Yesterday 7 February 2018, the Vatican Congregation recognised the healing of an unborn child. Pope Francis’ final decision and announcement of canonisation day is the last step
Paul VI will be canonised soon. The meeting of the bishops and cardinals of the Congregation of Saints unanimously approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Giovanni Battista Montini. Now the only thing missing, is Pope Francis’ final signature of approval and the announcement of the date for the canonisation of the Pontiff from Brescia who died in Castel Gandolfo forty years ago.
The miracle needed for Paul VI’s aureole concerns the healing of an unborn child, in the fifth month of pregnancy. A case studied by the postulation in 2014. The mother, originally from the province of Verona, was carrying out a difficult pregnancy and was at risk of miscarriage for a disease that could have compromised the life of the fetus and mother. A few days after Pope Montini’s beatification, which took place in Rome on Sunday 19 October 2014, the woman went to Brescia to pray the new Blessed at the Santuario delle Grazie. The baby girl was born in good health and still is as is the mother.
The miracle had been studied by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The inexplicability of the healing had been decided upon last year by the Medical Council of the Department and then analysed and approved by theologians. The last step was today’s cardinal meeting, which took note of the doctors’ conclusions and theologians’ evaluations. Now the Cardinal Prefect, Angelo Amato, will bring the bishops’ and cardinals’ ballot to Pope Francis. He will have the final word on the matter. The Holy Father will announce -during a consistory- the date of Paul VI’ canonisation, which will probably be celebrated in Rome in October, during the Synod of young people.
Last December, the diocesan weekly magazine of Brescia speculated on potential dates, “At this point, we are more sure than hopeful. The month of October could be the right one. From 3 to 28 October in Rome the 15th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on young people will be celebrated and will converge in the Vatican prelates from all over the world. What better opportunity to canonise, in front of such a great number of Bishops, the other Pontiff – after Saint John XXIII – of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council? It will probably occur on one of the first three Sundays of October, though the most popular one today seems to be that of 21th”.
However, the 50th Anniversary of the Publication of Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, is on 25 July this year (25 July 1968) – this too could be a very appropriate date.
Pope Montini, born in 1897 and died in 1978, was the Pontiff who brought the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council to completion and succeeded in concluding it practically with the unanimous approval of the documents voted. He began the epoch of apostolic travels in the world, he went through the years of post-conciliar crisis. The day he was beatified, Francis, who often refers to Montini’s Magisterium, had said, “On this day of the beatification of Pope Paul VI, his words return to my mind, with which launched the Synod of Bishops, … By carefully surveying the signs of the times, we are making every effort to adapt ways and methods to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society”.
Pope Francis had thanked Paul VI for his “humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church! “ and had recalled that “the great helmsman” of the Second Vatican Council and founder of the synod, after the closing of the Council meeting, wrote: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church and in that way it will be clear that He, and no other, is her guide and saviour”. In this humility – Francis concluded – “the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularised and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord”.
I love you, nearly Saint Paul VI, please pray for the universal Church and for the whole world!