John Paul I, short-lived “smiling pope”, beatified in Rome

John Paul I, ephemeral “smiling pope”, beatified in Rome

Pope John Paul I during his 33-day reign in 1978. (archives) < /p>

His 33-day reign was one of the shortest in the history of the papacy: John Paul I, short-lived pontiff who died in 1978, was beatified on Sunday in Rome by Pope Francis.

< p class="e-p">A few thousand faithful, including Italian President Sergio Mattarella, braved the rain and thunder, shielding themselves with umbrellas, in St. Peter's Square for the beatification mass – a stage preceding the canonization and becoming a saint – from the smiling pope, who had already been declared venerable in 2017.

A large tapestry depicting John Paul I, hanging on one of the walls of St. Peter's Basilica, was discovered during the ceremony.

With a smile, Pope Luciani succeeded in transmitting the goodness of the Lord, Pope Francis said during his homily.

“It is beautiful a Church with a joyful, serene and smiling face, which never closes the doors, which does not harden hearts, which does not complain and which does not harbor resentment, which does not x27;is not angry or intolerant, who does not present himself in a surly way, who does not suffer from nostalgia for the past. »

— Pope Francis

Last Italian pope, Albino Luciani, popular and close to the people, succeeded Paul VI in August 1978, at the age of 65 years. But he died 33 days and 6 hours later from a heart attack.

In the early hours of September 29, 1978, a nun had discovered his lifeless body, sitting in bed with his glasses over his nose and a few typed sheets in his hands. However, no autopsy was conducted to confirm the cause of his death.

The announcement of his death was surrounded by many inconsistencies and misinformation. It even fueled the theory of an assassination by poisoning, as the new pontiff wanted to put order in the affairs of the Church, and in particular in the financial embezzlement within the bank. of the Vatican.

This conspiracy hypothesis was reinforced by a calamitous communication from the Vatican at the time, underlines with Agende France-Presse (AFP) Christophe Henning, journalist and author of the book Petite vie de Jean Paul Ier.

Like him, many specialists have questioned this hypothesis.

In a book published in 2017 and prefaced by the number two of the Vatican, Bishop Pietro Parolin, the Italian journalist Stefania Falasca, who supported the file of beatification and canonization of John Paul I, had also debunked these rumors.

It was Pope Paul Vl who made Albino Luciani a cardinal, the one who would later become John Paul I.

Born in 1912 in northern Italy. Italy within a very modest working-class family, Albino Luciani, doctor of theology made patriarch of Venice, had been made cardinal by Paul VI in 1973.

During his short pontificate , John Paul I, seen as a man of consensus, managed to imprint a simpler style in his way of being pope.

He championed the Church's opposition to abortion and contraception, while initiating internal reform. Very sensitive to poverty, he also affirmed the importance of giving a fair wage to all.

Very simple, endowed with a strong pastoral fiber, he humanized the [papal] function and simplified everything that was protocol, explains AFP Christophe Henning.

Sister Margherita Marin, who assisted John Paul I in the papal apartments, remembers a friendly man with everyone.

He treated his collaborators with great respect, apologizing for disturbing them. I never saw him show impatience with anyone, the nun recalled Friday during a press conference.

The recognition of heroic virtues precedes a beatification, which requires a miracle. It then takes a second miracle, validated by the Vatican, to be canonized and obtain the status of saint.

The miracle attributed to Albino Luciani is the unexplained healing, in 2011 in Buenos Aires , of an 11-year-old girl who was dying but reportedly recovered thanks to the prayers of the local priest invoking John Paul I.

Among recent popes, the Italians John XXIII ( 1958-1963) and Paul VI (1963-1978) as well as the Pole John Paul II (1978-2005) were canonized.

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