Articles from the Argentinian Press
( Part I )
"Clarín", August 27th, 1978
A Patriarch who used to ride on a bicycle
profile of Albino Luciani is designed only by listening and transcribing
the tale of those who know him. Unusual means of transport: the bicycle.
Predominant qualities: a foolproof kindness, overflowing simplicity and sympathy.
A deep learner, he plays bowls. He is qualified in the Gregorian of Rome and
during the holidays he worked in the fields helping his own. He was born on
October 17th, 1912 at Forno di Canale. He has a brother and a sister and
thirteen nephews. Adversary of abortion and divorce, his ideas are incisive and,
generally, he got to the point.
is this shepherd who will have to guide a Catholic crowd of 750 millions of
persons like? The first media-pictures with his face show him smiling, warm, of
an inconspicuous stature, rather pale. Those who know him closely say that
he speaks little and goes straight to the point when he has to speak about
a particular topic. One of his many friends, Pedro Arrupe, remarks on
his rich social sensibility and, especially, his personal experience.
John Paul I started being an exemplary pupil to become a model of pastoral
teaching. " He wrote very long homework, of 10 to 12 pages and he showed he
had very high intelligence ", says don Giulio Gaio, who was his teacher in
the seminary of Feltre, Belluno. It was 1927 and the young Albino Luciani, aged
14 years, had gained the following marks in his studies: French 7, Religion 8,
History 10, Arithmetic 7, Geography 10, Latin, Greek and Italian 7,5. The time
and how not to lose taking advantage of it for God's service was one of
his attitudes in life. From the beginning of his priesthood he felt inclined to
education. Plus, he did it with the tenderness and the simplicity that
always characterized him. The bicycle was his ideal mean of transport. He was
passing through the Italian villages with tenacity on this mean of transport
that he never gave up until becoming Pope - even when he was
Patriarch of Venice. None of the Venetians who, somewhat surprised, saw
Fr. Luciani on his bicycle in the city will ever forget these scenes.
Paul I does not make many gestures while he speaks (something typically
peninsular) but he accompanies softly the movement of his hands with his words.
We could say be said that the new Pope has always practiced the happiness
of living. Even in his preferences: when he goes on holidays, he plays bowls,
prefers simple food without spices, he likes neither protocols nor ceremonies.
he was Patriarch of Venice, he did not want escorts and managed to go out alone.
The owners of a restaurant at Pietralba, northern Italy, assured us that John
Paul I " eats as a little bird, but without doubt ... he speaks very
much, plays jokes, is very charming ". The owner of the restaurant added
with his eyes full of tears: " The new and dear Pope put aside his
simplicity during meals in only one thing, he likes nuts ".
stars reflected on a blue background and mountains that recall, those of the
Agordino (where he was born): they are the symbols of Albino Luciani's coat of
arms as a Bishop. They are drawn under the name of Saint Mark and there stands
out the same lion that appears on John XXIII' s coat of arms, to indicate the
common origin of the Patriarchy of Venice. Regarding his family, Pope John Paul
I has a brother, Berto Luciani (father of eleven children) and a sister, Nina,
married to a bricklayer (mother of two children and settled in Santa Giuliana di
Levico, Trento zone). " Berto still lives in the family house, at Canale
D'Agordo ", said one of the Pope's Venetian collaborators.
Of serene character, friend of anecdotes and jokes, John Paul I belongs to these persons from whom it is said one enjoys being at his side. His voice is strong, powerful, but he never used it to be authoritarian. He is a wise man who, for his natural humility, knows how not to demonstrate how much he knows. The new Pope's motto is 'Humilitas', that means, humility as a personal way of life, as an attitude facing life. The same humility that he used years ago when he was exercising the teaching or that one he showed driving his bicycle and already being Patriarch of Venice. His face is marked by strong features, his look is penetrating and tender at the same time. The new Vicar of Christ already has a name and a presence in the world; responsibility which John Paul I adopted with humility and happiness, with a full smile greeting from Saint Peter to the crowd that see in him the humble great man of hope.
Magazine " Radiolandia 2000 ", August, 1978
We want peace and a new order, more just and more sincere "
of a journalist in Saint Peter's Square, August 26th, 1978)
ROMA, by Natalio Gorin. Photos: Carlos Fraga (special R.2000 reporters).
August 26th, 1978. An indelible day for the history of the Church, for Romans,
for thousands of faithful, pilgrims and tourists gathered in Saint Peter's
Square, and for me.
for me. I say it without shame. Because perhaps as ever, in this moment, I
understand the value that the special reporters from an Argentinian magazine
have, depending on the statement - seeing with Argentine eyes - a world
was a quarter past six in the evening. Someone shouted " Fumata! ". We
all, unbelieving, looked towards the roof of the Sixtine Chapel. It was true,
but also a surprise, because the smoke 'had' to go out after seven o'clock
according to the schedules. Something was happening. We correspondents looked at
ourselves. I thought : there can be a Pope in the third scrutiny, it is very
early for the fourth (the Apostolic Constitution for the election of Popes
indicates two scrutinies in the morning and two in the evening).
felt that from all the corners of the square, a widespread 'nervousness' was
emerging. I think that it would be better to say 'emotion'. I looked around.
Several nuns were praying. The Romans were disagreeing loudly: " The smoke
is white "; " No, it is black ". They all were right. The smoke
of the midday had been of an intense, unquestionable black. Now, it was
different, because the sun was behind Saint Peter's Basilica and the contrasts
of light were not helping.
met an Argentinian colleague: " The television has already informed people
that it is white; but the radio went beyond, ¡ they said grey! ". Nobody
moved from the square. The smoke kept on going out. Old Italian journalists,
with two or three "fumatas" on their white hairs, were anxious, too:
" The smoke is longer, bigger ". It was necessary to wait. The only
official information, according to the same Apostolic Constitution, would be
given (or not, if the central balcony of the Basilica was not opened), by the
Proto-deacon Cardinal Pericle Felici.
exactly at 7.18 PM, a rumour that, within mere seconds, became shouts, applauses
and cheers tcalm: impossible. Immediately they placed the papal coat of arms on
the Pope appeared. Seconds before, I had listened to Cardinal Felici say
he was called Albino Luciani, who was Patriarch of Venice and who, from now on,
would be "Giovanni Paolo Primo" (John Paul I). I saw his figure, his
serene gesture and, suddenly, I realized that I was applauding with an emotion
not seen before. I was not the only one. The Italian colleagues were taking
notes with tears in their eyes. A lot of people were kneeling down following
John Paul I's first blessing (" Urbi et Orbi ").
Someone took me by the arm. It was Elisa Marroco, special reporter from
'Vosotras' magazine. " How do we write this ? ". I told her I didn't
know; I was trembling and had a knot in my throat. The same thing was
happening to her; to her and to all. At this moment, several figures came into
my mind. My dear people. Radiolandia 2000's staff. I ended being grateful to
this blessed profession for having been able to live this unforgettable,
indelible day, eternally.
" The Church
is inevitable. Because of that, in the last lines, I want to return to Saturday,
August 26th. Because the bells of Rome still resound in my ears, announcing to
the world the election of a new Pope... Yes, the bells were ringing out merrily,
maybe like accompanying some already historical words that Paul VI pronounced in
- The Church loves; the
Church suffers; the Church sings; THE CHURCH LIVES!
Siete Días ", August
" Habemus Papam " (I)
young religious sisters turn round to Via della Conciliazione, the great avenue
that connects the Vatican with the city of Rome. There are tourists from all
nationalities (European, African, American, Asian) running with their
photographic cameras around their necks in their coloured clothes. They run, the
simple inhabitants of the 'Borgo', formerly the most popular neighbourhood which
keeps close to the Vatican as a coral to rock, feeling tied to the Holy Father
in an almost familiar relation.
bus, which has to cross one crossing due to the crowd, provokes the start of a
series of 'bottlenecks'. The police, with their portable transceivers,
unsuccessfully try to keep a little order in the traffic. The traffic goes mad.
Whoever can, parks his car or gets off the bus and continues by foot, joining
the rest of the moved, curious people. Someone shouts: " Run to Saint Peter.
He was elected ".
the background, closing the scene as a big stage, the majestic and grey
silhouette of the biggest temple of Christianity: Saint Peter's Basilica. At the
level of the large window, a thin flesh-coloured band: they are the Cardinals
with their purple cassocks. One of them, the Proto-deacon Pericle Felici,
announces to the crowd (which already almost covers the whole square in front of
the basilica) the good news: " Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam. Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum dominum, dominum Albinum,
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Luciani qui sibi nomen imposuit Iohannis
Pauli Primi " (" I announce a great happiness: we have a Pope. The
most Eminent and most Reverend , Lord Albino, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church
Luciani, who has taken the name of John Paul I ").
ten minutes later and the new Pontiff appears. It is 7.30 PM. The Holy Father's
hands raise to give his first blessing " Urbi et Orbi ", that means,
to Rome and to whole world. His voice breaks due to the unconcealed emotion as
he pronounces the first words of the formula in Latin: " With the authority
of Peter and Paul ... "
new Pope has a light Venetian accent. And someone, close to us, in the middle of
the crowd, risks already the comparison (that will immediately be generalized)
with John XXIII.
( Correspondent in Rome)
Magazine "Gente", August 31st, 1978
" Habemus Papam " (II)
The journalists were often near Albino Luciani, but they did not take a photo,
nor ask a question, of him, simply because they felt he was not one of the
smoke is black". "No, I saw it white". "It was not very
clear, it seemed to be grey".
stops giving opinions, looking towards the famous chimney.
was 6.24PM in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. Not even a pinch of air was
circulating in the most oppressive evening of the Roman summer. Approximately
100,000 people were looking in despair for the shade of Bernini's colonnades, or
were turning with the thread of freshness that the Egyptian pyramid of the
centre was projecting, or were relieving their heads in the water of both
Radio was reflecting in this moment the same confusion, the same uncertainty.
Mondovisione ' net had fixed its cameras on this doubtful smoke that was
extending - with interruptions - for more than 20 minutes. In spite of the
modifications the old iron stove of the Sixtine Chapel had suffered on this
occasion (it wasn't fed with humid straw, old copies of 'L'Osservatore
Romano' and wood of the walnut-tree, but chemical fuels were used), it offered
the same disorientation as when John XXIII and Pius XII were elected.
50 minutes, the doubt lasted in St. Peter's. Yet none of the 100,000 people
moved. " It is impossible, it is too much early ", said some of them.
" It is already very dark ", others were saying. However, several
signs were keeping them: a fumata had never been so long, and one of the
internal windows of the Sixtine Chapel opened, as a sign that the conclave had
7.17 PM, a roar, an exclamation passed through the square: the main window of
Saint Peter's Basilica - that of the balcony – is opened. Someone tests the
microphone: it is working clear and perfect. Already there are no doubts: the
Pope has been elected.
impressive ovation welcomes all the 110 cardinals who – in white and red -
appear at the other windows, which are at both sides of the main large window.
is 7.27 PM in Rome. Four men hang the immense and splendid papal emblem on the
voice of Cardinal Pericle Felici is listened in the middle of a silence that did
not need orders. " Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam ".
I can not explain the kind of delirium at that moment. The bells of all Rome
were ringing. The powerful reflectors - which were highly- located illuminated
the whole facade of the Basilica, giving it an aspect of celebration. The people
were waving handkerchiefs, hats, books, newspapers, and bags. Nobody could hear
when Cardinal Felici announced the new Pope's name. Who is he? Who is he?,
everybody was wondering. Then the seller of back copies of ' L'Osservatore
Romano' , which had published the faces of all the 111 Cardinals taking part in
the conclave - and who was yawning inactively until a few minutes earlier - was
practically buried by the onlookers.
election, without doubts, took everyone by surprise. The new Pope's name had
never appeared, among the 'papables' that had been mentioned during the last ten
He is from Venice, he is from Venice as John XXIII ", some shouted. "
He is 66 years. Good age ", others were discovering. " Pretty face.
The face of a real shepherd ", murmured at my side Sister Antoniette Mensah,
come specially from Calabar, in Nigeria, for this election.
The journalists, at the same time, were surely thinking about the irony of
never having noticed the new Pope crossing the gardens of the
Vatican Palace many mornings - on his way to the Congregation - and never
having taken a photo, nor asked a question, simply because he hadn't
appeared among the10 or 12 favorites to the Pontifical Rose.
special formation of the Swiss Guard now starts a parade in the middle of the
square, between corridors that have been opened with heavy fences. They play
their drums, and have already changed the mourning uniform: it is their way of
revering their new monarch.
is 7.42 p.m. in a reddish Roman twilight, when the pontifical cross appears in
the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.
moment is of indescribable emotion.
man who comes behind this Cross smiles; almost without being able to control
himself. He often raises both hands; sometimes, only one. Or he put them
together as in a prayer. He seems to greet some friends. He lowers his head and
seems to want to embrace all, putting it out of the edge of the balcony more
than recommended. The small round skullcap slips and he laughs very much when
someone helps to find it.
are the gestures of a moved, surprised man, maybe confused facing a similar
of them – many – weep at my side. They kneel down. They shout: " Long
live the Pope ! "
However, the silence becomes impressive when they bring him the microphone.
is like this as the whole world, by means of this warm voice - with a clear
Veneto accent (according to the experts) - this voice that is repeatedly broken
due to the weeping, receives the first blessing " Urbi et Orbi " from
the new Pope of the Catholic Church.
hundred thousand voices answer "Amen" for three times.
Luciani, born 66 years ago in Forno di Canale, a rural town of 1,000 inhabitants,
in the province of Belluno. Albino Luciani, the man who once said: " If I
had not been a Bishop, I would have wanted to be a journalist ".
Luciani, finally, the 263rd. Pontiff of the Catholic Church, took the name of
a definition, and also a commitment: that of the continuity of the ideals of
both giants who preceded him : John XXIII and Paul VI. Ten minutes after he'd
left the balcony, the fervour of the crowd forced John Paul I to reappear on the
the ' L'Osservatore Romano ' extraordinary editions - no more with the black
band on the cover but now with the yellow one - and those of 'Il Tempo',
were circulating anxiously across the square. Excessive rapidity and efficiency?
Did they have priority information, before all 857 journalists who were
present? Nobody could answer this question; neither did anybody mind, because
John Paul I, St. Peter's successor, elected unanimously in the record time of 26
hours - and after the third scrutiny - was smiling in the square that now was
dressed for a party .
Paul I. For the first time in the history, a Pontiff takes two names.
Paul I. Rome already has a Bishop again. Christ, His Vicar. The Catholic Church,
world - believer or not, rebel or sceptic - was finding again its point of
why his voice sounded so pretty in this Italian dusk.
Paul I. In his first Mass as maximum Pontiff of the Catholic Church - Mass that
was celebrated in the Sistine Chapel, in the presence of all the Cardinals –
he made a brief sketch of what was going to be his pontificate. The essential
points of his government will be: continuity with the heredity of the Council,
maintenance of the unit of the Church, evangelization, ecumenical effort, serene
and constructive dialogue, attention and increase of peace in the world.
he offers reveals a great balance and, at the same time, a great opening.
is called John Paul I. He is the third Patriarch of Venice who comes to the
pontificate: firstly it was Pius X and later John XXIII.
loves a game of bowls, trips in gondola, sparkling wine,
literature, irony, the humour, good coffee and dialogue.
because of all of this, on the main balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica,
while the sun was setting behind the dome and all the bells of Rome were ringing
out merrily, he was smiling.
It seemed to be natural for us all that the people started calling him simply 'Gianpaolo',. or 'don Albino', as in Venice, while his warm voice often broken by great emotion, was bringing quietness to a major part of the world and was bringing happiness in Saint Peter's Square.
Magazine "Gente", September 7th, 1978
D ' Agordo, province of Belluno, Italy.
Here was born the Pope who laughs
letter is almost lost between the 142 telegrams from all parts of the world, and
the photos in disorder - familiar and distant photos - that were saved from the
journalistic voracity of the first days. The letter remains over the old stove
fed with lumber, that warmed the same room as on October 17th, 1912, when Albino
Luciani came to the world.
telephone 50340 rings without pause, and when Edoardo Luciani, " TEACHER
BERTO ", hears a language that is not exactly the Belluno dialect, becomes
nervous, moves with impotence several times the head and repeats: " Mi
dispiace, ma non ho capito niente " (I am sorry, but I have not understood
he comes towards us and adds: " English, French, Spanish, German ... how do
the journalists expect me to learn so many languages in a short time? I have
hardly slept 7 hours in the last 5 days ".
the family house there is the smell of food, of newly-baked bread, of
mature peaches, of azaleas and pines. The house door is always open - as before
- while Edoardo Luciani, Albino's brother, gets tired trying to welcome all the
onlookers, all the journalists.
letter is there, yes, in the middle of all this disorder. The small letter -
very small and prolix - is addressed to: ' Saveria Luciani. Rividella 207.
Canale D'Agordo. Province of Belluno '. Saveria is the 19 year-old niece. The
letter was written by Albino Luciani on August 23rd., 1978, two days before the
beginning of the conclave.
is a friendly, domestic, simple and colloquial letter, not yet violated by the
one paragraph, the letter states: " ... the place where we will live
reminds me very much of the Seminary of Feltre in 1923: a small iron bed, a
mattress, a washbasin to wash and a crucifix on the wall. I occupy the room
number 60. My neighbour from number 61 is Cardinal Tomasek, the most elderly of
the Cardinals. On the another side, in room number 59, is Cardinal Tarancón,
from Madrid. I think that it is a very difficult task to find the right person
who can solve so many problems of the world of today. Fortunately, I am out of
danger ... ".
days after this letter, the man knew that the danger was nearer than he had
imagined: he became John Paul I for the world, the new Pontiff of the Catholic
the world, but not for Canale people.
they will never resign themselves - perhaps they rely on the complicity of the
Pope - to lose this special identity that makes them call him sweetly "don
charming Alpine landscape
is necessary to travel through more than one hundred eighty kilometres (from
Venice) by roads with cornices. It is necessary to cross impressive tunnels dug
in the mountains. It is necessary to be astonished due to the conifers and the
waterfalls, the balconies with geraniums and begonias, and the wooden houses
sitting at different levels on the Dolomite Alps.
is necessary to start seeing men with Tyrol hats and short trousers with straps
to understand that one is closely to Austria.
is necessary, finally, to discover the small stores of ski articles, to know
that the famous ' Cortina D'Ampezzo ' is only 50 kilometres away.
in the middle of this trip of marvels - a trip that predisposes to happiness -
one turns towards the left side and meets a group of multicolored roofs houses (very
similar to our La Boca - n.o.a.: typical quarter of Buenos Aires-) where the
Papal and the Italian flags flutter.
plate of old marble of Carrara placed on the high of the Post Office, says:
" Canale D'Agordo. Height 976 metres ". 17 º below zero in Winter, 20
º maximum in Summer.
all 1,700 inhabitants, almost 70 have the surname Luciani and are John Paul I
of these inhabitants - especially the oldest – still miss the epoch of the
Austro-Hungarian administration. " It was more precise" - they say -
"and more effective ", and bear today an enormous exodus - especially
from the youngest - while the agriculture continues impoverishing.
a short time before, the village was called 'Forno di Canale', in memory of the
big furnaces that smelt copper and iron extracted from the mountains.
today, in the only church - San Giovanni Battista -, instead of money one is
asked to leave " a loaf of bread, for God's love ".
1970, Canale D'Agordo town council is in hands of a group of five men belonging
to the left party. The mayor, Toni Cagnati, is 56 years old and communist. He
lives in Belluno and only comes to Canale twice a week. The vice-major, Guido
Murer, is 39 years old and tells me: " As administrators of Canale, we do
not engage in politics. We only engage in politics at a national level.For
20 years, the mayor of this municipality was Edoardo Luciani, the Pope's brother,
of a democratic - Christian orientation. Nowadays, he is a retired teacher and
presides over the Chamber of Trade of Belluno. He is a very respected person
with the first raindrops, the multicolored umbrellas begin appearing on the
small square and later they get lost in the narrow and steep little streets of
Actually, nobody worries about the rains at Canale D'Agordo: as in most mountain places, they are unforeseen and furious, and a very short time later, the immaculate sun replaces them.
Albino, my brother
Berto is 61 years of age. He also was born - as Albino and their sister, Antonia
- in this three-storey house, with grey walls and windows with double glass,
surrounded by plantations of beans, pumpkins, sunflowers, plum-trees, small
peach and apple trees. A great warehouse of lumber - lumber for the harsh
Winters - is just next to the house.
Berto has nine children and looks very little like his brother, the Pope.
wife of 34 years, Antonietta Marinelli, nods silently throughout the long
explanations of her husband, and she only will break this silence to speak about
their son who disappeared two years ago in a lake at Trentino.
house - number 55 - has cottoned checked curtains in green and white and many
clothes drying on the balconies.
are no luxuries, but everything is excessively well cared for, clean. Nothing is
secret in this house. Nothing is hidden. And while Edoardo Luciani runs up to
the kitchen, cut small pieces of meat for the stew of ' tagliatelle al ragù'
(popular dish), he returns and answers the telephone, he shows with all
naturalness the souvenirs of his brother.
Last time I met him it was two days before Paul VI's death. It was in Venice. We
had lunch together. As usual, Albino ate very frugally, because he still suffers
the consequences of the operation of bile stones one year ago. We spoke about
everything. He was full of enthusiasm because he was guest of honour for the
Historical Regatta that takes place every year on Canal Grande of Venice. The
regatta was on Sunday, September 3rd. The day he left for the conclave in Rome,
someone remembered the invitation and he answered: " Be calm. As soon as
the Conclave ends, I will come back here ". As a young man, he spent the
whole day reading Jules Verne. Actually, my brother was always very fond of
reading. When he came to visit us, and we were walking through the mountains, he
watched the clock frequently : he did not see the hour of coming back to return
to his books. He likes the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. He is fond of
Giotto and, among the painters of the 400s, is a fan of Beato Angelico. He has a
beautiful reproduction of Beato Angelico's 'Madonna', which he takes with him to
all the places where he has to live. I would not be surprised if he now takes it
to the Vatican Palace. Our childhood, you know, was humble. The only amusements
were to play with ponies that we were improvising with lumber or to run to the
cows across the mountains. My mother practically raised us alone. My father was
not even present when Albino was born".
was always in another place trying to find work. He was a bricklayer. In 1914,
when the war began, he went to Argentina. Exactly to La Plata. There was an
uncle called Federico Tancon living there, since 11 years previously.. My father
helped to construct the aqueduct of La Plata. He was employed as a bricklayer at
the task of coating. He stayed there a little more than two years. All his life
was hard, of great need. All of us have inherited this kind of resistance
facing pain and hunger. My brother said a few days ago : " All this week,
journalists have spoken about the poverty of my childhood. But none might never
manage to suspect the hunger that I have known ". In winter, in this
village, it can snow up to three metres in height. And, you know, hunger and
cold never get on well together ... Nowadays, we still have a cousin who is
living in Argentina. In province of Santa Fe. His name is Pio De Dea; he is
married to an Argentinian and is employed as a workman at a small company of
which I do not remember the name. Anyway, what else can I tell you ? From when
he was 10 years of age, my brother started demonstrating an exceptional
religious faith. Last year, at Coimbra cloisters, he met Sister Lucy, the Fatima
seer. It was a very important experience for him. I am glad for the Church that
he has been elected but, as a brother, I feel I have lost him ".
Berto answers the telephone once more. It's from Alitalia, to confirm to him
that all 21 tickets for Rome, for the 21 Luciani, are ready for Thursday,
Edoardo and Antonietta, Ettore and Antonia, Saveria and Laurenzo, Gianbatista and Tiziana, Amalia and Silvestro, Lamberto and Isabella, all the family, will be together with Albino in Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican, when on Sunday, September 3rd, at 6 p.m., he officially starts his pontificate.
The great day
The family are sharing the first row of banks with President Videla and Raquel Hartridge de Videla, with the King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofía, with Baldouin and Fabiola, Grace and Rainier, with the Vice-president Mondale and his wife, with Pierre Trudeau, alone; with the princes of Liechtenstein, the dukes of Luxembourg and the chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Moved, surprised, dressed very humbly and photographed up to the point of weariness.
they are not the only ones.
behind them, lost almost among the crowd, I see Margarita Molinari, Canale
D'Agordo Post Office manager for 18 years, who inked several times the stamp of
the village in order that it remained clear on my letter.
see 92-year-old Giulio Gaio, the teacher who days before showed me the passbook
of qualifications of the year 1928 - 5 º degree - of his pupil Albino Luciani.
I see Fabrizio, the owner of the only butcher shop of the village, who covered
his store with John Paul I's posters.
see Rinaldo Andrich, the parish Priest, who organized the trip by bus to Rome
for 300 people from Canale. I see 74-year-old Angela Deola, whom I found one
morning close to the small fountain of 'Piazza della Pieve' (a square in
miniature, the only one, with a floor of cobbles with arabesque designs) and who
recommended to me the only hostel in the village to spend the night.
see Toni Cagnati, the mayor. I see 70-year-old Emilio Luciani, the Pope's uncle,
whom I found at the door of the school Giuseppe Xaiz, where Albino studied,
and who gave me both carnations that he was carrying in his plastic bag.
see also Lina, the employee of Canale D'Agordo registry office, who allowed me
to photograph Albino Luciani's birth certificate.
see Remigio, the owner of the only bar; I see Ottavio, the baker, I see Marina,
which is employed at the forest office.
people who, even when they didn't give me much information, helped me to
discover Canale D'Agordo's wise humility.
same applause that, 22 days before, was saying good-bye to Paul VI definitively,
was welcoming now, exactly, at five past six in the afternoon of the first
Sunday of September, the entry - on foot - of John Paul I to the 263rd.
pontificate of the Catholic Church.
from the Canale sector, some applause was also heard and all raised their hands
as a sign of greeting.
Paul I, with the limit of simplicity that an act of this type allows, started
walking across the square, giving the blessing. When he arrived in front of the
Canale sector, he stopped for a long while and, I do not know why, it seemed to
all that this blessing was different from others.
in this moment, it has passed everything through Albino Luciani's mind - and,
especially, through his heart -: the hunger of his childhood, his first Mass as
a Priest, the ponies improvised with lumber, the adventures with Jules Verne,
the ten in Geography of teacher Giulio, the cell number 60 of the departments of
the Sixtine Chapel and the Historical Regatta at that he had to preside at the
Gran Canal of Venice.
Today, exactly at the same time.
( Special correspondent in Italy)
"Clarín", September 2nd, 1978
John Paul I before the press
One thousand journalists
VATICAN CITY, 1 (from our correspondent, Julio Algañaraz).
Pope John Paul I scolded kindly the journalists for concentrating in trivial,
secondary aspects, when they inform about the Church, instead of referring to
the real meaning of Catholicism to fulfil with the educational function towards
Luciani, 65 years, who has also made journalistic labors parallel to his
religious activities, met approximately a thousand journalists during 21
minutes, continuing with a tradition begun by his predecessor, Paul VI.
John Paul I, as in the audience granted on Wednesday to the Cardinals, put aside the official text of his speech and improvised in two occasions. In one of them to 'pull the ears' of some journalists.
The First massive
to meet at eleven in the morning in the immense Blessings Room – called like
that because in the middle of it, it is the central balcony from where the Pope
blesses the crowd congregated in Saint Peter's Square - the permanent
correspondents before the Holy See and the hundreds of special reporters that
came to cover Paul VI's funeral and the election of the new Pontiff. We were
placed in two large groups, seated, opposite the papal armchair located at the
back of the room and raised eleven steps.
at 11 a.m., two enormous beige-coloured curtains were suddenly opened and John
Paul I appeared, smilingly and in very good physical condition.
was the first large audience of the Pontiff. He began by expressing gratitude to
the world press " for the sacrifices and difficulties that you have
suffered during August in order to serve the international public opinion
Paul said that the journalistic labour had allowed readers, radio-listeners
and television viewers to receive, " with the rapidity that demands your
responsible and delicate profession, the possibility of taking part in these
historical events, their religious dimension and their deep connection with the
human values and the expectations of the society of today ".
papal gratefulness spread, especially, to the journalistic diffusion of these
days of the teachings, the work and the example of Paul VI.
Pope promised " a special attention, a frank, honest and effective
collaboration, with the instruments of social communication that you represent
with dignity", to make easier their labour.
It is a promise that we make with pleasure, conscious as we are of the
increasingly-important function which the mass media are assuming in the life of
the modern man ".
pointed, immediately, " against the risks of mass-production and of
leveling that those media are taking with them, with the consequent threats to
the interiority of the individual, to their capacity of personal reflection, for
their objectivity of judgment ".
this point, the Pope suspended the reading of his speech and made his first
" There were no
I smiled a lot before the conclave reading articles in several newspapers with
good intentions, which I found funny ", he indicated.
Then I remembered an
episode which happened in Italian
journalism ", he added. " It is about Baldassare Avanzini, who was the
director of the newspaper ' Fanfulla
in that time '.
It happened during the French/Prussian
War ", the Pope
continued. " He (Avanzini) gave this order to the journalists
: the public is
not interested in knowing what Napoleon III said to William of Prussia. What
they want is
to know if he was wearing trousers beige
or red-coloured trousers, if he smoked a
cigarette or not".
the middle of the anxious general laughs,
he took advantage of the anecdote to make the call referred
to before in order
that the journalists might put aside the secondary topics of the Church.
Often journalists spend a lot of time studying things of the second importance
in the Church ", he
added with soft and treble voice that hardly was possible to hear due to the
constant noise of photo and cinema cameras.
I know that the people are interested in these details, but when I was reading
the news previous to the conclave, sometimes I had to laugh at the speculations
", he pointed-out. " I hope that, during my pontificate, you not only
will inform about the incidental details, but also about the heart of the
history of the Church ".
new Pope chosen by the Sacred College
last Saturday in only one day of voting, said that in the conclave there didn't
exist any of the factions and manoevres which
he had read-about in the press before it began.
There were no factions, there was nothing like that, at all, I assure you ", he stated, putting aside the traditional "we"
used by the Popes to speak in the more familiar first person. " I only
intended to pray to
God in order that He illuminated me to be able to vote for the right man
Big wave of guffaws and applause
having claimed " an educational function " towards the public "
that reads you, listens to you or
watches you ", John Paul I asked and prayed " that you also help to
safeguard in the present society that deep consideration for God's things and
for the mysterious relationship between God and each one
of us, which constitutes the sacred dimension of the human reality
Pope comes back to the text of his speech to indicate his conviction of which
the journalism was orientating its effort to reach, through the communication
" to a more real Communion. It is the goal to which also aspires the heart
of the Vicar of That one (Jesus) who taught us to invoke God as the only Father
who loves every human being ".
little later, he made his second
improvisation. Mentioning the apostle Saint Paul and his possible reappearance
in the world of today, John Paul I said perhaps the Saint would be going to meet
Paolo Grassi today (president of the 'RAI', Italian Broadcast television, a
Socialist) " to ask him for a little television space ". The witty
remark provoked a large wave of guffaws and an ovation.
O A ticket to Mexico
asking the journalists, when they have
to introduce the Church
in the future, to do it " with
love to the truth and respect for the human dignity, because such it is the aim
of any social communication ", he granted his apostolic blessing to those
present, who stood up solemnly to receive it.
Immediately, John Paul I moved back amidst general applause. He stopped before our Mexican colleagues, who delivered to him a gift of a folk item (" Tree of life ") in ceramics, a book about Mexican popular art and a symbolic return ticket to Mexico. The Pope laughed loudly when seeing the air ticket and was grateful for the originality of the Mexican journalists.
The Pope seen closely
John Paul I appeared, smiling, from behind a big beige curtain, just
from the opposite side from where everybody expected to see him appear.
reach up to his armchair, he has to pass through the big Blessings Room
and he makes it with the agility of professional runner, almost getting
into trouble the few dignitaries who accompany him. He passes
laughing between two wings of journalists who, to applaud him, must find
with great urgency a precarious place for their notes, their record
players, their photo-cameras.
the small steps of beige velvet, ascended at great speed, he sits
down on the armchair. His teenager's smile, between shy and extrovert, is
devoured by hundreds of photo and cine-cameras.
begins speaking, but the small white cap is slipping. He arranges it. Now
a hoary lock appears. The lock is arranged and he laughs.
smile is contagious. He speaks and the journalists - who came from the
whole world, not accustomed to happy events – smile at him without
words are few, the content is not resounding; but his presence has
something that seems to fill up to the last corner of the big room with
frescos. When he does not smile fully, he smiles at a half, enough to
reveal a vaguely irregular denture that accentuates his air between rascal
and paternal. He gives confidence. He seems to say: Listen, if you need
something, come here I will help you.
journalists interrupt him to applaud, to laugh at his jocular comments,
they signal to him, greet him from far; they are not tense and have
forgotten what it is one of their rules : the " objective separation
" in front of the events. This time they are wrapped in an atmosphere
that seems to have dominated them. They are standing-up on the chairs to
see him better, they are on the pedestals of the columns to be a few
centimetres higher; one gives one who was in front of him a hit on the
head because he was standing-up on tiptoes.
there is something strange in the position of the Pope: his feet. They
appear inward, hidden under the armchair and covered by the turn of the
cassock. They will remain like that during all the time. While the trunk,
the head and the arms are in constant movement, the inferior part of the
body remains always immobile. Finally, the Pope gets up, gets down the
steps - almost running, with an agile step - gesturing and smiling,
towards the place from where he had entered.
"Clarín", September 3rd, 1978
Paul I officially begins his ministry
"Clarín", September 14th, 1978
On the chair, as people requested him
John Paul I and the Press
First Pages of Argentinian Newspapers
Articles from the Argentinian press (Part I)
Articles from the Argentinian press (Part II)
from the Argentinian press (Part III)
Articles from the Italian press