THE YEAR OF THREE POPES
Even though he enjoys the title Christ's 'infallible vicar,' yet on his deathbed, he requests prayers for his soul (Pontiff, p. 111.)
The same can also be said of John Paul II, while in Poland in 2002, he passionately asked millions of his fellow Poles to pray for him, when he was dead.
(Incidentally, he was the last pope to wear the triple tiara.)
How sad and tragic it is that Catholics have no assurance of salvation, while the Bible promises it now (John 5:24), and encourages the believer to be sure of it (2 Pet. 1:10.)
Before Paul died, he left strict instructions as to how his cardinals would vote to replace him.
Firstly, no cardinal over the age of 80 was allowed to vote.
Secondly, there was to be no group voting or rigging, each member was to vote with his own heart, under 'the Holy Spirit's guidance.'
Thirdly, under no circumstances, were any of the cardinals allowed to discuss with anybody who they voted for, and that included each other. It would also go without saying that, if anybody were caught using an electric bug to transmit before the world was notified who the next pope would be, such an individual would be gravely punished, and possible even excommunicated.
It should be pointed out to the reader that when these prelates are in Rome, each one of them is confined to a cell, where he will live for as long as it takes to vote in the next pope. Food rations are implemented and all outside contact with the world is strictly controlled.
He worried about the following problems:
The KGB bugged the Conclave and the Secretary of State's office.
He called on the Ugandan black community (under Obote) to take up arms against the white community, which he did and resulted in the deaths of untold number of black and white people.
During the many turbulent years of the Algiers, during the time when Monsignor Duval was there, half a million Catholics were murdered, by Muslims. It has been stated that Duval deserted his Catholic flock and took sides with their enemies, the Muslims. In return for this act of betrayal, Paul made him a 'prince of the church.'
Another continent and another set of murders, but this time the Spanish Marxist group, the Basque terrorist group were commended by Paul, when they were sentenced to death for the slaying of Police officers. The Pontiff called for the repeal of their planned execution as 'a homicidal repression.'
This Socialistic pope was most candid when he stated that he felt more at home with Red China, Hanoi, Cuba and atheists Yugoslavia. Yet apparently he hadn't much time for Catholic Portugal.
He would also cause quite a stir when it was reported in the press, that the Vatican had donated 45,000 pounds to the World Council of Churches, which had been indirectly responsible for the massacre of women, children and missionaries; even the Anglican Church Times for that period (1970s), reported that the W.C.C. 'has devolved a political bias recognisably Marxist in its preference for a revolution of a Left-ward character.' Paul also sent a personal gift of 4,000 pounds to the W.C.C.
The Italian Secret Service detected eleven state of the art recording devices within the Vatican shortly before John Paul I was elected Pope.
Domestic staff stole his treasured antique coins. Due to poor wages in the Vatican (much like the pittance that the British Royal family pay their servants) there had been talk of strikes, unless pay conditions improved.
Fear of an imminent assassination or kidnap. His personal friend, Aldo Moro, was cold bloodily murdered, and was left to spend twenty minutes in his own pool of blood, before he finally died in the boot of a car. Not only was Paul fearful of this happening to him, but so too were the police (who not only started moving the pope around by Helicopter, but would also have a permanent squadron of Italian fighter jets of standby to escort his copper and shoot down anybody or anything that tried to intercept his craft.)
We also discover, how Israel dispatched Mossad, to go to Rome and try and infiltrate this suspected gang and arrest them, because they had intelligence that Paul might be taken to Libya, where this gang would try and exchange the pope for members of their group, who had been imprisoned in Israeli prisons.
Was an insomniac. He would walk round the Vatican in the dead of night, switching off lights. Because of this he would need a daily supply of Mogadon sleeping tablets.
His doctors would direct him to use homoeopathic remedies, due to his arthritis that he suffered with for many years.
Worried about the numerous black masses that are performed annually in the Vatican!
Disliked the powerful Opus Dei movement and subsequently tried to curb its influence and presence in Spain. However, pope John Paul II sought to increase their status by bestowing upon the organisation the status of a personal prelature, increasing its independence, and it's standing within the Vatican (God's Banker, p. 177.)
Would clash with America's richest and most powerful cardinal, Francis Spellman, who went against Paul's wishes for a peaceful end to Vietnam, while Spellman stood with America and encouraged Johnson's Administration to finish the course. So defiant was Spellman that he flew to Vietnam after Paul's US trip, and again affirmed his hawkish tendencies to the US war effort to win this war.
Spellman furiously offered his resignation to Paul, for he was now 75-an age that prelates are allowed to retire at, but Paul wouldn't accept this, so Spellman stayed active in his New York multi-million-dollar diocese, until his death in 1967.
Alarming details of his pre-Vatican days:
One controversial author had the following to say:
"Dealing with the past of Paul VI, it states that from 1936-1950 he was prominent in a vast network of espionage that covered some of the countries, on both sides, involved in the Second World War. It goes on to say that he was a principle shareholder, with a Marontine Archbishop (the Maronites are a group of Eastern Catholics, named after their founder, Maro, and mainly settled in Lebanon) of a chain of brothels in Rome. He found the money for various films, such as the erotic Temptations of Marianne, which he financed on condition that the leading role was given to a certain actress named Patrica Novarini. When not working at the movie studio, this young lady performed as a striptease artist at the Crazy Horse Saloon, an exclusive night-club in Rome."
Admired the work of Satanist Cardonnel who likened God to Stalin, and also to Satan.
How, unlike Pius XII, Paul never publicly disclosed his inner thoughts to his close circle of confidants and colleagues. Yet, when he was asked to examine Vatican finances, under Pius' papacy, he had to report that Paul's nephews had been financially abusing Vatican funds.
For this honest report, he - to his surprise - was sent into exile, with a word of encouragement by Spellman - Milan was to be his new home. (In La Popessa we read the following account of Paul's enforced departure from the Vatican: "Before dawn on a cold, drizzling morning in early January 1955, Giovanni Montini - with tears in his eyes and carrying a single suitcase - climbed into a friends battered old truck, laden with ninety cases of ageing monsignors books, and drove off" (p. 364.)
It was once estimated that his cross and chain were worth $100,000.
Would sit between his two aides, while they enjoyed watching western films; he enjoyed nature films. (Only one television set dominated this Pontiff's life in the Vatican.) In Paul's day, its size was a modest '21 inch.'
Whenever bishops make their annual trip to Rome (Ad-Lima), they would each be expected to present the pope with financial gifts - some were more than others depending on the size of their diocese. Figures like $10,000 per bishop, is about right.
Cardinal Spellman would present the pope with $100,000. This lucrative revenue for Rome still continues to this day.
Paul considered abdicating, like pope Celestine did in 1294.
Refused to bestow de facto recognition on the State of Israel.
His favourite recording was the stage musical, Jesus Christ Superstar!
John XXIII called Paul, while he was archbishop of Milan, 'Our Hamlet Cardinal.'
Would die in the same bedroom as his last 4 predecessors (now including John Paul II.) Once dead, the traditional custom of dead pontiffs would commence like so: "Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Marie, are you dead"? He [Villot] waits a full minute for any response. He then repeats his action and question. After another minute he completes the ritual a third time. He then turns and addresses no one in particular. 'Pope Paul is truly dead' (Pontiff, p. 112.)
With Paul now dead, one more custom must be implemented: to locate and destroy the "fisherman's ring." The Vatican has long believed that when any pope wears this ring, authority and power runs through him. Without this ring, the 'keys of the Vatican' remain in safe hands, until the next pope is elected, not by the laity or even the general clergy, but by hand picked cardinals, from the previous pope.
Would be buried, before being embalmed, with his Latin Bible (which his father had given him for his First Communion.)
With the world now learning of his death, the Vatican's switchboard would now make and receive 27,800 phone calls.
The Foreign Office in London was able to release a specially worded letter of condolence in just fifteen minutes.
John Paul I
When he first arrived in Rome, his prelates and aides were infuriated at his laid back approach to Vatican life. He would often spend considerable time talking with some of his numerous 'minions,' while some of his more 'senior aides' would have to wait impatiently for him to see them.
At the beginning of his pontificate he refused to be bullied or bossed around by his aides when it came to controlling how he would be seen in public. But towards the end of his very short spell in office, he was gradually being moulded into a pope that they could and did control.
Catholic author, John Cornwell in his much proclaimed book The Pope in Winter, shares the following account of the fear that the new pontiff had of his then Secretary of State, Cardinal Villot:
"His secretary, father John Magee, said that after the new pope had dropped a sheaf of papers over the parapet of the apostolic palace, he found the pontiff weeping. John Paul, it seems, was terrified of Cardinal Secretary of State Villot, who was due that afternoon to collect the documents. The secretary sent the pope to bed to calm down. While his holiness lay in a foetal position saying his rosary, Magee called the Vatican fire brigade to fetch the papers scattered on the roofs below" (p. 58, 59.)
Whatever this pope's weaknesses or his endorsement in propagating a false gospel of salvation by faith and works, murdering him was and remains to this day, morally and ethically wrong.
Like Paul VI, he would endorse another Satanist, this time, Giosue Carducci.
Upon his coronation, archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool said, "They've made Peter Sellers pope" (Cornwell, p. 59.)
While he was cardinal, he went against the line from Rome, and sent his warm congratulations to the first ever test-tube baby, England's Louise Brown.
Had a burden for the Third World and demanded files on all these nations where Catholics lived, especially South America where he had visited himself.
During his time in Venice, he unsuccessfully tried to oppose the American archbishop, Paul Marcinkus and his IOR financial involvements.
Would request his secretary to buy two return tickets, so sure was he that he would not be crowned the next pope, then he hoped to be back in Venice once the Conclave had chosen its new pope.
When he became pope, before his own bed and linen arrived, he would sleep in Paul's old bed, with Paul's linen.
During his inaugural mass, he broke with centuries old tradition, and dispensed of the tiara papal crown.
Unlike any other religion on earth, when Luciani became pope every dignitary, leader and members of the world's royal families attended this Catholic ceremony. (Every pope enjoys their presence.)
During his inauguration, over 300 protesters were arrested.
When Luciani took residence in the Vatican he chose not to have it redecorated but left it as it was.
Suffered from phlebitis.
Took medication for his weak heart.
Received ten thousand requests a week for his personal midweek audience (Paul VI received only five thousand.)
Was very much down to earth, for he had the personal touch; would talk to everybody and anybody, even though his time slot for them had gone over time; would call his staff by their first names; upon awaking he would wave at Rome's policemen, who would wave back (not something Paul VI ever did.)
And would also call those outside of inner circle, 'brothers' and 'sisters,' while Paul chose 'sons' and daughters.'
He dropped the plural majestatis of 'we' to 'I', much to the disapproval of Monsignor Noe. (Today he is a cardinal, but unable to vote in next Conclave due to his age.)
Would not only regularly wander off without informing his staff, but very embarrassing for his diplomatic staff, he walked unannounced outside the Vatican on to Italian soil unaccompanied and with no security.
(When John Major was Prime Minister, he would often sneak out of No.10 unescorted, and wander around Victoria.)
While entertaining the Russian archbishop Nikodim, after sipping a cup of coffee, the Russian fell to the floor of the papal apartment and died in the arms of the pope (foul play has never been ruled out.) The rumours quickly spread that it was poison, meant for John Paul.
Would tell 'jokes' and 'stories' to the waiting press.
Reversed the churches tolerance of Jesuit and secular priests working side by side with far left wing guerrillas and terrorists in second and third world countries.
When he died, cardinal Villot cited church tradition and prayed over him and absolved him of all his sins. Villot ordered the Vatican to issue a bogus account of his death.
With rigor mortis now set in, he was still clinching material about the devolvement of the Jesuits. Villot told the world that he had been reading Imitation of Christ.
Cardinal Franz Koening of Vienna was convinced that the KGB murdered the pope.
Many cardinals called for an open and public autopsy. It never comes, at least not officially, even though the Vatican constitution wouldn't have prohibited it.
Six hundred thousand mourners walked past his coffin.
(In 1965, Winston Churchill received the same number, while he lay in state.)
John Paul II
With the sudden death of John Paul I, the Vatican now had to pick another pope and try and settle Catholic nerves worldwide.
Rumours of how he died (or murdered) have continued to this day, with even Luciani's family seriously doubting the official cause of death from his Vatican doctors.
The man from Poland was not only huge outsider and unknown character on the world stage, but his past has long been cast in mystery. From his days in Russian occupied Poland, to his amazingly fast track to prelate, many Vaticanologists wonder if perhaps he might have been a double agent for the KGB (some have even suggested that he was a freemason.)
Cardinal Stephan Wyszynski of Warsaw was cool towards his fellow cardinal from Krakow.
Before becoming pope, he insisted that the church should not portray itself as being superior and that they didn't have a monopoly on truth (21.10.63.)
Always refused to condemn the sin of atheism.
Like JPI, he was very much a compromise candidate.
And like John Paul I, he really didn't want to be pope.
After 8 rounds, he would receive 97 votes; Benelli was a distant runner up. He himself would die mysteriously in a car crash, some years later. He also had the delightful habit of sending out 2,000 Christmas cards every year, and began signing them by hand beginning in September. With tears in his eyes, he would now become, reluctantly, the '265th' pope.
Wrote all his own speeches.
His inner circle would deliberately speak to one another in Polish, much to the frustration of the numerous Italians that dominate the Vatican. Each of his personal staff were Polish and were infamously known as 'the Polish mafia.'
Weekly food was flown in from Poland for the pope and his aides.
Ordered a tennis court to be built for him.
Silenced the renegade archbishop Lefebvre, by doing something that Paul VI and JPI failed to do-threatened to excommunicate him.
Received daily CIA briefings from the station section at the American Embassy in Rome. And enjoyed Egyptian security briefings.
When JPII visited Mexico in 1979, he made the travelling press pay the cost of their own seats aboard his jet.
Upon arrival, this new pope would continue Paul's custom of kissing the ground, something that pantheists and pagans do. This ceased after the assassination attempt.
When he visited Poland in 1979, he was forced to wear a flack jacket.
Paul VI had wanted to visit this communist land, but had been refused a visa.
In 1980, he threatened the Russian president Brezhnev, that if the Red Army invaded Poland, he would abdicate from Rome and stand arm in arm with his fellow Poles, at the barricades.
Failed to stop the rapid 'liberation theology' and 'social gospel' reeking havoc in his church in South America. It has continued to this day.
Ordered 'Father' John Magee (now senior Archbishop in Ireland) to fly to Belfast and try and convince the late IRA bomber, Bobby Sands not to continue on in his hunger strike.
When shot in 1981, the pope would chant 'Madonna,' 'Madonna,' 'Madonna,' right up until he was operated on in the Gemilli hospital.
His assassin would be interrogated by three countries: Italy, West German and Israel.
In July 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca went on trial in Rome. He was sentenced to life, with the possibility of parole in 2009. Agca was released suddenly from his prison cell in Turkey on 12 January 2006.
Apparently the late pope is 'praying for him from Heaven', according to 'physic,' Monsignor Dziwisz (The Times, 10/1/06.)
However Angelo Sodano, the former Secretary of State, angrily informed reporters when questioned about Agca's imminent release, "No one told us anything."
It must be said that John Paul II, to his credit, did forgive his assailant after visiting him in prison. Sadly we have no information about whether or not Mehmet Ali has trusted in Jesus to save him.
John Paul II canonized more dead people than any previous pope before him.
In 1984, several books hit the bookstands, and each one of them offered a much needed and desired insight into this most fascinating year, 1978.
Interestingly, 3 out of the 4 sources cited for this article, are taken from Catholic individuals.
Pontif, by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts
God's Banker, by Robert Cornwell
La Popessa, by Paul I. Murphy and Rene Arlington
Inside the Council, by Robert Kaiser
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