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Pope John Paul I at the Vatican in 1978 (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

If Blessed Pope John Paul I were alive today, he would stand as a counter-example to a social media-driven culture of “followers” and “likes”, according to the Church official in charge of his sainthood cause. Source: Crux.

Italian Cardinal Beniamino Stella made that comment during a homily offered as part of a Mass in honour of the memory of Pope John Paul I in the small Italian town of Canale d’Agordo, in the northern Veneto region, where the future pontiff was born in 1912.

The Mass marked the 45th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice as Pope John Paul I on August 26, 1978. Pope Francis beatified his predecessor on September 4, 2022, marking the penultimate stage before sainthood.

According to Cardinal Stella, a veteran Vatican diplomat who’s overseen the sainthood cause of the late pope since 2016, if John Paul I were alive today, he would stand in sharp contrast to the dominant modes of public speech and behaviour.

“Let’s learn from the Blessed to [be] humble, rich in beautiful humanity,” Cardinal Stella said. “Let’s eliminate arrogance from our mouths, presumption, projecting ourselves as first class [figures] who know everything and always have to teach others,” he said.

Cardinal Stella said the personality of John Paul I, who was known for simple figures of speech and common-place references, is at odds with the culture one often finds in the 21st century in digital spaces.

“His humility contrasts strongly with the modern obsession in social media with ‘followers’ and ‘likes’, an altar upon which lives, people, and hours of work and sleep are sometimes sacrificed, not [to] mention, unfortunately, the truth, in both speaking and thinking,” Cardinal Stella said.


Cardinal extols Pope John Paul I as antidote to toxic culture of social media (Crux)