Two months ago saw the centenary of the birth of Albino Luciani, better known as Pope John Paul I, who reigned for just thirty-three days in the late Summer of 1978, before dying suddenly and unexpectedly.
Much missed and much love, many understandably cannot help but wonder what sort of Pope he would have been had he lived longer, but as touched on in this piece, I think we have seen enough to suggest what sort of Pope he was and what he would have been like.
Aside from his various pronouncements in Illustrissimi, and indeed in the few Papal pronouncements he made, Pope John Paul gave enough to suggest that he was a Pope who knew how to not only simplify important doctrines for a general audience, but to combine the Prophetic and pastoral in such a way as to catch interest from his listeners and readers. Writing as a Christian, but as a non Catholic, I find there is much to learn from Pope John Paul I, namely
*His readiness to show love and friendliness wherever possible (Important for any church leader, echoing 1 Corinthians 13)
*Being delicate but not finching from telling things as he saw them and as he saw as his duty (As seen in some of his prounoncements on family life, social welfare, and the Third World in Illustrissimi and at least one of his General Audience speeches as Pope)
*Reiterating what he saw as important but being flexible where needed (His choice of name in part showing his commitment to the Second Vatican Council, and his comments over the birth of Louise Brown, the World's first test tube baby, showing a readiness to listen and agree where possible)
Albino Luciani, lived and breathed the Gospel in a way that few do, unflinching from the prophetic and engaging with the pastoral side of the Christian faith and this is something all Christians, both Catholic and non Catholic, should see as an example of Christ-like behaviour