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from issue no. 09 - 2007

A page of the Positio

by Gianni Cardinale

Printed on these pages is the reconstruction, published in the Positio super virtutibus of the Abbot from Rovereto (vol. I, pp. 426-427), of the singular relation between Antonio Rosmini, soon to become Blessed, and the servant of God Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I.
In 1947 Don Albino Luciani, then thirty-five years old, graduated from the Gregorian with a thesis entitled The origin of the human soul according to Antonio Rosmini. In the dissertation, the future pontiff reached the conclusion – widely shared by the theological and ecclesiastical world of the time – that the doctrine of the priest from Rovereto «does not conform to the teaching of the Church». In the same thesis Don Luciani wrote that the Post obitum decree was «practically unreformable». Don Albino’s thesis was published in Belluno in 1950, and in 1958, the year in which Luciani was appointed bishop of Vittorio Veneto, the Gregoriana Editrice of Padua printed a second edition of it. Meanwhile, in 1956, the Rosminian Father Clemente Riva, then thirty-four years old, challenged Luciani’s thesis in the volume Il problema dell’origine dell’anima intelletiva secondo Antonio Rosmini [The problem of the origin of the understanding soul according to Antonio Rosmini]. In 1975 Riva was appointed auxiliary bishop of Rome and, three years later, finds as bishop of his diocese the very Luciani with whom he had argued a score of years previously. The meeting between Pope Luciani and Bishop Riva, narrated by the latter, is perhaps one of the most curious episodes in the Positio.

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