29 September, 2011

"The Smile of God" - Remembering Pope John Paul I

Here's an article from Rocco Palma on the Pope that brought me back to the practice of the faith: John Paul I.

I had been a non-practicing Catholic for years. The Church, under the leadership of Pope Paul VI seemed to be an irrelevant institution in my opinion back then. Too concerned with legalisms and irrelevancies to be of any relevance to the modern world. Then came this holy man, Cardinal Luciani who took the name of his two immediate predecessors, John XXIII and Paul VI and melded them together into one: Pope John Paul.

In the few short days of his pontificate, he shattered the mold of what a Pope was supposed to be. He brushed aside many of the accouterments of prestige and seemed to be a man who found it more important to explain the truths of the Church in the language of the common man. Let me offer one example... the case of Louise Brown, the worlds first 'test-tube' baby. When she was born, Pope JPI sent roses to her parents to celebrate her arrival. When reporters asked him if this was the Church giving its approval to IVF he demurred and said that the theologians in time would help to determine the morality of the technology and that the Church would make clear her stance at that time. In sending the flowers, he said he was simply celebrating with Louise's parents that God had granted them the gift of a lovely daughter when they thought it was never going to happen. He affirmed the goodness of life and love, the very essence of God.

I was hooked from that point on.... and the rest (as they say) is history, eventually leading to my discovery of my vocation and my ordination as a Catholic priest.

Pope John Paul I... rest in peace... and thank you for being such a powerful gift of God for me.

Whispers in the Loggia: "The Smile of God"


  1. I too was drawn to this Pope and his engaging smile. He inspired me and years later I would become a Catholic. He was a great inspiration and had he lived our church could have been a very different place today.

  2. Are children who are conceived of IVF accepted in the Catholic church? Are they able to be baptized?

  3. Anon: Absolutely! Whatever sins that may have been incurred by the parents does nothing to steal from the fact that the child is en-souled as a gift from God. They would most assuredly be baptized.

    Fr. Tim


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