Pope John Paul I
Pope John Paul I (Latin: Ioannes Paulus I), born Albino Luciani (October 17, 1912 – September 28, 1978), reigned as pope and as sovereign of Vatican City from August 26 to September 28, 1978. His 33-day papacy was one of the shortest reigns in papal history. He is remembered for his friendliness and humility, and is nicknamed "the smiling Pope".
- I come without five lire. I want to leave without five lire.
- On being appointed as Bishop of Vittorio Veneto (December 1958), Luciani declined gifts offered to him by the priests of the diocese; as quoted in In God's Name (1984) by David Yallop, p. 44
- Let me give an example. It is far away in time but a classic case … In 1815, the official French newspaper Le Moniteur, showed its readers how to follow Napoleon's progress: 'The brigand flees from the island of Elba '; 'The usurper arrives at Grenoble'; ' Napoleon enters Lyons'; 'The Emperor reaches Paris this evening'. What an amazing turnabout! This must not be compared with prudence, just as it isn't prudent to have a stubborn attitude and to take no account of what is obviously real or to become excessively rigid and zealously upright, more loyalist than the king, more papist than the pope.
This happens. Some people seize on an idea, then bury it and guard it for the rest of their lives, defending it jealously without ever examining it again, without ever trying to check what has become of it after all the rain and wind and storms of events and changes.
Those who travel in the stratosphere are in danger of not being prudent, when they are full of knowledge acquired purely from books. They can never get away from what is written, are always busy analyzing, pointing out subtleties, perpetually splitting hairs.
Life is quite another matter.
- "Letter to St Bernard" in Illustrissimi (1976), p. 53
- I am at best on the C list for Pope.
- Remarks to journalists in August 1978, shortly before departing for the Conclave at which he was elected Pope, as quoted in In God's Name (1984) by David Yallop, Ch. 2 : The Empty Throne
- Yesterday, a funny thing happened to me on my way to the Conclave.
- Address to the crowd in St Peter's Square (27 August 1978), the day after his election, as quoted in In God's Name (1987) by David Yallop, p. 132
- We wish to continue in following up the legacy of the Second Vatican Council whose wise regulations have still to be led to their fulfilment, being careful that a push, generous perhaps, but unduly timed, does not detract from the content and meaning of the council, and on the other hand being careful and reined and timid efforts do not slow up the magnificent drive of renewal and of life.
- Address to the crowd in St Peter's Square (27 August 1978), as quoted in "Pope John Paul will continue policy of reform" by Peter Nichols, in The Times (28 August 1978), p. 1
- We are the objects of undying love on the part of God. We know: he has always his eyes open on us, even when it seems to be dark. He is our father; even more he is our mother. He does not want to hurt us, He wants only to do good to us, to all of us. If children are ill, they have additional claim to be loved by their mother. And we too, if by chance we are sick with badness, on the wrong track, have yet another claim to be loved by the Lord.
- Angelus (10 September 1978); in an audience with Philippine bishops on 28 September 1978, he further elaborated: According to tales told by ancient men to attain their political objectives "God is the Father." According to what we really know "God is the Mother."
- People sometimes say: "we are in a society that is all rotten, all dishonest." That is not true. There are still so many good people, so many honest people. Rather, what can be done to improve society? I would say: let each of us try to be good and to infect others with a goodness imbued with the meekness and love taught by Christ. Christ's golden rule was: "do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. Do to others what you want done to yourself." 'And he always gave. Put on the cross, not only did he forgive those who crucified him, but he excused them. He said: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." This is Christianity, these are sentiments which, if put into practice would help society so much.
- Pius X, in 1906, right here in Rome, had beatified the sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne, martyrs during the French revolution. During the trial they were condemned "to death for fanaticism". And one of them asked in her simplicity: "Your Honour, what does fanaticism mean?" And the judge: "It is your foolish membership of religion." "Oh, Sisters, she then said, did you hear, we are condemned for our attachment to faith. What happiness to die for Jesus Christ!"
They were brought out of the prison of the Conciergerie, and made to climb into the fatal cart. On the way they sang hymns; when they reached the guillotine, one after the other knelt before the Prioress and renewed the vow of obedience. Then they struck up "Veni Creator"; the song, however, became weaker and weaker, as the heads of the poor Sisters fell, one by one, under the guillotine. The Prioress, Sister Theresa of St Augustine, was the last, and her last words were the following: "Love will always be victorious, love can do everything." That was the right word, not violence, but love, can do everything. Let us ask the Lord for the grace that a new wave of love for our neighbour may sweep over this poor world.
- Angelus (24 September 1978)
- Even the young are killing each other.
- Upon hearing that neo-fascist youth had attacked other youth reading a communist paper, as quoted in "From the archive, 30 September 1978: Pope John Paul I dies of heart attack" by George Armstrong, in The Guardian (30 September 2013)
Quotes about John Paul I
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- Because of this virtue of his, it only took 33 days for Pope Luciani to win people's hearts. In his addresses he always referred to events in practical life, from his family memories and from popular wisdom. His simplicity was a vehicle for a solid, rich teaching which, thanks to the gift of an exceptional memory and a vast knowledge, he embellished with numerous citations from ecclesiastical and secular writers. Thus, he was an incomparable catechist, following in the footsteps of St Pius X, who came from the same region and was his predecessor first on the throne of St Mark and then on that of St Peter. "We must feel small before God", he said during the same Audience. And he added, "I am not ashamed to feel like a child before his mother; one believes in one's mother; I believe in the Lord, in what he has revealed to me". These words reveal the full depth of his faith. As we thank God for having given him to the church and to the world, let us treasure his example, striving to cultivate his same humility which enabled him to talk to everyone, especially the small and the "distant". For this, let us invoke Mary Most Holy, the humble handmaid of the Lord".
- Pope Benedict XVI, in Angelus (28 September 2008)
- Pope John Paul could have been a revolutionary Pope. He already had put aside the pompous trappings which went with the Papal coronation. Almost certainly he would have seen that the Vatican's mysterious finances, and financial dealings, were made public, and perhaps set them on a more pastoral track.
In Venice, he had urged his parish priest to sell the gold and jewels which people had donated to a saint or the Virgin Mary, and to use the money to help the needy. Had he carried it out in the Vatican, it would have been a revolutionary act.
- For my part, he was God's candidate.
- Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, as quoted in "Pope John Paul will continue policy of reform", in The Times (28 August 1978), p. 1
- It seems to us that only yesterday he emerged from this assembly of ours to put on the papal robes — not a light weight. But what warmth of charity, nay, what "an abundant outpouring of love" — which came forth from him in the few days of his ministry and which in his last Sunday address before the Angelus he desired should come upon the world. This is also confirmed by his wise instructions to the faithful who were present at his public audiences on faith, hope and love.
- Pope John Paul II, in Urbi et Orbi (17 October 1978)
- He has been the greatest gift of God, a sunray of God’s love shining in the darkness of the world.
- Luciani began to think very seriously of becoming a Jesuit. He watched as first one, then a second, of his close friends went to the rector, Bishop Giouse Cattarossi, and asked for permission to join the Jesuit order. In both instances the permission was granted to them. Luciani would soon make his decision, and so he went and asked for permission. The bishop considered the request, then responded, "No, three is one too many. You had better stay here."
- David Yallop, in In God's Name : An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I (1985), p. 16