AV_1611 Bible Only. Exposing The Whore of Babylon. Revelation 17 KJV email@example.com
When brutal ignorance and savage ferocity were the distinguishing characteristics of the age, the Church could scarce expect to escape from the general debasement… When the crown of St. Peter became the sport of barbarous nobles, or of a still more barbarous populace, we may grieve, but we cannot affect astonishment, at the unconcealed dissoluteness of [Pope] Sergius III, whose bastard, twenty years later, was placed in the pontifical chair by the influence of that embodiment of all possible vices, his mother Marozia. The last extreme of depravity would seem attained by [Pope] John XII, but as his deposition by [German Emperor] Otho the Great loosened the tongues of his accusers, it is possible that he was no worse than some of his predecessors. No extreme of wickedness was beyond his capacity; the sacred palace of the Lateran was turned into a brothel; incest gave a flavour to crime when simple profligacy palled upon his exhausted senses, and the honest citizens of Rome complained that the female pilgrims who formerly crowded the holy fanes were deterred from coming through fear of his promiscuous and unbridled lust.”
— Lea, pp. 114-115.
Pope John XII was only eighteen in 955 when his ascension was arranged, son of a pope and son, grandson, and nephew of domineering aristocratic papal mistresses who made and unmade them. He crowned Otho (or Otto) as Emperor and then turned against him.
“[After being dethroned as pope by the Emperor], so many [noble ladies] were favourites and paramours of His Holiness, that they decided to reinstate their idol upon the throne of St. Peter. Discontent was stirred up among the Romans, and… the women stormed the Lateran and brought back their protege John to the Papal chair. Thus the love of the Roman ladies for the Pontiff regained for him the tiara.”
His triumph was short-lived. Even before the Emperor and his new pope, Leo VIII, could march back to Rome, John was brutally killed by a jealous husband while dallying with the man’s wife in the Lateran.
— Dr. Angelo S. Rappaport, The Love Affairs of the Vatican, 1912 .
One of the rare instances where the pope was dethroned and murdered outright. Several have abdicated and suffered terrible ends (most notably Celestine V), but the most common method of disposing of an unwanted pontiff is poison, possibly most recently as the last pope, John Paul I.
“The same condition of affairs [of priests’ taking church revenues for their families] existed among the Anglo-Saxons. ‘It is all the worse when they have it all, for they do not dispose of it as they ought, but decorate their wives with what they should the altars, and turn everything to their own worldly pomp… A priest‘s wife is nothing but a snare of the devil, and he who is ensnared thereby on to his end, he will be seized fast by the devil.’”
— Lea, p. 117.
This was but the beginning of the Roman Church’s unending war against priests’ women. Finally, after being long houndedby reforming monks, when at last the pope was able to crack down on priestly marriage, he ordered them enslaved. But even that was not the final solution: ultimately, it was held that the vow of chastity was so superior to that of matrimony, that it became impossible for clerics to be married. In the end, the Council of Trent decided that God would grant the gift of chastity upon ordination, any sexual activity went far, far underground, with the results we see today.
“…it is easy to understand what must have been the condition of the dioceses entrusted to the great mass of bishops, who were rather feudal nobles than Christian prelates…. the potentiality of evil [is] conveyed by the example of such a bishop as Segenfrid of Le Mans, who, during an episcopate which lasted for more than thirty-three years, took to himself a wife named Hildeburga, and who stripped the Church for the benefit of his son Alberic, the sole survivor of numerous progeny by her of whom he caused to be reverenced…; of Archembald, Archbishop of Sens, who, taking a fancy to the Abbey of St. Peter, drove out the monks and established a harem of concubines in the refectory, and installed his hawks and hounds in the cloister… Alberic of Marsico… who had a son to whom he transferred his bishopric [but himself] aspired to the abbacy of Monte Cassino… [and so] a plot was laid by which the reigning abbot’s eyes should be plucked out and Alberic placed in possession, for which service he agreed to pay a heavy sum… The deed was accomplished, but while the envoys were bearing to Alberic the bloody tokens of success, they were met by tidings of his death… at the very moment of the perpetration of the atrocious crime.”
— Lea, pp.121-22.
“That the principles [of clerical chastity] thus established were long preserved is evident from an ancient Penitential, presumably Hibernian, which breathes the most vigorous asceticism. A single passing emotion of lust for a woman, not expressed, is visited with seven days’ penance, on a measured amount of bread and water. Innocent familiarity with a woman requires forty days’ penance, but if a kiss passes between them it is lengthened to a year. Fornication forfeits the tonsure, but if it is not known it can be redeemed with three years of penance, after which the functions are restored. If a child is born, the penalty is nine years of penance of which seven must be passed in exile, with subsequent resumption of functions – being the same for homicide. As no punishment is provided for clerical marriage, it was evidently not regarded as supposable.”
— Lea, pp. 127-128.
Benedict was a count of Tuscany and nephew of his two predecessors, and was in fact a descendent of the family of whom his rival in “baseness and shamelessness,” John XII, was a member. He was put on the papal throne at the age of ten, or twelve, or fifteen (sources differ) through the bribery of his father and the Emperor Conrad of whom he was “a complete tool.”
“In 1045 a rising… forced Benedict to leave Rome whereupon a certain Bishop John bought the papal tiara… but he was soon deposed and Benedict returned, only to sell the papal office for a large sum of money on the first of May, 1045. Benedict was formally declared deposed by [Emperor] Henry III at synod in Rome held at the end of 1046, yet he reappeared as anti-pope.”
— Hans Kuhner, Encyclopedia of the Papacy, 1958, trans. by Kenneth J. Northcott, p. 67.
Since then, it seems that the popes have borne coats-of-arms, just as since John XII, born Octavius, they have changed their names.
“ ‘And this precocious child… had numerous love intrigues with married women and with virgins, ready to listen to the amorous declarations of the Vicar of Christ.’ ”…
“For a sum of about £200 in English money [another source says 1,500 pounds of gold]… Benedict IX ceded his pontificate to a more ambitious prelate, whilst he himself retired upon his estate in the vicinity of Rome, where he freely addicted himself to the interesting game of love. Surrounded by a regular harem, this ex-Pontiff passed his days… and when he could love no more he repented.”
— Dr. Angelo S. Rappaport, The Love Affairs of the Vatican, 1912, pp. 81-82.
“The House of Tusculum which ruled the Eternal City, had filled the chair of St. Peter with a worthless scion of their stock, as though to declare their contempt for the lofty pretensions of the Apostolic Episcopate. A fit descendent of the infamous Marozia and Alberic, Benedict IX, a child… upon his elevation… grew up in unrestrained license and shocked even the dull sensibilities of a gross and barbarous age by the scandals of his daily life.”…
“The popular appreciation of his character is shown by the legend of his appearing after death to a holy man, in the figure of a bear, with the ears and tail of an ass, and declaring that, as he had lived in bestiality, so he was destined to wear the form of a beast and to suffer fiery torments until the Day of Judgment, after which he was to be plunged, body and soul, into the fathomless pit of hell. When the Vicegerent of God, the head of the Christian Church, was thus utterly depraved, the prospect of reforming the corruption of the clergy was not promising, and the good work was not likely to be prosecuted with vigour.”
— Lea, p. 145.
As well as selling the throne of St. Peter off twice, this is the only pontiff to have claimed it three times — twice as “legitimate,” once as an anti-pope, or false claimant.
“St. Peter Damiani… was one of the most remarkable men of the epoch. Born about the year 988 at Ravenna,of a noble but decayed family, and the last of a numerous progeny, he owed his life to a woman of the very class to the extirpation of which he devoted all the energies of his prime. His mother… neglected him until his forlorn and emaciated condition awoke the compassion of a female retainer, the wife of a priest, who remonstrated… until she succeeded and… restored to existence the little sufferer, who was destined to bring unnumbered woes to all who were of her condition.”
— Lea, p. 150.
Damiani became a monk, and his austerities and intellect led to his election as prior. He was sent on missions to urge reform until at last he was given the highest honor in the Roman court and made cardinal-bishop of Ostia. However, he resigned after a few years and returned to his cell, where he died with great honor in the odor of sanctity, shortly before the election of another cardinal-monk, Hildebrand, a clerical revolutionary, as Pope Gregory VII.
Damiani’s learned and voluminous writings promoted what would be called the Gregorian Reform, which strove not only for internal discipline, but the political supremacy of the Roman Church.
“In his [Hildebrand’s] grand scheme of a theocratic empire, it became an absolute prerequisite that the Church should hold undivided sway over its members; that no human affection should render their allegiance doubtful, but that their every thought and action should be devoted to the common aggrandizement; that they should be separated from the people by an impassable barrier, and should wield an influence which could only be obtained by those who were recognized as superior to the weaknesses of common humanity… In short, if the Church was to assume and maintain the position to which it was entitled… [it must earn] by its self-inflicted austerities the reverence to which it laid claim.”
— Lea, pp. 157-158.
“Damiani… addressed to [Pope] Leo [IX] an essay, The Book of Gomorrah, which is the saddest of all the sad monuments bequeathed to us by that age of desolation. With cynical boldness he develops the frightful excesses epidemically prevalent among the cloistered crowds of men, attributable to the unnatural restraints imposed upon the passions of those unfitted by nature or by training to control themselves; and his laborious efforts to demonstrate the propriety of punishing the guilty by degradation shows how hideous was the laxity of morals which was disposed to regard such crimes with indulgence.”
— Lea, p. 152.
“Vice against nature creeps in like a cancer and even touches the order of consecrated men. Sometimes it rages like a bloodthirsty beast in the midst of the sheepfold of Christ with such bold freedom that it would have been much healthier for many to have been oppressed under the yoke of a secular army than to be freely delivered over to the iron rule of diabolical tyranny under the cover of religion, particularly when this is accomplished by scandal to others.”
Along with condemning clerical homosexuality and marriage, the contentious monk also promoted anti-Semitism. On his missions, he occasionally met with physical opposition and several times barely escaped from enraged clerics with his life, including in Milan, where his imposed solution sparked almost twenty years of riots and civil war.
“Yet, notwithstanding the pious fervour which habitually stigmatized the wives as harlots and the husbands as unbridled adulterers, Damiani himself allows us to see that the marriage relation was preserved with thorough fidelity on the part of the women, and was compatible with learning, decency, and strict attention to religious duty by the men.”
— Lea, p. 163.
“In all this controversy, it is instructive to observe how Damiani shows himself to be the pure model of monkish asceticism, untainted by any practical wisdom and unwarped by any earthly considerations… Not a thought of the worldly advantages consequent upon the reform appears to have crossed the mind of Damiani. To him it was simply a matter of conscience that the ministers of Christ should be adorned with the austere purity through which alone lay the path to salvation. Accordingly, the arguments which he employs in his endless disputations carefully avoid the practical reasons which were the principal motive for enforcing celibacy. His main reliance is on the assumption that, as Christ was born of a virgin, so He should be served and the Eucharist be handled only by virgins.”
— Lea, pp. 163-164.
Leo, infamous as the pope who split the Church by excommunicating the Greek Orthodox, also was an avid reformer under the influence of the monks Hildebrand (ultimately to become Pope St. Gregory VII) and St. Peter Damiani. He was nearly slain in a riot at a council in Mantua in 1053.
“Easter of 1051 beheld a council assembled at Rome for the purpose of restoring discipline. Apparently, the Italian prelates were disposed to exercise considerable caution in furthering the wishes of their chief, for they abstained from visiting their indignation on the guilty priests, and directed their penalties against the unfortunate females. In the city itself these were declared to be enslaved, and were bestowed on the cathedral church of the Lateran, while all bishops throughout Christendom were desired to apply the rule to their own dioceses, and to seize the offending women for the benefit of their own churches. The atrocity of this legislation against the wives of priests is all the more noteworthy when contrasted with the tenderness shown to worse crimes committed by men whose high position only rendered their guilt the more heinous. At this council, Gregory, Bishop of Vercelli, was convicted of what, by the rules of the Church, was considered as incest – an amour with a widow betrothed to his uncle. For this aggravated offence he was merely excommunicated, and when, soon after, he presented himself in Rome, he was restored to communion on his simple promise to perform adequate penance.”
— Lea, pp. 153-154.
Pope Urban II, the pope who launched the long and bloody ordeal of the Crusades, extended much the same decree to the entire Church a half-century later.
“Where Gregory had been content with ejecting husbands and wives and with empowering secular rulers to enforce the edict… Urban, with a refinement of cruelty, reduced the unfortunate women to slavery, and offered their servitude as a bribe to the nobles who should aid in this purifying of the Church. If this infamous canon did not work misery [beyond Gregory’s] it was because the power of Urban was circumscribed by the schism… Perhaps, on reflection, Urban may himself have wished to disavow the atrocity for in a subsequent council… he contented himself with simply forbidding all such marriages and ordering all… to be separated… and subjected to due penance.”
— Lea, pp. 198-199.
Here it is — proof, if any was needed, of the Roman Church’s true attitude to married priests and their wives.
It is interesting that these two popes, who arguably did the most violence to the Church, the first by splitting Rome from Constantinople, and the second by launching a series of wars that ultimately conquered Constantinople, also inflicted the most violence on women in their own Church.
“Notwithstanding all [Damiani’s] learning and eloquence, the authority of his name, the lustre of his example, and the tireless efforts of his fiery energy, the cause to which he had devoted himself did not advance. The later years of Alexander’s pontificate afford unmistakable indications that the puritan party were becoming discouraged… A principle of great importance, moreover, was abandoned when in 1070, Alexander assented to the consecration of the bishop-elect of Le Mans, who was the son of a priest; and when he stated that this was not a precedent for the future, but merely a concession to the evil of the times, his laxity was even more impressive, since he thus admitted his violation of the canons. He subsequently even enlarged this special permission into a general rule… Alexander, moreover, maintained in force the ancient rule that no married man could assume monastic vows unless his wife gave her free consent, and entered a convent at the same time… [yet] in little more than half a century [later], the progress of sacerdotalism rendered the sacrament of marriage powerless in comparison to the vows of religion.”
“Alexander clearly had not in him the stuff of which persecutors and reformers are made, as, indeed, his merciful liberality in extending over the Jews throughout Europe the protection of the Holy See would sufficiently demonstrate.”
— Lea, p. 165-166.
“To Gregory,… was generally attributed, by his immediate successors, the honour of introducing, or of enforcing, the absolute chastity of the ministers of the altar… He earned the tribute thoroughly, for… whatever were his preoccupations in his fearful struggle with the [Holy Roman] Empire, in which he risked… the papacy, he always had leisure to attend to the one subject in its minutest details and in the remotest corner of Christendom.”
“Sprung from so humble an origin, he may have sympathized with the democratic element, which rendered the Church the only career open to peasant and plebeian… [which] would be lost if, by legalizing marriage, the heredity transmission of benefices generally resulting should convert the Church into a separate caste of individual proprietors, having only general interests in common, and lazily luxuriating on the proceeds of former popular beneficence… When even the humblest priest came to be regarded as a superior being, … by the machinery of confession, absolution, and excommunication wielding incalculable influence over each member of his flock, it was well for both parties that the ecclesiastic should be free from the ties of family and the vulgar ambition of race… If therefore, the Church was to attain the theocratic supremacy which was the object of its ambition, sacerdotal celibacy was not only an element necessary to its success, but a safeguard against the development of an hereditary ecclesiastical aristocracy which might have proved fatal to… progress.”
“The severe austerity of his virtue… was displayed by his admirers in the story that once, when dangerously ill, his niece came to inquire as to his health. To relieve her anxiety he played with her necklace, and jestingly asked if she wished to be married; but on his recovery he found that he could no longer weep with due contrition over his sins… He… finally entreated his friends to pray for him, when the Virgin appeared to one… and sent word… that [Gregory] had fallen from grace in consequence of the infraction of his vows committed in touching the necklace of his niece.”
— Lea, pp. 183-184.
That there may have been more to this is suggested by rumors doubtless spread by his many enemies, concerning his very close relationship with the Countess Mathilda of Tuscany, a wealthy and beautiful aristocrat who abandoned her husband for the papal court. Gregory was even said to have put her aside so he could fruitlessly pursue her own niece, Theodorine, who would have naught to do with him.
In any case, in the course of his struggle with the German Emperor, the pope’s armies were defeated.
“The Pope died in obscurity, an exile, full of rage and remorse, baffled in love and ambition alike.”
— Rappaport, The Love Affairs of the Vatican, p. 146.
So the true reason for enforced clerical celibacy is at last revealed: it was imposed to gain spiritual power over the clergy that the pope might convert it into political power over the laity.
“… in 1074 in the Council of Paris… all, bishops, abbots, and priests, refused to obey the mandate [enjoining celibacy], declaring that it imposed an insupportable burden; and when the holy St. Gauthier, Abbot of Pontoise, ventured to argue that the commands of the pope must be executed, whether just or unjust, he was set upon, beaten almost to death, carried before the king, and confined until some friendly nobles procured his release.”
“Coercion from without was evidently requisite, and… [Pope] Gregory did not shrink from subjecting the Church to temporal power… The Norman clergy were not disposed to submit quietly… and they expressed their dissent by raising a terrible clamour and driving their archbishop from the council with a shower of stones, from which he barely escaped alive. At length… the laity were called in. William the Conqueror, therefore in 1080 assisted… in holding a synod at Lillebonne, where [his] stern presence… prevented any unseemly resistance… if [a priest’s] parishioners or feudal superior were the complainants he was to be brought before a mixed tribunal composed of the squires of his parish and the officials of the bishop. This startling invasion of the dearest privileges of the Church was declared by William… to be a temporary expedient, rendered necessary by [the bishops’] negligence. Nor is this remarkable measure the only thing that renders the Synod of Lillebonne worthy of note, for it affords us the earliest indication of a practice which subsequently became a standing disgrace to the Church. The fifth canon declares that no priest shall be forced to give anything to the bishop or to the officers of the diocese beyond their lawful dues, and especially that no money shall be exacted on account of women kept by clerks. A tribute known as “cullagium” became at times a recognized source of revenue, in consideration of which the… ecclesiastics were allowed to enjoy in security the society of their concubines…. this infamous custom continued to flourish until the sixteenth century, despite the most strenuous and repeated endeavours to remove so grievous a scandal.”
— Lea, pp. 211-212.