By Cian Molloy - 28 May, 2018
Paul VI implemented the changes made by the Second Vatican Council; Oscar Romero was its first martyr.
Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Romero and four others are to be canonised and declared official saints of the Church on Sunday, October 14th according to an announcement made by a consistory of cardinals in Rome this weekend.
Born Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897, Pope Paul VI had the task of closing the Second Vatican Council in 1965 and implementing the changes that it had wrought. He was a much-loved pope. He believed holiness is within everyone’s reach, and only two elements are required to become a saint – the grace of God and good will.
An officially recognised miracle achieved through the intercession of a candidate for sainthood is required for beatification and then canonisation. Given that Pope Paul VI’s best-known encyclical was Humanae Vitae, which sets out Church teaching on married love and on contraception, it should be of no surprise that the two miracles attributed to his intervention involved the healing of two unborn children in the womb.
Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador has been described as ‘the First Martyr of the Second Vatican Council’. He was assassinated largely for proclaiming the council’s teaching that the Church should have a preferential option for the poor. The Archbishop was shot dead on March 24th 1980 as he was saying Mass in a cancer hospital where he had chosen to live.
Romero’s beatification in 2015 was described as one of the Church’s highest profile non-papal beatification ceremonies as it had more than half a million people present. His beatification and canonisation were opposed by some South American conservatives who saw them as the Church giving official approval to liberation theology.
The four other ‘blesseds’ to be canonised in October are: Fr Francesco Spinelli, an Italian diocesan priest, who founded the Institute of the Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament; Fr Vincenzo Romano, a Italian diocesan priest; Sr Maria Caterina Kasper, a German nun, who founded the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and Sr Nazaria Ignazia of St. Teresa of Jesus, founder of the Congregation of the Misioneras Cruzadas de la Iglesia Sisters.