Pope John Paul I’s beatification may be approved this upcoming fall, according to an article published in Italian newspaper Avvenire.
According to the article’s writer, Stefania Falasca, who is also a Luciani (family name of the pope) biographer and the vice-postulator of his cause, the beatification process for the late pope has reached its final stages. This comes after the approval of a miracle on an Argentine girl that is scientifically unexplainable. (Read: 5 Books About the Curious Story of Pope John Paul I)
A miraculous healing
The miracle was said to have happened in 2011, when the young girl was diagnosed with a severe form of encephalopathy which altered her brain’s normal functions. However, she was miraculously healed, and the miracle was investigated by the Diocese of Belluno, which oversees the beatification cause in 2016.
After finding that the healing of the young girl was indeed miraculous, the diocese brought the case to a board of medical consultants in 2019 who said the same thing: there is no medical nor scientific explanation for her healing. It was then presented to a group of theological experts who approved the miracle just last May. (Read: St. Padre Pio’s Prayers for Healing and Miracles)
A final vote on the miracle’s validity will be held in October during a meeting with the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for Saints Causes. It is widely expected that they will approve the pope’s beatification.
‘The Smiling Pope’
Pope John Paul I, born Albino Luciani on October 17, 1912 in Belluno, was elected the successor of Pope Paul VI in 1978. He was proclaimed the new head of the Catholic Church on the fourth ballot of the Papal Conclave.
During his papacy, Pope John Paul I–who paid homage to his two immediate predecessors Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI through his name–wanted to renew the Church through the Vatican II’s policies and encourage world peace and social justice, among others. (Read: Pope Francis Beatifies Knights of Columbus Founder)
Pope John Paul I, despite his more serious plans for the Catholic Church, was warm and pastoral like John XXIII–which was a characteristic that the cardinal-electors of his time wanted. His warm personality earned the pope the titles of “The Smiling Pope” and “The Smile of God,” as he was most often photographed with a smile on his face.
However, his reign only lasted for 33 days as he passed away in his sleep on September 29, 1978 due to a heart attack. (Read: Pope John Paul II Rose Graces White House Rose Garden)
Pope John Paul I’s cause for sainthood came a few decades after his death, in 2003. And it was in November 2017 when Pope Francis declared him ‘venerable’ for his heroic virtues.