A Glimpse at the Papacy of Pope John Paul the First?

I was reading Papa Luciani’s August 27, 1978 radiomessage to the world, searching for some hint as to what a lengthy Luciani papacy would have looked like.  A few things stand out in the first couple of pages of the message’s transcript.

The first is his obvious reliance on the prayers and  support of the laity, and his clear faith in the guiding hand of Jesus in his ministry.  He begins by citing Matthew 14:30 which is in reference to the story of the boat being tossed about on the lake with Jesus asleep in the stern.  To the plea, “Jesus, save me!” came the response, “Why do you doubt, oh you of little faith?”

Second is his clear commitment to the teachings of Vatican II.  He said, “As to the Second Vatican Council (to whose teachings we wish to commit our total ministry, as priest, as teacher, as pastor)….”  Papa Luciani, it would seem, would have been tied to the people as a common pastor and teacher.  His subsequent talks during his brief papacy reflected this.

Thirdly, he took up the looming problems between technology and humanity.  He said, “The world…knows well that the sublime perfection to which it has attained by research and technology has already reached a peak, beyond which yawns the abyss, blinding the eyes with darkness.  It is the temptation of substituting for God one’s own decisions, decisions that would prescind from moral laws. The danger for modern man is that he would reduce the earth to a desert, the person to an automan, brotherly love to planned civilization, often introducing death where God wishes life.”

Fourthly, he spoke of the need for the integrity of Church discipline, the need for a new evangelization, and renewed efforts in ecumenism.

Lastly, he mentions world peace.

All in all, I suspect Pope John Paul I would have attended to the same areas that his successor, John Paul II, found of great importance and to which he dedicated  his papacy.

I have a sense though, that there would have been a different air about it all, a different color and texture, and taste.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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