First, the Vatican provided incorrect information about who Pope John Paul I found dead in bed. Then the world was exposed to a huge scandal.
On the morning of September 29, 1978, the Vatican issued a brief and surprising message. Pope John Paul I died after a heart attack. He was found in bed by the priest who was his personal secretary, it was said.
This was the first version of the story of what happened.
Within a few days, rumors started circulating that there was something criminal behind it. Cardinals in the Roman Curia, the administration of the Vatican State, were pressured to provide clarifying information. When an Italian news agency revealed that the Vatican had provided incorrect information about the identity of the person who had found the body, speculation grew that something was wrong here.
What could be the cause of the death of the Pope, aged only 65, after only 33 days in office?
Four decades later, John Paul I was on his way to becoming a saint. The Vatican announced that he would be beaten on the basis of a miracle that is said to have occurred in Buenos Aires in 2011. An 11-year-old girl is said to have been seriously ill and was cured thanks to intercession.
But to the extent that this pope is still remembered, it is mostly due to the suspicion surrounding his death.
Over the years, many people have thrown themselves at the issue. Everyone used a completely different approach, and few stuck to the facts. John Paul I’s legacy has been influenced not only by mystery and conspiracy theories, but by people who competed to try to show what really happened.
Read the full case with subscription
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”