Pope Paul VI inches one step closer to sainthood

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A painting of Pope Paul VI, who issued the Humanae Vitae encycical in 1968, at the Casa Santa Maria dell'Umilta of the Pontifical North American College, Rome. Religion News Service file photo by Rene Shaw.

A painting of Pope Paul VI, who issued the Humanae Vitae encycical in 1968, at the Casa Santa Maria dell'Umilta of the Pontifical North American College, Rome. Religion News Service file photo by Rene Shaw.

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Paul VI, who guided the Catholic Church through a tumultuous period of change in the 1960s and 70s, took a crucial first step toward possible sainthood when Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday (Dec. 20) recognized his predecessor's "heroic virtues." By Alessandro Speciale.