ROME, May 14, 2014 ( – The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will beatify Pope Paul VI on October 19 at the conclusion of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family.

The late pope is most famous for his 1968 prophetic document Humanae Vitae, wherein he upheld the traditional Christian teaching against contraception and warned of the consequences of artificial methods of birth control. In the same document he also condemned “willed and procured abortion” for any reason.

In issuing Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI famously rejected the so-called “majority report” of his birth control commission, and opted instead for the “minority report.” The majority report had been leaked to the media, where it was hyped as signaling that the Church would change its traditional teaching. As a result, when the pope reaffirmed Catholic doctrine it was met with widespread dissent among the faithful.


The May 10 notice of the late pope’s impending beatification came after Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to Paul VI’s intercession.

The miracle involved the extraordinary healing of a baby inside his mother’s womb in California in the 1990s that was declared medically “unexplainable” by top Vatican doctors.

Doctors in California offered the woman abortion as the only possible solution for the abnormality detected in her unborn baby, whom they diagnosed with serious problems that they said would result in severe brain damage.

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Instead, the woman chose life, entrusting herself and her baby to God through the intercession of Paul VI.

To the doctors’ amazement, the woman’s baby not only made it to term, but was born with none of the predicted health problems.

The family was told to wait until their child was 16 before a confirmation of complete healing could be given. The child, now 18, is completely healthy.

The Medical Commission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, chaired by Dr. Patrizio Polisca – Benedict XVI and Francis’ personal doctor – has declared the healing authentic and inexplicable.

Born Giovanni Battista Montini on September 26, 1897 in Concesio, Italy, Pope Paul VI led the church from 1963 to 1978. He died August 6, 1978 at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo.

Beatification is the final step before canonization, when the Church declares the individual a saint. A second authenticated miracle is now required before Paul VI can be declared a saint.


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