Beatification set for Pope Paul VI

Pope Francis approved a decree Saturday to beatify Pope Paul VI, the Vatican said in a statement.

Beatification is considered a step toward sainthood.

The ceremony is expected to be held October 19, at the conclusion of a general assembly of bishops, the Vatican said.

The announcement came two weeks after Pope Francis canonized two others of his predecessors, John XXIII and John Paul II, in an unprecedented ceremony witnessed by huge crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

Paul VI became pope in June 1963 and died in August 1978. A Vatican bio calls him "one of the most traveled popes in history and the first to visit five continents."

The Catholic Church came out against the use of any type of contraceptives in 1968. In an encyclical letter to Catholics entitled Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI outlined the church's teaching on the matter.

"Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children," the letter reads.

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