29 Sep: The 33-day Pope

Rerun. The corpse of John Paul I was discovered by a nun in the early hours of 29th September, 1978. His body was embalmed within 24 hours, heightening suspicions that the cause of death may have been unnatural. He had been Pope for just 33 days.

An unconventional Pope – who had refused to wear the papal tiara, use the Royal ‘we’, or sit on a ceremonial throne – he seemed to have had a weird premonition that he wouldn’t be in office for long, famously responding to his elevation to Popehood by telling the Cardinals, ‘May God forgive you for what you have done’.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly review the conspiracies surrounding the Pope’s apparently untimely death; reveal the role of the unfortunately-named Cardinal Sin; and look back on some of his surprising comic journalism…

Further Reading:

• ‘Pope John Paul I is dead’ (CBS News, 1978):

• ‘The Mysterious Death Of Pope John Paul I’ (All Thats Interesting, 2018): https://allthatsinteresting.com/pope-john-paul-i

• ‘On This Day, 1978: Catholics mourn Pope’s death’ (BBC, 2005): http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/29/newsid_2542000/2542375.stm

‘Why am I hearing a rerun?’ Every Thursday is ‘Throwback Thursday’ on Today in History with the Retrospectors: running one repeat per week means we can keep up the quality of our independent podcast. Daily shows like this require a lot of work! But as ever we’ll have something new for you tomorrow, so follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors