The beatification cause of Pope Paul VI has advanced with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints giving unanimous approval to an unborn child’s miraculous healing attributed to his intercession.
According to Vatican Insider, Pope Francis is expected to publish a decree soon that recognizes the miracle and officially sets a beatification date.
The attributed miracle took place in the 1990s in California. The 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.
The miracle was approved by the cardinals and bishops who head the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The congregation’s medical commission ruled that the healing is medically inexplicable, while the congregation’s consulting theologians agreed that the healing occurred through the late pope's intercession.
Paul VI’s beatification could take place Oct. 19 in Rome during the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, Vatican Insider reports.
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.”
Paul VI was born Giovanni Montini in 1897 in the town of Concesio in the Lombardi 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 Holy Father, 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.
Beatification is the final step before possible canonization, which normally requires a second recognized miracle.