In his interview, Pope Francis also quoted a 1958 homily by Luciani when was named bishop of Vittorio Veneto. In it, the future Pope said he had been chosen "because the Lord preferred that certain things not be engraved in bronze or marble but in the dust, so that if the writing had remained it would have been clear that the merit was all and only God's."
Francis marveled to his interviewer how Luciani, as bishop and future Pope, had referred to himself as merely "dust."
He also referred to a general audience given by Luciani after his election as John Paul I, during which the Pope had expressed a strikingly similar opinion to Francis in that true humility comes from the constant awareness of one's sinfulness.
In the audience, which was quoted by Pope Francis in his interview, Luciani said "the Lord loves humility so much that sometimes he permits serious sins. Why? In order that those who committed these sins may, after repenting, remain humble."
Francis noted that a few days later, on separate occasion, John Paul I had insisted that "God hates faults because they are faults. On the other hand, however, in a certain sense he loves faults, since they give him an opportunity to show his mercy and us an opportunity to remain humble and to understand and to sympathize with our neighbors' faults."
So while Pope John Paul I, declared a "Servant of God" by his successor St. John Paul II in 2003, is likely somewhat unknown to most, it could be said that he was perhaps ahead of his time, and that Pope Francis is carrying his legacy forward.
In fact, John Paul I's cause for canonization is currently being studied by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and could advance before too long.
During his homily at Mass in the Belluno cathedral July 20, 2014, Emeritus Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone announced that a document, called the "posisio," advancing the beatification of John Paul I was ready, and would be given to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that autumn.
The beatification process had been stalled because the "positio" had not been completed. The positio is the document that the postulator prepares, presenting the "pros" and "cons" of a person's possible beatification.
A miracle has already been attributed to the intercession of John Paul I: the 1992 healing of Giuseppe Denora, from the Diocese of Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti. Denora was suddenly healed from a malignant tumor in the stomach after seeking the late Pope's intercession.
However, the reputed miracle still awaits the approval of both the council of doctors and the council of theologians who work for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Should John Paul I's cause advance to the next stage, he would then be called "Venerable."
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