WelCom July 2020:
Pope John Paul I, ‘the smiling pope’, will have a foundation dedicated to his memory, the Vatican has announced. The move is a sign of how much the late pontiff is a point of reference for his successor, Francis. Called the ‘Vatican John Paul I Foundation’, the new entity is tasked with ‘the promotion and dissemination of the thought, words and example of John Paul I’. Albino Luciani was born in 1912 in Italy’s northern Veneto region. He was elected pope at the age of 65, taking the name Pope John Paul to honour his immediate predecessors, St John XXIII and St Paul VI.
His death on September 30, 1978, just 33 days after he was elected pope, sent shockwaves around the world. The Vatican announced that he died of a heart attack, but there have been decades of speculation and conspiracy theories about his final hours. In 2017 Francis signed the decree of heroic virtue allowing ‘Papa Luciani’ as he is fondly remembered among Italians, to be referred to as ‘Venerable’.