VATICAN CITY — On Tuesday the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the second miracle needed for the canonization of Pope Blessed Paul VI, allowing his canonization to take place, possibly later this year.
According to Vatican Insider, the saints’ congregation approved the miracle by a unanimous vote Feb. 6. The next step is for Pope Francis to give his approval, with an official decree from the Vatican. Then the date for the canonization can be set.
The miracle attributed to the cause of Paul VI is the healing of an unborn child in the fifth month of pregnancy. The case was brought forward in 2014 for study.
The mother, originally from the province of Verona, Italy, had an illness that risked her own life and the life of her unborn child, and she was advised by doctors to have an abortion.
A few days after the beatification of Paul VI, on Oct. 19, 2014, she went to pray for his intercession at the Shrine of Holy Mary of Grace in the town of Brescia, Italy. The baby girl was later born in good health and remains in good health today.
The healing was first ruled as medically inexplicable by the medical council of the congregation last year, while the congregation’s consulting theologians agreed that the healing occurred through the late Pope’s intercession.
Today’s meeting with cardinals was the final step before Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the congregation, will take the miracle to Pope Francis, who has the final say in its approval.
After the Pope issues a decree approving it, the date of the canonization will be announced during a consistory. According to Vatican Insider, the canonization may take place in October of this year during the Synod of Bishops on the youth.
The miracle for Paul VI’s canonization echoes that of his beatification. The first miracle took place in the 1990s in California. A then-unborn child was found to have a serious health problem that posed a high risk of brain damage. Physicians advised that the child be aborted, but the mother entrusted her pregnancy to Paul VI.
The child was born without problems and is now a healthy adolescent. He is considered to be completely healed.
Pope Paul’s cause for canonization was opened in 1993. In December 2012, Pope Benedict XVI recognized the “heroic virtue” of Paul VI, giving him the title “Venerable.” He was beatified in Rome Oct. 19, 2014.
Paul VI was born Giovanni Montini in 1897 in the town of Concesio in the Lombardy region of Italy. He was ordained a priest at the age of 22. He served as archbishop of Milan before his election as pope in 1963. He died in 1978.
As pope, he oversaw much of the Second Vatican Council, which had been opened by Pope St. John XXIII. He also promulgated a new Roman Missal in 1969.
Paul VI published the encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, which reaffirmed the Church’s teaching against contraception and reaffirmed the merits of priestly celibacy.