest and most out of place building in Vatican City (should be demolished). Even if his intentions were good, it is foolish to honor those that don’t have clear vision to see reality. At best this Pope was a well intentioned bad manager who lacked discernment in allowing the almost universal abolishment of the 1500 year old mass;  certainly not worthy of setting a example for others.

  • Charles

     Not to mention the reduction of religious order discipline, sacred architecture, liturgy, and music.

  • Benedict Carter

    Now, spreading slander is a sin and I am putting myself here in the way of committing one. 

    We no longer have a Devil’s Advocate. If we did still have one, the many reports of Pope Paul VI accepting late night visits from a handsome young man might militate against this announcement of a “life of heroic virtue”.

    No, of course I don’t know the truth of it, but some of the reports seem credible and appear to be from credible witnesses. 

  • Mark

    I will be a little less polite and more direct than other commentators; to me the evidence points to Paul VI being a disaster for the church, from which we are still trying to recover.

  • JonathanBurdon

    Who will be declared venerable next? Martin Luther? Thomas Cramner?

  • ponerology

    I believe this may be part of the current Pope’s idea of humor…??
    How else can the faithful read this as anything other than another in a long line of cruel jokes?

  • Sweetjae

    I strongly disagree. Pope Paul VI was unshakable voice of Christ specially during the aftermath that followed his Encyclical Humana Vitae. You are greatly mistaken of putting the deliberate abuses and rebellion of unfaithful children that nothing whatsoever had to do with him. It’s like blaming Jesus for the stupidity of Judas. Same logic.

  • Sweetjae

    Nonsense. Do we also blame the Councils of Constance and Lateran for the lost of faith in Europe to the Reformation?

  • Sweetjae

    We would rather submit to the properly ordained authority of Christ to whomever it wishes to infallibly canonize than any bishop, looney, “credible” witnesses or gossip anytime of the day.

  • Kevin

    Reducing the burden for canonisation begs the question whether infallibility can be lost through complacency.

    At one extreme, one would hardly expect a statement to be infallible if the Pope tweeted it. On the other hand, we have to state objectively why we would scoff at such a suggestion.

    I would begin by asserting that respect for God demands that we employ at least the same standards that we would employ in lesser human affairs to discern the truth for ourselves before trusting in God that we are not mistaken about the theological implications.

    In human affairs, at least in common law jurisdictions, we typically employ an adversarial procedure to give scepticism its fullest possible hearing in court.

    The removal of the Devil’s Advocate, in my opinion, seems to leave scepticism out of the proceedings, whereby it may continue to thrive in the minds of the laity.

  • savvy

    The church that emerged was a lot stronger. The Jesuits, the Carmelites, the Salesians were founded at the same time.

  • Sweetjae

    The subject is about the destruction and reduction of faith after the Council of Vatican 2 to the secularists as well as after the Councils of Constance and Lateran to the Reformers. Thus only in 50 years time the number of Catholics worlwide tripled from 0.435 to 1.310 Billion and this is just the start…the Church is growing stronger everywhere except the Western world due to their unfaithfullness to the Faith and lust for material things…..not due to the Church or Popes.

  • savvy

    I agree.

  • Buckeye Pastor

    Merry Christmas, and peace in the hearts of everyone who has sent a comment in so far.  I am always amazed at the ability of Extraordinary Form enthusiasts to spread joy and good will wherever they go.

  • 12Maria34

    I agree …

  • Parasum

    I thought Paul VI had been declared Venerable years ago.  

    “Blessed Antonio Primaldo and an estimated 800 other laymen killed by
    Ottoman soldiers in the southern Italian costal town of Oltranto in

    ## This is excellent news. They must be the 800 Martyrs of Otranto who were killed after a year-long siege by the Muslims. The bishop was sawn in half. Apparently their executioner  was so impressed that he became a Christian – with fatal results for him.

    More info here:

  • Parasum

     In part, yes. If they had been proper reform councils, rather than confining themselves to superficialities, the head of steam that blew up to become the Reformation might have been avoided.

  • teigitur

    The Church is far from growing in South America, which is not yet “western”. It has more or less stalled everywhere. The exceptions being the taditional orders and parishes. Here in Scotland Mass attendance has halved in 25 years. If this continues its won t be long until there is almost nothing left. This is not totaly due to modernism, but it has surely played a part. We have been consistantly refused the EF form of the Mass in our Diocese since 2007. Meanwhile the Churches empty. This is not the work of the Holy Spirit.

  • teigitur

    I am sure he was a Holy Man and well-meaning. But he was very much caught up in zeitgeist, whereas a much more robust defense of tradition should have been mounted against Bugnini et al .
     The Church makes much of tradition, and rightly so, much of it has been lost, but hopefully not forever.

  • teigitur

    I normally agree with you benedict, but this is a bit off.

  • teigitur

    I normally agree with much of what you post Benedict, but this is a bit off.

  • teigitur

    Why pick on those who  advocate of one form of the Mass? The Holy Father has told us both forms are equal. Interesting comment, but hardly Catholic.

  • Peterdocwatson

    1963, Humanae vitae? In 1947, killed during the Second War? Who writes this stuff?

  • Alan

    A great Pope, apart from being a little too easily persuadable by others.  His two successors (leaving aside JPI) are a bit too conservative for my taste.

  • Alan

    I am not a particularly virtuous Catholic, but would not dream of spreading such gossip, not even to my wife let alone to the world at large.

  • Paul

    ‘Therefore let no man glory in men.  For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s’ – 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. 

    In this astonishingly liberating scripture we see the apostle Paul placing himself at the head of those he does not want hero worshipped.

    Can we as a church avoid behaving like a self admiration society please?  We are here to glorify God and his Christ, not ourselves.

  • The Catholic Herald

    Thanks for pointing out those errors. The article has now been corrected.

  • James


    The Carmelites were founded in the 13th century, the Jesuits in the 16th century and the Salesians in the 19th century – hardly the same time! 

  • Anne

    I find the Traditionalists dislike of Paul VI interesting.  He was a pope who is reviled in equal measure by Traditionalists and liberals, so that reveals something about them and Paul.   What I also find interesting is that a miracle which is being examined for Paul and it appears to be satisfying the criteria laid down by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints – it remains for the Pope to approve it – so in this God is speaking to us and he seems not to be agreeing with the Traditionalists and liberals.  I also note in the Traditionalist Calender the feast of Pope St Celestine V, a disastrous pope who abandoned the office and left the Church in the hands of Boniface VIII.  Surely Celestine needs to be excised from their Calender before they start throwing stones at Paul VI.

  • Deesis

    Pope Paul VI lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way. Really??? I have heard him compared to Hamlet. It s far too early to make an appraisal of his life. He gave us Bugnini and was duped even collaborated in the destruction of the Church. He appointed the bishops such as Weakland and numerous others like him. He marginalised Ottaviani. He was a contradiction and it was Paul VI who made many mistakes incudling forcing the New Mass on the Church. He removed oppostion by lowering the retirement age of bishops and cardinals.

  • anoeyinoe

    Is this the same pope who also said you can earn time off pargatory each time you chalk up a visit to  to Lourdes. Does anyone actually believe this man has a direct line to his god.

  • Sweetjae

    I don’t agree with your assesment, the Church is not being stalled a bit and just being challenged feriously by the forces of evil. If you really look closely at those countries from Latin America whose majority are silent with very strong family bonds and devoted to Mary, the Pope and the Church. Some are headed by political leaders who are just proffesional politicians who enriched themselves, these are very few vocal ones that news media gives attention to. Actually, there is a boom of young orthodox men and women to seminary and religious life, google it.

    The decline of faithful in the West including Scotland started way back from the time of the Reformation and its brand of “each his own” (Sola Scriptura) mentality towards succeeding generations that have been clearly affected by this relativistic attitude. This is the same menace affecting the differing sects of ultra-traditionalists, their (Sola Tradicio) that is also the reason why they are splitting into groups.

    EF from the true Catholic Traditionalists like FSSP, Christ the King, St. Cure d’Ars and countless more are flourishing too because people are starting to look back at the wonderful Tradition of the Church. The SSPX maybe flourishing too, NOT because of themselves or the practice of Tradition by itself ( which they usually boast) but because they are considered as Catholics by the Pope and the Church, that’s the only reason, nothing more.

    SSPV, Sedevacatism, Old catholics and other ultratrads also practice the same Tradition (pre-Vat2) as SSPX, FSSP, Christ the King etc., yet the formers are declining to the point of oblivion. The same fate will fall on the SSPX if they….you know the rest.

    Outside Peter are just protestants.

  • Sweetjae

    Your logic seem a bit off today huh? then blame Christ for choosing Judas as one of the inner circle of Twelve? Blame Christ for appointing him the Treasurer? Blame Jesus for Peter the Traitor, too?

    Well for you just blame everybody except your own righteous-all-knowing-self.

  • Sweetjae

    Anne though I agree with you however, please distinguish between the true Traditionalists who are in FULL communion with the Supreme Pontiff and the Church as there are so called ‘traditionalists’ (many groups who disagree amongst themselves) who are apart from the Pontiff.

  • teigitur

    Perhaps you see me as an “ultratrad”. I cannot be any kind of “trad” because the nearest EF Mass is too far away.The OF is valid, if a little “lite”more like a C of E service, but without the magic bit. Its also a bit sanitised and feminised. To me a parish like Saint John Cantius or  the London Oratory have the balance right. Something for everyone and all well done.

  • Sweetjae

    I agree…see how the poison of disobedience affect even the pious? Lucifer was once the most brilliant of Angels, look where he’s now? Because of disobedience.

  • Sweetjae

    I have no intention nor see you as ‘ultratrad’, very far from it, actually you are more like me. I love the EF, TLM or Latin whatever you want to call it. As with all the Liturgical Rites of the Church, whether it may be Chalcedonian, Arminian, Malabar, Syriac, Ambrosian, Greek, Latin, Pauline, they are all valid, equal and the same. The Authority that proclaimed the Latin Rite is valid is the very SAME Authority that say the Pauline Mass is valid. It’s good enough for me and should all catholics.

  • Sweetjae

    That is below the belt, Ben and to hurl and put it in public forum that is unsubstantiated to and specially to the Vicar of Christ on earth is really, really low. Go your confession and repent. Ask for some humility and obedience for yourself and your group.

  • Nat_ons

    A gentle and much maligned soul; and truly a martyr to the spirit of rebellion that marked his time in office. 

    He opposed most of the most egregious errors of doctrine labelled as ‘in the spirit of Vatican II’, upheld an embattled witness to orthodox Faith (in the teeth of bitter opposition i.e. contraception, devotion to Mary, reparation to the Sacred Heart), also – contrary to opinion prevailing still – his intention in revising the Low Mass and elevating it to the sole form of ordinary use was not to obliterate Latin, but to place use of vernacular translations on a firmer footing to used alongside the Latin (Greek and Hebrew) of the New Order (as the Council Fathers approved):

    ‘Cum tamen, sive in Missa, sive in Sacramentorum administratione,
    sive in aliis Liturgiae partibus, haud raro linguae vernaculae usurpatio valde
    utilis apud populum exsistere possit, amplior locus ipsi tribui valeat, imprimis
    autem in lectionibus et admonitionibus, in nonnullis orationibus et cantibus,
    iuxta normas quae de hac re in sequentibus capitibus singillatim statuuntur.’ Sacrosanctum concilium, 

    He understood the anxiety – and so well-founded it was – among those of us (even though some were ‘young’ at the time) who felt the dead hand of modernising mayhem had already made his efforts a shambolic enterprise; yet, some (very few indeed), trusted and persisted and witnessed in the belief that there had to be a continuity between the church catholic yesterday and today and tomorrow (or it is not the Catholic Church), not least in understanding the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council; and that applied as much to the Pope who issued: ‘Investigabiles divitias Christi’, ‘Mysterium fidei’, ‘Pœnitemini’, ‘Sacerdotalis Cælibatus’, ‘Humanæ vitæ’, ‘Apostolicæ caritatis’, ‘Multiformis Sapientia Dei’, ‘Mirabilis in Ecclesia Deus’, ‘Octogesima adveniens’, ‘Marialis Cultus’, ‘Lumen ecclesiæ’, and even ‘Evangelii nuntiandi’, not just the bits tradition-ists most revile: ‘La conscience de la mission’, ‘Ministeria quædam’, ‘Laudis canticum’, ‘Missale Romanum’, ‘Mysterii paschalis’, and no doubt, ‘Solemni hac liturgia’.

  • savvy

    Okay, I stand corrected. But, they all grew out of a time of crisis in the church.

  • aearon43

    “religious order discipline” — did the Paul VI ever authorize relaxing the discipline of religious orders? As pope that’s not really something he’s personally responsible for, is it? Blame the heads of the orders.
    “sacred architecture” — do a Google search for St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota. It is one of the most egregious examples of modernist church building, designed by an atheist Jew. It was built, however, in 1961, before Vatican II and before Paul VI became pope.

    “liturgy” — This is probably the most serious issue. The NO certainly raises a lot of legitimate questions and concerns, and it’s not immediately clear why it was needed, apart from perhaps just allowing the vernacular instead of Latin, given the Church’s expansion outside of Europe. However, I’m going to allow that the pope studied the matter in far greater depth than I ever will, and defer to his authority in the matter.

    “music” — again I don’t think the pope ever advocated Protestant hymns and rock music at Mass. It seems far more likely that this was an outgrowth of the changes in music occurring during the 1960′s.

    I agree that Paul VI did not prevent many of the problems afflicting the church. He was only one man, though. Isn’t it possible that it might all have been a lot worse without him? Or that if people want to have rock music and churches that look like airplane hangars, there is technically nothing illicit about that, and so the pope does not actually have the authority to prevent it?

  • aearon43

    The Church is much larger in absolute terms than she was during the Middle Ages. The Church is growing in Africa, as well as Eastern Asia. The number of Catholics in South Korea, for example, is 70% larger than it was 10 years ago. I would wager that such growth would not have been possible with a liturgy in Latin only.

  • teigitur

    Is’nt wikipedia great. Anyway we shall never know. Of course all these seeds were sown with the Mass of the ages. All we can say for certain , at the moment, is, the NO has certainly been no help in the west.

  • teigitur

    Saint John’ s abbey, has the stench of abuse hanging over it. Strange choice of example. It is a pit of liberalism containing, amongst others the less than gentle Fr Ruff. Seems their error stretches right back to 1961!

  • aearon43

    How is it a strange choice of example? I’m well aware that it’s a “pit of liberalism” as you put it. My point was that it was built BEFORE Vatican II and Paul VI. Ergo, you can’t blame it on them. 

  • aearon43

    Actually, my fiancée is from S. Korea — her family converted from Buddhism. So, I didn’t even have to use Wikipedia in this case… Interestingly, Buddhist monasteries are perceived in Korea as outmoded and corrupt — much the same attitude some Westerners harbor toward the Catholic Church. Whereas Catholicism is seen as pure and spiritual — much the same attitude that some Westerners have toward Buddhism.

  • teigitur

    Indeed not, but of the same mindset.

  • teigitur

    Well that actually is refreshingly good news.

  • rjt1

    We can glorify God for what he has done in his saints.

  • John McCarthy

    I think Pope Paul VI is a great Saint and much misunderstood