Pope OKs miracle for Paul VI in sainthood process

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AAA May. 10, 2014 9:27 AM ET
Pope OKs miracle for Paul VI in sainthood process

FILE — This file photo taken on June 21, 1963, shows Pope Paul VI portrayed after his election, with white Pontifical robe and pectoral cross. Pope Francis has approved a miracle credited to the intercession of Paul VI and set the date for the late pontiff’s beatification for Oct. 19, the Vatican said Saturday. Francis had authorized the beatification, the last formal step before possible sainthood, a day earlier, the Vatican said. Paul VI, who reigned as pontiff from 1963-1978, made landmark progress in improving Catholics’ relationship with other Christians. His papacy is also remembered by his decision, after years of study, to ban contraception for Catholics, in a 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” (“of human life”). (AP Photo/Luigi Felici)

FILE — This file photo taken on June 21, 1963, shows Pope Paul VI portrayed after his election, with white Pontifical robe and pectoral cross. Pope Francis has approved a miracle credited to the intercession of Paul VI and set the date for the late pontiff’s beatification for Oct. 19, the Vatican said Saturday. Francis had authorized the beatification, the last formal step before possible sainthood, a day earlier, the Vatican said. Paul VI, who reigned as pontiff from 1963-1978, made landmark progress in improving Catholics’ relationship with other Christians. His papacy is also remembered by his decision, after years of study, to ban contraception for Catholics, in a 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” (“of human life”). (AP Photo/Luigi Felici)

FILE – In this file photo taken on June 30, 1964, Pope Paul VI, wearing full Pontific robes and the Papal “Tiara” or triple crown, lifts both hands to answer to a cheering crowd, as he is carried on his portable throne out of saint Peter’s Basilica, after having attended a solemn Pontific mass, marking the first anniversary of his coronation. Pope Francis has approved a miracle credited to the intercession of Paul VI and set the date for the late pontiff’s beatification for Oct. 19, the Vatican said Saturday. Francis had authorized the beatification, the last formal step before possible sainthood, a day earlier, the Vatican said. Paul VI, who reigned as pontiff from 1963-1978, made landmark progress in improving Catholics’ relationship with other Christians. His papacy is also remembered by his decision, after years of study, to ban contraception for Catholics, in a 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” (“of human life”). (AP Photo/Girolamo Di Majo)

FILE – In this file photo, taken on July 3, 1963, President Kennedy is shown at the Vatican in an audience with Pope Paul VI. Pope Francis has approved a miracle credited to the intercession of Paul VI and set the date for the late pontiff’s beatification for Oct. 19, the Vatican said Saturday. Francis had authorized the beatification, the last formal step before possible sainthood, a day earlier, the Vatican said. Paul VI, who reigned as pontiff from 1963-1978, made landmark progress in improving Catholics’ relationship with other Christians. His papacy is also remembered by his decision, after years of study, to ban contraception for Catholics, in a 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” (“of human life”). (AP Photo)

FILE — In this photo taken on June 30, 1963, Pope Paul VI sits on his throne outside St. Peter’s Basilica during ceremonies marking his coronation. Pope Francis has approved a miracle credited to the intercession of Paul VI and set the date for the late pontiff’s beatification for Oct. 19, the Vatican said Saturday. Francis had authorized the beatification, the last formal step before possible sainthood, a day earlier, the Vatican said. Paul VI, who reigned as pontiff from 1963-1978, made landmark progress in improving Catholics’ relationship with other Christians. His papacy is also remembered by his decision, after years of study, to ban contraception for Catholics, in a 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” (“of human life”). (AP Photo, FILE)

FILE — In this file photo taken on June 30, 1963, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, Italian member of the Vatican Curia, places the Tiara Crown on the head of Pope Paul VI during the coronation ceremony outdoor, in front of St. Peter’s. Pope Francis has approved a miracle credited to the intercession of Paul VI and set the date for the late pontiff’s beatification for Oct. 19, the Vatican said Saturday. Francis had authorized the beatification, the last formal step before possible sainthood, a day earlier, the Vatican said. Paul VI, who reigned as pontiff from 1963-1978, made landmark progress in improving Catholics’ relationship with other Christians. His papacy is also remembered by his decision, after years of study, to ban contraception for Catholics, in a 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” (“of human life”). (AP Photo/Luigi Felici)

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Paul VI, who did much to modernize the Roman Catholic Church but pronounced a ban on artificial contraception which was widely defied by the faithful, has moved a step closer to sainthood with Pope Francis’ official confirmation of a miracle.

The date for the beatification was set for Oct. 19, the Vatican said Saturday, a day after Francis formally certified the miracle said to involve a risky birth in California. Beatification is the last formal step before possible sainthood.

During his pontificate from 1963 to 1978, Paul made landmark progress in improving Catholics’ relationship with other Christians.

But he disappointed many Catholics who were hoping for liberalization of church teaching on sexuality. After much consultation and, reportedly, personal anguish, Paul VI enshrined the church’s teaching against artificial contraception in the 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (“of human life”).

The issue is among many expected to get scrutiny in a special meeting of bishops called at the Vatican in October to discuss family life. The beatification ceremony would come at the end of the gathering.

One miracle is required for beatification, and traditionally a second for canonization. The

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