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He became the first pope to visit all five continents. Paul VI systematically continued and completed the efforts of his predecessors, to turn the Euro-centric Church into a Church for the whole world, by integrating the bishops from all continents in its government and in the Synods which he convened. His August 6, 1967 Motu Proprio Pro Comperto Sane opened the Roman Curia to the bishops of the world. Until then, only Cardinals could be leading members of the Curia.
An inner joy seems to have been a characteristic of Paul VI. His confessor, the Jesuit Paolo Dezza arrived at the Vatican every Friday evening at seven p.m. to hear confession of Paul VI. The only words he ever spoke about his long service to Paul VI during his pontificate were, that this pope is a man of great joy. After the death of Pope Paul VI, Dezza was more outspoken, saying that
"if Paul VI was not a saint, when he was elected pope, he became one during his pontificate. I was able to witness not only with what energy and dedication he toiled for Christ and the Church but also and above all, how much he suffered (!) for Christ and the Church. I always admired not only his deep inner resignation but also his constant abandonment to divine providence".
It is this character trait, which led to the opening of the process of beatification and canonization ((Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church) the act of admitting a deceased person into the canon of saints) for Paul VI.
With the accession of Pope John Paul II after the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I (who only survived as pope for 33 days), the church had, for the first time since Pope Adrian VI in the 16th century, a non-Italian pope. John Paul II has been credited with helping to bring down communism in eastern Europe by sparking what amounted to a peaceful revolution in his Polish homeland. Lech Wałęsa, one of the several founders of the Solidarity worker movement that ultimately toppled communism, credited John Paul with giving Poles the courage to rise up. The last Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged publicly the role of John Paul II in the fall of Communism. The pope himself stated after the fall of Communism that "the claim to build a world without God has been shown to be an illusion" (Prague, April 21, 1990).
But this world without God exists in Capitalism too. Therefore, as did his predecessors, so did John Paul repeatedly, the content of Christianity (righteousness), its religious and moral messages (various rituals and other methodologies), its defense of ordinary human person and warned against the dangers of capitalism. Finally he suggests that, "Unfortunately, not all that West proposes as a theoretical vision or as a concrete lifestyle reflects values of Gospel".
The long pontificate of John Paul is credited with re-creating a sense of stability and even identity to the Catholic Church after years of questioning and searching. His teaching was firm and unwavering on issues, which seemed to be in doubt under his predecessor including the ordination of women, liberation theology and priestly celibacy. He virtually stopped the liberal isolationistic policy of 'problem priests' policy', of Pope Paul VI, which inadvertently may have contributed to problems in the USA. His authoritative style was reminiscent of Pope Pius XII, whose teaching he repeated in his own words, such as the identity of the Catholic Church with the Body of Christ and his condemnations of capitalism "viruses": secularism, attitude of indifference to life, epicurean (enjoying life) consumerism, practical materialism, and also formal atheism (believing God, but not exactly Jesus). Pope feared that all these attitudes may challenge the position of Church within the Christian society, particularly educated ones from America.
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