ROME – Adding specificity to what was already known about the impending canonization of Blessed Paul VI in 2018, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope’s top deputy as the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said Tuesday that the sainthood rite will take place in late October at the close of a meeting of the Synod of Bishops, an institution Paul VI himself founded.
Pope Francis in mid-February confirmed that Paul VI would be elevated to the ranks of the saints within the year during a Q&A session with priests and deacons from the Diocese of Rome, with the Vatican afterwards releasing an official transcript of the pontiff’s remarks.
When he made the announcement, Francis joked that he and former pontiff Benedict, who resigned in 2013 and is now 90 years old, “are on the waiting list.”
Paul VI, who reigned from 1963 to 1978, led the Catholic Church through the closing of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and the turbulent period that followed, overseeing significant transitions in liturgy, seminary formation, theological study, and many other areas of ecclesiastical life.
Paul VI also launched the Synod of Bishops in 1965, as an attempt to broaden the involvement of bishops from around the world in the governance of the Church. The next session is scheduled for Rome in October, devoted to themes of youth and vocations.
He’s best known for his controversial 1968 encyclical letter Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s traditional opposition to artificial birth control. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the encyclical, with major events planned in Rome and around the world to ponder its legacy.
Prior to his election to the papacy, Giovanni Battista Montini spent much of his career in the Vatican’s diplomatic service, including serving as a senior aide to Pope Pius XII, before becoming the Cardinal of Milan.
Paul VI was beatified in 2014 after a first miracle was attributed to him. And earlier this month, a Vatican theological and medical commission approved a second miracle attributed to him. According to media reports, on Feb. 6 the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the second miracle needed for the canonization of Pope Paul VI by a unanimous vote.
Pope Paul will become the third pontiff that Francis has made a saint since his election five years ago. The others are John XXIII, who died in 1963, and John Paul II, who died in 2005.
Parolin was speaking on Tuesday at a plenary meeting of the International Catholic Migration Commission in Rome, recalling that as the “substitute” of Pius XII, the future Paul VI was involved in setting up the group’s statutes in the 1950s.