“Luciani, Why Not?” — Day 21

Friday, Sept. 15, 1978

More stories from the conclave:

“After the first votes, the name came out immediately.  ‘Luciani, why not?,’ so many people said. A good, intelligent and pious person. And the consensus was spread rapidly. We think on him as a new Pius X, also he is Patriarch of Venice, a good and holy pope. And [at the same time resolved] about the defense of the doctrine. That was necessary after the post-Council disorders.”

—Cardinal Silvio Oddi of Italy

“I remember that, Saturday morning, going out from the Sistine Chapel, we met Patriarch Luciani in the elevator. Then we told him: ‘The votes are increasing.’ He shielded himself saying: ‘This is only a summer storm.'”

—Cardinal Archbishop Lazlo Lékai
of Esztergom, Hungary

[I asked Cardinal Luciani,] “Eminence, where is the toilet?”
– “I don’t know.”
– “But you will know soon because you are going to be the owner of this house.”
– “Are you a prophet?”
After the election, John Paul I said: “You, Eminence, have been a prophet but my Pontificate will be brief.”

—Cardinal Archbishop Jaime Sin
of Manila, the Philippines

[At Luciani’s election,] “We stood up to applaud, but we did not see him. He was curled up on his chair; he had become little, little; he wanted to hide. It’s a pity we cannot tell what we have lived through, because it has been much more beautiful than you can imagine.”

—Cardinal Archbishop Vicente Enrique y Tarancón
of Madrid-Alcalá, Spain

“On Sunday morning, after a night of insomnia, the pope met Monsignor Caprio, Substitute of the Secretary of State. And he, jokingly, asked him: ‘Holiness, have you rethought it? Are you regretful?’ And the smiling pope answered: ‘Yes, but it has already no solution.'”

—Reported by Don Jesús Infiesta


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