Given that Pope Benedict XVI will resign this evening and a new Pope may well be elected within days, Mars Hill is looking at the reigns of the more recent Popes over the last fifty years.
Today we are looking at the reign of Pope Paul VI (1963-1978). Pope Paul was Archbishop of Milan when elected in 1963 and continued to carry out the reforms initiated by Pope John XXIII and continued the Second Vatican Council until 1965. The Council brought forward documents allowing Mass to be said in the vernacular, for more informality, spoke of the value of each person and the importance of religious freedom, which did much to help the Roman Catholic Churches in Eastern Europe. Pope Paul is also remembered for two of the Encyclicals he wrote Populorum Progressio in 1967, which called on the value of the Poor in the Third World, and Humanae Vitae in 1968, which reinforced the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on birth control and was understandably highly controversial. The anger and backlash from many quarters is said to have distressed Pope Paul to the point that he never wrote another encyclical.
Pope Paul VI was also the first Pope in over a Century to travel outside Italy and the first to visit countries outside Europe and the Middle East, including the United States, Uganda, and the Phillippines and the first to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Below is a brief overview of his Papacy, although they are wrong on one point. Giovanni Battista Montini (as Paul VI was known) was made Cardinal in 1958, not 1962