Pope Francis on Sunday beatified one of his predecessors, John Paul I, who was pope for only 33 days in 1978. His sudden death raised many questions as the latter wanted to deal with financial torts within the Vatican bank.
His 33-day reign was one of the shortest in the history of the papacy: John Paul Iuhephemeral pope who died in 1978, was beatified this Sunday, September 4 in Rome by Pope Francis.
The last Italian pope, popular and close to the people, Albino Luciani (his civil name) succeeded Paul VI in August 1978, at the age of 65. But he died 33 days and six hours later of a heart attack.
In the early hours of September 29, 1978, a nun had in fact discovered her lifeless body, sitting on the bed with glasses on her nose and some typewritten sheets in her hands.
Many inconsistencies and false information
However, no autopsy was conducted to confirm the cause of his death. The announcement of his death was surrounded by many inconsistencies and false information and even fueled the theory of a murder by poisoning, because the new sovereign pontiff wanted to put order in the affairs of the Church, and in particular in the financial embezzlement to the interior of the Vatican bank.
This “conspiracy hypothesis” was reinforced by the Vatican’s “calamitous communication” at the time, stresses Christophe Henning, journalist and author of the book. Short life of John Paul Iuh. Like him, many scholars have questioned this hypothesis.
In a book published in 2017 and preceded by Vatican No. 2, Msgr. Pietro Parolin, the Italian journalist Stefania Falasca, who supported the beatification and canonization dossieruhhe had also twisted his neck at these rumors.
A man of consensus, of “great simplicity”
Born in 1912 in northern Italy to a modest working-class family, Albino Luciani, a doctor of theology who became patriarch of Venice, was created a cardinal by Paul VI in 1973. During his brief pontificate, John Paul Iuh, seen as a man of consensus, he managed to imprint a simpler style in his way of being pope. He defended the Church’s opposition to abortion and contraception, while initiating internal reform. Very sensitive to poverty, he also affirmed the importance of giving everyone a “fair wage”.
With “great simplicity”, endowed with a “strong pastoral fiber”, he “humanized the (papal) function and simplified everything that was formal”, explains Christophe Henning. Sister Margherita Marin, who assisted John Paul Iuh in the papal apartments, he remembers a man “friend of all”. “She treated her co-workers with great respect, apologizing for disturbing them. I never saw him show impatience towards anyone,” the nun recalled during a hurried conference on Friday.
A beatification requires a miracle. The one attributed to Albino Luciani is the inexplicable healing, which took place in 2011 in Buenos Aires, of an 11-year-old girl who was dying but who is said to have healed thanks to the prayers of the local priest invoking John Paul Iuh.