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Benedict XVI Talks of John Paul I's Smile

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2006 ( John Paul I passed into history as "the Pope of the smile" -- and Benedict XVI thinks he knows why.


After watching a film on John Paul I on Sunday, Benedict XVI said that the secret of the Italian Pope's smile was his trust in the Virgin Mary, which gave him serenity and fostered his commitment to fraternity.


The Holy Father explained this in the auditorium of the Vatican Film Library, in the headquarters of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, during the premiere of the film "Pope Luciani, the Smile of God." The film was produced by the Italian television network RAI.


Addressing the directors of this public channel, as well as the film's director and the actor who plays the role of Albino Luciani, Benedict XVI recalled "the gentle figure full of meekness of a Pontiff strong in faith, firm in principles, but always ready to welcome and smile."


"A teacher of truth and passionate catechist, he reminded all believers, with the fascinating simplicity that characterized him, of the commitment and joy of evangelization, underlining the beauty of Christian love, the only force able to defeat violence and to build a more fraternal humanity," the Holy Father said.


Finally, Benedict XVI added that in love and trust in the Blessed Virgin is found the secret of the "daily serenity and concrete commitment to peace in the world," which characterized John Paul I.


The diocesan phase of the cause of beatification of John Paul I, which began in Belluno in 2003, should be completed before year-end, according to the vice postulator of the process, Monsignor Giorgio Lise.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger met Cardinal Luciani a year before the August 1978 conclave in which he was elected Pope. The then archbishop of Munich received the visit of the patriarch of Venice when he was spending his summer vacation in 1977 in Bressanone, Italy.