Pope Francis beatifies his predecessor John Paul I

Pope Francis has beatified John Paul I, the happy and humble pontiff known as “the smiling pope”, whose death after just 33 days as leader of the world’s Roman Catholics gave rise to decades of speculation and rumour.

At a ceremony in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, which marked the last formal step before canonisation, Francis praised John Paul I’s brief but cheerful papacy.

“With a smile, Pope John Paul managed to communicate the goodness of the Lord,” he said during mass.

“How beautiful is a church with a happy, serene and smiling face, that never closes doors, never hardens hearts, never complains or harbours resentment, does not grow angry or impatient, does not look dour or suffer nostalgia for the past.”

Born Albino Luciani on 17 October 1912, in the northern Italian town of Canale d’Agordo, John Paul I went on to become Patriarch of Venice, cardinal and then the head of the Roman Catholic church.

Credit: theguardian.com


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