Friday 7 September 2018

Pope John Paul I - Stephen Dean - CTS Biographies

Pope John Paul I
CTS Biographies
Stephen Dean
Catholic Truth Society

CST Booklet B501
First Published in 1978

I was in primary school during he year of three popes. I remember it as one of my earliest memories. But to be honest, Pope John Paul I, but he is relatively unknown to me. From his 33 days as pope we have three apostolic letters, two homilies, the text of three messages and nine speeches. Having just read this little booklet on him twice, I am even more intrigued by the man, and his brief papacy. He charmed the world with his smile, with his humility and with his simple faith. But as this booklet shows there was much more to this man and his short stint in Peter’s chair. 

This booklet was published in 1978, and the copy I tracked down dated from sometime after 1984. This brief biography gives us a concise introduction to the man who was Pope John Paul I, his life and his ministry. The sections in the book are:

The Humility of John Paul
Early Life
Parish and Seminary
a Bishopric
Uncompromising on Doctrine
The Election
the First Message
His Unworthiness
The Church's Duty to the World
Evangelization and Ecumenism
Justice and peace
Young People
A New Order
The Thirty-Three Days
His Teaching

During his pontificate he only made one trip outside the Vatican, he went to the basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome. This book concludes with the se words:

"As it is, we are left with only the memory of a man with an enduring smile who showed that the papacy is still respected and admired in a world in which rulers and leaders are objects more often of indifference than of admiration. To have accomplished this in a month is a remarkable triumph. Rarely can a man have proved his worthiness to occupy the chair of Peter in so brief a time."

Reading about Pope John Paul I, I cannot help but pray, pray for our current pontiff and for the state of the church. 

This little volume is out of print and to be honest hard to track down. And if you attempt to do so please use caution. Stephen Dean also wrote a biography of Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Truth Society Booklet B503, written a few years into Saint John Paul II’s term as pope. The first two times I ordered this book, they discovered they had it listed as the wrong volume. I should also note that this is the oldest booklet from the Catholic Truth Society that I have tracked down a physical copy of. I have made arrangements for a few older ones to be scanned from Libraries overseas. But I noted the format and style of this one from the 1980’s is very different from the modern booklets and even ones I have tracked down from the 90’s. But if you can track it down it is a wonderful little read.

Pope John Paul I pray for us!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Other CTS Biographies of Popes:
Pius XII - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Paul VI - Anthony Symondson
John XXIII The Universal Parish Priest - Josephine Robinson

John Paul I - Stephen Dean
John Paul II The Road to Sainthood - Jim Gallagher
Benedict XVI - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Pope Francis - Dushan Croos

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