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He Was the Pope Who Stood Firm Against the Sexual Revolution. Now He's One Step Closer to Sainthood.

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"God is not afraid of new things!"

The statue of St. Peter's is back dropped by prelates waiting for the start of the beatification ceremony of Pope Paul VI and a mass for the closing of of a two-week synod on family issues celebrated by Pope Francis, in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

VATICAN CITY (TheBlaze/AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday beatified Pope Paul VI, concluding the remarkable meeting of bishops debating family issues that drew parallels to the tumultuous reforms of the Second Vatican Council which Paul oversaw and implemented.

Pope Francis leads a mass for the beatification of Paul VI, who died in 1978, and the end of Vatican's synod on the family at St Peter's square on October 19, 2014 at the Vatican. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI was on hand for the Mass, which took place just hours after Catholic bishops approved a document charting a more pastoral approach to ministering to Catholic families.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, left, greets Pope Francis prior to the start of the beatification ceremony of Pope Paul VI and a mass for the closing of a two-week synod on family issues, in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

They failed to reach consensus on the two most divisive issues at the synod: on welcoming gays and divorced and civilly remarried couples. But the issues remain up for discussion ahead of another meeting of bishops next year.

Pope Francis (C) leads a mass for the beatification of Paul VI, who died in 1978, and the end of Vatican's synod on the family at St Peter's square on October 19, 2014 at the Vatican. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

"God is not afraid of new things!" Francis exclaimed in his homily Sunday. "That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways."

He quoted Paul himself as saying the church, particularly its synod of bishops, must survey the signs of the times to make sure the church adapts methods to respond to the "growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society."

The statue of St. Peter's is back dropped by prelates waiting for the start of the beatification ceremony of Pope Paul VI and a mass for the closing of of a two-week synod on family issues celebrated by Pope Francis, in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Paul was elected in 1963 to succeed the popular Pope John XXIII, and during his 15-year reign was responsible for implementing the reforms of Vatican II and charting the church through the tumultuous years of the 1960s sexual revolution.

The tapestry of Pope Paul VI is displayed on St. Peter's Basilica during the beatification ceremony and a mass for the closing of of a two-week synod on family issues celebrated by Pope Francis, in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Vatican II opened the way for Mass to be said in local languages instead of in Latin, called for greater involvement of the laity in the life of the church and revolutionized the church's relations with people of other faiths.

He is perhaps best known, though, for the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which enshrined the church's opposition to artificial contraception.

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