“At the Vatican’s insistence, no blood was drained from the body, nor were any organs removed.
“Formalin and other preservatives were injected into the body through the femoral arterial, and vein passages.
“The three hours the process took was considerably longer than the norm. The process took so long because of the Vatican’s insistence that no blood be drawn off, contrary to normal practice in which the blood is drained or cleared with a solution of salt water that is circulated around the body.
“A small quantity of blood would, of course, have been more than sufficient for a forensic scientist to establish the presence of any poisonous substances.”
- Pgs. 228-229, “In God’s Name”, David A. Yallop.
With a fatal dose of an odorless drug called digitalis — traceable only by blood tests — that imitates a heart attack, the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church was murdered sometime in the late night of September 28 or early morning of September 29, 1978 in his papal apartment.
The unprosecuted crime, according to British investigative journalist David Yallop, involved numerous suspects who conspired to coverup more than $1 billion of theft, partly through the Vatican Bank, and to halt proposed reforms on vital issues of the day such as artificial birth control and the influence of Freemasonry in the Church.
In his 1984, 326-page investigative book on the death of Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani) after only 33 days in the papacy, Yallop makes a gripping, albeit circumstantial case, that men like Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Jean Villot, Vatican Bank head Bishop Paul Marcinkus, Italian bankers Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi, Chicago Cardinal John Cody and Licio Gelli, head of a secret organization called “P2″, all had the means, motive and opportunity to be complicit in such an act.
The author claims money, power, secret organizations, the Mafia, and corrupt governments and leaders all became links in the chain of events leading up to the Pope’s death.
Radical changes were coming to the Catholic Church under the leadership of Luciani, Yallop writes in the pages of “In God’s Name.”
The new Pope had a list of names of men he was going to remove from key positions within the Church. Luciani was going to clean house and clean up the Vatican’s finances.
He also had a list of names of men who belonged to the secret P2 organization and who were alleged to be members of the Freemasons, which was strictly forbidden by the Church. Yallop contends it was no coincidence some of the same names appeared on both lists.
As for social issues, the most controversial topic of the day was the Church’s position on artificial birth control.
Pope John Paul I was portrayed by the Catholic government machine to be very conservative on this position. Yallop argues that, in fact, Luciani was headed for a more practical approach on the matter, one that would be more accepting of the use of birth control by church members.
In one striking exchange documented in Yallop’s investigation, Pope John Paul I, in a conversation with another Father, is said to have discussed the maximum time of possible conception for a woman — less than four days — and questioned the sinfulness of extending the natural infertility by means of artificial birth control.
“In a regular cycle this means four days of fertility and twenty-four days of infertility,” Pope John Paul I observed. “How on earth can it be a sin to say instead of twenty-four days, twenty-eight days?”
It was this thinking, Yallop argues, coupled with Luciani’s desire to purge the Church of dishonesty and fiscal malfeseance, that prompted his untimely death at age 65.
“Albino Luciani had a dream,” the author summarizes. “He dreamed of a Roman Catholic Church that would truly respond to the needs of its people on vital issues such as artificial birth control. He dreamed of a Church that would dispense with the wealth, power and prestige it had acquired through Vatican Incorporated; of a church that would get out of the marketplace, where the message of Christ had become tainted; of a Church that would once again rely on what has always been its greatest asset, its source of true power, its greatest claim to a unique prestige: the Gospel.”
Yallop’s adoration for the “martyred” Pope — and dislike for his replacement, Pope John Paul II — is evident throughout the manuscript. He uses on-and-off the record interviews to construct a portrait of a man who was humble and simple, but tenacious when following through on decisions.
The Vatican seems an unlikely place for murder and conspiracy, given the Church’s self-proclaimed spiritual lineage to St. Peter. But Yallop’s research causes the reader to step back and take a look at the events surrounding the death of the man who was presented to the world as God’s representative on earth.
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