Paul VI led Church through difficult times with evangelical wisdom, Pope says


During difficult times of profound change, Paul VI provided a “precious service” to the Church and the world with evangelical wisdom and courage, guiding the barque of Peter “with evangelical realism and optimism,” fueled by “indomitable faith,” Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday while commemorating the 110th anniversary of the birth of Pope Montini.

The Holy Father made his comments at Castelgandolfo after a concert by the Festival Pianistico Internazionale Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli to commemorate the birth of the late Pontiff.

“This afternoon,” the Pope said at the conclusion of the concert, “music has given us the chance to remember an illustrious Pope, Paul VI, who provided the Church and the world precious service in difficult times and in social conditions characterized by profound cultural and religious changes.”

Benedict XVI praised “the evangelical wisdom” with which Paul VI “guided the Church during and after the Second Vatican Council.”  "With prophetic intuition,” he continued, Paul VI “understood the hopes and fears of the men and women of that time, seeking to highlight the positive aspects and illuminate them with the light of truth and of the love of Christ.”

"The love he fostered for humanity with its achievements, the marvelous discoveries, the advantages and rewards of technology and science, did not stop him from bringing to light the contradictions, errors and risks of scientific and technological progress detached from a strong reference to ethical and spiritual values."

The Holy Father said his predecessor was "prudent and courageous in guiding the Church with realism and evangelical optimism, fueled by indomitable faith."

He said that Paul VI "hoped for the coming of the 'civilization of love,' convinced that evangelical charity constitutes the indispensable element for building an authentic universal brotherhood."

“His successors have taken up this spiritual heritage and have followed in his steps,” Benedict XVI said in conclusion.

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