VATICAN – In a meeting with Roman parish priests, Pope Francis announced that Pope Paul VI would be canonized in 2018.
“There are two Bishops of Rome who are already saints,” Pope Francis pointed out. He was referring to the recent canonizations of Saint Pope John XXIII and Saint Pope John Paul II.
Pope Francis beatified Paul VI during the closing Mass of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in 2014. During his homily, Pope Francis praised the work of Paul VI and his devotion to the Church.
“When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church! Paul VI truly ‘rendered to God what is God’s’ by devoting his whole life to the sacred, solemn and grave task of continuing in history and extending on earth the mission of Christ.”
In 1968, Pope Paul VI wrote an encyclical entitled “Humanae Vitae,” or “Human Life.” It introduced concepts that were not popular in the world view of the culture, nor was it what they were hoping to hear. Yet Pope Paul VI’s writing rings true even to today.
Pope Paul VI isn’t the only pope on the waiting list for canonization. Pius IX was declared blessed in 2000 and Pius XII was recognized as a Venerable in 2009. The cause of Pope John Paul is also ongoing since Pope Francis declared him Venerable in 2017.
“And [Pope emeritus] Benedict [XVI] and I are on the waiting list,” Pope Francis joked during the meeting, “Pray for us!”