Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pope Paul VI

(Pics Scanned From Time Life's 'The Pope's Visit')

I have posted more pictures in my Flickr site, this time, of Pope Paul VI's pontificate. Giovannibattista Montini is famous and controversial throughout the Catholic world as someone who is either a progressive, enlightened reformer, or a destroyer of heritage. It is a well known fact that John XXIII, whom he was particularly close to in real life, referred to him many times as 'our Hamlet'. Montini was also in Pope Pius XII's inner circle; indeed, he often treated the gothic-miened Montini with the affection of a father to his son.

The relationship between the two was filled with a lot of emotion, and there is even an anecdote told of how Montini once wept when he heard his mentor was doing something he did not like (perhaps a policy change? We don't know). Montini was often hailed as the Vatican's most practiced diplomat, which is only natural, considering his own father was a lawyer. In any case, he will most likely be remembered as the Pope who gave us the Vatican II we know today. I happen to think he is a misunderstood figure, but I will save that thought for another time.

An interesting tidbit: when he was archbishop of Milan, Montini was always on the go and always ate sparingly. He also had a habit for driving at really fast speeds-- an anecdote from his chauffeur tells us that Montini liked to cruise at an average speed of 160kph, and whenever he thought the car would slow down, he would tell his driver, 'Antonio, are you asleep?' The driver would always consent, however.


latinmass1983 said...

Excellent pictures!!!!

But, why would he (Paul VI) be a misunderstood figure?

When he accepted all the changes he accepted, he knew what he was doing. We should give the benefit of the doubt as to the intentions he had (that they were good), but he did know that those changed would not be good. And, he ignored (completely) those who were telling/begging him to stop them or revoke them.

Archistrategos said...


Paul VI was human too. He was also capable of making mistakes. I think he detested the results of his Council on more than one occasion, but did not have the will to speak out against it. He might have been liberal all his life, but then again, liberalism understood in the proper context does not, and did not always mean having anarchist tendencies. Yes, it is true, much of the change that came with the Council were regrettable, Paul VI might have been TOO silent in the face of his bishops arrogating power for themselves. But was this not also the Pope who stridently defended human life in 'Humanae Vitae'? He was certainly a complex figure, and I hope, for his part, that he knew what he was doing.

Andrew said...

Pope Paul VI is an interesting and complex figure. On the one hand, he gave us Humanae Vitae, going against the recommendation of his Commission and listening instead to an obscure Cardinal from Cracow. On the other, he refuses to defend Humanae vitae and refuses to discipline those to publicly dissent against it. He hangs bishops who were brave enough, or at the time, felt that they were merely going their job by disciplining the dissenters, out to dry.

He listens to Bugnini wholesale (well almost, Bugnini wanted to kill the rosary but Paul VI did not allow it) and then exiles him.

He was personally orthodox, wearing a hair shirt and all, but tolerated liberal dissent to an absurd extent. But he had no tolerance for traditional dissent at all, if Lefebvre's recollections of the suppression of the SSPX Econe seminary and Lefebvre's personal treatment at the Vatican is to be believed.

Truly conflicting. No wonder people believed he's been kidnapped and replaced with an impostor =)

Anyway, my own analysis of the situation is here, if you hav the time...

Confusion in the Church Pt 1
Confusion in the Church Pt 2

Too bad I can't seem to find the time to complete it....