Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Popes Of Rome - Part II.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
Another series of quotes from Christian sources about the holiest men in Catholicism:

The Catholic historian and Archbishop of New York, John Cardinal Farley (d. c. 1916), subtly admitted that the,
"old legends of their dissolute lives may be partly true... that they didn't sternly insist upon sexual virtue and injustice was a general license of the papal court, but it is probable that moral improvement was at the vanguard of their thinking"
(Catholic Encyclopedia, Pecci ed., 1897, iii, p. 207).

Cardinal Farley added this comment:
"The popes were temporal rulers of the civil territory and they naturally had recourse to force the re-establishment or extend the States of the Church until the conclusion of peace was confirmed ... their attempts to purify particularly the Duchy of Rome caused them considerable distress and the need to resort to violence, but always on the side of mercy ... lives were lost in the service of truth but the legal basis for the Christian Church to hold and transmit properties for the benefit of revenues was given to them [the popes] by Emperor Constantine in 312." (Catholic Encyclopedia, Pecci ed., ii, pp. 157—169)

"Some Catholics may find surprises when they read the papal biographies in this book. The part we are accustomed to think of the pope playing in the Church may need a little adjustment." (The Popes: A Concise Biographical History, Eric John, ed., Burns & Oates, Publishers to the Holy See, London, 1964, p. 19, published under the imprimatur of Georgius L. Craven)

"centuries of trafficking in ecclesiastical appointments, deceit, scandals, immorality, aggression, frauds, murder and cruelty, and the true disposition of the popes is knowingly falsely presented by the Church today"
(A History of the Popes, Dr Joseph McCabe [1867—1955], C. A. Watts & Co., London, 1939).

Pious Catholic historian and author Bishop Frotheringham extended this summary of Christian leaders up to his time:
"Many of the popes were men of the most abandoned lives. Some were magicians (occultists); others were noted for sedition, war, slaughter and profligacy of manners, for avarice and simony. Others were not even members of Christ, but the basest of criminals and enemies of all godliness. Some were children of their father, the Devil; most were men of blood; some were not even priests. Others were heretics. If the pope be a heretic, he is ipso facto no pope."(The Cradle of Christ, Bishop Frotheringham, 1877; see also Catholic Encyclopedia, xii, pp. 700-703, passim, published under the imprimatur of Archbishop Farley)

"On the death of Pope Formosus (896) there began for the papacy a time of the deepest humiliation, such as it has never been experienced before or since. After the successor of Formosus, Boniface VI, had ruled only fifteen days, Stephen VII [VI] was raised to the papal chair. In his blind rage, Stephen not only abused the memory of Formosus but also treated his body with indignity. Pope Stephen was strangled in prison in the summer of 897, and the six following popes (to 904) owed their elevation to the struggles of the rival political parties. Christophorus, the last of them, was overthrown by Sergius III (904—911)."(Catholic Encyclopedia, ii, p. 147)

Such periods of "deepest humiliation" to the papacy were quite recurrent, and have been even into the 21st century when the extent of priesthood paedophilia was publicly exposed (Apology of Pope John Paul II, March 2002). It was Pope Stephen VII (VI), "a gouty and gluttonous old priest" (Bishop Liutprand of Cremona, c. 922—972), who ordered the rotting corpse of Pope Formosus to be exhumed from its grave of eight months, tied upright in a chair and put on trial for transgressions of the canons. In front of his putrefying body and dressed in purple and gold regalia stood the pope, his bishops, the nobles of Rome and Lamberto of Tuscany.

Bishop Liutprand of Cremona, whose Antapodosis treats papal history from 886 to 950, left a remarkable picture of the vice of the popes and their episcopal colleagues, maybe with a little jealousy:
"They hunted on horses with gold trappings, had rich banquets with dancing girls when the hunt was over, and retired with these shameless whores to beds with silk sheets and gold-embroidered covers. All the Roman bishops were married, and their wives made silk dresses out of the sacred vestments."
Their lovers were the leading noble ladies of the city, and "two voluptuous Imperial women", Theodora and her daughter Marozia, "ruled the papacy of the tenth century" (Antapodosis, ibid.). Renowned Vatican historian Cardinal Caesar Baronius (1538—1607) called it the "Rule of the Whores", which "really gave place to the even more scandalous rule of the whoremongers" (Annales Ecclesiastici, folio iii, Antwerp, 1597).

Pope John XII (Octavian, c. 937—964, pope 955—964, The Popes, A Concise Biographical History, ibid., pp. 166-7) was another in the succession of impious popes and he opened his inglorious career by invoking pagan gods and goddesses as he flung the dice in gambling sessions. He toasted Satan during a drinking spree and put his notorious mistress/prostitute Marcia in charge of his brothel in the Lateran Palace (Antapodosis, ibid.).

"The Popes 'Benedict' from the fourth to the ninth inclusive (IV—IX) belong to the darkest period of papal history... Benedict VI (973) was thrown into prison by the anti-pope Boniface VII (d. 983), and strangled by his orders in 974. Benedict VII was a layman and became pope by force, and drove out Boniface VII. Pope Benedict IX [c. 1012—1055/1065/1085; pope 1032—45, 1047, 1048] had long caused scandal to the Church by his disorderly life. His immediate successor, Pope Gregory VI [1044—46], had persuaded Benedict IX to resign the Chair of Peter, and to do so bestowed valuable possessions on him."(Catholic Encyclopedia, i, p. 31)

Pope Benedict IX a.k.a Grottaferrata Teofilatto(Theophylact, in some records) in 1032 won the murderous scramble for the wealth of the papacy. He immediately excommunicated leaders who were hostile to him and quickly established a reign of terror. He officially opened the doors of "the palace of the popes" to homosexuals and turned it into an organized and profitable male brothel (The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Horace K. Mann, Kegan Paul, London, 1925).

"At the time of Leo IX's election in 1049, according to the testimony of St Bruno, Bishop of Segni, 'the whole Church was in wickedness, holiness had disappeared, justice had perished, and truth had been buried; Simon Magus was lording it over the Church, whose popes and bishops were given to luxury and fornication. The scientific and ascetic training of the popes left much to be desired, the moral standard of many being very low and the practice of celibacy not everywhere observed.

Bishops obtained their offices in irregular ways, whose lives and conversations are strangely at variance with their calling, who go through their duties not for Christ but for motives of worldly gain. The members of the clergy were in many places regarded with scorn, and their avaricious ideas, luxury and immorality rapidly gained ground at the centre of clerical life. When ecclesiastical authority grew weak at the fountain head, it necessarily decayed elsewhere. In proportion, as the papal authority lost the respect of many, resentment grew against both the Curia and the papacy.'"(Catholic Encyclopedia, vi, pp. 793-4; xii, pp. 700-03, passim)

After a lifetime of research into the lives of the popes, Lord Acton (1834—1902), English historian and founder-editor of The Cambridge Modern History, summarized the militarist papal attitude when he observed:
"The popes were not only murderers in the great style, but they also made murder a legal basis of the Christian Church and a condition of salvation."
(The Cambridge Modern History, vol. 1, pp. 673-77)

"even now it is not perhaps absolutely certain from the two lines of popes who was pope and who was anti-pope, or which anti-pope was a legal anti-pope"
(Catholic Encyclopedia, Pecci ed., iii, 107; also, Catholic Dictionary, ibid.).

Wa Salamu 'Alaykum.

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