Paul VI°

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PAUL VI ° (1897–1978), pope from 1963. Born Giovanni Battista Montini in Concesio, near Brescia, he was ordained in 1920. In 1922 he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State and in 1937 was appointed surrogate to the secretary of state, Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius xii). He was in daily contact with *Pius xii until 1954 and thus was a primary source of evidence for the latter's conduct during the war and his attitude toward the Jews. Montini was appointed prosecretary of state in 1952, archbishop of Milan in 1954, and became a cardinal in 1958. The second Vatican Council, convoked by his predecessor, *Johnxxiii, was brought to a conclusion by Paul vi (see *Church Councils). According to reliable sources, his personal intervention led to the approval of the Nostra Aetate declaration on the attitude of the Church to the non-Christian religions by those bishops who had been reluctant to give the declaration their approval even in its modified form. Paul vi promulgated the declaration in 1965. The pontificate of Paul vi is noted for the extensive trips undertaken by the pontiff. During his first major journey, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (January 4 to 6, 1964), he spent 12 hours in Israel, but avoided the use of the word "Israel" in all the addresses he made on this occasion. While his attitude toward the State of Israel was reserved, it appeared to have modified after the 1967 *Six-Day War. In 1969 the pope officially received for the first time Israel's foreign minister, Abba *Eban. On the other hand, Paul's sermons were not always in line with the council's declaration, especially his reference to the part played by the Jews in the death of Jesus in his sermon on Palm Sunday in 1965, which seemed to indicate a reversal to pre-council theological attitudes.


G. Schwaiger, Geschichte der Paepste im 20. Jahrhundert (1968); M. Serafian, The Pilgrim (1964); X. Rynne, Second Session (1964), Third Session (1965), Fourth Session (1966).

[Willehad Paul Eckert]