Francis creates foundation to study legacy of 33-day 'smiling pope'

Francis creates foundation to study legacy of 33-day “smiling pope”

(Source: CD/Vatican News)

Pope Francis’ creation of the Vatican John Paul I Foundation was made public through a statement released on Tuesday.

The rescript, dated 17 February, says the scope of the Foundation is “to value and disseminate… the thought, works and example of Pope John Paul I”.

Pope John Paul I’s pontificate began on 26 August and ended on 28 September 1978.

The Foundation’s tasks

The Foundation has been entrusted with the task of preserving the cultural and religious patrimony left behind by Pope John Paul I. It will also promote the figure of this Pope through various initiatives including conventions, meetings, seminars and study sessions.

In the future, the Foundation will also offer Scholarships and other types of awards.

In addition, it will edit and publish its own research as well as that of third parties and will be a point of reference throughout the world for anyone who wants to undertake studies regarding John Paul I.

First President

Pope Francis has appointed the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin as the Foundation’s first President.

In an article published by Vatican Media Cardinal Parolin underlined how “Pope John Paul I was, and remains, a point of reference in the history of the universal Church. His importance, as Saint John Paul II had pointed out, is inversely proportional to the length of his very short pontificate”.

Cardinal Parolin wrote that “the story of Albino Luciani is one of a pastor who is close to his people, centered on the essentials of faith and with an extraordinary social sensitivity”.

“His magisterium is contemporary: proximity, humility, simplicity, insistence on God’s mercy, love of one’s neighbour and solidarity are the salient features”. 

Members of the board

Pope Francis also appointed as board members: Dr. Stefania Falasca, who also assumes the role of Vice-President; Cardinal Beniamino Stella; Archbishop Andrea Celli; Fr Davide Fiocco; Dr Lina Petri; Dr Alfonso Cauteruccio.

Related:  Bishop raps French Catholics for "unhealthy", "immature" insistence on public Masses during COVID-19

Full text of the article of Cardinal Parolin

John Paul I still relevant today

(Source: Vatican News)

The Holy Father established the Vatican John Paul I Foundation on 17 February. This was done in response to the proposal made to create a body destined to deepen the person, thoughts and teachings of John Paul I (26 August 1978 – 28 September 1978).

Pope John Paul I was, and remains, a point of reference in the history of the universal Church.

His importance, as Saint John Paul II had pointed out, is inversely proportional to the length of his very short pontificate: “magis ostentus quam datus“.

The story of Albino Luciani is one of a pastor who is close to his people, centered on the essentials of faith and with an extraordinary social sensitivity.

His magisterium is contemporary: proximity, humility, simplicity, insistence on God’s mercy, love of one’s neighbour and solidarity are the salient features. 

He was a bishop who lived and applied the experience of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.

In his brief pontificate, he led the Church along the magisterial paths indicated by this Council: going back to the sources of the Gospel and a renewed missionary spirit, episcopal collegiality, service in ecclesial poverty, the search for Christian unity, interreligious dialogue, dialogue with the modern world and international dialogue, all conducted with perseverance and determination, in favour of justice and peace. 

I can think, for example, of his general audiences and his persistence on ecclesial poverty, universal brotherhood and active love for the poor.

Along with the traditional precepts of the Church, he wanted to include a precept on works of solidarity, which he had proposed to the Italian bishops.

I am thinking, also, of the appeal he made during his Angelus of 10 September 1978 in which he asked for peace in the Middle East and addressed his prayer invitation to Presidents of different faiths.

Related:  "The Spirit is calling us to something new": Join the Catholic Women’s Council in a virtual liturgy on Pentecost Sunday

He had already made this appeal in his speech to the Diplomatic Corps on 31 August, during which he freed himself from presumptions of geopolitical protagonism and defined the nature and peculiarity of the diplomatic action of the Holy See from a viewpoint of faith.

Receiving then the more than one hundred representatives of the international missions present at the inauguration of his pontificate, he stressed how “our heart is open to all peoples, all cultures and all races”.

He then affirmed:

“We certainly do not have miraculous solutions to the world’s great problems, but we can nevertheless give something very precious: a spirit that helps to solve these problems and places them in the essential dimension, that of openness to the values of universal charity… so that the Church, humble messenger of the Gospel to all the peoples of the earth, can contribute to creating a climate of justice, brotherhood, solidarity and hope without which the world cannot live”.

And so, following in the footsteps of the Council’s Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, and in so many messages of Saint Paul VI, he acted in the wake of the great diplomacy that has given so many fruits to the Church, by nourishing Her with charity. 

This history of the Church, dedicated to serving the world, was not interrupted with his sudden death. The perspective marked by his brief pontificate was not a side note.

Although John Paul I’s governance of the Church could not unfold in time, he helped – explevit tempora multa – to strengthen the design of a Church which is close to the pain of the people and their thirst for charity.

Through John Paul I’s cause for canonisation, numerous sources have been accumulated today, beginning an important work of research and elaboration from a historical and historiographical perspective.

Related:  Spanish missionaries "ring alarm bell" over "terrible" COVID-19 situation at home, abroad

It is now possible, therefore, to bequeath the memory of Pope Luciani, so that its historical value can be fully restored within the historical period.

It can now be examined with the analytical rigor that is due to him and may open up new perspectives of study on his work.

In this regard, the establishment of a new ad hoc Foundation can rightfully fulfil the task not only of protecting the entire patrimony of the writings and works of John Paul I, but also of encouraging the systematic study and diffusion of his thought and spirituality – all the more motivated by the consideration of how his person and his message are extraordinarily relevant.

Next on Novena:

COVID-19: Vatican archbishop warns of “creeping melancholy” of humanity’s “frustrated delirium of omnipotence”

28/4: Santa Marta Mass: Francis urges “obedience” to coronavirus restrictions after Italian Bishops’ protest

Vatican cardinal denounces COVID-19 exposing “vulnerability and fragility” of elderly in nursing homes

Related

Share this:

The following two tabs change content below.

Cameron Doody

Director and editor at Novena
PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. Lecturer in ethics at Loyola University Maryland, Alcalá de Henares (Spain) campus. Religion journalist with 4 years experience.