Friday, August 26, 2016

Today is the anniversary of the election of Albino Luciani, the first John Paul ...

I remember it well.

In hindsight, perhaps there was something propitious about his election on this date, the feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen and Protectress of Poland, considering his successor, St. John Paul II would come from Poland.

I think Pope John Paul I would have been very much like our current Pope Francis - his spiritually very much focused upon the mercy of God.  Even back then, I expect he would have been strongly opposed by the remnant Jansenist element in the Church.

Another historical photo
marking Papal devotion to
Our Lady of Czestochowa. 
Pius XII, Castel Gondolfo chapel of
Our Lady of Czestochowa.

I'm happy the Franciscan-papal critics are connecting the spirituality of JPI and Francis, albeit some sites reference the articles rather disparagingly; despite the snipes, they bring to our attention the wonderful humility of Papa Luciani.  I'll share a bit below.

“I once read a homily by then cardinal Albino Luciani, later Pope John Paul I, about Father Leopold Mandic´, who had just been beatified by Pope Paul VI,” Bergoglio says. “He described something that was very similar to what I just told you. “You know, we are all sinners,” Luciani said on that occasion. “Father Leopold knew that very well. We must take this sad reality of ours into account: no one can avoid sin, small or great, for very long. But,’ as Saint Francis de Sales said, ‘if you have a little donkey and along the road it falls onto the cobblestones, what should you do?’ You certainly don’t go there with a stick to beat it, poor little thing; it’s already unfortunate enough. You must take it by the halter and say: ‘Up, let’s take to the road again . . . Now we will get back on the road, and we will pay more attention next time.’ This is the system, and Father Leopold applied this system in full. A priest, a friend of mine, who went to confess to him, said: ‘Father, you are too generous. I am glad to have gone to confession to you, but it seems to me that you are too generous.’ And Father Leopold said: ‘But who has been generous, my son? It was the Lord who was generous; I wasn’t the one who died for our sins, it was the Lord who died for our sins. How could he have been more generous with the thief, with others, than this!’” This was the homily of then Cardinal Luciani on Leopold Mandic´, who was later proclaimed a saint by John Paul II.”
[...]No human sin —however serious—can prevail over or limit mercy. After serving for several years as the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, Albino Luciani held some training exercises for parish priests, and when commenting on the parable of the Prodigal Son once said this about the Father: “He waits. Always. And it is never too late. That’s what he’s like, that’s how he is . . . he’s a father. A father waiting at the doorway, who sees us when we are still far off, who is moved, and who comes running toward us, embraces us, and kisses us tenderly . . . Our sin is like a jewel that we present to him to obtain the consolation of forgiveness . . . Giving a gift of jewels is a noble thing to do, and it is not a defeat but a joyous victory to let God win!”” - John Paul I and Francis

How can anyone condemn the popes as they do today, rejecting, resisting, condemning their fidelity to Christ and the Gospel in the proclamation of mercy?  Luciani's successor John Paul II also noted this lack of confidence in modern man:

The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of "mercy" seem to cause uneasiness in man ... Bl. John Paul II

St. Leopold Mandic, pray for us.

I pray to St. Leopold and John Paul I for the grace of an ever deeper repentance, heartfelt contrition and to find a good confessor.


  1. What I remember most about JPI is his sweet smile. May he rest in peace.

    1. At times his expressions reminded me of Peter Sellers.


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