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PostDeath of Pope John Paul I: I Don't Buy the Conspiracy Theories (Edward Jajko, USA, 08/04/19 4:47 am)
In partial response to Enrique Torner's posting on his preliminary analysis of the cause of death of John Paul I (July 29th), I don't buy the conspiracy theories.
Enrique says Albino Luciani was murdered, and this because he was a threat to the traditional Catholic Church; he planned to terminate financial corruption, allow birth control, eliminate various dangerous elements that had infiltrated the Vatican, and modernize the Church. He references damning evidence, a list that must exist but who knows if it does, of Curia officials the Pope intended to dismiss.
Where is the evidence for any of this?
I have an acquaintance, a religious scholar and former Protestant minister, who has taught that Luciani intended to downgrade the meaning and importance of the Bible in Roman Catholicism, to literally put a warning label on it telling the faithful to take it with a large grain of salt. This is nonsense. The Roman Catholic Church is not a "Bible" church, but even so Sacred Scripture plays an important part in its liturgies and Catholic Biblical scholarship is first rate.
As for other theories, somewhere among my books I have a work by, I believe, an Italian journalist (not cited by Enrique) who has another far-fetched theory. I'll have to look for it. The problem with all of these, including Enrique's, is that they are conjecture. There is no evidence for motive, as there is none for the cause of death.
Some added comments:
Gratusminal is phenobarbital in the European Pharmacopoeia. Enrique mentions this and another medication by name, but then adds only that the pope took "mild heart prescriptions." From personal experience, I can say that "mild heart prescriptions" is equivalent to physicians saying "I'm comfortable with that" or, as one is facing a deadly looking needle, "You will feel a little stick." Non credo.
Enrique says Luciani wanted to modernize the Church. But the Church has been in a process of modernization since the Second Vatican Council. But this is the Church, with 2,000 years of history and tradition, a rooting in a language and civilization that have both passed away, and now a worldwide compass of peoples and cultures. Modernization, even within the definitions or parameters of the Church, has been fitful. But it has to be within the definitions and parameters of the Church, not of secular society. And again, where is the evidence? You don't get named patriarch of Venice by being a revolutionary.
Allowing birth control by artificial means? This was disallowed by Paul VI. His successor would not, possibly could not, change his law. In any event it is basically moot, except for abortion.
There has indeed been corruption in the Curia for years. This has been a favorite topic of books and articles, also for years. Benedict XVI and Francis have each made some attempts at cleaning house but it hasn't worked well. If I were pope, I would get a few trusted people, old friends, and then, as absolute ruler, would fire the whole Curia. I would install nuns in positions of authority. Would I wind up dead in bed? But none of this "if I were king" business leads us any closer to answers about the demise of Zanipolo, John Paul I.
Just one further note this time around: I think it unfortunate that my Church had seen fit to canonize recent popes or put them on the path to sainthood. Canonization of popes has become the Catholic equivalent of naming capital ships of the US Navy for presidents.
JE comments: Edward Jajko's strongest point against the assassination theories: if John Paul I were so radical/revolutionary, how would he have been elected in the first place?