There’s an article in the latest issue of Micromega
, some Italian magazine I’ve never heard of, by Dr. Lina Pavanelli, speculating that Pope John Paul II didn’t die entirely of natural causes, but was euthanized by his doctors at the Vatican. John Paul’s personal physician, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti (no shit, that’s actually his name) denies that what happened to the Pope was euthanasia, claiming that the Pope and his doctors acted throughout his illness to preserve his life.
When you read up on the story (here’s an article
on the subject) it turns out to be far less lurid than the “Was the Pope Euthanized?” headlines suggest. According to Dr. Pavanelli, no one injected the Pope with a lethal dose of potassium chloride, a cardinal didn’t hold a pillow over his face, they just waited until it was way, way too late before they inserted a feeding tube. Dr. Buzzonetti responded to that by saying that it was the Pope’s decision to forego the feeding tube until three days before he died. Which would make it not so much euthanasia as a sick old man just wanting to get it the hell over with.
I have to side with Dr. Buzzonetti on this one, and not just because of the name. Taking out their own Pope by withholding a feeding tube doesn’t strike me as the Vatican’s style. If the boys in Rome want to take somebody out, they have their own way of going about it . . .
Plus, isn’t euthanasia meant to cut the ordeal of dying short? I remember when the Pope died and it took forever
. I was surprised when I went back and checked and found that he died in April 2005 after suffering low blood pressure and a high fever for three days, because I remembered the whole thing taking about forty years. I could’ve sworn I’d gotten married, had children, grown old and retired to a solitary cabin by a rural lake during the Pope’s final extremity. When I realized it had only been three days, I looked around the room, disoriented, like Captain Picard at the end of “The Inner Light.” Three days? Three days