Francis urges Church to be open as he beatifies Paul VI

At the beatification of Blessed Pope Paul VI, Pope Francis has urged the Church to be open to new ways.

Speaking to 70,000 people at St Peter’s Square on October 19, Francis said Catholics must “not fear the new” and must be open to previously “unexpected paths”.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who was made a cardinal by Paul VI, made a rare public appearance at the Mass.

Francis embraced him and accompanied him to his seat in the front row.

The Mass brought the two-week synod on the family to a close.

Blessed Paul VI established the Synod of Bishops as an institution of the Church designed to help the Pope with his magisterial office.

Francis quoted Blessed Paul VI as saying that the Church must “scrutinise the signs of the times, to try to adapt its ways and methods to respond to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society”.

Francis said that the Church must look to the future, healing the “wounds of those that are hurt” and rekindling hope for people who have lost hope.

He said: “God is not afraid of the new”.

“That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.”

The Church was not a place to “escape from reality”, he said, adding that “Christians must look at the reality of the future, that of God, with both feet planted firmly on the ground, and respond with courage to the numerous new challenges.”

Pope Francis called Blessed Paul VI, “the great helmsman” of the Second Vatican Council.

Paul VI was the first pope to travel outside Italy in the modern era, he oversaw the updating of the liturgy from Latin to the vernacular, and dramatically reorganised the Roman Curia.

But the former Cardinal Giovanni Montini is also remembered for his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which banned Catholics from using artificial birth control.


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