Having followed Albino Luciani for thirty years of his ministry and for as many years after his death, I thought it might be helpful to set forth the historical record of investigations into the unwitnessed death of a man whose physical exam just three months earlier had declared him to be in exceptional health.
On the heels of the sudden and unwitnessed death of the youngest pope to die in four hundred years, Zottola & Pena published `They Have Murdered the Pope: Operation Pigeon' driven by what was at the time the most obvious motive for murder: John Paul's threat of economic movement toward Marxism in the west and liberal reformation within the Church. The book--a novel--came remarkably close to the truth in its fictional creation of `Operation Pigeon'--a blend of curia cardinals and capitalistic powers and the disappearance of Vatican Bank money in Central America.
In 1984, Yallop made the case for murder. In `In God's Name' he offers the hypothesis: three archbishops--Marcinkus, Cody and Villot--conspired in the Vatican bank scandal to the benefit of three Mafia types--Calvi, Sindona and Gelli. John Paul was murdered because an audit he ordered of the Vatican bank would have exposed transactions which exploded in the press four years later as the `Great Vatican Bank Scandal'--the Vatican transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to Nicaragua (believed to have gone to the Contras to overthrow the communist Sandinistas government). Much to his credit, Yallop revived the liberal identity of the 33-day Pope particularly as it concerned itself with contraception; something the Vatican had gone out of its way to annihilate.
In 1985, the Vatican fabricated a `bio-brief' and distributed it through anonymous clergy in Catholic countries to dispel Yallop's claim of murder. To support death due to natural causes, the `fraud' claimed he had lived his life in such poor health as if a respirator was required to keep him alive from day to day. Conversely, he was an accomplished mountaineer requiring a powerful respiratory system; the six mounds in his coat-of-arms represent the six peaks for which holds the speed record. Nevertheless, this `fraud' has served as the framework for a flood of `biographies' written by various clergy since.
In 1988, Avro Manhattan wrote `The Dollar and the Vatican' in which he presents the hypothesis: The conspiracy that planned the Great Vatican Bank Scandal was the same conspiracy that plotted the Murder of John Paul I. Unfortunately, Manhattan died before tribunal and other investigations into the surreptitious goings-on in the Vatican 1978-1981 proved his case. Manhattan wrote the all-time Vatican-bestseller The Vatican and World Politics.
In 1989, John Paul II commissioned John Cornwell to write 'A Thief in the Night' to dispel rumors caused by Yallop and Manhattan. In exchange for access to Vatican witnesses, Cornwell would conclude John Paul died of pulmonary embolism; heart attack having been roundly ruled out by the medical community. Whereas Cornwell fails to prove embolism, he does poke a hole in Yallop's motive. He cites the testimony of courts that tried the Great Vatican Bank Scandal that proved the first transaction in the bank scandal took place under the reign of John Paul II--a month after the death of the 33-day Pope. The audit could not have uncovered transactions which had not yet occurred.
In 2013, Lucien Gregoire The Vatican Murders: The Life and Death of John Paul I
--employing a barrage of testimony of the courts together with medical and criminology advancements not available to the others when they wrote their books--proves Avro Manhattan's thesis: The conspiracy that planned the Great Vatican Bank Scandal was the same conspiracy that plotted the Murder of Pope John Paul I.
This makes sense. Early in his papacy John Paul I announced his support for the revolution of the poor in Central America against the ruthless coalition of the United States and ruling Juntas going so far as to announce that he himself would lead the upcoming Puebla Conference in Mexico. Too, it was clear he was on rapid path to change doctrine in those cases it imposes unfair restrictions of the lives of innocent people: women, homosexuals, illegitimate children, etc. As he so profoundly put it in his acceptance speech: "...for God-given human life is infinitely more precious than is man-made doctrine."
John Paul II was just the opposite. Shortly after his election, the Polish Pope raised the first $383 million from unsuspecting investors in the Great Vatican Bank Scandal and transferred it to Nicaragua to finance the rising of the Contras to crush the revolution of the poor in Central America. What's more, he toured Central America telling the people to stop supporting the revolutionaries and defrocked priests who had led the revolution. Too, for the 27 years of his papacy he kept women, homosexuals and other oppressed peoples in their place.
By a remarkable turn of events, all this has come back to the first thing that came to mind on the heels of his assassination: John Paul's threat of economic movement toward Marxism in the west and liberal reformation within the Church.
Except for the Vatican fraud, these are all good books. Gregoire--a one-time acquaintance of the 33-day Pope--includes a complete biography of this pope in his book consistent with the bio-briefs in `In God's Name' and `A Thief in the Night.' The reason it is a much bigger book--two books in one book. Out-of-print Zottola-Pena novel is in Spanish only.