Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Year of Five Popes

Divine Mercy Sunday this year has been called the "Day of Four Popes" since Pope Francis, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI present, canonized Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. But now, we can begin calling it the "Year of Five Popes."  Pope Paul VI will be beatified this year, likely in October.  
Pope Paul VI and the future Pope John Paul II (source)

That's going to be a beautiful moment!  Here was a man whose last encyclical was written 10 years before his death.  It was "Humanae Vitae."  The persecution and defiance and anger directed toward him after it was written must have been deflating.  The theologians he trusted to examine the issue of whether or not the birth control Pill is contraceptive turned their backs on him, leaked their opinion to the press, and wrote their own version of papal teaching without the pope.  

Everything Pope Paul  VI predicted would occur with widespread contraceptive use has happened, in ways and scope greater than was probably imagined.

But his beatification is not meant to be a "he told us so" kind of a moment.  Rather, it will be a celebration of a man who gave his life to defending the Church.  He was a "white martyr," a man who loved greatly and who put the Church, his spouse, before himself.  There is certainly much we can learn from him today.

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