Methodist and Presbyterian Church leaders in Northern Ireland pay tribute to Pope Paul VI who died on 6 August 1978.

Following the death of Pope John XXIII in 1963, Giovanni Battista Montini, was elected as the next pope, choosing the name Paul VI. Until his death on 6 August 1978, Pope Paul VI led the Catholic Church through an era of great change. He strove to relate the Church to the modern world and showed concern for the relations of the Church with other religious bodies.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Reverend David Burke believes Pope Paul VI was a courageous man in his pursuit of the truth who will always be associated with peace.

In many ways he was a liberal and a conservative liberal in so many ways for the freedom of mankind, a conservative in regard to his own teaching and theology of his church.

The President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Reverend John Turner says Pope Paul VI was

A gentleman in the truest sense of that word, yet I feel there was a tenacity and a firmness about him he didn’t compromise on the truth as he understood it.

He thinks others may have compromised under the public opinion in certain issues on which Pope Paul VI took a stand.

Although he followed the very charismatic figure of Pope John XXIII, Reverend Turner believes history will remember Pope Paul VI.

As the one who reached out to other churches, who held his own church together in a time of great change.

Pope Paul VI’s pontificate was confronted with the problems and uncertainties of a church facing a new role in the contemporary world.

The forces were so great for change when he became pope that the church could have been divided but I think that he held his own church together and yet never lost the good will of other churches.

Pope Paul VI was succeeded by Pope John Paul I.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 7 August 1978.