In a post for The Washington Post’s On Faith blog, Mathew Schmalz, associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross, remembers Pope Paul VI—and what he calls a “kind Catholicism”—from his childhood.
While putting Pope Paul VI—who was sometimes “perceived as either ineffectual or obstructionist”—on the path to sainthood struck some as a surprise, Schmalz contends that “Paul VI is an important figure for considering where Catholicism has come in the last fifty years and where it might go in the future.”
“Pope Paul is also an important figure for me personally,” he wrote. “He was the first Pope that I remember when I saw Catholicism through a child’s eyes.”
He continued, “I hope that those who are young now approach the Catholic Church of today with the inquisitive enthusiasm that I did back then. But for those who struggle with a Catholicism that appears to be less than kind, and for those who have experienced the anger that characterizes too much of contemporary Catholic life, I would recommend looking to Pope Paul VI and considering what his virtues might teach us about being Catholic in the heady days of Vatican II and in our own no less challenging time.”
This “Holy Cross in the News” item by Kristine Maloney.