Papa Luciani on Ministry, Catechesis, and the Church

“The most beautiful of ministries is the pastoral ministry. But catechism is still more beautiful. It is the ideal beauty of the heart of God. Nothing can be compared to it. It is the purest, the most altruistic, the most selfless of ministries.” — Pope John Paul I (Papa Luciani), quoting Felix Dupanloup, in Illustrissimi.

This quote so aptly describes Papa Luciani’s approach even as pope. He was a catechist and called himself so even in his general audiences. So many thought this simple presentation of the faith by a pope indicated a simplicity of mind, a weakness of sorts.  I believe quite the opposite. Jesus himself spoke simply, in the language and similes of the common person. Jesus was the Good Catechist. Luciani was his disciple and servant.

Papa Luciani concluded this letter to Dupanloup in Illustrissimi with the following:

“Unite… fidelity to God with trust in the true values of modern civilization and in the perpetual youth of the Church.”

I think this gives us some idea where Luciani would have taken the Church had he lived longer….. embracing the true values of civilization with fidelity to God and the Church who he envisioned as a youthful Church ever filled with hope and promise.

About Deacon Bob

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