Archive for Vatican

Myth of “Saint Peter”

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2010 by chouck017894

Pomp and ceremony and holy razzle-dazzle are effective ways to drown the testimony of quiet truth.  By this means of alleging spiritual entitlement, truth is repeatedly crucified.  This, obviously, is an outsider view of manufactured belief.  And this observation is an expression of grief for the injustices done to truth in the name of spiritual reliability.

The catalyst for this lament springs from the Easter ceremony in Vatican City (April 2010) and the brazen denial that der pope was aware of the sexual transgressions that have  been going on in the church for  millennia.  Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, sniffed that it was all “petty gossip” and “a vile smear!”  According to Sodano the whole uproar over pedophile priests is due totally to the “anti-Vatican media,” but the “successor to (St) Peter, bishop of Rome, (is) the unfailing rock of the holy church,” said Sodano.  Well, that line of succession has quite a long blood soaked history.  And there were occasional breaks in the chain of succession as well, one lasting around five years, for example.  To put it mildly, there are peculiar viruses attached to the “Bishop of Rome” claim that has its roots anchored deep in church-composed “history.”

It was noted in Time Frames and Taboo Data that the claim that a fisherman apostle named Simon but called Peter was in Rome rest entirely on one source—a work titled The Clementines written around the early 200s CE.  In that literary work is a tale of a wonder-working man named Peter coming face to face with the fabled sorcerer/magician named Simon Magus.  Peter allegedly challenged Simon Magus to give proof of his magical power.  To comply the sorcerer levitated into the air.  Peter chose to regard  it all as contest of wills and with his divine powers brought down the magician with such force that it broke Simon Magus’ leg.  Nothing has ever been presented that could be said to support that Peter in The Clementines story referred to Simon (renamed Peter) of Christian Gospels

There is a small fact that came to the aid of the later authors of church “history” and inspired the assertion that the Peter of the Gospel stories was  active in Rome c. 67.   Indeed this tiny fact contributed the names of the alleged first four “bishops of Rome.”  Through the general  timeframe c. 67 to c. 99, there were priests of ancient Pagan mysteries that had been active in Rome for generations, and they were venerated as PTR, which signified them as interpreters or revealers of divine mysteries.  As in Jewish writings the vowels were not inscribed, and the sacred Tau-cross was central in the title indicating his power of interpretation.  This  opened the freedom for church historians to make an identity switch with a former Pagan priest interpreter and present that mutation as the cornerstone of the faith laid down in Rome. 

The interpreters, the PTR of Pagan mysteries, were the highest authority in the Pagan priesthood and the high priest was well-known throughout Rome when the Christian cult was struggling for  identity.  Thus  in the tradition handed down for the first four “bishops of Rome” each take their identity from the Pagan PTR—the title for all Pagan interpreters of the mysteries—whose actual names probably were Linus, Anacletus, and Clement (1).

Thus today if one looks up the list of popes of the Roman Catholic Church in any encyclopedia they will find total untruths listed as facts.  Peter is claimed to have been crucified in Rome in 67 CE, supposedly as part of Nero’s attempt to eliminate Christians—who at that time were not yet referred to as Christians.  Even so, we are to believe that the second “bishop of Rome,” Linus, rushed forward to preside as Christ’s representative.   Linus is asserted to have presided as “bishop” from 67  to maybe 79.  The next “bishop,” Anacletus, third from Peter, is listed as serving from 79 to some uncertain time around 90.  Fourth after Peter (PTR) is listed Clement (1) from 90 to maybe 99.  Marcus Ulpian Trajanus became emperor in 98.  Oddly, the literature in Rome at the entry into the second century CE remained absolutely silent about any person referred to as Christ.  The  rowdy new religion was mentioned by only a few contemporary historians such as Plutarch and Juvenal, but none ever referred to a Jesus or a “Christ” as the central figure of that new religion. 

So how does the legendary Simon, AKA Peter, stack up against the early GospelsThat earlier Peter was an apostle of Jesus who taught and preached only to Jews.  Strict Jewish customs of the times, which considered it “unclean” to venture into Rome, make it illogical that an apostle of a Jewish teacher, who vowed not to preach to the uncircumcised, would toss aside his obligation to his own people to raise a church among Gentiles in Rome.

By Christian lore, Peter was allegedly crucified (upside down) in the Coliseum in 67.  This is awkward, for it would indicate that Peter and Paul were both representing differing doctrines of Christianity in the Roman Empire in the same narrow timeframe.  And this is the basis for the Peter-Paul controversy that has been so laboriously papered over that the faithful today have  little clue of how things just did not and do not match.

Before Christianity assumed squatters rights to what is now the Vatican, the area had been the site of the main temple of Mithras, the Persian god of light.  Remembering the PTR connection to the apostle Simon’s name change, there is a haunting suggestion that the professed remains of “Saint Peter” in the underground  vault in St Peter’s Basilica are of the Pagan PTR, not of the Jewish fisherman apostle Simon, AKA Peter.

Peculiar Holy Work

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on December 4, 2009 by chouck017894

Back in October of 1928 a Spanish priest named Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer founded a group known formally as The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei.  Monsignor Escriva alleged that while on retreat in Madrid the bells of a nearby church began to peal and suddenly God made him see Opus Dei in a vision.

Since that time Escriva’s “path of sanctity” has garnered considerable controversy with its alleged elitism and misogyny, and particularly in its apparent right-leaning politics which the Francois Government of Spain approved while in power.  Escriva’s group had grown rapidly, spreading from Spain into other European countries—especially fascist-style governments.  And through the last decade of the twentieth century and first decade of the twenty-first its influence has infiltrated Latin America and the United States.

Recent studies have shown that there are  more than 3000 Opus Dei members in the United States, with prime concentrations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Texas and California.  Their centers are commonly situated near large college campuses, which makes it convenient for attracting new members.  But Opus Dei insists that they do not actively recruit or indulge in proselytism; they simply present themselves as a “distinct brand of spirituality.”  Yeah.

In a democratic culture such as in the United States, it is recognized that groups that operate under a shield of secrecy are interested only in their own advantages and welfare, not society in general.  So  it is more than a bit distrubing when Opus Dei members continually sidestep any efforts from the curious to get straightforward answers regarding their practices and corporate activities.  This, of course, is denied, but in 1995, for example, when a journalist sought a copy of Opus Dei’s constitution and statutes he was give a copy written in technical church Latin.  That’s the approved way of  “doing God’s work” apparently. 

The claim is that Opus Dei is a lay organization, but the strong emphasis on “commitments,” obedience and hierarchy seem more like the poorly disguised replication of clerical regimentation.  Indeed, male “numeraries” are encouraged to consider ordination to priesthood.  Women numeraries, on the other hand, are expected to devote themselves to domestic duties such as cleaning the men’s centers and cooking for them.  It’s all according to Paul, the self-appointed apostle to Jesus, who said that  it pleased God for women to be subservient to men.  Thus female members are embraced as “family” to make their work more appealing.

As in typical cults, those who take up commitment to Opus Dei—the numeraries—are expected to turn over their income  from which is doled out a stipend  for personal items.  For this favor they are expected to follow a daily routine that includes Mass, personal prayer, devotional readings, and in some cases physical mortification.  The cult-like behavior is seen also in isolation of members from former friends, and even a member’s incoming and outgoing personal mail is monitored.  Personality changes are the norm; generally the change is in the person becoming more  secretive and withdrawing from their immediate family.  The dedicated who endure this rationalize it away by saying, “You can’t become a saint alone.”

In 1982, God’s top representative in the Vatican granted Opus Dei the canonical status of  “personal prelature,” which allowed it juridical operation much like Catholic religious orders without regard for geographic limits.  That pope-recognized status, however, makes it somewhat questionable how the organization can legitimately claim to be a lay organization.

Add to this that Escriva who died in 1975 got rushed into “sainthood” in 1992—a mere seventeen years later!  There was open questioning by some at this unprecedented move and considerable distrust arose when numerous  persons were prevented from testifying at church tribunals that were deliberating on Escriva’s life.  Kept smothered were little character frailties such as having a nasty temper and what some had said were his “pro-Nazi tendencies.”

As mentioned earlier, there are more than 3000 Opus Dei centers in the United States and they sponsor such  noble sounding activities as outreach programs for the poor, retreat houses, programs for married Catholics, and educational programs for children.  On the other hand, the organization keeps such a secretive approach that even though Opus Dei is active in nearly every large archdiocese in the nation, the Catholic leadership routinely declares that they have no knowledge or contact with them!

Strange spirituality.  Makes one wonder, should we be concerned about the imbalance in the U.S. Supreme Court Justices where today six of the nine are Catholic?

When Fascists Rescued the Vatican

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, history, politics, random, religion with tags , , , , , on June 19, 2009 by chouck017894

The papal system of  faith marketing has had a curiously long run as ruler of kings and kingdoms.  And from centuries of propaganda and ceaseless self-marketing the world is encouraged to think of the Vatican as the heart and soul of Christianity, and think of Italy as obediently submissive to any eccentricity that waifs through its doors.  But true history has recorded many flaws and deceits in the  corporate structure of the Vatican’s spiritual politicizing.  One of the many bizarre twists in the long Vatican epic began in 1870 when the Kingdom of Italy removed Roman Catholicism as state religion.

We must remember that for centuries the  papal system had reigned as the biggest landowner of the Italian peninsula with claims extending well into Europe.  Much of the land acquisition had begun in 752 with the clever forgery by Pope Stephens III of an alleged letter bearing “saint Peter’s” name.  The counterfeit letter had been fashioned to lure the superstitious Pepin, king  of the Franks, into driving the Lombards out of Italy. To quote from Time Frames and Taboo Data, “Trusting the  pope and the authenticity of Peter’s letter, Pepin was lured into giving the pope exarchate (jurisdiction) of Ravenna–the real foundation of temporal power for the papacy.  Flushed with success at his deception of Pepin, the pope then forged Acts of St. Sylvester whereby additional claims on Italy were made.”

Some twenty years later Pope Adrian I called upon Pepin’s son Charlemagne for protection when the Lombard king, Desiderius, attacked papal territory.  Charlemagne defeated Desiderius and in holy gratitude Pope Adrian presented Charlemagne with a document spoken of as “the Document of Constantine“–which Adrian had forged.  The paper was essentially a deed in which the first Christian emperor allegedly gave  most of Italy to the papacy.  Charlemagne, like his father before him, fell for the scheme, and Adrian’s handling of the shady deal made him a major actor in the Vatican’s great land grabs, for which he is honored as one of the “great” popes. 

Over the centuries the Vatican endured many ups and downs, all the while growing holier in its suffering.  But in 1848 the then-pope, Pius IX, had to flee Rome due to  public uprisings, and he took up exile in the Castle of Gaeta in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.  But he was able to return to the Vatican two years later in April of 1850, although French troops remained in Rome until 1870 to maintain the status quo throughout Italy.

But then on September 10th 1870, with the French troops gone, Italy declared war on the Papal States, and on the 11th the Italian army began its slow advance toward Rome, reaching the Aurelian Walls on the 19th and placed Rome under a state of siege.  In October the populace of Rome and the surrounding Campagna, a large area of mainly uncultivated plain surrounding Rome, voted for  a union with the kingdom of Italy.  The pope refused to accept the demand, and consequently became the victim  of his own political game for the people simply did not want him.  The Kingdom of Italy removed Roman Catholicism as state religion.

The savior of the Vatican  power structure appeared in 1929, however, in the form of  Benito Mussolini (who had been baptized by a Catholic priest only two years before, 1927).  Then Hitler made his own peace deal with the Vatican in 1933, and Roman Catholicism was back again as state religion.  This is not so strange, for the Fascists and the pope had many common interests, ambitions and lust for worldly power.  The Fascists looked to be unstoppable in the 1930s, and should their  political and military power have gained world control the reward for the pope would be to preside as the religious head of the world. 

Alas for the poor popes, their claims of papal infallibility didn’t stand the test.

Manufacturing a Miracle

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, history, humanity, life, logic, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2009 by chouck017894

In December 1854, as Pope Pius IX ruled over the Vatican, the bishops from all parts of Catholic dominance were called to Rome to establish a new twist in devotion to Jesus as Christ the Savior.  In an elective process of collected bishops it was decided, with only four dissenting votes, that when Mary had died she had been raised bodily from the dead and “ascended into heaven.”   With this set in place as official church declaration Mary would henceforth be addressed and worshiped as the “Immaculate Conception.”   All this was made official despite the fact that there is not one line in original scriptures that ever implied that Mary was “immaculately” conceived—or, for that matter, that she could make atonement for sin because she was at the foot of the cross at her son’s crucifixion—“her heart pierced with grief.”  With this allegation made official, the terms “Sacred Heart” and “Queen of Heaven” became ingredients of the church’s religious phraseology.

Although nothing in any original writings of the early Christian movement had ever presented any such storyline, Pope Pius IX proclaimed that the Immaculate Conception must “be believed firmly and constantly by all,” and that any dissenter is “condemned” and “separated” from true Christianity!  (Pope Pius XII would echo the same declaration of the Assumption in 1950.)

The faithful today are not troubled that this declaration of “assumption” simply reinstated much older Pagan concepts.  The Greek grammarian Apollodorus (flourished 2nd century BCE) stated in his history of Greek religions, On the Gods, that Bacchus (symbolizing the reproductive force of Nature) carried his mother to heaven.  And according to the Roman poet Ovid (43 BCE-17 CE), Bacchus addressed his mother as Thuone, the feminine of Bacchus’ Latin name Thyoneus, meaning “the lamented one.”  Thus Thuone was the Pagan lamenting goddess–the role reinstated with Mary’s 1854 papal promotion—a role complete with all the attributes and honors once given to the Babylonian/Assyrian goddess Ishtar and the Roman goddess Juno (and other similar Pagan goddesses).

Only a mere four years after Mary’s promotion, in 1856, a fourteen year old peasant girl, Marie Bernadette Soubiroux, declared that she had eighteen visions of the Virgin in a grotto at Lourdes, France, which occurred from February 11 through July 16.  One of the more peculiar aspects of this miracle is that the Virgin is said to have repeatedly referred to herself as the Immaculate Conception—a precept initiated by the church only four years before!  The Lourdes grotto quickly became a shrine, and by 1862 the faithful were assured that they were justified in believing in the reality of the apparitions.  A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle where the visions were said to have occurred.  Twenty-one years after the spate of apppartitions, 1876, the basilica was consecrated and a statue of the Virgin was solemnly crowned.

The Catholic Encyclopedia thus assures the faithful that devotion at Lourdes was “…founded on the apparitions of the “blessed Virgin” to a poor 14 year old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux.”  It does not mention that the timing of these apparitions could not have been better for the politics of the church.

Holy Adjustment of Justice

Posted in Atheist, freethought, Middle Ages, with tags , , , , , , , on March 21, 2009 by chouck017894

Seven hundred years is an unholy amount of time to absolve, or at least admit, a holy distortion of justice. But in 2007 a 300 page limited edition of 799 copies was released by the Vatican in which were reproduced entire documents concerning the trumped-up charges against the Knights Templar in the 14th Century–charges which amply benefitted Pope Clement V and King Philip IV or France.

In 1307 King Philip contrived to have English and French members of the Templar order arrested, imprisoned and tortured on fabricated charges of worshipping an idol Baphomet (probably a corruption of the word Mahomet i.e. Muhammad), and accusations that the Templars indulged in homoerotic sins. Fictional testimony had it that the idol was a small stone symbol of a human figure having two heads, male and female, and surrounded with serpents, the sun and moon.

Material greed motivated Philip more than any personal spiritual integrity, for Philip was in debt to the Templar banking system. False accusations and conviction would conveniently cancel out his debt and provide excuse for seizing Templar wealth. In the pope’s favor, Clement decided in 1308 to attempt saving the Templar order, and the document called “Parchment of Chinon,” reproduced in the limited edition in 2007, stands as proof. Indeed, Clement initially absolved the Templars of heresy, but still regarded them as guilty of immorality which he thought could be reformed. Thus many Templar Knights continued to be held in confinement and tortured in France.

But Pope Clement V, himself a Frenchman, soon recognized that conspiracy with Philip might prove profitable. Thus he sent three top cardinals on a long furitive journey to France to interrogate an unstated person. It is known that Jacques de Molay, the military grand master of the Templars, and other Templars were secretly imprisoned in a castle in “Chinon on the Loire.” The document called “Parchment of Chinon” thus indicates the destination of the cardinals sent by Clement.

Whatever caused the pope to reverse his decision and suppress the Templar order can only be speculated. What is known is that the persecution of the Templars dragged on until 1314 when Jacques de Molay was burned to death at the stake. (See Time Frames and Taboo Data, pages 286-287) Perhaps it is just coincidence that the pope acquired Avignon in France and then moved the headquarters of the Catholic Church there in 1309 where it would remain until 1377.