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John Paul I, briefly serving, ‘smiling” pope, is beatified

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday beatified one among his predecessors, John Paul I, a briefly serving pontiff who distinguished himself along with his humility and cheerfulness, and whose abrupt demise in his bed room in 1978 shocked the world and fueled suspicions for years about his demise.

The ceremony in St. Peter’s Sq. constituted the final formal step within the Vatican earlier than doable sainthood for Albino Luciani, an Italian who died 33 days after being elected pontiff.

“With a smile, Pope John Paul managed to speak the goodness of the Lord,” Francis mentioned in his homily.

“How stunning is a church with a cheerful, serene and smiling face, that by no means closes doorways, by no means hardens hearts, by no means complains or harbors resentments, isn’t offended, doesn’t look dour or undergo nostalgia for the previous,” the pontiff mentioned.

Francis then inspired individuals to wish to the newly beatified churchman to “acquire for us the smile of the soul.”

Final 12 months, Francis permitted a miracle attributed to the intercession of John Paul I — that of the restoration of a critically unwell 11-year-old woman in 2011 in Buenos Aires, the hometown of the present pope. Now a younger girl, Candela Giarda advised a Vatican press convention final week through a video message that she had needed to attend the ceremony however couldn’t as a result of she lately broke a foot figuring out in a fitness center.

For Luciani to be declared a saint, one other miracle, following his beatification, should be attributed to his intercession and authorized by the Vatican.

Seated beneath a cover outdoors St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis led the ceremony, which was punctuated by booms of thunder, flashes of lightning and pouring rain, prompting cardinals, bishops, the choir and 1000’s of rank-and-file devoted within the sq. to open umbrellas.

However by the tip of the ceremony, the solar was shining, and Francis, waving whereas seated in a popemobile, toured the sq., waving to the gang, a few of whom shouted, “Lengthy dwell the pope!”

When elected pontiff on Aug. 26, 1978, Luciani, 65, had been serving as patriarch of Venice, one of many church’s extra prestigious positions. In that function in addition to that beforehand as a bishop in northeastern Italy, Luciani sounded warnings towards corruption, together with in banking circles.

In his short-lived papacy, which concluded with the invention of his physique in his bed room within the Apostolic Palace, John Paul I instantly established a easy, direct method of speaking with the devoted within the addresses he gave, a method change thought-about revolutionary contemplating the stuffiness of the atmosphere of church hierarchy.

Those that have campaigned for him to sometime be made a saint have burdened his deep spirituality and his tireless emphasis on key Christian virtues — religion, hope and charity.

John Paul “lived with out compromise,” Francis mentioned, praising him as mild-tempered, humble pastor.

Luciani overcame “the temptation to his personal self on the heart and to hunt one’s glory,” the pontiff mentioned.

The Vatican mentioned John Paul died of a coronary heart assault, however no post-mortem was achieved. It gave conflicting variations of the circumstances of how his physique was found. First it mentioned {that a} priest who served as his secretary discovered him, however later acknowledged John Paul was discovered useless by one of many nuns who introduced him his customary morning espresso.

With an enormous monetary scandal creating on the time in Italy involving figures who had hyperlinks to the Vatican’s financial institution, suspicions shortly took root within the secular media that maybe Luciani was poisoned as a result of he supposed to root out wrongdoing.

Books speculating on the circumstances surrounding his demise offered hundreds of thousands of copies.


Alessandra Tarantino contributed to this report.

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