As the man charged with cleaning out the stables at the scandal-struck Vatican bank, Monsignor Battista Ricca will need Machiavellian cunning, good fortune and a whiter-than-white record to have even a fighting chance.
But Pope Francis’s new banker appears to possess none of these attributes after it was reported yesterday that he was found stuck in a lift with a rent boy. Msgr Ricca, as Francis’s new primate with responsibility for the troubled financial institution, known officially as the IoR (Institute for Religious Works), is supposed to usher in new transparency and badly needed reforms after years of financial scandal.
Earlier this month, a major report from finance police and magistrates warned that a lack of checks and controls by the IoR and the Italian financial institutions it had dealings with made the Vatican’s bank a money-laundering hot spot.
It is claimed that Msgr Ricca, 57, impressed Francis with the way he ran three key residences used by cardinals, bishops and priests visiting Rome. But detailed claims have emerged detailing how in 1999, Ricca took a Vatican diplomatic posting in Uruguay and moved his lover, Patrick Haari, a Swiss army captain, in with him, to the outrage of church figures and locals in the conservative South American nation. Captain Haari was forced out by the hardline Polish nuncio Janusz Bolonek in 2001.
But there were more problems for Ricca when he was attacked in a cruising ground that year, and soon after firemen had to rescue him from a broken lift, in which he was trapped with a youth known by local police. The weekly news magazine L’Espresso claims that Msgr Ricca was able to get the position as IoR prelate because the supposedly powerful “gay lobby” in the Vatican airbrushed his colourful CV.
Gay sex scandals at the Vatican have made the headlines before. In 2010 it emerged that one of Pope Benedict’s ceremonial ushers and a member of the Vatican choir were involved in a gay prostitution ring.
Vatican spokesman Padre Federico Lombardi sought to dismiss the claims about Msgr Ricca’s private life. “What has been claimed about Msgr Ricca is not credible,” he said. Msgr Ricca himself has not yet responded to the allegations. But La Repubblica noted that the Vatican had emphasised that his appointment as prelate for the IoR was technically an interim one, thus raising the possibility that the job might not last long.
1000s expected at historic anti-cuts conf in London Press TV Thousands of British anti-cuts supporters will descend on London today to mark the launch of coordinated actions against the government’s austerity measures nationwide. The national mobilization by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and backed by …
|Union’s roadshow exposes how Con-Dem cuts have affected lives of ordinary … Scottish Daily Record The Austerity Uncovered tour, which hit Glasgow yesterday, will take in all the main cities in Scotland, culminating in the Anti-Bedroom Tax Conference in Edinburgh on June 29. Yesterday, as the battle bus – organised by the Scottish TUC – rolled from one|
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said anti-union laws should not get in the way of strikes against austerity. The UK’s biggest union earlier released results of a survey suggesting many people have employment or money worries and want the …
One wonders how many Catholic youths are schooled in the crimes of the Popes. You can be sure they are well learned in doctrine of Papal infallibility
CRIMES OF THE POPES
A summary of the crimes and vices with which many of the
popes disgraced the chair of St. Peter; and before we conclude, the reader will see
that every villainy the imagination can conceive has been practised by the
Vicegerents of God. Peculation, theft, cruelty, murder, fornication, adultery, and
incest, not to mention still darker crimes, have all been notoriously committed by
the supreme rulers of Christendom, who sat in the seat of infallibility, and claimed
universal jurisdiction over the thoughts and consciences of mankind.
ST. DAMASUS (366-84).
He was the first to assume the title of Pontiff. His
election was opposed by Ursicinus, whose partisans accused Damasus of
adultery. [1 22:1 ] Riddle says:
“After some deadly conflicts between the followers of the two rivals,
Ursicinus was banished from the city; and a similar sentence was about
to be carried into effect against seven presbyters of his party, when the
people interfered, and lodged them for safety in one of the churches.
But even here they found no shelter from the fury of their opponents.
Armed with fire and sword, Damasus, with some of his adherents, both
of the clergy and of the laity, proceeded to the place of refuge, and left
no less than a hundred and sixty of their adversaries dead within the
sacred precincts.” [1 22:2]
That this was a massacre and not a faction fight is shown by the fact that on the
side of Damasus not a single person was killed. [1 23:3] Ammianus Marcellinus, the
contemporary historian of the event, says of the contention between Damasus and
“I do not deny, when I consider the ostentation that reigns at Rome,
that those who desire such rank and power may be justified in laboring
with all possible exertions and vehemence to obtain their wishes; since
after they have succeeded, they will be secure for the future, being
enriched by offerings from matrons, riding in carriages, dressing
splendidly, and feasting luxuriously, so that their entertainment
surpassed even royal banquets. [1 23:4]
Damasus gained the title of Auriscalpius Matronarum, ladies’ ear-scratcher. [1 23:5]
He died of fever, and the Romish Church still invokes the aid of this saintly vicar of
God in fever cases. [1 23:6]
SIXTUS III (432-40).
This pope, according to both Baronius and Platina, was
accused of debauching a virgin, but was acquitted by a Council under the Emperor
Valentina, who is said to have referred the pronouncing of the sentence to the Pope
himself, “because the judge of all ought to be judged by none.” It was without
doubt to establish this maxim that the “acts” of the Council were forged. [1 23:7 ]
ST. LEO THE GREAT (440-61).
Jortin calls him “the insolent and persecuting
Pope Leo, who applauded the massacre of the Priscillianists, and grossly
misrepresented them.” [1 23:8]
His election was violently opposed by the antipope
Laurentius, and three Councils were held to decide the schism. Accusations of the
most heinous crimes were laid against Symmachus. Bower says:
“This gave occasion to the rekindling of the war between the two
parties in Rome; and several priests, many clerks, and a great number
of citizens, fell daily in the battles that were fought in the different parts
of the city. No regard was shown by either party to rank or dignity; and
not even the sacred virgins were spared by the enraged multitude in
their fury.” [1 23:9]
Eunodius declared that the Pope was “judge in the place of the most high, pure
from all sin, and exempt from all punishment. All who fell fighting in his cause he
declared enrolled on the register of heaven.” [1 24:1 ]
ST. HORMISDAS (514-23).
He was a married man, and had a son, who was raised
to the popedom. He was full of ambition, and insolent in his demands to the
emperor, whom he exhorted to the persecution of heretics.
BONIFACE II (530-32).
His election was disputed by the antipope Dioscorus. Each
accused the other of simony, but Dioscorus opportunely died. Boniface “began his
pontificate with wreaking his vengeance on the memory of his deceased
competitor, whom he solemnly excommunicated, as guilty of simony, when he
could not clear himself from the charge, nor retort it on him, as perhaps he
otherwise might.” [1 24:2] This sentence was removed by Pope Agapetus.
He was accused of betraying the city of Rome to the Goths,
and was in consequence expelled from his see.
He was a deacon elected by bribery. He engaged himself to
obey the Empress Theodora, who gave him money to gain the suffrages of the
clergy. Anastasius tells us that he killed his own secretary in a transport of passion,
and caused his own sister’s son to be whipped to death. He is considered to have
been accessory to the banishment and death of Silverius. When banished himself
by the emperor, he speedily repented, in order to save his seat.
He was accused of poisoning his predecessor. This is
uncertain; but it is certain that, like most of his predecessors and successors, he
incited the civil powers to the persecution of heretics.
ST. GREGORY THE GREAT (590-604)
According to Gibbon, this pontiff was “a
singular mixture of simplicity and cunning, of pride and humility, of sense and
superstition.” [1 24:3] Jortin’s picture is still less flattering:
“Pope Gregory the Great was remarkable for many things — for
exalting his own authority; for running down human learning [1 25:4]
and polite literature; for burning classic authors; for patronising
ignorance and stupidity; for persecuting heretics; for flattering the
most execrable princes; and for relating a multitude of absurd,
monstrous and ridiculous lies, called miracles. He was an ambitious,
insolent prelate, under the mask of humility.”
Draper says that Gregory not only forbade the study of the classics, mutilated
statues, and destroyed temples but also “burned the Palatine library, founded by
Augustus Caesar.” Gibbon, however, throws doubt on this destruction, while
admitting that it was generally believed. [1 25:6]
Gregory does not appear to have been fond of women and wine, like so many other
popes; but he possessed the darker vices of bigotry and ambition. His
congratulations on the usurpation of the cruel, drunken and lascivious Phocas, after
a wholesale massacre of the emperor’s family, simply because the successful villain
favored the pretensions of Rome (p. 109), are a sufficient proof that Gregory would
scruple at nothing to advance the glory of his see.
Bower says he rendered himself so odious to the Roman
people by his avarice and cruelty to the poor, that they could not forbear abusing
him whenever he appeared. In a dreadful famine he raised the price of corn to
exorbitant rates. He accused St. Gregory of simony; but according to Baronius,
that departed saint having vainly reproved him in three different apparitions for
his covetousness, gave him in a fourth apparition so dreadful a blow on the head,
that he died soon after. [1 25:7 ]
BONIFACE III (607)
By flattering Phocas as Gregory had done, he induced him to
take the title of universal bishop from the bishop of Constantinople, and confer it
upon himself and his successors.
He commenced the custom of dipping his pen in
consecrated wine when signing the condemnation of heretics, [1 26:8] thus
sanctifying murder with the blood of Christ. Of Adeodatus, Donus I, Agatho, and
Leo II (682-683)
we only know that they carried on fierce contests with the archbishop of
Ravenna for refusing to acknowledge their supremacy. Leo II anathematised his
predecessor, Pope Honorius, for heresy. Neither Benedict II, John V, nor
Conon, lived a whole year after assuming the tiara.
ST. SERGIUS I (687-701).
He had to purchase his seat from the exarch of
Ravenna by pawning the ornaments of the tomb of St. Peter. He was accused of
adultery, but his innocence was strikingly proved; for, upon the child of whose
parentage he was accused being baptised when but eight days old, he cried out,
“The pontiff Sergius is not my father.” Bruys, the French historian of the Papacy,
says, “What I find most marvellous in this story is, not that so young a child should
speak, but that it should affirm with so much confidence that the pope was not its
He is said to have excommunicated the Emperor, Philip
Bardanes, for being of the same heresy as Pope Honorius. To oblige Constantine,
Justinian II cut out the tongue and blinded the eyes of the Archbishop of Ravenna,
who refused to pay the obedience due to the apostolic see. [1 26:2]
ST. GREGORY II (715-31). He was chiefly noted for his endowing monasteries
with the goods of the poor, and for his opposition to the Emperor Leo’s edict
against image worship. [1 26:3] Rather than obey the edict, he raised civil war both
in Italy and elsewhere. He prayed that Christ might set the Devil on the emperor,
and approved the barbarous murder of the imperial officer. Yet the priests
place in the list of saints a pontiff who, to establish the Christian idolatry of image
worship, filled Italy with carnage.
STEPHEN III (768-72).
When elected he found on the pontifical throne a lay pope,one Constantine, who, after a violent struggle, was dislodged and punished with the
loss of his eyes, many of his friends sharing the same fate.
ADRIAN I (772-95)
He made a league with Irene, the murderess of her son, to
restore image worship, and presented to Charlemagne the pretended donation of
Constantine. Avarice was the vice of this able pontiff. He left large sums to
ST. PASCAL I (817-24)
At the Diet of Compeigne this pope was charged with
being accessory to the mutilation and murder of two Roman priests. The Pope
denied the charge, but refused to deliver up the perpetrators of the crimes,
alleging that they belonged “to the family of St. Peter.”
EUGENIUS II (824-27)
He had the honor of inventing the barbarous practice of
ordeal by cold water.
He excommunicated Photius, the Greek patriarch, and the
emperor Michael as his abettor, and threatened King Lothaire with the
ecclesiastical sword if he suffered any bishop to be chosen without his
consent. [1 27 :9]
ADRIAN II (867-72) He was a married priest. He congratulated Bazilius, the
murderer of the emperor Michael, and entered into alliance with him.
JOHN VIII (872-82)
The meek and holy nature of this worthy successor of St.
Peter may be judged by his ordering the Bishop of Naples to bring him the chief
men among the Saracens in that city, and cutting their throats in the presence of
his legate. A letter of John is extant, in which he justifies Athanasius, Bishop
of Naples, for having plucked out the eyes of Sergius, Duke of Naples, who favored
the Saracens in despite of the papal anathemas. He even cites the Gospel text as to
plucking out offending eyes. Cardinal Baronius declares that this pontiff perjured
himself, and that he rather deserved the name of a woman than that of a
man. The annals of the Abbey of Fulda relate that John VIII was poisoned
by the relations of a lady whom he had seduced from her husband.
He had been repeatedly excommunicated by John VIII. He
invited Arnulf, the German emperor, to invade Italy, which he did, committing
great atrocities. Formosus, however, had a great character for piety. He is said to
have been well versed in scripture, and to have died a virgin in his eightieth year.
BONIFACE VI (896)
Even according to Baronius, he was a man of most infamous
character. He had been deposed for his scandalous life, first from the rank of subdeacon,
and afterward from the priesthood.
STEPHEN VI. (896-7)
He intruded into the see in the room of the intruder
Boniface. Being of the opposite faction to Pope Formosus, he caused the body of
that pontiff to be taken out of the tomb and to be placed, in the episcopal robes, on
the pontifical chair. Stephen then addressed the dead body thus: “Why didst thou,
being Bishop of Porto, prompted by thy ambition, usurp the universal see of
Rome?” After this mock trial Stephen, with the approbation and consent of a
Council of bishops, ordered the body to be stripped, three of the fingers (those
used in blessing) to be cut off, and the remains to be cast into the Tiber. At the
same Council all the ordinations of Formosus were declared invalid.
Then followed what Riddle calls “a rapid succession of infamous popes,” of whom
we may mention that Leo V (903) was deposed and cast into prison by his
chaplain, Christopher, who was in turn ejected and imprisoned by Sergius III
(904-11). This pontiff also had been excommunicated by John VIII. He was, says
Baronius, “the slave of every vice and the most wicked of men.” Riddle
“This Sergius III was a monster of profligacy, cruelty and vice in their most
shameless and disgusting forms. But it was this very character which made him
useful to his party, the duration of whose influence at Rome, could be insured only
by a preponderance of physical power, and this again only by violence which should
disdain all restraints of morality and religion. Sergius was the man for this purpose,
who, while he lived in concubinage with Marozia, did not hesitate to yield all the
treasures of the Roman Church as plunder to his party.” To him succeeded
other paramours of Marozia and of her mother the prostitute Theodora. John X,
for instance (914-28), received his chair because he was the lover of Theodora,
while Leo VI and Stephen VIII (929-31) were creatures of Marozia. Adultery and
assassination form the staple of the annals of their pontificates.
JOHN XI (931-36)
He was the son of Pope Sergius III. by Marozia, and if possible
he surpassed his parents in crime. Elected pope at the age of eighteen, Alberic, his
half brother, expelled him from Rome and imprisoned their mother Marozia.
Stephen VIII (939-942) made himself so obnoxious to the Romans that they
JOHN XII (956-64)
the son of Alberic, was the first to change his name, which
was originally Octavian. He nominated himself pope at the age of seventeen. Wilks
says: “His profaneness and debaucheries exceeded all bounds. He was publicly
accused of concubinage, incest, and simony.” This pope was so notorious for his
licentiousness that female pilgrims dared not present themselves in Rome.
Bower says that he had changed the Lateran Palace, once the abode of saints, into
a brothel, and there cohabited with his father’s concubine; that women were afraid
to come from other countries to visit the tombs of the apostles at Rome; that he
spared none, and had within a few days forced married women, widows, and
virgins to comply with his impure desires. He was at length deposed by Otho, at
the solicitation of a council of bishops and laymen, on charges of sacrilege, simony,
blasphemy, and cruel mutilation. He had deprived one deacon of his right hand and
made him a eunuch. He put out the eyes of Benedict, his ghostly father, cut off the
nose of the keeper of the archives, and scourged the Bishop of Spires. On
the deposition of John, Leo VII was put in his place. John fulminated anathemas
against his opponents, and soon after died, from a blow on the head while in bed
with a married woman. Jortin remarks that “Baronius says, from
Luitprandus, that it was the Devil who gave John that blow; but it seems not
probable that Satan would have used his good friend in such a manner. It is more
likely that it might be the husband of the adulteress.”
Mosheim says “that the history of the Roman pontiffs of this century [the tenth] is
a history of monsters, a history of the most atrocious villainies and crimes, is
acknowledged by all writers of distinction, and even by the advocates of
BONIFACE VII (974)
The old authors in derision call him Maliface. Having had his
predecessor Benedict murdered, he plundered the Basilica and escaped with his
spoils to Constantinople, whence he afterwards returned and murdered John XIV
(984), then on the papal throne.
GREGORY V (996-99)
He was turned out of his see by Crescentius, who elected
the antipope John. Upon Gregory’s restoration he had this unfortunate creature
deprived of sight, cut off his nose, and tore out his tongue. He then ordered him to
be led through the streets in a tattered sacerdotal suit, and mounted upon an ass
with his face to the tail, which he held in his hand.
SERGIUS IV (1009-12)
This pope was called Os Porci, or Swine’s Mouth. Of his
doings little is known, but he is asserted to have gravely declared “that the pope
could not be damned, but that, do what he would, he must be saved.”
BENEDICT VIII (1012-24)
He saved the city of Rome from a great storm, which
it seems was caused by some Jews. The Jews being immediately executed the
JOHN XIX (1024-33)
He was a layman, brother of Benedict, yet he was raised to
the see. Wilks says:
“It was by gold, and not by imperial power, that the Romans consented
to this uncanonical election. The rapacity of this pope was so great that
he offered to sell the title of ‘Universal Bishop’ to the see of
Constantinople for a sum of money!”
By his exactions, debauchery and tyranny, he became so odious to the Romans
that he had to flee for his life.
BENEDICT IX (1033-46)
A nephew of the last two pontiffs. Some say he was
raised to the papacy at the age of twelve — others, at eighteen. He “stained the
sacred office with murder, adultery, and every other heinous crime.” [1 31 :1 ]
Desiderius, afterwards pope under the name of Victor III, styles Benedict the
successor of Simon the sorcerer, and not of Simon the apostle, and paints him as
one abandoned to all manner of vice. Being eager to possess the person and
property of a female cousin, he sold the papacy to John Gratianus, “the most
religious man of his time,” for a sum of money, and consecrated him as Gregory VI.
Benedict afterwards poisoned Pope Damasus II. The Romans, weary of his crimes,
expelled him from the city, but he was reinstated by Conrad. “But,” says Jortin,
“as he continued his scandalous course of life, and found himself despised and
detested both by clergy and laity, he agreed to retire, and to abandon himself more
freely to his pleasures.” Stipulating therefore to receive a sum of money, he
resigned his place to Gratianus, called Gregory VI, and went to live in his own
Mosheim calls Benedict IX “a most flagitious man and capable of every
We have already seen how Benedict, Sylvester, and Gregory, were alike declared
unworthy of the pontificate, and Clement placed in the see, and by what means
Hildebrand contrived to extend the papal power. This great pontiff, Gregory VII
(1073-85), has been accused of poisoning his predecessors in order to obtain the
popedom, and also of committing adultery with Matilda, Countess of Tuscany, who
bestowed all her possessions on the pope. But these accusations probably arose
from the spite of the many enemies aroused by Hildebrand’s high-handed
PASCAL II (1099-1118)
He was a disciple of Hildebrand, and inherited his
ambition without his talents. He compelled Henry IV to abdicate, but on his son
Henry V marching against him, after a sanguinary struggle, he gave up to the
emperor the right of investiture. Afterwards he excommunicated all who should
declare his own grant to be valid.
ADRIAN IV (1154-59)
The only Englishman who ever became pope. He caused
Arnold of Brescia to be burnt at the stake (1154) for preaching against papal
corruption. The Irish should remember that it was this pope who, in virtue of the
pretended Donation of Constantine, made over to Henry II of England the right to
take and govern Ireland on condition of the pope receiving an annual tribute of one
penny for each house.
ALEXANDER III (1159-81)
The Lateran Council (1179) declared war against all
heretics, and a crusade against them was sanctioned by this pontiff.
CLEMENT III (1188-1191). He published the third crusade (1189).
INNOCENT III (1198-1216) also preached a crusade. He claimed for his see
universal empire and established the Inquisition to support the claim. He
excommunicated Philip II of France and put the whole nation under interdict.
Afterwards he placed England under interdict, excommunicated John, bestowed
the crown on Philip of France, and published a crusade against England. He also
instituted a crusade against the Albigenses, butchering them by tens of thousands
with every circumstance of atrocity.
GREGORY IX (1227-41).
He formally established the Inquisition; and, to support
his ambition and the unbridled luxury of his court, raised taxes in France, England
and Germany, excommunicated kings, and incited nations to revolt; finally causing
himself to be driven from Rome.
INNOCENT IV (1243-54).
He conspired against the life of the Emperor Frederic,
through the agency of the Franciscan monks. To avoid confronting his accuser, he
retired to France, summoned a council at Lyons (1244), and excommunicated and
deposed the emperor, whom he coolly denominated his vassal. He also
excommunicated the kings of Arragon and Portugal, giving the crown of the latter
to the Count of Bologna. He persecuted the Ghibellines, and pretending to have the
right of disposing of the crown of the two Sicilies, offered it to Richard, Earl of
Cornwall, brother to Henry III of England. Innocent made exorbitant claims to the
bishoprics and benefices in England. [1 33:1 ]
BONIFACE VIII (1294-1303).
He had his predecessor, Celestine, put in prison,
where he died. [1 33:2] He openly styled himself “King of Kings,” trafficked in
indulgences, and declared all excluded from heaven who disputed his claim to
universal dominion. He persecuted the Ghibellines, and ordered the city of
Bragneste to be entirely destroyed. He was publicly accused of simony,
assassination, usury, of living in concubinage with his two nieces and having
children by them, and of using the money received for indulgences to pay the
Saracens for invading Italy.
CLEMENT V (1305-1314)
He is noted for his cruel suppression of the order of
Knights Templar, so as to appropriate their property. He summoned the grand
master of the Templars under false pretexts to his court, and issued a bull against
the order in which he brought against it the most unfounded and absurd charges,
and finally pronounced its abolition, having the Grand Master and many leading
members burnt alive. [1 34:4] After sharing the spoils of the Templars with the king
of France, Clement V fixed his court at Avignon, and gave himself publicly to the
most criminal debaucheries. He preached a new crusade against the Turks and
gave each new crusader the right to release four souls from purgatory. Dante
places him in hell.
JOHN XXII (1316-34)
Like his predecessors, he persecuted and burnt heretics.
He anathematised the emperor of Germany and the king of France, and preached
a new crusade. Money was raised in abundance by the sale of indulgences, and was
misappropriated by the pope. He left enormous treasures. Villani, whose brother
was one of the papal commission, states that this successor of the fisherman
amassed altogether twenty-five million florins. [1 34:5] Gieseler says: “He
arbitrarily disposed of the Benefices of all countries, chiefly in favor of his own
nephews, and the members of his curia.”
URBAN VI (1378-89)
In his time occurred what is known as “the great Western
schism,” which lasted from 1378 till the Council of Constance (1414). There were
during that time two popes, one residing at Rome and the other at Avignon. But
which of the popes was the true one and which the antipope has not yet been
decided. Urban VI was a ferocious despot. He ordered six cardinals, whom he
suspected of opposing him, to be brutally tortured. Nor was his competitor,
Clement VII, behind him in violence and crime. For fifty years they and their
successors excited bloody wars and excommunicated one another. The schism,
which cost thousands of lives, was ended by the deposition of John XXIII (1415),
who was found guilty of murder and incest. He was accused before the Council of
having seduced two hundred nuns. Theodoric de Niem informs us that he kept two
hundred mistresses in Bologna, and he is described by his own secretary as a
monster of avarice, ambition, lewdness and cruelty. The same author says
that an act of accusation, prepared against him, presented a complete catalogue of
every mortal crime.
MARTIN V (1417-31)
His crimes were not of a kind to be censured by a Council of
bishops. He had John Huss and Jerome of Prague burnt alive, and to put down
their heresies excited civil war in Bohemia. He wrote to the Duke of Lithuania: “Be
assured thou sinnest mortally in keeping faith with heretics.”
EUGENIUS IV (1431-47) His first act was to put to torture the treasurer of his
predecessor, Martin V. He seized that pontiff’s treasures and sent to the scaffold
two hundred Roman citizens, friends of the late pope. The Council of Basle
was called and deposed the pope, setting up an antipope, Felix V. Civil war and
much cruelty of course followed.
PAUL II (1464-71)
He broke all the engagements he had made to the conclave
prior to his election. He persecuted with the greatest cruelty and perfidy the Count
of Anguillara. He strove to kindle a general war throughout Italy, and
excommunicated the king of Bohemia for protecting the Hussites against his
persecutions. He also persecuted the Fratricelli. “His love of money,” says
Symonds, “was such that, when bishoprics fell vacant, he often refused to fill them
up, drawing their revenues for his own use, and draining Christendom as a Verres
or a Memmius sucked a Roman province dry. His court was luxurious, and in
private he was addicted to all the sensual lusts.” The same writer says that
“He seized the chief members of the Roman Academy, imprisoned them, put them
to the torture, and killed some of them upon the rack.” He died suddenly,
leaving behind him an immense treasure in money and jewels, amassed by his
avarice and extortion.
SIXTUS IV (1471-84). He strove to excel his predecessors in crime. According to
Symonds, “He began his career with a lie; for though he succeeded, to that demon
of avarice, Paul, who had spent his time in amassing money which he did not use,
he declared that he had only found five thousand florins in the papal treasury.”
The historian continues:
“This assertion was proved false by the prodigality with which he
lavished wealth immediately upon his nephews. It is difficult even to
hint at the horrible suspicions which were cast upon the birth of two of
the Pope’s nephews and upon the nature of his weakness for them: yet
the private life of Sixtus rendered the most monstrous stories plausible,
while his public treatment of these men recalled to mind the partiality
of Nero for Doryphorus … The Holy Father himself was wont to say, A
Pope needs only pen and ink to get what sum he wants.’ … Fictitious
dearths were created; the value of wheat was raised to famine prices;
good grain was sold out of the kingdom, and bad imported in exchange;
while Sixtus forced his subjects to purchase from his stores, and made a
profit by the hunger and disease of his emaciated provinces.”
“He was restrained by no scruple from rendering his spiritual power
subservient to his worldly views, or from debasing it by a mixture with
those temporary intrigues in which his ambition had involved him. The
Medici being peculiarly in his way, he took part in the Florentine
troubles; and, as is notorious, brought upon himself the suspicion of
being privy to the conspiracy of the Pazzi, and to the assassination
which they perpetrated on the steps of the altar of the cathedral: the
suspicion that he, the father of the faithful, was an accomplice of such
acts! When the Venetians ceased to favor the scheme of his nephew, as
they had done for a considerable time, the pope was not satisfied with
deserting them in a war into which he himself had driven them; he
went so far as to excommunicate them for persisting in it. He acted
with no less violence in Rome: he persecuted the Colonnas with great
ferocity: he seized Marino from them; he caused the prothonotary
Colonna to be attacked, arrested and executed in his own house. The
mother of Colonna came to San Celso in Branchi, where the body lay —
she lifted the severed head by the hair, and cried ‘Behold the head of
my son! Such is the faith of the pope. He promised that if we would give
up Marino to him he would set my son at liberty; he has Marino: and
my son is in our hands — but dead! Behold thus does the pope keep his
Jortin says that “Sixtus IV erected a famous bawdy-house at Rome, and the
Roman prostitutes paid his holiness a weekly tax, which amounted sometimes to
twenty thousand ducats a year.”
INNOCENT VIII (1484-92).
Schlegel, in his notes to Mosheim, says he “lived so
shamefully before he mounted the Roman throne, that he had sixteen illegitimate
children to make provision for. Yet on the papal throne he played the zealot against
the Germans, whom he accused of magic, and also against the Hussites, whom he
well-nigh exterminated.” Wilks says: “He obtained the votes of the
cardinals by bribery, and violated all his promises.” [1 37 :8] The practice of selling
offices prevailed under him as well as under his predecessors. “In corruption,” says
Symonds, ” he advanced a step even beyond Sixtus, by establishing a bank at
Rome for the sale of pardons. Each sin had its price, which might be paid at the
convenience of the criminal: one hundred and fifty ducats of the tax were poured
into the Papal coffers; the surplus fell to Franceschetto, the Pope’s son.” [1 37 :9]
The Vice-Chancellor of this rapacious pontiff, on being asked why indulgences were
permitted for the worst scandals, made answer that “God wills not the death of a
sinner, but rather that he should pay and live.” It must be added that “the traffic
which Innocent and Franceschetto carried on in theft and murder filled the
Campagna with brigands and assassins.” The Pope’s vices cost him so much
that he even pledged the papal tiara as a security for money.
ALEXANDER VI (1492-1503)
Roderic Borgia was one of the most depraved
wretches that ever lived. His passions were so unbridled that, having conceived a
liking for a widow and two daughters, he made them all subservient to his
brutality. Wilks calls him “a man of most abandoned morals, deep duplicity, and
unscrupulous ambition. Like his predecessors, he had but one object at heart, the
temporal and hereditary aggrandisement of his family.” Mosheim says: “So
many and so great villainies, crimes and enormities are recorded of him, that it
must be certain he was destitute not only of all religion, but also of decency and
shame.” This pope, at a certain feast, had fifty courtesans dancing, who, at a
given signal, threw off every vestige of clothing and — we draw a veil over the
scene! “To describe him,” says Symonds, “as the Genius of Evil, whose sensualities,
as unrestrained as Nero’s, were relieved against the background of flame and
smoke which Christianity had raised for fleshly sins, is justifiable.” [1 38:4] His
besetting vice was sensuality; in oriental fashion he maintained a harem in the
Vatican. He invited the Sultan Bajazet to enter Europe and relieve him of the
princes who opposed his intrigues in favor of his children.
In regard to his death we follow Ranke:
“It was but too certain that he once meditated taking off one of the
richest of the cardinals by poison. His intended victim, however,
contrived, by means of presents, promises and prayers, to gain over his
head cook, and the dish which had been prepared for the cardinal was
placed before the pope. He died of the poison he had destined for
another.” [1 38:5]
JULIUS II (1503-13)
He obtained the pontificate by fraud and bribery, [1 38:6]
and boldly took the sword to extend his dominion. [1 38:7 ] Mosheim says:
“That this Julius II possessed, besides other vices, very great ferocity,
arrogance, vanity, and a mad passion for war, is proved by abundant
testimony. In the first place, he formed an alliance with the Emperor
and the King of France, and made war upon the Venetians. He next laid
siege to Ferrara. And at last, drawing the Venetians, the Swiss and the
Spaniards, to engage in the war with him, he made an attack on Lewis
XII, the king of France. Nor, so long as he lived, did he cease from
embroiling all Europe.”
PAUL III (1531-49)
He was as much a man of the world as any of his
predecessors. He acknowledged an illegitimate son and daughter. [1 38:9] The
emperor once remonstrated with him on having promoted two of his grandsons to
the cardinalate at too early an age. He replied that he would do as his predecessors
had done — that there were examples of infants in the cradle being made
We now close this horrid list of criminals. Since the Reformation the popes have
been obliged to live more decently, or at least to conceal their vices instead of
flaunting them before the world. Should the Protestants object that they are in no
way responsible for the crimes of the Papacy, we shall cheerfully concede the plea;
but at the same time we beg to remind them that Catholics are also Christians, and
that the historian must deal with the whole system through all the centuries.
Besides, as Michelet observed, Protestantism is after all only an estuary, and
Catholicism the great sea.
We were later to learn that indeed the vices were well concealed and that levels of debauchery went unchecked for many more centuries right up to the present time
In this Danish cartoonist image, John Paul II is the Sun as the Infallible most powerful Pope of the Catholics with seven rays of the 7 Sacraments, he is in his white papal uniform and his two papal hands pulls up the children”s robes because he enabled and allowed thousands of pedophiles rapists-priests to go on freely sodomizing and raping little boys (and girls) during his longest reigning papacy of 26 years, together with Cardinal Josef Ratzinger his right-hand man.
Edward Pentin’s Perspective: A 43-year-old Mexican father of two, who claims to be possessed by demons — and whom Pope Francis prayed over earlier this month in what some witnesses likened to a public exorcism — insists that he still has demons inside him.
Identified only as Angel V., the man told Spanish-language newspaper El Mundo that he had undergone some 30 exorcisms by 10 exorcists, including the renowned Roman exorcist Rev. Gabriel Amorth, who all tried unsuccessfully to free him from his affliction. The interview was reported in the Italian daily La Stampa.
“I still have the demons inside me, they have not gone away,” the man said, noting that he felt much better after the Pope prayed over him. El Mundo reported that the man is able to walk. He was in a wheelchair when he met Pope Francis on May 19 at the conclusion of Mass on Pentecost Sunday.
Pope Francis laid his hands on the wheelchair-bound man in St Peter’s Square. The man’s expressions and the fact that he was known to be possessed made it appear to be an exorcism, although the Vatican denied the assertion, saying the Pope “did not intend to perform any exorcism” but simply prayed “for a suffering person who had been brought before him.”
An exorcism is, in the strict sense, a “casting out” of evil spirits using a very precise ritual. The Pope performed what is called a “laying on of hands” — a very ancient practice, going back to the Old Testament. In Christian tradition, it continues to be an act of blessing, and is also offered as an act of primarily spiritual healing by an ordained priest or bishop.
Angel V., who is married and lives in the state of Michoacán, claims to have been possessed by demons since 1999.
The Rev. Juan Rivas, a well-known Mexican priest, who accompanied Angel V. to Rome and was with him when he met the Pope, confirmed in an interview with El Mundo that Angel V. had been subjected to 30 exorcisms but “the demons that live in him do not want to leave him.” Rivas, a popular figure in Mexico and a member of the Legionaries of Christ, recalled how Angel kissed the pontiff’s ring and immediately fell into a trance.
“The Pope then laid his hands on his head and at that moment a terrible sound was heard (from him), like the roar of a lion,” Rivas said. “All those who were there heard it perfectly well. The Pope for sure heard it [but] he continued with his prayer, as if he had faced similar situations before.”
In the interview, Angel V. recalled the first time the demons entered him in 1999 when he was on a bus in Mexico. He felt “an energy” had entered the bus. “I did not see it with my eyes, but I perceived it,” he recalled. “I noted that it came close to me, and then stopped in front of me. Then, suddenly, I noted that something like a stake pierced my chest and, little by little, I had the sensation that it was opening my ribs.”
It felt like a heart attack, he added, and he thought he would die.
From then on, he said, his health started deteriorating: he vomited whatever he ate; he felt pains in his whole body, as if he was full of needles; he began to have difficulty in walking and breathing. “I could not sleep, and when I managed to sleep I had terrible nightmares connected with the evil one,” he asserted. He began to fall into trances in which he blasphemed, and spoke in unknown languages.
Medical doctors gave him thorough examinations but “could not get to the cause of my problems,” he said. Priests gave him Extreme Unction (a sacrament administered to the sick) four times, but this only “relieved” but did not remove his problem. The Catholic said he prays to God which helps him.
Knowing that he is possessed, he said is a source of “much fear,” but he also feels “very dirty at the thought that there was an evildoer within me.” His family reacted with incredulity, while some of his siblings were skeptical and thought he was psychologically unbalanced, he said.
For the past few years, Angel has sought out exorcists, including a leading Spanish priest, the Rev. Jose Antonio Fortea, who carried out exorcisms on him, and Amorth in Rome, but none could cast out his demons.
The possession turned into “a nightmare,” he said, causing him to lose a publicity company he owned and forcing him to sell some real estate. His family though has stood by him. “Fortunately, my children have never seen me in a trance, though they know I am ill,” he explained, adding that the past eight months have been particularly difficult.
One night he had a dream about Pope Francis, and when he woke up from the dream he turned on the TV and saw the Pope celebrating Mass exactly as he had seen in his dream “and then the idea came into my head that I should go to Rome.”
At that time he was reading a book by Amorth, “The Last Exorcist,” which included details of how both Benedict XVI and John Paul II carried out exorcisms on people brought to them. Angel V. asked Rivas, whom he has known for two years, to accompany him to the Vatican.
Amorth believes Angel is without doubt possessed, and that it is a possession “with a message.” “Not only is he possessed, but the devil who lives in him finds himself obliged by God to transmit a message,” he said.
Urgent: Should the Pope change the Catholic Church?
“Angel is a good man. He has been chosen by the Lord to give a message to the Mexican clergy and to tell the bishops that they have to do an act of reparation for the law on abortion that was approved in Mexico City in 2007, which was an insult to the Virgin,” according to Amorth. “Until they . . . do this, Angel will not be liberated.”
Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek, and The Sunday Times
For a man who seeks to imitate a noble personage, he could play worse than a Pope.
In Rome, however, it is a predilection fraught with potential problems.
For the past several weeks, according to Britain’s Telegraph, the papal lookalike, dressed in a white cassock and decorated with a skull cap and a crucifix on a necklace, has been entertaining tourists near the Via dei Fori Imperiali, the broad avenue that leads up to the Colosseum and a lucrative spot for attracting passers-by. … Some would drop a few euro coins into his silver tray.
“John Paul was a great Pope. Lots of people ask to have their photograph taken with me,” he told the paper, as he sat on a chair and smiled broadly as he held a Bible.
Police who detained him told him he will be hit with a fine of between about $200 to more than $1,200, depending on a court’s decision.
“The problem was that he looked a lot like Karol Wojtyla. He was detained for usurpation of title which is a misdemeanour,” a police spokeswoman told AFP.
“The cassock he was wearing has been confiscated,” she said, adding that the action had been taken after an anonymous complaint.
The Slovak was one of several buskers and street artists who try their luck along the street, from bands of Peruvian pipers to fake centurions and legionaries and performers who stand stock still dressed as the Statue of Liberty.
“If he had been dressed like Tutankhamen nothing would have happened,” another police officer said.
Local media had joked that the fake Pope had brought the number of pontiffs in Rome to three, along with Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who is living out his retirement in a former convent in the Vatican.
via Clerical Whispers.
via Clerical Whispers.
SHANGHAI – On the last Monday of April, this city’s main Cathedral was filled with believers. They had come to honor the memory of the man who had done more than anyone to improve relations between the Vatican and China’s so-called “Patriotic” Catholic Church.
Bishop Jin Luxian died last month at the age of 97. He had done his novitiate preparation for the priesthood in France, returning to his native China in 1951, only to be imprisoned five years later by Mao’s regime — and would go on to spend a total of 18 years in prison and nine in a labor camp.
Despite all of this, Jin joined the official “patriotic” Church once he got out of prison in 1982, and worked for years trying to bring it closer together with the clandestine communities of Catholics loyal to Rome. The estimated 10 million Catholics in China are split between those with allegiance to the Pope and those that practice under the auspices of the Patriotic Church that is sanctioned by the Communist Party.
In 2005, Monsignor Jin successfully pushed for the ordination of an assistant bishop, who was approved both by Rome and the Chinese authorities. This event marked the beginning of a relative thawing of relations between Beijing and the Holy See.
But that compromise came undone in November 2010 in the northeastern city of Chengde, when the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association resumed the ordination of bishops who had not been previously approved by the Pope. Members of the clergy who were faithful to Rome were forcibly taken to religious services by State security forces.
On the one hand, Beijing argues that the ordination process must be accelerated, especially in dioceses where there is no bishop. Roman Catholics, on the other hand, see this move as a hardening of Beijing’s stance. What they are not sure about is whether this is part of a more general control over human rights militants, or a stratagem on the part of the officials in charge of Catholic affairs, who fear their power would collapse if the improved relationship between Rome and Beijing solidified.
A telling sign of the growing tension was evident at the memorial service for Jin, which was led by a simple priest. Indeed, Ma Daqin, the new auxilliary bishop of Shanghai, has been under house arrest since last summer. During his own ordination ceremony on July 7, Ma had refused blessings from two bishops who had been imposed by the state-sanctioned Church.
It was during this same ceremony in July that Ma had announced he would no longer be part of the body in the Communist Party that controls the Catholic Church. “Thunderous applause among young people, livid faces among officials!” a European witness recalls. All officials from the Communist Party promptly left the Cathedral. Shortly after the service, the new bishop was forcibly taken to the Sheshan seminary, 30 kilometers outside the city center, where he has been detained since.
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association thought they had found in Ma Daqin a consensual, even docile new bishop. Contrary to someone like Msgr Jin, who had spent 27 years in prison and saw any changes as improvements on the harsh situation of the past, the new generation has raised expectations, explains one Western expert on Catholicism in China. “There has been an unaccounted for tightening in the State policy since 2010, and the young generation is making clear they do not want to go any further in that direction,” he says.
Jin’s last wish was to leave behind him an appeased community. Last year, in an interview with Le Monde, he refused to make any comment on this reactionary movement, though he did express concern for younger generations of clergymen.
His successor remains cut off from the rest of the world. On a visit to his seminary last month, one of his friends explained that Monsignor Ma could have his meals with the other seminarians, but had to say Mass on his own.
“The freedom of Catholics is subjected to their obedience to the system,” his friend remarked. Being allowed to visit the bishop on house-arrest, he confirmed that Ma Daqin was still allowed to manage his account on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, on which verses of the Gospel are sometimes published. The bishop has been allowed a few visitors, but no foreigners, as it would “make things even worse for him.”
Since last summer, the government in Beijing has been undergoing a handover of power, while in Rome a new Pope was elected this spring. But if the new Chinese President Xi Jinping has been talking about reforming the party internally, he has not given any indication on the future of Catholics in China. As a priest explained to us, “the relationship with the Roman Church falls within the scope of Foreign Policy, and Xi Jinping’s stance on this is still unclear.”
As a friend of the new bishop, he hopes “the government will be more open on this and let Msgr Ma go back to Shanghai.”
For weeks, the government had been aware that Jin was dying, and intentionally kept his successor away from his Cathedral. Sources say he has now been removed even further, to the capital, Beijing.
Read the article in the original language.
Photo by – Heurik
“The first thing he said when shown the papal apartments at the Vatican was ‘There is room for three hundred people here’ – next thing we knew the place was packed with raving clergymen!” says Cardinal Hugo Strangler, describing the changes being wrought in the Vatican by the recently-elected Pope Francis. “The rave went on all night, with His Holiness himself on the decks, spinning us some wicked mixes of Pat Boone and Cliff Richard! The younger priests were putting away the communion wine and wafers like the world was about to end!” According to Cardinal Strangler, who participated in the conclave which elected Pope Francis, the impromptu rave is typical of the new Pontiff’s interest in using popular culture as a vehicle for disseminating the word of God. “He’s really down with the kids,” explains Strangler. “He’s got his finger firmly on the pulse of popular culture – even his Papal name reflects this.” Contrary to popular belief, the Cardinal claims, the new Pope isn’t named for St Francis of Assisi, but rather for Francis Rossi of Status Quo. “By honouring this titan of modern pop music, His Holiness is hoping to demonstrate to the youth of the world that the church still has relevance,” he says. “He’s planning to get down with the kids soon – bringing his Stratocaster out onto the balcony at St Peter’s Square and thrashing out a few classic Quo covers.”
The Pope’s guitar has allegedly already had at least one outing in aid of interdenominational harmony, with Rome rife with rumours of an impromptu jam session involving Pope Francis on lead guitar, his Coptic equivalent on bass and the Dalai Lama on drums. “It is said to have happened in a basement bar near the Vatican, the day after the Holy Father was appointed,” says the Cardinal. “He’d apparently gone to settle his hotel bill, then bumped into the other two spiritual leaders outside the bar and one thing led to another. It is said that they thrashed out a number of old Jimi Hendrix numbers, including Voodoo Child and Purple Haze.” Indeed, stories about the unconventional new Pope’s populist antics are rife throughout the Italian capital, including the claim that the evening after his official inauguration, Pope Francis attended a karaoke night at a local bar, belting out a number of popular hymns and Gregorian chants, to the delight of the rest of the audience. “He is clearly a Pope of the people – in touch with the common man,” comments Strangler. “He understands that we must start preaching the gospel in terms that modern ordinary people can understand, if the church is to survive.”
However, Pope Francis’ pop culture approach to the Catholic faith and, in particular, his calls for it to become the church of the poor, have not met with universal approval in the Roman Catholic hierarchy. “All this ‘Pope a Go Go’ business is all very well, but he’s riskin’ making us a laughin’ stock,” declares Brendan O’Fugh, Bishop of Skibbereen. “At a time when we need to be reassertin’ our moral authority, in the wake of all these kiddie fiddlin’ allegations and the like, the last thing we need is the Pope jitterbuggin’ round the Basilica and singin’ duets with Justin Beiber!” O’Fugh is also suspicious of Pope Francis’ commitment to use the wealth of the church to help the world’s poor. “Look, the poor are poor because it is all part of God’s feckin’ plan, alright? Who are we to question His scheme of things?” says the exasperated cleric. “He creates us all equal, doesn’t He? If some lazy bastards can’t be bothered to get off their arses and make somethin’ of themselves, that’s their problem. The Almighty gave us free will, for feck’s sake, didn’t he? It’s their choice! If we bale ‘em out we’re just goin’ against God’s will!” O’Fugh is worried at the form that Pope Francis’ attempts to help the poor might take. “If we’re not careful, he’ll be holdin’ a feckin’ car boot sale in St Peter’s Square, floggin’ off all of our art treasures at bargain basement prices and givin’ the proceeds to some feckin’ beggars or gyppos!” he declares. “Next thing, he’ll be turning our bloody cathedrals and churches into doss houses! Look, if he really wanted to help the poor, he’d start advocatin’ contraception, wouldn’t he? But that’s not goin’ to happen, is it?”
O’Fugh had favoured a more conservative candidate for the Papacy, following Pope Benedict’s resignation, most specifically Cardinal Franco Hatchet. “He’s the sort of fellah we need to bring some dignity and respect back to the church,” enthuses the bishop. “I know people are always sayin’ he’s some kind of knee-jerk reactionary, but he has some pretty progressive ideas.” O’Fugh has been particularly impressed by Hatchet’s recent theological papers in which he has attempted to show that suicide might not be a mortal sin under certain circumstances – if committed in the name of God, for instance. “There’s no doubt that it opens up some fascinatin’ possibilities,” he muses. “Like the idea of Catholic suicide bombers who could instil real fear into the infidels and sinners. I mean, it’s worked wonders for the Muslims – nobody messes with them, do they? Not that I’m actually advocatin’ sendin’ out our parishioners to blow up abortion clinics – though that would make the bitches think twice about murderin’ their babies – I’m just sayin’ that you don’t see anyone takin’ the piss out of the Muslims now, do you? You don’t get any feckin’ comedians or gobshites on the web crackin’ jokes about Imams buggerin’ kiddies, do you?”
Most leading theologians agree that Hatchet’s already slim chances of becoming Pope were dashed completely by his recent intervention in the child abuse scandals which had threatened to engulf Benedict XVI’s papacy. “All he said was that we were lookin’ at it from the wrong perspective,” says Bishop O’Fugh. “Those kiddies weren’t victims – they were blessed! The so-called abuse they suffered at the hands of priests were actually a test from God – the Bible’s full of that sort of thing: just look at the Book of Job! It was a brilliant bit of scholarship on Hatchet’s part – an attempt to reconcile this alleged abuse with the fact that its alleged perpetrators were supposedly agents of the Almighty!” Controversially, O’Fugh is convinced that the election of Pope Francis was a mistake and is calling for a re-run of the ballot. “I have it on good authority that the white smoke billowin’ out of the chimney was a mistake – they hadn’t actually elected a new Pope at that point,” he confides. “As I understand it, the Cardinals had found a stash of kiddie porn in the room – probably planted by bloody protestants or atheists – and, in order to avoid another scandal, burned the filth in the stove, inadvertently causin’ the white smoke. When they realised what had happened, they panicked and picked a new Pope by drawin’ lots! I mean, they felt that had no choice, the media were clamourin’ for a name and those bloody marchin’ bands were already stampin’ around the square!”
The boring thing about modern democracy is that we almost never elect truly crazy people. Oh, sure, we’ll vote in somebody with mild eccentricities or sexual appetites, and we may refer to some extremist as “crazy,” but back when rulers took the throne based only on their bloodline, a nation could wind up under the fist of someone who was literally “howl naked at the moon” insane.
Don’t get us wrong — we’re sure it was a nightmare for everyone involved. But it does make for hilarious stories down the line.
#1. Justin II of Byzantine Heard Voices, Bit People on the Head
Justin II was a sixth century emperor of Byzantine, which was how they rebranded the Roman Empire after it wasn’t cool to be the Roman Empire anymore. Also, apparently they let pretty much anyone be emperor in those days, because Justin II was nucking futs.
History remembers Justin mainly as a kind of shitty leader who wound up losing most of Italy to Persia, which, if you’re the emperor of Rome, is dropping the ball pretty badly. But the ancient historian John of Ephesus recounts some interesting facts about Justin’s personal life, like how he would hear voices in his head and scream and hide under his bed to escape them. Apparently, the only way his servants could help him out was to play organ music throughout the palace to drown out the voices.
They’d have had better luck with dubstep.
That part of the story is key: the fact that nobody knew how to treat mental illness back then. So it wasn’t much fun to be around the palace when Justin II went into full crazy mode — it’s said that when his servants were rushing around trying to restrain him, he would fight back by biting them, often on the head. Eventually, the servants had to go to greater lengths to entertain him, and came up with a solution that would appeal to any toddler — building a makeshift throne on wheels and pushing Justin around the palace on it, to his great delight. As John of Ephesus puts it, “… having placed him on it, his chamberlains drew him about, and ran with him backwards and forwards for a long time, while he, in delight and admiration at their speed, desisted from many of his absurdities.”
“Couldn’t you just ride hookers like a regular monarch?”
#2. Charles VI of France Thought He Was a Wolf and/or Made of Glass
Charles “the Mad” VI was king of France from 1380 (when he was 12) to his death 1422, all during the Hundred Years’ War with England, and when your country is fighting something called the “Hundred Years’ War,” it’s really unfortunate if the man sitting on the throne is nicknamed “Charles the Mad.” Unless it means he’s really angry. (It doesn’t.)
“What if we just add an extra “D” and tell people he really hates drunk driving?”
In 1392, during a trip through a forest to look for a fugitive who had attempted to murder an adviser of his, Charles VI randomly attacked his own knights, killing some of them, until they all managed to hold him down and carry him back to the castle. They concluded that he was probably just under a lot of stress, as it was the first time that Charles had shown signs of not really being totally right in the head.
In the following years, Charles would go through episodes of forgetting people’s names, including his own, and the fact that he was king. Oh, and he would also run through his castle pretending to be a wolf, howling at people. And he freaked out when people touched him because he thought he was made of glass.
“Bring me the head of the one they call Bruce Willis.”
Eventually, Charles’ batshittery reached such a fever pitch that the monarchy of France broke down into civil war, with his brother vying for power on one side and his first cousin leading the other. That’s a war breaking out during another war. This infighting allowed rival countries like England to attack with impunity, and by the end of Charles VI’s rule, much of France was occupied by foreign powers. He could have done something about it, but, you know, somebody might have touched him.
#3. Christian VII of Denmark‘s Chronic Masturbation Problem
Christian VII rose to the throne of Denmark in 1766, even though everyone was pretty sure he was crazy. That probably had something to do with the fact that he would often throw food at his dinner guests … but then, rich people can be real jerks. His reign seemed otherwise pretty normal — that is, until the masturbation started.
At some point, Christian developed a newfound fascination with his penis, by which we mean he jerked it so often that it interfered with his duties. The court physicians actually worried that Christian’s chronic habit was affecting his health — they thought that it would render him infertile and that it was stunting his growth, which was the 18th century version of “Stop that or you’ll go blind.”
But at least Christian didn’t usually do it in front of visiting dignitaries. What he did do was leapfrog over them when they bowed to him, and sometimes he’d slap people in the face in the middle of a conversation for absolutely no reason. OK, so that’s actually the second thing he did that we would also do if we became king.
Eventually, Christian’s mind was so far gone that his personal physician, Johann Streunsee, basically yanked the whole kingdom out from underneath him by talking the king into handing over control of his executive decisions, as well as boning the queen behind Christian’s back. Presumably he was too busy jerking it to notice.
#4 Farouk of Egypt, the Pickpocket King
The last ruling king of Egypt, King Farouk, was as nutty as most of the world’s leaders seemed to be during World War II, and was ultimately the reason Egypt decided to pack it all in with this whole monarchy thing. Known early in his reign for his excessive partying and gambling, Farouk was once described as a “stomach with a head” after he grew to over 300 pounds. According to his sister, he would drink 30 bottles of soda a day and eat caviar straight from the can. But gluttony is pretty much expected, if not mandatory, for a despot. That alone certainly would not qualify him for this list.
But more bizarre for someone with infinite money, Farouk was a complete kleptomaniac, once stealing a watch from Winston Churchill. He later claimed to have simply found it lying around, but neglected to mention that he’d “found” it in Churchill’s pocket.
You’re also about to ‘find’ my foot in your ass.”
Another time, after having nightmares about lions attacking him, Farouk decided to take a trip to the Cairo Zoo to see the lions. And by see them, we mean shoot them while they were in their cages, because that’s a perfectly reasonable reaction to night terrors if you are insane.
Finally, when Hitler’s army was preparing to invade Egypt, it’s safe to say that Farouk was the only world leader to send Hitler a telegram thanking him for coming to kick his country’s ass. He didn’t like the British forces occupying his country, and apparently he figured Nazis were somehow a step up.
As you might have guessed, Farouk wasn’t too popular with the people, who supported the British and were pretty anti-Nazi. In 1952, he was overthrown, and upon raiding his treasures, an interesting discovery was made: Farouk had tons of coins, magic tricks, stamps … and the world’s largest porn collection.
#5. The Zhengde Emperor of China Liked to Play Make-Believe
The Zhengde Emperor was emperor of China in the beginning of the 16th century, having taken the throne at the age of 14, and as far as anyone could tell, he remained 14 for the next decade and a half of his rule.
For instance, Zhengde liked to play games of make-believe instead of, you know, running a giant empire like he was supposed to be doing. In fact, he built a whole fake city block on the imperial grounds where he would pretend to be a shopkeeper, to the puzzlement of his subjects, who were forced to go along with it.
Occasionally, he pretended he was a general and went on raiding parties (almost getting captured) with an army dressed all in silk, for some reason. Weirder still, he invented for himself an alter ego he named Zhu Shou, whom he would “order” on pointless raiding parties, to the exasperation of his government, who had to pretend they weren’t just talking to the emperor in a wig. There might be a powerful lesson here in the fact that the dude was king, but still preferred fantasy to reality. Then again, maybe he just found being king way more boring than he imagined.
Eventually Zhengde died in predictable fashion: after getting really drunk and falling off a boat during a fishing trip.
The church had hoped that previous cover-ups had done enough to see it’s reputation remain intact, but is admitting defeat and will close it’s doors for the final time on Sunday.
The closure will see an end to a two-thousand year old institution, which insiders hope will be remembered for it’s few good years rather than the couple of thousand pretty awful ones.
One former Catholic told us, “It’s the worshippers I feel sorry for, many of them had no idea the strange man in a dress was fiddling with kids.”
“You know, maybe the clean break will do the worshippers some good? I hear that the Anglicans are recruiting.”
After controversial figure Father Coulson left the church in 2007, many inside the church felt that the worst was behind them, but the latest revelations have once again left Catholicism facing the mercy of the legal system.
Catholicism to close
In the face of mounting criticism, the decision to close has come from the very top, with Vatican officials expected to arrive in the country shortly to oversee the closure.
Speculation is already rife that Carholicism will merely relaunch under a new name in time for next Sunday, with the domain entirelynewcatholicism.net �suspiciously purchased in Rome on Tuesday.
One religious industry watcher told us, “I can’t imagine the Vatican will simply walk away completely, you have to remember that this is a multi billion dollar business empire.”
“You don’t acquire that level of financial success by making poor business decisions.”
“I’m quite sure they’ll rebrand, come back fresh, and this time next year well be asking ‘Catholicism who?’”
Message from Pontius Pilate in Judea to Tiberius Caesar in Rome: We have this guy running around Judea stirring up people and telling them everyone should treat everyone else as neighbors and love your enemies. This religious fanatic could pose a security risk to the Empire.
Tiberius to Pilate: Impose a state of emergency in Jerusalem. Require all gatherings to have to apply for a permit. Don’t grant any permits. Do not let large groups of people gather to hear this radical leader.
Pilate to Tiberius: We tried that but the movement keeps growing. This guy is dangerous. People are claiming he takes stones and turns them into loaves of bread, walks on water and raises dead people back to life. Our confidential informant says many people think the guy is the Messiah. Our CI also says the guy talks to God. The CI says the guy told his followers “render unto Caesar what is Caeser’s and render unto God what is God‘s.”
Tiberius to Pilate: I am God. everything renders to me. This is a direct threat to my authority. Arrest him and his leadership group.
Pilate to Tiberius: Are you sure? This is only gong to stir things up even more. We could make martyrs out of them. If we ignore them maybe they’ll just fade away.
Tiberius to Pilate: Do I have to send someone from Rome to do the job. Cut off the head of the snake.
Pilate to Tiberius: OK. So we arrest the leader. Then what do we do? IÂ’d like to put him on a slave galley.
Tiberius to Pilate: Make an example of him. Kill him in some locally cruel and unusual way. Crucifixion.
Pilate to Tiberius: WeÂ’ve got this Jewish holiday coming up, Passover I think they call it. The guy is getting a bunch of his disciples together for a Seder on Friday. Our CI says he’s going to make some important announcement. Should we grab him before the dinner or after?
Tiberius to Pilate: Pick him up after the dinner, hold a show trial, parade him through the city, and nail him to a cross.
Pilate to Tiberius: OK. We did that. Threw in a couple of thieves as well. But three days later the guy’s body disappeared and now everyone is saying the guy was “resurrected” and went to live with God up in Heaven and all of us are being saved.
Tiberius to Pilate: DonÂ’t worryÂ…this will blow over and no one will remember the guy in a few years and things will go back to normal.
Pilate to Tiberius: Just for the record, the guyÂ’s name was Jesus Christ