iD magazine - - History -

She opens the door a crack and peers into the pope’s bed­room. The light is on, but noth­ing stirs. Sis­ter Vin­cenza Taf­farel has been Pope John Paul I’s house­keeper for 19 years, and he hadn’t ever over­slept. When she en­ters, she finds him in bed. His face is dis­torted, and his rigid fin­gers are clasp­ing a sheet of pa­per. It’s im­me­di­ately clear to Sis­ter Vin­cenza: The pope is dead.

Even be­fore the doc­tor can ar­rive, Jean-marie Vil­lot pays a visit. He was the Car­di­nal Sec­re­tary of State, the sec­ond most pow­er­ful man in the Vat­i­can— be­fore be­ing dis­missed 12 hours ear­lier by the pope for be­ing a mem­ber of the P2 Lodge, as were nearly all the lead­ers of the Vat­i­can Bank. Just af­ter Vil­lot ar­rives, the pa­per clasped by John Paul I dis­ap­pears— along with a bot­tle of blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tion that was on his bed­side ta­ble and his will. Was John Paul I poi­soned on the night of Septem­ber 28, 1978— just 33 days af­ter be­ing elected pope? A case can be made for this no­tion. By the end of the 1970s, the Vat­i­can Bank was the cash cow of the Freema­sons and the Si­cil­ian Mafia. But John Paul I was a staunch op­po­nent of the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion. He knew about the dirty deal­ings that the bankers Michele Sin­dona and Roberto Calvi con­ducted be­hind the smoke screen of the Church— and he wanted to end this when he be­came pope. A mis­take he paid for with his life? The bot­tom line: Vil­lot re­verses his dis­missal, pre­vents the dis­so­lu­tion of the Vat­i­can Bank, and man­ages to con­ceal the al­leged mur­der of the pope by for­bid­ding an au­topsy. When asked why, he cites canon law. But this too is a lie…

UL­TI­MATE SAC­RI­FICE John Paul I was elected pope on Au­gust 26, 1978— and died just 33 days later. His death re­mains a mys­tery. Did he fall vic­tim to a heinous con­spir­acy?

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