Review: Murder in the Vatican

by Lucien Gregoire



Contact Us


Table of Contents


Search Site


home  Home


Google listing of all pages on this website


Site Map


Toby Johnson's Facebook page


Toby Johnson's YouTube channel


Toby Johnson on Wikipedia


Toby Johnson Amazon Author Page

Secure Site Comodo Seal

Secure site at

https://tobyjohnson.com



rainbow line

Also on this website:


Toby Johnson's books:

Toby's books are available as ebooks from smashwords.com, the Apple iBookstore, etc.


Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III


Gay Spirituality

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness


Gay Perspective


GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe


Secret Matter


SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with wonderful "aliens" with an Afterword by Mark Jordan


Getting Life

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:  A Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods


The Fourth Quill

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil




Two Spirits
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams



charmed lives
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers


Myth of the Great Secret


THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell



In Search of God


IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey



Unpublished manuscripts


About ordering


Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series


rainbow line

  Toby has done five podcasts with Harry Faddis for The Quest of Life

rainbow line

  Articles and Excerpts:

Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness


Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"


About Liberty Books, the Lesbian/Gay Bookstore for Austin, 1986-1996


The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate


A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality


Why gay people should NOT Marry


The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage


Toby and Kip Get Married


Wedding Cake Liberation


Gay Marriage in Texas


What's ironic



Shame on the American People


The "highest form of love"


rainbow line


Gay Consciousness


Why homosexuality is a sin


The cause of homosexuality


The origins of homophobia


Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness


What is homosexuality?


What is Gay Spirituality?


My three messages


What Jesus said about Gay Rights


Queering religion


Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men


Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?


The purpose of homosexuality


Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality


What the Bible Says about Homosexuality


Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men



Varieties of Gay Spirituality


Waves of Gay Liberation Activity


The Gay Succession


Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?


The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter


Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium


Easton Mountain Retreat Center


Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism


The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey


The upsidedown book on MSNBC


rainbow line


Enlightenment


"It's Always About You"



The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara


Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara


You're Not A Wave



Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging



What is Enlightenment?



What is reincarnation?



How many lifetimes in an ego?



Emptiness & Religious Ideas



Experiencing experiencing experiencing



Going into the Light



Meditations for a Funeral



Meditation Practice



The way to get to heaven



Buddha's father was right



What Anatman means



Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal



The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika



Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva



John Boswell was Immanuel Kant



Cutting edge realization



The Myth of the Wanderer



Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss



World Navel



What the Vows Really Mean



Manifesting from the Subtle Realms



The Three-layer Cake & the Multiverse


The est Training and Personal Intention



Effective Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven


rainbow line

Gay Spirituality


Curious Bodies


What Toby Johnson Believes


The Joseph Campbell Connection


The Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)


Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy


The Two Loves


The Nature of Religion


What's true about Religion


Being Gay is a Blessing


Drawing Long Straws


Freedom of Religion


rainbow line


The Gay Agenda


Gay Saintliness


Gay Spiritual Functions



The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.


The Sinfulness of Homosexuality


Proposal for a study of gay nondualism


Priestly Sexuality


Having a Church to Leave


Harold Cole on Beauty


rainbow line


Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption


Not lashed to the prayer-post


Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality


Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process


Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)


Redeem Orlando


Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar


Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson



rainbow line


Mystical Vision


"The Evolution of Gay Identity"


"St. John of the Cross & the Dark Night of the Soul."


Avalokiteshvara at the Baths


 Eckhart's Eye


Let Me Tell You a Secret


Religious Articulations of the Secret


The Collective Unconscious


Driving as Spiritual Practice


Meditation


Historicity as Myth


Pilgrimage


No Stealing


Next Step in Evolution


The New Myth


The Moulting of the Holy Ghost


Gaia is a Bodhisattva


rainbow line


The Hero's Journey


The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016


The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)


You're On Your Own


Superheroes


rainbow line


Seeing Differently


Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil


Allah Hu: "God is present here"


 
Adam and Steve


The Life is in the Blood



Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"


Seeing with Different Eyes


Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom


What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?


rainbow line


The Vision


The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside


A  Most Remarkable Synchronicity in Riverside


The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis


rainbow line

The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby


Part 2: The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara


Part 3: Jesus and the Resurrection


Part 4: A Course in Miracles


rainbow line


The Secret of the Clear Light


Understanding the Clear Light


Mobius Strip


Finding Your Tiger Face


How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated


rainbow line


Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part presentation on YouTube


rainbow line


About Alien Abduction


In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke


Karellen was a homosexual


The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance


Intersections with the movie When We Rise


More about Gay Mental Health


Psych Tech Training


Toby at the California Institute


The Rainbow Flag


Ideas for gay mythic stories


rainbow line


People


Kip and Toby, Activists


Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.


Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement


About Hay and The New Myth


About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"


About Michael Talbot, gay mystic


About Fr. Bernard Lynch


About Richard Baltzell


About Guy Mannheimer


About David Weyrauch


About Dennis Paddie


About Ask the Fire


About Arthur Evans


About Christopher Larkin


About Mark Thompson


About Sterling Houston


About Michael Stevens


The Alamo Business Council


Our friend Tom Nash


Second March on Washington


The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"


rainbow line

Book Reviews



Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook


Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer


The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter


The Gay Disciple by John Henson


Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry


Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr


Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois


Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson


Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low


Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman


The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman


Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor


Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine


The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada


The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook


The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther


The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel


Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak


Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez


Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr


Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman


Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano


The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo


The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar


Occam’s Razor by David Duncan


Grace and Demion by Mel White


Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso


The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery


The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass


Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen


War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar


The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal


Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal


The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre


Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak


A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey


Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes


The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes


Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian Ravarour


In Walt We Trust by John Marsh


Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary


A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary


Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott


Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou


Internal Landscapes by John Ollom


Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks


Yes by Brad Boney


Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler


Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal


Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson


Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette


The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson


The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire


"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught


Out & About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology



The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons


Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert


The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker


Out There by Perry Brass


The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh


The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan


It's Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja


ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake


Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard


Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson


Dating the Greek Gods
by Brad Gooch


Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan


The Substance of God by Perry Brass


The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols


10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort


Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love by Will Roscoe


The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke


The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann


Surviving and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall


Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long


Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner


Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard


Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak


Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan


Rising Up by Joe Perez


Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez


That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco


Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman


Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang


MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether


Double Cross by David Ranan


The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak


Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry


In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson


The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson


Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray


Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak


Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A. Minor


Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien


Queering Christ by Robert Goss


Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage


The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato


Catland by David Garrett Izzo


Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson


Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main


Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd


Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza


What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett


Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans


Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen


Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden


The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood


Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman


The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak


3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke


Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak


Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon


Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message


Life Interrupted by Michael Parise


Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire


The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman


Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny


Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman


True Religion by J.L. Weinberg


The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer


Everything is God by Jay Michaelson


Reflection by Dennis Merritt


Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson


Hard Lesson by James Gaston


God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson


The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson


Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther


Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen


The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether


The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber


AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar


Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost


The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal


Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal


In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane


Walking on Glory by Edward Swift


The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey


Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire


Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson




Toby Johnson's Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:




Gay
Perspective cover
Gay Perspective

Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Tells Us about the
Nature of God and
the Universe


Gay Perspective audiobook
Gay Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Matthew Whitfield. Click here







Gay
Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness



gay-spirituality-audiobook
Gay Spirituality   is now available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here








charmed lives
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

edited by
Toby Johnson
& Steve Berman







secret matter
Secret Matter

Lammy Award Winner for Gay Science Fiction

updated







Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance





Getting
Life in Perspective audiobook
Getting Life in Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click here 






The Fourth Quill

The Fourth Quill

originally published as PLAGUE




johnson-the-fourth-quill-audiobook
The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here






Two
Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo

with Walter L. Williams




Two Spirits
audiobookTwo Spirits  is available as an audiobook  narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here






Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III
Finding Your Own True Myth:
What I Learned from Joseph Campbell

The Myth of the Great Secret III








In
Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
In Search of God  in the Sexual Underworld










The Myth of the Great Secret II

The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.

This was the second edition of this book.




rainbow line



Toby Johnson's titles are available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.



The Mysterious Death of a Potential Revolutionary


murder-in-the-vatican

The Vatican Murders


By Lucien Gregoire

2016

426
pages, 6x9 Paperback, $19.95

978-1491835258

Available from Amazon.com

The Vatican Murders: The Life and Death of John Paul I

Also available for Kindle and ebooks.

5 stars

This review appeared in White Crane Journal, #69 in 2005. It is for an earlier version of this book, released as Murder in the Vatican. The author, Lucien Gregoire, has revised, rewritten, and rereleased this book several times. A search at amazon.com will show the various editions. This review serves to introduce all of them.  Click here for the amazon.com list of books by Lucien Gregoire.

Reviewed by Toby Johnson

    On August 26, 1978, Albino Luciani, bishop of the minor diocese of Vittorio Veneto, Italy, was elected Pope. Having been a counselor to (and perhaps the man who radicalized) Pope John XXIII and a friend to (and perhaps the chosen successor of) Pope Paul VI, Luciani took the combined name John Paul. Just a month later, on September 28, he was found dead in his bed in the Vatican. According to Lucien Gregoire, Pope John Paul I was murdered.
    The book, Murder in the Vatican, is some 25 years in the making. The author explains he had good reason for delaying its publication. His connection with Albino Luciani came through his boyhood best friend, Jack Champney, who’d become a priest, was stationed in Italy, was appointed to an out-of-the-way seminary in the mountain village of Vittorio Veneto and from there was selected to be secretary to the Archbishop, Luciano Albino. So Fr. Jack Champney knew the man who would become pope very well, and in fact, had introduced his old friend Lucien to his boss, who proved to be a very down-to-earth man who went by his own childhood nickname Piccolo (“little one”). Jack Champney was killed by a hit and run driver the day after John Paul I died. And he was only one of some ten Church or Italian government officials who died in similarly mysterious fashion around the time of the Pope’s death. Gregoire could only imagine that he’d be among the dead if he told what he knew.
    Now in 2005 a 65 year old man, Gregoire has written down and published what he knows.

    Lucien Gregoire is not the only person who has believed the first Pope John Paul was murdered. Indeed, at the time there were rumors and other books have been published making these accusations, though for the most part the previous theories all held that the motive involved the Great Vatican Bank Scandal. That’s partly because also among the mysterious deaths were those of Roberto Calvi, President of the Banco Ambrosiano, and his secretary Teresa Corrocher, both of whom were found hanged on the same day (and ruled suicide by the authorities), and the Italian politician Aldo Moro who been kidnapped and murdered by “extremists” shortly before the Papal death, or perhaps, deaths. For Gregoire suggests that not only John Paul I was murdered as part of this scheme to control Catholic doctrine, but also his predecessor Paul VI.
    Both popes died with similar symptoms: a week or so of uncharacteristic fatigue and inexplicable lethargy followed by a “heart attack”—in men with no history of heart disease, symptoms Gregoire suggests might have indicated some sort of poisoning. Arsenic, he says, could produce just those symptoms.
    Also in both cases, the details around the deaths are confused. Vatican statements and press releases do not square with medical reports as to time of death or circumstances. Officially, John Paul was supposed to have died, fully dressed, sitting in bed reading the pious text The Imitation of Christ. But according to the people who found him, he had in his hands copies of his own writings from his bishopric in Vittorio Veneto, writings that might well have gotten him in trouble with the doctrinally arch-conservative forces in the Church. The slipper socks he was wearing (which his sister-in-law asked for after his death) had disappeared. And his reading glasses were missing (so how was he reading?) The facts don’t square with the official story.
    Gregoire dismisses the theories that the Pope(s) murder was over money missing from the Vatican bank (in fact, he supposes that the money disappeared because it was used to pay for the assassinations); he thinks the reason was doctrinal.

    In the Foreword he writes:
   On the evening of September 23, 1978, the newly appointed Pope called together the twenty-one Vatican cardinals who hated what he stood for so much that they had refused to vote for him on the recount that had been taken to render his election unanimous. He talked of the problems of the world: that the Church’s ban on contraception was the driving forced behind the spread of disease, poverty and starvation in third world countries, and abortions in first world countries. He told them it was morally wrong for ‘holy’ men to stand in the way of long term loving relationships between any of God’s children, whether it be a matter of race, creed, remarriage or homosexuality. He told them it was morally wrong for ‘holy’ men to stand in the way of a woman’s right to minister the will of Christ. He told them many other things. And then he told them one thing more. He told them that the following week he would go to the podium and tell the world, “Mother Church will cease to be the cause of many of the world’s problems and rather will begin to be the answer to them.”
       A week later he was dead.
    The most interesting things in this book are Gregoire’s portrayal of Albino “Piccolo” Luciani. He reports him as saying some of the most radical things you can imagine a cleric saying: that the Church is a cause of evil and a force for Fascism, that sexual attraction is a sign from God whom one should develop a long term relationship with (and so homosexuality is a sign of a message from God), that the Bible is phony. And he portrays Luciani was the most humble and down-to-earth of men: he declined to coronated in pomp and circumstance, but simply donned a stole to mark his assumption of new responsibilities; he never put on the Fisherman’s Ring of a pope and never allowed any man or woman to bow before him or kiss the ring; he preferred to embrace visitors; he ate at the same table with the nuns who prepared his food and even served them. (Indeed, he sounds like the fictional Pope Kiril in Morris L. West’s novel of an idealized Vatican The Shoes of the Fisherman.)

    According to Gregoire’s account, while Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, Luciani embarked on a research expedition to Egypt to verify—or falsify—the stories of Moses and the Hebrews on which the Old Testament Bible are based. What he discovered he summarized in an acerbicly whimsical comment that there aren’t any Jewish pilgrimages to visit the holy sites in Egypt (as there are to Israel) because there aren’t any holy sites in Egypt, no tombs of Jewish ancestors, no spots historically important for Jews: there’s no evidence whatsoever that there ever were Jews/Israelites/Hebrews in Egypt. The whole story of Moses appears to have been made up. According to Luciani, Moses was the father of Fascism and bigotry, while Jesus was the father of Socialism and interpersonal responsibility. Christianity was supposed to overturn the God of the Old Testament.

As a teenager, Luciani had proposed the government place a warning on the Old Testament, “This book is a work of fiction.” He apparently believed that all his life.

Luciani said Christ taught the “Seven Commandments.” The Ten Commandments of Moses includes the first four about God’s authority (no other gods, no graven images, no use of the name, no work on the Sabbath) and the last about not coveting which Luciani understood to mean divine approval of private property. The “Seven Commandments” are five of the original (honor parents, no killing, no adultery, no stealing, no lying) plus the two Jesus revealed (“love thy neighbor as thyself” and “sell all that thou hast and give to the poor”).

As one reads this book, one can’t help but wonder how this man could possibly have been elected Pope. He sounds so modern, so progressive, so enlightened, so beyond the institution of religion. And so, of course, one can understand why the Vatican officials might have wanted him dead. Though, frankly, it is a little hard to believe that Vatican officials really could commit murder. Priests just don’t do that kind of thing, do they?

One can see why Gregoire kept his silence all these years. After all, his friend Jack had known too much and apparently it had killed him. But that is also the problem with this book. It comes across as the mullings-over of an old eccentric. It’s difficult to determine just what genre it’s written in. Some of it reads like a novel with scene-setting and character introduction and drama. Some of it reads like a “true crime” documentary, with discussion of notices and methods (and a surprising amount about spiders and snakes as weapons). A lot of it reads like a memoir, one written over and over again as if struggling to tell the story better each time. And the problem is that all these narratives, documentaries, and stories are all strung together: an old man’s reminiscences about the most important secret he’s ever known and never been able to tell. Some of the things Albino Luciani seems to comment on, like AIDS and gays in the military, are issues that only came into public consciousness after his death. The reader has to wonder if Gregoire has put these words into his mouth, extrapolating that this is what he would have said. And the account is just too repetitious. Nonetheless it’s unsettlingly convincing.

An interesting fact that Gregoire tells is that it was none other than Karol Wojtyla who officially counted the ballots for the election of John Paul I. The results are known only to the Papal Secretary of State and the two counters; the winner is announced, but not the actual count of the votes. Wojtyla would have been one of the only men in the world who’d know that he himself had come in second—and, of course, that if there were another election soon, he’d be the winner. (The other counter was ultraliberal Cardinal Suenens who in 1979 was removed from his position as Primate of Belgium by Pope John Paul II—Karol Wojtyla—and sent into exile where he died unexpectedly and under identical circumstances as those that surrounded the death of John Paul I and Paul VI.)

Lucien Gregoire is a gay man and so especially sensitive to the Church’s ambivalent but ultimately homophobic treatment of gay people. That he has revealed so much that was gay-positive in Luciano’s thinking is a gift.

This is an interesting book. Hard to believe it’s “true,” but here’s the evidence. Whatever one makes of the mysteries surrounding the decade of deaths that happened in connection with the election of this liberal and progressive man as Pope John Paul I, the wisdom that is presented coming from his mouth is just wonderful. The character Lucien Gregoire describes as Piccolo should be Pope, and what he was saying twenty-five years ago is what the Pope should have been saying all these years that followed, but wasn’t!

The book deserves to be read, whatever the shortcomings of its style and presentation and whatever the “truth” of the True Crime accusations. Between the author’s (gay-inspired?) interpretations of religion and the quotations from Luciani, Murder in the Vatican ends up presenting a wonderful vision of what True Christianity would be.

Opponents of organized religion and ex-Catholics feeling betrayed by the Church may jump on the accusations as proof of the venality of religion, but even so—or precisely because of that—they’d likely be impressed with Albino Luciani and impressed with what Christianity may yet become. By revealing the dark secret that must have haunted him all his life, Lucien Gregoire is helping force that transformation. He deserves our support (and readers with any interest in religion will certainly enjoy the “dish”).




Reviewed by Toby Johnson, author of
The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell, Gay Spirituality, Getting Life in Perspective and other novels and books





rainbow line

Toby Johnson, PhD is author of nine books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, four gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality and editor of a collection of "myths" of gay men's consciousness. 

Johnson's book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.

His  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They remain in print.

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III tells the story of Johnson's learning the real nature of religion and myth and discovering the spiritual qualities of gay male consciousness.

 back to top


BACK to Toby's home page


valid html

Visitors
Essential SSL