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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 1)
But, of course, the tenacious reader who is determined to doubt will readily find other arguments to wield. “God would never allow this!” he or she will pontificate. “It is utterly unprecedented and has never before occurred. It’s outrageous!’
And yet it’s not.
Such a reader is neither a pope (ergo, he or she has no authority to pontificate about this and cannot define the matter infallibly) nor the One True God (ergo, he or she has no Divine Omniscience about this and cannot rule out the possibility of what God will permit). To top it off, such a reader is probably pretty unlearned & ill-informed.
To wit, they don’t know much about Church History or Sacred Scripture.
For instance, let us consider the
At any rate, what God has allowed the earthly papacy to endure is very surprising: occasional massive confusion, some very bloody battles, some very awful imposters, prolonged lapses here & there… the undeniable facts are indeed often shocking.
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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 2)
The members of the
These rebellions always involved wayward clergy to some extent or another.
And not long before the Messias [Messiah] came, it went to the very top.
That’s right. The Old Testament Papacy itself went into satanic freefall.
As I detail in the book, Helplessly Ignorant , describing the mysterious Oceanic Beast of the Apocalypse [Revelation] and what its bizarre seven ‘heads’ represent in a real world, the Israelites & their earthly kingdom… split first into two separate kingdoms as a just punishment for the syncretistic heresy of their formerly wise king, Solomon, and the religious atrocities of his citizens, too… eventually fell, the northern realm to the Assyrians, and the southern realm, two centuries later, to the Chaldeans.
Upon being restored by God’s instrument, a Persian ruler, Cyrus the Great, these same Israelites (and whatever ethnicities joined the True Religion of Old, joining themselves to God’s Chosen People as well) then did modestly fine for a time. But, then, unable to resist the lure of the world around them --- or fear of its dangers --- they slipped into apostasy again. This time the cause was the Greek Empire and its Hellenic ways.
Oh, the usual. You know --- legal brothels, naked athletics, the two sexes bathing & swimming together without any clothing in public pools, murder of unborn babes, brazen homosexuality, idolatrous or intellectually ‘skeptical’ philosophers and places of higher education willing to teach anything & everything as if all ideas, theories & speculations were tolerable or even, mayhap, ‘true’… that is, apart from God’s Singular Religion. ‘Tolerance’ disappeared there. I mean, religion that was not pagan? Humbug!
Hm. Kind of sounds like the Great Apostasy, doesn’t it?
Except it’s even worse --- way so --- today.
Ah, but back to the bad old days.
At this point in my posting of Helplessly Ignorant, I am beginning to outline the formation of the Greco-Roman Empire. It’s normally described as two separate empires, however, for reasons I’ll make clear in future uploads of the remainder of this book, it is best understood, from Heaven’s point of view, as a spiritually vital, albeit seemingly civilly fragmented realm (at times), that is ultimately a single entity. Not in intricate organization under a vast hierarchy which ruled for its whole existence.
No. Rather that, in existing for centuries on end, it perpetuated a new whilst… simultaneously… ancient heritage, civilization, culture, languages & way of life. This imperial entity changed & evolved much over time. We are not entertaining the fiction that the Greco-Roman Empire was ‘static’. Nor are we entertaining the equally silly fantasy that empires are always centralized and governed in totally obvious ways. Empires are, at heart, what enough people believe in, enough to make them real.
And hence powerful, essentially continuous & highly influential. The point?
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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 3)
After Alexander the Great ended his nonstop spree of conquering, he died. Too young to have taken thought about who was to succeed him as the next ‘emperor’ (or whatever you want to call the ‘supreme leader’ of a vast realm). His generals therefore scuffled over who would rule. Brutal wars followed for several decades. Eventually, four concurrent dynasties triumphed (although two more Greekish ‘kingdoms’ or ‘realms’ perpetuated distant in the East for awhile), providing adequate linkage & continuity to a mammoth region so as to be able to call it, in retrospect, a true imperial entity; and also, in hindsight, the very real & formational foundation of a later Roman-headed rule.
It is the Seleucid Dynasty of the Greek Empire that concerns us most here.
This dynasty & region of the empire dominated, to varying degrees at various times, the areas of central Anatolia (ancient Asia Minor, present day Turkey), Persia (basically what we call Iran), the Levant (Syria & Palestine, etc.), Mesopotamia (now the nation of Iraq, with Kuwait, Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan & Turkmenistan thrown in). Like all Greek imperial dynasties of the epoch, they were Hellenistic. Hellenic culture is the civilizing ‘glue’ that bound them together more as single entity than divided units, secondary only to the common blood of Greek colonists in numerous regions.
Indeed, this Hellenic culture & thought is a forerunner of Modernist behavior.
Nonetheless --- and despite materialistic (in the philosophic sense of ‘matter is all there is’) or ‘agnostic’ tendencies amongst many of their intellectuals, who, some of them, got a bit daringly dismissive of ancient Greek religion & deities --- they were pagans. Ergo, combined with a haughty assessment of themselves as the epitome of civilization and superior culture, they tended to look down on their more ‘barbaric’ vassals. This fantastical hubris came to a head with the self-deifying Antiochus Epiphanes.
Literally… his self-chosen name in Greek meant ‘god manifest’.
Technically the fourth in the Seleucid Dynasty to bear the name of ‘Antiochus’, his detractors ridiculed him with the play-on-word title of ‘Epimanes’ (‘Epimanes’ rhymes with ‘Epiphanes’ in Greek and means ‘the mad one’). I would wager, though, that the one who is paying attention can guess Antiochus Epiphanes’ attitude toward other non-Greek, non-Hellenic religions & cultures. Yes, that’s correct --- he was extremely derogatory.
Not unlike Modernists toward traditional religion, especially Catholicism.
Accordingly, Antiochus Epiphanes took it upon himself to ‘enlighten’ these unenlightened ‘Cretans’ that he conquered or already ruled over. He wanted his Greek gods acknowledged as the proper gods to be worshipped (at the very least, alongside their own but lesser pagan gods), and he wanted he himself recognized as the superb ‘god’ he thought himself to be and, consequently, treated & worshipped as such. Is that so bad?
Yes, if you’re Catholic.
That’s what the Old Testament Catholics ran into around the middle of the 2nd century BC. Already, prior to this, widespread Hellenic culture had infiltrated into the hearts & minds of many members of the One True Religion of the Old Covenant, before Christ arrived on earth. At a bare minimum, it tempted them into horrible sin of a ghastly mortal nature, and made them into bad Catholics. At worst, particularly as years & decades of Hellenic influence corroded their daily lives and communities like acid, it made them become heretical or apostate ‘catholics’. To wit, not Catholics at all, period.
This is what the Jews (and any persons of other ethnicity joined to them as fellow members of
They were only too happy and too eager to be well-off and avant-garde.
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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 4)
Yep, pretty much like Roman Catholics of the past three centuries. Such Catholics just couldn’t get enough Modernist wealth of Capitalism, Modernist technological gadgetry, Modernist academic Darwinism, Modernist philosophical Endarkenment [Enlightenment] or Communism, Modernist political ‘democracies’ or ‘republics’ (the more socialist, the better!), Modernist cultural immorality, fashionable Modernist immodesty, and etc.
The sober reader will pardon the ‘tomfoolery’.
Like the prophet, St. Elias, making fun of the capering ‘prophets’ of Baal as they implored their supreme pagan deity, more and more desperately, to make fire fall from heaven and consume their pagan sacrifice to him, I, too, cannot resist poking fun at our antics. Antics absurd: it is wicked; it is foolish; it is ridiculous; and it is mockable.
(Please see 3 Kings [1 Kings] 18:26-28 for proof of St. Elias sarcastically teasing the zealous pagans as they uselessly implored Baal. See all of 3 Kings 18 for full context.)
Sadly, I am not as wise or holy as Elias. Thus, my jest may not be as pardonable.
Whatever the case, the Jews of Palestine then suffered a very fatal blow.
Our dear Antiochus Epiphanes decided to murder good Catholics.
I.e., if they wouldn’t fall in line and worship Greek gods and regard him as ‘god manifest’, honoring him appropriately, too. What was a Jewish Catholic of the Old Testament to do? For those already no longer Catholic, the answer was obvious:
Worship those Greek gods! And flatter Antiochus profusely, as ‘divine’.
For bad & cowardly Catholics, the answer was rather painful:
Oh, okay, must ‘worship’ those Greek ‘gods’, or else wind up tortured hideously and eventually dead. Oh, and… right… flatter this Greek leader as really, really, really something. ‘Divine’ even. My, my, my. Why does this happen to me?
For good & brave Catholics, the answer was confusing:
Get tortured & die? Flee to the hills & survive? Or fight the evil militarily?
All options were tried in various combinations, at certain times. And prudent Catholics cannot deign to judge in these situations, normally. Until you face it, you can’t really know for sure what God calls Catholics to do, and each option can be legitimate.
Students of Sacred Scripture & Church History know what happened. Very few Catholics a century-and-a-half before Christ remained steadfast & true. Some of these few died for the True Faith. Others fled to save their lives, while remaining true to God’s Catholicity. But a certain group of priests, a tight knit family, roused them to fight militarily.
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t short, and lots of treachery was involved.
Yet when all was said and done, God’s Will was clear. He had raised up these men, courageous priests upholding the True Religion of Old Whole & Entire, to wage a just war against the enemy of the Church --- who was trying to annihilate them --- and God, in spite of Him permitting great testing & suffering, gave these good priests, and their loyal followers of Old Covenant Catholicism, the ultimate victory. It’s in the Bible. Unfamiliar with the story? Then read the two books of the Machabees [Maccabees]. They’re the last Old Testament books; Catholicism infallibly rules them as canonic. Meaning, if truly Catholic and properly informed, we cannot doubt their history.
Which brings us, my beloved soul, to EXHIBIT NO. 5.
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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 5)
For an ancient Jewish historian tells us about this terrible time:
“Now when Jacimus [Alcimus] had retained the [high] priesthood three years, he died, and there was no one that succeeded him [no one took his place], but the city continued SEVEN YEARS WITHOUT A HIGH PRIEST [the City of Jerusalem, where God had sovereignly placed the Singular Temple of the Old Testament, HAD NO HIGH PRIEST, I.E., POPE].” (Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 10, emphases & annotations added)
“…the city continued SEVEN YEARS WITHOUT A HIGH PRIEST.”
Josephus was a learned & wealthy man of a priestly family (descended from the Machabees, as a matter of fact), who at first fought the Romans as they besieged the rebellious Jews during the latter first century AD, then, having been made captive and having some sort of ‘revelation’ (which he believed to be divine) that the Roman general attacking them would become emperor and that God was favoring the Romans and using them to punish the Jews for their sins, later lived a mostly comfortable life (mostly as a freed man, since Vespasian, the Roman general, rewarded him with liberty when his prophecy came true that Vespasian would be emperor) as a gentleman scholar.
He then spent much of his life writing a highly detailed account of the history of the Jews, and their recent war with the Romans, which --- despite his fellow Jews calling him a traitor and hating him rabidly --- has become an invaluable source of information about this long ago time and the first 100 years of Christianity (read: Roman Catholicism). Indeed, there are a few back then who claim Josephus became Roman Catholic.
Whatever the case, we here have hard evidence of the Old Testament Papacy suffering a seven year lapse. Accordingly, that there was no high priest sitting upon the Throne of St. Moses (or St. Aaron, depending on how it’s put) for that long period of time, leaving the Old Covenant Church bereft of Supreme Leadership during this gap between popes.
Ah, but it gets worse than this. Because terminology can be inexact. How so?
What appears to be the case due to outward trappings can, when examined carefully and understood perfectly, turn out to be not the case. In what way is ‘terminology’ getting the best of us here? How is it, when examined meticulously, that the situation is even worse than a shockingly long gap of seven years between Old Covenant popes?
Which brings us to EXHIBITS NO. 6, 7 & 8.
For we turn to Sacred Scripture to discover two disconcerting facts:
“Now one Alcimus [the man Josephus calls ‘Jacimus’ in the quote above], who had been chief priest [that is, the high priest, the ‘pope’ of the Old Testament Church], but had willfully defiled himself in [the] time of MINGLING OF THE HEATHENS [this Alcimus, Old Testament ‘catholic & pope’ though he was, had plainly & purposefully compromised with the Hellenic Greeks & Hellenized Jews, happily joining religiously & morally with their anti-Catholic abominations]…” (2 Machabees [Maccabees] 14:3a-b DRC)
And an authoritative theological commentary upon this passage informs us:
“This Alcimus was of the stock of Aaron [a descendant of Aaron indeed, St. Moses’ older brother], but for his apostasy here mentioned was incapable of the high priesthood [invalid and thus ineligible to be the pope or ‘high priest’, due to his most notorious non-Catholicity], but Antiochus Eupator [the next Seleucid ruler after Antiochus Epiphanes] appointed him in place of the high priest, (see above, 1 Mac. Chap. 7., ver. 9,) [just] as Menelaus had been before him [he preceded Alcimus as ‘pope’], set up by Antiochus (above chap. 4.), yet neither of them were truly high priests…” (Catholic ‘Douay Rheims Challoner’ version of Sacred Scripture, published by John Murphy Co. in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1899, with the ‘imprimatur’ of Cd. James Gibbons, head of the premier diocese of the U.S.A. [Baltimore], which edition was re-published in 1989 by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc., in Rockford, Illinois. Commentary upon Verse 3 of Chapter 14 of 2 Machabees [Maccabees], from Page 1082 in the footnotes of the TAN edition. Annotations & emphasis added, except for the two parenthetical abbreviated references, which are in the text as originally published and later re-printed.)
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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 6)
Incidentally, the ‘Challoner’ in the ‘Douay Rheims Challoner’ version of the Bible, whence the commentary was quoted, refers to the Right Reverend Richard Challoner, Bishop of Debra (a catch-all title for a vast diocesan region when it was still officially illegal to be Catholic in merry-olde-England) and Vicar Apostolic of the London District during the 18th century. This man, a convert from Protestant heresy and, by all accounts, a saintly & mortified person, literally, in places, re-translated the Douay Rheims Catholic Bible into more readable English, and paraphrased much of the rest for the far better comprehension of an ordinary Catholic reader. He was Professor of Theology at the University of Douai (‘Douay’, a refuge city for persecuted British Catholics in northern France) before being elevated to the episcopacy of the Roman Catholic Church, and the footnote commentaries in this Douay Rheims Challoner bible are either all --- or, at the very least, to some great degree --- his. It is upon his great learning and episcopal authority, as well as papal vicarage, that the above-quoted footnote rests.
Neither Alcimus, who supposedly ‘ruled’ the Old Testament Church right before the seven year gap between Old Covenant popes mentioned by the ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, nor Alcimus’ predecessor, Menelaus, who purportedly ‘ruled’ immediately prior to Alcimus, were actually Catholic and hence never actually held the Papacy.
NEITHER OF THEM --- Alcimus & Menelaus --- were CATHOLIC POPES!
End of exclamatory sentence.
Oh, but the papal gap gets even worse than that.
For we discover the other blatantly disconcerting scriptural fact here:
“But after the death of Seleucus
[Seleucus IV Philopator, who was ruler of the Seleucid Dynasty right
before the aforementioned self-deifying Antiochus IV Epiphanes],
when Antiochus, who was called the Illustrious, had taken possession of the
kingdom [the Seleucid Dynasty of the
Greek Empire], Jason the
brother of Onias [who
was rightfully and therefore both valid & legally the ‘high
priest’ or pope of the Old Testament Church at that point in time] ambitiously sought the high priesthood:
and [he] went to the king [Antiochus Epiphanes], promising him three hundred and sixty
talents of silver [read: boatload of
money, enough to make your head spin], and out of other revenues fourscore [eighty] talents. Besides this he
promised also a hundred and fifty more, if he might have license [official permission] to set him up a place
for exercise [a ‘gymnasium’,
where, back then, all ‘right-thinking’ Greeks or Hellenized people played
sports in the nude] and a place for youth, and to entitle them, that were
at Jerusalem, Antiochians [read: special devotees of the ‘god king’ Antiochus
and practically, if not fully, Seleucid Greek citizens]. Which, when the
king [Antiochus Epiphanes]
had granted, and he [Jason, the
brother of Pope Onias] had gotten the rule into
his hands, forthwith [immediately] he began to bring over his countrymen to
the fashion of the heathens [he
began proselytizing Palestian Jews to become avid fans & practitioners of
Hellenic art, culture, philosophy, clothing, paganism, immorality, and
etc., etc.]. And abolishing those things, which had been decreed of
special favour by the kings [former rulers] in behalf of the Jews [to wit, outlawing everything that had favored good Catholicity
prior to this]… he disannulled [ditto previous note] the lawful ordinances of the citizens [Jews of
Getting it, my dear reader?
Not only was the papal throne of the Old Testament ‘empty’ because it was a time of being ‘between’ popes, but antipopes --- fake & phony ‘popes’! --- pretended to hold the Throne of St. Moses in the meantime. Now, of course, Jason’s brother, Onias, who was a real pope, did not ‘lose’ the papacy just because Jason (whose name in Greek, luciferian as he was, is the Hebrew ‘Josue’ or ‘Joshua’, and thus deceitfully means ‘savior’, what we today in our part of the world call ‘Jesus’) bribed Antiochus Epiphanes to let him pretend to be the man who was a ‘pope’ or ‘high priest’. Ergo, we have here a state of affairs where an antipope is pretending to be the ‘pope’ --- and mostly getting away with it! --- whilst his own brother (both in sense of blood and religion) is the real pope whilst not being recognized as such by most of the people who are (supposedly) ‘catholic’ and, as a result, the very ones you’d think would rightly protest!
You savvy, dear soul? Starting to get the full picture of what God will allow? Antipope Jason sounds an awful lot like the antipopes since the end of Vatican II in 1965, particularly the one we’re enduring right now, Antipope Francis.
The Great Apostasy had a ‘dry run’ rehearsal near the end of the Old Testament.
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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 7)
Pope Onias, by the way, was murdered five years later after his brother became Antipope Jason, in 170 BC (that is to say, Jason became antipope in 175 BC, and Onias died, murdered, in 170). You do remember me saying that this tale was treacherous?
But let us connect the dots more thoroughly now for the less nimble reader.
A series of antipopes (or ‘anti-high-priests’, if you will) begin ‘ruling’ (surely in terms of worldly & anti-Catholic power, though not truly in terms of spiritual & religious Church authority!) in 175 BC. The last pope of that era is murdered and dies in 170 BC, leaving the papal throne empty and hence between rightful occupants. The next two men claiming to occupy the papal throne (Menelaus & Alcimus, following the greedy Antipope Jason) ‘rule’ from 172 BC until 159 BC, Jason having died in 172.
Then comes a seven year gap, whether of popes or antipopes.
(True, some try to say that a Machabeean priest became ‘high priest’ automatically at Onias’ death, or during the seven year gap… yet remember that, while Old Covenant popes were all descendants of St. Aaron, Moses’ older brother, an Aaronic man never became the pope ‘automatically’ without the proper ceremony & anointing. Namely, the proper ritual carried out, with official anointing of the ‘elector pope’ done in proper fashion, and proper robes & vestments granted, to make it real & authentic.)
Now, the seven year gap ended in 153 BC.
You do the math.
What is 170 minus 153?
Right, 17. That’s correct. God permitted the ‘inter regnum’ to go on for 17 years.
See how silly & uninformed it is to lay claim to an unspecified & baseless time limit?
Without divinely prophetic pronouncement or ecclesially infallible declaration, there is no magic ‘limit’, beyond which we can pretend to ‘know’ God wouldn’t let the ‘inter regnum’ --- the gap of time between valid & lawful popes --- continue. It is wholly arrogant at worst, and mildly foolish at best, to think or claim otherwise.
Oh, and out of curiosity, whatever happened to our sweet little ‘god manifest’, our dear Antiochus Epiphanes, who persecuted Old Covenant Catholics so brutally & mercilessly? Did he get away with his self-deifying pride completely, even here on earth? The short answer --- no, he paid a heavy price, and admitted how wrong he was at death. An agonizing plague struck him in the midst of his raging vengeance and reversals of fortune, even as he began trying to carry out yet more evil & anti-Catholic plans.
“And the man that thought a little before he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry, for [because of] the intolerable stench. And by this means, being brought from his great pride, he began to come to the knowledge of himself [started to realize just how wicked & weak he really was], being admonished by the scourge of God, his pains increasing every moment. And when he himself could not abide his own stench, he spoke thus: ‘It is just to be subject to God [the reader must realize that Antiochus here finally means the One True Creator God and not any of the innumerable and lesser ‘gods’ of the pagans], AND THAT A MORTAL MAN SHOULD NOT EQUAL HIMSELF TO GOD.’ Then this wicked man prayed to the Lord [the wise reader must realize here that the divinely-inspired writer intends us to understand how Antiochus finally acknowledged the Catholic God to be the True God, against Whom he had grievously sinned by attacking His Singular Church of Old], of whom [from Whom] he was not like [likely] to obtain mercy.” (2 Machabees [Maccabees] 9:10-13 DRC)
Notwithstanding, perchance the longsuffering
reader is unwilling to take seriously the testimony of the Old Testament,
despite it being found within an ecclesially & infallibly upheld Sacred
Scripture and confirmed by an academically & reliably upheld ancient
historical account or more recent expert commentary. (Granted, contemporary
scholars axiomatically doubt Josephus’ words that
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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 8)
During the last three to five centuries, apparently, fewer and fewer Catholic scholars (whether priests or merely some sort of lay theologian, or etc.) have been willing to take seriously the account we’re about to examine. However, it bears noting that this skeptical attitude was not dominant --- perhaps not even around at all --- during the beginning of the 2nd millennium. Viz., a learned expert way back then believed it without qualm.
So-called ‘expert’ testimony or ‘expert’ opinion is all very fine. Nevertheless, it’s only as useful as it is accurate & unbiased. Being an ‘expert’ doesn’t automatically make a man or woman unprejudiced (in other words, most of us are only too, too eager to believe in whatever we want to believe, regardless of the actual truth), and being an ‘expert’ can never guarantee, with an absolute moral certainty, that this person is as learned as they should or could be about something. In other words, they’re NOT Omniscient (All-Knowing) God, and they’re NOT Infallible (Never-Wrong) Popes. Ergo, when an extraordinarily excellent reason exists to do so, it is NOT ipso facto ‘impious’ or ‘heretical’ or even ‘disrespectful’ to politely yet firmly disagree with an ‘expert’.
This is especially true when experts themselves disagree with one another.
For example, in the development & reform of the Roman Breviary (which relates to numerous other sources that used breviaries in the Catholic Church, among which is the towering influence of the Franciscan Order upon the Roman Breviary), starting in the late 1500s, the martyrology readings in the Roman Breviary underwent continual ‘reforms’. What was heretofore accepted without qualm might become ‘questioned’ & ‘doubted’. By the late-1800s, when the famous Benedictine Abbot, Dom Prosper Guéranger, had completed his mammoth work The Liturgical Year, he quotes from the Roman Breviary regarding the very saint, martyr & pope about whom we are about to treat, and, without a blink of the eye, accepts the account therein given concerning this saint, martyr & pope as ‘indisputable’… when, in fact, at least one assertion in this martyrology reading is quite disputable, based on the enormous reputation & holiness of an expert bishop composing about details in the life of this saint, martyr & pope, which candidly contradicts a much later printed Roman Breviary in the matter of this assertion!
This, at least, is the impression given by a recent reproduction of his gigantic work. In reality, Dom Guéranger passed away in 1875 having finished but 9 volumes of his 15-volume masterpiece, another Benedectine monk anonymously completing it for him by 1879, it would seem. It’s possible the single point change to the martyrology of this saint, martyr & pope in the Roman Breviary occurred just after Guéranger’s death, or at some slightly later point, around the turn of the 20th century, or ‘updated’ for a reprint even later than that. In any case, the impression given is of expert clashing with expert.
Most people aren’t going to know about this. Most people won’t care.
But when it’s a matter of truth, how can Catholics not care?
This is bluntly obvious when it comes to a martyr.
And if the Church has NOT ruled with explicit infallibility in the matter, then real & virtuous Roman Catholics are NOT being ‘heretical’ or ‘bad’ when, with excellent logic & testimony, they courteously doubt or disagree with an ‘expert’ in such a matter. Far from it --- for they are demonstrating a laudable & holy concern for the TRUTH.
Got it? Good. Then let us proceed with EXHIBIT NO.9 in this historical parade.
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From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 9)
For an extremely well-known & popular Catholic book about the saints says:
“Marcellinus ruled the Church of Rome for nine years and four months. By order
of Emperors Diocletian and Maximian [the Roman Empire was, at this point in
time, under a peculiar ‘mulitiple empereror’ or, rather, ‘co-empereror’
form of government] he was taken prisoner and brought forward to offer
sacrifice [to one of their many pagan
gods]. At first he refused and was threatened with various kinds of
torture, and for fear of the
threatened suffering he put down two grains of incense in sacrifice to the gods.
This gave great joy to the infidels [non-Catholics,
basically Greco-Roman pagans] but caused the faithful [Roman Catholics] immense sadness. However, under a weak head strong members rise up and
make little of the threats of princes [leaders
of this world]; so the faithful [good
Christians, i.e., Catholics] came to the pope and REPROACHED HIM
SEVERELY… The pope, repentant, lamented his fault and deposed
himself, but the whole gathering immediately reelected him [meaning, when you know Canon Law and rules
for papal election, that most, if not all, of these Catholics, who
chided him for his apostasy, were most certainly cardinals of the Roman
Diocese, and thus empowered to do so]. When the emperors heard of
this, they had him arrested again. He
[that is to say, Pope St. Marcellinus]
ABSOLUTELY REFUSED TO OFFER SACRIFICE, so they sentenced him to beheading.
Then the persecution was renewed with such fury that in one month seventeen
thousand Christians [read: Roman
Catholics] were put to death.” (Jacobus
de Voragine’s The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, Volume 1, Page 248,
entry for St. Marcellinus, Pope. Originally composed circa AD 1260 and
re-published countless times through the centuries. Present text based upon the
Latin edition by the scholar, Dr. Th. Graesse, in
1845. Translated by William Granger Ryan and then published by Princeton
University Press in 1993 in
By the way, not that it matters much to a real Catholic (since these persons are Novus Ordoists (NO) and hence not actually Catholic), but the NO censor and NO bishop of Brooklyn, New York, gave their ‘nihil obstat’ and ‘imprimatur’, respectively, to this publishing on 25 August 1992, their names being Otto L. Garcia, S.T.D., and Thomas V. Daily, D.D., in that order. Just in case the reader is still an NO of a very conservative or traditional nature, highly skeptical of this old account and therefore inclined to reject it as ‘dangerous’ or ‘not to be safely looked at’, and needs proof that some impressively high-ranking NO authorities found nothing ‘wrong’ or ‘perilous’ about this ancient book.
And for those who may be real Catholics --- but incessantly dubious regarding the reliability of this venerable old writing --- let it be known with surety that the author, Jacobus de Voragine, was a Dominican monk who entered the Order of Preachers in 1244, and, during the course of some four decades, was given high positions as teacher & administrator over his fellow Dominican monks. In 1292 the Church elevated him to the bishopric of the Diocese of Genoa in northern Italy, along the sea (the very same city where the great sailor, navigator & explorer, Christopher Columbus, hails from), His reputation as bishop of Genoa distinguishing him as a remarkable peacemaker (feisty Italians, in spite of their Catholicity, were notorious for their bloodthirsty feuds & internecine conflicts) and wonderful helper & guardian of the poor. It bears noting the brilliance of Dominican training (not as illustrious as the Jesuits, yet still far more than pedestrian), and how Jacobus de Voragine was a member of this religious order in the very flush of its prime, hardly any time at all after the death of its glorious founder, Dominic the Dogged Cherub of Almighty God. To top it off, Pope Pius VII beatified Jacobus (his Italian name is Jacopo, James in English, Jacobus being the Latin) in 1816, meaning that he is most officially Blessed Jacobus de Voragine, and that Heaven has, with moral certainty, certified his holiness with two carefully ascertained miracles.
What’s more, his book was, arguably, second
only to the Bible in popularity for Europeans, especially after the invention
of printing in the 1400s. Indeed, despite later and growing scholarly
skepticism during the increasingly ‘modernized’ centuries of the
1700s, 1800s & 1900s --- when the word ‘legend’ became
synonymous with ‘mythical’ or ‘not really true’ or even
‘totally made up and utterly unbelievable’ --- ‘legend’
only comes from the Latin verb ‘legere’,
which means ‘to read’, and hence his book’s proper title
should be, translated adequately into today’s language, The Golden Readings instead of The Golden Legend. Truly, this is why
the recent printing in English has seen fit to subtitle it with ‘
How’s that in comparison to our much more arrogant modern scholars?
Who routinely pretend to ‘know’ without solid facts.
The upshot, my precious soul?
+++ 22. The THIRD Devastating Argument: +++
From the Old Through to the New Testaments… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 10)
Here again is firm evidence of uncertainty regarding the papacy. Once again Our Lord has allowed Catholics --- for a long while, at least --- to fuss over the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of certain Roman Bishops. For, in spite of the arrogance of modern scholarship, they are forced to acknowledge there are small yet mysterious contradictions in the lists of popes from ancient times. Several very ancient papal lists fail to mention Marcellinus altogether. Why? Later on, he is listed as a pope. Again, why? The answer for a shrewd scholar… who is truly Catholic and takes the testimony of an expert Dominican bishop, who is a blessed, at face value… is simple. Pope Marcellinus’ initial apostasy, fearfully shrinking at the threats made at him by these brutal pagans, scandalized many Catholics, causing them to doubt his papal legitimacy, or thinking him ‘unworthy’ of listing among his more brave & martyred papal counterparts. Later Roman Catholics, comprehending the plain yet full account of what happened --- such as is the case with Blessed Jacobus, who recorded the vivid facts unflinchingly --- cleared this up by explaining that while, yes, Marcellinus did prove a coward & traitor at first, apostatizing, he afterward exonerated himself, dying a martyr, his apostasy erased by this sacrifice.
And why is this ‘hard to believe’ when our first pope, Peter, did the same?
(By the way, our dear reader should not find Blessed Jacobus de Voragine’s account utterly perplexing. Simple reflection reveals how sensible it is. Hearing the shockingly scandalous news of their pope’s apostasy, the cardinals (and other priests, deacons or laity of note in the Roman Diocese) then charitably yet firmly confronted him, giving him a chance to either, one, explain himself and so vindicate his heavily stained reputation, or else, two, confess his terrible sin and demonstrate a penitential spirit. The latter what he did, he then deposed himself in order to take away any doubt that he had, truly, lost the papal office via this horrific public crime and consequent automatic excommunication. The assembled cardinals, seeing him so broken-hearted & penitent --- like another St. Peter --- then immediately re-elected him, despite the irregularity of the situation. Courageously facing decapitation, his crime of apostasy was totally remitted and Marcellinus later honored rightly as both a true pope and a wonderful martyr.)
At any rate, the facts are facts. Even if you don’t want to admit St. Marcellinus did precisely what Blessed Jacobus records for us in his The Golden Readings, there is indeed a small discrepancy in ancient lists of the papacy, and certain other oddities in relation to Pope Marcellinus from ancient references. Or, to put it differently, God has really allowed a degree of confusion to afflict many Catholics --- including the learned --- when it comes to Marcellinus, at least for several centuries. Ergo, it is not always fully straightforward when it comes to everyone --- including those who are Catholic! --- knowing for sure, and agreeing, about who was, or is, a true Roman Bishop.
We say once more:
It is INARGUABLE that God
has occasionally permitted CONFUSION
amongst Catholics regarding who is, or is not, the
Furthermore… and whether or not someone wants to believe God did again allow someone occupying the Throne of St. Peter to betray the Church and apostatize (and just as He indisputably did with Peter, permitting him to exercise his free human will to bow to fear or covetousness or unbelief and so deny Jesus & His Infallible Testimony) no honest & learned person can escape the following fact, something every scholar knowledgeable about the Roman Catholic Church’s history readily admits:
That God then allowed the Papal Throne to sit empty for four years.
After Pope St. Marcellinus died, it took around FOUR YEARS to elect another pope. Therefore, we have incontrovertible proof, during New Testament times, that God permitted there to be a FOUR YEAR GAP between Marcellinus and the very next man to assume Peter’s Throne, Marcellus (Marcellus, NOT Marcellinus!).
(Oh, and logical scholarship has clearly ruled out that supposed ‘confusion’ over Marcellinus’ papacy was merely a scribal ‘slip’ of spelling over the similar-sounding name of Marcellus or a ‘mix up’ of some kind concerning the two. A ‘slip’ or ‘mix up’ that makes no sense, considering how significantly later scribes and lists of popes demonstrated no similar problem distinguishing between the two different men.)
This ‘inter regnum’ lasted from 304 to 308 under Emperor Diocletian’s assault. An ultimate & tenth wave of pagan persecution that was so cruel & brutal, so violent, so bloodthirsty, so relentless and so widespread that the cardinals of the Roman Diocese literally could not find a span of peace to deliberate carefully upon a papal successor. It takes patience and prudent thought, normally, to elect the next visible head of Christ upon earth. But do you dare to suppose that this surprisingly long gap of time between popes was, while rare, practically unheard of? Namely, a single astonishing ‘inter regnum’ which God never allowed Catholicism to experience again?
Then let us look more closely at Church History.
+++ 23. The THIRD Devastating Argument: +++
From the Old Through to the New Testament… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 11)
The turn of the second millennium was a difficult time for Catholics.
Flip flopping schisms plagued the eastern part of the Catholic Church (that is to say, enormous areas east of Rome went in and out of submission to the Papacy till, in the last five hundred years, the schism has been basically ‘permanent’ for most people in those areas); simony, concubinage & other iniquities riddled the clergy as popes got bogged down in the politics of European realms (and some of them, very frankly, were neither decent Catholics nor good popes…); and the laity --- along with many leaders --- embraced a multitude of different wild heresies arising here and there.
Indeed, were it not for a few good & strong popes, as well as saints that were providentially provided to appease God’s Wrath, stir up the piety of religiously ‘cold’ Catholics and arouse serious penance in them for their sins (not to mention founding new religious orders that injected fresh spiritual ‘life’ into these moribund people, such as the Franciscans & Dominicans), then odious evil would have won the day right then & there. A kind of ‘Protestant Rebellion’ would have occurred 3 to 4 centuries prior to its tragic victory in the AD 1500s, toppling several Catholic nations into revolt. God was, as it were, giving bad Catholics lots of chances to be good before punishing them.
Part of this difficulty was electing popes in a timely fashion.
Not that there hadn’t been challenges in the latter half of the first millennium. But it really started to get bad during the earlier part of the second millennium. As the Church grew and disseminated its Hierarchy with centuries & centuries of customs, attitudes or conflicts accumulating, the purely practical logistics of gathering cardinals together became overwhelmed with the even greater challenge of getting them to agree. Accordingly, factions developed and achieving a majority got harder yet.
(Cardinals, incidentally, are who the
Church entrusts to elect new popes, they
being the ‘hinges’, so to speak, upon whom the Church depends when
a new visible head must be chosen, and who, in order to do so rightly
--- that is to say, with proper authority to do so ---- must be
‘incardinated’ into the Diocese of Rome no matter where they might come from originally. It would appear
that the term ‘cardinal’ was either not used in ancient times or,
if used, not used in the almost exclusive meaning it has now… to wit, any
person to whom it is given the responsibility to elect the next Bishop of Rome.
Whatever the precise historical origin of the term, it is immaterial to
the subject here at hand. Popes MUST
be elected and someone MUST have
legal responsibility in the Church to do so. Whether or not
they were called ‘cardinals’ in ancient times, the legal responsibility, spelled out in Canon Law, is the same. The term used is NOT the point; the fact that someone has the legal responsibility
to do so IS. And in order to
have that duty, as centuries went by and Catholics outside the
Diocese of Rome gradually came to appropriate this duty, ‘incardination’ is how they legally received
this task. Viz., cardinals get ‘titular’
The story of Pope St. Celestine V is a fascinating example of this fighting & delay.
He was a humbly born man, not of nobility. (Many, if not most, popes of this lengthy epoch were from noble families… i.e., families descended from ancient leaders & rulers, keeping their status --- if not always their power & wealth --- through the centuries via long tradition.) He entered the Benedictine religious order and became a priest, whilst living primarily a solitary & contemplative life, albeit interrupted, frustratingly, by numerous monks eager to imitate his strict monastic rule. This is how he became well-known in the area of mid-Italy. What happened next, at the age of nearly eighty years old, is an extraordinary marvel, never before seen in the history of God’s Roman Catholic Church and, as of yet, never since duplicated in St. Peter’s numerous successors.
There were only twelve cardinals at this point in time. That is to say, under canon law of this period, it was up to twelve persons --- and twelve solely --- to elect the next bishop of the Roman Diocese. It had also been required, since AD 1179, that a ⅔ majority elect the next pope. This meant at least 8 of these 12 cardinals had to agree on who should be chosen. Meanwhile, Italy was riven in two between the Guelphs & Ghibellines, two opposing parties (whose names are a convoluted yet intriguing study in etymology…) who tended to support either a Supreme Papacy or the Holy Roman Empire, respectively, and quibbled violently, sometimes, over which should have the upper hand in politics & commerce, etc. This is what I meant by saying the popes of the period got increasingly bogged down in the machinations of European powers. It’s not necessarily that either party was black-or-white. Ghibellines didn’t necessarily heretically disbelieve in the Papacy or necessarily schismatically refuse to concede the superlative authority of the popes. Neither did Guelphs necessarily think a Roman bishop ought to ‘micromanage’ Europeans realms in civil or commercial matters (apart from the Papal Estates in the middle of Italy, of course) or that a Holy Roman emperor had no privileges that the Roman bishops should respect. It was more complex than that. And wars often volcanically erupted over this, with blood shed and cardinals at odds.
It went on for two years and three months this time.
Finally, out of desperation, everyone agreed to choose someone utterly neutral in European politics, someone everybody could agree was a holy man. To the astonishment of this poor monk, one day in July of 1294 a cavalcade of people ascended the mountain upon which he lived, interrupting monastic devotions. They told him the cardinals had unanimously selected him to be the next pope and begged him to accept this immense honor. The poor man, stunned beyond belief, could only view it as the Will of God, acquiesce, and, as the news spread, found himself surrounded by some 200,000 spectacularly thrilled Catholics, flabbergasted at this holy man’s elevation.
It ended in fabulous failure five months later.
He was much too inexperienced and too innocent to deal with the intricate
divisions, elaborate conflicts and complex laws of the Church, earning enmity
with his every mistake. He then did something unprecedented: he abdicated from St. Peter’s
Throne (renounced the papacy and stopped
being the pope), a thing so unexpected it took a leading canon law expert
of the day (who was one of those twelve
cardinals, too!) to resolve the difficulty in everyone’s mind. Could
a pope really do this? Did the
+++ 24. The THIRD Devastating Argument: +++
From the Old Through to the New Testament… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 12)
Getting the picture, my dear soul? Do you see what God will sometimes allow?
It’s not as simplistic as people assume. They have no depth in this matter, they’ve no conception of what is possible and what Our Creator might permit… indeed, what He may purposefully ordain to occur, in punishment for our sins or to test His loyal children. Greedy & feuding Catholics deserved to suffer difficult papal elections with long papal ‘inter regnums’, and poor Pope Celestine V… a simple hermitic monk… was tested unbelievably, his innocence, holiness & humility vindicated solemnly in the act of canonization. His name graces a major sub-branch of the Benedictines --- called ‘Celestines’ --- and he is SAINT Celestine, his universal feast day on May 19th.
But note the lengthy ‘inter regnum’ between Nicholas IV & Celestine V:
2 years and 3 months. We reiterate with emphasis:
2 YEARS and 3 MONTHS.
This is the length of time God allowed there to be between popes at this point in our history, in 1294. Nor was it unusual. You already know about the 4 year gap between Popes Marcellinus & Marcellus. Now you know about the 2¼ year gap between Popes Nicholas IV & Celestine V, which is 9/16th (more than half!) of the four years that happened nearly 1000 years prior with Marcellinus & Marcellus. Unusual?
Not at all. This was a time of conflicts & delays, remember?
On 20 April 1314, Pope Clement V passed from this life. It took over 2 years and 3 months for his successor to be elected on 2 August 1316, Pope John XXII, which is even a tad longer, by almost two weeks, than the span of time between Pope Nicholas IV & Pope Celestine V, from 4 April 1292 to 5 July 1294, that we mention above.
Or how about when Pope Gregory XII resigned from the papal office on 4 July 1415? More than 2 years and 5 months went by before his successor was elected on 11 November 1417. (An enthralling tale lies behind this that we’ll get to very soon.) Consider --- this beats the pair of 2¼ year ‘inter regnums’ by two months!
Or how about when Pope Clement IV left this life on 29 November 1268? The cardinals then wrangled or delayed for beyond 2 years and 9 months till finally raising Pope Gregory X to St. Peter’s Throne on 1 September 1271. That is the second longest interregnum, after Marcellinus & Marcellus, until today’s Great Apostasy.
Are we finished yet, though? Not by a long shot. We continue:
Pope Leo VIII died on 1 March 965. (And his reign --- or at least the length of his legitimate rule as a true pope --- is disputable!) His successor, Pope John XIII, was elected on 1 October 965, making for an interregnum of precisely 7 months.
Pope Benedict VI was imprisoned by his enemies by the end of June 974, and, in August 974, these same foes strangled him to death. That’s right, they murdered the pope. His successor, Pope Benedict VII, was elected in October 974, giving us a comparatively short interregnum of about 2 months.
Pope Benedict IX is arguably the worst pope in
history. Elevated to the papal throne at the ridiculously young age of 20 (or maybe not, since he was
‘pope’ three separate times over the course of 15 years, leaving
truly Catholic experts uncertain as to if each of those instances were legitimate
reigns…), he resigned the papacy (abdication)
in order to enter wedlock. Changing his mind, he used military violence in
order to regain the papacy (or so it
would seem…) twice, driven out twice because of his wanton
immorality. This is where it’s confusing. If valid, he is the only
pope in history to be pope three separate times. Yet even if the first time was valid, were
the 2nd and 3rd times valid, with rules flaunted & violence used? Nobody really
knows; ergo, papal confusion again. I mention him because of his shocking
reputation and the perplexity left in his wake. About the only good thing we
can say about him is that, per a good monk, after his third & last debacle
he begged a saint for advice, being counseled to do severe penance at a
monastery the remainder of his life, which he did. Who knows? The good Catholic
may wind up spending eternity with the foolish but reformed Benedict IX in
Heaven. In any case, after ruling, intermittently (and supposedly), from 21 October 1032 to 16 July 1048, a rather
better man, Pope Damasus II, assumed St.
Peter’s Throne by 17 July 1048… and then promptly died from the
heat of a vicious Roman summer and malaria a mere 23 days later, on 9 August
1048. It then took more than 6 months
to elect Pope St. Leo IX, whose virtue & tenacity began a slow yet steady
century of purifying the Catholic Church, starting possession of the Throne in
Pope St. Leo IX departed earthly life on 19 April
1054. It took just shy of 1 year
for the next man, Pope Victor II, to assume Peter’s Throne, on 13 April
1055. Or Pope Stephen IX, who died on 29 March 1058, Pope Nicholas II finally
ascending the Throne on 6 December 1058, after
having to seek imperial aid and fend off rebellious cardinals,
causing an interregnum of almost 9
months. Pope St. Gregory passed from this world on 25 May 1085, having been driven into exile by his
enemies due to their fanatical hatred of his reforms of a corrupt
Hierarchy and opposition to insolent Catholic leaders. His right
hand man first fled
And have you been adding up the ‘inter regnums’? Just the ones mentioned:
Yes, indeed… well on nigh 18 YEARS IN TOTAL overall.
+++ 25. The THIRD Devastating Argument: +++
From the Old Through to the New Testament… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 13)
Don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, my sweet & thoughtful reader, but that eighteen years total of New Testament interegnums overall --- yet only for a few we’ve had time to mention! --- EXCEEDS the seventeen years total interregnum, uninterrupted, near the end of the Old Testament spoken of back in Chapters 13 to 19 of this book, Inter Regnum. And that’s just for the ones we’ve found some time to talk about, in detail. Do you know how many popes there have been since St. Peter’s reign? More than 250.
Let’s be conservative. Let’s say it averages 25 days between one pope ending his reign and the next pope getting elected & accepting. No one really knows, at this point in time, how long it took for the various popes in most ancient times, when it was ‘illegal’ to be Christian, except for a rare exception like the 4 year gap between Marcellinus & Marcellus. For many, many centuries it’s taken 10 days at a bare minimum.
Because even as transportation has gotten faster, the cardinals have become varied --- more and more as these centuries have gone by --- from places further and further dispersed from the Diocese of Rome, and, were that not enough, Canon Law has eventually stipulated a minimum time for cardinals to gather & prepare, prior to first votes. Forsooth, the 10 days has extended to between 15 & 20 days in recent centuries.
This is simply the minimum. It could easily run into lengthier ‘inter regnums’ with surprising regularity. For example, Pope Clement XI died 19 March 1721, followed by the election of Pope Innocent XIII on 8 May 1721, a gap of 50 days. Innocent XII died 7 March 1724, followed by Pope Benedict XIII elected on 29 May 1724, a gap of 83 days. Benedict XIII died 21 February 1730, followed by Pope Clement XII’s election on 12 July 1730, a gap of 171 days. Clement XII died 6 February 1740, followed by Pope Benedict XIV elevated to the papal throne on 17 August 1740, a gap of 193 days. Benedict XIV died 3 May 1758, followed by Pope Clement XIII raised to the papacy 6 July 1758, a gap of 64 days. Clement died 2 February 1769, followed by Pope Clement XIV (XIV not XIII!) attaining to the papacy on 19 May 1769, a gap of 106 days. This Clement died 22 September 1774, followed by Pope Pius VI elected on 15 February 1775, a gap of 146 days. And so forth and so on. I think you get the idea.
True, since Pope Pius IX’s election on 1 June 1846, papal interregnums have been unusually short, varying from as little as 13 days to a maximum of 20 days. However, these are almost extraordinary exceptions --- not the everyday routine. There may have been some fairly short papal interregnums in far previous centuries (for instance, when cardinals --- or whatever you may wish to call them then --- were in the City of Rome itself, ready within a very few days to gather together and elect the next pope), but examples from across the millennia have shown us that long interregnums --- and sometimes extremely long, astonishingly long! --- are far, far, far more common throughout the centuries than people unlearned or uninformed would think.
God permits gaps & confusion way more than most of us presume.
E.g., Pope Vigilius died on 7 June 555, his successor, Pope Pelagius I, not elected until 16 April 556, a gap of 10 months. Pope John III died 13 July 574, followed by Pope Benedict I elected on 2 June 575, a gap of nearly 11 months. Or Pope Sabinian, who passed away 22 February 606, the next petrine successor, Pope Boniface III, never elevated until 19 February 607, a gap of almost precisely 1 year. And when he, Boniface, died 12 November 607, a successor did not follow till the election of an illustrious Pope St. Boniface IV on 15 September 608, a gap of just over 10 months. Then came Pope St. Adeodatus, who died 8 November 618, followed by Pope Boniface V’s election on 23 December 619, a gap of well over 1 year and 1 month. Not too much later comes Pope Honorius I, who died 12 October 638, followed by the occupation of Peter’s Throne by his successor, Pope Severinus, on 28 May 640, a gap greater than 1 year and 7 months. Again, we could go on. But I think you get the idea.
It is NOT exaggeration to suspect that long, even incredibly long papal interregnums, practically EQUAL --- if not exceed --- the fairly short ones. With over 260 popes, I’ve not the time or patience to tediously add up all of the interregnums (not to mention times of papal confusion & uncertainty… even till this day, among the learned) and come to some grand, absolute, flabbergastingly huge total that is beyond scholarly dispute. Nevertheless, clearly, a 25 day average papal interregnum is a cautious estimate.
Which then leads the honest person to realize?
With the 18 years of gaps between popes already
established for a mere 12 cases, and another 8+ years of gaps for another 13
cases, we have, all by itself, a subtotal of more than 26 years of papal
‘inter regnums’ based on 25 gaps, which
is less than one tenth… just 1/10th
of 260+ popes altogether! … of the entire
Roman Catholic Papacy. Now, my beloved soul, you do the math. Make it simple.
Take the conservative estimate of a 25 day average gap between popes overall,
subtract the 25 examples given above (from
260+ popes since
What do you get? 25 x 235 = 5875. This is a little over 16 years.
Now add that to more than 26 years already established.
Yes… you’ve got it. Over 42 years. We repeat:
Roman Catholic papal ‘inter regnums’ --- gaps between popes when St. Peter’s Throne sits empty, awaiting a true occupant --- would seem, logically & factually, to add up to more than 42 years time total. Is your brain processing that information adequately?
Again, to drive it home without letting a reader duck the implications:
More than 40 YEARS of papal gaps over the centuries.
Does the Great Apostasy’s 50+ years of a
papal ‘inter regnum’ now seem a little less unthinkable… a
little more fathomable? With all the gaps & confusion allowed by God thus
far in the
You see, Church History is not for the faint of heart --- or for those who cling to lies.
+++ 26. The THIRD Devastating Argument: +++
From the Old Through to the New Testament… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 14)
We’ve already hinted at it in passing. For that matter, I’ve addressed it on The Epistemologic Works in at least one article, and again, briefly, in the What’s New post uploaded for 9 March 2018. Yet to what am I referring? What shocking confusion, indubitably a part of Church History, did God permit as our punishment?
The Great Schism of the West. Ever heard of it?
As Church historians are fond of pointing out, this was not technically --- strictly speaking --- a ‘schism’. Or, should we say, it was indeed a schism in the real sense of the word, but a schism by sheer ‘accident’, as it were, a result of pure political power plays; flawed leaders with big chips on their shoulders; and other, more regular & lowly, folks within the Catholic Church who --- while not necessarily directly responsible for the mayhem --- were such lukewarm or rotten Catholics that this is what they deserved.
At any rate, nobody planned to cause a schism. Nobody in the western part of the Catholic Church was denying the Papacy or the supreme authority of the Bishop of Rome. And, when it happened, nobody thought it’d be so tough to put the ‘genie back into the bottle’, to employ a metaphor. Notwithstanding, it was confusing. Deucedly so. Even saints of the time, later beatified or canonized, were divided. (E.g., Catherine of Siena and Catherine of Sweden, canonized saints, as well as Peter of Aragon and Ursulina of Parma, beatified saints, were on the one side; whilst Vincent Ferrer and Colette, canonized saints, and Peter of Luxemburg, beatified saint, were on the opposing side.) This is how ridiculously difficult & bewildering it was, ripping Catholics in two.
What caused this awful rift? The ultimate reason was spiritual, to punish our sins.
The proximate and earthly reasons were the
citizens of Rome wanting a Roman clergyman elevated to the papal throne, after
enduring a string of seven French popes who were basically, and increasingly,
the ‘puppets’ of bad French kings and had taken themselves and
their papal court to reside in the city of Avignon in southern France in what
is known now as the ‘babylonian exile’ of
the Papacy for 67 years. These popes were, truly, legitimate Roman bishops in
the legal sense. They were not imposters or antipopes. But it was distressing,
wrong, and just plain dreadful. As noted above, Catherine of Siena, amazingly
young and great saint that she was, practically singlehandedly convinced the
Sadly, the cardinals then elected, the very next year, an Italian bishop (to be exact, Neapolitan) as Bishop of Rome under pressure from a large group of Italians who opposed the wish of citizens in the Papal Estates of mid-Italy. To be fair, they did so freely, never actually ‘coerced’ or ‘cowed’ to do this by dictatorial Italian mobs. They also, it seems clear, thought him a prudent & wise choice, being a man of integrity. Even six French cardinals --- apparently not able to be present at the election itself --- had no problem approving of the choice and congratulating the others when informed. You recollect how the French had just finished dominating the Papacy during the infamous ‘babylonian exile’ of seven popes for 67 years right before this election happened, right? So, if French cardinals could readily approve of it (and it wasn’t necessarily a condition of canon law back then that they did so in order to make this choice ‘valid’, and in spite of not being able to participate in the election at the time…), then what on earth could possibly have been the problem? Where did everything start to go so very wrong?
Oops. Pope Urban VI wasn’t so nifty as they had hoped. The quandary?
It seems he could be whimsical (as in choosing or acting capriciously… not such a good thing when you’ve become the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the most important job of all in the whole wide world), haughty (not a brilliant character trait in the representative of the Lamb of God), suspicious (which engenders hurt feelings and wariness in the people serving you) and sometimes choleric (meaning irritable or belligerent & impatient). What to do? The cardinals should have borne this burden valiantly. The choice had been made, his legitimacy unquestionable, and consequences --- whether good or bad --- ought to have been patiently endured. He is the Pope, regardless. Barring hard proof of pertinacious & notorious heresy, or etc., then God’s man here below is in charge.
Unfortunately, thirteen cardinals were wicked and complicated matters by stealthily holding a new election 5 months later in a distant Italian city, and, having put forth their new choice as if he were the ‘real pope’, they then began one of the greatest dilemmas and confusion in the Roman Catholic Church until the Great Apostasy we undergo nowadays. Christendom everywhere was literally riven in half.
Now be honest, my beloved reader.
If you call yourself Catholic and are of a very conservative or traditional nature, then, assuming you never knew about this ‘Schism of the West’ till now… or, perhaps, very little about it until reading Inter Regnum… would you have thought this possible or probable? The truthful answer is, “No, I would not.” The event is that shocking.
That God would let this happen. That Catholics would behave this way.
There’s no way around it. It’s shameful, it’s embarrassing, it’s appalling, and it was unprecedented at the time. Too, it went on for 39 years. Say again? Utmost confusion & division continued for 39 YEARS STRAIGHT. Both Catholic individuals and Catholic realms opposed one another vehemently. A series of two sets of claimants to the papal throne both acted like they were true popes the entire time, the cardinals making the situation even worse in AD 1409 (the schism started in AD 1378) by pretending to ‘depose’ both claimants and electing yet another man, this then making it into a tragicomedy where three men are claiming to be the pope at the same time!
The calamity only came to a close when two of the claimants eventually ‘abdicated’ (making certain, thereby, that the one who was truly the pope would no longer be the pope), the real pope (which was Gregory XII, by the way) first approving of the council which excommunicated an uncooperative third claimant (which made this act fully legal & binding), the cardinals at the council thereupon rightfully & lawfully electing a new pope in 1417, who became known as Martin V. (And, oh, recall what we previously pointed out in Chapter 24… that Gregory XII resigned the papacy on 4 July 1415, whereas Martin V did not succeed him until 11 November 1417… making for an interregnum gap between these popes of over 2 years and 4 months!) Some stubborn hold outs, meanwhile, still pitifully cleaving to their antipopes, finally gave up by 1429, bringing the Schism of the West to --- dare we say it? --- an anticlimactic end.
That’s 51 YEARS of continual confusion & division, my precious reader.
Still think God would ‘never allow’ a 50+ year Apostasy with antipopes?
Boy, have I got a bridge in
+++ 27. The THIRD Devastating Argument: +++
From the Old Through to the New Testament… There
Have Been Gaps & Confusion re Who Is the Pope (Part 15)
Incidentally, the Church has never ruled definitively, with highest (papal) authority, which of the three different sequences of claimants to the Papacy is the correct lineage. Catholic theologians continued to debate it up until the 1800s. A consensus eventually emerged, seemingly approved --- or at least tacitly acknowledged --- by later popes & their curia. Ergo, this 39 year confusion over who were the real popes took, literally, centuries to play out before every Catholic had moral certainty in the matter.
Starting to comprehend just what God may allow regarding the Papacy?
Good. Now, be fearless, and prepare for a second (and worse!) shock.
In AD 1130 those troublesome cardinals caused yet another scandal.
A man named Pietro Pierleone --- who came from a wealthy & powerful
senatorial family in
Later historians during modern times (and whether calling themselves Catholic or not) have tended to dismiss these facts as ‘untrue’, being a result of the ‘prejudices’ of these wiser and more prudent cardinals. This is nonsense. The fair & scholarly student of history, relying on the testimony of several people actually living at that time, being eyewitnesses of what was going on (and not just an ‘expert’ decreeing from ‘on high’ what he or she wants to believe, out of thin air, despite living centuries after the actual event…), finds plenty of reasons to believe the testimony of precisely those who feared the election of Pietro Pierleone as the next Roman bishop (not to mention rather horrible examples of just this kind of evil happening in centuries previous to AD 1130… you do remember the hideously evil & immoral Pope Benedict IX we describe in Chapter 24, who afflicted the Church less than a century prior to 1130… don’t you?). This is why their fear was reasonable. They also knew that Pietro Pierleone had a confident lock on the votes of 25 to 30 cardinals --- who, it seems, numbered between 30 and 40 at the time --- giving him an overwhelming advantage against the tiny minority of cardinals wisely opposing him. What could they do? Indeed, what is it that they SHOULD do?
Put yourself in their shoes. What would you do? Assuming you’re Catholic.
Their solution was desperate & irregular (meaning, not quite the way papal elections are supposed to work most of the time). Notwithstanding the irregularity, they had moral justification, and canon law then did indeed permit, if just barely, their solution.
They smuggled the dying Pope Honorius II out of St. John Lateran (the Cathedral of Rome and hence where the Throne of St. Peter legally presides, not the Vatican or St. Peter’s Basilica, as so many uninformed people presume) to St. Gregory’s monastery, near to the palatial castle of the ancient Roman noble family of the Frangipani, who also, at this moment, opposed the election of Pietro Pierleone. Honorius died the night of 13 February 1130. This minority of cardinals then hurriedly, the very next morning, chose Cardinal Gregory Papareschi as the new pope, preemptively striking before Pierleone could seal the deal with so many cardinals already loyal to him. Irregular? Oh, yes.
Illegal? No. But the others’ ‘election’ of Pierleone later that day caused chaos.
He announced himself as ‘Anacletus II’, and, because of the support of the majority of cardinals, in addition to the approval of most of the leading & wealthy noble families of Rome --- including the great majority of Roman citizens of that time, regardless of their lesser standing --- the powerful Frangipani switched allegiance to Anacletus II and the true pope, calling himself Innocent II, was forced to flee to France for protection. Fortunately, his fate there took a more favorable turn despite a desperate plight.
Meanwhile, Antipope Anacletus II convinced everyone, at first, that he was the ‘real’ pope. Everybody everywhere, at first, for the initial year or two after his evil & illegal election, thought he was the ‘pope’. Are you getting it, dear reader? God has permitted, in the history of the Catholic Church, an antipope to fool everybody into thinking he’s a ‘true’ pope. This is NOT unprecedented; it ACTUALLY happened. Study Church History for yourself, dear reader, if you very badly don’t want to believe me.
The truth is the truth. I am not making it up. This is what God allowed:
An ANTIPOPE to fool almost everyone in Roman Catholicism, at first, into thinking this wicked man was ‘truly’ the Bishop of Rome & Vicar of Christ, when he WASN’T.
End of very adamant & unflinching sentence. So how did the debacle conclude?
Luckily, a very holy man, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (and a Doctor of the Church, too!) came to the
rescue. A canonized saint named Norbert also helped him. But it was mainly St.
Bernard’s immense reputation and undeniable holiness that saved the day.
To start, he doggedly defended Pope Innocent II, leaving cherished monastery
and contemplative prayer to serve the Church. He convinced the Catholics in
It took eight years. Anacletus II died in 1138, and his antipapal successor, Victor IV, conceded the truth a couple of months later. But it took a military siege of Rome… the Romans relentlessly supported the antipopes until the bitter end… and St. Bernard’s holy persuasion to finally bring the horror to an end, even they acknowledging the true pope.
But how did St. Bernard manage to convince everyone, logically & factually speaking? Whether Catholic or not, historians of the last two or three centuries will admit one, and possibly two, facts. First, that Pietro Pierleone was wealthy & ambitious, eager to secure St. Peter’s Throne (and this apparently involved bribes of most of the cardinals, which is simony, a mortal sin and forbidden by both Divine & Church Law). Secondly (yet you’re probably not going to get this from scholars who don’t call themselves ‘catholic’), that, while irregular, eight of the cardinals were, indeed, under Pope Nicholas II’s electoral laws, i.e., canon law that governs papal elections --- part of which he designed so that schisms could be avoided --- a ‘commission’ of cardinals which had the authority to do what they did, no matter how ‘irregular’. Four of these men were Cardinal-Bishops, too, making them ‘outrank’ the rest of the cardinals. And five of these eight opposed Pietro Pierleone (Anacletus II), giving them the majority vote of that small group of eight; you’ll recollect that canon law requiring a ⅔ majority was not in effect until 1179. Consequently, a simple majority could carry the day and voilà! You have a pope.
Ah, but the third reason Bernard convinced Catholics is ‘politically incorrect’. I’ve essentially never found it mentioned in historical writings of the last 2 or 3 centuries. Because you are a bad, bad, bad person… per Modernists… to say it or believe it. Hopefully I’m so little & unknown, they won’t hang me on a gibbet.
Yet St. Bernard’s politically incorrect point that we Moderns abhor?
Pietro Pierleone was Jewish. What’s that got to do with anything? Before his rich grandfather converted to Catholicism, the family had made their fortune via usury. What’s usury? Lending money at interest. Why is this a problem? Because the Catholic Church, prior to the 1700s or 1800s, resolutely forbade Catholics to practice usury. This is why Jewish people often excelled in this field after the time of Christ, given the fact most of them were not Catholic, ergo, not bound by Church’s Law against this evil. Sadly, most Roman Catholic realms did not keep it outlawed for all, regardless.
Capitalism & banking are founded on usury, and, for the last five centuries, capitalism & banking have come to dominate the world. Our lives now revolve around the lending of money at interest and going into debt to capitalist bankers. And our governments --- especially the most powerful & wealthy ones --- practice capitalist usury zealously. Although it bears noting how, before Christ, several Greek thinkers condemned it.
It’s not just the popes, fathers, saints or theologians of the Catholic Church.
Now, I can’t judge Pietro
Pierleone’s heart to know his precise
culpability. But I can make a shrewd guess that this wealth that his family
gained by usury prior to Pierleone’s
grandfather converted to Catholicism, was a snare to
his heart. After all, Jesus did tell his disciples, to their horror, that
it’s easier for a camel to go through the “eye of a
needle” than for a rich person to enter the
However, whether or not ever enshrined in various forms of canon law all over the Catholic Church throughout the world simultaneously during the early Middle Ages, or likewise in the civil law of various Catholic realms throughout the earth, it is inarguable from Sacred Scripture, the early Church Fathers, many popes & saints of ancient times, etc., the Church has FORBIDDEN people of Jewish extraction, who are converts to Roman Catholicism, to be clergy in the Church or leaders in Catholic realms. In my studies thus far, the rule of thumb seems to have been for the first ten generations. Viz., until ten generations have passed since the conversion of a Jewish person to Catholicism, in his or her family, then their descendants are NOT allowed to hold these crucial offices.
Why? Because the majority of Jews, after the crucifixion (read: murder) of their Messias [Messiah, that is, ‘Anointed One’ or ‘Christ’], refused to become Roman Catholic, which is precisely what God had ordained the True Religion of Old Testament Catholicism to become during the New Testament era, after Jesus Christ the God-Man had appeared. This murder of God, compounded by rebellion against God’s Will, put the Jews under a spiritual curse. (See Matthew 27:21-25 for proof in the Gospels of this fact.) Now, NOT all Jewish persons are equally evil or equally good, just as no German, Canadian, Indian, Argentinian, Chinese or Zimbabwean person is equally evil or equally good. This is still a spiritual principle that is real: this blood curse makes them prone to greater evil. This is why Catholics, when wise and experienced enough, put such rules into place in Middle Age times. It’s to prevent false Jewish Catholics (those who only convert to procure a benefit of some type in Catholic realms, or to work within the Hierarchy to overthrow orthodox dogma and orthodox praxis to subvert Roman Catholicism, but keep their adherence to Jewish religion secret from Catholics around them) from harming God’s One True Religion & His True Servants in some serious way. A possibility that many Jewish historians themselves (who are not Catholic!) have admitted in the most recent centuries, now that there’s no harm or threat in admitting this was so…
This is why Ss. Bernard & Norbert’s most powerful argument against Antipope Anacletus II, at the time, was that he was Jewish. And only two generations from the conversion of his grandfather to the Catholic Faith. This alone disqualified him. It also tells you how careless Catholic clergy & leaders had become by this era, ignoring the prudent laws of their wiser forefathers, allowing themselves to be bought for a price.
‘Antisemitic’? So claim Modernist people. Yet TRUE? Of a moral certainty.
You see, I’m aiming for the truth, dear soul. What’s YOUR agenda?
All the same, if you’re so foolish as to claim Roman Catholics were ‘antisemitic’ to decree these laws, or to issue such warnings, then consider --- Our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, was JEWISH. His Mother, the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary, is JEWISH. Our first pope, St. Peter, was JEWISH. Every single one of the Twelve Apostles, the first bishops, are JEWISH. Almost every single one of the original Roman Catholics was JEWISH.
If Catholics are ‘antisemitic’, then they should denounce their own founders!
Instead, we tell the truth, and say plainly, “They were good Jews, who became Roman Catholic. Jews who refused to become Roman Catholic were being bad, refusing to obey their own God. These bad Jews --- like all bad people, of whatever ethnicity --- then went on to do bad things, some of them at some times, to those who were Roman Catholic. Nevertheless, non-Catholic Jews bear a curse, making them more prone to evil. This curse, this extra proclivity toward evil, is only broken by Jews becoming Catholic.”
The Catholic Church has never forbidden Jews to be Catholic. The Church has never condoned ‘forcing’ Jews… or anyone of whatever ethnicity!... to become ‘catholic’. Indeed, anyone who knows Catholicity & Her Laws, knows these ‘conversions’ are invalid. That is to say, neither legal nor real. Coerced converts are not Catholic.
And if you would maliciously accuse me of being ‘antisemitic’, then face facts:
I was not raised Catholic. I was raised Evangelic
Protestant. Such people fawn over Jewish people simply because
they’re Jewish, thinking them the ‘apple of God’s eye’.
(Which, when you think about it, is a
kind of ‘reverse racism’ --- assuming that people are
‘good’ merely because of their ethnicity, the flip side of
assuming people are ‘bad’ merely because of their ethnicity.)
This is how I was raised; to revere Jews for being Jews. My
mother was also a huge proponent of ‘civil rights’. She drummed into
my head to never, ever, look down on people for being the ethnicity that
they are, whether black or white or brown or Italian or Rwandan or
Vietnamese or Russian or Mayan or what-have-you. What’s more, I was so
naïve of Jewishness that, as a teenager, I had many Jewish friends
at school that I had no idea were Jewish: ‘antisemitism’ was that alien to
me. Oh, but I’m not finished. When bicycling across the
Through my maternal grandfather, I myself have Dutch JEWISH blood.
Antisemitic? Either words have no meaning, or you’re a liar or deluded.
Roman Catholicism is NOT ‘antisemitic’ and I am NOT ‘antisemitic’.
So why did Roman Catholics make laws regarding Jewish converts?
To prevent a false ‘convert’ from seizing the reins of power amongst Catholics --- whether civil authority or ecclesial authority --- and hurting Catholics or perverting & destroying the Catholic Faith from the inside. This is what nearly happened with Antipope Anacletus II. It’s why Ss. Bernard & Norbert argued as they did.
Yet this is neither here nor there when it comes to my argument. I am not arguing concerning Jewish ethnicity. The Church may or may not, when resurrected, return laws to its books regarding Jewish converts. The Holy Ghost through St. Paul (my name’s sake and a ‘Jew of Jews’ as he himself describes himself in Sacred Scripture, see Philippians 3:5, the DRC using the phrase “Hebrew of Hebrews”) prophesies that, before Christ returns, his people, the Jews, will convert en masse to Catholicity. (Romans 11:26-28) ¿Comprende? God loves Jewish people. It wouldn’t surprise me if a future pope was Jewish, exactly like our first pope, St. Peter. It’d be just like God to do such a thing!
No, what I’m doing is showing how God permitted an antipope to fool everyone.
So why is it ‘unbelievable’ He’d let it happen again during our Apostasy?
All of these surprisingly long gaps between legitimate popes and ridiculously complicated periods of confusion over legitimate popes, by the way --- as explained carefully and somewhat thoroughly over the past seven chapters --- amount to EXHIBIT NO. 10 in this still rather ‘controversial’ book, Inter Regnum. Are you ready for more?
+ + +
Part One of Inter Regnum (Chapters 1-12)
Part Three of Inter Regnum (Chapters 28-34)
Part Four of Inter Regnum (Chapters 35-42)
Part Five of Inter Regnum (Chapters 43-50)
+ + +
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