WI: Pope John Paul II got killed on the 13th of May 1981

Often attributed to his papacy are a few collapses of dictatorial systems all around the globe and he played a major factor in the downfall of the soviet union and communism in europe as well.

As history tells us, Pope John Paul II survived the assassination attempt in May 1981, but he was severly injured on that day. But what would have happen, if the assassination would have been successful. IS it known who would have been a strong contender for the next papacy? Most likely it would butterfly away the Razinger papacy or am i mistaken in that regard?
 
According to Wikipedia, the main contenders for the Papacy in October 1978 before Pope John Paul II emerged were Siri and Benelli. If it were Benelli, I can't imagine what it would do to morale in the Catholic Church to have John Paul I dying 33 days after assuming the papacy, John Paul II dying by assassination after 2.5 years, and then Benelli, who in OTL died of a heart attack, dying after 1.5 years.

 
Most likely it would butterfly away the Razinger papacy or am i mistaken in that regard?
I’ve always thought a 1981 conclave could well have led to Ratzinger as pope, simply because the Church really did not want conclaves too often and as young a man as possible would have been preferred. Ratzinger was a far more able man than Antonio Ribeiro – who died in 1998 and was the only younger cardinal at the time. The most plausible alternative, Alosío Lorscheider, born in 1924 and seen as a possible Pope in 1978, would like have been viewed as doctrinally too insecure in what were even in the October 1978 conclave viewed as testing times for the Church, because he was a suspected ally of “liberation theology”.

Given what happened to Ratzinger in the 2005 conclave and beyond, I would imagine that the next conclave in this scenario would have been unusually unpredictable. This is because, even if Ratzinger did as in OTL resign in 2013, it would have meant a Pope chosen in a conclave with zero electors who had been in a conclave before. The last cardinal under eighty who was already a cardinal in 1981 was Franciszek Macharski – ironically Wojtyła’s successor as Archbishop of Kraków – who passed that age in 2007.

In actual conclaves where very few electors have previously participated, the few who have have largely been able to dictate terms. This happened in 2005, and also in the 1903 conclave where Luigi Oreglia di Santo Stefano was able to turn support to Giuseppe Sarto and even to persuade Sarto to accept. So it is impossible to imagine what would have happened in the next conclave. Given Ratzinger’s role as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a different next conclave – and I hope I am not wrong in saying that the 2013 conclave would have been different if so many elector had not had experience in 2005 – might have marked the true divergence from OTL.
 
If Ratzinger becomes pope and has that position at least until 2013 probably conclave would try elect such pope whom papacy would be quiet short only few years. One of reason why Ratzinger was elected in 2005 was that conclave wanted avoid long papacy immediately after JPII.
 
I looked up the attempted assassination and assassin’s Wikipedia pages and... Oh, the JFK assassination has nothing on this. So many conspiracies, though I imagine people would look deeply into this guy. I recall some conspiracy theories claiming that Bulgarians were told not to go to the World Trade Center on September Eleven. I am just bringing this up as something people would come back to years later, with people trying to connect the Bulgarians and Turks at every opportunity, as according to his testimony he was working for Turkish mafiosa and was brought into the country by Bulgarian officials. I do wonder how this would effect Greek relations with Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey down the line. Nothing major, but something for the arsenal of propaganda. Also, we need to think about how soon the Pope dies and how he dies. Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or years for a person to die of their wounds, leaving time to put things in order. I also think that without John Paul II living as long as he did (to then spend many years sickly and weak, unable to keep an active role), then we wouldn’t get the new precedent Benedict set by abdicating when he got too old for the role. A good precedent I would say, both for the health of the Popes and the Catholic Church.
 
As someone said earlier, the battle in 1978 was between Benelli and Siri. Siri was the conservative one (and part of a lot of Sedevecantist conspiracy theories) while Benelli was seen as liberal. In the wake of the JP2 assassination and the fact that his assassin had ties to the Soviets, the conservatives might be able to get some pull and convince moderates that someone is needed who will can keep the church strong, though a compromise candidate might be elected. Ratzinger had barely been a Cardinal so I think he's out, so i think it might be a Siri papacy. Once Siri dies in 89 I think we see Ratzinger, and if he still resigns when he does (maybe he does it earlier, or he doesn't at all) who knows who it could be.
 
Well what you can't forget: Public sentiment in Poland and many other catholic nations in the communist block would turn against the communists, especially with the ties of his assassin to the Soviets. I can see a major violence surge after the deed was done.

Also, we need to think about how soon the Pope dies and how he dies. Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or years for a person to die of their wounds, leaving time to put things in order.
Well he caught 2 bullets to the stomach and lost a lot of blood. If one of the other two bullets, that "only" injured his arm did find their intended target, I Would say his chances to survive longer then a few days are slim. But we can never know.

Once Siri dies in 89 I think we see Ratzinger
I'm not so sure about that. Ratzinger is considered a dogmatic conservative as well and I'm not sure if the conclave would vote two conservatives in. Maybe a dogamtic progressiv with hard stances on communism? But I don't know who would qualify there.
 
I'm not so sure about that. Ratzinger is considered a dogmatic conservative as well and I'm not sure if the conclave would vote two conservatives in. Maybe a dogamtic progressive with hard stances on communism? But I don't know who would qualify there.
Agreed. I'm a practicing Catholic myself and I get a bit incensed at how people think of Benedict as this archconservative. Politically? Sure in that he's socially conservative. Most high ranking church officials are and even those who have more a more "liberal" bent like James Martin are still against abortion but might be more left on other issues. Benedict certainly isn't some traditionalist. He reminds me a lot of the priests where I grew up in Nebraska (we had one of the more "traditional" diocese') and basically the only real difference was that we followed mass rubrics (a big problem in some places) and didn't allow women as altar servers or lectors (something a bit behind the times, but honestly many priests in other diocese' do this and the bishops let them, also women can read in case of an "emergency" so my parish had a female reader at mass for years.

But yes I agree a dogmatic progressive against communism. Someone big on religious freedom and who would hammer the communists on that and that both liberals and conservatives would find solidarity with.
 
As history tells us, Pope John Paul II survived the assassination attempt in May 1981, but he was severly injured on that day. But what would have happen, if the assassination would have been successful. IS it known who would have been a strong contender for the next papacy? Most likely it would butterfly away the Razinger papacy or am i mistaken in that regard?
Even though then-Cardinal Ratzinger would have participated in the hypothetical 1981 Conclave, he was not strongly associated with JPII at that point. He wouldn't even be the Prefect for the CDF until November of that same year. In theory, the assassination of JPII in 1981 could have prevented Cardinal Ratzinger from becoming pope, but conclaves have historically produced unpredictable results. At the time, only one consistory occurred in 1979 and none of the names, plus one in pectore, stand out. Looking at the previous conclave electors, this is another one that I cannot easily predict. Sure, there are others who are well-qualified, but some die within the remaining 20th Century or are not that well-known.

I’ve always thought a 1981 conclave could well have led to Ratzinger as pope, simply because the Church really did not want conclaves too often and as young a man as possible would have been preferred. Ratzinger was a far more able man than Antonio Ribeiro – who died in 1998 and was the only younger cardinal at the time. The most plausible alternative, Alosío Lorscheider, born in 1924 and seen as a possible Pope in 1978, would like have been viewed as doctrinally too insecure in what were even in the October 1978 conclave viewed as testing times for the Church, because he was a suspected ally of “liberation theology”.

Given what happened to Ratzinger in the 2005 conclave and beyond, I would imagine that the next conclave in this scenario would have been unusually unpredictable. This is because, even if Ratzinger did as in OTL resign in 2013, it would have meant a Pope chosen in a conclave with zero electors who had been in a conclave before. The last cardinal under eighty who was already a cardinal in 1981 was Franciszek Macharski – ironically Wojtyła’s successor as Archbishop of Kraków – who passed that age in 2007.

In actual conclaves where very few electors have previously participated, the few who have have largely been able to dictate terms. This happened in 2005, and also in the 1903 conclave where Luigi Oreglia di Santo Stefano was able to turn support to Giuseppe Sarto and even to persuade Sarto to accept. So it is impossible to imagine what would have happened in the next conclave. Given Ratzinger’s role as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a different next conclave – and I hope I am not wrong in saying that the 2013 conclave would have been different if so many elector had not had experience in 2005 – might have marked the true divergence from OTL.
Yeah, Lorscheider's association with active members of Liberation Theology would have made him suspicious. Based on my own biases, I could definetly mention several names who could have turned out to be decent popes, but I don't see them as being charismatic enough or with previous strong credentials to gain enough support from their brother cardinals in a realistic setting.

However, I am of the opinion that the possibility of an abdication would have been less ITTL. There would have been less ecclesiastical shenanigans that Benedict XVI would have confronted, but some amount of dissent would have remained for him to constantly fight against.

As someone said earlier, the battle in 1978 was between Benelli and Siri. Siri was the conservative one (and part of a lot of Sedevecantist conspiracy theories) while Benelli was seen as liberal. In the wake of the JP2 assassination and the fact that his assassin had ties to the Soviets, the conservatives might be able to get some pull and convince moderates that someone is needed who will can keep the church strong, though a compromise candidate might be elected. Ratzinger had barely been a Cardinal so I think he's out, so i think it might be a Siri papacy. Once Siri dies in 89 I think we see Ratzinger, and if he still resigns when he does (maybe he does it earlier, or he doesn't at all) who knows who it could be.
Cardinal della Chiesa was only a cardinal for less than 4 months before he was elected as Pope Benedict XV.


Agreed. I'm a practicing Catholic myself and I get a bit incensed at how people think of Benedict as this archconservative. Politically? Sure in that he's socially conservative. Most high ranking church officials are and even those who have more a more "liberal" bent like James Martin are still against abortion but might be more left on other issues. Benedict certainly isn't some traditionalist. He reminds me a lot of the priests where I grew up in Nebraska (we had one of the more "traditional" diocese') and basically the only real difference was that we followed mass rubrics (a big problem in some places) and didn't allow women as altar servers or lectors (something a bit behind the times, but honestly many priests in other diocese' do this and the bishops let them, also women can read in case of an "emergency" so my parish had a female reader at mass for years.

But yes I agree a dogmatic progressive against communism. Someone big on religious freedom and who would hammer the communists on that and that both liberals and conservatives would find solidarity with.
Finally, someone says it!

I get really annoyed at the ignorance and false attribution of using "conservative" and "liberal" labels toward popes, cardinals, bishops, and even priests.

Depending on who you ask, every pope since the 1960's has been a bleeding heart liberal. However, I don't necessarily think that's true.

You can't pigeon-hole pontiffs into American Political lenses.

I'd argue that the average, decent catholic shouldn't necessarily be considered an essential"Democrat" or "Republican", since both parties may have values that a catholic can support, but at the same time, they both have values that they cannot support.

Interesting video about the OTL event:
 
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