The Highly Suspicious Death Of Pope John Paul I

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
August 5, 2017
Last Updated
September 27, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
Conspiracy Theory Analysis, Unsolved & Unexplained

The sudden death of Pope John Paul I – real name Albino Luciani –  on 28th September 1978 shocked not only those of the Catholic faith but many across the world. As is the case generally with events inside the Vatican, mystery shrouds his demise, which remains awash with unanswered questions. Officially, Luciani’s death was from “natural causes” (a heart attack) – to some though, it was anything but.

John Paul I (deceased) laying in rest

John Paul I (deceased)

With various investigations already underway at the time connecting members inside the Vatican with money laundering activities, themselves connected to organized crime and Freemasonry, it wasn’t long before conspiracy theories and claims of a cover-up regarding “the murder of the Smiling Pope!” swirled. His death happened, according to some, to stop him laying bare to the world the secrets of the Vatican, as well as to halt his attempts to change its inner workings forever.

Check out the short video below, which features some archive footage of the election of Pope John Paul I.

The Ideology of Albino Luciani

Many of the thoughts, beliefs and even the ideology of Albino Luciani [1] were not at all in line with the Vatican’s. So when he became Pope John Paul I, there were many, even those not using the Vatican to their own personal ends, who were anxious, to say the least.

The Catholic Church has long wrestled with the idea of “artificial birth control” for example. It appears this was just one part of the Vatican’s influence Luciani wished to “bring into the modern world!” To some, such a notion was practically heresy.

According to researchers into the last years and months of Luciani’s life, it appeared to come to light that he had had several conversations where he had alluded to the need to change the church’s view on birth control. He looked to the many famines and cases of children dying from starvation around the world, allegedly telling his private audience, “God doesn’t always provide!”

It is unlikely that this one notion would be the issue that someone felt he must die for. It certainly didn’t, however, endear him to many of the traditionalists in the Vatican.

Desires To “Make The Church Poor”

From his daily routine, where his morning coffee would stand, right through to  who he could talk to, which rooms he could enter, and which “secret” staircases he could go down, every movement of the Pope (any Pope) were in the control of “the real inner workings Vatican City”, with the Pope not concerning himself with such matters.

It quickly became apparent to those “lifetime” residents of the Vatican, that Luciani had no such intention. He would break from as much of the “pomp and ceremony” of the Vatican as he could. Many other bishops, high priests, and cardinals had become accustomed to enjoying the perks of such ceremonies.

Perhaps more than anything, Luciani’s vision was to have a “poor church for the poor!” This meant any “monies” the church had would invest in shelters and food for the poor. And perhaps more importantly, it would cease to have any “interests” in companies that were against the “teachings of the church!” These “interests” made not only the Vatican Bank lots of money (tax-free at that), it allowed those in control to move it around as they saw fit. In fact, as we will look at in a moment, those decisions ultimately rested with one man.

He Quietly Supported Communism (Which The CIA Didn’t Like – At All!)

Although he didn’t make direct speeches about it, it was no secret that Luciani supported the idea of communism. Given the amount of Catholics in America and the absolute influence the serving Pope had, this idea did not sit well with the American government, and in turn, the CIA.

According to some researchers, “elements” of the CIA would provide limited funding and assistance to the P2 lodge. [2] They would then carry out “terrorist” attacks and blame them on communist insurgents in the country. According to many authors, this CIA/P2 connection, and the dark and secret links with Vatican City (a state within a state, answerable only to itself for the most part) also provided excellent cover for the transportation of money, drugs, and weapons around the globe, for a whole manner of reasons. It is from these such proven connections, that less proven claims such as the New World Order have really stemmed from, if only in part.

As is the rampant secrecy involving such organizations as the CIA and the Vatican, many of these theories will likely remain unproven. Although history shows us they are highly likely to have been accurate.

In fact, it is perhaps the ties to the P2 Lodge that would prove most fateful.

Propaganda Due – The P2 Masonic Lodge

There had been rumblings for many years that many higher officials of the Catholic faith were active members of Masonic lodges. According to David Yallop’s investigation [3] in his book In God’s Name, the lodge in question was P2 (Propaganda Due). This organization was under investigation for links to various terrorist atrocities in Italy throughout the seventies. As well as various money laundering schemes.

Mussolini (much the same as Hitler) had banned any kind of secret society in Italy during his reign. Although Italian law would allow such societies again in later years, they had to make public their details. And their members. The P2 lodge, however, at very best, operated at the absolute furthest boundaries of these rules and conditions.

What would “bind” the members of the P2 lodge as much as anything else, was a general hatred of communism. And many investigations would proceed connecting P2 to apparent communist-inspired bombings. One particular investigation resulted in the assassination of an Italian magistrate in 1976. His bullet-riddled body was left hanging out of his halted car for all to see – and so halting the inquiry.

The Grand Master of this lodge at the time was Licio Gelli. As we will see shortly, Gelli’s connections would lead, eventually, to the heart of the Vatican. Just as an example of the “power” he seemingly had in the gray areas of the conspiracy world, however, when Juan Peron came out of exile to once again take control in Argentina, he publicly fell to his knees at Gelli’s feet!

Incidentally, as well as many other prominent figures, the future Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was also a member. Coincidence?

The short video below looks at Masonic involvement in Italy during this time.

Paul Marcinkus – “The Gorilla”, and Cardinal Cody

The person seemingly “in the firing line” of the new pope regarding the millions, if not billions, of lire worth of shares in numerous businesses and industries, not to mention ties to P2, was Bishop Paul Marcinkus, [4] who for all intents and purposes had full and total control of the Vatican Bank. Due to his imposing build – not to mention his personality – people would refer to him as “The Gorilla”.

Of the many questionable financial activities connected to the Vatican Bank during the decade or so leading up to Luciani’s selection as Pope, Marcinkus usually sat right in the middle of them. How could he not when he, and he alone, had complete and sole control over every aspect of the Vatican Bank?

Of all the people under suspicion for involvement in the Pope’s death, [5] all were quickly dead, on the run, or in prison within a few years, except for Marcinkus, apparently free to carry on as he wished. Make of that what you will.

Yet another controversial person who stood to lose his position and comfy lifestyle was Cardinal Cody of Chicago. Incidentally, Chicago was the hometown of the aforementioned, Marcinkus. There had been quiet but persistent efforts to remove Cody from his position amid accusations of corruption and even racism.

Upon the arrival of Luciani to the Vatican, this process was likely to happen a lot more decisively and quickly.

With Cody already adept at “moving” vast amounts of church funds to fund his own lavish lifestyle at his suburban Chicago mansion, with his apparent mistress, Helen Wilson, it was glaringly apparent that he had much to gain from Luciani’s removal from the Vatican.

The video below looks at some the dealings of the Vatican Bank.

Roberto Calvi and Michele Sindona – “God’s Banker” and “The Shark”

Although not directly, two other men who would share connections to potential corruption and criminal investigations should Luciani have made good on his promise to take action were both close associates of Marcinkus.

Both Roberto Calvi and Michele Sindona – known as “God’s Banker” and “The Shark” respectively, and both members of the P2 lodge – were experts at swindling the stock markets and banking sectors. Both had many “unsavoury” connections, both to crime syndicates and Freemasonry. In the wake of several investigations into their activities, there were many “gangland-style” assassinations against prosecutors and witnesses.

Sindona would eventually receive twenty-five years in prison for murder, during which time he would be poisoned to death. Calvi, on the other hand, would be found hanging from a bridge under Blackfriars Lodge in London in July 1982. An apparent suicide many believed he had in fact been “suicided” by those involved in the death of Pope John Paul I. Not least due to the symbolic “message” of the Black Friars, or the “Frati Neri”, which the members of the P2 lodge called themselves. Furthermore, his secretary also decided to “throw herself” from the office window of Calvi’s headquarters around the same time as her boss died! Again, make of those things what you will!

The video below looks at the death of Roberto Calvi in a little more detail.

Inconsistent Timelines, No Autopsy, And Discovery Of The Body

As you might expect, there are apparent inconsistencies concerning who found Luciani’s body and at what time.

Reports initially announced the death of Luciani – via Vatican radio – before the official time of death given by Vatican authorities. Many pointed to this as a glaring error in the cover-up. Skeptics to these theories would suggest this was simply a matter of confusion given the huge gravity of the event.

Although it is perfectly in keeping with Vatican protocol, no autopsy would go ahead on Luciani’s body. There was, according to sources inside the Vatican, a desire to “wrap everything up quickly!” Aside from this, there were claims the Pope had complained of chest pains but then said they were easing – hence no doctor was called initially. Those close to Luciani insisted, given the loyalty of the nuns who had made the journey to Rome with him from Venice, if he had complained of chest pains, they would have sent for a doctor regardless of his claims of feeling better.

With this in mind, there was also inconsistency as to who found Luciani’s body. Many researchers claim this to have been Sister Vencelza, perhaps his most loyal of his unofficial “inner circle!”

The short video below is another quick overview of the mysterious facts surrounding Luciani’s death.

The “Piece of Paper” and the 33rd Day

As we know, there are very real connections between Freemasonry and the Vatican [6] (something the Vatican forbade). So, when claims that he had died on the 33rd day of his rule of the Catholic Church came to light, given how important and symbolic the number 33 is for Freemasons, it was too much of a coincidence for some to simply dismiss.

Given how many people in Vatican City were more than aware of Luciani’s intentions on honesty and justice, this was seen by some to serve as a warning as to who was “calling the shots” inside the Vatican. And what would happen to those who opposed them in such a way.

Regarded as the “smoking gun” by some, are claims that Pope John Paul I was clutching a piece of paper in hand upon the discovery of his body. On this piece of paper were the names of those involved with the P2 masonic lodge. And those involved with grand misuse of Vatican funds.

This – much like the timeline inconsistencies – are practically impossible to prove beyond any kind of doubt. Almost forty years after Lucini’s death, however, they are still credible questions without answers.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning David Yallop again, and the challenge he issued to the Vatican. In the introduction to his book, In God’s Name, he would state if they could prove his evidence wrong regarding the piece of paper in Luciani’s hand, and who discovered the body, he would unreservedly give all of his royalties to a charity of the Vatican’s choice. The challenge is still open!

Check out the video below. It features various conspiracies surrounding the Vatican, including the death of Pope John Paul I.


1 Debunking four myths about John Paul I, the ‘Smiling Pope’, John L. Allen Jr., National Catholic Reporter, November 2nd, 2012
2  Licio Gelli: Masonic grand master linked to Mafia murder of ‘God’s banker’ Roberto Calvi dies aged 96,, December 17th, 2015
3 In God’s Name: An Investigation Into The Murder of Pope John Paul I, David Yallop, ISBN 9780882 132886
4 Archbishop Marcinkus, The Telegraph, February 22nd, 2006
5 A Quiet Death in Rome: Was Pope John Paul I Murdered?, Sandra Miesel, Crisis Magazine April 1st, 2009
6 Pope Francis: The Last Pope?: Money, Masons and Occultism in the Decline of the Catholic Church, Leo Lyon Zagami, ISBN 9781888 729542 (page 47)

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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