Pope Paul VI To Be Beatified October 19

Giovanni Battista Montini, Pope Paul VI, will likely be beatified–the first step toward sainthood–on October 19, according to a report by Andrea Tornielli published today in Vatican Insider.

Back in December 2013, I had predicted an October date for the beatification, when a miracle attributed to the intercession of Paul VI was ruled “unexplainable” by Medical Commission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.  The Congregation then referred the case to theologians and cardinals for final review, before it could be submitted to Pope Francis.

And today, the cardinals approved the miracle–referring the file to Pope Francis for his final approval.

Vatican Insider reported more details regarding the reported miracle, which involved a child here in the United States:

The miracle attributed to the intercession of Paul VI was witnessed in the United States in 2001. It involved the healing of an unborn child, which was found to have serious problems and a high risk of brain damage: the foetus’ bladder was damaged and doctors reported ascites (presence of liquid in the abdomen) and anhydramnios (absence of fluid in the amniotic sac). All attempts to correct the problem proved futile and in the end the doctors said the child would either die in the womb or it would be born with severe renal impairment. Abortion was offered as an option but the mother refused. Instead, she took the advice given to her by a nun who was a friend of the family and had met Montini: she decided to pray for Paul VI’s intercession using a fragment of the Pope’s vestments which the nun had given her.

Ten weeks later the results of the medical tests showed a substantial improvement in the child’s health and it was born by Caesarean section in the 39th week of pregnancy. The case was presented to the former Postulator of the Cause, the Jesuit Paolo Molinari – who passed away last week – in Rome. Faith weekly Credere revealed that the diocesan inquiry was launched in 2003 and all witnesses agree that the case in question cannot be explained scientifically.

The child has made it to thirteen and his health is constantly monitored to ensure that his psychophysical state is normal. Doctors are especially keeping an eye on the child’s renal function. On 12 December last year the medical consultation of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints headed by Professor Patrizio Polisca, confirmed the impossibility of explaining the healing and the dicastery’s theologians gave their approval last 18 February. Benedict XVI promulgated Paul VI’s heroic virtues on 20 December 2012.

The October 19 beatification date is considered likely because it falls at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family which Pope Francis has convened for this fall.  One month before that, August 6, 2014, will mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s first major encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam.

In Ecclesiam SuamPaul VI identified the Catholic Church within the Body of Christ, and invited separated Churches to unity, stating that the continued papacy is essential for any unity, because without it, in the words of St. Jerome:  “There would be as many schisms in the Church as there are priests.”  In this encyclical, Paul VI attempted to present the Marian teachings of the Church in view of her new ecumenical orientation.  Ecclesiam Suam called the Virgin Mary the ideal of Christian perfection.  Pope Paul VI regarded “devotion to the Mother of God as of paramount importance in living the life of the Gospel.”

Paul VI published seven encyclicals during his papacy but is best known for his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life).  It was Humanae Vitae which reaffirmed the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding married love, responsible parenthood, and the continued rejection of most forms of birth control.


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