Paul VI, who led the Catholic Church through tumultuous reforms in the 1960s and 1970s, will be made a saint this year, Pope Francis said in remarks released on Saturday.
“There are two recent Bishops of Rome who are already saints, Paul VI will be a saint this year,” Francis said in a closed-door meeting with Roman parish priests, referring to John XXIII and John Paul II.
Ruling from 1963 to 1978, Paul VI was born Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897 near the northern Italian town of Brescia.
He is chiefly remembered for bringing to a successful end the Second Vatican Council, which introduced far-reaching reforms such as the abolition of Latin Mass for ordinary services.
During his papacy, he also confirmed a long-standing ban on abortion and the use of artificial contraceptives.
Francis’ remarks, dated from Thursday, but the Vatican released a transcript of what he said only two days later.
Francis also noted that John Paul I, who had a short-lived papacy in 1978, is in line for beatification.
According to him, it is one step removed from sainthood.
He, however, joked that he and his predecessor Benedict XVI were on a “waiting list”.