In a letter to Bishop Luciano Monari of Brescia marking the 30th anniversary of the death of Paul VI, Pope Benedict XVI said that as time passes, the contribution, heritage and magisterium of the late Pontiff, who guided the Church in an age marked by “challenges and problems,” are becoming increasingly more evident.
After sending his greetings to the Church in Brescia, from which Pope Montini received the gift of faith “and learned the values of piety, culture and humanity, the Holy Father noted that Paul VI “was called by Divine Providence to guide the Church during a historical period marked by no small number of challenges and problems.
In reflecting upon the years of his pontificate, Pope Benedict underscored "the missionary ardour that animated him and encouraged him to make demanding apostolic journeys, even to distant countries, and to perform acts of great ecclesial, missionary and ecumenical significance.”
"This Pontiff's name", he added, "remains linked above all to Vatican Council II. ... With the passage of the years the importance of his pontificate for the Church and for the world is becoming ever clearer, as is the priceless heritage of teaching and virtue which he left to believers and to all humanity." Benedict XVI told the Bishop of Brescia that,“The Lord desired that a son of the land of Brescia would steer the rudder of Peter’s barque during the council, in the years of his first activities.”
Pope Benedict also expressed his own appreciation for the trust Paul VI showed in him by appointing him as archbishop of Munich, Germany, in March 1977, and in making him a cardinal three months later.
Pope Benedict highlighted the fact that Paul VI died on the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6, 1978.
In closing his letter the Holy Father gave “thanks to God for having granted the Church a pastor who was a faithful witness of Christ the Lord, so sincerely and profoundly enamoured of the Church and so close to the hopes and expectations of the men and women of his time, actively encouraging each member of the People of God to honor his memory by striving to sincerely search for the truth.”