World News

Pope Paul VI ‘could be canonised this year’


Blessed Paul VI could be declared a saint in 2018, according to the newspaper of his home diocese.

La Voce del Popolo, the newspaper of the Diocese of Brescia, reported that the medical and theological commissions of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes both gave positive opinions about a healing that could be the miracle needed for the pope’s canonisation.

The cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation still need to vote for recognition of the miracle, and Francis must recognise it before holding a consistory to approve the canonisation.

But the headline in the diocesan newspaper proclaimed: “It will be the year of St Paul VI”.

“The rumours are so insistent and the steps so quick that everything indicates 2018 will be the year of the canonisation of Blessed Paul VI,” the paper reported.

A canonisation in 2018 “is more than a hope”, the newspaper said. “The month of October could be the right one,” given that the synod of bishops would be meeting. Blessed Paul VI re-established the Synod of Bishops as a permanent advisory body in 1965. “What better occasion could there be to canonise, before such a significant portion of the College of Bishops, the other pope of the Second Vatican Council?” the paper asked.

The theological commission met and voted to recognise the intercession of Blessed Paul in healing an unborn baby and helping her grow to full term, the newspaper said. The baby’s mother, who was told she had a very high risk of miscarrying the baby, had prayed for Blessed Paul’s intercession a few days after his beatification in 2014.

Australia’s royal commission attacks Seal of Confession

The Church should reconsider the Seal of the Confessional in cases of sexual abuse, Australia’s royal commission has said.

The commission, which spent five years investigating institutional responses to child abuse, made 400 recommendations, 20 of which were aimed at the Catholic Church.

Among these it said the Church should consider whether “absolution can and should be withheld” if someone confessed to perpetrating child abuse.

It also recommended that Australia’s bishops ask the Vatican to consider introducing voluntary celibacy for clergy.

The commission said that although celibacy was not a direct cause of child sexual abuse, it was a contributing factor.

Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne said he did not foresee the Church changing the Seal of Confession in any way. “I cannot break the seal … I revere the law of the land and I trust it, but this is a sacred, spiritual charge before God which I must honour, and I have to try and do what I can with both.”

He said the Australian bishops would pass on the celibacy recommendation to the Vatican, but added: “I believe that there are real values in celibacy.”

Pope treated to dancing bears

Circus performers dressed as giant polar bears performed for Pope Francis at the end of the last general audience of 2017.

After the two bears did a little dance, female acrobats dressed in green dragon-print leotards formed a human pyramid before a male troupe in fake leopard skins leapt into more gravity-defying poses.

A muscular strongman bent a piece of metal and gave it to the Pope, who thanked him for the present. The performers were from Italy’s Golden Circus.