By Lori Pieper
The cause for Pope John Paul I’s canonization seems to be at a standstill for now. One difficulty is that for the documentation to be completed, the remaining part of the Positio must be submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Positio contains the testimonies on a person’s virtues, a biography and a summary of the case for the person’s canonization, including pros and cons. The first part of John Paul I’s Positio was submitted in October 2012, and work is continuing on the second part. A greater difficulty is that the miracle submitted – the miracle necessary for beatification – has been rejected by the Holy See.
Bishop Corrado Pizziolo, Luciani’s present successor as bishop of Vittorio Veneto, said recently in an interview: “The process has been blocked because what was considered a miracle was not approved by the commission for the beatification: it was a healing through the invocation of the Pope, which was not recognized as such.” He was referring to the miracle process for Giuseppe Denora of Altamura, Italy, who was healed of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1992. Pizziolo said that the supporters of the cause would need to wait for a new miracle and start again from there. “At any rate,” he said, “this demonstrates that the Church moves with scrupulous care and seriousness. I am convinced of the holiness of Papa Luciani, but the itinerary has its rules.”
But Loris Serafini, director of the Fondazione Papa Luciani in Canale d’Agordo, has good hopes for the progress of the cause. He says, “I do not really know exactly at what point the Positio is, because there is complete secrecy on it. What I do know is that the work should be completed soon.” He also believes that there are many potential miracles that can be studied, because people are always writing to Canale d’Agordo telling of the graces they have received through the intercession of Albino Luciani.
In fact, devotion to John Paul I is strong in Italy: buses full of pilgrims come from all over the country every year. Many of the visitors write their requests for the Pope’s intercession in the visitors’ book, as well as their thanks for graces received. They also visit the little museum dedicated to Papa Luciani in the parish rectory. Serafini has worked for some years for the completion of a new separate museum. It has undergone many bureaucratic snags, but he hopes will be ready to open in June or July 2016. This is just one of a number of initiatives that the people of Canale d’Agordo have founded in honor of their native-born Pope.
As for the canonization process, Serafini says, “in the end it depends on Pope’s decision and I think that we have arrived at the final step.”
Reporting on the miracle from Il Messaggero Veneto, April 26, 2015; special thanks to Loris Serafini.