VI, Paul 
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Time Period
9/26/1897  - 8/6/1978
The Roman Catholic Church was in the midst of the historic Second Vatican Council -- also known as Vatican II -- when Pope Paul VI was elected in 1963. The new pope vowed to continue the work of Vatican II, which ended in 1965. Teaming up with Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, Pope Paul VI also bridged the longtime divide between the two bodies, issuing the Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration of 1965. Born Giovanni Battista Montini in Italy in 1897, he became a priest in 1920 and was elevated to cardinal by his predecessor, Pope John XXIII, in 1958. During his 15-year papacy, he was dubbed the first pilgrim pope for his travels outside Italy.
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Giovanni Battista Montini was born in Concesio in Lombardy, Italy, on September 26, 1897. Due to ill health, Montini completed his seminary studies at home and was ordained to the priesthood in 1920, after which he pursued graduate studies at Rome’s Gregorian University. Following a brief stint in the Polish nunciature, he served in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State under Popes Pius XI and Pius XII. The latter named Montini Archbishop of Milan in 1954, and Pope John XXIII elevated him to the cardinalate in 1958. Montini played an important role in the planning of the Second Vatican Council, serving on the Central Preparatory Commission and the Technical-Organizational Commission.

Following Pope John’s death, Montini was elected pope on June 21, 1963, on the sixth ballot of voting, taking the name Paul VI. Pope Paul vowed to continue the work of Vatican II and dedicated his papacy to its implementation. Paul pursued a course of ecumenism, and, along with Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, he issued the Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration of 1965. As a sign of the Catholic Church’s postconciliar opening to the world, Paul became the first modern pope to travel internationally. Pope Paul also oversaw the introduction of the vernacular Mass and wrote a number of encyclicals reaffirming traditional Catholic teachings on the Eucharist, priestly celibacy, and contraception, as well as others lamenting the gap between rich and poor and calling for stronger ties between Catholics and non-Catholics. His 1968 encyclical Humane Vitae proved particularly controversial since many observers expected the pope to relax the church’s traditional ban on contraception. The negative backlash to this encyclical influenced Pope Paul to issue no more during his papacy. However, he did publish two other important documents: Octogesima Adveniens in 1971, which was a follow-up to Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum on the conditions of the working class; and, Evangelii Nuntiandi in 1975, which dealt with evangelization and human rights. Pope Paul died on August 6, 1978.
Religious Groups
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links

Second Vatican Council (Vatican II)
Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration
Publication of Encyclical Humanae Vitae

Pope Paul VI portrait- Hathi Trust- from Apostle for our Time by John G. Clancy

Pope Paul VI portrait- National Archive and Records Administration

Pope Paul VI with JFK- US Government Photo
Book/Journal Source(s)
Granfield, P., 2003. Paul VI, Pope. Detroit: Thomson/Gale; Washington, DC: The Catholic Universit of America.Notes: In New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, 2nd ed.: 26-33.)
Hebblethwaite, Peter, 1993. Paul VI: The First Modern Pope. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.
McBrien, Richard P., 1997. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to John Paul II. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.
Web Source(s)
This website, maintained by the Vatican, contains a collection of Paul VI's writings as pope.
Web Page Contributor
William S. Cossen
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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