`"In God's Name":This book is a deeply disturbing and dark indictment of the Vatican and the events surrounding the death of Pope John Paul 1 in 1978. David Yallop displays remarkable conviction, exhaustive research, a zeal for the truth, of which a chivalric knight of Grail lore would have been proud, in investigating the Pontiff's death, its aftermath, the preceding years, the ramifications and the various motives at play within the fabric of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, at large.Yallop's premise is simple: that Albino Luciani - Pope John Paul 1 - was poisoned and that what ensued was one of the great cover ups of our time. In short, what unfurled was tantamount to one of the great unsolved crimes of the 20th century. With prescient precision, Yallop fine combed through the central characters - the Pope himself -, Archbishop Marcinckus of the Vatican Bank - IOR -, Cardinal Villot who was the principal figure at the Pope's bedside in those early hours, after the Pope was found dead, Cardinal Cody - Cardinal of Chicago - and various P2 figures like Gelli, Roberto Calvi, Carbone etc.
Firstly, the book charts the waters of Albino Luciani's early life, his family, his growing up in the region of Veneto in Northern Italy, his influences, his ascent in rank in conjunction with the Second Vatican Council, his time as Cardinal of Venice. It reveals for us in a heart-rendering way, the deep compassion, simplicity, humility and humanity of a man who took the Gospel literally as a ‘Gospel of the Poor' and lived it, to the letter of the law in his day to day duties whilst Cardinal of Venice. Consequently, one begins to form - photo-fit-like - a picture of a man, who seems more akin to a Saint Francis figure than the typical, proud and pompous personage of the Church. Moreover, one gets an insight into his great intellect and brain, his ability for languages, his literary skills - he often joked that he should have been a journalist! Thus, one beholds an illuminated imprint of a brilliant man carved amid the prosaic sands of clericalism; in the process, one realises that the future Pope John Paul 1 had many ‘Feathers to his cap', ‘Many strings to his bow.'
We get a kind of ‘insider' look at what would have happened at the conclave which resulted in the election of the aforesaid Pope, the various politicking at work, the machinations, the power play of Cardinals, the almost acute paranoia permeating the corridors at such events, the motives and the mindsets of those assembled.
This is a good illumination of the way the Vatican operates as a whole and then leads us into the new Pontiff's reign.
The book unravels the thick thread of the new Pope's sincerity and dismay at the corruption and greed ripe within the Vatican, and his determination and prompt commitment to stamping them out from the Vatican. We also see his very liberal views coming to the fore regarding birth control, social issues and his deep seated conviction that the overlords of pomp, power, wealth and avarice, needed to be toppled with haste. Yallop convincingly shows the repercussions all of these projects would have had for many individuals; how the new Pope threatened their positions. Namely: the Vatican Bank, P2, various members of the hierarchy like Marcinkus and Cody and indeed the conservative old guard of the church.
We see the gigantic cover up that followed the sudden death of the Pontiff, how all the evidence and personal items of the Pope were removed, much akin to a clean up operation, on the part of Cardinal Villot who ordered total silence and no autopsy to take place. Yallop depicts this with surgical acumen and puts forward a compelling case - how the deed was done, the why, the list of suspects, and we see a conspiracy take root. He demonstrates how, if the Pope had lived, we would have seen a total transformation and a sea change in the Vatican and the church itself. He argues with logic, purpose and passion - after which one is lefunpalatable taste in one's mouth - that the gentle, smiling, Albino Luciani was murdered; in the process, narrowing the suspects down to one individual, who seems to hold all the keys, the tools at his disposal, the pre-requisites for this unthinkable act. Yallop deserves a medal for his fortitude, zeal and intrepid quest for the truth; after reading the book, one can be left in no doubt, Pope John Paul 1 was silenced.