Today’s Ignominious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
Sixty-nine-year-old Jean, Cardinal Danielou, died in a flat on the Rue Dulong, Paris, in May 1974. Danielou was Jesuit theologian, ecclesiastical scholar and strong advocate of clerical celibacy, and his death caused a national sensation simply because of where, not how, he died. The flat, owned by a Madame Santoni, was in the Etoile, deep in the red-light district of the city, and among the crowd that gathered to gaze upon the body of the dead cleric were women ‘well known to the police of the 17th arrondissement as prostitutes’. Madame Santoni, aged twenty-four, plied her trade as a procuress while her husband languished in jail for living off immoral earnings. The official version had the cardinal going about his pastoral duties proselytizing sinners, and declared that the large wad of notes he carried was to help pay off a blackmailer of one of his parishioners. The situation was not helped by the discovery, six months later, of the dead body of Monsignor Roger Tort, aged fifty-seven, the Catholic bishop of Montauban, whose body was found in ‘an establishment used solely for prostitution’.
Culled From: Death: A History Of Man’s Obsessions and Fears