The Pope Francisco beatified this Sunday in Rome a John Paul Iknown as the “Dad of the smile”who in 1978 occupied the throne of Peter for 33 days, in one of the shortest pontificates in history.
Thousands of faithful, including the Italian President Sergio Mattarellaattended in the rain to the beatification mass in St. Peter’s Square. The mass is the stage prior to canonization that elevates a deceased faithful Catholic to the dignity of a saint.
During the ceremony, a large tapestry depicting John Paul I hung on one of the walls basilica of Saint Peter.
“With his smile, he Pope Luciani managed to convey the goodness of the Lord. It is beautiful a Church with a cheerful, serene and smiling face, that never closes its doors, that does not harden hearts, that does not complain or harbor resentments, that is not angry or impatient, that does not appear harsh or suffer because of the nostalgia of the past”, said the Pope Francisco during the homily.
Albino Lucianiwhich took the name of Juan Pablo being chosen dad in August 1978, at the age of 65, was a popular figure and close to the parishioners. She succeeded Paul VI and it was the last Italian Pope till the date. He died of a heart attack just 33 days and 6 hours later.
When did John Paul I die?
In the early hours of September 29, 1978, a nun discovered his lifeless body, sitting on the bed, with his glasses on and some leaves in his hands. An autopsy was not performed to confirm the cause of death.
The announcement of his death was surrounded by inconsistencies and false information and even fed the poisoning murder theory to prevent him from putting order in the affairs of the Church and, in particular, in the bank of the Vaticanwhere financial misappropriation had been detected.
But this “conspiracy hypothesis” was due above all to the “calamitous communication” of the Vaticanaccording to Christophe Henningjournalist and author of the book “Petite vie de Jean Paul Ier” (Short life of John Paul I).
Like Henningmany specialists reject this hypothesis, considering that it is based more on a set of coincidences than on tangible elements.
The Italian journalist Stefania Falasca -which actively supports the canonization of John Paul I– also denied those rumors in a book published in 2017 and prefaced by the archbishop Pietro ParolinSecretary of State of the Holy See (number two of the Vatican).
Who was Pope John Paul I?
Albino Lucianiwhich took the name of Juan Pablo being chosen dad, was born in 1912 in northern Italy, in a very modest working-class family. He was a seminarian and received a doctorate in theology. In 1969 Paul VI named him Patriarch of Venice and in 1973 he was elevated to Cardinal.
Considered a man of consensus, he achieved during his brief pontificate print a simpler style in the exercise of its mission, although it remained isolated within the Curia, the government of the Vatican.
defended the Church opposition to abortion and contraceptive methods, while initiating an internal reform. Very sensitive to poverty, he also affirmed the importance of giving a “fair wage” to everyone.
With a “great simplicity and a strong pastoral fiber”, John Paul I “he humanized the (papal) office and simplified everything that was protocol,” he explained. Christophe Henning.
Sister Margaret Marinwho attended John Paul I in the papal apartments, he recalls a man “kind to everyone.” He “treated his collaborators with great respect, apologizing for disturbing them. I never saw him get impatient with anyone,” the nun recalled.
Beatification requires recognition of a miracle
The one attributed to Albino Luciani is healing in 2011 in Buenos Aires of an 11-year-old girl who was dying, but who recovered thanks to the prayers of a priest invoking John Paul I. To be canonized, the Vatican must recognize a second miracle.
Among recent popes, they were canonized the Italians John XXIII (1958-1963) and Paul VI (1963-1978) and the Polish John Paul II (1978-2005).