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Saint Paul VI

Born as Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897 in Italy and ordained in 1920, he spent many years working in the Vatican Secretariat of State. After being named “Pro-Secretary of State” in 1952, Montini was appointed Archbishop of Milan the following year and became known as the “archbishop of the workers.”

Saint Paul VI

Born as Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897 in Italy and ordained in 1920, he spent many years working in the Vatican Secretariat of State. After being named “Pro-Secretary of State” in 1952, Montini was appointed Archbishop of Milan the following year and became known as the “archbishop of the workers.”

Pope John XXIII named Montini a cardinal in 1958 and soon after announced the Second Vatican Council. During the Council, however, Pope John XXIII died, and the well-respected Montini was elected on June 21, 1963, to succeed him, taking the name Paul VI. Committing himself to continuing the work begun by John XXIII, he continued the  Council and then overcame resistance to implement reforms in the areas of liturgy, Church governance, and the attitudes of Catholics toward other religions. Though controversies surrounding ideas and encyclicals, especially 1968’s Humanae vitae, can be seen as overshadowing his pontificate, the reality is that Paul VI’s papacy and writings aimed constantly at working toward lasting justice and peace. He brought a message of human rights, human dignity and human development to the world.

Paul VI died on August 6, 1978. He was beatified on October 19, 2014 and canonized on October 14, 2018. In his homily at the canonization of Paul VI, Pope Francis said: “Paul VI spent his life for Christ’s Gospel, crossing new boundaries and becoming its witness in proclamation and in dialogue, a prophet of a Church turned outwards, looking to those far away and taking care of the poor."

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