As Pope, Paul reconsidered the Second Vatican Council, and continued the reforms of John XXIII. Furthermore, He supervised implications of many of its reforms, such as the vernacularization and reform of the liturgy. He heightened an international synod of bishops, who were ordered to set up councils of priests in their own dioceses. Powers of dispensation were handed over from the Roman Curia onto the bishops and rules on fasting and abstinence were made more lenient as well as there becoming some restrictions on intermarriage were lifted. There was also the establishment of the commission to revise canon law revision.
In 1964, Paul became the first pope in over 150 years to leave Italy and he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This was followed up by a trip to India in 1964 and a trip to the United States in 1965, where he addressed the United Nations. He also visited Africa in 1969 and Southeast Asia in 1970. The Vatican made better relations with the Communists and their leaders visited the Vatican for the first time. He also met with other church leaders and in 1969 addressed the World Council of Churches, and limited doctrinal agreements were reached with the Anglicans and Lutherans. Paul issued frequent reassertions of papal primacy in the face of growing dissent within the Roman Catholic Church itself and he enlarged the College of Cardinals by adding more people from third world countries.
In the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, Paul upset many liberals as he reaffirmed the church's ban on contraception. This led to many protests and many national hierarchies openly modified the statement. Liberals asked questions about priestly celibacy, divorce, and the womens role in the church, but Paul held to traditional church positions. Sadly Paul died on 6th August 1978.