VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The diocesan phase of the cause of beatification of John Paul I opened over the weekend in his home diocese in northwestern Italy.
The cause for Albino Luciani, his name at birth, opened Sunday in the cathedral of Belluno, in the presence of Cardinal Josť Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes.
Born in Canale d'Agordo in 1912, Albino Luciani was ordained in 1935. In 1958 he was appointed bishop of Vittorio Veneto, and patriarch of Venice in 1969. He was Pope only 33 days, in 1978.
According to Cardinal Saraiva Martins, John Paul I was a pastor of "original" and "penetrating thought," with a "strong concept of holiness."
Last Aug. 27, John Paul II described his predecessor thus: "Humility and optimism were the characteristics of his life. ... Precisely thanks to these qualities he left, in his fleeting passage among us, a message of hope which found acceptance in many hearts."
"A teacher ... without concessions to passing and mundane fashions. He tried to adapt his teachings to people's sensibility, while always retaining clarity of doctrine and consistency in its application to life," the Holy Father added.