A gigantic sea monster, spawn of nuclear radiation, dismantles a landmark bridge.

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A little more than a week after his inauguration, Pope John Paul I welcomed to the Vatican a Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Archbishop of Leningrad, Nikodim, 49 years old.

According to the Pittsburgh ’s obituary of Nikodim, he had survived five heart attacks prior to September 5, 1978, when in the middle of his audience with John Paul he slumped in his chair.

Thomas Aquinas, Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin and at least four others in expounding on the essence of Christian joy. Chesterton, and Petrarch are a few of the names to whom Luciani writes. Therese of Lisieux, which is entitled “Joy, Exquisite Love,” again Luciani picks up on the theme of joy.

Most unique, perhaps, are the letters Cardinal Luciani wrote to famous historical people for a monthly magazine column. “Joy can become exquisite charity, if we communicate it to others, just as you did at Carmel,” he wrote.

Interestingly, John Paul I himself had planned to deliver a speech on September 30, 1978 to Jesuit Superior General Pedro Arrupe and the Society of Jesus; such contents of the speech will never be known, as John Paul I was found dead on the morning of the 28. Though he did not have time to produce any epic encyclicals or embark on worldwide pilgrimages, he ultimately fulfilled his duty as what a “pontiff” really means: bridge builder (from the Latin by bridging the old to the new. His understanding of the Church defined in contemporary culture is underestimated, simply because scant attention has been paid to him.

While perhaps his health and vigor were not prepared for the physical requirements of the office, with his simplicity and smile he dissolved the old perceptions of “stifling” Vatican protocol with a fresh, humbling, personal emphasis ripe for a new time. He shows himself to be greater than if he were raised on a pedestal.”“The world … the temptation of substituting for God one’s own decisions, decisions that would prescind from moral laws. ‘Don’t even dream of rearing up, of kicking like a frisky horse. “[E]ven if in the Church there are some defects and some failings, our affection for the Church must never fail,” he said in his General Audience of September 13, 1978.Even in his first encyclical , published six months after John Paul I’s death, he was already looking forward to shepherding the Church into the year 2000. Today, when anyone thinks of John Paul I, typically they talk of conspiracy and scandal.Most infamous is Francis Coppola’s , for example, also take up the assassination motif.A car crashes through the railing of a bridge, destroying a politician’s career as his young friend drowns.Bridges have served cinema well for the past century by providing dramatic settings for poignant moments.“Letting myself be guided by unlimited trust in and obedience to the Spirit that Christ promised and sent to His Church.” Such a statement of deference and continuity shows the unbroken bond popes have forged from one to another all the way to Saint Peter, handed the keys from Christ Himself, the ultimate bridge builder to the divine and the human.