It was a symbolic morning at the Vatican which was led by three Popes: Pope Francis declared Paul VI blessed, accompanied by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Benedict XVI, although frail, followed the ceremony attentively.
In front of thousands of people, the Pope inscribed Paul VI in the Book of Saints.
"We declare that the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI, Pope, shall henceforth be invoked as Blessed...”
As is usual during beatifications, this tapestry was unveiled on the facade of the basilica. From there, the newly Blessed seemed to gaze at the crowd with a loving smile.
"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 was an intellectual Pope, whose thoughts continue to incluence the Church today. He is most likely one of the often quoted Pontiffs by Pope Francis, who admires his texts on the apostolate.
Blessed Paul VI served as Pope for 15 years until his death in 1978. During that time he traveled to 19 countries in all 5 continents. He became one of the strongest voices for peace and the defense of human life.
His feast day will be celebrated on September 26th, the day of his birth.