THE MURDER OF
A study by the Abbé de Nantes
MURDER AT THE VATICAN
The book by David Yallop, an English Roman Catholic by birth, IN GOD’S NAME, is not an «inferior whodunnit», as Jean Potin, Assumptionist and editor-in-chief of La Croix would have us believe. It is the full result, verifiable in a thousand points, of a skilled piece of investigative journalism. The author is recognised by the entire London press as a “persistent and serious investigator”, a “highly competent investigative journalist.” All the articles written about his book, whatever the tendency of their authors, conclude that “the affair merits the opening of an official enquiry.” That much is self-evident.
What does he prove? He proves the assassination by poisoning, previously suspected although none of the details were known, of Pope John Paul I during the night of 28 to 29 September 1978, after a reign of thirty-three days on the throne of Saint Peter. Yallop denounces the six presumed partners or authors of this crime, men who were also bound up in a tissue of other sordid and financial crimes both before and after. It is a very fine and intelligent piece of work. He determines their motives, and then minutely reconstitutes, in an amazing manner, Cardinal Villot’s activity during the twelve hours following the crime to make it look like a natural death. This exploit would constitute the most successful of «perfect crimes» if his position (usurped) as head of the Church and of Vatican State had not given the sinister cardinal complete power to close the eyes, ears and lips of everyone – those of His Holiness’ domestics, secretaries and, doctors, the Swiss guards and, beyond the conventional boundaries of the Vatican, the police force and the judiciary of the Italian State.
Five years after the crime, a journalist with a reputation for rectifying and avenging injustices, who may not have been writing his first book but was here undoubtedly writing his finest, tried to arouse world opinion and, through this, Justice – but what kind of Justice? the Italian variety? the Vatican variety? He was trying to awaken the Church, the principal party concerned, and to stir the courage of the still accessible witnesses and the conscience of Pope John Paul II, the assassinated man’s immediate successor. But are not all those people even today still under the power of the assassins and all too implicated in the crime?
There is every reason to fear that nothing will change in this matter of moral corruption at the summit of the Church, any more than in that much more important matter to which we have dedicated ourselves since 6 August 1964, that of the heresy and schism which we have been denouncing, with a complete lack of success as you know, in the head and members of the postconciliar Church... There is every reason to fear that the conspiracy of silence, a murderous silence, the Sicilian omerta, will make everyone – the entire Church, the masters of public opinion and the world conscience – share in the crime of a few, the most enormous crime that could be committed after that of Good Friday: the murder on Friday 29 September 1978 of the smiling Pope, «our sweet Christ on earth», Albino Luciani, the white light, who was «God’s candidate» on the day of his election and who was martyred by his brethren on the thirty-third day of his pontifical office.
«Cain, what have you done with your brother?» To this cry, which goes back to the earliest history of mankind, John Paul II has hitherto answered in the same way as the father of all murderers, «Am I my brother’s keeper?» In other words: What has the assassination of this clean-handed Abel to do with me?
At this point, I owe my friends an explanation. Many have expressed their surprise at the credit I appear to give the utterances of a journalist whose ideas do not square with ours, whose ideas in fact are far removed from ours. As evidence, they point to the portrait he paints, from his very first chapter, of a naive, progressivist John Paul I in favour of the pill and every other modern subversion... How can one believe a leftist of such obviously vulgar prejudices? And if a pope had the convictions and intentions attributed to him by Yallop, why should we grieve for him or lament him?
Well, if David Yallop does not share our ideas, so much the better. And if John Paul I was not what we thought and what we loved in him, too bad. It means that our agreement over the essential object of the book will be all the less suspect of bad faith or connivance, and the attention that the conciliar Church will have to bring to the matter will be all the more imperatively demanded both by the man of the right as by the journalist of the left, for once in agreement!
I shall come back to this dual aspect of the book, which sickens us but which should not deter us from reading it, stop us from talking about it or making it known. David Yallop sinned through presumption when he over-hastily attempted to understand and sum up in journalistic terms the complex thought and personality of his saint. He was not up to the task: he lacked the competence needed to understand the person of the Pope. His attempt to do so was based on ideas taken from chance encounters with theologians and historians; he inserted John Paul I into his own, David Yallop’s, mental framework, which is that of the leftist, who sees everything with the aid of his marxist analysis, the universal key to understanding.Offensive for us, and ridiculous for any sane person, these ramblings of Yallop’s presented in the first part of his book, as though they were facts, are enough to discourage further reading. How can one trust, you will ask, a mind so simplistic, so dogmatic and so stuffed with prejudices? How can you believe him capable of objectivity after reading a hundred pages of tittle-tattle about Pius IX and Pius X, about la Sapinière, South American dictators and the pill? Good grief! Why waste time reading these elucubrations... The book will slip from your hands before you have reached page 121, unless your attention has been caught by the prologue. Which is a pity, because the essential of his book, which we are going to summarize, is as solid as a rock. It is also truly terrible.
Incontestable, and what is more uncontested to this day, are David Yallop’s revelations about “Vatican Incorporated” in his chapter on Vatican finances and financiers.
Yallop traces it back to Constantine. For every leftist, Constantinism is at the source of all the Church’s evils. It is stupid, but the rest of what he has to say is more serious. He rightly situates the Lateran treaty, passed between Pius XI and Mussolini in 1929, as lying at the origin of the Church’s modern fortunes. Pius XI, who is to be found at the source of all the ills besetting the contemporary ecclesiastical world, sold the Church’s imprescriptible rights over the Papal States for a mountain of money – that money so rightly cursed by Christ. «The Papal States might have been lost for ever, writes Yallop, but in their place was an extraordinary money-making machine.»
And we have the mechanics of the crime. «To handle the windfall, Pope Pius XI created on June 7th, 1929 The Special Administration. He appointed to run the Department the layman Bernadino Nogara.» Nogara was a converted Jew, who asked only one thing of the Pope: that he be allowed to manage this fortune as an ordinary banker, that is to say without regard for the laws of Christ the King or of earthly States, and without any tiresome scruples of conscience. Under these conditions, he would make money. Let us not incriminate the Jew! The Pacelli brothers and nephews, the «Uomini di fiducia», then the Sicilians and the Milanese who succeeded him before the arrival of the Chicago godfather, went further and achieved far more than he did.
The Vatican thus became in 1929 a financial consortium, an element of that “anonymous and vagabond fortune” so vigorously denounced by the Duke of Orleans in 1900. The only lucrative activity known to such a fortune is speculation on the money market, the seesaw of international markets, the laundering of dirty money, the evasion of capital taxes, etc. All of which activities are simply illegal or absolutely criminal.
The German ecclesiastical tax, the kirchensteuer, instituted by the Hitler-Pacelli concordat of 1933 added a regular and powerful increase to the already large flow of capitalist profit coming in from the Italian treasury. A quick speculation on gold, at the approach of the war which Pius XI knew to be unavoidable, allowed Nogara to increase Vatican Incorporated’s financial power in a fabulous manner.
In June 1942, all the property and real estate entrusted to the Church for her pious charitable and apostolic works entered into the stock market game with the creation of the Institute for Religious Works. It was a cover to conceal the fact that the gifts of the faithful were not being used in conformity with their donors’ primary intention, but for an intermediate one: speculation. The IOR is no longer a religious administration but simply a bank, receiving and exploiting the gifts of the faithful in ways unknown to them. It is the Vatican Bank. «Vatican Incorporated had sired a bastard child, the IOR.»
In 1942, «doubtless distracted by other events of the time (quite simply, the war!) Mussolini exempted the Holy See from paying the tax on share dividends», that is to say on every visible form of capitalist income that Nogara and his successors would invent and exploit. The Special Administration and the IOR thereafter constituted «an offshore tax haven in the middle of Rome». «In capitalistic terms, Nogara’s service in the cause of the Roman Catholic Church was an incredible success» at the time of his official retirement in 1954 and his effective retirement, at his death, in 1958. But he did not die before ensuring the continuity of his cult, whose god is Money and whose law is profit.
It seemed impossible to the managers of Vatican Incorporated, whose Director General is the Pope, to accept the demands of the Italian State in 1967-68 that the fiscal exemption granted by Mussolini should be revised, and that the greatest financial empire in the peninsular, the Vatican, should be taxed like any other. «The Vatican wanted to play the market but not to pay for the privilege.» It bridled at this and threatened, by means of a perfectly odious blackmail, to provoke, if the Italian State insisted, the collapse of the Italian economy by brutally releasing all its stock onto the market. «Eventually Italy decided to call the Vatican’s bluff.» The Vatican bowed and asked for time. Time to find an escape route for the enormous capital of the... “Church of the poor.”
«If the Vatican maintained its heavy investment in Italy it was going to face very large tax bills. Pope Paul VI had a problem. The men he turned to for the solution were The Gorilla and The Shark.»
The Gorilla was Paul Marcinkus, a native of Cicero (Chicago), Al Capone’s country. Marcinkus would prove to be a worthy imitator of the great man himself. At Milan, he had been the close friend of Pascale Macchi, who was private secretary to Paul VI. With a view to supervising this illegal and delicate manoeuvre, the transfer of the Vatican’s fortune overseas and its discreet infiltration into the world’s most lucrative speculation channels, Paul VI made Marcinkus his business man. And since Marcinkus had no competence in this sphere, other than a total lack of conscience, he appointed the Shark, Michele Sindona, «a member of his Milan mafia», in reality a thoroughgoing member of the Sicilian mafia, wholly corruptible, already corrupted and absolutely ruthless. Sindona was a native of Sicily and religiously practiced the rule of silence, the omerta, as well as the “Sicilian Solution”, assassination as the normal way of guaranteeing peaceful business.
In Milan, Sindona had shown «proven abilities at moving amounts of money in and out of Italy without disturbing the tranquillity of the Government’s taxation departments». He was the director of a great many companies all linked together in accordance with the cardinal rule of high flying crooks: «The best way to steal from a bank is to buy one», with the money of a third party of course! In order to cultivate the Archbishop of Milan’s friendship, he did not hesitate to lend Cardinal Montini two million dollars for his works. And so when the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan became Pope, it was to Sindona that his thoughts turned to have the Vatican’s capital transferred beyond the Alps.
«Your force is the Mafia and your power is Freemasonry», an associate had said to him, and it was true. «The Lodge was “Propaganda Due” or P2 and its Grand Master was Licio Gelli.» It was at the time «a secret and illegal» lodge, the only truly active one, claiming to be legitimate, and controlling, as it still does today, the Italian State government, army and law. Already in Milan, Michele Sindona’s career was being discreetly patronized by Licio Gelli. In return, Sindona installed siphons in his banks destined to replenish the every more greedy coffers of P2.
«Through the esoteric Cardinal Bertoli, Gelli gained entry into the Vatican. He dined with Bishop Paul Marcinkus. He had a number of audiences with Pope Paul VI.» He also forged close friendships with Cardinals Baggio, Casaroli, etc. at the house of his Roman adviser, the lawyer Umberto Ortolani, where great affairs of Church were dealt with, in his villa in the Via Archimede.
Thus from mafia to bank and from bank to lodge, Vatican Incorporated infiltrated some very strange patrons into Holy Church.
The enormous flight of capital, piously decided by Paul VI, was therefore accomplished amid general satisfaction, whilst the same Pope condemned such action in others in his encyclical Populorum Progressio. It is the parable of the mote and the beam in real life. «The world’s richest real estate owner... decided to liquidate a sizeable proportion of their Italian assets and reinvest in other countries. Thus they would avoid heavy taxation, and the yield on the investment would be better.» This transaction carried out under the nose of the Italian State resulted in a grave economic crisis for the country with very harsh repercussions for the poor in the year 1970.
Vatican Incorporated, widening its scope, called in a new shark, Roberto Calvi. Having become through the same procedures and the same patronage associate director of the very honourable and clerical Banco Ambrosiano of Milan, he «was introduced in 1971 to Bishop Marcinkus (I was forgetting: Paul VI had consecrated him bishop) by Sindona and instantly joined the very select Vatican clan of uomini di fiducia.» Thereafter, the Banco Ambrosiano became a powerful centre for laundering dirty money, for transferring currency and for international speculation all under the cover and with the active cooperation of Vatican Incorporated, which «ultimately owned the entire laundry». «Calvi’s contribution consisted in spreading the cancer of the Vatican’s criminality throughout the world.»
And as was bound to happen, this fine well-knit team of international crooks began to siphon cash on an ever increasing scale from the various accounts of Vatican Incorporated in order to feed their own accounts, those of their friends, and those of their “godfathers”. Problems begin «when you siphon off capital in large amounts to third parties. A hole begins to appear...» Clearly, a siphon, unlike other banking manipulations, only pumps real money. «A hole begins to appear.»
No less inevitably, the CIA, the Interpol, the FBI and the tax authorities began to alert one another and then move into action. P2 had to work harder and harder, and the finance needed to guarantee the tranquillity of both Vatican Incorporated and the Ambrosiano grew. Systematic blackmail and corruption ensued, followed unfortunately by the Italian Solution, which consists in creating a climate of intimidation by killing a magistrate who wants to know too much, a troublesome police officer or an imprudent mafioso. The trouble is that one crime leads to another and the cost mounts up. The day comes when a client, a bank manager or a shareholder discovers the hole and loses confidence. Sometimes a bank will crack, threatening to bring down the whole organization throughout the world!
Already in 1972, someone had seen this quite clearly. It was our dear and pure Albino Luciani. Having taken control of the Banco Ambrosiano and transformed it into a clearing house and a laundry for cleaning dirty money made from the sale of drugs and other such filth, our mafiosi moved in with the same perverse and criminal intentions to seize hold of the honest and very clerical Banco Cattolica del Veneto. Of all the bishops of Venetia, only our Luciani dared to protest. He made enquiries and discovered that, with the agreement of Paul VI, the president of his dear bank, called the “Priests’ bank”, Marcinkus had sold it to Calvi without the knowledge of the bishops of the province, who were the bank’s true guardians and guarantors. Profoundly indignant, our Saint came to voice his indignation in Rome where he found only Benelli to share his grievance and assuage his anger. It is reported that Marcinkus showed him the door.
They thought they were all-powerful. They exaggerated. In 1973, the Crime and Racketeering section of the US Department of Justice discovered, along with a signed blessing from Paul VI, an agreement with Mario Foligni whereby the Vatican was to be sold a consignment of false bonds with the nominal value of one billion dollars. The author of «one of the greatest swindles in the world» was Paul Marcinkus and his accomplice, Sindona. The Vatican dismissed the investigators in the same way as it dealt with a common Abbé de Nantes who had come to Rome in that same year with a complaint against Paul VI “for heresy, schism and scandal”...! They carried on even worse than before.
Aid to the sum of two billion dollars did not prevent the collapse of the Franklin Bank in the United States in 1974. It was «the biggest bank crash in American history». Federal funds lost billions of deposits in that crash, and the fraud inspectors, tracing the threads back, were convinced that the Sindona empire was one immense fraud in which the Vatican Bank was implicated.
Marcinkus and his accomplice, Roberto Calvi, looked on whilst Sindona sank, imagining that they could save Vatican Incorporated and the Banco Ambrosiano, despite the confidence crisis that had followed “Il Crack Sindona”... To that end, they borrowed fabulous sums of money from the big international banks under the moral guarantee of the Vatican, but in the name of phantom banks such as Suprafin SA. With this money, they would reinflate the Ambrosiano and save its credibility on the international market! In return for his precious guarantee, Marcinkus received honourable dividends from the Ambrosiano.
In fact, during the year 1978, «Calvi was walking on a knife-edge». In August, he found himself hard pressed on all sides; his empire, suspected and threatened, was breaking up. It was then that he felt the need for a change of air in South America where Licio Gelli was also in search of a little peace and quiet, while their friend Sindona, in a New York prison, was trembling at the prospect of extradition and being handed over to Italian justice. One point in common held them together: as long as Bishop Marcinkus stayed at Vatican Incorporated, they could breathe. If he were to leave, for each of them it would mean in one way or another a harsh return to reality, to ruin, prison or suicide... or all three evils at once.
It is then that Albino Luciani, “God’s candidate”, elected by the conclave, arrived on the scene. At all costs he had to be prevented from «digging into the bank». «When the Cardinals elected Albino Luciani to the Papacy on that hot August day in 1978 they set an honest, holy, totally incorruptible Pope on a collision course with Vatican Incorporated. The irresistible market forces of the Vatican Bank, APSA and the other money-making elements were about to be met by the immovable integrity of Albino Luciani.» Among those money-making elements were Cardinal Villot and Bishop Marcinkus, accomplices of Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi, all members or associates of the P2 Lodge, and their protector Licio Gelli its Grand Master. There would be no brutal collision. That had to be avoided at all costs. It would have to be a soft impact, so insignificant that confidence would reign without so much as a ripple to disturb the surface and that business could continue without the least interruption. It would all be very simple, perfectly discreet and silent. It would be the perfect crime.
During the thirty-three days of his reign, Albino Luciani remembered how the priests and the poor of his former diocese had been robbed by the Milanese and Vatican mafia when the Banca Cattolica del Veneto had been sold. He remembered many other things that his friend Cardinal Benelli had told him with bitter irony, and he vowed himself to the task of cleaning out these Augean stables, by which I mean the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, Pope Paul’s financial centre. It might be thought that he lacked the Herculean build for such an exploit. His adversaries thought otherwise and feared him sufficiently to plot his death, should he directly threaten them. This is how they arrived at such an extremity.
Yallop relates: «On Sunday, August 27th, Luciani asked Villot to continue as Secretary of State for “a little while, until I have found my way”.» This provisional measure alone represented a silent threat. Thus he kept his enemies under control and within his sight while he contemplated the regal blow that would bring them down for certain. There would be no early retirement for Villot until everything had been brought to light!
«He instructed his newly confirmed Secretary of State to initiate an investigation immediately. There was to be a review of the entire financial operation of the Vatican; a detailed analysis of every aspect. “No department, no congregation, no section is to be excluded”, Luciani told Villot... The financial review was to be done discreetly, quickly and completely. The new Pope advised his Secretary of State that once he had considered the report he would decide on appropriate courses of action.»
One thinks of that verse from Saint Mark’s Gospel: «And the Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against Him, discussing how to destroy Him.» (3.6). Him, Jesus. And that was right at the beginning of His ministry...
«Pope John Paul I had concluded by mid-September that his first priority should be to put his own house in order.» The Vatican Bank was being denounced in the press and in the professional circulars of financial agents. If he were to discover the full extent – truly fantastic – of the robberies, frauds, illegalities, crimes, and even murders already committed under cover of Vatican Incorporated, «nothing would move him or shift him.»
Thereupon, to cap everything, a scandal sheet landed on his desk claiming to reveal the names of 121 members of the Roman Curia alleged to belong to Masonic lodges. Among others were the names of Cardinals Villot, Casaroli, Baggio, Poletti, Bishop Marcinkus and his confederates, and Pope Paul’s secretary, Pasquale Macchi... The cover for all of them turned out to be the Secretary of State, Jean Villot!
John Paul I was going to crush and scatter this ant heap. At this news, Roberto Calvi was greatly put out. Already being pursued, he would be dragged down by the fall of his only moral guarantor, Marcinkus. «If by some miracle Albino Luciani were to drop dead before Marcinkus was removed, then Calvi would have time.» Calvi turned to Gelli, who reassured him: «The “problem” (of the miracle!) could and would be resolved.»
Two others were in desperate straits on their own account. On both of these David Yallop gives all the desired information, all of which is perfectly verifiable. One was Sindona close to being extradited from the United States and handed over to Italian justice, as he would most certainly be if he lost his international guarantor, Bishop Marcinkus. The other was Cardinal Cody threatened with deposition for misappropriation of funds and other scandals plastered all over the newspapers of his archdiocese, where he was loathed by clergy and people alike. The fact that he had passed hundreds of thousands of dollars through the Vatican Bank to Paul VI and the Polish bishops (fancy that!) would not count as an extenuating circumstance before John Paul I’s moral tribunal.
They too greatly desired «the miracle» to be carried out. Each of them knew one thing and one thing only in that “Indian summer” of incomparable light and sweetness when this tragedy was paradoxically being played out: «When a pope dies, all decisions yet to be publicly announced, die with him, unless his successor decides to carry them through.» When the requested miracle took place, there would be a respite for survival, and this time, as for the election of Paul VI, plans would be made in the Via Archimede for the election of a good pope!
«Sindona, Calvi, Marcinkus and Cardinal Cody: by September 28th 1978 each of these men stood to lose much if Albino Luciani were to decide on certain specific courses of action. Others who stood to be directly affected were Licio Gelli and Umberto Ortolani: for these P2 leaders to lose Calvi would be for the masonic lodge to lose its paymaster general. By September 28th, another name was added to the growing list of people who were about to be seriously affected by the proposed action of Luciani. The new name was that of Cardinal Jean Villot, the Pope’s Secretary of State.»
«The same morning, after a light breakfast of coffee, croissant and rolls, Luciani was at his desk before 8.00 am. There was much to be done.» It was September 28th. Let us pass over the minor details. «After the morning audiences Luciani had a meeting with Cardinal Baggio. He had arrived at a number of decisions and was now about to impart two of them to Baggio.»
«The first was the problem of Cardinal John Cody of Chicago. Luciani had decided that Cody must be removed.» The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy made no objection to that. «Baggio was delighted; finally the situation had been resolved.
«He was less than pleased with the next decision at which Luciani had arrived. Venice was without a Patriarch. Baggio was offered the job... There were several reasons why the Pope had concluded that Baggio should move from Rome to Venice. Not least of these was one particular name on the list of Masons which Luciani had received – Baggio, Masonic name Seba, Lodge number 85/2640. Enrolled on August 14th, 1957.
«The meeting between Baggio and Luciani has been described to me as “a very violent argument with the violence and anger entirely deriving from His Eminence. The Holy Father remained calm”.»
The other important meeting that day took place towards the end of the afternoon after two telephone conversations, the first of which had been with Cardinal Felici who was at Padua and the second with Cardinal Benelli. He had told Felici of the difficult confrontation he had had with Baggio, whose refusal to accept Venice had nevertheless surprised him, and he had spoken to Cardinal Benelli about his next appointment, which he would make known to the Secretary of State, Jean Villot, that same evening. These are things one does not forget.
A short while later, Jean Villot and the Pope sat sipping their camomile tea together, and then the conversation took a more serious turn. The Pope talked about the Vatican Bank. He had studied his Secretary of State’s report, and others too. He had met Bishop Marcinkus and had weighed him up. The conversation had been cool and did not augur well. «Luciani advised Villot that Marcinkus was to be removed immediately. Not in a week’s or a month’s time. The following day.» He would be replaced by an honest man, «a key figure in the financial tribunal of the Vatican, Monsignor Abbo... The claws of the lion which his intimates had waited to see revealed, were on full display to Villot.» Furthermore he was going to dismiss the uomini di fiducia, Marcinkus’ mafia, and he intended to cut all links, without any delay, with the Banco Ambrosiano Group of Sindona and Calvi.
«Cardinal Villot noted these changes without much comment. He had been aware of a great deal over the years. Many within the Vatican considered him ineffectual, but for Villot it had often been a case of deliberately looking the other way. In the Vatican village it was called survival technique.»
In truth, such an act of authority had not been seen since the time of Saint Pius X. Seventy-five years earlier, Pius X had broken the power of the formidable Secretary of State of his predecessor Leo XIII, the freemason Cardinal Rampolla.
«Luciani moved to the problem of Chicago and his discussion with Baggio concerning the ultimatum that was to be given to Cardinal John Cody. Villot voiced approval... Luciani discussed Baggio’s refusal to accept the See of Venice and his continued determination that Baggio should go where he was told to go... Luciani then advised Villot of the other changes he planned to make...» Finally, «Benelli was to become Secretary of State. He would take over Villot’s job.»
Villot pretended to reflect deeply, at this regal blow, this quiet thrust which had completely unseated him. Then, while the Pope was pouring him another cup of tea, he said: «I thought you were considering Casaroli as my replacement?» With Casaroli there would be no getting away from the mafia. «I did, for a considerable time, replied Albino. I think much of his work is brilliant but I share Giovanni Benelli’s reservations about some of the policy initiatives that have been made in the recent past towards Eastern Europe.»
Villot remained icy. But two days later we shall see him laughing indecently on television. David Yallop writes: «But the cold professional aloofness that was his hallmark remained.» Eventually, encouraged by the Pope, he objected that these appointments were «contrary to the late Holy Father’s wishes», and would be regarded as a kind of repudiation of his papacy. «It will be said that you betrayed Paul.» The discussion continued for nearly two hours. When Villot departed, it was night. “Et erat nox.” (Jn 13.30) Commenting on these words, Saint Augustine says: He was Himself the night.
As for Albino Luciani, he was the white light that shines in the darkness... After these discussions, he very much wanted to telephone Cardinal Colombo of Milan immediately. But Diego Lorenzi, his Secretary, advised him that Colombo was not available until about 8.45 pm. The conversation eventually took place and bore on the changes Luciani had decided to make. «He spoke to me for a long time in a completely normal tone from which no physical illness could be inferred. He was full of serenity and hope. His final greeting was “pray”.»
At half past nine, Albino Luciani bade his secretaries goodnight saying: «Buona notte. A domani. Se Dio vuole.»... If God wishes. But God wanted more from his servant.
Undoubtedly Cardinal Villot also made a telephone call that evening. To whom, one would like to know. To Marcinkus? Without any doubt! For the cornered mafia, the matter was decided. The “Italian solution” would have to be applied to John Paul I immediately if they wanted to escape prison, violent death or forced suicide. But they had to proceed in such a way that the crime would pay.
Therefore «1. The murder would have to be achieved by stealth. For the status quo of corruption which existed before Luciani’s election to continue, the act of murder had to be masked... 2. The most efficient way to kill the pope was by poison – a poison that when administered would leave no tell-tale external signs. Research indicates that there are over two hundred such drugs which would fulfil the task. The drug digitalis is but one of this number... 3. Whoever planned to murder the Pope in such a manner would have to have an intimate knowledge of Vatican procedures. They would have to know that no matter what indications remained after the act, there would be no autopsy», and – here I am adding to what Yallop has written – they would have to know that the tell-tale signs of the crime would be effaced or removed by one of the very first persons to be alerted. For the conspirators, the capital point was that there should not and could not be an autopsy.
At this point, I digress. It is known that the perfect crime does not exist. There is the Bolshevik crime, which is cynical and requires no precautionary measures, the background to which is terror. There is also, although it is never spoken of, the masonic crime. It is murder made to look like suicide, an accident or natural death. In this case, however, an «alibi», a scheme of explanation is pre-established, in case some blunder should allow the criminal hand to be detected: an implausible scheme, without proof or witnesses and preferably scandalous, which, when thrown to public opinion at the first sign of distress from the crime's authors, will create doubt and confusion. The power of the lodges is such that they can impose this suggestion on journalists, on various police forces, on magistrates, stifling the truth just long enough for life to continue, and for the public to be absorbed in some other news topic. Later, some Yallop or other can reconstitute the crime point by point and denounce its authors. But by then it is ancient history, and doubt allows everyone to keep to his position.
The murder of John Paul I has all the characteristics of a masonic murder. «If it was to succeed in its aim, then the murder had to be committed by stealth in such a manner that there was a reasonable chance of the death appearing to be a natural one. For nearly six years the perpetrators of the murder of Albino Luciani have succeeded in what must rank as one of the crimes of the century.»
It is so evident that we felt it thus on the very same day and immediately wrote: «It was opening the secret dossiers of Paul VI that killed holy Pope John Paul I.» And then this, still more precise: «If he had decided to put up a fight immediately, then they may indeed have killed him.» (English CRC 103, Oct 78, p. 4) We presented the suspect circumstances, some known to Yallop and others unknown to him even to this day (English CRC 107, Feb 79, pp. 18-19). Finally, during our Congress held in October 1979, we recapitulated the whole affair and told our three hundred chefs de cercle, admittedly with a prudent note of doubt, what we ourselves knew and what therefore must have been easy for the Roman authorities to know: that Pope John Paul I had died of a fatal dose of digitalis, which he had been taking as a medicine. The word “digitalis” can be heard quite distinctly on the recording (L 28).
In Rome, anyone who wanted to know did know. But those who wanted to preserve their peace of mind were only too ready to accept the pre-established version, the masonic alibi recited by Cardinal Villot at the time, now dished up to us again in yesterday's newspapers and attested to by Fr Giovanni Gennari to defend the Curia against the revelations of the English investigative journalist, David Yallop.
Gennari: «John Paul II’s predecessor mistakenly took an overdose of tranquillisers... After his conversation with Cardinal Villot, the Pope mistook the dose he should have taken.» (Ouest-France, undated press clipping, July 1984)
Villot: «What occurred was a tragic accident. The Pope had unwittingly taken an overdose of his medicine. If an autopsy was performed it would obviously show this fatal overdose. No one would believe that His Holiness had taken it accidentally. Some would allege suicide, others murder. It was agreed that there would be no autopsy.»
The explanation is crazy: how could one know what the poor dead man had done, alone and without realising it? It is improbable: the Pope’s medicine, Effortil, cannot be the cause of sudden death in one suffering from low blood pressure, even if the dose were doubled or trebled. It is defamatory: it insinuates the idea of a poor pope overwhelmed and out of his depth committing suicide. It is untenable: if it were really believed, on the contrary every precaution, delay and necessary assurance would have been taken to stop the assassination thesis gaining ground and to exculpate oneself from these accusations before a tribunal.
From the way Cardinal Villot formulated and imposed such an alibi, he reveals himself as a Master, a Grand Master of the masonic secret. Furthermore, he performed his role, his check-up, quite imperturbably, with a perfect mastery of himself, the Church and events.
At 4.45 am Sister Vincenza entered the room and saw the Pope sitting up in bed, «with an expression of agony», as she told Yallop. «She felt his pulse». That would suffice to prove that he had just died, even if he had not died before her very eyes. According to her breathless words to a group of French priests that same morning, it was «in his bathroom» that she had «found him dead», according to my own information (dated 6 November 78). It seems certain that death occurred that same morning, but no one was willing or able to administer conditional extreme unction to the Pope.
At 5.00 am Cardinal Villot confirmed the death and began to take full control of matters, in a way that was illegal, exclusive and methodical. All of which presupposes a cool head, a premeditated plan and a firm determination to take the necessary action despite the thousand and one difficulties.
He pocketed the bottle of Effortil on the bedside table, he took the notes of the transfers and appointments decided on the previous day from the dead Pope’s hands, and he also removed the Pope’s glasses and slippers, probably because there were traces of vomiting on them. He is also thought to have made the Pope’s Will disappear. «None of these items has ever been seen again», and yet they have been searched for.
He, or a colleague, telephoned the embalmers at the same time, and a Vatican car was sent to fetch them. Incredibly, the car was at their door at 5.00 am. The so-called Camerlengo – I say so-called because Villot had seen all his powers die with the Pope (cf. Le singulier trépas de Jean-Paul 1er by J.-J. Thierry, ed. Belfond, p. 125) – was now acting as a gangster. Cardinal Villot then made Sister Vincenza take a vow of silence concerning the event and forbade the secretaries to advise anyone without his authorization.
What happened during the next hour? It is a mystery. Did the embalmers try to remodel the deceased’s face whilst it was still warm and apply makeup to it? Not until 6.00 am did Dr Buzzonati – and not Professor Fontana the head of the Vatican medical service, why? (Thierry, p. 97) – arrive and confirm the death, without drawing up a death certificate. He attributed the death to acute myocardial infarction, which he timed as having taken place at about 11 pm the previous evening. It was a mere hunch and, medically speaking, worthless.
Villot began to inform the cardinals from about 6.30 am... two hours therefore after the telephone call to the Institute of Medicine ordering them to send the Signoracci brothers, the embalmers! The embalmers took precedence over the sacraments, the cardinals and the head of the medical service. They were the lords of the day...
However, not everything ran according to Villot's schedule. The Pope’s faithful secretary, Don Lorenzi, telephoned his personal doctor who shared his concern and decided to leave for Rome at once in order to examine the body. Luciani’s health was good. He was very well at that time and the hypothesis of sudden death seemed untenable to Dr da Ros.
Furthermore, Sergeant Roggan, who was on duty that night, suddenly came face to face with Paul Marcinkus on the premises at a quarter to seven in the morning at a time and a place where he had no reason to be. The Gorilla did not even blink when the Swiss Guard, thinking he was giving him news, told him of the Pope’s death.
The world was not informed until half past seven, through a communiqué so full of lies that it had subsequently to be replaced with others...
The body was taken, as is customary, to the Sala Clementina where a great crowd flocked. The visitors of that morning have kept everything engraved in their memory: the distorted features, the Pope’s twisted and agonized face. According to my source, the embalmers returned at 11 am that morning. The doors were closed and they attempted to remodel the face, by now cold. And no doubt they succeeded in disguising the distorted expression. Villot then managed to reach an agreement with them, not without considerable resistance on their part, for the embalming to be brought forward to that same evening, something quite unusual and indeed illegal.
While the faithful flocked in tears to the chapel of rest and «men and women could be heard exclaiming as they filed past the inert body: “Who has done this to you? Who has killed you?», there was much activity on the third floor of the papal palace at the behest of the self-styled interim head of the Church. The sisters were busy washing and polishing. Why this zeal? Why this haste? Was it to efface the footsteps and the fingerprints? Was it to clean the trail of vomit from the bathroom to the bed, to which Sister Vincenza is thought to have brought her dying spiritual Father, thinking that she would faint at every step? «Vomiting is frequently one of the earliest symptoms of a digitalis overdose.» The secretaries packed up and carried away the Pope's clothes, «including his letters, notes, books and the small handful of personal mementos.» What devil was so anxious for the relics of the first martyr pope of modern times? «By 6.00 pm, the entire 19 rooms of the Papal Apartments were totally bereft of anything remotely associated with the Papacy of Luciani.» The doors were sealed by the indefatigable and meticulous cardinal usurper.
Immediately, the interim head of the Church and the Vatican State joined the lords of the day, the Signoracci brothers, to direct and supervise their work. They had doubtless demanded this minimum delay of twelve hours so as not to infringe Italian law too conspicuously. But what a strange and repugnant embalming they were made to do! Never in their lives and never in the long tradition of embalming popes (cf. Lettres sur le singulier trépas de Jean-Paul 1er, p. 103) had such a horror been ordered or carried out. Something which no one could have imagined (ibid. p. 121) , but which David Yallop discovered through his methodical enquiry:
«At the Vatican’s insistence (at the insistence of the gangster then in command at the Vatican), no blood was drained from the body, neither were any organs removed. Injections of formalin and other preserving chemicals were made into the body through the femoral arterial and vein passages. The entire process took over three hours. The reason the process took so long was because, contrary to normal practice when the blood is drained or cleared with a solution of salt water that is circulated around the body, the Vatican (the gangster) was adamant that no blood should be drawn off.»
The reason for the conservation within the body of the elements of certain corruption, the entrails and the blood, is all too easily understood. The Signoracci brothers, alas, are people immune to any scruple or emotion. For us, and even more certainly for them too, here lies the formal, indisputable and sufficient proof of the Cardinal Secretary of State, Jean Villot’s free, conscious and active participation in the assassination of Pope John Paul I.
«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.» As for the entrails, if the Signoracci brothers had withdrawn them prior to embalming, as is customary, they would have been there for the autopsy which Jean Villot so vigorously refused to allow during the whole of that day.
«Et erat nox». It was night when all was finished: it was 9.oo pm. He was Himself the night. «Cardinal Villot finally retired to bed shortly before midnight.» He had worked well. Sixteen hours after his strange death, John Paul I was no more than a memory in that very place where, the day before, he was still reigning as the holy and beloved common Father. «It was as if he had never been there, never existed.» With his body embalmed, an autopsy would be useless. With his apartment washed, polished and sealed, no search or commission of enquiry would lead to anything. With his things and his papers carried off, made to vanish, no proof or clue could be gleaned. Such is masonic thoroughness.
The final phase of the assassination began the very next day. Having poisoned the body and killed it quietly, they now began to besmirch the memory, to sully the soul of the holy martyr pontiff, to wipe out even his memory and any regret at his loss. «The Roman Curia (the gangster and his “uomini di fiducia”) would have the world believe that Albino Luciani was a simple, near idiot; a gravely ill man whose election was an aberration and whose natural death was a merciful release for the Church. In such a manner they hoped to mask murder.»
Besides, «the next conclave was fast approaching, thanks to the decision made by a minority the day after the discovery of the Pope’s body. The minds of the cardinals began to concentrate on the lobbying and the intrigues surrounding the problem of who should succeed Albino Luciani.» Cardinal Benelli confided to David Yallop: «Secondly the Curia were preparing for the next Conclave. They wanted a Curial Pope.»
That may appear to be another story. But in truth it was the same struggle of “the curia”, that is to say of this mafia whom we know, against destiny; it was the same fight «against God and His Anointed» (Ps 2) that was being continued. What would be the point in killing John Paul I if a Benelli were now to be elected? The Mafia, Vatican Incorporated, the Ambrosiano, the P2 Lodge would have to work in concert in the Via Archimede, as they did when they organised Gianbattista Montini’s election in 1963, to promote an acceptable candidate as quickly as possible. They would have to succeed in making a good pope at all costs.
The rest of that 29 September 1978, according to what David Yallop says about it, is too important for us not to dedicate a more detailed study to it in our next edition.
Before closing this account of what led to John Paul I’s murder and what immediately ensued in an attempt to disguise it as cardiac failure, I wish to forestall an extreme theory which we rightly find repugnant: No, it was not Cardinal Villot who decided to murder Him whose closest and most intimate collaborator he was. It was not Cardinal Villot who organized this. It was not he who added the digitalis to the bottle of Effortil. He found himself confronted with a crime perpetrated by those known to him, and in a way and at a time also known to him. He was not the author of the crime. Perhaps we can say that he was an accomplice in the crime? and, after the event, a participant?
He found himself constrained, certainly with regret, to act according to his conscience and the high sense of his duty at an hour when he held supreme authority and all power, to disguise this crime now that it had been accomplished and was irreparable, in order to save the honour of Holy Church. For such was, and still is, the idea of the Church’s honour as understood by the Secretariat of State in all its avenues and curial ramifications.
We shall follow Yallop in his demonstration and learn that Licio Gelli was the initiator and general organizer of the crime, that Roberto Calvi was his partner in the crime, a crime that was to cost him ever more dearly to the point where he too had to be suicided. The executor of the crime was some thug who had received the contract of his life from an agent of Ortolani’s in the Via Archimede. This underworld of the mafia, the bank and Vatican village is known to us now. And Marcinkus? Ah, Marcinkus! He was keeping watch in the meantime...
And so Jean Villot, who was cast in the role of villain through force of circumstance, could die in peace, with the honours of the Church and of P2. In peace with his conscience, if not with God. But did Villot believe in God?
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