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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Friday, April 22, 2005
THE BAD POPES
(a Short Disclaimer)

Before I start naming some of the Bad Popes, I wish to advise some of the readers, that I have no intention of discrediting or smearing the good name of the Chair of St. Peter, and the authority it has over the Catholic faith and the Papacy. Since there is a Papal hype with the death of a Good Man and Good Pope, Pope John Paul II, and the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, I got so interested in creating a blog about the "Bad Popes" that sat on the throne of St. Peter.Of course, there's lots of Good Popes also, outnumbering the bad ones.Likewsie, one of the bloggers is so interested in this topic-subject, and so it challenge me to do so. She has blog of her own, a CAT, who is always curious in many things.


THE LORD OF ROME
In A.D. 328, Constantine transferred the capital of the Roman empire to his new city of Constantinople, thereby inevitably altering the center of gravity of the Roman World.Gradually, the imperial throne was occupied exclusively by Greeks, Latin gave place to Greek as the official language, and subtle changes of manners evolved an Oriental Civilization that was Byzantine from the older name of the city.

The Christian emperor in Constantinople had inherited the dual role of priest and king that the pagan emperors in Rome had enjoyed.

When the seat of the empire had moved to the East, the Bishop of Rome naturally enjoyed rather more freedom than his opposite number, the Patriach of Constantinople, but both in the eyes of the emperor, they were just subordinate to him in spiritual as well as temporal matters.

In Rome, Gregory II was in the eleventh year of his pontificate, the first Roman pope to occupy the Chair of St. Peter, after a long successiuon of Greek creatures--a fact that has a profound effect in Italy.

THE DONATION OF CONSTANTINE

About a generation after the Papacy had divorced itself from the empire,a certain papal official, Christophorous by name, completed a task of forgery which neatly transferred the temporal crown from the emperor to the Pope.

Christophorous based his work upon the legendary life of St. Sylvester, the blameless,if mediocre Bishop of Rome who ruled over his little flock at the time of Constantine. According to legend, Constantine was energetically persecuting Christians when he was afflicted with leprosy and, despite the efforts of doctors and magicians, despaired of a cure. Saints Peter and Paul appeared to him in a vision and told him that St. Sylvester alone could cure him. The old man was brought to the Lateran Palace, where Constantine resided, and there told the emperor that baptism alone would cleanse him of the disease.

Constantine, agreed to baptism, and as a result--the leprosy immediately vanished. In gratitude, he immediatelyu ordained that Christ should be worshipped throughout the empire and that tithes should be instituted for the building of churches. The Lateran Palace was given to St. Sylvester and his successors for all time; Constantine himself dug and carried away the first twelve baskets of earth on the Vatican Hill, and so began the Basilica of St.Peter.

These are all forgeries, done by Christophorous, anxious to maintain the little priviledges and honors of his office and Constantine was therefore made to grant to the clergy a dignity similar to that which the senate enjoyed. He also went to make the point abundantly clear by skillfully twisting the true reason for Constantine's decision to establish his capital in the East.

The decline of the Byzantine power in Italy had been matched by the rise of the Lombards, the latest and most powerful of the barbarian invaders. They flourish and their kingdoms were established throughout Italy. Besieged by the Lombards, the reigning Pope Stephen, sought a champion. He found him beyond the Alps when Pepin, king fo the Franks offered Frankish aid.

In the winter of 755, Stephen began the long and perilous journey to the Frankish court. It was a measure of desperation that not only did he, an old man, decided to make the journey in person, but he undertook the passage of the Alps in the depths of winter. He was received with heartening respect, not merely as a suppliant, not merely as Pope, but as the defrauded heir of Constantine, for the papal propagandists had done their work well. The "Donation of Constantine" put out its first root, successfully transplanted from the world of fiction into fact.

With Pepin's help, he curbed the Lombards and drew a treaty which at length and in law made over to the Pope those territories outlined in the "Donation of Constantine". Within a decade of Pepin's generous action, Rome learned the full implications of the new splendor of the Papacy. The creation of the Papal states, and the so called "Patrimony of St. Peter", made the pope a feudal lord, giving a real financial value to his office.

The Chair of St. Peter, became a prize for the great families of Rome and its neighborhood, creating a more insidious danger for the Papacy than that which Byzantines and Lombard had threatened.

The Houses where the Bad Popes came from:

*** The House of Theophylact
Octavian "Pope John XII" (955 - 963)
Octavian, the Pope-King, son of the prince of Rome was born about the year 937, for his mother had been the passive instrument of a peace concluded between the Alberic and Hugh of Provence the previous year.The childhood of Octavian is wrapped in almost total obscurity. His father probably raised him as a soldier, rather than future priest, for while he later displayed some militatry proficiency, it was obvious that his book learning had been scant.In his maturity, as a young pope called to preside over the councils of learned men, he was derided for his elementary ignorance of Latin.

Octavian, became a young pope, when his father Alberic, seeing death is coming for him, he ordered himself be carried to the most sacred spot in Christendom, the altar above the tomb of St. Peter, and there called upon the nobles to swear upon the bones of the apostle that they would elect his son prince upon his death, and pope upon the death of the reigning pope. The noble loved hims and so swore-- and ensured the destruction of all that he had create.

When Alberic died, Octavian took his place as prince. A year later the reigning pope also died and the Romans, obedient to Alberic's last command, elected his sixteen year old son as Pope. Thus, both offices were again combined in one person, causing a critical mass that must in time explode.

The return of the temporal power to the Papacy had again thrown the tiara to the mob. The factions, dormant for twenty years, rose gain, and murder, arson and rape returned to the strees as casual incidents of everyday life. Pope John XII encouraged faction as enthusiastically as his fatehr had suppressed it.Pope John XII seems to have been urged toward a course of deliberate sacrilege that went far beyond the casual enjoyment of sensual pleasures. It was as though the dark element in his nature goaded him on to test the utmost extent of his power, a "Christian Caligula", whose crimes were rendered peculiarly horrific by the office he held. His gang violated female pilgrims in the very basilica of St. Peter; that the offerings of the humble laid upon the altar were snatched up as casual booty. He is very fond of gambling and his intimate mistress in bed, instead of rewarding lands, he gave her the gold cross and chalice of St. Peter.

Pope John XII was deposed by a Council in Rome on December 4,963.


(abstracted from the work of E.R. Chamberlain / Barnes and Nobles Book)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:27 AM  
2 Comments:
  • At 6:43 PM, Blogger cathcath said…

    I learned from Hstory Channel that Constantine dreamed of Jesus urging him to fight in his name.
    Palusot lang ba yon para makapagconquer siya?

     
  • At 1:08 AM, Blogger infraternam meam said…

    cath...there are so many story on how Constantine got converted into Christianity and made it as the official religion of the Holy Roman Empire. But the most important of all, is that he is a good tactician and a good statesman. He saw that religion could work for him, and so he made it work for him by making it official and him being part of the church. some historian sez also her mom, Queen Helena was the one who urged him to accept christianity as the official religion of pagan Rome that time cuz Queen Helena is interested in finding the true cross, where Xts was crucified.

     
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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