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Seven facts you didn't know about Paul VI

2014-10-18

Cardinal Montini was worried during the conclave, knowing full well what was waiting for for him. During his 15 years as Pope, he fearlessly confronted the challenges of his time through 7 surprising gestures. 

He sold the tiara
Believing that the Pope is not a monarch, he renounced the triple tiara one year after the conclave. It was sold with the money going to Mother Teresa of Calcutta. No Pope has used the tiara since. 

A group of American Catholics purchased the tiara for $1 million. Today, it is housed at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

The First traveling Pope
Pope VI exchanged the boat of Peter for an airplane. He visited 19 countries throughout the five continents in 9 Apostolic visits. The Pontiff visited New York, Iran, the Philippines, Colombia, and Portugal. Upon his return from the Holy Land, he went out on the streets of Rome to receive them with open arms. 

ROBERTO PAGLIALONGA
Author, "La Chiesa in uscita di Paolo VI”
"In each visit he asked organizers to let him meet directly with people and families. He also asked to visit the outskirts of the cities.”

Only 18 miles from China
In 1970, he visited Hong Kong. Although geographically a part of China, it was under British rule. In order to not upset Chairman Mao Zedong, then governor David Trench went on vacation and did not formally receive him. 

ROBERTO PAGLIALONGA
Author, "La Chiesa in uscita di Paolo VI”
"He was the first Pope who was geographically very close to China. He was able to speak directly to the people, with words of peace and love.”

Abolished the index of prohibited books
In 1966, Paul VI eliminated the index of Prohibited Books for Catholics, which had existed for four centuries. 

FR. GIANFRANCO GRIECO
Author, "Pablo VI. He visto, he creído"
"He was an intellectual and at the same time a person committed to dialogue between the Church and the world. He knew that one era had ended and another one was beginning.”

Fostered unity at the Second Vatican Council
Paul VI succeeded in an almost impossible feat: he brought the 2500 bishops participating in the Second Vatican Council into agreement. There he showed his ability to mediate without renouncing sound doctrine. 

Building bridges with the Orthodox Church
He was able to put an end to 1,000 years of distrust between Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Paul VI was the first Pope to meet the most important Orthodox leader. He did everything possible to establish a direct and personal friendship with him, while opening doors for the current good relations. 

The value of love
His encyclical Humanae Vitae marked the pontificate. Written at the height of the sexual revolution, the document confronted questions regarding contraception, the value of human life and marital love. And he did it despite facing pressure from Cardinals, theologians and advisors. 

ARCH. AGOSTINO MARCHETTO
Historian of Paul VI's pontificate
"When he began his pontificate, he said: I will be alone, I should be alone, I can't allow myself to be influenced by others. The charism the Lord has given me is personal.”

Paul VI died on August 6, 1978. He was above all an intellecual Pope, a solid reference point in an age of cultural confusion. Several days before his death he said that he tried his best to guard the faith and defend human life. That is his legacy.


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