The cause of the Pope people forget to remember

At Vatican Insider I read, in Italian, that the postulator of the cause for canonization of Papa Luciani, John Paul I, say that the cause is taking a step forward.

Apparently, Bp. Enrico dal Covolo, SDB, who is the Rettore Magnifico of the Pontifical Lateran University, is the postulator for the cause.  He said during a sermon on 29 June that the positio (the official books describing the life and death of the servant of God and making the argument in favor of the servant of God’s heroic virtues) will be presented in October.

Once the positio is accepted by the Congregation, it will be studied by teams of experts in different fields, such as history and theology.  They will give their opinions in writing and, eventually, the case will be presented to the full congregation (members of the Congregation, e.g., cardinals).  If the Congregation accepts the argument that – within moral certainly – the Servant of God manifested the virtues in a heroic way, then they issue a decree “super virtutibus“, which is present to the Roman Pontiff.  The Roman Pontiff determines if and when the decree is to be promugated.  When it is promulgated, then the Servant of God is known as “Venerable”.  The next stage in the cause would be beatification, which takes place after the authentication of a miracle claimed to have been worked by God through the intercession of the Venerable.



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  1. RuralVirologist says:

    The Smiling Pope. I have his letters to Pinocchio et al. somewhere. My 2nd Pope. I really like the guy; I was too young to remember him.

  2. chcrix says:

    Am I the only one uneasy about how we seem to be drifting toward a policy of canonization of every pope?

    My two favorites are PXII and BXVI. Fine. But do we really need to make each pope a saint? (Yes I know that we can’t even start the process for BXVI yet and I hope that situation continues for years to come.)

    It’s almost like the early caesars where the senate choses to deify (or not) each emperor after his death. Augustus, Claudius- check. Tiberius, Caligula, Nero – no check.

    I think for such high profile offices maybe we should put their case aside for 100 years before we consider it. If they still look good, then move ahead.

  3. Sword40 says:


    I sort of agree with you on this thought. I would rather that Pope Leo XIII be canonized before any of the recent Popes. I believe there are a couple of Pius’s that should also be considered also.

    But that is just my opinion.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Agree with the above, as Pius IX (who is only Blessed), Leo XIII and Benedict XV all show heroic virtue and even great holiness. I am also for the canonization of Pius XII as well.

  5. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I look forward to the report and its judgments on Papa Luciani’s views on birth control and other controversial areas of moral theology. He was said to have been a bit squishy on these issues.

  6. Lori Pieper says:

    Thanks so much for the heads up, Father! I have spent time over the last few weeks and months trolling the local paper of Belluno, Corriere degli Alpi, for just such news. (In fact, this is where Tornielli himself seems to have gotten it); the homily by Bishop Dal Covolo was given in Agordo, the little town where Don Albino Luciani had his first full assignment in a parish, and where he returned to preach for the last time on June 29, 1978, the same feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, just a couple of months before he became Pope.

    I am sky-high at the news. Yes, everyone has their favorite Popes, and yes, they are all quite worthy. But a diocesan bishop who became a saint by dealing with the post-Vatican II dissent (and I think this Luciani’s where his sanctity was really solidified), is an important witness for our Church. Oddly enough, Pope John Paul II didn’t have to deal with a lot of that as a diocesan bishop in Poland – if Catholics were protesting anything, they were protesting the regime, not the Church.

    BaedaBenedict, yes, there has been a kind of meme circulating for the past 34 years that John Paul I was going to “revolutionize” the Church’s stand on birth control and other subjects in moral theology. From everything I can see from studying his life in the original sources in Italian, this is completely false. More misunderstanding and ignorance by the press — I include here the Catholic press, not to mention the lies and outright malice of the authors of some sensationalistic books. Also, very few of JPI’s writings have been translated into English, so we haven’t had a chance to learn the truth.

    About birth control, the truth is that in 1967, as bishop of Vittorio Veneto, Luciani, along with the other members of the episcopal conference of the Triveneto, was asked by Pope Paul to give an opinion on the subject of contraception. There are some indications from people in the know – and they were really in a position to know – that the answer of the bishops was positive toward a new understanding of the teaching. Luciani wrote the document on behalf of the bishops. Its text, however, has never been released, to my knowledge. All this was done privately for the Pope for his eyes alone, who had asked for a frank opinion, and was itself an act of obedience.

    What we do know is that when HV was released, Luciani supported the encyclical unequivocally and asked people to abide by it. This was also a great act of humility and obedience.

    If he ever seemed to leave a little window open at times, I think it was because he knew that Pope Paul did not speak ex cathedra on the matter, and he knew that people would wonder about it; but he did not use this fact to urge change, but rather to explain the Pope’s action. He once explained it this way: Pope Paul had acted as a doctor who was asked to prescribe a new, quite revolutionary medicine that looked like a miracle cure, but knowing that it might be dangerous, or even deadly and would have unknown effects, could not bring himself in conscience to do so until more was known (of course, we know now how very deadly that contraceptive medicine is).

    He continued to defend Pope Paul, on this score; the last time was on August 9, 1978, during his homily at the memorial Mass for Paul VI in the basilica of San Marco in Venice. Here is the relevant part of this very beautiful homily.

    ‘St. Paul had written to the Galatians: “If an angel from heaven should preach to you a Gospel not in accord with the one we have delivered to you, let a curse be upon him.” (Gal. 1:8). In our day we might think of culture, being modern, and being up-to-date, as “angels,” and these are all things which Pope Paul cared about very deeply. But when they appeared to him to be contrary to the Gospel and to sound doctrine, he said “no” inflexibly. It is enough to mention Humanae Vitae, his “Creed of the People of God,” the position that he took in regard to the Dutch catechism, and his clear affirmation of the existence of the devil. Some people have said that Humanae Vitae was suicide for Paul VI, the collapse of his popularity, and the beginning of savage criticism. Yes, in a certain sense, but he had foreseen it and again, along with St. Paul, he said to himself: “Who would you say I am trying to please at this point — man or God? . . . If I were trying to win man’s approval, I would surely not be serving Christ” (Gal. 1:10).’

    Clearly no squishiness there: You can read my translation of the whole thing here:

    There is much, much more on my site, including the announcement of my book of translations of Pope John Paul I’s writings, which I have just received permission for from the Italian publisher:

    It will contain his opinions on difficult areas of moral theology as a bishop. I really hope to put an end to all this talk by people who have never read a single piece of Luciani in its entirety – and everything I said here about birth control can also be said about his opinions on IVH and other matters.

    And don’t forget the conference in Queens New York on October 12-13:

  7. Lori Pieper says:

    I translated the original Italian article Tornielli linked to here:

  8. I am blessed to have, “Illustrissimi: Letters from Pope John Paul I”. He had such an angelic countenance.

  9. Darren says:

    The next pope I HOPE to see canonized would be Pius XII. The more I learn of him, the more I love him.

    I have not learned much about John Paul I, other than a lot of differeing opinions. I was, I believe, 9 years old during his short pontificate. I have no real memories. I wonder, if he was so bad as many make him out to be, that the Holy Spirit would choose him in the first place before taking him away so quickly. Or, as some argue, he only became pope because the Cardinals weren’t discerning so well, and so God spared the church by taking him so quickly.

    I’d rather think he was a holy man, and for whatever reason he reigned for such a short period of time, it was ultimately for the good of the church. I’ll leave questions of his holiness to the experts and simply honor him as one of our former Holy Fathers – one of the shortest pontificates followed by one of the longest.

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