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Home LATEST NEWS John Paul I, Briefly Serving, 'Smiling' Pope, Is Beatified

John Paul I, Briefly Serving, ‘Smiling’ Pope, Is Beatified

By FRANCES D’EMILIO, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday beatified one of his predecessors, John Paul I, a short-serving pontiff noted for his humility and joy, whose sudden death in his bedroom in 1978 shocked the world. and fueled suspicion for years. about his death.

The ceremony in St. Peter’s Square was the last formal step in the Vatican before the possible sainthood of Albino Luciani, an Italian who died 33 days after being elected pontiff.

John Paul I “communicated the goodness of the Lord with a smile,” Francis said in his homily. Francis encouraged people to pray to the recently beatified ecclesiastic to “obtain for us the smile of the soul.”

Last year, Francis approved of a miracle attributed to the intercession of John Paul I: the recovery of a seriously ill 11-year-old girl in 2011 in Buenos Aires. Candela Giarda, now a young woman, told a Vatican news conference last week via video message that she wanted to attend the ceremony but she couldn’t because she recently broke her foot while exercising in A gym.

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Sitting under a canopy outside St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis led the ceremony, which was marked by thunder, lightning and torrential rain, prompting cardinals, bishops, the choir and thousands of worshipers in the square to open umbrellas.

When he was elected pontiff on August 26, 1978, Luciani, 65, was serving as patriarch of Venice, one of the most prestigious positions in the church. In that role, as well as previously as a bishop in northeastern Italy, Luciani issued warnings against corruption, including in banking circles.

In his brief pontificate, which ended with the discovery of his body in his bedroom in the Apostolic Palace, John Paul I immediately established a simple and direct way of communicating with the faithful in the speeches he delivered, a change in style considered revolutionary considering the congestion of the church hierarchy.

Those who have campaigned for his sainthood someday have underlined his deep spirituality and his relentless emphasis on key Christian virtues: faith, hope and charity.

“Let us pray, in his own words: ‘Lord, take me as I am, with my flaws, with my flaws, but make me become what you want me to be,'” Francis said.

John Paul II “lived without compromise,” Francis said, praising Luciani for having “overcome the temptation to put one’s ‘I’ at the center or seek glory.”

Although the Vatican said John Paul died of a heart attack, it gave conflicting accounts of the circumstances of how his body was discovered. He first said that a priest serving as his secretary found him, but later acknowledged that John Paul II was found dead by one of the nuns who brought him his usual morning coffee.

With a major financial scandal unfolding at the time in Italy involving figures who had gone to the Vatican bank, suspicions quickly took root in the secular media that perhaps Luciani was poisoned because he intended to stamp out wrongdoing.

Books speculating about the circumstances surrounding his death, especially since no autopsy was performed, have sold millions of copies.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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