Posted on 09/26/2020 06:00 AM (Saint of the Day | AmericanCatholic.org)
Saint Paul VI
Saint of the Day for September 26
(September 26, 1897 – August 6, 1978)
Saint Paul VI’s Story
Born near Brescia in northern Italy, Giovanni Battista Montini was the second of three sons. His father, Giorgio, was a lawyer, editor, and eventually a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. His mother, Giuditta, was very involved in Catholic Action.
After ordination in 1920, Giovanni did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1924, where he worked for 30 years. He was also chaplain to the Federation of Italian Catholic University Students, where he met and became a very good friend of Aldo Moro, who eventually became prime minister. Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigade in March 1978, and murdered two months later. A devastated Pope Paul VI presided at his funeral.
In 1954, Fr. Montini was named archbishop of Milan, where he sought to win disaffected workers back to the Catholic Church. He called himself the “archbishop of the workers” and visited factories regularly while overseeing the rebuilding of a local Church tremendously disrupted by World War II.
In 1958, Montini was the first of 23 cardinals named by Pope John XXIII, two months after the latter’s election as pope. Cardinal Montini helped in preparing Vatican II and participated enthusiastically in its first sessions. When he was elected pope in June 1963, he immediately decided to continue that Council, which had another three sessions before its conclusion on December 8, 1965. The day before Vatican II concluded, Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras revoked the excommunications that their predecessors had made in 1054. The pope worked very hard to ensure that bishops would approve the Council’s 16 documents by overwhelming majorities.
Paul VI had stunned the world by visiting the Holy Land in January 1964, and meeting Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in person. The pope made eight more international trips, including one in 1965, to visit New York City and speak on behalf of peace before the United Nations General Assembly. He also visited India, Columbia, Uganda, and seven Asian countries during a 10-day tour in 1970.
Also in 1965, he instituted the World Synod of Bishops, and the next year decreed that bishops must offer their resignations on reaching age 75. In 1970, he decided that cardinals over 80 would no longer vote in papal conclaves or head the Holy See’s major offices. He had increased the number of cardinals significantly, giving many countries their first cardinal. Eventually establishing diplomatic relations between the Holy See and 40 countries, he also instituted a permanent observer mission at the United Nations in 1964. Paul VI wrote seven encyclicals; his last one in 1968 on human life—Humanae Vitae—prohibited artificial birth control.
Pope Paul VI died at Castel Gandolfo on August 6, 1978, and was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica. He was beatified on October 19, 2014 and canonized on October 14, 2018.
Pope Saint Paul’s greatest accomplishment was the completion and implementation of Vatican II. Its decisions about liturgy were the first ones noticed by most Catholics, but its other documents—especially the ones about ecumenism, interfaith relations, divine revelation, religious liberty, the Church’s self-understanding and the Church’s work with the entire human family—have become the Catholic Church’s road map since 1965.
Posted on 09/24/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Our convictions are never entirely safe. Any time an intelligent peer who also strikes us as a man of integrity—a good man, let us say—advocates for a worldview in contradiction with our own, we are obligated to take the disagreement seriously. This is true all the more when such a person moves out of agreement with us. For here, we must tell ourselves, is someone who takes the truth seriously. Laying all his cards on the table in The Last Word, atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel implies this uncomfortable fact when he admits, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.” Now, as of late, it has become public knowledge that Mark Galli, the former editor-in-chief of the popular evangelical magazine Christianity Today, has entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. Admitting that…
Posted on 09/24/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch. —Luke 5:4 Over eighteen months ago, on a chilly day in February, I was honored to join Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Institute to help bring a new venture to life. That venture was Evangelization & Culture, the flagship journal of the Word on Fire Institute. Excited by the task at hand and accompanied by a small cohort of talented designers and editors, writers and marketers, we at once had to ask ourselves, “How will we do this and, more importantly, why?” Thus, with child-like enthusiasm, the intercession of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and plenty of Dot’s Pretzels, coffee, and Diet Mountain Dew, our work began. From the very beginning, we wanted Evangelization & Culture to be different. At its root, we wanted the…
Posted on 09/23/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
“I never wanted to act in the first place . . . forget their stories. I can tell my own stories.” That’s a line from Chadwick Boseman’s Howard University commencement speech in 2018. Boseman portrayed some of the most impactful people in American History—Jackie Robinson (42), James Brown (Get On Up), and Thurgood Marshall (Marshall). But, his most popular portrayal was of the fictional character T’Challa from Black Panther. I am so thankful that he went on and told more stories, but the character that speaks the loudest now is his very own. Here are a few things that I learned watching his story unfold over these past few years. Gifts are given to be received and then shared. As a…
Posted on 09/22/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Sermon Podcast)
Our first reading for this weekend is taken from the eighteenth chapter of the book of the prophet Ezekiel—one of the four major prophets, along with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel. This chapter is worthy of careful attention, for it represents a sort of breakthrough in the moral consciousness of the West. Though some of the prophet’s observations might strike us as obvious, we have to realize how revolutionary this thinking was for the time. Mass Readings Reading 1 – Ezekiel 18:25-28 Psalm – Psalm 25:4-9 Reading 2 – Philippians 2:1-11 Gospel – Matthew 21:28-32…
Posted on 09/22/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Sometimes the proper education of a child is not successful; time and effort are sometimes not enough to convince a child of your vision of reality. Given my contrarian ways, some of my educators must have viewed me that way when I was a student. This may be simplistic and arrogant to say, but I regarded my education as having one purpose: to kill my childhood imagination and belief so as to make me serious about the serious world. As I see it now, my perception of what I thought my educators wanted me to see wasn’t the whole of reality but a thin slice, unfortunately presented as the whole. As I recall, my more passionate teachers, who were somewhat disdainful of old things, saw it as their job to liberate students from fantasy and move them into reality (a good motive). They did…
Posted on 09/21/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
It is no secret that both the film Raiders of the Lost Ark and the video game Spear of Destiny were derived from the same source. The film mesmerized a generation and was the forerunner of the action extravaganzas that still pack them in at the cineplex, while the video game was the mother of all 3D shoot-’em-up fantasies that are today even more addictive to the male adolescent than drugs. What still remains a secret, however, is the fact that what sparked the technological breakthroughs in cinematic special effects and computer wizardry was the long-venerated attribute of a black saint. During pagan Rome’s occupation of Switzerland in the third century, Maurice, a centurion from the upper reaches of the Nile, along with an entire legion comprising 6,666 of his African countrymen, had chosen death rather than participating in the persecutions that had been ordered by the emperor, Maximian. With…
Posted on 09/20/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
I don’t remember when I first read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings; these tales seem to have always been part of the furnishings of my imagination. However, I do recall precisely when I encountered Tolkien’s groundbreaking essay “On Fairy-stories,” in which he explores the origins, nature, and purpose of fantasy literature. I was a young teenager, and while browsing through a book-table at a flea market, I came across a book called The Tolkien Reader, in which this essay was included. Little did I know that this battered paperback with its trippy 1970s cover art would change my life in so many ways. “On Fairy-stories” is a powerful analysis of how fantasy works. Originating as a lecture in 1939, it came about after he had published The Hobbit and had begun work on the Hobbit sequel that would become The Lord of the Rings. Here,…
Posted on 09/18/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
There are no odd couples anymore. In an age of heightened partisanship and unsparing vitriol, it is conventional wisdom that if you are a conservative, you cannot pal around with a liberal. And if you are a liberal, you can have nothing in common with a conservative. Not so Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. From the standpoint of their politics and jurisprudence, you might have thought these two Supreme Court giants were from different planets. Ginsburg would be described as a liberal’s liberal with staunch opinions (literally) on everything from civil liberties to abortion. Scalia was recognized as a towering conservative who championed the separation of powers and a keen deference to the text of the law. Ginsburg believed in the living Constitution while Scalia defended originalism. Though both were native New Yorkers, their judicial philosophies could have spawned a rivalry akin to the fiery mid-century rows between New…