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Popes Gone Wild: What the Catholic Church Would Rather You Forget

Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI

The man pictured above is the poster boy for Catholic debauchery. His name was Pope Alexander VI. He wasn't the first, nor the last, of a string of simply sinful popes. In fact, if he had a trading card the back might read something like this:

"Achievements: Successfully started the world's first recorded crime family, sired at least four bastard children, hosted orgies within the walls of the Vatican, and shunned the poor in favor of flamboyant decadence.

Good Qualities: Severe loyalty to kith and kin (even to the point of almost plunging Italy into all-out war just so his bastard children could have the life he wanted for them. Awe.)

Scandals: Still being accused of breaking up his daughter's marriage in favor of an incestuous relationship with himself, whispered to be involved in a few choice assassinations, and oh yes, there was that whole mistress and string of wild Vatican orgy parties...

God's Judgment: Death by slow intestinal bleeding."

A charming guy that pope Alexander VI. Rumor has it his entire bastard clan was murderous and drunk on power. And so the love spread, long after his death. Just the fact he wasn't stabbed or poisoned is a small miracle in itself. I'm just using him to illustrate a point. The papacy is full of scandals, rife for the pages of Catholic Inquirer.

More Papal Oopsies

  • Pope Stephen VI was probably the perpetrator of the most bizarre event in papal history. After being elected to be pope, he had his predecessor exhumed from his grave, brought into court, and tried for various crimes. The corpse was unsurprisingly found guilty as sin and his three blessing fingers were hacked off as punishment. He was then reburied before he was dug up once again in order to be thrown into the Tiber. Forgiveness anyone?
  • Pope John XII didn't even have a good start. He was said to have been born to a fourteen-year-old mother, sired by a man who was both his father and grandfather. Never one to shun tradition he continued this Oedipal cycle of dysfunction and also took his mother on as a lover. He was only eighteen when he became pope and only twenty-seven when he left it, by way of death. Rumor has it he was murdered during a jealous rage when the husband of one of his mistresses walked in on them in bed. This would indeed be a fitting end to a pope who was such a womanizer he was said to have violated virgins and widows alike and had so many women filing in and out of the Vatican that everyone said it had been turned into a brothel. Sex wasn't his only downfall though; he was rumored to have murdered several people and was fond of hacking off his enemies' limbs. Far from being a saint, I think this pope was trying to reach a new record of depravity.
  • Pope Benedict IX: Depending on what sources you believe Pope Benedict IX was given the papacy anywhere between eleven and twenty years of age. St. Peter Damian accused him of routinely screwing other men and his four-legged friends amongst other crimes. Apparently, that wasn't even scratching the surface when it came to grievances thrust into his direction. Bishop Benno of Piacenza accused him of committing, "many vile adulteries and murders." He was also accused of rape and murder by his eventual successor before he decided to be the first and only pope to bring the free market to the papacy, selling his position to his Godfather John Gratian.
  • Pope Boniface VIII decided to take the free market a bit further and was accused of simony (that's accepting cash for appointing religious positions) in Dante's infamous Divine Comedy. Though he was alive at the time he showed an uncharacteristic apathy and didn't order Dante tortured, maimed, or killed. Lucky Dante!
  • Pope Urban II cowed France into attacking the Muslim world, throwing the region into five hundred years of religious warfare, which as you can see by the current day turned out remarkably well . . .
  • Pope Urban VI is best remembered for his gratuitously violent nature. Like any true psychopath, he was said to have complained when his enemies didn't "scream loud enough" under torture. God apparently likes screaming more than He likes hymns.
  • Pope John XXII was the first to persecute "witches." Although he was the richest man in the entire world at the time he was still not happy with his lot in life. He deemed that all the "witches" and "heretics" could be accused after death and that all their land should be seized.
  • Pope Sixtus IV authorized the Spanish Inquisition and all its various forms of torture to gently convince the Jews, Moors, and Heretics that Catholic love and compassion were the way to God. While all this was going on it's rumored that Pope Sixtus IV was busy fathering children with his eldest sister and carrying on several bisexual relationships. Not surprisingly he was also said to have suffered from syphilis. God's wrath? Maybe for him.
  • Pope Gregory XII burned John Huss of Bohemia at the stake after declaring his safety from such a fate. His crime? He spoke out against papal corruption. The pope's response? "When dealing with heretics, one is not obligated to keep his word."
  • Pope John XXIII reigned for five years (1410-1415) before he pissed off so many other Catholics that he was stripped of his title and declared anti-pope. So what was so bad about this mobsteresque pope? For one he decided to terrorize the students at the University of Bologna by demanding they pay a price to be protected from violent thugs who just happened to be under his order. That's not what earned him his anti-pope title though, that had to be credited to the accusations of murder, rape, sodomy, incest, and piracy.
  • Pope Urban XIII struck up a friendship with a young Galileo which is probably what spared his life later on when the pope tried him for heresy. Galileo was sentenced to life imprisonment which was later changed into house arrest. He died nine years later still under house arrest for claiming that a spherical earth revolved around the sun. This decree of heresy was not lifted until 350 years later.
  • Pius XII's reputation comes from his lack of action rather than from anything he did personally. He was the pope during Hitler's reign of terror and didn't so much as speak one direct harsh word about the man who was slaughtering millions. Hitler was Catholic after all and never antagonized the papacy (which is apparently the one way to get excommunicated.) His continuing refusal to say anything against the Nazi party lasted throughout the war with lame excuses being put forth behind the reasoning as to why this was. He claimed he would not decry any individual atrocities publicly and when faced with the Holocaust he merely claimed there wasn't enough evidence it was actually happening. Perhaps he was afraid of pissing off people who could easily kill him. But then again, for someone who is supposed to be the closest man to God his moral senses should have outweighed any thought of self-preservation. After all, Jesus didn't seem particularly keen on pussyfooting around the corrupt people of his era. Catholicism and Christianity love martyrs!
  • Pope John Paul II Publicly condemned all forms of birth control and gay marriage, his only reaction to the pedophile priest scandals was merely to issue a feeble apology for 2000 years worth of pedophile church swapping, record burying, and secret payoffs to families for not denouncing the church publicly. He never condemned the behavior and only started defrocking priests when the masses started to put intense pressure on him to do so. Even so not that many priests were let go compared to what are likely out there. Apparently, pedophilia is a more forgivable sin than birth control.
  • Pope Benedict XVI was in all the papers when the media realized he was part of the Hitler Youth. Now I get comments like, "That wasn't a voluntary position" but that just doesn't cut it when you're talking about the man who is supposed to be closest to God. If he were really that holy he would have been a martyr, not a pope.

Final Thoughts

I have merely listed a few personalities in this article. If you dig deep enough you could probably find incriminating accusations about most of the popes to serve throughout history. In the end, I fail to see how any of the men ever elected pope could possibly be closer to God than the rest of the human population when their shortcomings are so pathetically enormous. Very few of them seem to have any idea what Jesus was talking about with the whole love, compassion, and forgiveness thing, and between them all they've probably violated every commandment.


Jeff on June 12, 2020:

Jesus was Invented by the Flavians, Vespasian and his son Titus to pacifier the war with the Jews its the biggest conspiracy in the world.

And will go on forever , jesus was invented by these two Caesars father and Son one the God the other Son of God

Gertie on September 23, 2018:

The Catholic Priests were once allowed to marry and have families. I read this in a book that also stated that nunneries were used as brothals. I was looking for this book when i came across this artical.

kmurf on October 25, 2015:

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Read More From Owlcation

Regardless of being satire or not, this article is complete trash and beyond the pale, rife with historical inaccuracies. It's people like Theopanes who have done equal damage by perverting history.

Russ Tul on September 28, 2014:

Interesting. But unfortunately, the credibility of the list of alleged crimes and misdemeanours committed by various popes is shattered by the atrocious English.

Larry Wall on May 25, 2014:

Are we going to scan new teachers, all day care workers, other religions, suspected terrorists and others. It is fun for some people to target the Catholic Church, hold it accountable for things that happened centuries ago.

Can anyone remember which religion was behind the Salem Witch Burnings?

Times have changed and the church has changed. I am a convert to Catholicism. It is a beautiful religion .

tis esti alétheia? on May 24, 2014:

There's a fun article you may want to read that really takes a light hearted look at the shenanigans of those rascally old priests who molest children. All in good fun, and just part of the ambience, right? Just those human sinners like all the rest of us so who are we to judge ? It's titled "A Psychologist Steeped in Treatment of Sexually Active Priests" an excerpt:

“I had predicted 15 years ago that this would go up to the pope,” Dr. Lothstein said.

He unwittingly found himself in the news almost 10 years ago, when it was reported that the Catholic Church had sent priests to the Institute of Living for treatment without always telling the doctors the full details of the priests’ transgressions. (One of those priests was the superpredator John Geoghan, whom Dr. Lothstein treated.) What’s more, the Catholic hierarchy often ignored the institute’s recommendations about the priests’ fitness for service.

“I found that they rarely followed our recommendations,” Dr. Lothstein told The Hartford Courant in 2002. “They would put them back into work where they still had access to vulnerable populations.”

Oh well, no biggie. Known psychopathic child molestors sent back into the game! What troopers! I'm sure the children and their parents were TOLD about this, no?

Here's a little more to let you see what you're dealing with:

“So what do you treat?” Dr. Lothstein asked, rhetorically. “You make them aware of the damage. And if they don’t have a conscience, you try to give them a mentalizing function” — to help them imagine other people’s feelings. The doctor must also, in some cases, help the pedophile understand that a child is not capable of the romantic interest the pedophile, in his or her fantasies, thinks is being reciprocated.

“Let’s say he’s saying, ‘This boy, he’s 5 years old, he’s seducing me, he’s coy, he’s making eyes at me.’ ” The pedophile must learn that the child “doesn’t have the libido that I have as a 67-year-old,” Dr. Lothstein said. With pedophiles, “it’s not just sex, it’s romance,” he said, adding, “They’re in love with the 5-year-old.”

Ah, romance! So sweet in the summertime, sweet in the church pew where a 5 year boy who's trying to behave and pay attention to a dull ritual is actually being stalked by the predator in the pulpit. Sexy! Steamy! Oh wait, this is a CHILD being stalked by an old perv. A perv who is PAID to be there and worshiped as one of God's holy. Gee, hasn't the Catholic Church heard that they can do mri's and pet scans of peoples brain to determine if one is a psychopath? Surely by now they know of this. And isn't the Catholic Church one of the richest organizations in the world so could well afford to screen all their young men, before even considering spending time and money on educating them? Oh well, we'll just wait till it becomes law then we can start screening, but until then, we'll just party, rape and sexualize our children like it's 1999!!!! Partay'!!!

craig gosling from Indianapolis, Indiana on March 24, 2014:

We celebrate Giordano Bruno's birthday this month. He suffered eight years of jail and torture before belong burned alive. If one believes in heaven and hell, Bruno soul still suffers the agony of hell because the Catholic church has never officially pardoned him even though they acknowledge he was correct about the natures of the solar system and they were wrong. Secular Radio Theater on YouTube has an excellent theatrical portrayal of Bruno's last day prior to his burning. Check it out but be prepared for blood, pain and scandal.

Larry Wall on February 21, 2014:

I just ran across this. I am Catholic--convert from Baptist 25 years ago. No one doubts there were bad popes and no one doubts the church made some horrible mistakes in the past. However, you made a major error regarding Pope John XXIII. I do not know if you have a typo on the Roman Numerals or what. Apparently, not too many Catholics have read this.

Pope John XXIII, served from 1958 to 1963.

Wikipedia is not my favorite source of information, but I am offering the following excerpt, since it is not from a Catholic publication.

"Pope John XXIII surprised those who expected him to be a caretaker pope by calling the historic Second Vatican Council (1962–65), the first session opening on 11 October 1962. He did not live to see it to completion, dying on 3 June 1963 of stomach cancer, four-and-a-half years after his election, and two months after the completion of his final and famed encyclical, Pacem in Terris.

There has only been one Pope John XXIII.

I know this is an old Hub and am not going to start a debate about the abuses of many of the early Popes. Pope John XXIII did much for the church to bring it closer to the people. He should be recognized for that.

Apparently, you are not a big fan of the Catholic Church for whatever reason.

Also, you need to update your Hub. Pope Francis is now leading the Catholic Church.

Sister Rita on January 25, 2014:

Why have people been kept in the dark for so long.

Shan Perera on January 15, 2014:

Peter didn't left Jesus because of Judas. We don't leave Christ's Church because of BAD Popes. Catholics follow Jesus Christ ! Yeah, Servants of God are also Humans, Not Perfect, Sinners like you & me.

Jesus made Only This Promise.

Jesus said, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build MY Church, and the Powers of death shall Not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18

Jesus said,"Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”

Hope one day you will understand what God meant !

“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9

Get Holy or Die Trying ! Pray the Rosary Daily in the Right way. You too can Experience the Power like I did.

I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe,

but I believe in order that I may understand,

for of this I feel sure,

that, if I did not believe, I would not understand.

-- St. Anselm of Canterbury --

Supernatural Miracles done by God

Robert Pummer on September 20, 2013:

Thanks for your article. Enjoyable.

Terik Ororke on September 20, 2013:

You think that is bad? What was the real reason Luther lefdt the church --hint, her name is about all the atrocities and other facts about reformers?

Disappearinghead from Wales, UK on April 13, 2013:

It may have been mentioned already, but I'm remained of Pope Innocent of the 12th century. He was responsible for genocide of the Cathar 'heretics' of the Languedoc region of Southern France. He sponsored the Northern French barons to wipe them out because they refused to accept Catholic legitimacy.

Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 11, 2013:

Yes, the only way such a large scandal can continue for so long is by keeping as many people in the dark as possible. I know the victims families are often paid and told to keep quiet. The victim stories can be overwhelming. I watched Mea Maxima Culpa when it first aired and I was wrenching the whole time... My heart goes out the victims and their families.

That being said it is the people in the know that I am the most pissed off with. They were in positions of power, still are, and still refuse to do the morally correct thing! It's maddening.

Thank you for commenting. Discussions on such matters are always good for the mind.

Debra Allen from West By God on April 11, 2013:

Oh how I love this. To add to this, if no one else did, in the Catholic Doctrine it is stated that they are to keep their parishioners and clergy int the dark at all costs. I read that many years ago, but cannot seem to find it again. After reading that I quit going to any church. Any church? Yes, any church because most of the doctrines of the Catholic church are also in most of the denominations that have split from that church. There may be some differences but for the most part they all do the same doctrines and teach the same dogma.

Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 11, 2013:

Sadly there are a lot of forgotten tidbits of history. For instance in the early church women were allowed to hold roles of religious leadership. Only in the fourth century was this suddenly decided to be wrong and they were forced out. It's also in the fourth century that the oldest records of child abuse from the church came from. Coincidence? Anyone can say anything they want about the Catholic religion but when it comes to the leadership... there's too many bad apples to be trusted and always has been. Positions of power can really go to people's head and perversion and criminality grows wherever it is allowed to. If the Catholic church is really serious about saving face on the pedophile priest issue they'd hand their documents over to the various authorities that they have on the issue and take a strong stance against it, casting out anyone they find to be guilty of such atrocities, not going hush-hush, paying off families, and moving them to another parish!

Thanks for commenting HISTORICVS13. You have provided some interesting food for thought - those are always my favorite comments to get!

HISTORICVS13 on April 11, 2013:

In recently reading “Hitler’s Pope” I came upon mention of trials conducted by the German government in 1935 - 36 in which the accused were all members of the Catholic clergy. Of course the Church at the time jumped on the “persecution” bandwagon but on further research I found there were 250 trials in which the clergymen were accused of sexually abusing children entrusted to their care! 200 of these trials resulted in guilty verdicts. Draw what conclusions you may from this, yet another interesting forgotten tidbit of history.

That book also makes the point that Pius XII was interested in making German Catholics obedient to the strict new Canon Law he was instrumental in composing back in 1917, putting them under direct orders of the Vatican rather than the control of the existing hierarchy of local bishops. To do this his forced the disbanding of the Catholic Center Party, which otherwise might have been able to make a decisive stand against Nazism. Jews figured in his plans only peripherally at best; he stated “the Jews can help themselves” years earlier when the Concordat with fascist Italy was created.

Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on March 01, 2013:

Oh it's alright. I take hatemail as a sign I am doing my job! This is probably the most hated of my articles but I get slack on some of the others too that aren't even religious in nature. It's all good. I got a tough skin.

Someday people will realize there is in fact an enormous difference between God, spirituality, and religion...

James on February 28, 2013:

I have a strong faith in God, but like you, I too have a problem with people who try to claim that popes are infallible and let them get away with all of the evil acts that some of them are guilty of.

I'm sorry to see that you are receiving some comments that are criticizing you for pointing out those facts about those particular popes. Catholics get hammered over the head with papal worship starting at a very young age.

Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on February 28, 2013:

I do believe all those things have been mentioned in passing with various excuses... like "He had to help the Nazis or they would have killed him," or "That was a really long time ago, things have changed," and "Oh not this again... just because of a few bad apples...."

I don't really have a problem with people believing in God although the belief in people that comes with it has always made me wonder. Thanks for stopping by and commenting James. It's much appreciated... or rather preferred to hate mail.... SIGH

James on February 27, 2013:

I didn't have time to read all of the comments on here, so I don't know if this has been mentioned?

But I don't understand how so many people have let the Catholic church off the hook for things like helping to get Adolf Hitler in power, and for turning Jews over to the Nazis?

Or for the crusades?

And obviously, all of the child rape committed by priests?

Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on February 15, 2013:

Well, because he is no mere man. If you are of the faith you must believe he is the one man closest to God and if that is the case how could he possibly retire? It would be a slap to the face for God, or worse, God himself made a mistake! The real fascinating bit is that the pope now-a-days is elected.... by men, not God. Its all a strange and interesting topic no matter which way you look at it. Thank you for stopping by to comment "ObiwanKanobi" - I really do appreciate hearing from my readers, sometimes when they're not sending warnings of damnation. ;)

ObiwanKanobi on February 15, 2013:

This is a fascinating read. Thank you Theophanes, you sure have pushed the religiosity buttons. I am reassured that the Christian zealots are out for the troll judging by few of the comments here. I came across this blog, researching Popes, after the current one announced his resignation. I am a heathen and was interested in finding out why all the fan fare concerning an old man retiring.

Jesus H Christ on June 08, 2012:

You idiots....those books written after my 'passing' have absolutely nothing to do with ANYTHING I spoke of. Those guys were and are in caves, frightened by women, terrible dental problems, etc. Come on people...I don't bank at B OF A. Go within and find your church...if you still can. By the way, this America is NOT God's only client, and God is NOT a MAN. Who the hell said THAT? Oh right, the 'power mongers", oh well. I still preach peace and with that...............

Michael on June 04, 2012:

Oh and Bob? Just to clear something up I have many Catholic friends, and they do not worship Mary, nor do they bow to statues of figures other than Jesus or God. Once again, lets get our facts straight before we begin making accusations.

Michael on June 04, 2012:

We live in an anti-Catholic world everyone. I'm not Catholic, but while the Church has many flaws, many of the "scandals" that people refer to nowadays is a fabricated lie. I disagree with a tremendous amount of Vatican teachings, but I also disagree with falsely accusing organizations of wrong-doing, just so that people can have a stronger argument against them. The Church may not have a clean past, but nothing that is controlled by human beings ever will. Many people tend to focus on the faults of a few individuals throughout the Church's history, when it was just that. The acts of a few, not the entire Church. For the most part, the Catholic Church has served as a beacon for hope for a significant portion of the Earth's population. Despite some of my own personal beliefs that differ from Vatican teaching, I respect the Church for the light that it has helped bring to this world. It seems too many people read books by anti-Catholic authors, such as Dan Brown, and accept everything in them as fact. I personally love Dan Brown books, but they are fictitious stories that he has made up. They should be read as such. Many people tend to lose sight of the fact that anyone can write anything they want and say that it is fact. I did not take the time to research everything that the author of this page put on here, so I can not say either way about this information. All I am asking is for people to begin doing their own research on these kinds of matters, instead of just taking the word of someone over the Internet they have never met. No matter what your beliefs are, do not be so short-sighted to believe everything you are told, and get out there and try to uncover the truth for yourself. Thank you to the author of this page for putting this information on the Internet, whether it be fact or false. These kinds of debates always help to stimulate the mind.

dennis on May 31, 2012:

The Vatican rules over approximately 2 billion of the world’s 6.1 billion people. The colossal wealth of the Vatican includes enormous investments with the Rothschild’s in Britain, France, and the USA, and with giant oil and weapons corporations like Shell and General Electric. The Vatican solid gold bullion worth billions, is stored with the Rothschild controlled Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve Bank. they are founder and owner of the human genome.project.look at their site..

and look who the jesuit order is. and the royal souvereighn militairy ( knights( of malta some have to step out of their bubble

dennis on May 31, 2012:

do some realize what a power the vatican has?? the vatican is a city state a city with in a city ,,they have their own flag , police , laws, judges, rules, and pay no taxes...the are a complete privatized corperation like the city in london in london and the Disrtict of Columbia in washiton dc us capital

they own everything .and we think that we can have them for court@2 sweet dreams

janice on May 28, 2012:


Ben on May 25, 2012:

You people talk too much! You talk about rape, genocide, murders, etc. Go and see what's happening in Africa right now. Atleast the Catholic Church is some kind of beacon of hope. So what if they did bad things in the past, no one is without flaw! They feed the hungry, they clothe the poor, what do you do?

Stahlhelme on May 23, 2012:

This commentary blows (up) my mind...who is it that believes that a diatribe and hundreds of copied quotes and lines of text without an argument make any contribution to dialogue? Might as well join the other half here who say (the catholic) god is right so burn in hell; makes just as much sense.

Catholic on May 06, 2012:

A Crisis of Saints

By Fr. Roger Landry

April 2002

Headlines were captured in February by the tragic reports that as many as seventy priests in the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts, allegedly have abused young people whom they were consecrated to serve. In the wake this news, allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have sprung up nationwide. It is a huge scandal, one that many people who dislike the Catholic Church because of its moral teachings are using to claim that the Church is hypocritical and that they were right all along. Many people have come up to priests like myself to talk about it. I imagine many others have wanted to but have refrained out of respect or from not wanting to bring up bad news.

We need to tackle the issue head-on. Catholics have a right to it from their clergy. We cannot pretend it doesn't exist, and I would like to discuss what our response as faithful Catholics should be to this terrible situation.

The Judas syndrome

The first thing we need to do is to understand this scandal from the perspective of our faith in the Lord. Before he chose his first disciples, Jesus went up the mountain to pray all night (Luke 6:12). He had many followers at the time. He talked to his Father in prayer about whom he should choose to be his twelve apostles-the twelve whom he would form intimately, the twelve whom he would send out to preach the good news in his name. He gave them power to cast out demons. He gave them power to cure the sick. They watched him work countless miracles. They themselves worked countless others in his name.

Yet one of them turned out to be a traitor. One who had followed the Lord-who had seen him walk on water and raise people from the dead and forgive sinners, one whose feet the Lord had washed-betrayed him. The gospels tells us that Judas allowed Satan to enter into him and then sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver, handing him over by faking a gesture of love. "Judas," Jesus said to him in the garden of Gethsemane, "would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" (Luke 24:48).

Jesus didn't choose Judas to betray him. But Judas was always free, and he used his freedom to allow Satan to enter into him, and by his betrayal Jesus was crucified and executed. But God foresaw this evil and used it to accomplish the ultimate good: the redemption of the world.

The point is, sometimes God's chosen ones betray him. That is a fact that we have to confront. If the early Christians had focused only on the scandal caused by Judas, the Church would have been finished before it even started to grow. Instead they recognized that you don't judge a movement by those who don't live it but by those who do. Rather than focusing on the betrayer, they focused on the other eleven on account of whose work, preaching, miracles, and love for Christ we are here today. It is on account of the other eleven-all of whom except John were martyred for Christ and for the gospel they proclaimed-that we ever heard the saving word of God, that we ever received the sacraments of eternal life.

We are confronted by the same scandalous reality today. We can focus on those who have betrayed the Lord, those who abused rather than loved the people whom they were called to serve. Or we can focus, as did the early Church, on those who have remained faithful, those priests who are still offering their lives to serve Christ and you out of love. The secular media almost never focuses on the good "eleven," the ones whom Jesus has chosen who remain faithful, who live lives of quiet holiness. But we the Church must keep the terrible scandal that we are witnessing in its true and full perspective.

Great saints of scandal born

Unfortunately, scandal is nothing new for the Church. There have been many times through the ages when things were much worse off than they are now. The history of the Church is like a cosine curve with many ups and downs. At the times when the Church hits its low points God raises up tremendous saints to bring the Church back to its real mission. It's almost as if in those times of darkness the light of Christ shines ever more brightly. I would like to focus on a couple of saints whom God raised up in such difficult times, because their wisdom can guide us during our own difficult time.

Francis de Sales came along after the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was not principally about theology-although theological differences came later-but about morals. Martin Luther, an Augustinian priest, lived during the reign of perhaps the most notorious pope in history, Alexander VI. This pope never taught anything against the faith-the Holy Spirit prevented that-but he was a wicked man. He had nine children from six different concubines. He put out contracts on the lives of those he considered his enemies.

Luther, like everyone, must have wondered how God could allow a wicked man to be the visible head of his Church. All types of moral problems confronted Luther even in his own country of Germany. Priests were living in open relationships with women. Some made exaggerated claims about indulgences. There was terrible immorality among lay Catholics. Luther was scandalized, as anyone who loved God should have been. He allowed the scandal to drive him from the Church.

Eventually God raised up many saints to combat this erroneous solution and to bring people back to the Church Christ founded. Francis de Sales was one of them. At the risk of his life he went through Switzerland, where the Calvinists were popular, preaching the gospel with truth and love. Several times on his travels he was beaten and left for dead.

Someone once asked him to address the situation of the scandal caused by so many of his brother priests. What Francis de Sales said is as important for us today as it was then. He did not pull any punches. He said, "While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder [i.e., destroying other people's faith in God by their terrible example], those who take scandal-who allow scandals to destroy their faith-are guilty of spiritual suicide." They are guilty, he said, of cutting off their life with Christ by abandoning the source of life in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. He went among the people in Switzerland trying to prevent their committing spiritual suicide on account of the scandals. As a priest today I would say the same thing to you.

What should our reaction be then? Another saint who lived in a difficult time also can help us. Francis of Assisi lived in the thirteenth century, which was a time of terrible immorality in central Italy. Priests were setting horrible examples. Lay immorality was terrible, too. Francis himself while a young man gave scandal to others by his carefree ways. But eventually he was converted back to the Lord, founded the Franciscans, helped God rebuild his Church, and became one of the great saints of all time.

There is a story told of Francis of Assisi that sticks in my mind from one of the biographies I read as a seminarian. Once one of the brothers in the order of Friars Minor who was sensitive to scandal asked him, "Brother Francis, what would you do if you knew that a priest celebrating Mass had three concubines on the side?" Francis replied, "When it came time for Holy Communion, I would go to receive the sacred body of my Lord from the priest's anointed hands."

Francis was getting at a tremendous truth of the faith and a tremendous gift of the Lord: God has made the sacraments "priest-proof." No matter how holy or wicked a priest is, provided he has the intention to do what the Church does, then Christ himself acts through the priest, just as he acted through Judas when Judas ministered as an apostle. So whether Pope John Paul II or a priest on death row for a felony consecrates the bread and wine, it is Christ himself who acts to gives us his own body and blood. Francis was saying he was not going to let the wickedness or immorality of the priest lead him (Francis) to commit spiritual suicide.

Christ can work still and does work still even through the most sinful priest. And thank God!

Catholic on May 06, 2012:

As the apostolic example shows, some individuals genuinely do have a spiritual fatherhood, meaning that they can be referred to as spiritual fathers. What must not be done is to confuse their form of spiritual paternity with that of God. Ultimately, God is our supreme protector, provider, and instructor. Correspondingly, it is wrong to view any individual other than God as having these roles.

Throughout the world, some people have been tempted to look upon religious leaders who are mere mortals as if they were an individual’s supreme source of spiritual instruction, nourishment, and protection. The tendency to turn mere men into "gurus" is worldwide.

This was also a temptation in the Jewish world of Jesus’ day, when famous rabbinical leaders, especially those who founded important schools, such as Hillel and Shammai, were highly exalted by their disciples. It is this elevation of an individual man—the formation of a "cult of personality" around him—of which Jesus is speaking when he warns against attributing to someone an undue role as master, father, or teacher.

He is not forbidding the perfunctory use of honorifics nor forbidding us to recognize that the person does have a role as a spiritual father and teacher. The example of his own apostles shows us that.

The Apostles Show the Way

The New Testament is filled with examples of and references to spiritual father-son and father-child relationships. Many people are not aware just how common these are, so it is worth quoting some of them here.

Paul regularly referred to Timothy as his child: "Therefore I sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ" (1 Cor. 4:17); "To Timothy, my true child in the faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (1 Tim. 1:2); "To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (2 Tim. 1:2).

He also referred to Timothy as his son: "This charge I commit to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophetic utterances which pointed to you, that inspired by them you may wage the good warfare" (1 Tim 1:18); "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 2:1); "But Timothy’s worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel" (Phil. 2:22).

Paul also referred to other of his converts in this way: "To Titus, my true child in a common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior" (Titus 1:4); "I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment" (Philem. 10). None of these men were Paul’s literal, biological sons. Rather, Paul is emphasizing his spiritual fatherhood with them.

Spiritual Fatherhood

Perhaps the most pointed New Testament reference to the theology of the spiritual fatherhood of priests is Paul’s statement, "I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:14–15).

Peter followed the same custom, referring to Mark as his son: "She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark" (1 Pet. 5:13). The apostles sometimes referred to entire churches under their care as their children. Paul writes, "Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you; for children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents for their children" (2 Cor. 12:14); and, "My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!" (Gal. 4:19).

John said, "My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1); "No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth" (3 John 4). In fact, John also addresses men in his congregations as "fathers" (1 John 2:13–14).

By referring to these people as their spiritual sons and spiritual children, Peter, Paul, and John imply their own roles as spiritual fathers. Since the Bible frequently speaks of this spiritual fatherhood, we Catholics acknowledge it and follow the custom of the apostles by calling priests "father." Failure to acknowledge this is a failure to recognize and honor a great gift God has bestowed on the Church: the spiritual fatherhood of the priesthood.

Catholics know that as members of a parish, they have been committed to a priest’s spiritual care, thus they have great filial affection for priests and call them "father." Priests, in turn, follow the apostles’ biblical example by referring to members of their flock as "my son" or "my child" (cf. Gal. 4:19; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:1; Philem. 10; 1 Pet. 5:13; 1 John 2:1; 3 John 4).

All of these passages were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and they express the infallibly recorded truth that Christ’s ministers do have a role as spiritual fathers. Jesus is not against acknowledging that. It is he who gave these men their role as spiritual fathers, and it is his Holy Spirit who recorded this role for us in the pages of Scripture. To acknowledge spiritual fatherhood is to acknowledge the truth, and no amount of anti-Catholic grumbling will change that fact.

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials

presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.

Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827

Catholic on May 06, 2012:

Call No Man "Father"?

Many Protestants claim that when Catholics address priests as "father," they are engaging in an unbiblical practice that Jesus forbade: "Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9).

In his tract 10 Reasons Why I Am Not a Roman Catholic, Fundamentalist anti-Catholic writer Donald Maconaghie quotes this passage as support for his charge that "the papacy is a hoax."

Bill Jackson, another Fundamentalist who runs a full-time anti-Catholic organization, says in his book Christian’s Guide To Roman Catholicism that a "study of Matthew 23:9 reveals that Jesus was talking about being called father as a title of religious superiority . . . [which is] the basis for the [Catholic] hierarchy" (53).

How should Catholics respond to such objections?

The Answer

To understand why the charge does not work, one must first understand the use of the word "father" in reference to our earthly fathers. No one would deny a little girl the opportunity to tell someone that she loves her father. Common sense tells us that Jesus wasn’t forbidding this type of use of the word "father."

In fact, to forbid it would rob the address "Father" of its meaning when applied to God, for there would no longer be any earthly counterpart for the analogy of divine Fatherhood. The concept of God’s role as Father would be meaningless if we obliterated the concept of earthly fatherhood.

But in the Bible the concept of fatherhood is not restricted to just our earthly fathers and God. It is used to refer to people other than biological or legal fathers, and is used as a sign of respect to those with whom we have a special relationship.

For example, Joseph tells his brothers of a special fatherly relationship God had given him with the king of Egypt: "So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt" (Gen. 45:8).

Job indicates he played a fatherly role with the less fortunate: "I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know" (Job 29:16). And God himself declares that he will give a fatherly role to Eliakim, the steward of the house of David: "In that day I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah . . . and I will clothe him with [a] robe, and will bind [a] girdle on him, and will commit . . . authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah" (Is. 22:20–21).

This type of fatherhood not only applies to those who are wise counselors (like Joseph) or benefactors (like Job) or both (like Eliakim), it also applies to those who have a fatherly spiritual relationship with one. For example, Elisha cries, "My father, my father!" to Elijah as the latter is carried up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kgs. 2:12). Later, Elisha himself is called a father by the king of Israel (2 Kgs. 6:21).

A Change with the New Testament?

Some Fundamentalists argue that this usage changed with the New Testament—that while it may have been permissible to call certain men "father" in the Old Testament, since the time of Christ, it’s no longer allowed. This argument fails for several reasons.

First, as we’ve seen, the imperative "call no man father" does not apply to one’s biological father. It also doesn’t exclude calling one’s ancestors "father," as is shown in Acts 7:2, where Stephen refers to "our father Abraham," or in Romans 9:10, where Paul speaks of "our father Isaac."

Second, there are numerous examples in the New Testament of the term "father" being used as a form of address and reference, even for men who are not biologically related to the speaker. There are, in fact, so many uses of "father" in the New Testament, that the Fundamentalist interpretation of Matthew 23 (and the objection to Catholics calling priests "father") must be wrong, as we shall see.

Third, a careful examination of the context of Matthew 23 shows that Jesus didn’t intend for his words here to be understood literally. The whole passage reads, "But you are not to be called ‘rabbi,’ for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called ‘masters,’ for you have one master, the Christ" (Matt. 23:8–10).

The first problem is that although Jesus seems to prohibit the use of the term "teacher," in Matthew 28:19–20, Christ himself appointed certain men to be teachers in his Church: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Paul speaks of his commission as a teacher: "For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle . . . a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth" (1 Tim. 2:7); "For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher" (2 Tim. 1:11). He also reminds us that the Church has an office of teacher: "God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers" (1 Cor. 12:28); and "his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers" (Eph. 4:11). There is no doubt that Paul was not violating Christ’s teaching in Matthew 23 by referring so often to others as "teachers."

Fundamentalists themselves slip up on this point by calling all sorts of people "doctor," for example, medical doctors, as well as professors and scientists who have Ph.D. degrees (i.e., doctorates). What they fail to realize is that "doctor" is simply the Latin word for "teacher." Even "Mister" and "Mistress" ("Mrs.") are forms of the word "master," also mentioned by Jesus. So if his words in Matthew 23 were meant to be taken literally, Fundamentalists would be just as guilty for using the word "teacher" and "doctor" and "mister" as Catholics for saying "father." But clearly, that would be a misunderstanding of Christ’s words.

So What Did Jesus Mean?

Jesus criticized Jewish leaders who love "the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called ‘rabbi’ by men" (Matt. 23:6–7). His admonition here is a response to the Pharisees’ proud hearts and their g.asping after marks of status and prestige.

He was using hyperbole (exaggeration to make a point) to show the scribes and Pharisees how sinful and proud they were for not looking humbly to God as the source of all authority and fatherhood and teaching, and instead setting themselves up as the ultimate authorities, father figures, and teachers.

Christ used hyperbole often, for example when he declared, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell" (Matt. 5:29, cf. 18:9; Mark 9:47). Christ certainly did not intend this to be applied literally, for otherwise all Christians would be blind amputees! (cf. 1 John 1:8; 1 Tim. 1:15). We are all subject to "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16).

Since Jesus is demonstrably using hyperbole when he says not to call anyone our father—else we would not be able to refer to our earthly fathers as such—we must read his words carefully and with sensitivity to the presence of hyperbole if we wish to understand what he is saying.

Jesus is not forbidding us to call men "fathers" who actually are such—either literally or spiritually. (See below on the apostolic example of spiritual fatherhood.) To refer to such people as fathers is only to acknowledge the truth, and Jesus is not against that. He is warning people against inaccurately attributing fatherhood—or a particular kind or degree of fatherhood—to those who do not have it.

As the apostolic example shows, some individuals genuinely do have a spiritual fatherhood, meaning that they can be referred to as spiritual fathers. What must not be done is to confuse their form of spiritual paternity with that of God. Ultimately, God is our supreme protector, provider, and instructor. Correspondingly, it is wrong

bob on April 26, 2012:


You are clearly catholic and have been brainwashed. Every catholic pope is going to hell. The catholic church is a false church that doesn't follow the teachings of the bible. There are hundreds of things they do to break Gods commandments but here are a few: Call no man father (priests are called father and the pope holy father), do not worship idols (they bow to statues of mary and the saints), Jesus said the only way to the father is through me (catholics worship mary instead of Jesus).

Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 17, 2012:

I wasn't going to respond to all my commentators but I guess it's time to answer a few of your concerns.

1) I'm fully aware there are good popes but this article is not about good popes. That would be a sorely boring read.

2)Yes, I am aware the Catholic Church has done good things. This article is not a call to arms to kill it. It's only my attempt to highlight the fact the pope is no closer to God than any of us, nothing more nothing less.

3)Yes, I know the Hitler youth was not a voluntary summer job. HOWEVER, if the pope really were the closest person to God and the most moral person on earth he would have refused service and accepted being a martyr. Therefore no pope, logically, could be part of Hitler's youth, in my humble opinion.

4)I have fixed the confusion of names I had towards the end. I am sorry. I must have gotten tired by that time having spent a whole day reading and researching to write this article. It was exhausting.

5)Thank you for all the threats of hell and damnation. I appreciate it. If all the pedophile priests and serial killers are in heaven for repenting than I'd rather be in hell talking to he gays, scientists, and various other heretics anyway. Cheers!

John Jones on April 10, 2012:

Apoligies for error above John xxiii 1958 - 1963

John Jones on April 10, 2012:

I would like to to put the record right for Steve Jones.

John xxiii (antipope)was Pope from 1410 - 1415, he deposed Gregory xii, at the same time there was also Benedict xiii (antipope)who served in Avignon France.The official pope was Gregory. From 4 July 1415 - 11 November 1417 no valid Pope was elected while Gregory, John and Benedict were forced to stand down. Martin V was then elected 11 November 1417 - 20 February 1431.When John xxiii was elected in 1958 it was debated as to should He be John xxiii or John xxiv, however, there was never a Pope John xx so as previous was an antipope the official John xxiii 1958 - 1923.

Joe I am a Catholic and am finding it difficult to understand how you can say that the Church is the truth with it's track record of all the sex offences that have come out in the open, if the church is the truth is it telling its congregation they should follow their example?

Robert Pummer from Kentucky, USA on April 08, 2012:

It may be the universe is not as large as religious gullibility ...

Teneas on April 05, 2012:

"..and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"

Ah on April 04, 2012: opened my mind!

Joe on March 30, 2012:

The great thing about being catholic is, no matter how bad the pope is, the church is still TRUTH. This is how Jesus made it and this is how it is, forever.

Viva il Papa

Frunobulax on March 25, 2012:

Several errors; it was Paul that was suspected of being a closeted misogynist, not Peter. It's our current Pope (Benedict XVII) and not JP2 that was the Hitler Youth; and so on.

But most of it is correct, or close enough for jazz.

Read "Vicars of Christ" for the details:

Davidc on March 24, 2012:

Whatever you may believe. Whatever "side" you are on, there is one thing every Christian knows. The church is not a what, it's a who. Religion is flawed, Jesus is not.

I am not Catholic but cannot put an all or none on the acts of priests. They are supposed to hold a higher position but they are human just like the doctors, teachers, businessmen, and parents out there, that have done and are committing such heinous acts still. It is sad and should be stopped in any profession not solely the Catholic church.

As for the inaccuracies of this "history lesson", this only shows how immature people may act and react on a hub. Everyone is out for blood. I wish this discussion was held in person because on the Internet anyone can say anything and feel safe. Telling someone to "wake up" is something I hear from my adolescent students. Where are the intellectuals? When do we get to live in a world where we finally can be one body even though we have our own ideas? Where will the respect and "one-ness" begin and the "broken- ness" end? As for those who will poke fun at me for my comments, I thank you. You are the ones who remind me to thank my parents everyday for showing me how important class is, no matter my socio-economic status.

To the author, I understand where you were heading with your article. Hopefully you can cross reference your facts with research with historians. I don't believe you were here to poke fun but to show the humanity of those who have a "high status" in the world. Maybe, we can take what we have learned and try to make this place a better world. Next article, you may want to highlight sex-trafficking in the USA and in other parts of the world or genocide in other

countries. Something we all need to remember is that what we write on the Internet makes an impact. We can take this power and use it for good. Have a wonderful spring.

Lee on March 24, 2012:

Peter-gay? Misogynist? First of all, he did say to Jesus "stay away from me Lord, I am a sinful man." Second, he says in 1Peter 3:7, Aramaic Bible "And you men, in this way dwell with your wives by knowledge, and hold them in honor as weaker vessels, lest you be subverted in your prayers, because they also inherit the gift of eternal life with you."

lucille timothy on March 21, 2012:

religion is responsigle for most wars. one side thinks everyone should think like them, religion is the pric of the world. it makes people think in herds. not as individuals. all the people that go to catholic church, after all the pediphels, crime, muder horrible crimes.. shame on one. you are totally ignorant.

viannie on March 06, 2012:

Well, nice information. I am a church history student. A good evaluation requres a two sided dimension. How I wish you write something good about those very popes you have shared with us as being sinful. then your research, argument and analysis will be complete. There are many priests who have done well and have faithfully lieved their celibate life. Why do you give an impression that that all priests are immoral? For you arguments to hold water, I am waiting for another article where the catholic church leaders have done well.

God bless.

Nigeriancatholic on March 03, 2012:

I have taken out time to read almost all the post in here. I think the basis of everything Christ Jesus taught us and represented can be sum up in a singe word "LOVE". Dwelling on the negative is never going to help those that have been hurt in the past. Lets replace the negative with true love for our fellow man. If we all (Catholics,Non-Catholics,Protestants, Orthodox or even Muslims)decide each day to show love and respect each other despite our differences and beliefs the world would be a better place. You can't successfully reach a forward destination by driving backwards or looking at the review mirror whilst you drive a car.

Yes, we learn from the past BUT we shouldn't live in the past.

May God bless and keep us all.

Steve Jones on February 28, 2012:

Your list is poorly researched. First of all, Pope John XXIII did not live in the 15th century; he died in 1963 and shares none of the characteristics of your misplaced picaro. John Paul II was Polish, and was in his twenties when the Nazis invaded Poland. He certainly was not in the Hitler Youth. However, please don't let facts get in the way of your polemic.

In fact, the whole thing seems to labour under the rather facile beleif that wicked popes are something of a skeleton in the closet. The bad popes have been covered a great many times (and, dare I say, with considerable more accuracy and wit than the rather tepid attempt here). You only need to pick up the Acts of the Apostles and Letters of Paul, John and Peter to see that wicked people--including those in leadership positions--have always existed within and around the Church, just as they did within and around Jesus' closest group of friends and acquiantances. There are also a great many Popes who were saints. The Church represents a cross-section of society; it attracts sinners and is indeed for the sinner. Some sinners never rise above their sinfulness and indeed sink deeper into it. That's for God to judge.

What's important is not how many bad popes one can dig up (while I love a good salacious read as the next man) but how each one of us live and treat our fellow man. Many of these wicked popes were guilty of prejudice and spite. Don't you think it is ironic that the whole spirit of this list aims to at the same?

Prayer Soldier on February 26, 2012:

What better way for the evil one to achieve his ends than to create divisions amongst the faithful. What better way to create divisions than to tempt and attack the leadership. What better way to shake the faith of the faithful than to seduce leaders to scandal. We have seen this played over and over in denomination after denomination, not just among Christians of the Catholic faith. So are we to use the failings of other sinful humans as justifications to wander from God? While we confer respect to our religious leaders, we do not worship them, for worship is for God alone. Our faith must not be based upon the abuses of sinners, but upon the perfection of God.

Jesus warned of the abuses of the Pharisees and the Scribes. He was betrayed by one of His own Apostels, so should we be surprised when anyone falls to the temptations of the evil one? Is this a reason we should leave our faith or seek to be wise in our own understanding? We cannot undo the scandals of history, but we can learn from them. We can learn how to avoid temptation and avoid placing our leaders in position of temptations. We can pray that God grants to our leaders the strength to resist temptation so that we are led away from the paths of evil - but we must keep in mind that God has given each of us the choice of whether or not we accept Him in our hearts.

At times, we should seek Him alone, for in those moments we worship Him with all our hearts, all our mind and all our soul. At times, we should seek Him in community, for in those movements, we join in the communion of His creation. This is how we fulfill the greatest of His commandments.

I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to* Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I give thanks [to God] that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. (I baptized the household of Stephanas also; beyond that I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning. (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)

My son, do not forget my teaching, take to heart my commands; For many days, and years of life, and peace, will they bring you. Do not let love and fidelity forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then will you win favor and esteem before God and human beings. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the LORD and turn away from evil; This will mean health for your flesh and vigor for your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce; Then will your barns be filled with plenty, with new wine your vats will overflow. The discipline of the LORD, my son, do not spurn; do not disdain his reproof; For whom the LORD loves he reproves, as a father, the son he favors. (Proverbs 3:1-12)

dot on February 21, 2012:

it was very interesting,doesn't answer my question though why the pope won't help the starving of the world when his cardinals are driving merc's and smoking cigars which ihave seen with my own eye's it's about the hypocrisy of it all, they are full of it,and you don't have to be a scholar to understand they preach a form of worship that is not to be questioned.

Barennis on February 12, 2012:

Any time a man is standing in front of a credulous crowd...all of whom believe he has some sort of special divine permissions (that conveniently cannot be proven with empirical evidence, only "faith" evidence like "feeling it in your heart" crap).....someone is going to get really really rich and a lot of people are going to be really really dead.

Mark on February 03, 2012:

In Three Popes and the Jews Lapide estimated the total number of Jews that had been spared as a result of Pius XII’s throwing the Church’s weight into the clandestine struggle to save them. After totaling the numbers of Jews saved in different areas and deducting the numbers saved by other causes, such as the praiseworthy efforts of some European Protestants, "The final number of Jewish lives in whose rescue the Catholic Church had been the instrument is thus at least 700,000 souls, but in all probability it is much closer to . . . 860,000."[21] This is a total larger than all other Jewish relief organizations in Europe, combined, were able to save. Lapide calculated that Pius XII and the Church he headed constituted the most successful Jewish aid organization in all of Europe during the war, dwarfing the Red Cross and all other aid societies.

This fact continued to be recognized when Pius XII died in 1958. Lapide’s book records the eulogies of a number of Jewish leaders concerning the Pope, and far from agreeing with Jack Chick that he deserved death because of his "war crimes," Jewish leaders praised the man highly:[22]

"We share the grief of the world over the death of His Holiness Pius XII. . . . During the ten years of Nazi terror, when our people passed through the horrors of martyrdom, the Pope raised his voice to condemn the persecutors and to commiserate with their victims" (Golda Meir, Israeli representative to the U.N. and future prime minister of Israel).

"With special gratitude we remember all he has done for the persecuted Jews during one of the darkest periods in their entire history” (Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress).

"More than anyone else, we have had the opportunity to appreciate the great kindness, filled with compassion and magnanimity, that the Pope displayed during the terrible years of persecution and terror" (Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome, following Rabbi Zolli’s conversion).

Finally, let us conclude with a quotation from Lapide’s record that was not given at the death of Pius XII, but was given after the War by the most well-known Jewish figure of this century, Albert Einstein: "Only the Catholic Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty. Up till then I had not been interested in the Church, but today I feel a great admiration for the Church, which alone has had the courage to struggle for spiritual truth and moral liberty."[2

Mark on February 03, 2012:

"The need to refrain from provocative public statements at such delicate moments was fully recognized in Jewish circles. It was in fact the basic rule of all those agencies in wartime Europe who keenly felt the duty to do all that was possible for the victims of Nazi atrocities and in particular for the Jews in proximate danger of deportation to ‘an unknown destination.’ "[9] The negative consequences of speaking out strongly were only too well known.

"In one tragic instance, the Archbishop of Utrecht was warned by the Nazis not to protest the deportation of Dutch Jews. He spoke out anyway and in retaliation the Catholic Jews of Holland were sent to their death. One of them was the Carmelite philosopher, Edith Stein."[10]

While the armchair quarterbacks of anti-Catholic circles may have wished the Pope to issue, in Axis territory and during wartime, ringing, propagandistic statements against the Nazis, the Pope realized that such was not an option if he were actually to save Jewish lives rather than simply mug for the cameras.

The desire to keep a low profile was expressed by the people Pius XII helped. A Jewish couple from Berlin who had been held in concentration camps but escaped to Spain with the help of Pius XII, stated: "None of us wanted the Pope to take an open stand. We were all fugitives, and fugitives do not wish to be pointed at. The Gestapo would have become more excited and would have intensified its inquisitions. If the Pope had protested, Rome would have become the center of attention. It was better that the Pope said nothing. We all shared this opinion at the time, and this is still our conviction today."[11]

While the U.S., Great Britain, and other countries often refused to allow Jewish refugees to immigrate during the war, the Vatican was issuing tens of thousands of false documents to allow Jews to pass secretly as Christians so they could escape the Nazis. What is more, the financial aid Pius XII helped provide the Jews was very real. Lichten, Lapide, and other Jewish chroniclers record those funds as being in the millions of dollars—dollars even more valuable then than they are now.

In late 1943, Mussolini, who had been at odds with the papacy all through his tenure, was removed from power by the Italians, but Hitler, fearing Italy would negotiate a separate peace with the Allies, invaded, took control, and set up Mussolini again as a puppet ruler. It was in this hour, when the Jews of Rome themselves were threatened—those whom the Pope had the most direct ability to help—that Pius XII really showed his mettle.

Joseph Lichten records that on September 27, 1943, one of the Nazi commanders demanded of the Jewish community in Rome payment of one hundred pounds of gold within thirty-six hours or three hundred Jews would be taken prisoner. When the Jewish Community Council was only able to gather only seventy pounds of gold, they turned to the Vatican.

"In his memoirs, the then Chief Rabbi Zolli of Rome writes that he was sent to the Vatican, where arrangements had already been made to receive him as an ‘engineer’ called to survey a construction problem so that the Gestapo on watch at the Vatican would not bar his entry. He was met by the Vatican treasurer and secretary of state, who told him that the Holy Father himself had given orders for the deficit to be filled with gold vessels taken from the Treasury."[12]

Pius XII also took a public stance concerning the Jews of Italy: "The Pope spoke out strongly in their defense with the first mass arrests of Jews in 1943, and L’Osservatore Romano carried an article protesting the internment of Jews and the confiscation of their property. The Fascist press came to call the Vatican paper ‘a mouthpiece of the Jews.’ "[13]

Prior to the Nazi invasion, the Pope had been working hard to get Jews out of Italy by emigration; he now was forced to turn his attention to finding them hiding places. "The Pope sent out the order that religious buildings were to give refuge to Jews, even at the price of great personal sacrifice on the part of their occupants; he released monasteries and convents from the cloister rule forbidding entry into these religious houses to all but a few specified outsiders, so that they could be used as hiding places. Thousands of Jews—the figures run from 4,000 to 7,000—were hidden, fed, clothed, and bedded in the 180 known places of refuge in Vatican City, churches and basilicas, Church administrative buildings, and parish houses. Unknown numbers of Jews were sheltered in Castel Gandolfo, the site of the Pope’s summer residence, private homes, hospitals, and nursing institutions; and the Pope took personal responsibility for the care of the children of Jews deported from Italy."[14]

Rabbi Lapide records that "in Rome we saw a list of 155 convents and monasteries—Italian, French, Spanish, English, American, and also German—mostly extraterritorial property of the Vatican . . . which sheltered throughout the German occupation some 5,000 Jews in Rome. No less than 3,000 Jews found refuge at one time at the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo; sixty lived for nine months at the Jesuit Gregorian University, and half a dozen slept in the cellar of the Pontifical Bible Institute."[15]

Notice in particular that the Pope was not merely allowing Jews to be hidden in different church buildings around Rome. He was hiding them in the Vatican itself and in his own summer home, Castel Gandolfo. His success in protecting Italian Jews against the Nazis was remarkable. Lichten records that after the War was over it was determined that only 8,000 Jews were taken from Italy by the Nazis[16] —far less than in other European countries. In June,1944, Pius XII sent a telegram to Admiral Miklos Horthy, the ruler of Hungary, and was able to halt the planned deportation of 800,000 Jews from that country.

The Pope’s efforts did not go unrecognized by Jewish authorities, even during the War. The Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog, sent the Pope a personal message of thanks on February 28, 1944, in which he said: "The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion which form the very foundations of true civilization, are doing for us unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of divine Providence in this world."[17]

Other Jewish leaders chimed in also. Rabbi Safran of Bucharest, Romania, sent a note of thanks to the papal nuncio on April 7, 1944: "It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the supreme pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews. . . . The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of historic importance."[18]

The Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, also made a statement of thanks: "What the Vatican did will be indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts. . . . Priests and even high prelates did things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism."[19]

After the war, Zolli became a Catholic and, to honor the Pope for what he had done for the Jews and the role he had played in Zolli’s conversion, took the name "Eugenio"—the Pope’s given name—as his own baptismal name. Zolli stressed that his conversion was for theological reasons, which was certainly true, but the fact that the Pope had worked so hard on behalf of the Jews no doubt played a role in inspiring him to look at the truths of Christianity.

Lapide writes: "When Zolli accepted baptism in 1945 and adopted Pius’s Christian name of Eugene, most Roman Jews were convinced that his conversion was an act of gratitude for wartime succor to Jewish refugees and, repeated denials not withstanding, many are still of his opinion. Thus, Rabbi Barry Dov Schwartz wrote in the summer issue, 1964, of Conservative Judaism: ‘Many Jews were persuaded to convert after the war, as a sign of gratitude, to that institution which had saved their lives.’ "[20]

In Three Popes and the Jews Lapide estimated the total numb

Mark on February 03, 2012:

How Pius XII Protected Jews

By Jimmy Akin

The twentieth century was marked by genocides on a monstrous scale. One of the most terrible was the Holocaust wrought by Nazi Germany, which killed an estimated six million European Jews and almost as many other victims.

During this dark time, the Catholic Church was shepherded by Pope Pius XII, who proved himself an untiring foe of the Nazis, determined to save as many Jewish lives as he could. Yet today Pius XII gets almost no credit for his actions before or during the war.

Anti-Catholic author Dave Hunt writes, "The Vatican had no excuse for its Nazi partnership or for its continued commendation of Hitler on the one hand and its thunderous silence regarding the Jewish question on the other hand. . . . [The popes] continued in the alliance with Hitler until the end of the war, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in payments from the Nazi government to the Vatican."[1]

Jack Chick, infamous for his anti-Catholic comic books, tells us in Smokescreens, "When World War II ended, the Vatican had egg all over its face. Pope Pius XII, after building the Nazi war machine, saw Hitler losing his battle against Russia, and he immediately jumped to the other side when he saw the handwriting on the wall. . . . Pope Pius XII should have stood before the judges in Nuremberg. His war crimes were worthy of death."[2]

One is tempted simply to dismiss these accusations, so wildly out of touch with reality, as the deluded ravings of persons with no sense of historical truth. This would underestimate the power of such erroneous charges to influence people: Many take these writers at their word.

Stepping out of the nightmare fantasyland of Hunt and Chick and back into sunlight of the real world, we discover that, not only was Pius XII no friend of the Nazis, but that his opposition to them began years before the War, before he was elected to the papacy, when he was still Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the Vatican Secretary of State.

On April 28, 1935, four years before the War even started, Pacelli gave a speech that aroused the attention of the world press. Speaking to an audience of 250,000 pilgrims in Lourdes, France, the future Pius XII stated that the Nazis "are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of social revolution, whether they are guided by a false concept of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult."[3] It was talks like this, in addition to private remarks and numerous notes of protest that Pacelli sent to Berlin in his capacity as Vatican Secretary of State, that earned him a reputation as an enemy of the Nazi party.

The Germans were likewise displeased with the reigning pontiff, Pius XI, who showed himself to be an unrelenting opponent of the new German "ideals"—even writing an entire encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge (1937), to condemn them. When Pius XI died in 1939, the Nazis abhorred the prospect that Pacelli might be elected his successor.

Dr. Joseph Lichten, a Polish Jew who served as a diplomat and later an official of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, writes: "Pacelli had obviously established his position clearly, for the Fascist governments of both Italy and Germany spoke out vigorously against the possibility of his election to succeed Pius XI in March of 1939, though the cardinal secretary of state had served as papal nuncio in Germany from 1917 to 1929. . . . The day after his election, the Berlin Morgenpost said: ‘The election of cardinal Pacelli is not accepted with favor in Germany because he was always opposed to Nazism and practically determined the policies of the Vatican under his predecessor.’ "[4]

Former Israeli diplomat and now Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Pinchas Lapide states that Pius XI "had good reason to make Pacelli the architect of his anti-Nazi policy. Of the forty-four speeches which the Nuncio Pacelli had made on German soil between 1917 and 1929, at least forty contained attacks on Nazism or condemnations of Hitler’s doctrines. . . . Pacelli, who never met the Führer, called it ‘neo-Paganism.’ "[5]

A few weeks after Pacelli was elected pope, the German Reich’s Chief Security Service issued a then-secret report on the new Pope. Rabbi Lapide provides an excerpt:

"Pacelli has already made himself prominent by his attacks on National Socialism during his tenure as Cardinal Secretary of State, a fact which earned him the hearty approval of the Democratic States during the papal elections. . . . How much Pacelli is celebrated as an ally of the Democracies is especially emphasized in the French Press."[6]

Unfortunately, joy in the election of a strong pope who would continue Pius XI’s defiance of the Nazis was darkened by the ominous political developments in Europe. War finally came on September 1, 1939, when German troops overran Poland. Two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany.

Early in 1940, Hitler made an attempt to prevent the new Pope from maintaining the anti-Nazi stance he had taken before his election. He sent his underling, Joachim von Ribbentrop, to try to dissuade Pius XII from following his predecessor’s policies. "Von Ribbentrop, granted a formal audience on March 11, 1940, went into a lengthy harangue on the invincibility of the Third Reich, the inevitability of a Nazi victory, and the futility of papal alignment with the enemies of the Führer. Pius XII heard von Ribbentrop out politely and impassively. Then he opened an enormous ledger on his desk and, in his perfect German, began to recite a catalogue of the persecutions inflicted by the Third Reich in Poland, listing the date, place, and precise details of each crime. The audience was terminated; the Pope’s position was clearly unshakable."[7]

The Pope secretly worked to save as many Jewish lives as possible from the Nazis, whose extermination campaign began its most intense phase only after the War had started. It is here that the anti-Catholics try to make their hay: Pius XII is charged either with cowardly silence or with outright support of the Nazi extermination of millions of Jews.

Much of the impetus to smear the Vatican regarding World War II came, appropriately enough, from a work of fiction—a stage play called The Deputy, written after the War by a little-known German Protestant playwright named Rolf Hochhuth.

The play appeared in 1963, and it painted a portrait of a pope too timid to speak out publicly against the Nazis. Ironically, even Hochhuth admitted that Pius XII was materially very active in support of the Jews. Historian Robert Graham explains: "Playwright Rolf Hochhuth criticized the Pontiff for his (alleged) silence, but even he admitted that, on the level of action, Pius XII generously aided the Jews to the best of his ability. Today, after a quarter-century of the arbitrary and one-sided presentation offered the public, the word ‘silence’ has taken on a much wider connotation. It stands also for ‘indifference,’ ‘apathy,’ ‘inaction,’ and, implicitly, for anti-Semitism."[8]

Hochhuth’s fictional image of a silent (though active) pope has been transformed by the anti-Catholic rumor mill into the image of a silent and inactive pope—and by some even into an actively pro-Nazi monster. If there were any truth to the charge that Pius XII was silent, the silence would not have been out of moral cowardice in the face of the Nazis, but because the Pope was waging a subversive, clandestine war against them in an attempt to save Jews.

"The need to refrain from provocative public statements at such delicate moments was fully recognized in Jewish circles. It was in fact the basic rule of all those agencies in wartime Europe who keenly felt the duty to do all that was possible for the victims of Nazi atrocities and in particular for the Jews in proximate danger of deportation to ‘an unknown destination.’ "[9] The negative consequences of speaking out strongly were only too well known.

"In one tragic instance, the Archbishop of Ut

Mark on February 03, 2012: Full article on the link website. This is just an excerpt. The role of the Catholic Church in Western civilization has been intricately intertwined with the history and formation of Western society. Through its long history, the church has been a major source of social services like schooling and medical care; inspiration for Western art, culture and philosophy; and influential player in politics and religion. In various ways it has sought to affect Western attitudes to vice and virtue in diverse fields. It has, over many centuries, promulgated the teachings of Jesus within the Western World and remains a source of continuity linking modern Western culture to classical Western culture.

While the West is no longer universally Catholic, the Catholic heritage remains strong in Western countries: festivals like Easter and Christmas are marked universally as public holidays; Pope Gregory XIII's Gregorian Calendar has been adopted internationally as the civil calendar; and time itself is measured by the West from the assumed date of the birth of the Church's founder, Jesus of Nazareth: the Year One AD (Anno Domini).

The cultural influence of the Church has been vast. Church scholars, virtually alone, preserved literacy in Western Europe following the Fall of Rome. During the Middle Ages, the Church rose to replace the Roman Empire as the unifying force in Europe. The cathedrals of that age remain among the most iconic feats of architecture produced by Western civilization. Many of Europe's universities were also founded by the church at that time. The Reformation brought an end to religious unity in the West, but the Renaissance masterpieces produced by Catholic artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael at that time remain among the most celebrated works of art ever produced. Similarly, Catholic sacred music by composers like Beethoven, Mozart, Verdi, Vivaldi and Shubert is among the most admired classical music in the Western canon.

The papacy has been intricately involved in European politics: Pope Leo the Great met Attila the Hun in 452, and persuaded him to turn back from his invasion of Italy; Pope Leo III proclaimed Charlemagne as King of the Romans at the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire; Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage of Henry VIII, thus prompting the English Reformation; and Pope John Paul II is widely credited as having hastened the Collapse of Communism in Europe. Rivalry between princes and popes and theological disputes contributed to several political conflicts in Western history, but the papacy also acted as peace broker and arbiter between rival rulers. From the harsh practices of the Spanish Inquisition to the suppression of the ideas of Galileo Galilei, many criticisms of actions by the church and its role in Western societies have been made, however right into the modern era, the church has positioned itself to influence topical debates: from the 1839 papal condemnation of slavery, to 1937's papal attack on Nazism, to Pope John Paul II's condemnations of the Iraq War of 2003,

The Bible and Catholic theology have also strongly influenced Western philosophers and political activists. The teachings of Jesus, such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, are among the important sources for modern notions of Human Rights and the welfare measures commonly provided by governments in the West. Long held Catholic teachings on sexuality and marriage have also been both influential and (in recent times) controversial.

Catholicism played a role in ending practices such as human sacrifice, slavery,[1] infanticide and polygamy.[2]Christianity in general affected the status of women by condemning infanticide (female infants were more likely to be killed), divorce, incest, polygamy, birth control, abortion and marital infidelity.[3] While official Church teaching[4] considers women and men to be complementary (equal and different), some modern "advocates of ordination of women and other feminists" argue that teachings by St. Paul, the Fathers of the Church and Scholastic theologians advanced the notion of a divinely ordained female inferiority.[5] Nevertheless, women have played prominent roles in Western history through the Catholic church, particularly in education and healthcare, but also as influential theologians and mystics. The important status of the Virgin Mary gave notions of maternal virtue and compassion a place at the heart of Western civilization.

While the Church has clashed throughout history with rival Western forces like paganism, orthodoxy, protestantism and communism and its influence is much diminished from its zenith, the Catholic heritage of the West nevertheless remains. Catholicism is still the majority religion of several major western countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Italy, France, Spain, and Poland and it is the religious affiliation of a significant and growing minority in countries like the United States and Australia.

Joseph on January 30, 2012:

I thought Atheism is contrary to the existence of God, rather than silly gossip on which pope did what. Trash talk normally comes from fear and jealousy just a boy in love with a girl and not being able to say he snaps at her and thinks she is annoying kinda thing ...

One ought not to waste time attacking that which is supposedly inferior otherwise one lowers themselves to the level of that which at first glance appeared inferior. Out of the bounty of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Catholics love these popes, let them be. Attacking them here changes nothing HOW about in your turn you love Nietzsche (well before the period of the insane letters and the madness of course) and Dawkins the Atheist high priest.

eccles from Queensland, Australia on January 27, 2012:

Pope John Paul II definitely NOT Hitler youth, but he was a Freemason.

Pius XII as Cardinal Pacelli was Hitler's mate. He and Franz von Papen signed the Reichkonkordat.

Hitler was put into power by the Jesuits. Hiter had been educated at a Jesuit school in Vienna. "Mein Kampf" was ghost written by Fr. Bernhardt Stempfle S.J. when he and Hitler were in prison together. Himmler, Jesuit educated based the SS on the ideas of the Jesuits.

culchiewoman on January 27, 2012:

Mark said:

"Didn't the CAtholic Church produce Canon Law which predates European Civil LAw or the First University which is in Bologna, Italy. The First University was founded by the CAtholic Church also in PAris, Oxford and Bologna."

Canon Law did not precede Brehon law, but that didn't stop the Roman Church from destroying it, and Ireland along with it. Christianit (and certainly not the Roman Catholic version) did not precede other religions or belief systems. They just beat or tricked it out of those who practised it.

And now we reap what was sown. Great piece, Theophanes.

Let them get married on December 17, 2011:

this is because of the Christian religion rules for the pops to not marry if he is pope.

so the simple solution is let the pop get marry and live them peacefully. they are human beings, they have their natural needs as all of us has, they could not posses high values until they get married.

stop expecting super natural characteristics from them.

they are normal humans.

Catholic on December 16, 2011:

he aggressive delusion amongst the Muslims that the lands which they overrun once, always remain Muslim

There is an aggressive delusion amongst the Muslims that the lands which they overrun once, always remain Muslim lands. While the Muslims have a birthright to invade any non-Muslim land on the pretext of converting the non-Muslim population to Islam, the victims of the Muslim invasion have no right to eject the Muslims! They have to meekly subject to the will of the Muslims, who invoke the name of a fantasy they called allah.


Pelayo - the first Reconquistador

After the Battle of Guadalete river in 711, the Moors had conquered most of Southern and Central Iberia within five years. The reconquest began almost immediately in 718 with the defeat of the Muslim army at the battle of Alcama by the Visigoth chieftain Pelayo who was one of the few survivors of the battle of the Guadalete river.


The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem was an example of a land occupied by the Muslim invaders that was liberated by the Crusaders and was again re-occupied by the Barbarian Muslims

If the non-Muslims ever regain the land, the Muslims term it an "occupation" and are called upon to wage an everlasting battle to subjugate the non-Muslims once again, till they submit to the rule of Islam and the lands once again are a part of Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam).

The most glaring example of such re-imposition of a Muslim occupation on lands liberated by Christian forces, is that of the kingdom of Jerusalem, that was set-up by the Crusades after they liberated the land from the stranglehold of the Muslims in the 11th century.

The Muslims had earlier occupied the Middle East in the 7th century, subjugating the local Christian population and forcibly converting it to Islam. The Muslim adventurer, Saladin, re-occupied it in the 13th century, returning Jerusalem to Muslim barbarism once again

Israel is another such example of a land that was occupied by the Muslim that has now been liberated by the Jewish people.

Israel is like a fishbone stuck in the Arab throat and howsoever hard the Arabs try they have not been able to eject Israel. This fishbone Israel, makes the Arabs and Muslim breathless and they have been seething with impotent rage to regain the ancient land of the Jewish people which the Muslims want to devour once again thru the Intifada and the Right to Return

That the Muslims can never reconcile to any land being liberated from their tyranny is seen today in the cannibalistic instincts they display to devour the state of Israel. The Muslims have an uncanny ability to multiply their ranks through dog-like breeding, where one Muslim male can have four wives. And he is not limited to having four wives in his lifetime, he can have four at one point in time. He can divorce one and get one more added to his harem to beget innumerable offspring.


Queen Isabelle and King Ferdinand lead the Reconqusitadors towards Granada. The Spanish Reconquista, in the Middle Ages, was the most successful example of a European answer to Muslim expansionism.


The lecherous pedophile prophet of Islam Mohammed-ibn-abdallah had 16 wives. And the Muslim sultans over the ages have stuffed their harems with thousands of wives from the victims of the conquered populations. The sole purpose was to humiliate the defeated enemy, satisfy Muslim lust and procreate endless children who were brought up as Muslims - to add to the number of blood-thirsty murderers.

With these baby creating factories not only did the Muslims breed like rats, but they also treated their wives and concubines (Muslim ladies) worse than cattle. Till today, the Muslims look upon a wife as only a devise given by some allah to beget children, and more the merrier. This why Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world

The lecherous mass-murderer prophet of Islam, has said that no abortion or use of contraceptives is allowed to regulate the growth of population. So the Muslims keep multiplying like mosquitoes and one hundred Muslims turn into one thousand in just one decade. With such monstrous fertility rates, they can inundate any land with their blood-thirsty progeny in no time and then say that the land is a Muslim majority land.

This strategy is seen in action today, when that tricky Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), the President of the Palestinian gang wants the teeming multiplied population of Arab Muslims to inundate Israel and reduce the Jewish population to a minority so that the State of Israel can be destroyed. This is what the Muslims, whose instincts are at an animal level want to do, so they can re-occupy the ancestral homeland which was liberated by the Jewish people in 1948.

Why Osama Bin Laden wants Muslims to re-occupy Al Andalus (Spain)

This is same mentality why that bearded satan, Osama Bin Laden wants Muslims to re-occupy Al Andalus (Spain). Spain is one example where the Muslims were able to sink their claws in for eight hundred years before they were thrown out by the heroic fighters of the Spanish re-conquista. The last sigh of the Moriscos (Moors) still makes the Muslim aggressors breathless, and they pine for the re-occupation of Spain.


A Spanish Reconquistador.

Christian European forces battled incessantly for eight hundred years and eventually liberated the entire Iberian Peninsula, permanently from Muslim tyranny.


The Spanish Reconquista, in the Middle Ages, was the most successful example of a European answer to Muslim expansionism. Christian European forces battled incessantly for eight hundred years and eventually liberated the entire Iberian Peninsula, permanently from Muslim tyranny. The origins of the movement, however, were exceedingly modest.

After the Battle of Guadalete river in 711, the Moors had conquered most of Southern and Central Iberia within five years. The reconquest began almost immediately in 718 with the defeat of the Muslim army at the battle of Alcama by the Visigoth chieftain Pelayo who was one of the few survivors of the battle of the Guadalete river.

Pelayo refused to accept Islamic overlordship of his homeland. He escaped capture at the battle of Guadalete, where he was a member of the Visigothic King Rodrigo's bodyguard, and returned to his native Asturias in the northern part of Spain. He soon became the leader of a rebellion against Munuza, the Moorish governor of the area. He was captured in 717 and imprisoned by the Moors, but soon escaped and returned to Asturias, where he defeated Munuza and established the Kingdom of Asturias in 718, with its capital at Cangas de Onis.

In accordance with Visigothic custom, he was elected as his nation's first king by a vote of his countrymen. For a few years after that, Pelayo's kingdom was always under the threat of extinction, as he was facing attacks from Muslim forces much stronger than his own.

It wasn't until 722 that his kingdom was secured, when a powerful Muslim force sent to conquer Asturias once and for all was defeated by Pelayo at the Battle of Covadonga. Today, this is regarded as the first Christian victory of the Reconquista. The Muslims, ungracious in their defeat, as usual, described Pelayo and his men as "thirty wild donkeys" in their chronicles. But this itself tells a story. Pelayo, with a small band of brave warriors had tamed the Muslims. Pelayo's was a story of bravery matching that of King Arthur and Robin Hood.


Statues of the Reconquistadors.

The Spanish and Portuguese have kept alive the memories of the valiant struggles their ancestors waged against the Muslims to regain their homeland. The Reconquista is re-enacted through floats and plays during every carnival throughout Spain, Portugal and Latin America


Pelayo had won independence for his country. Pelayo died in 737. His son Favila succeeded him as king but could not enjoy the throne f

Catholic on December 16, 2011:

Understand history by context

I’m currently reading Jon Manchip White’s excellent, if under appreciated, Cortés and the Downfall of the Aztec Empire. The encounter between the Spanish and the Aztecs is one of the most interesting episodes in human history. On the eve of the Spanish Conquest, civilization in the Americas had been isolated from the rest of humanity for at least 60,000 years, were roughly 4,500 years technologically behind European cultures, and had developed advanced urban societies completely alien to Europeans. It’s doubtful that history has seen another encounter between two peoples with so little in common, or one so violent- over the course of the conquest, the Spanish conquistadores and their indigenous allies likely killed over one hundred thousand Aztecs by hand. One Spanish chronicler recounts forty thousand Aztecs killed in a single battle, though this is possibly an exaggeration. This brutality extends to the Spanish reaction to the Aztec religious tradition, which the conquistadors violently eradicated. Modern popular history, both in Mexico and the rest of the world, tend to demonize Cortés for this slaughter. This blame is partially justified — though the vast majority of American indigenous deaths in the centuries after the European contact were due to the introduction of European diseases, the conquest of the Americas is still one of the greatest catastrophes in human history. But blaming the conquistadors for their brutality ignores the reality of the world they inhabited. Cortés was a product of a world universally at war, and the idea of religious coexistence had no basis in their world.

Cortés and his companions lived in a world of two religions- Christianity and Islam. In the eyes of Cortés Christianity, specifically Catholicism, was the one faith of civilization, while Islam was the deadly religion of aggressive fanatics that threatened to overrun all of the civilized world. This worldview wasn’t bigoted, but was rather an accurate reaction to the world a 16th century Spaniard inhabited. Europeans saw the Islam they encountered, with good reason, as aggressive and an existential threat to Christendom. Cortés and his men had experienced this conflict firsthand in Spain’s centuries long battle to evict the Moors, and also through stories of the seemingly unstoppable Turkish advance into Eastern Europe. In 16th century Spaniard’s worldview only two religions were even possible- the true Catholic religion of civilization, and that of barbarians. The Aztec religion clearly fell in to the latter category, and had to be destroyed. It’s telling that in Cortés’ dispaches to the Spanish emperor he refers to Aztec temples as “mosques.” The Aztecs didn’t build churches, so their religion and society was as much a threat as that of the Moors.

It is not surprising that no Spaniards questioned the narrative that it was their religious duty to conquer and forcibly convert the Americas. The idea that different religious beliefs could peacefully coexist was completely alien to the 16th century. While the Protestant reformation had begun in Germany 2 years before Cortés’ expedition into the Aztec Empire, it’s doubtful that he or any of his men were aware of it. To Cortés and his companions, the world was neatly divided into two competing sects — civilized Christendom and Islam. Cortés was aware that other religious practices existed among Indian tribes that the Spanish had already encountered, but these practices were likely easy to dismiss as petty witchcraft rather than developed religious traditions equal in theological rigor to Christianity. Similarly, Cortés and the rest of contemporary Spain deeply admired their Roman predecessors, who were clearly non-Christian. However, the religions of the ancient Romans and contemporary Indians were only academic interests — to practical Spanish soldiers, what mattered in the world was the apocalyptic confrontation between Christianity and Islam, or civilization and barbarism.

It’s not surprising that the Spaniards reacted to the Aztecs with such brutality. In addition to their motives of conquest, the Aztec religion was as organized and codified as Christianity, making it, unlike the unorganized religious practices of the Caribbean natives, a threat that the Spaniards’ experience with an aggressive Islam demanded they react aggressively against. This worldview of zero-sum cultural competition was undoubtably strengthened by the undeniably horrible aspects of the Aztec religion like human sacrifice, practices that, despite the Spaniards’ own appetite for violence and sadism, disgusted the conquistadors. The point is that we shouldn’t judge the Spaniards’ brutal conquest. Their actions were a product of their culture, a culture that grew out of a world more violent than we can really understand. The unified Spanish state was forged in the desperate struggle against the Moors, and we shouldn’t judge contemporary Spanish culture for its brutality and religious fanaticism, a fanaticism that was the natural reaction to a violent world. In many ways modern Latin America was born from the long brutal war between the Spanish and the Moors- we shouldn’t be surprised that the birth was violent.

Catholic on December 16, 2011:

To understand more about the Crusades read this website:

Catholic on December 16, 2011:

labor of avenging these wrongs and of recovering this territory incumbent, if not upon you?” (6)

6. Dana C. Munro, “Urban and the Crusaders”, Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, Vol. 1:2, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1895), 5-8

Such descriptions raised the indignation of the multitudes and inspired an inevitable response. The general view was that the Crusade was justified as a defensive reaction to injuries sustained by the faithful in consequence of past or present aggressions. The Crusaders were protecting the right and possibility of pilgrims to go to the Holy Land.

The positive religious factor: Feelings about Jerusalem

A principal goal of the Crusade in the minds of the people was the liberation of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was more than a symbolic military or economic institution, like the Pentagon or the World Trade Center. Jerusalem was a living relic of Christendom, the site on earth where God chose to intervene in History to become incarnate and to redeem man. “Those places where the Lord’s feet have trod,” wrote James of Vitry, “are held by the faithful to be holy and consecrated and as precious relics” (7). Here, near Nablus was the well where He had rested and received the pitcher of water from the Samaritan woman. There, at the River Jordan, Christ had been baptized. At Bethlehem was the sacred site of His Birth. Now these sites were being desecrated and reviled, the churches and sacred vessels pillaged and plundered. For medieval man, to defend Jerusalem from such acts of profanation was the natural consequence of his great love of God.

crusades.jpg - 57580 Bytes

Pope Urban II called for a Crusade at Clermont in 1095 and gave a plenary indulgence to the fighters

When Pope Urban II preached the Crusade at Clermont, he described the desecration by the Muslims of the Holy Land, and especially the Holy Sepulchre:

“Let the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord our Savior, which is possessed by unclean nations, especially incite you, and the holy places which are now treated with ignominy and irreverently polluted with their filthiness” (8).

7. James of Vitry, Historia, I, p. 1081 in J.S.C. Riley-Smith, “Peace Never Established: The Case of the Kingdom of Jerusalem,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Sept. 15, 1977, p. 89.

8. Munro, “Urban and the Crusaders,” pp. 5-8

This caused great outrage, in part because the average Western European was better acquainted with the Bible lands, as they called them, than any place other than their own villages and towns. The Holy Land was the Christians’ “other home.” When the great cry “Deus vult” (God wills it!) broke forth, it was the zealous response of fervent Christians who felt their religious symbols and heritage violated.

This call for a war to defend the religious patrimony of all Christendom quickly reverberated throughout the West, and initiated a great alliance of kingdoms who came together to fight a common threat to the West.

A threat to very existence of Western Civilization

What was this actual threat to the West?

By the end of the 11th century, the Muslim Turks had turned their attention to Asia Minor. The conquering Muslim hordes swept through the Christian East, and finally turned toward Constantinople. The new Emperor, Alexius Comnenus, realized his weakened state and appealed to Western Christendom for help to protect his crumbling empire.

The Christian West, which had launched the Reconquista of the Iberian kingdoms in the 8th century, were already combating the Almohades Muslims, ferocious and fanatical Arab invaders from Morocco, on their own soil. The threat of the fall of the Eastern Christian capital, Constantinople, to the Turks would leave the West vulnerable to an attack from a united and strong Arab front in the East. Convinced that the menace of Islam threatened the existence of Western civilization and that he alone had the power to organize a large expeditionary force to defend Christianity from the Muslim advance, Pope Urban II made a call to the nobility of Western Europe.

The response to Pope Urban II’s plea was overwhelming. Large numbers answered the call with great enthusiasm and streamed eastward in several waves. Beyond all reasonable expectations, the Crusaders retook Jerusalem on July 15, 1099 (9), establishing several Crusader states that would last for almost two centuries.

9. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades, ed. Jonathan Riley-Smith, (Oxford/NY: Oxford Un. Press, 1995, p. 141.

Heroic undertaking in the service of a great ideal

The Crusades left a positive mark on the Western imagination. The very expression, crusade, became and has remained synonymous with heroic endeavors in the service of a great ideal. As recently as last month, President George Bush adapted the term to the present situation and called for a “crusade” against international terrorism.

For medieval man, the Crusade was an act of piety and love of God and neighbor. But it was also a means of defending their world, their culture, their religion, and their way of life. Then, as today, men fight for what is most dear to them. Then, as today, it is the right thing to do.

How, then, does one explain the anti-crusade movement in our country? A point of reference would be the pacifist minorities who zealously promote it here and there, often on university campuses. They represent the most deleterious segments of public opinion – communists, hippies, homosexuals, ecologists, feminists, liberal religious, etc., and their voices are echoed loudly in the media. Their obvious goal is to discredit the Catholic Church and her past heroes. It would be difficult to understand how the anti-crusade movement has managed to impose its unhistorical and distorted theses so profoundly on the Western mentality, except for the fact that it was accomplished with the full support of the progressivist current in the Church. But this is yet another topic, better left for discussion in a separate article.

Catholic on December 16, 2011:

Understanding the Crusades

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.

Modern history’s judgment on the Crusades has been severe and myopic, set as it is on portraying this glorious episode of Christian history as morally evil. When I praise the Middle Ages, I sometimes have young Catholics defiantly respond, “All right, all right. But how do you justify the Crusades?” Indoctrinated by revisionist history books and inter-religious study courses, they have accepted the false verdict that the Crusades were nothing more than a condemnable act of intolerance in the name of God.

Further, many of these youth have been adversely influenced by innumerable apologies for the Crusades from so many high-placed Catholic Prelates, religious, and educators of the post-Vatican II progressivist Church. Let me give only a few examples:

* During a visit to Syria this year (2001), Pope John Paul II himself visited a mosque and asked forgiveness of the Muslims “for Christian offenses and violence of the past” (1)

* On July 15, 1999, the 900th anniversary of the fall of Jerusalem to the Crusaders, a party of Christians, claiming to be acting in the name of Christ and as supposed descendents of Crusaders, paraded round the wall of the Old City to publicize a personal apology to Muslims for the Crusades (2).

This small incident says a lot: A new Catholic high school in San Juan Capistrano (CA) chose the team name Crusaders, only to have the name vetoed by the board because “it would be offensive to Muslims, who were targets of the bloody crusades of the Middle Ages “ (3).

1. Unease exists within the Church itself over the constant apologies of the Pope for the Church. In its article on the papal apology, The Christian Science Monitor reports, “Commentator Vittorio Messori wrote in yesterday’s prestigious Corriere della Sera daily, that there is a part of the Roman Curia that says, ‘John Paul II is distorting the past of the Church, is risking exposing it to humiliations, is paying his respects to its persecutors, is interpreting ecumenism as syncretism, in which one religion seems to be good as any other.” Richard L. Wentworth, “Pope on a mission of contrition,” The Christian Science Monitor, May 8, 2001.

2. “An Apology, 900 years in the making,” Christianity Today, September 6, 1999.

3. “Crusaders Lose before Joining Battle,” Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2001, B6.

To accept blame when one is at fault is, or course, good. But in the above cases, the apologizers and reconciliators only show that they have misinterpreted history.

First, they do not understand what motivated the West to a just war: The Crusades were waged to recover the Holy Sepulchre, which had become the target of constant profanation by the Muslims, for the defense of Christian pilgrims, and for the recovery of Christian territory. They constituted a defensive reaction against the Islamic threat.

Second, they do not understand the aggressive nature and fanaticism of Islam (founded by Mohammed, who lived from about 570 to 632 AD), which had been in conflict with Christianity since the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, and had as its goal the imposition of its religion and Mohammedan law on all Europe.

Pope is mosque in Damascus.jpg - 30562 Bytes

May 6, 2001 - In the mosque in Damascus John Paul II greets the grand mufti and asks forgiveness for the past

The anger, frustration and fear roused in all Americans at the September 11 attack on the East Coast provide an opportunity to make the Crusades more comprehensible. There are surprising parallels between the two events. Both then and now, there were

1. the peril of losing valuable religious principles, such as freedom of worship;

2. a perceived physical threat to fellow countrymen;

3. the injury experienced at losing a landmark site;

4. the sense that what is at stake is nothing less than the survival of Western civilization.

Those who rant and rave against the Crusades may soon find the ground shifting beneath them as they share in a new consensus, which, at base, is not so different from that which supported the medieval religious war they are condemning. Today’s call for a war on moral grounds is not so different from that of the Pope who called on Christians throughout Europe to come to the defense of Christendom “out of love of God and their neighbor” (4).

4. Jonathan Riley-Smith, What were the Crusades? (London, 1977), pp. 13-14.

A threat to fellow Christians

Since the third century, a favorite site of pilgrimage for Christians was the Holy Land. When Islam burst out of Arabia and took control of the Middle East in the seventh century, pilgrimages to the Holy Land became more difficult, but never ceased.

But the great age of pilgrimage began with the 10th century. In Palestine, the most beloved site of pilgrimage, the lot of the Christians was no longer so bad, and men and women of every class and age, sometimes travelling in parties numbering thousands, journeyed by sea or the land route to visit “the Sepulchre of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.” The Fatimid Arabs who were governing Palestine were lenient, trade was prospering, and pilgrims were welcomed for the wealth they brought to the province.

This period of relative peace came to an abrupt halt at the end of the 10th century. The Arabs were displaced as governors of the holy places by the Seljuk Turks, who reinvigorated the dwindling military spirit of Islam, and again made the call for jihad, or holy war. Their aim was the same as it has been since the inception of Islam, which does not mean “peace,” despite the strange and insistent claims of this seen in the newspapers today.

In fact, the word Islam means submission, and not just a passive submission to the book of Islam, the Koran. Submission for the followers of Mohammed means to carry out the will of Allah in history. The Muslim doctrine of the jihad, or holy war, stemmed from the ideas of the prophet himself—that is, that it was Allah’s will for a permanent war to reign until the rule of Islam extended over all the world. Hence Islam’s political domination could be, and was, spread by the sword. This is why Hillaire Belloc predicted almost a century ago that the West could again see a threat from Islam:

“It very nearly destroyed us. It kept up the battle against Christendom actively for a thousand years, and the story is by no means over; the power of Islam may at any moment re-arise” (5).

5. Hillaire Belloc, The Great Heresies, Chapter Four

But, back to the history. By the second half of the 11th century, the Turks had brandished the sword and were creating considerable hardships for Western pilgrims in the East. Travel was no longer safe for Christian pilgrims without an armed escort, and even then, Christians who managed to return to the West had dreadful tales of persecution to tell.

When the call for a Crusade was finally made by Blessed Pope Urban II at Clermont in 1095, he stressed the outrages suffered by fellow Christians at the hands of the militant Muslims:

“They [the Muslim Turks] have invaded the lands of those Christians and have depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; they have led away a part of the captives into their own country, and a part they have destroyed by cruel tortures .… They circumcise the Christians, and the blood of the circumcision they either spread upon the altars or pour into the vases of the baptismal font. When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels, and dragging forth the extremity of the intestines, bind it to a stake; then with flogging they lead the victim around until the viscera having gushed forth the victim falls prostrate upon the ground. Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows. Others they compel to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords, attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow. What shall I say of the abominable rape of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent .… On whom therefore is the

Sasha on November 20, 2011:

Theophanes, I'm glad you're laughing in this life, because you'll be wailing and gnashing your teeth in the next...

emet on September 19, 2011:

stavros on September 01, 2011:

The truth is the Catholic Church has participated in genocide, rape, particularly poedophilia, murder, violence and debauchery of all types - the exact details of when and in what context are unimportant. At the gross level-the colonisation of the Americas, inquisitions and the Galileo shame to name but a few.

I understand that the church has done many good things as well, most clearly noted on this thread a few posts upstream, but I understand that the people who have exposed some of the prior scandals are asking us to think about Catholicism more honestly.

You should not be trying to excuse or minimise the church's abuses while you remind us of its utility to society - arguably, law development, spiritual guidance, scholarly writings, education and so on.

I also note that there are some kind, good Christians here just trying to adapt some of the Hermeneutical principles of spirituality to prayer. Love your neighbour, own your own propensity for aggression, remember you're imperfect, a 'sinner' and only so human, not 'holier than thou'.

So--I'm a behavioural scientist--and I see that it is only human for corruption to be emergent in any institution. The human face of sociopathy and psychopathy are contextual. Ask Hitler and his cronies about that! Most of them were not psychopaths but had a period of ghoulish, gross self-serving, sociopathic narcissism 'the Superior race were the Aryans' and all that horrible self-deception.

So--let's just learn from the mistakes of all the humans before us, inlcuding the Catholic ones.

Arguingwithreality on August 22, 2011:

great post!

Perhaps people just need to look inwards and find belief in themselves rather than looking for something outside of them. That would be a start. An external force telling you how to live your life, preaching what's right and what's wrong? That takes the power away from the individual and it teaches them that they are incapable of making a sound decision by themselves.

To say "priests/popes are only human" is a bit of a cop-out. Hitler was human, how many people still believe in him? How many people look past the evil he did and praise him? 6 million Jews? Work out the math. Back in the crusades there wasn't that kind of population on the planet but i bet the amount murdered is something similar in relation to the population at the time (no i haven't worked it out and yes it is only my opinion).

In my opinion (and that's all it is) the Catholic Church has done some good. BUT it has abused its powers and you don't have to go back to the dark ages to see that. It's done some pretty horrific things and if the teachings are of love, forgiveness and tolerance then they've failed. You can't use the excuse of "They're only human" because these are the same people preaching love and tolerance.

pedophilia is a crime. covering it up is a crime. making victims feel like they've done wrong to bring those crimes into the public domain is sick.

Why is the pope immune to prosecution? After all, he's just a human?

Catholic on July 16, 2011:

Thomas Woods' book titled HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILD WESTERN CIVILIZATION is an unanswerable antidote to anti-Catholic bashers and their mindless sychophants. Prof. Woods provides a compelling case that Western Civilization could not have thrived without the valuable achievements of the Catholic Church over the past 2,000 years.

Prof. Woods survey of the Catholic Church in late Ancient History and during the Dark Ages makes clear that the Catholic Church authorities and especially the monks were invaluable in preserving learning. He makes clear that the early Catholic monks and nuns were the only literate people in Europe, and they preserved learning by handcopying books and teaching. Prof. Woods' treatment of this historical episode gives the thoughtful reader an insight as to how crucial those who were in religious orders were to European recovery.

Prof. Woods' chapter on Medieval universities is solid. He gives the conditions under which teachers and students operated and makes clear that the "Age of Scholasticism" was an intllectually vibrant age. The books gives examples of the curriculum and the emphasis on logic and reason both in learning and solving intellectual issues. The Age of Reason actually began in the Medieval Catholic universities rather than in the 17th and 18th centuries. Prof. Woods' evaluation of Medieval Scholasticism compares favorably with John Baldwin's THE SCHOLATIC CULTURE OF THE MIDDE AGES, 1000-1300.

Chapter five of this book undermines the notion that the Catholic authorities tried to undermine scientific study. For example, Prof. Woods cites numerous examples of Catholic university officials supporting scientific study and lending considerable resources to the study of astronomy. He also gives an honest assessement of the trial of Galileo who was also highly praised by Catholic authorties including the Pope. This reviewer learned for the first time that the Jesuits started the study of seismology. This chapter is important because it undermines the false notion that the Catholic Church was against science. One should note that many scientific advances that are taken for granted and which are important originated with the Catholic Church.

Not only did the Catholic Church make invaluable contributions in science and philosopy, but Prof. Woods presents an abundence of evidence of the valuable contributions that the Catholic Church made in developing both Canon Law and the concepts of natural and legal rights. These chapters are especially important in that they clearly prove that the Catholic jurists had meticulous concern for the rights of individuals including those who were not Catholic. This thesis is proven beyond doubt in chapters nine, ten, and eleven.

Prof. Woods presents a historical case of what happens in "A World Without God" which is the title of the book's conclusion. The twentieth century is thus far history's bloodiest century. The absence of moral codes except that of what the state dictates without religious convictions, convictions taught by the Catholic Church, presents historical tragedy.

Prof. Woods could have written a five foot book shelf on the crucial role of the Catholic Church in creating Western Civilization. Those who want to know more should consult the bibliography at the end of the book HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILT WESTERN CIVILIZATION which is a good bibliography. This reviewer would have included Regine Pernoud's book titled THOSE TERRIBLE MIDDLE AGES:DEBUNKING THE MYTHS and G.K.Chesterton's ORTHODOXY. A recent book published by Father Duffy titled QUEEN OF THE SCIENCE:THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CATHOLIC THEOLOGY AND LIBERAL LEARNING should be read in tandem with Prof. Woods' book.

Prof. Woods has simply written a great book. HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILT WESTERN CIVILIZATION should be in every Catholic school on the planet. Thoughtful Protestants who do not define their religion by Catholic bashing would benefit from this book. This book should not be recommended to Catholic bashers as it could cause cultural shock and apoplexy. If anyone reads this review and assumes this reviewer is a Catholic, they would be wrong. This reviewer has studied enough history to know just how crucial the Catholic Church has been and is wise enough to appreciate the Catholic Church's achievements.

Catholic on July 16, 2011: Read this website on rhe Catholic Church build the foundations of Western civilization

Human on June 05, 2011:

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs or non beliefs. The polorised views here demonstate why religion in all it's forms has been able to be used by manipulative people to perpetrate war, genocide and every side says they have God on their side. If we all worked to make our planet a harmonious place regardless of faith we might have more success.

Miranda Cossell on April 25, 2011:

As an historian of ancient Roman history and author of a few papers on the bishops of Rome I can inform the readers of this article that much of the information in it is not accurate and is misguided.

Pope Alexander VI was not considered a "good" pope by many Catholic historians but at the same time much of the evidence of that period does not support the writer accusations and I felt this is a flawed article of fact.

I also read many of the comments by some of the people who hate the Catholic church or the fact of its success over the 2000 years of taming the human soul and enlightning men of cold crual hearts. Many of the popes lived in a hard cruel world we can only imagine and by our present standards are being judged. That's simple not fair. Popes were like Kings and controlled vast empires. Much of that power was to deter the brutal and social injustice of their time.

As a non-Catholic writer I gained a lot of respect for the Catholic Church over the years. Maybe some of you that commented need to read a little more unbiased literature and use those brain cells of yours to deprogram the hatred your bible schools injected in you.

William J. Knapps on April 25, 2011:

I agree with Bruce L. Pope Pius XII has now been recognized as saving hundreds and thousands of Jews while hiding them in the Vatican from NAZI and Italian SS. Some of the things written in this article of the other popes have also been terribly exagerated and out of context.

You have forgotten to mention that the church leaders over the centuries has done many wonderfull things for humanity and the advancement of humanity. I have pasted this to my website as an example of how many misguided and ignorant souls are out there that need the guidance of the church and enlightned to the truth.

Bruce L. Grither on April 25, 2011:

Where do I begin. this article is so grossly inaccurate and biased that it isn't worth the time to read. It takes things completely out of context and states unproven writing from questionable sources as fact.

Especially the popes Pope Pius XII and the WWII scandle. and you really hit the bottom with your biased comments of Pope John II. Man are you in never never land on some of those terrible lies you wrote about Pope John II.

You Catholic haters need to read all the facts before making fools of yourselfs. Where there bad pope? Sure as much as there were bad Kings. But this list is totally inaccurate and missing in fact. Don't believe what you read here. It's a bunch of biased Catholic bashing.

Sean Thrift on April 07, 2011:

I suppose you didn't want to mention that his Holiness Pope Pius XII actually used his position as Pope to save huge amounts of people like American soldiers who were stranded in Italy after a failed invasion. Or that if he did speak out then Hitler would have justification for killing millions of Catholics and seizing their assets.

And maybe you would like to mention that participation in Hitler Youth was compulsory in Nazi Germany and refusal to join was an excellent way to get your entire family shot on grounds of treason.

irate person on March 25, 2011:

Your opinion of Judas is somewhat skewed. If you read your Bible, you will find an actual quote from Jesus concerning Judas: "It would have been better for that man if he had never been born." Therefore I don't think you can say it was Jesus putting him up to it. Or maybe you are reading the King James Bible. THERE'S A REASON WHY IT'S CALLED THE KING JAMES BIBLE. BECAUSE KING JAMES TOOK THE CATHOLIC BIBLE AND CUT A LOT OUT, AND CHANGED ANYTHING HE DIDN'T AGREE WITH. I'm no goody-goody Traditionalist Roman Catholic. I just go to mass on Sunday, that's pretty much it. You can poke fun at me, like you did at Tom, but I don't agree with you. Pope Alexander VI was a disgusting man. So were most of the other popes you mentioned. But Pope John Paul II was no Hitler's youth. He was POLISH, and his Father was killed in front of his very eyes by the Nazis. As for Pedophile Priests, there are indeed pedophile priests. But in a very small percentage. You make it sound like every single Catholic priest is out there attacking children. But there is just as many pedophile doctors, protestant ministers, school teachers etc.. Just everybody's dicided to go on a little we hate Catholics spree. I think your comment about The Blessed VIRGIN Mary was extremely blasphemous. and all I can say is we'll find out who's right when we die.

Jesus on March 06, 2011:

Lies, all lies! The universe was created by a teapot encircling Mars, and don't anybody dare suggest otherwise!

Phineas Griswold on March 06, 2011:

Just a quick comment. I have read many articles on a "Pope JOAN" who was killed as she gave birth outside her carriage.

No name on February 19, 2011:


Hermenegildo Espinosa on January 21, 2011:

I am wandering, if the Roman Catholic Church is the true church of Jesus Christ, why were we bible- believing Christians branded as heretics by Catholics, while they themselves believe doctrines not found in and contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ?

Vicki on December 29, 2010:

Read this for the first time and interesting. The female Pope was not Jane but Pope Joan. Yes, anyone can do a little research and become enlightened about her. I am sure a complete embarrassment to the Catholic church. That was when the chair was created to make sure the Pope was male.

The Spaniards did wipe out many of the South American people. As we know to gain the riches of gold and resources on behalf of the Catholic church.

One comment was from someone who saw Judas Iscariot in a different light. I agree with her. We have to remember that Christ's Apostles did not fully understand his mission. Not surprising at all. Even though they were taught by him, felt his spirit and witnessed his many miracles, they still did not understand the Ressurection. Judas was no different. When we study, pray and ponder the events that took place, we realize that none realized the depth of our Savior's plan. In Matthew 13:10 & 11, the Apostles questioned him as to why he talks to the people in Parables. Christ says, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given". In time they became fully converted.

I am so thankful for his example and sacrifice that he made on all of our behalf.

on behalf of all of us.

enschell on December 13, 2010:


unfortunately many Catholics do not go to church that often. In fact, many people who call themselves Catholic are not really Catholic at all. What I mean by that is, unless they are honoring the faith, doctrine, and dogmas of the Catholic church, they are not really Catholic in practice although people can call themselves what they want. Keep in mind that a faith (belief system) cannot be held accountable by the actions of a person. That person is accountable for their own actions. In other words, don't judge a faith, any faith, by the unfaithful "adherents". Instead, look to the faithful adherents and then judge the faith since they mirror that faith.


* what Catholic beliefs have changed over the years?

Please be specific.

* are all priests, bishops, and popes pedophiles or

just a small minority (not saying it is right, far from that)

FYI, popes were and are elected. They did not become a pope because they were a descendent of another pope as you have suggested in your last post.

Tomislav on December 02, 2010:

Roman Catholics are not following the oldest traditions and belief system from Christ. I guess you don't know about the great schism which separated the Roman Catholic church and the Christian Orthodox church in the 11th century. You follow very few if any true old beliefs, Roman Catholicism was made up for the convenience of a few high in rank to control an entire religion, which is something Christian Orthodoxs are not ok with, hence why we do not have one man controlling an entire faith. Catholics have changed their beliefs so much over the years and mainly due to the different popes that were in "reign", a pope is in a way like a spiritual King. Why should one person control an entire religion, when Jesus himself chose 12 apostles. And people get confused constantly, Saint Peter was commissioned to build the corner stone of the original Christian church, not to control the faith and tell people to do what he sees fit.

Yes, I get the whole point of, we are all humans, priests, or popes, i get it. But honestly, if you have a tendency to want to f*ck little children, you should just stay away from the church and not preach people your holy while your raping their children. Common people at least repent and admit their sins, those in places of power(in the church) simply don't, for fear of losing their control over the masses. I don't see shit like that happening in my faith.

Point is, Roman Catholic or not, having one man claiming he is the descendant of Saint Peter, and controlling an entire religion, and protecting pedophile priests around the world, is just plain wrong, no matter which way you put it.period. It's hypocrisy beyond belief. The creator of this article, just shows how corrupt someone can get when they are DRENCHED in power. It can happen to anyone, which is why God entrusted his plan to his Son, not a flipping human. Having one man controlling it all is wrong, it is now, and always will be.

Danny on October 25, 2010:

Most Catholics don't even go to mass. It has nothing to do with this article, I just wanted to throw that out, haha.

gatonye on October 21, 2010:

love it!

M S M on October 13, 2010:

very insightful. This must help people to gain freedom from decadence

whoareyouanyway on July 06, 2010:

Who ever this author is from the original article really needs to study his Bible. Peter is NOT the first pope. The first pope came many, many years later. and that guy was appointed by another human being, not GOD. God NEVER appointed anyone above His son, Jesus. Peter WAS one of 12 apostles and an inumerable amount of disiples who went out and preached the gospel of Jesus and taught them about salvation through faith in the Son of God and Man who died for our sins so that we could have eternal life with Him and the Father.

Now, I know y'all are gonna throw that "upon this rock I will build my church" verse at me, but again I say STUDY YOUR BIBLE! Throughout the Bible the "rock" is mentioned, including the Old Testament, where Jesus is refered to as the "rock". Why would God change his tune and make Peter his rock instead of Jesus. He would NOT because He is a consistand and constant God.

People, if your are going to really get this, get the BIBLE. Get into a good study with someone who knows Greek, Hebrew, and has studied the culture of that point in history.

As for the popes listed in the article, I have not investigate that far yet. However, someone took a sinful human being and made him larger than religeous life and supposes him to be "holier" than the rest of us - a god, perhaps? Tsk, Tsk, there is only one God and we shall not put other gods before him (damn, there is that Bible talk again!).

Let's face it, let him who is without sin cast the first stone (oh is that a Catholic thing?) The only reason that their crimes are so heinous is because they were put up on that "PAPAL" pedistal. Did you really thing that man would not be suseptable to such behavior??? Think again!

Now, to the person who talked about the fact that Catholicism IS the only religion because the others follow men instead of Jesus (Luther and Calvin and such) should really do some studying as well.

Luther was a Catholic priest. He studied the Bible and found that the God of the Bible is not at all unforgiving and vengeful as he was being taught in seminary. He also realized (after having paid the price) that the God of the Bible does not accept "monetary" gifts - indulgances - (or any gifts for that matter) to let us buy our way into eternity with Him. When Luther tried to tell the pope what his vassels and bishops were doing by "stealing" money from the commone people by telling them that they were "paying for their salvation" the pope had Luther excomunicated. Luther never once considered himself anything other than Catholic. Yes, there were wars and other misdeeds done in Luther's name but NOT with his approval or consent at all. In fact, he did not even like that others were rising him to a higher stature because of his 95 Thesis. He was a humble man devoted to learning about Jesus Christ and the Father. He took the Bible out of the hands of the Pope and Priests and put it into the hands of the people. HE did not start a religion, others did in his name.

So, who am I? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. I read His Word daily and strive to emulate Him as much as I can, but at the end of the day, I am a sinner, just like you. I was born into sin, just like you. I can not work my way out of that sin, just like you. I CAN, however, let God's grace and mercy was over me like a spring rain and accept the spilt blood of Jesus to wash away my sin and make me new. That, my friends, is what it is all about anyway, right? Becoming right with God through his one and only son, Jesus ("no one comes to the Father accept through me") , who paid all of our debts - from the least to the most heinous.

Pope Keith on July 04, 2010:

You all miss the point. The Catholic church claims the authority to represent God on Earth. I can't believe that the Lord would pass on His authority to an organization which for centuries resorted to the outright slaughter of non-believers, and whose leadership was as debauched and corrupt as is was in so many cases.

If we are to believe the Bible's prophecy of a great apostasy and a famine of the spirit, the eventual "times of refreshing" and the restoration of the gospel, perhaps we should be seriously considering the only church that claims to have received new revelation from the Lord- the "Mormon" church...

Though the Catholic church has repented of its ways, there's no way the Lord would have endorsed it and endowed it with His authority.

naaman45 on July 02, 2010:

"Truth has the inherent power to produce the desire effect". Don't stop at the Roman Catholic Church, continue and expose The New Roman Empire, America and its murdering of entire races of people. This present World as we know it has been built on LIES.

MaryRenee on June 19, 2010:

Wow! fascinating hub! Thank you for sharing!

Scott PonyDog on June 14, 2010:

after a careful review there should be an obvious reason to refuse any in this Church amnasty for the crimes they continue to perpetrate on the people of the world

Scott PonyDog Sealey

The First Nations

lilly_dens on April 21, 2010:

interesting hub! it really caught my attention. Popes are humans too, they're not exempted in committing mistakes but don't lose your faith on God because of what the popes have done. Stick to who & what you believe in.

Great hub Theo!

brandyBachmann on April 20, 2010:

wow i'm glad i encountered this article, it was funny! :D

yes the popes are not perfect,just like the rest of us but i do hope they won't condemn a person's mistake/sin because they also commit one or many. there are times that they are just too self-righteous.

I'm a catholic but with the constant news of priests or popes engaging in pedophilia or sodomy or whatever else they're doing, i'm beginning to lose my faith in them, but not on God of course. May God bless those people who vowed to serve him well.

fun hub Theo! :)

lisa brazeau from Canada on April 04, 2010:

Simply fantastic! This is the kind of thing that has my attention. Can't wait to read more!

yellowdoggranny on April 02, 2010:

One of my favorite quotes is by a pope...Pope Leo X,16th centrury...who said "He has served us well, this myth of Christ."

Paul , Matthews on March 20, 2010:

my my my how we as Catholics always try to Defend our Sinner Priests, Bishops, Cardinals & Popes , Men of GOD ! lol yeah right More like Men of Satan. & Protected by the House of Vatianus --aka House of Evil ! The Roman Empire didn't Desolve it still exists today only the Name was Changed Its now called the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and its as Corrupt , Paganistic & Sinful as the Old Roman Empire

Lloyd on March 19, 2010:

Very interesting to hear many RCs argue that the church is still divine, though its leaders are only human. Have the many bulls and theses insisting that the Pope, while in office, IS God on earth, or the edicts of infallibilty, been renounced? The "Whore of Babylon" is reeling again from recent accusations of rampant pedophilia, and with any luck will continue to lose its historical bloody, power-hungry, deceitful grip on mankind. (When people stop tithing, the Pope can always go to the secular Vatican Bank for a loan).

Sword of Truth on March 18, 2010:

I see Tom would rather defend men who rape boys than the poor boys themselves. I believe in Christ and trust him as my saviour but as someone else said here, 'Tom - wake up'. and Tom, you like most catholics probably don't read the bible, mary was not a virgin all her life, she had other kids, - it's in the actual bible and not some dan brown thrash.

Truth on March 18, 2010:

The Catholic church is a disgrace, i left it about 12 years ago, although i am a believer in Jesus. How people still follow Rome is beyond me. 1000's have become priests for the power and to abuse kids, how sick is that? and yet we have idiots who defend popes etc and calling for the last pope to be a saint when he did Zero about these sick people he was in charge of, sure, he liked flaunting his wealth and wearing his gay clothes and having people kiss his ass. Imagine Paul or Peter going around in a pope mobile and living in a mansion full of gold, I don't think so. As peter said to the man who knelt dow n before him - "Stand up! I'm a human being just like you! (Acts 10:26)