[ the actual title of this page:]
http://CatholicArrogance.Org/PopesvsChrist.html

 

The "Vicars of Christ"
Exposed

Christ Sections :
1,
[2],
3,
4
a Pope

There's a great deal of truth in President Truman's famous observation :

"The only thing new in the world is the history that you don't know."   On the one hand, Roman Catholics believe that all kinds of myths that they have been told about their church and its "saints" are real history, and on the other hand they know very little about the actual history of their church between the first and the twentieth centuries. When they are actually exposed to some of the horrible things their popes have done, instead of being humbled and shamed - as they should be - they imagine that people who reveal such facts to them must be lying "anti-Catholic bigots". Most of them are too lazy to check out unbiased sources to find out for themselves what is historical and what isn't, but those who do, will find out that what I am reporting on these pages is fact, not fiction. Time magazine reported on some of these popes at http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1981842_1981844,00.html

Jesus' promises cannot apply to some
unless they apply to all of Peter's successors

        According to Matthew, Ch. 16, Jesus said to Peter:

"Thou art Peter (a stone), and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

To see how insane it is to believe that Jesus or God intended these words as a seal of divine authority for all of Peter's successors, all one needs to do is put that theory to the test, as follows:

"His Holiness", Pope Stephen VII :

This pope "was completely mad.  He dug up a Corsican predecessor, Pope Formosus (891-6) when he had been dead for over nine months.  In what came to be known as the Cadaveric Synod, he dressed the stinking corpse in full pontificals, placed him on the throne in the Lateran and proceeded to interrogate him personally.  Formosus was charged with becoming pope under false pretences; he was bishop of another place, hence ineligible for Rome.  According to Pope Stephen, it made all his acts invalid, especially his ordinations.  A chattering teenaged deacon replied on Formosus' behalf.  After being found guilty, the corpse was condemned as an antipope, stripped of all but a hair-shirt clinging to the withered flesh and, minus the two fingers with which he had given his fake apostolic blessing, was thrown into the Tiber.  The body, held together by the hair-shirt like a carcass of meat, was recovered by some of Formosus' admirers and given a quiet burial.  Later, it was returned to its tomb in St Peter's.  Stephen himself was soon strangled.

Popes maimed and were maimed, killed and were killed.  Their lives bore no resemblance to the gospels.  They had more in common with modern rich kids turned hooligans and junkies who haunt beach cafés and nightclubs than with Roman pontiffs as the world now sees them.  Some owed their preferment to ambitious parents, some to the sword, some to the influence of high-born and beautiful mistresses in what became known as `The Reign of the Harlots'."  (p. 48)

        Who in his or her right mind believes that when Stephen VII was the current successor to Peter, it was Jesus' intent to proclaim:

"Thou, Stephen VII, art the rock upon which I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

"His Holiness", the teen-aged Pope John XII :

"Youth may explain in part his irreligious behaviour - since he was only sixteen when he assumed the burdens of office (in 955).  Whole monasteries spent their days and nights praying for his decease.  Even for a pope of that period, he was so bad that the citizens were out for his blood.  He had invented sins, they said, not known since the beginning of the world, including sleeping with his mother.  He ran a harem in the Lateran Palace.  He gambled with pilgrims' offerings.  He kept a stud of two thousand horses which he fed on almonds and figs steeped in wine.  He rewarded the companions of his nights of love with golden chalices from St Peter's.  He did nothing for the most profitable tourist trade of the day, namely, pilgrimages.  Women in particular were warned not to enter St John Lateran if they prized their honour; the pope was always on the prowl.  In front of the high altar of the mother church of Christendom, he even toasted the Devil.

Pope John aroused such wrath that, fearing for his life, he plundered St. Peter's and fled to Tivoli.

A synod was called to sort things out.  Present were sixteen cardinals, all the numerous Italian bishops and many others who were conscripted from Germany.  The Bishop of Cremona left a precise record of the charges brought against the pope.  He had said mass without communicating.  He had ordained a deacon in a stable.  He had charged for ordinations.  He had copulated with a long list of ladies, including his father's old flame and his own niece.  He had blinded his spiritual director.  He had castrated a cardinal, causing his death.  All these accusations were confirmed under oath.

Otto then wrote John a letter that must rank among the great curiosities of all time.

'Everyone, clergy as well as laity, accuses you, Holiness, of homicide, perjury, sacrilege, incest with your relatives, including two of your sisters, and with having, like a pagan, invoked Jupiter, Venus and other demons.'

John's family raised an army to give him safe passage home.  In Rome he resumed the Petrine office.  Not satisfied with anything as mild as excommunication, he maimed or executed all who had contributed to his exile.

No pope ever went to God in a more embarrassing position.  One night, a jealous husband, one of many, caught his Holiness with his wife in flagrante delictoand gave him the last rites with one hammer blow on the back of the head.  He was twenty-four.  The Romans, noted for their savage wit, said that this was the climax of his career.  At least he was lucky to die in bed, even if it was someone else's.  (pp. 51-2)

Who in his or her right mind believes that when John XII was the current successor to Peter, it was Jesus' intent to proclaim :

"Thou, John XII, art the rock upon which I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

"His Holiness", the pre-teen Pope Benedict IX :

In 1032,  Count Alberic III paid a fortune to keep the job (papacy) in the family.  Who better to fill the vacancy than his own son, Theophylactus?  Raoul Glaber, a monk from Cluny, reports that at his election in October of 1032 his Holiness was eleven years old. . .

PopeBenedict_IXIt was an odd spectacle:  a boy not yet in his teens, his voice not yet broken, was chief legislator and ruler of the Catholic church, called upon to wear the tiara, celebrate high mass in St Peter's, grant livings, appoint bishops and excommunicate heretics.  His Holiness's exploits with the ladies prove that the boy-pope reached the age of puberty very early.  By the time he was fourteen, a chronicler said, he had surpassed in profligacy and extravagance all who had preceded him.  St. Peter Damian, a fine judge of sin, exclaimed:  `That wretch, from the beginning of his pontificate to the end of his life, feasted on immorality.'  Another observer wrote:  `A demon from hell in the disguise of a priest has occupied the Chair of Peter'. (pp. 53-54)
        Who in his or her right mind believes that when Benedict IX was the current successor to Peter, it was Jesus' intent to proclaim:

"Thou, Benedict IX, art the rock upon which I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

"His Holiness", Sixtus IV :

He was responsible for more than the "Sistine Chapel".
       "In the fifteenth century, there was not one voice raised in defence of the papacy.  With men like Francesco de la Rovere on the throne it is not hard to see why."

Francesco became Sixtus IV in 1471.  He had several sons, called according to the custom of the day 'the pope's nephews'.  Sixtus gave three nephews and six other relatives the red hat (making them Cardinals).  Among the beneficiaries was Giuliano de la Rovere, the future Julius II.

Sixtus' favourite was Pietro Riario, whom the historian Theodore Griesinger believed was his son by his own sister.  Certainly, the new pope had an alarming fondness for the boy.  He made him Bishop of Treviso, Cardinal Archbishop of Seville, Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop of Valencia and Archbishop of Florence. . . 

Sixtus IV  built the (Sistine) chapel named after himself in which all popes are now elected.  It has seen pomp and ignominy. . .

Sixtus was the first pope to license the brothels of Rome; they brought him in thirty thousand ducats a year.  He also gained considerably from a tax imposed on priests who kept a mistress.  Another source of income was granting privileges to rich men `to enable them to solace certain matrons in the absence of their husbands'.

It was in the area of indulgences that Sixtus showed a touch of genius.  He was the first pontiff to decide that they could be applied to the dead.  Even he was overwhelmed by their popularity.  Here was an infinite source of revenue that even his greediest predecessors had not dreamed of.  It was breathtaking in its implications: the pope, creature of flesh and blood, had power over the regions of the dead.  Souls in torment for their misdemeanours could be released by his word, provided their pious relatives dipped into.their pockets.  And which of them wouldn't if they had a spark of Christian decency?  Widows and widowers, bereaved parents spent their all trying to get their loved ones out of Purgatory, painted in ever more lurid colours.

Praying for the dead was one thing, paying for them another.  Simple folk were led to believe that the pope, or those who came to their village and sold the pope's pardon, guaranteed their dead would go to heaven on the wings of indulgences.  The potential for abuse was considerable.  The sale of relics from the tenth century had been bad enough. . .  Martyr's bones, like oil, were not a renewable commodity, but indulgences were limitless and could be priced to suit every pocket.  Nothing was required of the donor or recipient, not love or compassion or prayer or repentance - only money.  No practice was ever more irreligious than this.  The pope grew rich in the measure that the poor were duped.

Purgatory had no justification, whether in Scripture or in logic.  Its real basis was papal avarice.  An Englishman, Simon Fish, in A Supplicacyion for the Beggars, written in the year 1529, was to point that out irrefutably:

'There is not one word spoken of it in all holy Scripture, and also if the Pope with his pardons may for money deliver one soul hence, he may deliver him as well without money: if he may deliver one, he may deliver a thousand: if he may deliver a thousand, he may deliver them all; and so destroy purgatory: and then he is a cruel tyrant, without all charity, if he keep them there in prison and in pain, till men will give him money.'

In 1478, Sixtus published a Bull that did even more harm to the church.  He sanctioned the Inquisition in Castile.  It spread, literally, like fire.  In 1482 two thousand heretics were burned in Andalusia alone.

Of Sixtus IV it was said that he `embodied the utmost possible concentration of human wickedness'.  In Bishop Creighton's words, `he lowered the moral tone of (all of) Europe'. " (pp. 100-102)
        Who in his or her right mind believes that when Sixtus IV was the current successor to Peter, it was Jesus' intent to proclaim:

"Thou, Sixtus IV, art the rock upon which I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

"His Holiness", Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia )

" Rodrigo Borgia, a Catalan, was reputed to have committed his first murder when he was twelve years old.  He repeatedly drove his scabbard into another boy's belly.  As a young man, his amorous propensities were not the best-kept secret in the world.

In 1456, Pope Callistus III (his uncle) made Rodrigo, then twenty-five, Archbishop of Valencia, the chief see in Spain .  Rodrigo was already famous for having made impartial love to a widow and her two beautiful daughters, one of whom was his ever-beloved Vannozza Catanei.  Summoned to Rome to become a cardinal at twenty-six and Vice Chancellor of the church one year later, he could not bear to be too far from his mistress, so he installed her in style in that most stylish of cities, Venice.

When Rodrigo became pope, he took the name of Alexander VI, not seeming to mind that Alexander V was excluded from the lists as the antipope of Pisa.

Luther was nine years old when Borgia came to power.  Everything in Rome was for sale, from livings and indulgences to cardinal's hats and the papacy itself. . .

Pope-Alexander-VI.jpgHaving elected Borgia, the cardinals serenaded the Holy Spirit, thanking him for choosing a successor to St Peter. . .  In a frenzy of joy, he exclaimed: `I am pope, pontiff, Vicar of Christ.,'

This man was wicked even for a Renaissance pope.  His eye for a pretty woman was said to be infallible, even in old age.  He had ten known illegitimate children, four of them, including the notorious Cesare and Lucrezia, by Vanozza.  When she became faded, the pope, aged fifty-eight, took another mistress.

Giulia Farnese was fifteen . . .  became known throughout Italy as `the Pope's Whore' and `the Bride of Christ'.

By Giulia, the pope had a daughter named Laura. . .  Alexander) followed Innocent VIII's example and openly acknowledged his children in what was called the Golden Age of Bastards.  Plus II had even said that Rome was the only city in the world to be run by bastards.

. . . Life in the Vatican in those days was never dull nor wholly evangelical.  There were reliable tales of drunken and sexual orgies.  Alexander was reputed to have had incestuous relations with his daughter, the gorgeous Lucrezia.  If so, and it is not certain, it was a record even for a Renaissance pope to have had sex with three generations of women: his daughter, her mother and her grandmother.

Cesare, his son, was Machiavelli's model for the utterly ruthless. . .  Francesco Guicciardini, who became lieutenant-colonel of the papal armies, confided to his secret notebook, I Ricordi, that Cesare was born so that `there might be in the world one man vile enough to carry out the designs of his father, Alexander VI'.  In impressive Spanish style, Cesare once slew five bulls with a lance in St Peter's Square, then beheaded a sixth with a single stroke of the sword.  He thought nothing of stealing a man's wife, raping her and tossing her into the Tiber River.

Early in his reign, the pope nostalgically gave (seventeen-year-old) Cesare his old see of Valencia.. . .  A year later, in the consistory in which Alexander promoted his mistress' brother and fifteen-year-old Ippolito d'Este, Cesare became a cardinal.

. . . In those days, there was an average of fourteen murders a day in Rome.  When the culprit was caught, Alexander did not scruple to let him off, for a consideration.  As he remarked, with the winning smile he had: `The Lord requires not the death of a sinner but rather that he should pay and live.'

One of his less endearing habits was to appoint cardinals, for a fat fee, then have them poisoned to increase the turnover.  He favoured cantarella, a concoction made up mostly of white arsenic.  The church, he decreed, could inherit the cardinal's goods and chattels.  He, of course, as Christ's Vicar, was the church.

One of the few to protest openly at the scandal of the papal court was the Dominican Prior of San Marco in Florence.  The greatest preacher of his age, Savonarola was declared by a later pontiff, Benedict XIV, to be worthy of canonization.  That was not Alexander's view.  He tried to silence the friar by promising him a cardinal's hat for nothing.  When, to his astonishment, that failed, there was no alternative but to have him tried, hanged and burned instead though, it was said, there was no rancour on the pope's part.

No hypocrite, he never pretended to be a sincere Christian, let alone a saint.  Yet, like most pontiffs, he was intensely devoted to the Virgin Mary.  He revived the ancient custom of ringing the Angelus bell thrice a day.  He had commissioned a painting of a superb Madonna, with the face of (his young mistress) Giulia Farnese to deepen his love. "  Alexander died (accidentally it appears) of poison, which his son Caesare probably intended only for a few of his rich and eminently disposable fellow cardinals."  (pp. 103-108)         Who in his or her right mind believes that when Alexander VI was the current successor to Peter, it was Jesus' intent to proclaim:

"Thou, Alexander VI, art the rock upon which I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

If you can see that Jesus' words couldn't possibly apply to these monstrous successors to Peter, think a little more and you'll realize that they don't apply to the other successors of Peter either.
        Listen to what an official site promoting the Roman Catholic church had the gall to claim in the early 2000's :

In their "Crusades" against the "infidels", and its
"Inquisition" against its own church members the 
"Vicars of Christ" murdered innocent people by the thousands,
all in the name of their all-loving God!

When Jesus promised that the "gates of hell will not prevail against his church", surely he didn't have this institution in mind, with its Vicars of Christ directing and applauding the torture and killing of many more of their fellow Christians than the pagan emperors had killed or persecuted, often just because they would not condone the often atrocious teaching and/or behavior of the so-called "Holy Fathers" and "Vicars of Christ" of their day.

"His Holiness", Pope Innocent-III,

In the year 1209, When the King of France refused to lead the pope's Crusade, Pope Innocent III  put his legate, Arnald-Amalric, the General of the Cistercian ( or "Trappist") monks at Citeaux, in charge of the "Christian" forces.  On their way to the Holy Land, they made a stop at the French town of Béziers.

"Arnald called on the Catholics in the town, an Albigensian stronghold, to hand over the 200 or so known heretics.  If they didn't they would suffer with them.  The townsfolk decided to stand together against these foreigners . . .

The townsfolk took refuge inside the cathedral and the great churches of St. Jude and St. Mary Magdalene. . .  The command went out from Arnald:  'Kill them all: the Lord will look after his own.'

Behind the locked doors of St. Mary Magdalene's, the clergy tolled the bells, while celebrants vested in black for a requiem.  The churches, places of sanctuary from time immemorial, were crammed.  In that church alone there were 7000 women, children and the elderly.  To the sound of priests chanting mass was added that of axes splitting the timber of the doors.  When the doors gave way, the only noise and church was the Latin of the liturgy and the babble of babies in their mothers' arms.

The invaders, singing lustily Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit) spared no one, not even the babies.  The last to be cut down were two priests in the sanctuary.  One held on high a crucifix, the other the chalice.  With a clang, the chalice hit the stone floor, and Christ's blood mingled with that of the people of Béziers.  It was, said Lea, in his book The Inquisition in the Middle Ages, 'a massacre almost without parallel in human history'.

The crusaders then destroyed everything in the town, including the cathedral.  'All that was left of Béziers was a smouldering heap under which all the citizens lay dead.'

In the cool of the evening, the monk Arnald settled down to write to his superior.  'Today, your Highness, 20,000 citizens were put to the sword, regardless of age or sex.'  That is unusual.  After a siege, women and children were spared, and especially clergy who had immunity.  Slaughtering babies was bad enough, but it was an unspeakable crime to cut priests down as they celebrated the ritual sacrifice of Calvary.  Blood-lust had taken hold of the Pope's crusade and was never to relax its grip. It has been reckoned that in the last and most savage persecution under Emperor Diocletian, about 2,000 Christians perished, throughout the empire.  (Yet) In the first vicious incident of Pope Innocent III's crusade, ten times that number of people were slaughtered.  Not all were Albigensians, by any means.  It comes as a shock to discover that, at a stroke, a pope killed far more Christians than (the pagan emperor) Diocletian. PapalMassacre

(Pope) Innocent was deeply moved by Arnald's letter.  He thanked God for His great mercy.  Never once did he question the legitimacy of a monk slaughtering heretics and the Catholics who harboured them."  It seemed right to defend Christ's truth by (the very same) methods that led to Christ's (own) crucifixion." ( pp. 158 - 160)

        Who in his or her right mind believes that when Innocent III was the current successor to Peter, it was Jesus' intent to proclaim:

"Thou, Innocent III, art the rock upon which I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

"As billions of Christians and Muslims throughout the world waited with rapt anticipation, it finally happened. The Pope, on June 24, 2004 apologized for the annihilation of Constantinople (currently called Istanbul , Turkey ) by Christian Crusaders during 4 days of madness, mayhem and murder in April of the year 1204 A.D. . .

Unfortunately, the genuineness of the Roman Catholic hierarchy's repentence is often hard to take seriously. On the one hand, it spends decades, if not centuries, proclaiming its innocence and even justification in doing the damning deeds, and then expects a few words of apology to instantaneously wipe out their centuries of guilt. It's as though a rapist should expect forgiveness if he says, "Oh. I'm sorry, I meant to say please." In what other court would a criminal be allowed to walk free for simply saying: "Sorry" ?

Although Pope John Paul II delivered an emotional apology to Orthodox Christians for the Catholic plundering of Christian Constantinople, saying, ""We can not forget what happened in the month of April 1204 A.D. How can we not share, at a distance of eight centuries, the pain and disgust"?

Yet, the conservative R C media group called "Saint Michaels Media " is still defending, in Youtube videos (by "the one true faith") such as the one below, that for which the papacy has been ashamed enough to apologize :

( Those who were killed, however, may have been the lucky ones.  Here is the way some of the living were treated at the Crusaders' next stop:  After capturing the castle at Bram in 1210, ) "instead of killing the vanquished, the commander of the Pope's crusaders, de Montfort, ordered his soldiers to lop off their noses and gouge out their eyes.  One man was allowed to keep one eye to guide the rest.  Each of them put a hand on the shoulder of the fellow in front and, like a giant bloodied whining insect, they wended their way to Cabaret to put the fear of God into the encampment there. . . ( p. 160)

"The Pope Innocent was kept informed at every stage.  He opened one letter to De Montfort with the words 'praise and thanks to God for that which He hath mercifully wrought through thee and through these others whom zeal for the orthodox faith hath kindled to this work against His most pestilential enemies.' "( p. 161)

Just for the record, this is the same pope whom the Catholic Church has to thank for its doctrine of "transubstantiation" (the power R.C. priests have to bring God down out of heaven into a cup a wine and a piece of bread ) and for the "sacrament" of auricular confession of sins to a priest, which was required annually by the Lateran council, (over which Pope Innocent presided in 1215 AD).

The Unimaginable Cruelty of the so-called "Holy Office" of the Inquisition :

It wasn't bad enough that some "Vicars of Christ" used the name of Christ to visit unspeakable evil on others, this organization, which claimed to be God's one and only "Holy Catholic Church" institutionalized its cruel criminality and called its creation "the Holy Office of the Inquisition".

Through more than five centuries, this "Holy Office" terrified, tortured and murdered innocent people by the thousands, on behalf of an uninterrupted stream of "Vicars of Christ".  Though their victims were called "heretics", the faith and lives of these "heretics" were often, if not always, more genuinely Christian than the "Holy Fathers" of "Holy Mother the Church" who thought themselves worthy of judging and condemning others.

There had been healthy actions by the church in earlier times when violence and war had been explicitly and officially condemned by the church:

"As early as the year 384, a synod in Rome denounced the use of torture, and Gregory the Great in the sixth century ordered judges to ignore testimony given under duress..  In the Dark Ages, Nicholas I had condemned torture as a violation of the divine law."

The Long Reign of Terror :

"The terror began in earnest with Gregory IX, who ascended the papal throne in the year 1227. . .  Two years later, at the Council of Toulouse, Gregory decreed that heretics had to be handed over to the secular harm for punishment.  'It is the duty of every Catholic', he said, 'to persecute heretics.'

The Inquisition is born

Gregory "published a bull establishing the Inquisition. . .  all opposed to any papal pronouncement, were to be handed over to the civil authorities for burning. (no separation of church and state in those days!) If they repented, they were to be imprisoned for life.  No pope ever took up to torch of terror with more enthusiasm. . ."  (p. 162)

"Since Gregory VII, however, fanaticism had crept into the papacy.  Since the pope cannot make a mistake, he must be blindly obeyed in all things, however trivial.  Between 1200 and 1500 a series of papal laws did away with every shade of difference in belief and discipline."  (i.e. between God's will and man's whim). . .

There was no limit to the cruelty of the "Holy Inquisition" :

"Innocent IV's contribution in his Bull Ad extirpanda was to allow the Inquisition to use torture.  From then on, any disobedience even in thought was punishable.  Bad thoughts threatened church unity which was built on the loyalty to the Vicar of Christ." . . .

"History does not support the view that the Catholic Church has always championed the rights of man.  In the 13th century, it went so far as to teach what the early church condemned: "heretics have no rights".  They can be tortured without scruple.  Like traitors to the state, heretics have put themselves outside the mercy of the law.  They must be put to death. " (p. 163)

History does not support the view that the Catholic Church has always championed the rights of man.  In the 13th century, it went so far as to teach what the early church condemned: heretics have no rights.  They can be tortured without scruple.  Like traitors to the state, heretics have put themselves outside the mercy of the law.  They must be put to death.(P. 163)

Their cruelty knew no bounds :

To the medieval Inquisition, everything was permitted.  The Dominican Inquisitors, being the Pope's appointees, were subject to no one but God and his Holiness.  They were outside the jurisdiction of bishops and of civil law.  In the Papal States they were a law unto themselves, acting as prosecutors and judges.  Their guiding principle was: "Better for a hundred innocent people to die than for one heretic to go free."

They operated arbitrarily and in total secrecy.  Anyone present at the interrogation – victim, scribe, executioner – who broke his silence incurred a censure that only the Pope could lift.  The Inquisitors, like the pope, could make no mistake and do no wrong.

By papal command, they were explicitly forbidden to have mercy on their victims.  Pity was un-Christian, where heresy was concerned.  They were told that his Holiness would take on himself any guilt they incurred if they overstepped the mark inadvertently.  Like the Nazi S S. in the 20th century, they were able to torture and destroy with a quiet mind because their superior officer – in this case, the Pope – assured them that heretics were a dirty, diseased and contagious foe that must be purged at all costs and by all means. . .  ( pp. 163-164)

Until the end of the 19th-century there was on display in the Inquisitors' headquarters or the "Holy Office" as it is now called a large black book or Libro Negro, also known as the "book of the dead".  This manuscript in folio form was the charge of the grand Inquisitor.  Here is a sample of its instructions:

"Either the accused confesses and he is proved guilty by his own confession, or he does not confess, and is equally guilty on the evidence of witnesses.  If a person confesses the whole of what he is accused of, he is unquestionably guilty of the whole; but if he confesses only a part, he ought still to be regarded as guilty of the whole, since what he has confessed proves him to be capable of guilt as to the other points of the accusation. . .

Bodily torture has ever been found the most salutary and efficient means of leading to spiritual repentance.  Therefore, the choice of the most to befitting mode of torture is left to the judge of the Inquisition, who determines according to the age, the sex, and the constitution of the party. . .  If, notwithstanding all the means employed, the unfortunate wretch still denies his guilt, he is to be considered as a victim of the devil: and, as such, deserves no compassion from the servants of God, nor the pity and indulgence of Holy Mother Church: he is as son of perdition.  Let him perish among the damned."

"It would be hard to find any document so contrary to the principles of natural justice.  According to the black book, a child must betray his parents, a mother must betray or child.  Not to do so it is a "stand against the Holy Office" and merits excommunication, that is, the exclusion from the sacraments and, if there is no amendment, exclusion from heaven."

. . .  One ghoulish feature of the tribunal was that it even tried the dead.  The Sixth General Council in the year 680 had declared that the Church can anathematise heretics, living and dead. . .  Hundreds of the dead were tried in this way.  Some had passed on 30 or 40 years before; one had been in his grave for 75 years. . .  This practice also enabled Inquisitors to acquire the goods and chattels of the dead.  When a corpse was pronounced guilty, his former assets were seized.  His heirs lost their inheritance.  A blameless Catholic son often found, after his father's postmortem conviction, that he was deprived not only of his property of also of all civil rights.  He was lucky to be left with his life as a special act of papal clemency.  (p. 165)

The inquisitors never lost a single case.  There is no record of any acquittal.  When, rarely, the verdict was not proven, no one was declared innocent.  If the accused was not actually guilty of heresy, no matter. Inquisitors believed that only one in every thousand souls would escape damnation anyway.

The victims :

"The victim's Kafka-esque ordeal began with knock on the door in the night.  A family man in, say France, Italy or Germany, rose from bed to find at the door the chief of police, armed guards and the Dominican.  From that moment he had no hope. Taken to the "Casa Santa" (or "Holy House", the Catholic name for a house of horrors!), he was accused of heresy.  His guilt was presumed, though it was policy never to tell him what the charges were and he was forbidden to ask.  At no stage was he allowed to ask a question.  He soon learned that every semblance of justice was to be denied him.

Alone and friendless, he was refused legal representation.  No lawyer dared take him on in any case.  Since acquittals were unknown, an unsuccessful lawyer risked being painted with heresy himself.  He, too, was likely to be excommunicated and dealt with by the secular arm.

Defense witnesses were not allowed.  All prosecution witnesses – their identities were kept secret from prisoner – were given equal status.  Among them might be the accused's servants whom he had dismissed for theft or incompetence.  They might be persons who were refused a hearing in civil courts: convicted perjurers, the excommunicated, heretics.  Some testimony was nothing more than hearsay or idle gossip.  Cranks, perverts, maniacs, those with a grudge or a vendetta were acceptable.  Saddest of all, the witnesses were often members of the accused own family, who were told that, while the accused had no hope, complete frankness would ease the lot of the rest of family. 

No appeal against sentence was permitted.  What higher tribunal could there be than one acting in the pope's name?(p. 166)

Heresy was a fluid concept.  Anything in the slightest degree opposed to the papal system was "against the faith".  Examples: the Inquisitors arrested people for eating meat on Friday, omitting their Easter duties (to confess their sins to a priest and receive communion at least once every year), reading the Bible, saying it is a sin to persecute for conscience's sake, speaking ill of a cleric – priest or bishop, any jibe against his Holiness was an indictable offense, sacrilege, blasphemy, sorcery, sodomy, non-payment of taxes to the Pope and the clergy, saying that usury is not a sin.  Any baptized person who did not light a fire on a cold Sabbath was presumed to be a covert Jew and merited death at the stake.

The ultimate injustice was being accused of thinking heresy.  For the Inquisition, Orthodoxy was not only speaking and acting in orthodox (that is, papal) manner: it was also thinking as the pontiff would have a person think.  If under torture a prisoner proved he had never said or done anything heretical, he could still be punished for his inmost thoughts, his doubts, his temptations."  (p. 167)

"Usually, informers approached the place of the Inquisition under cover of night.  On being guaranteed anonymity in the pope's name, every bigot and villain was free to lie as he wished.

The tribunal consisted of one or two Inquisitors, two or more witnesses, and members of the Inquisitors' staff.  All of them were hidden under hoods.  The phrase constantly on the judge's lips was 'Tell the truth'.  Whenever the prisoner asked for enlightenment, the inquisitor applied coolly and calmly: 'Tell the truth'.  Once it was clear that the accused was not going to confess spontaneously, he was carried to the dungeon where the executioner had his instruments ready.  The sentence of heresy was read out under a crucifix, after which the executioner stripped the prisoner and tied him to a trestle.  'Tell the truth for the love of God,' the inquisitor intoned ritually, 'as the Inquisitors do not wish to see you suffer.'  With every part of the body accessible, cords were tied around the thighs and arms.  A belt was put under the waist with cords passing from it over the shoulders from front to back.  Each time the cords were tightened, the Dominican interrupted his recitation of the rosary in honour of the Virgin to say: 'Tell the truth.'  If the prisoner was stubborn, sticks were put inside the cords to make a garrotte.  The effect was like a turniquet on several limbs at once. (p. 168)

"To the medieval Inquisition, everything was permitted.  The Dominican Inquisitors, being the Pope's appointees, were subject to no one but God and his Holiness.  They were outside the jurisdiction of bishops and of civil law.  In the Papal States they were a law unto themselves, acting as prosecutors and judges.  Their guiding principle was:  "Better for a hundred innocent people to die than for one heretic to go free."

They operated arbitrarily and in total secrecy.  Anyone present at the interrogation – victim, scribe, executioner – who broke his silence incurred a censure that only the Pope could lift.  The Inquisitors, like the pope, could make no mistake and do no wrong.

By papal command, they were explicitly forbidden to have mercy on their victims.  Pity was un-Christian, where heresy was concerned.  They were told that his Holiness would take on himself any guilt they incurred if they overstepped the mark inadvertently.  Like the Nazi S S.  in the 20th century, they were able to torture and destroy with a quiet mind because their superior officer – in this case, the Pope – assured them that heretics were a dirty, diseased and contagious foe that must be purged at all costs and by all means. . . 

( pp. 163-164)

Until the end of the 19th-century there was a large black book or Libro Negro, also known as the "book of the dead" on display in the Inquisitors' headquarters or the "Holy Office" as it is now called.  "This manuscript in folio form was the charge of the grand Inquisitor.  Here is a sample of its instructions:

"Either the accused confesses and he is proved guilty by his own confession, or he does not confess, and is equally guilty on the evidence of witnesses.  If a person confesses the whole of what he is accused of, he is unquestionably guilty of the whole; but if he confesses only a part, he ought still to be regarded as guilty of the whole, since what he has confessed proves him to be capable of guilt as to the other points of the accusation. . .

Bodily torture has ever been found the most salutary and efficient means of leading to spiritual repentance.  Therefore, the choice of the most to befitting mode of torture is left to the judge of the Inquisition, who determines according to the age, the sex, and the constitution of the party. . .  If, notwithstanding all the means employed, the unfortunate wretch still denies his guilt, he is to be considered as a victim of the devil: and, as such, deserves no compassion from the servants of God, nor the pity and indulgence of Holy Mother Church: he is as son of perdition.  Let him perish among the damned."

"It would be hard to find any document so contrary to the principles of natural justice.  According to the black book, a child must betray his parents, a mother must betray or child.  Not to do so it is a "stand against the Holy Office" and merits excommunication, that is, the exclusion from the sacraments and, if there is no amendment, exclusion from heaven."  (pp. 163-64)

. . .  "One ghoulish feature of the tribunal was that it even tried the dead.  The Sixth General Council in the year 680 had declared that the Church can anathematise heretics, living and dead. . .  Hundreds of the dead were tried in this way.  Some had passed on 30 or 40 years before; one had been in his grave for 75 years. . .  This practice also enabled Inquisitors to acquire the goods and chattels of the dead.  When a corpse was pronounced guilty, his former assets were seized.  His heirs lost their inheritance.  A blameless Catholic son often found, after his father's postmortem conviction, that he was deprived not only of his property of also of all civil rights.  He was lucky to be left with his life as a special act of papal clemency."  (p. 165)

"The inquisitors never lost a single case.  There is no record of any acquittal.  When, rarely, the verdict was not proven, no one was declared innocent.  If the accused was not actually guilty of heresy, no matter.  Inquisitors believed that only one in every thousand souls would escape damnation anyway."

"Not one pope for over three centuries opposed this teaching – which should therefore by rights be a permanent part of Catholic doctrine.  – By means it, the Inquisition achieved unprecedented power.  The result was wholesale intimidation of the those who had no protection against the charge or even slightest suspicion of heresy.'  (p. 163)

        "Holy See" ?
    Isn't it amusing how English-speaking Catholic churchmen insist on translating the Latin "Sancta Sedes" into the meaningless "Holy See", instead of the correct, but silly–sounding "Holy Seat"?

Papal-typeThroneFree
a papal throne

What history shows is that, for more than six centuries without a break, the papacy was the sworn enemy of elementary justice.  Of eighty popes in a line from the thirteenth century on, not one of them disapproved of the theology and apparatus of Inquisition.  On the contrary, one after another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this deadly machine.

The mystery is: how could popes continue in this practical heresy for generation after generation?  How could they deny at every point the Gospel of Jesus, who himself received an unjust trial and, though innocent, was crucified for heresy?

The answer seems to be: once a pope like Gregory IX had initiated the Inquisition, pontiffs preferred to contradict the Gospel than an 'inerrant' predecessor, for that would bring down the papacy itself. . .

Also to the popes alone was due the reintroduction of torture into the law courts.  It took papal prestige to overturn a long civilized tradition that torture was very wrong.  Lea wrote in The Inquisition in the Middle Ages:

It [the Inquisition) introduced a system of jurisprudence which infected the criminal law of all the lands subjected to its influence, and rendered the administration of papal justice a cruel mockery for centuries.  It furnished the Holy See with a powerful weapon in aid of political aggrandizement, it tempted secular sovereigns to imitate the example, and it prostituted the name of religion to the vilest temporal ends. . .  The judgement of impartial history must be that the Inquisition was the monstrous offspring of mistaken zeal, utilized by the selfish greed and lust of power to smother the higher aspirations of humanity and stimulate the baser appetites.  (pp. 175-6)

The 1578 handbook for inquisitors spelled out the purpose of inquisitorial penalties:"... for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit." The "Holy Office of the Inquisition" was created to terrorize people!

Here is a Catholic account of the
canonization of St. Peter Arbues'
and its justification :

"The famous Thomas Torquemada, in 1483, was appointed grand inquisitor over Castile and, being acquainted with the learning and virtue of Peter Arbues, named him inquisitor provincial in the Kingdom of Aragon (1484).  Peter performed the duties with zeal and justice.  Although the enemies of the Inquisition accuse him of cruelty, it is certain that not a single sentence of death can be traced to him.  The Marranos, however, whom he had punished, hated him and resolved to do away with him.  One night while kneeling in prayer before the altar of Our Lady in the metropolitan church, where he used to recite the office with his brother canons, they attacked him, and hired assassins inflicted several wounds from which he died two days after.  He was canonized by Pius IX, in 1867." (as a 'martyr' who gave his life in witness to the true faith)

Lord Acton, the famous British Catholic historian wrote: "The Inquisition is peculiarly the weapon and peculiarly the work of the popes.. . No other institution, no doctrine, no ceremony is so distinctly the individual creation of the papacy. . . It is the principal thing with which the papacy is identified, and by which it must be judged. The principle of the Inquisition is the Pope's sovereign power over life and death."

Here are more excerpts from "Vicars of Christ", by Peter de Rosa

"History explodes the myth of a papacy lily-white in the matter of truth. In an age of barbarism, the popes led the pack; in an age of enlightenment, they trailed the field. "

"Of eighty popes in a line from the 13th century on, not one of them disapproved of the theology and apparatus of the Inquisition. On the contrary, one after another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this deadly machine."

"The record of the Inquisition would be embarrassing for any organization; for the Catholic Church, it is devastating."


There is an outstanding four-volume History of the Inquisition in Spain, published by Henry Clarles Lea in 1907, which obviously only covers the infamies of the Inquisition in that one Catholic country.

Other sources:

http://www.languedoc-france.info/120502_arnaud.htm, "The Albigensian Crusades", by Joseph R. Strayer, published in New York (Dial, 1971), and in London (Faber and Faber, 1978).

Few people know that
the Inquisition went far beyond Europe:

  • Pope Gregory IX appointed a Dominican Grand Inquisitor for the whole of Armenia and Russia.
  • Pope Urban VI ordered the General of the Dominicans to appoint Inquisitors for Armenia, Greece and Tartary (China).
  • Pope Nicholas IV asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to create Inquisitors from the mendicant friars in his land.
  • Pope Gregory XI granted authority to the Franciscan Provincial in the Holy Land to act as Chief Inquisitor in Syria, Palestine and even Egypt.
  • [ from http://www.reformation.org/holoc24.html ]

During this period, Columbus rediscovered "the New World" on behalf of the Catholic King and Queen of Spain.  In 1529, Pope Clement VI  gave these instructions to Charles V  in his papal bull Intra arcana:

"We trust that, as long as you are on earth, you will compel and with all zeal cause the barbarian nations (of the New World) to come to the knowledge of God, the maker and founder of all things, not only by edicts and admonitions, but also by force and arms, if needful, in order that their souls may partake of the heavenly kingdom."   (Washburn 1971:11).


As horrible as the Holocaust was in Germany, few people are aware of the fact that at the very time the German Nazis were trying to exterminate the Jewish race, the Roman Catholic authorities in the Catholic nation of Croatia were engaged in an additional holocaust of their own against the Orthodox Serbians and the Muslims in their country, ( after having been quick to ship their Jews to their deaths).  The stated plan of the leaders of Roman Catholic Croatia, which included many in the Catholic hierarchy, was to force one third of the Serbian Orthodox population to convert to Catholicism, exile another third, and kill the final third.  The brutality of their persecution of these "non-Catholics" was such that it shocked the German Nazis who witnessed it.

While the "Holy See" never saw fit to put the Nazi Bible, Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" on its "Index of Forbidden Books", it did put the books of Avro Manhattan on that list.  He was one of the only people who took the pains to find out about the incredible atrocities committed by the Catholic authorities in Croatia with the blessing of their church and then tried to publicize his findings, some of which the public can now read at :

http://www.reformation.org/holocaus.html . I have published some of the highlights of this site at my CroatianHolocaust page.
For an extensive list of the multitudes of people
killed by "religious" people in the name of God, see
www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm

Another group of innocent people whom Christians have tortured and killed by the thousands, and even millions were people who - like Jesus and most of his original followers - were Jews! Their case is so important that we devote several separate pages to them, i.e. the Church vs the Jews and the Jewish Holocaust.

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