Two steps now remain before the beatification date is announced. The Pope’s promulgation of the Decree of Heroic Virtues, expected on 20 December, when the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, will attend an Audience with the Pope to present the decrees for the beatification process. It is highly likely Benedict XVI will approve the beatification in light of the unanimous vote of the cardinals and bishops and historical diatribes as was the case with Pius XII. The Pope took some time before deciding to approve Pius XII’s beatification. After the papal decree, Paul VI will receive the title “Venerable”, marking the conclusion of the process.
The second step that is necessary before Paul VI can be officially canonized is the recognition of a miracle, a miraculous healing attributable to Paul VI after his death. The postulator of Paul VI’s cause, Fr. Antonio Marrazzo, has examined the list of reported miracles performed by the late pope and has picked a case of “healing” which upon first examination appears unexplainable. The alleged miracle involves the healing of an unborn child which was witnessed sixteen years ago in California. During the pregnancy, doctors had found a serious problem with the foetus and because of the effects this problem was known to have on the brain, the only possible solution for the young mother was to have an abortion. The woman had wanted to go through with the pregnancy and entrusted herself to the intercession of Paul VI, the Pope who wrote the 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae”. The child was born without any health impairments: the family has to wait until the child reaches the age of fifteen before confirmation of complete healing can be given. But a second unexplainable case of healing - involving a nun diagnosed with a tumour - could also be presented to the Vatican Congregation for examination.
The Pope intends to proceed as quickly as possible. The beatification is expected by the end of the Year of Faith. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Montini’s election as Pope and the 35th anniversary of his death.