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A Thief in the Night: Life and Death in the Vatican (1989)

av John Cornwell

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1964105,396 (3.54)4
An inquiry into the death of Pope John Paul I, the Smiling Pope, the investigation uncovering lies, half-truths and neglect within the Catholic church. The author has written two novels, and his last book Earth to Earth won the Crime Writer's Association Gold Dagger Award.
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I'm too young to remember the brief Papal reign of Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I, but I have heard the conspiracy theories around his death. One of which was that he was thought too liberal by many conservatives and another that he was going to expose the dodgy financial doings of the Vatican. The author instead saw death by natural causes but remains critical of the Vatican for failing its duty of care towards an ill old man who was obviously not up to the job of Pope.

A well-written and obviously meticulously researched book. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Feb 10, 2019 |
Popes have been assassinated on numerous occasions over the past 1990 years. The first to be poisoned was John VIII. He was also clubbed to death by members of his inner circle after they discovered the poison they had administered to the Pope wasn't working fast enough. Other Popes murdered include John X, Benedict VI, Boniface VII, Paul II, and Alexander VI. So it should come as no surprise, that in the land of "[b:Foucault's Pendulum|17841|Foucault's Pendulum|Umberto Eco|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166854271s/17841.jpg|2713987]," conspiracy rumors surfaced immediately when Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I, died suddenly at age 66, after only 33 days in office. At the time of his death he was supposedly reading. He had no history of heart trouble.

Some conspiratorialists claimed John Paul was about to blow the whistle on the Vatican Bank, then tormented by a series of scandals; others declared he was murdered because he intended to reverse Humanae Vitae and to liberalize birth control; and the Lefebvreites were certain the Catholic hierarchy had been infiltrated by satanic emissaries determined on destroying traditional rituals and practices.
The Vatican made matters worse by issuing a series of contradictory statements about the circumstances of his death. Contradictory times of death were reported, different people were supposed to have found the body, there was dispute about whether there had been an autopsy, when the embalmers had been called, etc., etc., etc.

John Cornwell, a respected British journalist and former seminarian, was asked by the Vatican to investigate. He agreed reluctantly. The Vatican provided complete access and everyone was commanded, on highest authority (short of God, I suppose), that he was to have full cooperation. His probe was thorough. He interviewed everyone, cross-checked all the evidence, and slowly made his way through the maze of contradictions. A Thief In The Night: The Mysterious Death of John Paul I is the intriguing and fascinating result.

His conclusions are perhaps more damning than the Vatican might have wished. What he discovered was "...a court, a palace of gossipy eunuchs. The whole place floats on a sea of brilliant bitchery." (This is a quote from a Vatican priest interviewed by Cornwell.)
John Paul I had inherited enormous responsibility. The Pope oversees more than a billion faithful through out the world. He must deal with religious crises in many countries, personally visit with over 3,000 bishops at least once every 5 years, and battle the subversive influences of change and culture. He also must supervise a recalcitrant and enormous bureaucracy.

It was clear to Vatican professionals from the start that the new Pope was not up to the job, either mentally or physically. They ridiculed his pastoral ways and his desire to diminish the regal trappings of the papacy. Many felt threatened. The Pope himself complained almost daily to his intimate staff that he was the wrong man for the job, and he prayed God would relieve him of this burden. After his death one Vatican official told Cornwell, "...the Holy Spirit did a good job: relieving us of him before he did too much damage."

Despite obvious signs of physical difficulties, the Pope was assigned no physician during those thirty days, and although surrounded by attendants, he had no friends. He was cut off from his family by well-meaning guards and officials who thought he had more important things to do than spend time with his niece. They loaded him down with work. (In fact, Villot, Vatican Secretary of State, suffered great remorse, so sure was he that he had killed the Pope with overwork.)

I won't give away any secrets. If you want to know the solution you're going to have to read the book. Cornwell does say scorn and neglect were contributing factors. Better than any murder mystery. ( )
1 rösta ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Bio-fictie, maar van de betere soort. Erg vlot geschreven. Het incident met Johannes-Paulus I is maar de kapstok om de Vaticaanse mentaliteit bloot te leggen en dat lukt ook goed! ( )
  bookomaniac | Oct 15, 2010 |
An investigation by John Cornwell, an editor of the 'London Observer', into the mysterious circumstance surrounding the death of Pope John Paul I just thirty-three days after he assumed the papacy. The author answers ten specific questions about which there was disagreement with the Vatican, such as exactly when and where the pope died, and whether a secret autopsy was performed. It is written in step-by-step narrative format on the writers' investigation and his interviews appear to be the transcripts themselves. His investigation tends to lead to the conclusion that the Vatican Hierarchy was responsible for the popes' death through neglect of his medical well being. This book was written at the request of the Vatican and is a recommended read. ( )
1 rösta hermit | Dec 25, 2007 |
Visar 4 av 4
God's business address on Earth is no stranger to scandal. Peter Stanford argues that this latest investigation into a crime within its walls makes a powerful case for reform

I have never quite understood the need for the Vatican City State, which as anoraks will be able to tell you is, at 109 acres, the world's smallest sovereign country. The theory is that the leader of the world's one billion Catholics cannot live under the authority of any secular government. The Vatican has therefore been, since 1929, an internationally-recognised spirit zone in which the Pope can operate freely without fear of interference.

Other religious leaders, of course, appear to do perfectly well without such special treatment. Canterbury, for instance, is not about to become an independent republic with Rowan Williams as President. Moreover by being an earthly ruler as well as a religious one, the pontiff can get himself into some less than edifying messes. Such is the lot of all governments, but if you specifically create a state that is founded on higher religious principles, then people expect better standards of it than elsewhere. So the organisation of daily life in the Vatican City State, its dealings with other governments and its handling of its own citizens have to be whiter than white if it isn't to bring the whole Catholic Church into disrepute.
 
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Het onthullende verslag van het onderzoek naar de geheimzinnige dood van Paus Johannes Paulus I, geschreven door de journalist die als enige toestemming van het Vaticaan heeft gekregen om alle betrokkenen te ondervragen.
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Dem Rektor, dem Stab und den Studenten am Venerabile Collegio Inglese in Dankbarkeit gewidmet.
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Eines Morgens im späten Oktober 1987 machte ich mich von meinem Hotel in der Via Vitelleschi nahe beim Castel San Angelo auf den Weg in den Vatikan.
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An inquiry into the death of Pope John Paul I, the Smiling Pope, the investigation uncovering lies, half-truths and neglect within the Catholic church. The author has written two novels, and his last book Earth to Earth won the Crime Writer's Association Gold Dagger Award.

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