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Rome Reports

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Paul VI: His discreet but profound influence on the pontificate of Pope Francis

Paul VI shaped Pope Francis's perspective on evangelization in a special way. Jorge Mario Bergoglio took great steps in his life during Paul VI's Pontificate. In 1969 he was ordained a priest at the age of 32 and in 1973 he made his solemn vows in the Society of Jesus.

What attracted Pope Francis the most about Paul VI was the depth of his evangelizing spirit. This is contained in his document “Evangelii Nuntiandi,” where tips are given on how to speak of God in the modern world.

June 16, 2014
“Still to this day it is the most important post-conciliar pastoral document, which hasn’t been surpassed. We should always go back to it. This Apostolic Exhortation is a great source of inspiration. It was the work of the great Paul VI by his own hand. This is because after that Synod, they couldn’t decide whether they should ask for an exhortation or not... and finally the relator, the future Pope John Paul II, took all the papers and just handed them to the pope, as if to say: 'You handle it, brother!' Paul VI read them all with great patience and began to write. To me that is truly the pastoral testament of the great Paul VI.”

The other key point of Paul VI's pontificate for Pope Francis was the ideas of the Second Vatican Council. It established basic guidelines on the role of the laity, and the relationship between bishops and the pontiff. Two fundamental issues that are key to his pontificate.

May 18, 2015
“Lay people with an authentic Christian formation, shouldn't need a pilot bishop or a pilot monsignor, or a clerical presence to take on responsibilities on all levels.”

The influence of Paul VI on Pope Francis is profound. Paul VI is the pope he most often quotes. 

However, he left his mark not only on Pope Francis but also on his predecessors. John Paul II developed in his catechesis the message of Paul VI's encyclical “Humanae Vitae;” and Benedict XVI was impressed by how Paul VI viewed the relationship between the Church and the modern world.