It seems they did indeed kill him. A theological blog 15 – I – 20
It seems that the Vatican did kill John-Paul 1st, , though not in the way you might think. David Yallop wrote a book called In God’s Name arguing that the Pope was physically murdered, as if by Colonel Mustard in the library. Interesting as Yallop’s book is, it has something of journalistic sensationalism about it and does not stand up to scrutiny. I’ve even read a book claiming that the Vatican hired the Mafia to introduce a deadly poisonous spider they had into John-Paul’s bed. This spider had the useful quality that it was dormant until it contacted warm human flesh, and then was so lethal it killed immediately and in a way that made it look as if the victim had had a heart attack. How convenient, just the thing required. How can you argue with that sort of thing? Alarmed at these claims, the Vatican hired John Cornwell, a journalist who had once been a seminarian at the English College in Rome and happened to be visiting old friends, to write a book arguing against Yallop’s case. As a result, Cornwell wrote A Thief in the Night. It is a masterpiece. The chapter describing a lunch in a restaurant in Rome with a greedy and cynical monsignor is one of my favourite passages in literature. Cornwell demolishes Yallop’s case comprehensively. He draws a picture of a bewildered man who was out of his depth and already extremely ill with a heart condition, utterly despised by the Vatican as a naïve little parish priest from Venice who was not up to the job. They totally failed to look after him. Cornwell ends his book by saying that they killed him by lack of love as surely as if they had put arsenic in his coffee. What an indictment of the supposed centre of the Christian world! But the Vatican weren’t bothered by accusations of lack of love. They were so pleased that Cornwell had got them off the hook, they invited him to write another book defending the reputation of Pius XII in relation to the Holocaust, and threw open the Vatican archives to him. Cornwell did indeed fend off the attacks on Pius accusing him of complicity in the murders of the Jews, but was so horrified by other material in the archives he wrote Hitler’s Pope. They got what they deserved. How is it that this beautiful religion I revere and love so much has fallen into the hands of such horrible old men? A palace of eunuchs, said the cynical monsignor as he gobbled down the oysters and the pheasant.