Congregation for Saints issued decree on the “heroic virtues” of Pope Paul VI

Apparently on 10 Dec, last, the Congregation for Saints issued the decree concerning the heroic virtues of Servant of God Pope Paul VI.

The decree must be promulgated by His Holiness of Our Lord, Pope Benedict XVI, now gloriously reigning, before it has effect and we start calling Paul VI “Venerable”.

Before beatification could take place, a miracle would have be authenticated and demonstrated that it was through intercession of the Venerable.

According to Vatican Insider there is a possible miracle being examined:

 The alleged miracle involves the healing of an unborn child which was witnessed sixteen years ago in California. During the pregnancy, doctors had found a serious problem with the foetus and because of the effects this problem was known to have on the brain, the only possible solution for the young mother was to have an abortion. The woman had wanted to go through with the pregnancy and entrusted herself to the intercession of Paul VI, the Pope who wrote the 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae”. The child was born without any health impairments: the family has to wait until the child reaches the age of fifteen before confirmation of complete healing can be given. But a second unexplainable case of healing – involving a nun diagnosed with a tumour – could also be presented to the Vatican Congregation for examination.

The reason for the wait until the child turned 15, is that healing miracles must be complete, suddenly, and lasting.  That is to say, if a person has a relapse soon after the healing, it is not any longer considered.

Reminder: Not all miracles concern healing.  For example, some concern protection from harm.

UPDATE:

A reader, below, mentioned a DVD about Pope Paul.

Paul VI: The Pope in the Tempest

 

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43 Responses to Congregation for Saints issued decree on the “heroic virtues” of Pope Paul VI

  1. Geoffrey says:

    Can anyone recommend a good biography of the soon-to-be Venerable Paul VI? He seems to be very misunderstood…

  2. fvhale says:

    Yeah! Over the past year I have watched the movie (available on DVD) “Paul VI: The Pope in the Tempest,” at least ten times. I highly recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in this Pope.

  3. CatholicMD says:

    I agree it would be beneficial to have a better understanding of the late Pontiff. Was he as indecisive as I have heard him described? What were his motivations for some of the many changes he made? I would also like to better understand how the final Consilium product came about. Did Paul VI agree with it? Did he feel bound by the process and committee he established? I have never heard good answers to these questions.

  4. RuralVirologist says:

    15 years. I don’t understand. Who decided on that number? If there was an abnormality on ultrasound, and the child was born fine, then either it’s a) a misdiagnosis or b) a miracle. The evidence lies in any ultrasound printout. If that doesn’t exist, then detailed doctor / sonographer notes and unbiased eye-witnesses to the ultrasound.

    Further evidence lies in the tests done on the child after birth. Surely if they thought there was an abnormality they actually looked for it after birth – ultrasound, CT scan, X-ray? And if those were normal, and the child stood and walked and talked and did basic calculations at the appropriate time, why wait until a child is capable of basic calculus and tweeting using an ipad to be sure there is no lingering brain anomaly?

  5. Gratias says:

    All Popes will be saints then.

  6. I hope these sources are wrong…that is all..

  7. Mike says:

    I think I’m with Gratias here. Why do all our popes need to be canonized?

  8. Father K says:

    A cynic would say and has said – for the same reason the Roman emperors divinised their predecessors – to validate their reign.

  9. fvhale says:

    @Gratias, Joe, Mike et Fr. K: huh?

    There have been, according to “The Popes: Twenty Centuries of History” by the Pontifical Administration of the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Paul, LEV 2005, a total of 263 legitimate popes.
    Of that number, less than 80 have been canonized, less than 30%.

    I would say that we should thank God that we have had some really good, holy, saintly popes over the last 150 years.

  10. The idea of Pope St. Paul VI worries me a little.

  11. Imrahil says:

    I may remind that the Church takes those she canonizes, without necessary need of further discretion, from among those who are in heaven right now. And I have little doubt that Pope Paul VI is.

    Were he canonized, that is nothing to stop anybody taking his Christian freedom to critizise his reign.

  12. Dr. K says:

    If he is named a saint after the countless number of lost Catholics since VII, the bar is quite low.

  13. Biedrik says:

    Gratias: All Popes? Surely we’ve had ones worse than Paul VI. Alexander VI comes to mind.

  14. David in T.O. says:

    Father Luigi Villa passed away just a few weeks ago. Is this just a coincidence or did they intentionally wait until he died before announcing this? I think not.

    http://www.padrepioandchiesaviva.com/In_Memoriam_Fr.html

  15. Imrahil says:

    Alexander VI was had a concubine when Cardinal, whom he dumped after being made Pope, because that is unfit for a Pope. He then had a relationship with Giulia Farnese, about which it is not proven that he ever went beyond what Catholic morality (when stripped of the “how do others think about what I do”) allowed him to do.

    Besides, he was indulgent about a joke that never were meant as anything else than a joke, which in Heathen style appraised him as a small-g god. (We were in the Renaissance, back then.)

    Besides, he was responsible for the unjust judgment against Savonarola, about whom it however can be said that he a) was a disobedient cleric and b) was a fanatic. (“He wanted me to burn, now he burns”, as an observer in Florence said at the time.)

    As far as I remember, that is about it.

    While I sincerely do not want to bash Paul VI, and far from defending Alexander VI in all he did, I’m not so sure about that constant Alexander-VI-bashing either.

  16. Legisperitus says:

    Meanwhile the cause of the obvious candidate, the saintly Pius XII, languishes behind locked doors for fear of… ?

  17. fvhale says:

    While some might criticize the reign of Pope Paul VI because of unhappiness with the revision of the liturgy, I think there are many, many more who dislike him because he spoke clearly on moral issues, especially sexuality, at a time when Western society was throwing off all sexual constraints, and even many theologians and priests and religious were hoping he would end the discipline of celibacy, permit use of “the Pill,” and permit ordination of women. In their view he did everything wrong.

    His last two encyclicals, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (June 24, 1967) and Humanae Vitae (July 25, 1968) probably precipitated in the West more men to leave the priesthood, and women to leave the Church, and the whole “culture of theological dissent” to develop in the US, than any changes in the liturgy. Especially during the last 10 years of his reign after Humanae Vitae, he was held in great disdain in the US by many Catholic theologians, and of course feminists. And do not forget his October 1976 approval, confirmation and publication of Inter Insignores on the question of women to the ministerial priesthood, which again incensed feminist and progressive theologians, priests and religious in the West–until today.

    His obituary in the NY Times on August 7, 1978 begins: “In contrast to Pope John XXIII, his predecessor, Paul VI was not naturally gregarious and innovative. He was the consummate bureaucrat in his Vatican career and not given to striking out in new directions.” This written of the pope who issued a completely revised liturgy, in the vernacular. What the criticism was all about was Humanae Vitae and Sacerdotalis Caelibatus.

    Further in the obituary: “He performed the arduous and often thankless role as caretaker over a church that was in the midst of a tumultuous change. In terms of particular actions, Pope Paul may be best remembered for his 1967 encyclical that underscored the church’s opposition to artifical means of birth control. It caused a storm of protest, particularly in the United States, and is often cited as a major reason for the large-scale decline in mass attendance that followed in America.” They got the “thankless” part right.

    Paul VI boldly stood for the truth of the faith and tradition in an age of sexual revolution and radicalization of gender politics, and he suffered a lot for that.

    More from the NYTimes obituary: “The progressives conclude that there is much unfinished business in the updating of the church because of Pope Paul’s lack of enthusiasm for further reform. As one who had risen from modest origins to the highest ecclesiastical authority, he revered the church and sought to protect it against the temptations of a secular age. He did not trust the sexual liberality of the present, or the tendency toward doctrinal relativism. The losses to the church in numbers and influence caused him much grief. His messages during his last years were often a desperate cry to those in the church to try harder. He extolled those who appeared most loyal by traditional standards and lamented those who, like the thousands of priests who married or resigned during his tenure, failed to conform. Once, extremely upset, he compared such priests to Judas.”

  18. Tradster says:

    Every pope who touched the sacred Vatican II is being named saints simply to validate the council. Sooner or later even John Paul I will get his treatment despite his one month pontificate.

  19. Biedrik says:

    Why could John Paul I not be canonized? He had a life before his papacy. If it was one of heroic virtue, and God gives us the required miracles, then why not?

  20. Father K says:

    fvhale,

    ‘Paul VI was not naturally gregarious and innovative. He was the consummate bureaucrat in his Vatican career and not given to striking out in new directions.’ A good assessment. Most biographers/commentators say that had Montini been a cardinal in the 1958 election he would have been elected Pope and most definitely there would have been no VII. WRT liturgical reform, it is said that he wept over some of the reforms implemented [e.g. the abolition of the Octave of Pentecost] simply because he didn’t keep a close eye on what was being put before him to sign [and to be fair the changes between 1965 and 1975 were not only unprecedented in the entire history of the Church but were overwhelming in their volume and far reaching consequences which at the time most probably could not have been forseen]. Add to the mix the manipulation of Bugnini and things become more understandable, given the disposition of the man.

    That doesn’t change a long standing policy of popes canonising certain predecessors to validate their own pontificate.

  21. I guess I have to wonder why it would not be scandalous to advance the cause of Paul VI. It is apparently scandal that has stalled the cause of Pius XII, even though that scandal is based on demonstrable falsehoods; but we are still in the midst of the crisis over which Paul VI presided. Paul VI did not cause the crisis; but did he do all he could to avert it? Was Paul VI really immune to the Zeitgeist of the 20th century? He does deserve credit for Humanae vitae, the glory of his pontificate; but quite honestly, the real credit for that goes to the Holy Spirit, Who keeps the Barque of Peter from going over Niagara Falls no matter who is at the helm. In fact, as I have often maintained, that Humanae vitae issued from the pen of a man like Paul VI furnishes striking proof that the Holy Spirit does guide the Church, and popes really are infallible in matters of faith and morals.

    I hope Pope Paul VI is in heaven, but I don’t see why we should be in such a hurry to raise him to the altar. Surely that judgment is better made when we have emerged from the present crisis, and by some future generation that has a clearer view of the matter.

  22. A Sinner 2 says:

    Miss Anita Moore, O.P. wrote: “I have often maintained, that Humanae vitae issued from the pen of a man like Paul VI furnishes striking proof that the Holy Spirit does guide the Church, and popes really are infallible in matters of faith and morals.”

    I have found this convincing as well. Not even Paul VI, who presided over the almost complete destruction of the Catholic Church, could teach error when it came to faith and morals.

  23. AnnAsher says:

    Well I’d imagine Our Lord does his popes the favor of granting them Heaven under the usual Catholiccircumstances at the least. If canonization had to do with the Late Paul VI approval rating by those of us who grieve over how he was misled and manipulated …. I’m not so sure. But at least he made it clear that V2 is not a dogmatic council – “The smoke of satan has entered the Church”. God rest Paul VI soul.

  24. Marie S. says:

    I hope I’m misinterpreting some of these comments, which appear to say Pope Paul VI can’t be in heaven because his pontificate was not successful. I can’t judge on whether he was successful, but I don’t see anyone claiming here that he was unfaithful to Christ, and I’d think putting out Humanae Vitae almost by itself qualifies as heroic virtue.

    “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.” – Mother Theresa

  25. jacobi says:

    If they are going to canonise all the Vatican II popes, I hope they don’t forget John Paul I. He wrote a very amusing and insightful book called, Illustrissimi, a series of letters to historical personalities.

    Going by the current apparent guidelines for sainthood, this should surely qualify him.

  26. RuralVirologist says:

    Fr K: “Most biographers/commentators say that had Montini been a cardinal in the 1958 election he would have been elected Pope and most definitely there would have been no VII.

    Then the Holy Spirit kept him out until later.

  27. RuralVirologist says:

    Miss Anita Moore: He does deserve credit for Humanae vitae, the glory of his pontificate; but quite honestly, the real credit for that goes to the Holy Spirit

    All good human actions, even those of Popes Pius V and X, and Pope Benedict XVI, are ultimately from the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean we can’t have them canonised.

    Re Pope John Paul I – bring on the miracles and canonise him!

  28. Supertradmum says:

    This pope should be canonized for Humanae Vitae as well as his personal holiness. After the publication of that infallible statement, I wrote the Pope a letter thanking him. If his signature is on the letter, does that make it a third class relic?

  29. NoraLee9 says:

    I have to agree with Tradster on this. Up until very recently, Popes were just NOT considered as sainthood candidates. There was a LONG period between St. Pius V and St. Pius X. The proponents of V2 Uber Alles are doing everything they can to cement the changes.
    Frankly the miracle I am looking for is the return of the traditional faith…..

  30. pmullane says:

    Personally I’ll trust the judgement of Holy Mother Church as to who should or shouldn’t be Canonised, since she, and not Internet commentators, have been divinely mandated that responsibility.

    If Pope Paul VI is a saint, let him be declared so for the good of souls.

  31. robtbrown says:

    Paul VI is a curious figure.

    1. To a certain extent he was stuck with consequences of the organizational indifference of John XXIII, who knew the Church needed reform, but neither knew what needed to be done nor understood the depth of the problems. He turned the Council over to liberals, then died.

    2. Paul VI inherited a bad situation and made it worse. I can’t see how any pope can be considered saintly who did nothing while the Church fell apart, even taking the side of those who were working for her destruction (and opposed to papal authority) and giving no support to good priests who were persecuted by the hierarchy. He promulgated Humanae Vitae, then appointed bishops who refused to implement it. He did nothing about any liberal opposing the Catholic doctrine, incl Kung and Rahner.

    3. I was in Rome when his cause was opened. The word was that within a week 2 or 3 Cardinals showed up in Rome to give testimony that he was a liar. If that is so, what is meant by Heroic virtues?

    3. It is also common knowledge that he told Cardinal Mindszenty that he would be primate of Hungary as long as he lived, then a month later broke his own word. It is also well known that Paul VI had no use for Opus Dei or its founder.

    5. There seems to be a tendency to think that beatifying popes is the way to Church reform.
    The liturgy needs reform. Priestly formation needs reform. Whether or not Paul VI is declared venerable or blessed will have little effect on either.

  32. acardnal says:

    Supertradmum said, “This pope should be canonized for Humanae Vitae . . . .”

    You got that right! He was under unrelenting pressure in 1968 to pronounce otherwise, but he obeyed the Holy Spirit instead.

  33. UncleBlobb says:

    Jesus I trust in Thee.

  34. Suburbanbanshee says:

    St. Pope Celestine V was a total disaster as a pope and was put into the Inferno by Dante, but lived a life of heroic virtue as a man.

    So yes, I think people don’t totally understand the difference between Historia’s judgement and Ecclesia’s.

  35. robtbrown says:

    The name of Pope Celestine comes up now and then in these matters. His sainthood is based on that fact that he was known as a holy man long before he was named pope.

  36. boko fittleworth says:

    What color is the elephant in the room?

  37. Geoffrey says:

    “Personally I’ll trust the judgement of Holy Mother Church as to who should or shouldn’t be Canonised, since she, and not Internet commentators, have been divinely mandated that responsibility.”

    Amen!!!

    Let’s face it: Traditionalists will not be happy with any pope who does not condemn Vatican II and completely abolish the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and replace it with the Extraordinary Form. Progressives will not be happy with any pope who does not change Church teaching on abortion, contraception, the ordination of women, etc.

    I’ll still with Holy Mother Church and His Holiness of our Lord, Christ’s vicar on earth!

  38. Geoffrey says: Let’s face it: Traditionalists will not be happy with any pope who does not condemn Vatican II and completely abolish the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and replace it with the Extraordinary Form. Progressives will not be happy with any pope who does not change Church teaching on abortion, contraception, the ordination of women, etc. I’ll still with Holy Mother Church and His Holiness of our Lord, Christ’s vicar on earth!

    That’s a pretty broad brush to paint traditionalists with. Why don’t you apply to us some of the same fairness you demand for Pope Paul VI? Like many — probably most — traditionalists, I’m happy with our current Holy Father, who does not condemn Vatican II and will not completely abolish the Ordinary Form. But I question the need to rush to canonize a Pope who presided over one of the worst crises in the history of the Church, and who gave the appearance of being antithetical to those who sought to defend tradition. This does not make me somebody who is not “with” Holy Mother Church and His Holiness of Our Lord.

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  41. Bill Foley says:

    fvhale, supertradum, acardnal, and geoffrey: you are all right. Humanae Vitae was one of the most heroic actions that any Pope has ever done. I urge everyone to read Padre Pio’s letter to Pope Paul VI regarding Humanae Vitae. We have been blessed with great holy Popes starting with Blessed Pius IX.
    Supertradum, I must especially compliment you because you could have been very negative re Pope Paul VI because of the ordinary form of the Mass.
    Geoffrey, I agree with your comments 100%. Those on the left or on the right who do not want to humbly follow the Holy Father will never be satisfied unless the Vicar of Christ implements all of their desires.

  42. ocalatrad says:

    It is sad to see the farce that has been made of the canonization process, truly. It all began with the elimination of the office of the devil’s advocate. “By their fruits ye shall know them” is all I can really say to this proposition of canonizing Pope Paul VI.

  43. MichaelJ says:

    Bill,
    You seem quite certain that the only reason individuals would be “dissatisfied” with a Pope would be because he did not “implement all of their desires”.
    Setting aside the rather uncharitable nature of this characterization, you do not seem to have put much thought into your opinion. Seriously, can you think of no other reason why a person would be unsatisfied with the actions of a particular Pope?