It might spin interest to many readers that the Holy See is up to readying the beatification of another pope of the modern times. The Vatican is now looking into beatifying Pope Paul VI, which could be as early as October during the Synod of Bishops on the Family.
He was the first pope to leave Italy since 1809 and the first pope to visit North America, Asia and Africa. Pope Paul VI made a pastoral visit to the Philippines in 1970, the first for an incumbent pope.
He pursued the ecumenical spirit of the Second Vatican Council and met with leaders of the Orthodox, Anglican and non-Catholic Christian churches.
Pope from 1963 to 1978, he was the fist pope to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and address the United Nations General Assembly in 1965.
Declaring Paul VI “blessed” has become a possibility after medical and theological experts reportedly approved as a miracle a United States case in the 1990s involving a fetus with brain damage whose mother had refused physicians’ advice that it be aborted. After reportedly praying to the late Pope, the mother gave birth to the child, who grew up healthy and normal.
According to the Italian weekly magazine Credere of the Pauline Fathers, cardinals and bishops who are members of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints will meet on May 5 to confirm the miracle.
Earlier witnessed was the fast-tracking of sainthood for John XXIII and John Paul II, the fourth and fifth popes of the second millennium to be declared saints. Other pope saints of the last 1,000 years are Celestine V of the 13th century, Pius V of the 16th century, and Pius X, who was canonized 60 years ago.
Once the bishops and cardinals approve the miracle, Pope Francis will likely proclaim Paul VI’s beatification in October at the end of the Synod of Bishops.
Other than Paul VI, another candidate who has a cause (for beatification) is Pius XII (pope from 1939 to his death in 1958. Both popes were extraordinary figures who have been misunderstood, but holy men who led the Church through difficult times.
One of only three co-chairpersons appointed by Pope Francis to preside over the synod is Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.