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Pope Beatifies Paul VI

The tapestry with the image of Pope Paul VI is unveiled as Pope Francis celebrates the mass for his beatification in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Oct. 19, 2014.

Pope Francis has moved one of his predecessors closer to sainthood, beatifying Pope Paul VI in a Mass on the last day of the meeting of bishops and church leaders in Rome.

Paul was elected in 1963, succeeding the popular Pope John XXIII and inheriting the responsibility of implementing the reforms of Vatican II.

Paul oversaw the Church's transformation of saying the Mass in local languages instead of Latin. Paul also visited a number of continents during his tenure.

But while Paul was pope during the tumultuous 1960s, he is perhaps best known for the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae which enshrined the Church's opposition to artificial contraception.

Pope Francis said in his homily Sunday that "God is not afraid of new things. The pope said "this is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways."

The message might have been a veiled memo to the church leaders at the Mass who earlier in the day removed language from a new Vatican document that would have allowed divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion and would have eased the Church's stance on homosexuals.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.