Nina Shea Our plan to save Syria’s Christians COMMENT, PAGE 12
Melanie McDonagh Post-Catholic Irishness is truly depressing
CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20
Tim Stanley The Holy Land inspires faith FEATURE, PAGE 9
May 16 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN Paul VI to be beatified in October
POPE FRANCIS will beatify Pope Paul VI on October 19 during the closing Mass of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.
The announcement follows Pope Francis’s formal recognition of a miracle attributed to the late Pope, who died in 1978, after more than 15 years as Pope.
Pope Francis signed the decree last Friday which recognised the miracle and approved the publication of the October 19 beatification date, according to a Vatican statement.
The miracle involved the birth of a baby in California in the 1990s. According to reports, a pregnant woman was advised by doctors to have an abortion because her life and the life of her baby were at risk. Instead she sought prayers from a friend, an Italian nun, who placed on the woman’s belly a holy card with Pope Paul’s photograph and a piece of vestment he had worn. The baby was born healthy.
For Pope Paul’s Cause, doctors continued monitoring the child’s health up to the age of 12.
Pope Paul’s connection to the themes of the synod, which begins on October 5, includes the encyclical for which he is most known, Humanae Vitae. The encyclical, which confirmed the Church’s prohibition against artificial contraception, places that conclusion in the context of Catholic teaching on the beauty and purpose of marriage, married love and procreation.
Following the announcement, retired Bishop of Portsmouth Bishop Crispian Hollis said the former pope was “an unsung hero”. He said: “I was delighted to hear the news that Pope Paul VI is to be beatified.
“In all the excitement around the canonisation of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, there seemed to have been an unsung hero who had been forgotten.
“His work as pope in following up the charismatic time of John XXIII was an unenviable task but one in which he achieved great things, not least with his magisterial document Evangelii Nuntiandi. He was largely responsible for situating and establishing the teaching of the Second Vatican Council into the mainstream of the life of the Church – a great Pope and a holy man.”
Pope Paul VI released his encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968. The encyclical states: “Now, some may ask: in the present case, is it not reasonable in many circumstances to have recourse to artifi
Pope Paul VI, whose papacy lasted from 1963 to 1978, will be beatified by Pope Francis at the end of the synod on the family
cial birth control if, thereby, we secure the harmony and peace of the family, and better conditions for the education of the children already born? To this question it is necessary to reply with clarity: the Church is the first to praise and recommend the intervention of intelligence in a function which so closely associates the rational creature with his Creator; but she affirms that this must be done with respect for the order established by God.”
Edmund Adamus, director for marriage and family life at the Diocese of Westminster said that he was “delighted” and that the timing is “highly significant”.
He said: “I’m not surprised at the announcement of the beatification because his Cause was well on its way, and it’s a solid Cause. It was always a question of when, not if. I’m particularly delighted by the date of the beatification, the closing Mass of the synod on the family.
“Pope Paul VI was the first Pope of recent times to coin the phrase ‘the Church of the home is the little Church’ – the domestic church. This was a major part of his thinking on the new evangelisation. which he coined, not John Paul II as many people think.
“His continuing legacy, including Humanae Vitae, is not without significance for our times. Everything he predicted negatively about the family has happened.”
However, he said, “He should be remembered for far more than Humanae Vitae, important though that is. It’s the whole of a person’s life that is significant for beatification.
“This might cause some people to revisit what may be one of the shortest encyclicals ever – and what is more important than the subject of human life?
“Cardinal Caffara of Bologna said recently: ‘A month before he died Pope Paul VI said: ‘One day you will thank God and me for Humanae Vitae’.”
Pope Paul VI was the first pope in the modern area to travel abroad, visiting Jordan and Israel in January 1964, Lebanon and India in December 1964, the United Nations in New York in October 1965, the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal in May 1967, as well as Turkey, Colombia, Iran, Hong Kong and others.
Born Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897 in the northern Italian province of Brescia, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1920 and was named archbishop of Milan in 1954. Editorial comment: Page 13
Parishes urged to mark Pope’s Bethlehem visit with Holy Hour BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE BISHOPS’ conference of England and Wales has invited every parish across the country to pray before the Blessed Sacrament to coincide with Pope Francis’s visit to Bethlehem this month.
Parishes have been invited to hold an hour’s prayer before the Blessed Sacrament between 3pm and 4pm on May 25 during which time Pope Francis will arrive in Bethlehem to meet Christians there. Announcing the initiative at a press conference last week, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: “We wanted to give very clear and profound support in that way of reaching out in prayer” during the Pope’s visit to the Holy Land.
Pope Francis will visit the Holy Land on Saturday May 24 to mark the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.
Pope Francis is due to visit
Jordan, Palestine and Israel during his three-day visit and celebrate Mass in each country.
The Pope is due to arrive in Bethlehem on the second day of his visit, where there will be a celebration at the palace of Bethlehem marking his arrival.
He will celebrate Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem at 11am local time before having lunch with families from Palestine in the Franciscan convent of Casa Nova. He will then make a private visit to the Grotto of the Nativity.
Later that evening he will fly to Jerusalem where he will meet the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople at the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem. Both are expected to sign a joint declaration.
Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Sheikh Omar Abboud, who have been participants in interreligious dialogue with the Pope, will also accompany Francis on his trip – the first time that a rabbi and a Muslim dignitary have done so.
Prayer that went to the Moon to be sold BY DAVID V BARRETT
A HAND-PAINTED prayer, a oneinch-high statue of St Christopher and a Jerusalem tile, which were all taken to the Moon on Apollo 16, are to be sold at auction in Boston.
They were all carried to the Moon by astronaut Charlie Duke in 1972. Now 78, Duke was the pilot of the lunar module and was the 10th and youngest person to walk on the moon. He became a Christian after his flight, and is active in prison ministry.
The prayer was painted by pupils at the Holy Spirit Catholic primary school in Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, and illuminated by Carmelite nuns in Lancashire. It was presented to Duke by Fr Paddy Roche, a chaplain to the Apollo astronauts.
Pope Francis says he would baptise aliens BY DAVID V BARRETT
POPE FRANCIS would baptise aliens if they visited Earth.
Giving his homily on Monday the Pope said that Catholicism was a Church of “open doors”; Christians, he said, must accept the Holy Spirit however “unthinkable” it appeared. Pope Francis spoke of St Peter accepting pagans who converted to Christianity,
when some early Christians would only preach to Jews.
“If, for example, tomorrow an expedition of Martians came to us here and one said ‘I want to be baptised!’, what would happen?” Emphasising his point the Pope said: “Martians, right? Green, with long noses and big ears, like in children’s drawings.” The Church, he said, should never shut the door on anyone seeking baptism.
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