This biography of Paul VI, who was Pope from 1963 to 1978, draws conclusions about his contribution to the modern papacy. Unlike his predecessor, John XXIII, there are few anecdotes about Paul. There is consequently no "industry" surrounding him. And yet, the author argues, he was probably a richer and deeper personality, and his pontificate was ...
This biography of Paul VI, who was Pope from 1963 to 1978, draws conclusions about his contribution to the modern papacy. Unlike his predecessor, John XXIII, there are few anecdotes about Paul. There is consequently no "industry" surrounding him. And yet, the author argues, he was probably a richer and deeper personality, and his pontificate was of more decisive importance for the future of the Church. There had, he suggests, been unreasonable liberal optimism at the death of John XXIII. Paul was bound to disappoint, given these expectations. As it was, he consolidated the post-Vatican II Church with a mixture of openness and fidelity.
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Publishers Weekly, 1993-02-08 In this scrupulous, densely detailed biography, veteran Vatican reporter Hebblethwaite ( John XXIII ) convincingly portrays Paul VI, pontiff from 1963 to 1978, as thoughtfully and judiciously engaged with the political, social and religious issues of the day. Though Hebblethwaite explores the background of Giovanni Battista Montini, born in 1897 in Brescia, Italy, the book is mainly an institutional history of the church and Montini's role in it, based on accounts from sources from several countries. As chaplain of a student movement, Montini opposed Fascism; he was a close adviser to Pope Pius XII during WW II and after; as Archbishop of Milan, he rebuilt the diocese and supported the ecclesiological changes of Pope John XXIII's Vatican II. As pope, Paul VI traveled the world, becoming the first pope to visit the U.S. and Africa; he committed the Church to working with the United Nations and was the first pope to take part in an ecumenical service. Paul VI, the author argues, had a more nuanced view of ethics than was suggested by the ``Pope Bans Pill'' headlines that summarized his 1968 encyclical letter on birth control, Humanae Vitae. Observing that many people, including Pope John Paul II, now criticize Paul VI, the author ably--though at too great length--defends his pontificate. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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