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John Paul I: It took him only 33 days to leave a lasting legacy


Cardinal Paolin stresses the importance of the pontificate of the first pope elected after Vatican II.

The importance of John Paul I’s pontificate “is inversely proportional to its duration,” says Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis’ secretary of state.

The cardinal said this about the 33-day pontificate when he participated March 13 in a presentation in Venice, Italy, of a new work on Pope John Paul I (1978), reported L’Osservatore Romano.

Cardinal Albino Luciani was not elected pope “to be a pastor, but because he was one already,” Cardinal Parolin reflected.

In only one month on Peter’s Throne, he was able to leave behind “a testimony, without losing the essence, of the foundation of authentically living in the Church and for the Church.”

As the first pontiff elected after the closing of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the “smiling pope” was a true “Apostle of the council,” Cardinal Parolin said. His teaching allowed the Church to progress in “the directions given by the council,” in particular a “return to the origins of the Gospel and a renewed mission.”

Entitled Papa Luciani, cronaca di una morte (Pope Luciani: Chronicle of a Death), this book was published in Italy last November. Written by the journalist Stefania Falasca, vice-postulator for the cause of the beatification of John Paul I, this work notably includes the witness account of a religious who discovered the body of the pontiff after his death. This account refutes the various theories of the events, among which is the hypothesis that John Paul I was a pope assassinated or crushed by his burden.

On November 9, Pope Francis recognized the heroic virtues of his last Italian predecessor. The recognition of a miracle attributed to his intercession must be confirmed for his beatification.

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