Several readers have asked if I really believe Pope John Paul I was poisoned. I don’t know that he was poisoned because it was never proved. Most of what we know that could lead to such a conclusion is supposition and the “proof” that conspiracy theorists cling to is specious at best.

But there is much in the history of the Roman Catholic Church that would make one believe that it is certainly possible. Historians frequently state that the Romans refined the poisoner’s prowess and the Church of Rome perfected it. John VIII was likely poisoned in 882 and Formosus in 892. The daughter of John X’s mistress supposedly poisoned him. Benedict XI ate figs with powdered sugar. It tasted good, but the powdered sugar was laced with powdered glass. Alexander VI drank wine that was laced with arsenic and he died an excruciating death. There are many other examples where historians have concluded that popes died as a result of poisoning.

So I really can’t conclude that someone poisoned John Paul I, but the conspiracy theorists have had a feast with this one. Anyone interested in knowing more about this possibility should read In God’s Name by David Yallop. As Morris West says: “Read the book. Weigh the evidence. Make your own judgement.”

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