Remembering the Smiling Pope (First of Two Parts)

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, January 18, 2014


IN his New Year’s message, Pope Francis calls for greater solidarity in the world. Can this be possible? Solidarity should start from the City of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ. There can only be solidarity if there is a common interest and active loyalty within a group. I am a Catholic and I want to have solidarity with others who do not share what I believe.

The late Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani) raised the banner of solidarity when he became the Vicar of Christ. He condemned evil and worked for the promotion of justice and fairness. He lived for 33 days only. The “Smiling Pope” was murdered (as alleged). The official verdict was myocardial infarction (heart attack). Vatican commissioned John Cornwell to find the truth and after having hard and uncomfortable days, he was able to put period to his report. “The Pope did not die of heart attack but of pulmonary embolism.” The world did not believe him.

Many believed that Pope John Paul I was deliberately murdered (cold- blooded murder). In his book, “Soutane Rouge,” Roger Peyrefitte claims that Paul Marcinkus and Cardinal Jean Villot conspired to murder the Pope with poisoned syringe. The main motive is to hide the involvement of the Vatican Bank financial transaction with the Mafia. Those who are attending their regular novenas and Sunday obligation could hardly believe that a Vatican institution would be involved in a Mafia activity.

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The most interesting book about the murder of Pope John Paul I was written by David Yallop. It has the title “In God’s Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I (1984)”. The book traced a Vatican scandal that started with Paul VI (even before he became Pope). The scandalous act involved the “Freemasonry Lodge” known as Propaganda Due (P2). Paul Marcinkus (a.k.a. the Gorilla because of his huge size) was the head of the Vatican Bank with the official name “Instituto per Opere de Religioni (The Institute of Religious Works).

When Albino Luciani was elected to be the Pontiff, he wanted Vatican to be a real institution of God that will bring genuine service especially to the poor. The conservatives within the Roman Curia were not comfortable with the vision of Pope John Paul I. He announced to the world that he will follow the examples of Christ by doing away with the coronation of papal crown and he will not use the papal chair (throne) during the ceremony. He would just walk like a servant of Christ without the applause. All those happened.

He was seen on television that on his coronation he refused to ride on the papal sedan and he did not wear the jewel-encrusted tiara. His unceremonious act stirred up a hornet nest. During the press conference, he refused to read the message (scripted) prepared by the Curia. His radical view during his first day was a foreshadowing of future bitter event. He said that Vatican will only engage in spiritual matters and not in the politics of governments and nations.

He was for the democratization of Vatican and he emphatically declared that the Papacy would be shared by the bishops of the world and that the Curia should only carry out their combined decision. With this stand of Pope John Paul I, I see the similarity in the New Year’s Message of Pope Francis. He also calls for solidarity. Unlike other popes, this John Paul I moved freely in Vatican without his entourage protecting his back.

His intention of bringing changes to the Curia and replacing some of the doctrines that are not aligned with his beliefs alarmed the conservatives. He was in favor of birth control (modern way) and he also took the risk of cleaning up the corruption in his household. That could be his mistake because in his household there are criminals who would not even bother to give a second thought to what they want to do. They are up to murder even a Pope.

I do not say that the soldiers of Christ running the Vatican indulged also in spicy politics just like the politics that we know. Action speaks louder than words. You can hide the motive but you cannot keep the results. (To be continued)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 18, 2014.

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