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Rome Reports

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John Paul I, the Pope who did not want to reign, to be beatified on Sunday

On Sunday, September 4, Pope Francis will preside over the beatification ceremony of one of his predecessors, John Paul I. It will take place in St. Peter's Square, where the Church will set a pope who did away with a historic tradition as an example.


Albino Luciani, as a newly elected Pope, decided not to be crowned—the first time in centuries. And this fits perfectly—it is very coherent—with his nature as a humble man to the point that his episcopal motto, chosen twenty years before, in 1958, when Pope John XXIII named him Bishop of Vittorio Beneto, was 'Humilitas'—that is humility.

One of the reasons that he won popular affection was his simple origin, born to a family of laborers.  


His father was a laborer, with socialist views, who emigrated from his region, Northern Veneto, the Cadore, and spent many years outside his homeland.

It was his mother who instilled the religious values in him that would lead him to live out such historic moments. Historian Giovanni Vian described one of these moments in his book, The Pope without a Crown, and refers to the death of the Metropolitan of Moscow, Nikodim, during a personal audience with the Pope in the Vatican. 


Nikodim, who was notoriously philo-Catholic, repeatedly asked to see the Pope alone. By alone, he meant only with the presence of an interpreter, who curiously enough was a Spanish Jesuit.

Thanks to this interpreter, we know that the Metropolitan, who had heart problems, suffered an attack towards the end of the meeting, falling to the ground in front of the Pope and dying instantly. A difficult foreshadowing for a Pope who also suffered a sudden death after only 33 days of governing the Church.