For all you trivia buffs:
I will bet that you didn’t know Pope John Paul I once sent then Cardinal Ratzinger to Ecuador as his personal Legate. The city of Guayaquil, Ecuador was hosting a Marian Congress in honor of the Marian Year that had been proclaimed back in 1978. Given that Luciani had only been Pope for a couple of days, he sent Ratzinger in his stead. His letter of appointment read, in part:
“Indeed, we embrace the people of Ecuador in sincere charity; and desire in some way to participate in these solemnities in order that greater moment and luster may attend them. Wherefore, by these letters, we choose, make, and proclaim you our Legate Extraordinary, committing to you the office of presiding in our name and with our authority at these Marian celebrations. We have no doubt but that you will skillfully and fruitfully fulfill the office accredited to you, because of the richness of sacred doctrine which commends you, and the ardent love for the Mother of Christ and our Mother for which you are known.”
If you want to read the letter in its entirety, log on to :
John Paul I had travelled to South America before, especially to Brazil where he became friends with Cardinal Lorshchieder of that country. Lorschieder had been considered one of the papabile prior to Luciani’s election.
I can only imagine that John Paul I would have liked to have gone personally, but circumstances prohibited him from doing so.
A future pope went instead.