Pope John Paul I - Dubbed "The Smiling Pope".

September 29, 1978 – Death Of Pope John Paul I – 33 Days At The Vatican.

Pope John Paul I – Dubbed “The Smiling Pope”.

September 29, 1978 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

September 29, 1978 – News for this day centered primarily around The Vatican, as reports of the death of Pope John Paul I dominated the media. In what was the second shortest papacy in Vatican history, with the death of the Pontiff only 33 days after he had been elected. John Paul I, dubbed The Smiling Pope was a popular choice, following the death of Pope Paul VI.

The first person to become aware of Pope John Paul’s death was his private secretary, Father John Magee. The latter at once informed Cardinal Jean Villot, Secretary of State and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. That was in the early hours of the morning of 29 September. The Cardinal Secretary of State went at once to the Pope’s room where he testified that the Pope was dead. Meanwhile the doctors in attendance attributed death to a coronary thrombosis. They considered that it took place about eleven o’clock on the previous evening (28 September).

Notice of the Pope’s death was given as follows: “This morning, 29 September 1978, about 5.30, the private Secretary of the Pope, contrary to custom not having found the Holy Father in the chapel of his private apartment, looked for him in his room and found him dead in bed with the light on, like one who was intent on reading. The physician, Dr Renato Buzzonnetti, who hastened at once, verified the death as having presumably taken place around eleven o’clock yesterday evening through an acute coronary thrombosis.”

News of his death was sudden and shocking to most everyone in the Catholic world, and reactions to the news of the death of the Pope came quickly. As well as a flood of conspiracy theories, which continue to this day.

There was other news – the nationwide Rail Strike was poised to paralyze the country, and certainly do considerable damage to the food supply. A scramble was underway to prevent chaos.

And that’s what this day was all about; September 29, 1978 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.


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