Friday, July 13, 2012

Pope Paul VI...

...may be beatified during this forthcoming Year of Faith, according to news reports. I am glad. I had always been given the impression that he was a weak and uninteresting character and then it became very fashionable - still is - for people to denigrate him, especially people with scant wisdom but strong opinions. But it is worth finding out more about this servant of God. A short while back, without knowing that he was going to be beatified, and simply because I was doing some research into the role of Pius XII in World War II and the help given to refugees and Jewish people, I started to find out a great deal more about him. Did you know that the future Paul VI was the man who organised safe places for numbers of Jewish people in Rome during those years? That he was tasked with ensuring that the Papal accomodation at Castel Gandolfo - among other places - was turned over to refugees and that and were safe and fed? That he initiated the huge system for helping people of all nations to trace missing relatives in war-torn Europe? He was of course a very close associate of Pius XII and they worked together every day. He suffered from the cruel untruths (now, thanksfully, being corrected) that were put about concerning Pius XII's wartime efforts After the war, the organisation they had established for refugees became the Italian Caritas. Many years later he had the unenviable burden of the Papacy during the final sessions of the Second Vatican Council and in its aftermath. He was bitterly attacked by all sorts of people, gave us the courageous and prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae - among much else that was good - and served both the Church and humanity well. And yes, I do know quite a lot about the liturgical issues initiated during his Papacy.

1 comment:

Malcolm said...

Liberius was the first Pope not to be canonised. (He was forced into exile and captured by Arians, and forced to sign a document sympathetic to Arianism. He got back the see of Rome and then gently distanced himself from Arianism, but that was enough to compromise him in the eyes of posterity).
That's the problem with routinely canonising Popes. It really shows up the un-canonised.