Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What are the essentials of the Christian faith?

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The anti-Catholic{1} online ministry Got Questions recently posted an answer to the question, "What are the essentials of the Christian faith?"{2} I answer that, if you firmly believe in the articles of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381, you have the grace and honor of being a Christian:
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; He ascended in Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Notes & References
{1} "Catholic divergence from the Bible on this most crucial of issues, salvation, means that yes, Catholicism is a false religion. If a person believes what the Catholic Church officially teaches, he/she will not be saved." "Is Catholicism a false religion? Are Catholics saved?" Got Questions. 30 Dec. 2009 <>.
{2} "What are the essentials of the Christian faith?" Got Questions. 30 Dec. 2009 <>.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Maronites Were Not Always Orthodox

The Maronites were always in communion with Rome and never succumbed to heresy

Unfortunately, the claim that the Maronites have always been in communion with Rome cannot be sustained. That the Maronites were, for a long time, Monothelites is proven from the liturgical books of the Maronites themselves, the testimony of Catholic writers, and the testimony of heretical writers. By "Maro," the below witnesses mean not the wonderworking monk St. Maron (†423) who corresponded with Archbishop St. John I Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (a Church Doctor), but the enigmatic figure John Maron (†707), the alleged Patriarch of Antioch and first Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church.
1. Patriarch St. Germanus of Constantinople, On the Heresies and the Councils (735): "There are some heretics who, rejecting the Fifth and Sixth Councils, nevertheless contend against the Jacobites. The latter treat them as men without sense, because, while accepting the Fourth Council, they try to reject the next two. Such are the Maronites, whose monastery is situated in the very mountains of Syria."{1}
2. Hieromonk St. John of Damascus (Doctor of the Assumption; 676-12/5/749), On the Trisagion Hymn 5: "We shall be following Maro, if we join the Crucifixion to our Trisagion."{2}
3. Melkite controversialist Theodore Abukara (†820).{3}
4. William of Tyre, On Holy War 20:8: "After they [the nation that had been converted, in the vicinity of Byblos] had for five hundred years adhered to the false teaching of an heresiarch named Maro, so that they took from him the name of Maronites, and, being separated from the true Church had been following their own peculiar liturgy [ab ecclesia fidelium sequestrati seorsim sacramenta conficerent sua], they came to the Patriarch of Antioch, Aymery, the third of the Latin patriarchs, and, having abjured their error, were, with their patriarch and some bishops, reunited to the true Church. They declared themselves ready to accept and observe the prescriptions of the Roman Church. There were more than 40,000 of them, occupying the whole region of the Lebanon, and they were of great use to the Latins in the war against the Saracens. The error of Maro and his adherents is and was, as may be read in the Sixth Council, that in Jesus Christ there was, and had been since the beginning only one will and one energy. And after their separation they had embraced still other pernicious doctrines."{4}
5. Pope Innocent III of Rome.{5}
6. Pope Pius II of Rome (1451), Letter to Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror.{6}
1. Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Michael I the Great of Syria (1126-1199), who also cites Dionysius of Tell-Mahré, says in his Chronicle that Maronites were the staunchest defenders of the Monothelite Ecthesis of Emperor Heraclius, and that in 727 orthodox Chalcedonian Maximists (followers of our anti-Monothelite father among the saints Maximus the Confessor of Constantinople) disputed with the Chalcedonian heterodox Maronites, who were Monothelites.{7}
2. Jacobite theologian Habib Abu-Raïta of Takrit (†828).{8}

1. Nestorian Patriarch Timothy I (727-823) faults the Maronites for denying more than one will and one energy in Christ.{9}

The Maronites Themselves
1. In 1059 Metropolitan Dawud did an Arabic translation of the Syriac Book of Direction, of which the 1402 Vatican manuscript 133 is the oldest copy.{10} This Maronite book says, "Now if we hold this belief of Him, then, we do not anymore maintain that He is two persons, two Christs, two wills, or two actions (operations). Never! We believe that He is one Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who for us became man, one person with two rational essences, one will, and one operation."{11}

Notes & References
{1} Labourt, Jérôme. "Maronites." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 29 Dec. 2009 <>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Moosa, Matti. The Maronites in History. Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2005. pp. 223-225.
{6} Labourt, Jérôme. "Maronites." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 29 Dec. 2009 <>.
{7} Ibid.
{8} Ibid.
{9} Ibid.
{10} Moosa 196.
{11} Moosa 197.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009!

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Christ the Savior is born! I thank the Lord for all the graces received at Mass and for the presents I received from my family, with whom I am able to celebrate.

Reading 1
Is 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
"Your God is King!"

Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
for they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts His people,
He redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared His holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
all the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6

(3c) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for He has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for Him,
His holy arm.
All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made His salvation known:
in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice.
He has remembered his kindness and His faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen

the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Reading II
Heb 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, He has spoken to us through the Son,
Whom He made heir of all things
and through Whom He created the universe,
Who is the refulgence of His glory,
the very imprint of His being,
and Who sustains all things by His mighty word.
When He had accomplished purification from sins,
He took His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
"You are My Son; this day I have begotten you?"
Or again:
"I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me"?
And again, when He leads the firstborn into the world, He says:
"Let all the angels of God worship Him."

Jn 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through Him,
and without Him nothing came to be.
What came to be through Him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through Him,
but the world did not know Him.
He came to what was His own,
but His own people did not accept Him.

But to those who did accept Him
He gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made His dwelling among us,
and we saw His glory,
the glory as of the Father's only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to Him and cried out, saying,
"This was He of Whom I said,
'The one Who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because He existed before me.'"
From His fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, Who is at the Father's side,
has revealed Him.


In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through Him,
and without Him nothing came to be.
What came to be through Him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through Him,
but the world did not know Him.
He came to what was His own,
but His own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept Him
He gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made His dwelling among us,
and we saw His glory,
the glory as of the Father's only Son,
full of grace and truth.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Scriptures Say Jesus the Messiah Is True God

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Proverbs 8:22: The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning.
κύριος ἔκτισέν με ἀρχὴν ὁδῶν αὐτοῦ εἰς ἔργα αὐτοῦ.

1 Corinthians 1:24: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.
αὐτοῖς δὲ τοῖς κλητοῖς, Ἰουδαίοις τε καὶ Ἕλλησιν, Χριστὸν θεοῦ δύναμιν καὶ θεοῦ σοφίαν.

Psalm 2:7: The Lord has said to Me: "You are My Son, this day have I begotten You."
διαγγέλλων τὸ πρόσταγμα κυρίου κύριος εἶπεν πρός με υἱός μου εἶ σύ ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε.

Hebrews 1:5-6: For to which of the angels has He said at any time: "You are My Son, today have I begotten You?" And again: "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son"? And again, when He brings in the first begotten into the world, He says: "And let all the angels of God adore Him."
τίνι γὰρ εἶπέν ποτε τῶν ἀγγέλων, υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε; καὶ πάλιν, ἐγὼ ἔσομαι αὐτῷ εἰς πατέρα, καὶ αὐτὸς ἔσται μοι εἰς υἱόν; ὅταν δὲ πάλιν εἰσαγάγῃ τὸν πρωτότοκον εἰς τὴν οἰκουμένην, λέγει, καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ.

Psalm 32:6: By the Word of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the Spirit of His mouth.
τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ κυρίου οἱ οὐρανοὶ ἐστερεώθησαν καὶ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ πᾶσα ἡ δύναμις αὐτῶν.

Psalm 44:7-8: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: the scepter of Your Kingdom is a scepter of uprightness. You have loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows.
ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ θεός εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος ῥάβδος εὐθύτητος ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου. ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν σε ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους σου.

Hebrews 1:8-9: But to the Son: "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of justice is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows."
πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν, ὁ θρόνος σου, ὁ θεός, εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα [τοῦ αἰῶνος], καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς εὐθύτητος ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ. ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν: διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν σε ὁ θεός, ὁ θεός σου, ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους σου.

Psalm 110:1: The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool."
τῷ Δαυιδ ψαλμός εἶπεν ὁ κύριος τῷ κυρίῳ μου κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου.

Matthew 22:41-46: And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: "What think you of Christ? Whose Son is He?" They say to Him: "David's." He says to them: "How then does David in spirit call Him Lord, saying: 'The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit on My right hand, until I make Your enemies your footstool''? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his Son?" And no man was able to answer Him a word: neither dared any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.
Συνηγμένων δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων: τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ περὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ; τίνος υἱός ἐστιν; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ: τοῦ Δαυίδ. λέγει αὐτοῖς: πῶς οὖν Δαυὶδ ἐν πνεύματι καλεῖ αὐτὸν κύριον, λέγων: εἶπεν κύριος τῷ κυρίῳ μου: κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν σου. εἰ οὖν Δαυὶδ καλεῖ αὐτὸν κύριον, πῶς υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἐστιν; καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο ἀποκριθῆναι αὐτῷ λόγον, οὐδὲ ἐτόλμησέν τις ἀπ' ἐκείνης τῆς ἡμέρας ἐπερωτῆσαι αὐτὸν οὐκέτι.

Wisdom 7:25-26: For she is a vapor of the power of God, and a certain pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty God: and therefore no defiled thing comes into her. For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of His goodness.
ἀτμὶς γάρ ἐστιν τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀπόρροια τῆς τοῦ παντοκράτορος δόξης εἰλικρινής διὰ τοῦτο οὐδὲν μεμιαμμένον εἰς αὐτὴν παρεμπίπτει. ἀπαύγασμα γάρ ἐστιν φωτὸς ἀϊδίου καὶ ἔσοπτρον ἀκηλίδωτον τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ ἐνεργείας καὶ εἰκὼν τῆς ἀγαθότητος αὐτοῦ.

Hebrew 1:3: Who being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance and upholding all things by the word of His power, making purgation of sins, sits on the right hand of the majesty on high.
ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς.

Wisdom 9:1, 4, 9, 17: God of our fathers, Lord of all mercy, Thou by thy Word hast made all things ... Wisdom I ask of Thee, the same Wisdom that dwells so near Thy throne. ... And Your wisdom with You, which knows your works, which then also was present when You made the world, and knew what was agreeable to Your eyes, and what was right in Your commandments. ... Thy purposes none may know, unless Thou dost grant Thy gift of wisdom, sending out from high heaven thy own holy spirit.θεὲ πατέρων καὶ κύριε τοῦ ἐλέους ὁ ποιήσας τὰ πάντα ἐν λόγῳ σου ... δός μοι τὴν τῶν σῶν θρόνων πάρεδρον σοφίαν ... καὶ μετὰ σοῦ ἡ σοφία ἡ εἰδυῖα τὰ ἔργα σου καὶ παροῦσα ὅτε ἐποίεις τὸν κόσμον καὶ ἐπισταμένη τί ἀρεστὸν ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς σου καὶ τί εὐθὲς ἐν ἐντολαῖς σου. ... βουλὴν δέ σου τίς ἔγνω εἰ μὴ σὺ ἔδωκας σοφίαν καὶ ἔπεμψας τὸ ἅγιόν σου πνεῦμα ἀπὸ ὑψίστων.

Sirach 24:5,14: I came out of the mouth of the most High, the firstborn before all creatures. ... From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before Him.
ἐγὼ ἀπὸ στόματος ὑψίστου ἐξῆλθον ... πρὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος ἀπ' ἀρχῆς ἔκτισέν με καὶ ἕως αἰῶνος οὐ μὴ ἐκλίπω ἐν σκηνῇ ἁγίᾳ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐλειτούργησα.

Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.
διὰ τοῦτο δώσει κύριος αὐτὸς ὑμῖν σημεῖον ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει καὶ τέξεται υἱόν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Εμμανουηλ.

Matthew 1:22-23: Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: "Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel," which being interpreted is "God with us."
τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ κυρίου διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος, ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει καὶ τέξεται υἱόν, καὶ καλέσουσιν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἐμμανουήλ, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον μεθ' ἡμῶν ὁ θεός.

Isaiah 9:6: For a child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.
ὅτι παιδίον ἐγεννήθη ἡμῖν υἱὸς καὶ ἐδόθη ἡμῖν οὗ ἡ ἀρχὴ ἐγενήθη ἐπὶ τοῦ ὤμου αὐτοῦ καὶ καλεῖται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ μεγάλης βουλῆς ἄγγελος ἐγὼ γὰρ ἄξω εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τοὺς ἄρχοντας εἰρήνην καὶ ὑγίειαν αὐτῷ.

Isaiah 35:4: Say to the fainthearted: "Take courage, and fear not: behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God Himself will come and will save you."
παρακαλέσατε οἱ ὀλιγόψυχοι τῇ διανοίᾳ ἰσχύσατε μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἰδοὺ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κρίσιν ἀνταποδίδωσιν καὶ ἀνταποδώσει αὐτὸς ἥξει καὶ σώσει ἡμᾶς.

Isaiah 40:3,9-10: The voice of one crying in the desert: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God." ... Get you up upon a high mountain, you that bring good tidings to Zion: lift up your voice with strength, you that bring good tidings to Jerusalem: lift it up, fear not. Say to the cities of Judah: "Behold your God: Behold the Lord God shall come with strength, and His arm shall rule: Behold His reward is with Him and His work is before Him."
φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν ... ἐπ' ὄρος ὑψηλὸν ἀνάβηθι ὁ εὐαγγελιζόμενος Σιων ὕψωσον τῇ ἰσχύι τὴν φωνήν σου ὁ εὐαγγελιζόμενος Ιερουσαλημ ὑψώσατε μὴ φοβεῖσθε εἰπὸν ταῖς πόλεσιν Ιουδα ἰδοὺ ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν. ἰδοὺ κύριος μετὰ ἰσχύος ἔρχεται καὶ ὁ βραχίων μετὰ κυριείας ἰδοὺ ὁ μισθὸς αὐτοῦ μετ' αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ ἔργον ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ.

Mark 1:1-3: The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "Behold I send My angel before Your face, who shall prepare the way before You. A voice of one crying in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight His paths.'"
Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ: ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου: φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ: ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ.

Isaiah 52:7,10,12: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that brings good tidings, and that preaches peace: of Him that shows forth good, that preaches salvation, that says to Zion: Your God shall reign! ... The Lord has prepared His holy arm in the sight of all the Gentiles: and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. ... For you shall not go out in a tumult, neither shall you make haste by flight: for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will gather you together.
ὡς ὥρα ἐπὶ τῶν ὀρέων ὡς πόδες εὐαγγελιζομένου ἀκοὴν εἰρήνης ὡς εὐαγγελιζόμενος ἀγαθά ὅτι ἀκουστὴν ποιήσω τὴν σωτηρίαν σου λέγων Σιων βασιλεύσει σου ὁ θεός. ... καὶ ἀποκαλύψει κύριος τὸν βραχίονα αὐτοῦ τὸν ἅγιον ἐνώπιον πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν καὶ ὄψονται πάντα τὰ ἄκρα τῆς γῆς τὴν σωτηρίαν τὴν παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ. ... ὅτι οὐ μετὰ ταραχῆς ἐξελεύσεσθε οὐδὲ φυγῇ πορεύσεσθε πορεύσεται γὰρ πρότερος ὑμῶν κύριος καὶ ὁ ἐπισυνάγων ὑμᾶς κύριος ὁ θεὸς Ισραηλ.

Isaiah 54:5: For He that made you shall rule over you, the Lord of hosts is His Name: and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, shall be called the God of all the earth.
ὅτι κύριος ὁ ποιῶν σε κύριος σαβαωθ ὄνομα αὐτῷ καὶ ὁ ῥυσάμενός σε αὐτὸς θεὸς Ισραηλ πάσῃ τῇ γῇ κληθήσεται.

Jeremiah 23:6: In those days shall Judah be saved, and Israel shall dwell confidently: and this is the Name that they shall call Him: The Lord our just one.
ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ σωθήσεται Ιουδας καὶ Ισραηλ κατασκηνώσει πεποιθώς καὶ τοῦτο τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ὃ καλέσει αὐτὸν κύριος Ιωσεδεκ.

Jeremiah 33:16: In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell securely: and this is the Name that they shall call Him, The Lord our just one.

Micah 5:1-2: And you, Bethlehem Ephrata, are a little one among the thousands of Judah, out of you shall He come forth unto Me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and His going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity. Therefore will He give them up even till the time wherein she that travails shall bring forth: and the remnant of His brethren shall be converted to the children of Israel.
αὶ σύ Βηθλεεμ οἶκος τοῦ Εφραθα ὀλιγοστὸς εἶ τοῦ εἶναι ἐν χιλιάσιν Ιουδα ἐκ σοῦ μοι ἐξελεύσεται τοῦ εἶναι εἰς ἄρχοντα ἐν τῷ Ισραηλ καὶ αἱ ἔξοδοι αὐτοῦ ἀπ' ἀρχῆς ἐξ ἡμερῶν αἰῶνος. διὰ τοῦτο δώσει αὐτοὺς ἕως καιροῦ τικτούσης τέξεται καὶ οἱ ἐπίλοιποι τῶν ἀδελφῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιστρέψουσιν ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς Ισραηλ.

Matthew 2:4-6: And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: "In Bethlehem of Judah. For so it is written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem the land of Judah, are not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come forth the captain that shall rule My people Israel.'"
καὶ συναγαγὼν πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ γραμματεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ ἐπυνθάνετο παρ' αὐτῶν ποῦ ὁ Χριστὸς γεννᾶται. οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, ἐν Βηθλέεμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας: οὕτως γὰρ γέγραπται διὰ τοῦ προφήτου: καὶ σύ, Βηθλέεμ γῆ Ἰούδα, οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα: ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ ἐξελεύσεται ἡγούμενος, ὅστις ποιμανεῖ τὸν λαόν μου τὸν Ἰσραήλ.

Matthew 2:1-2,11: When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of King Herod, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: "Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him." … And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary His mother, and falling down they adored Him: and opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Τοῦ δὲ Ἰησοῦ γεννηθέντος ἐν Βηθλέεμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἐν ἡμέραις Ἡρῴδου τοῦ βασιλέως, ἰδοὺ μάγοι ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν παρεγένοντο εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα λέγοντες, ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ. καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν εἶδον τὸ παιδίον μετὰ Μαρίας τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ πεσόντες προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ, καὶ ἀνοίξαντες τοὺς θησαυροὺς αὐτῶν προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δῶρα, χρυσὸν καὶ λίβανον καὶ σμύρναν.

Malachi 3:1: Behold I send My angel, and he shall prepare the way before My face. And presently the Lord, Whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to His temple. Behold, He comes, says the Lord of hosts.
ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐξαποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου καὶ ἐπιβλέψεται ὁδὸν πρὸ προσώπου μου καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἥξει εἰς τὸν ναὸν ἑαυτοῦ κύριος ὃν ὑμεῖς ζητεῖτε καὶ ὁ ἄγγελος τῆς διαθήκης ὃν ὑμεῖς θέλετε ἰδοὺ ἔρχεται λέγει κύριος παντοκράτωρ.

Matthew 11:10: For this is He of Whom it is written: "Behold I send My angel before Your face, who shall prepare Your way before You."
οὗτός ἐστιν περὶ οὗ γέγραπται: ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου.

Matthew 14:33: And they that were in the boat came and adored Him, saying: "Indeed You are the Son of God."
οἱ δὲ ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες: "ἀληθῶς θεοῦ υἱὸς εἶ."

John 1:1-3: In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him: and without Him was made nothing that was made.
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν.

John 20:28,31: Thomas answered and said to Him: "My Lord and my God!" … But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in His Name.
ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ: ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου. … ταῦτα δὲ γέγραπται ἵνα πιστεύητε ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύοντες ζωὴν ἔχητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ.

Acts 20:28: Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own Blood.
προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου.

Romans 9:5: Whose are the fathers and of whom is Christ, according to the flesh, Who is over all things, God blessed forever.
ὧν οἱ πατέρες, καὶ ἐξ ὧν ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα: ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.

Phil 2:5-11: For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross. For which cause, God also hath exalted Him and hath given Him a Name which is above all names: That in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ, ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος: καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου, θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ. διὸ καὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν καὶ ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα, ἵνα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων, καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται ὅτι κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός.

Colossians 1:15-17: Who is the Image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For in Him were all things created in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him and in Him. And He is before all: and by Him all things consist.
ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα, εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε ἐξουσίαι: τὰ πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται, καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν πρὸ πάντων καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν.

Col 2:2-3,6,8-10: That their hearts may be comforted, being instructed in charity and unto all riches of fullness of understanding, unto the knowledge of the mystery of God the Father and of Christ Jesus: In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. … As therefore you have received Jesus Christ the Lord, walk ye in Him… Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally. And you are filled in Him, Who is the head of all principality and power.
ἵνα παρακληθῶσιν αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν, συμβιβασθέντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ καὶ εἰς πᾶν πλοῦτος τῆς πληροφορίας τῆς συνέσεως, εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ, ἐν ᾧ εἰσιν πάντες οἱ θησαυροὶ τῆς σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως ἀπόκρυφοι. ... Ὡς οὖν παρελάβετε τὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν τὸν κύριον, ἐν αὐτῷ περιπατεῖτε ... βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς ἔσται ὁ συλαγωγῶν διὰ τῆς φιλοσοφίας καὶ κενῆς ἀπάτης κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου καὶ οὐ κατὰ Χριστόν, ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς, καὶ ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένοι, ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας.

2 Peter 1:1-4: Simon Peter, servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ: to them that have obtained equal faith with us in the justice of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace be accomplished in the knowledge of God and of Christ Jesus our Lord. As all things of His divine power which appertain to life and godliness are given us through the knowledge of Him Who hath called us by His own proper glory and virtue. By Whom He hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world.
Σίμων Πέτρος δοῦλος καὶ ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσιν πίστιν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη ἐν ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. Ὡς πάντα ἡμῖν τῆς θείας δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ εὐσέβειαν δεδωρημένης διὰ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ καλέσαντος ἡμᾶς διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀρετῆς, δι' ὧν τὰ τίμια καὶ μέγιστα ἡμῖν ἐπαγγέλματα δεδώρηται, ἵνα διὰ τούτων γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως, ἀποφυγόντες τῆς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορᾶς.

Jude 1:5: I will therefore admonish you, though ye once knew all things, that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, did afterwards destroy them that believed not: and the angels who kept not their principality, but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day.
Commonere autem vos volo, scientes semel omnia, quoniam Jesus populum de terra Aegypti salvans, secundo eos, qui non crediderunt, perdidit: angelos vero, qui non servaverunt suum principatum, sed dereliquerunt suum domicilium, in judicium magni diei, vinculis aeternis sub caligine reservavit.
1 John 5:20: And we know that the Son of God has come. And He has given us understanding that we may know the true God and may be in His true Son. This is the true God and life eternal.
οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ἥκει, καὶ δέδωκεν ἡμῖν διάνοιαν ἵνα γινώσκομεν τὸν ἀληθινόν: καὶ ἐσμὲν ἐν τῷ ἀληθινῷ, ἐν τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ. οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς θεὸς καὶ ζωὴ αἰώνιος.

Revelation 19:13,15-16: And He was clothed with a garment sprinkled with Blood. And His Name is called: THE WORD OF GOD. … And He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God the Almighty. And He hath on His garment and on His thigh written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
καὶ περιβεβλημένος ἱμάτιον ῤεραντισμένον αἵματι, καὶ κέκληται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ. καὶ τὰ στρατεύματα τὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ ἐφ' ἵπποις λευκοῖς, ἐνδεδυμένοι βύσσινον λευκὸν καθαρόν. καὶ ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ ἐκπορεύεται ῥομφαία ὀξεῖα, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῇ πατάξῃ τὰ ἔθνη, καὶ αὐτὸς ποιμανεῖ αὐτοὺς ἐν ῥάβδῳ σιδηρᾷ: καὶ αὐτὸς πατεῖ τὴν ληνὸν τοῦ οἴνου τοῦ θυμοῦ τῆς ὀργῆς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ παντοκράτορος. καὶ ἔχει ἐπὶ τὸ ἱμάτιον καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν μηρὸν αὐτοῦ ὄνομα γεγραμμένον: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΚΥΡΙΩΝ.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ancient Use of Unleavened Bread

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Update 1/3/2018: This entry needs to be updated with data from Dom Marie-Jean Parisot, O.S.B., "Azymes," Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, vol. 1 (Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1909), 2653-2664 [pages 581-586 of the PDF] and Dom Fernard Cabrol, O.S.B., "Azymes," Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, vol. 1, issue 2, 3254-3260. Stay tuned.

Catholic use of unleavened bread is an 11th-century Judaizing innovation
The Eastern Orthodox Church rejects the legitimacy of unleavened bread,{1} but the Catholic Church does not attack the legitimacy of leavened bread. Latin Catholics follow the institution of our Lord, Who did not transgress the Law [Mt 5:17] and thus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper [Mt 26:17; Mk 14:12; Lk 22:7]. Archbishop St. John Chrysostom the Great says that Christ celebrated the Last Supper with unleavened bread [PG 58:754]. Such use is fitting because it conforms to the sincerity of the faithful [1 Cor 5:7] and the fact that the body of Christ was not conceived with any corruption. There are plenty of witnesses to the use of unleavened bread well before the schism of Patriarch Michael I Cerularios of Constantinople. They include Alcuin of York [PL 100:289], Bl. Archbishop Rabanus Maurus of Mainz in the early 800s [PL 107:318,324], and Origen of Alexandria [PG 13:988CD-989ABC]. Several more are included in Cardinal Hergenröther's magnum opus on Photios, vol. 3, p. 787. Moreover, in the first century Philo the Jew testifies that Christians in Alexandria used unleavened bread in the Liturgy [On the Contemplative Life p. 19 sec. X]. Other possible witnesses include Archbishop St. Gregory I the Theologian of Constantinople [PG 35:397A] and Pope St. Leo I the Great of Rome [Sermon 63:7].

Notes & References
{1} Two Epistles of Patriarch Michael I Cerularios of Constantinople to Patriarch Peter III of Antioch; Encyclical of Metropolitan Mark Eugenikos of Ephesus (1440); Council of Constantinople with Patriarchs Jeremiah II Tranos of Constantinople, Silvester of Alexandria, and Sophronios IV of Jerusalem (1583); Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs Anthimos VI of Constantinople, Hierotheos II of Alexandria, Methodios of Antioch, and Cyril II of Jerusalem to Pope Pius IX of Rome (1848); Encyclical of Patriarch Anthimos VII of Constantinople to Pope Leo XIII of Rome (1895).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Church Fathers On the Magi As Kings

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None of the Church Fathers call the Magi kings
Update 10/2/2016: Can anyone help with translations of Hugo Kehrer†, Die Heiligen drei Könige in Literatur und Kunst (Leipzig: Verlag von E. A. Seamann, 1908) <>?
Update 10/22/2016, feast of Pope St. John Paul II: Stay tuned for updates based on Lapide, Maldonado (, Baronius, etc.

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of King Herod, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him. And King Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Judah. For so it is written by the prophet: And thou Bethlehem the land of Judah art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come forth the Captain that shall rule My people Israel. Then Herod, privately calling the wise men learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; and sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore Him. Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the East, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary His mother, and falling down they adored Him: and opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country. And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and His mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose, and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called My Son. Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry: and sending killed all the menchildren that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
Obj. 1: The Scripture does not say the Magi are kings.
Ans. 1: Old Testament: We gather that the Magi were kings because the tradition of the Church applies these prophecies to the visit of the Magi:
Ps 68:30: "Because of thy temple in Jerusalem, kings shall offer presents to thee."
Ps 72:10: "The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts."
Isaiah 60:3: "Nations shall walk in the light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising."
I insist: New Testament: Why then, are they not called kings by St. Matthew?

Obj. 2: "No Father of the Church holds the Magi to have been kings;"{1} "Nor did any Father of the Church hold the opinion that the Magi were kings."{2}
Ans. 2: On the contrary stands the authority of the ecclesiastical writers Tertullian (d. 240) and Bishop Hydatius of Aquae Flaviae (†469) and the following Church Fathers: Bishop St. Cyprian the Martyr of Carthage (†258){3}, Bishop St. Basil the Great of Constantinople (†379; Doctor) Archbishop St. John Chrysostom of Constantinople (†407; Doctor); Hieromonk St. Jerome the Great of Strido (†420; Doctor); Bishop St. Hilary of Arles (†449; Doctor), Bishop St. Maximus of Turin (†465){4}, Bishop St. Caesarius of Arles (†543){5}, St. Isidore of Seville (†636; Doctor), and Monk Walafrid Strabo (†849).{6}

Notes & References
{1} Drum, Walter. "Magi." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 10 Dec. 2009 <>.
{2} Duchesne-Guillemin, J., E. J. Joyce, and M. Stevenson "Magi." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 34. 15 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Fordham University Libraries. 9 July 2009.
{3} Sermon On the Baptism of Christ and the Manifestation of the Trinity in PL 189:1628B.
{4} Treatise 5 Against the Jews in PL 57:801C qtd. in Hugo Kehrer,
{5} Sermon 139 on Epiphany in PL 39:2018 qtd. in Hugo Kehrer,
{6} Juan Maldonado, S.J., A Commentary on the Holy Gospels, trans. George M. Davie, M.A., 2nd ed. (London: John Hodges, 1888), 49-50 <>. Some of these authors are quoted in The Golden Legend of Bl. Jacobus de Voragine, O.P.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Mythical Fall of Pope St. Liberius

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Pope Liberius signed the Semi-Arian formula of Sirmium while in exile

J.N.D. Kelly accuses Pope St. Liberius of capitulating under pressure, and says that he wrote four compromising letters,{1} when in fact these letters are hoaxes.{2} We can cut right through the conflicting testimony{3} as to whether Pope St. Liberius the Confessor of Rome (3/17/352-9/24/366) signed a heretical formula and acquit him on the following a priori grounds: (1) The Roman emperor Constantius II (the heretical son of Emperor St. Constantine I the Great) would have made known to everyone the pope's fall such that no one could possibly doubt it.{4} (2) The pope would have been guilty of "laughable" hypocrisy if he did not publicly repent of signing the heretical creed before his post-Rimini decree that lapsed bishops were not to be reinstated if they did not sincerely prove their opposition to the Arians.{5} He definitely did not publicly confess and do penance for such a crime.{6}
Notes & References
{1} "Liberius." The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. J. N. D. Kelly. with new material by Michael Walsh. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Fordham University. 10 December 2009 <>
{2} Chapman, John. "Pope Liberius." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 9 Dec. 2009 <>.
{3} a. St. Liberius was innocent according to: Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor), Pope St. Anastasius I of Rome (401), St. Sulpicius Severus (403), St. Prosper of Acquitane (432), and Bl. Bishop Theodoret of Cyrus.
b. Those who say St. Liberius was guilty: Archbishop St. Athanasius I the Great of Alexandria (Doctor) in 357 [History of the Arians 41], Hieromonk St. Jerome the Great of Strido (Doctor) [Chronicle; On the Lives of Illustrious Men 97], and St. Hilary of Poitiers (Doctor) [Against Constantius 11].
{4} Chapman, loc. cit.
{5} Ibid.
{6} Ibid.

The Mythical Fall of Pope St. Marcellinus

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Pope St. Marcellinus apostatized, turned over the sacred books, and offered incense to pagan gods

Unprovable Charge Comes From Unreliable Sources
1. Anglican scholar John Norman Davidson Kelly (†3/31/1997), author of The Oxford Dictionary of Popes says that Pope St. Marcellinus (6/30/296-10/25/304) gave up the Sacred Books and offered incense to pagan gods.{1} The most that the historian can conclude from the accusation of Donatist Bishop Petilianus of Constantine in Africa is that there were rumors to to that effect in Africa.{2} The heretic could not provide any proof of his assertion, nor could anyone else,{3} or else the Doctor of Grace, Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo [Against the Letters of Petilianus], could not have so firmly vouched for the maligned pope.{4} Furthermore, the holy pope was not named in the document brought by the Donatists to the Catholic-Donatist conference in Carthage, "the Acts of confiscation of the church buildings at Rome."{5}

Pope St. Marcellinus Was Not A Martyr
2. It is not the case that Pope St. Marcellinus apostatized, repented, and sought and obtained martyrdom. Not one reliable source from the fourth and fifth centuries calls him a martyr.{6} He is not in the list of martyrs in the 354 Roman "Chronograph," nor is he in the Martyrology of St. Jerome{7}. Eusebius of Caesarea would have expressly stated that Pope St. Marcellinus was a martyr if he in fact died for the faith.{8}

Notes & References
{1} "Marcellinus, St." The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. J. N. D. Kelly. with new material by Michael Walsh. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Fordham University. 9 December 2009 <>.
{2} Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope Saint Marcellinus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 9 Dec. 2009 <>.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Ibid.
{6} Ibid.
{7} Ibid.
{8} Ibid.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Which Popes Were Martyrs?

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1. Pope St. Peter the Apostle of Rome (33-64)
Pope St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, was crucified upside-down in Rome (Kirsch).
2. Pope St. Anacletus of Rome (76-4/26/88)
"We know he died a martyr" (Campbell).
3. Pope St. Clement I of Rome (88-11/23/97)
Rufinus in 400 is the first to mention the martyrdom of Pope St. Clement I (Chapman). In 417 Pope St. Zosimus [Letter 2] said St. Clement gave his life to testify to the faith he learned from St. Peter (ibid.). Predestinatus called him a martyr in 430, as did the 442 Synod of Vaison (ibid.). That he died in exile is supported by the absence of a tradition that he was interred in Rome (ibid.). St. Constantine-Cyril, Apostle to the Slavs (827-2/14/869), discovered his holy relics and Pope Adrian II (12/14/867-12/14/872) placed them "in the high altar of the basilica of St. Clement Rome" (ibid.)
4. Pope St. Sixtus I of Rome (115-4/6/125)
"The 'Felician Catalogue' of popes and the various martyrologies give him the title of martyr" (Ott).
5. Pope St. Telesphorus of Rome (9/30/125-1/2/136)
Bishop St. Irenaeus Irenaeus of Lyons informs us [Against Heresies 3:3:3] that Pope St. Telesphorus of Rome "was gloriously martyred."
6. Pope St. Callistus I of Rome (217-10/14/222)
That Pope St. Callistus I "is the earliest pope found in the fourth-century 'Depositio Martirum' ... is good evidence that he was really a martyr" (Chapman).
7. Pope St. Urban I of Rome? (10/14/222-5/25/230)
Pace Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Pope St. Urban I of Rome is one of the martyrs who was buried in the Catacomb of Praetextatus (Kirsch).
8. Pope St. Pontian of Rome (7/21/230-9/28/235)
Together with St. Hippolytus, "he died in consequence of the privations and inhuman treatment he had to bear" on the island of Sardinia, to which he was exiled by the tyrannical Roman Emperor Maximinus the Thracian (Kirsch).
9. Pope St. Fabian of Rome (1/10/236-1/20/250)
At the start of the persecution under the Roman Emperor Decius, Pope St. Fabian was martyred (Meier). His Greek epitaph, discovered in 1850 by Giovanni Battista de Rossi, reads "Fabian, bishop and martyr" (ibid.).
10. Pope St. Cornelius of Rome (3/251-6/253)
Bishop St. Cyprian the Martyr of Carthage (†259) "repeatedly calls" Pope St. Cornelius of Rome a martyr, and the Latin inscription on the catacomb of the holy pope says "CORNELIUS* MARTYR*" (Chapman).
11. Pope St. Sixtus II of Rome (8/30/257-8/6/258)
He was beheaded on a chair in Rome (Ott).
12. Pope St. Marcellus I of Rome (306-1/16/309)
Pope St. Damasus I of Rome (10/1/366-12/11/384) says that Pope St. Marcellus I died shortly after being exiled from Rome by the tyrant Maxentius (Kirsch).
13. Pope St. Eusebius of Rome (4/17/309-8/17/309)
He died in exile for strictly enforcing Church discipline, and Pope St. Damasus I of Rome calls him a martyr in his epitaph (Kirsch).
14. Pope St. John I of Rome (523-526)
"The Latin Church has placed him among its martyrs" (Clugnet)
15. Pope St. Silverius of Rome (536-537)
After being "unlawfully deposed," Pope St. Silverius of Rome "died in consequence of the privations and harsh treatment he endured" (Kirsch).
16. Pope St. Martin I of Rome (7/5/649-9/16/655)
This wonderworking pope died in exile for refusing to ratify the Type of the tyrannical Byzantine Emperor Constans II (Mershman).

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2009

Happy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2009!

Reading 1
Gn 3:9-15, 20

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?”
He answered, "I heard You in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself."
Then He asked, "Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"
The man replied, "The woman whom You put here with me
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it."
The LORD God then asked the woman,
"Why did you do such a thing?"
The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
"Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

R. (1) Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for He has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for Him,
His holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made His salvation known:
in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice.
He has remembered His kindness and His faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous deeds.

Reading II
Eph 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before Him.
In love He destined us for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of His will,
for the praise of the glory of His grace
that He granted us in the beloved.

In Him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
Who accomplishes all things according to the intention of His will,
so that we might exist for the praise of His glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name Him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father,
and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of His Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."

Then the angel departed from her.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Various Controversial Popes

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Some reliable sources' discussions of and responses to charges of vice against various oft-maligned pontiffs.

Pope St. Marcellinus (6/30/296-4/1/304)
There were even later reports in circulation that accused him of having given up the sacred books after the first edict, or even of having offered incense to the gods, to protect himself from the persecution. But the sources in which this reproach is clearly stated are very questionable. ... The Donatist Bishop Petilianus of Constantine in Africa asserted, in the letter he wrote in 400 and 410, that Marcellinus and the Roman priests Melchiades, Marcellus, and Sylvester (his three successors) had given up the sacred books, and had offered incense. But he could not adduce any proof. In the Acts of confiscation of the church buildings at Rome, which at the great Carthaginian conference between Catholics and Donatists, were brought forward by the latter, only two Roman deacons, Straton and Cassius, were named as traitors. St. Augustine, in his replies to Petilianus, disputes the truth of the latter's report ("Contra litteras Petiliani", II, 202: "De quibus et nos solum respondemus: aut non probatis et ad neminem pertinet, aut probatis et ad nos non pertinet"; "De unico baptismo contra Petilianum", cap. xvi: "Ipse scelestos et sacrilegos fuisse dicit; ego innocentes fuisse respondeo"). One can only conclude from Petilianus's accusation that such rumours against Marcellinus and Roman priests were circulated in Africa; but that they could not be proved, otherwise St. Augustine would not have been able to assert the innocence of the accused so decidedly, or safely to have referred to the matter at the Carthaginian conference (Kirsch).
Pope St. Liberius (5/17/352-9/24/366)
But the strongest arguments for the innocence of Liberius are a priori. Had he really given in to the emperor during his exile, the emperor would have published his victory far and wide; there would have been no possible doubt about it; it would have been more notorious than even that gained over Hosius. ... Further, the pope's decree after Rimini, that the fallen bishops could not be restored unless they showed their sincerity by vigour against the Arians, would have been laughable, if he himself had fallen yet earlier, and had not publicly atoned for his sin. Yet, we can be quite certain that he made no public confession of having fallen, no recantation, no atonement (Chapman).
Pope Vigilius (12/2/537-6/7/555)
The change in his position is to be explained by the fact that the condemnation of the writings mentioned was justifiable essentially, yet appeared inopportune and would lead to disastrous controversies with Western Europe (Kirsch).
Pope Honorius I (10/27/625-10/12/638)

It has been sometimes said that St. Leo in these words interprets the decision of the Council about Honorius in a mild sense, or that he modifies it. It is supposed that by "permitted to be polluted" Leo II means no positive action, but a mere neglect of duty, grave enough in a Pope, but not amounting to the actual teaching of heresy. If Leo II had meant this, he would have been mistaken. Honorius did positively approve the letter of Sergius, as the Council pointed out. Further, the merely negative ruling of the typus had been condemned as heresy by the Lateran Council.1 As a fact the words of Leo II are harsher than those of the Council. He declares that Honorius did not publish the apostolic doctrine of his See, and he represents this as a disgrace to the Church of Rome itself, as a pollution of the unspotted. This no Eastern Bishop had ventured to say. The anathemas on Pope Honorius have been again and again continued. A few years later he is included in the list of heretics by the Trullan Synod, a Council whose canons were not, however, and could not be received by Rome and the West. But the seventh and eighth oecumenical Councils did the same, although the eighth Council formally declared that the Church of Rome had never erred. ... Unquestionably no Catholic has the right to deny that Honorius was a heretic (though in the sense that Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia were heretics), a heretic in words if not in intention ... Honorius was mentioned as a heretic in the lessons of the Roman Breviary for June 28th, the feast of St. Leo II, until the i8th century, when the name was omitted as liable to cause misunderstanding. In the Middle Ages, "to lie like the second nocturn" was a proverb, and no doubt the Breviary is still full of historical errors. Nevertheless, the persistence of this reading through many centuries at all events shows that it was not found scandalous by our forefathers, and was perfectly well understood until controversy with later views, Gallican and Protestant, suggested difficulties.  (Chapman 114-116).

[Emperor Constantine IV] calls Honorius "the confirmer of the heresy and contradictor of himself", again showing that Honorius was not condemned by the council as a Monothelite, but for approving Sergius's contradictory policy of placing orthodox and heretical expressions under the same ban. It was in this sense that Paul and his Type were condemned; and the council was certainly well acquainted with the history of the Type, and with the Apology of John IV for Sergius and Honorius, and the defences by St. Maximus. It is clear, then, that the council did not think that it stultified itself by asserting that Honorius was a heretic (in the above sense) and in the same breath accepting the letter of Agatho as being what it claimed to be, an authoritative exposition of the infallible faith of the Roman See. The fault of Honorius lay precisely in the fact that he had not authoritatively published that unchanging faith of his Church, in modern language, that he had not issued a definition ex cathedra. (Chapman)
Pope Stephen VI (5/22/896-8/897)
Whether induced by evil passion or perhaps, more probably, compelled by the Emperor Lambert and his mother Ageltruda, he caused the body of Formosus to be exhumed, and in January, 897, to be placed before an unwilling synod of the Roman clergy. ... Fortunately it was not granted to Stephen to have time to do much else besides this atrocious deed. Before he was put to death by strangulation, he forced several of those who had been ordained by Formosus to resign their offices and he granted a few privileges to churches (Mann).

He did hold a local synod in the early part of 897, the strangest synod ever held and the most gruesome. Although he had been consecrated bishop by Pope Formosus, Stephen seems to have belonged to the opposite faction. But probably the moving spirit in this horrid business was the house of Spoleto. It will be remembered that Formosus, after crowning young Lambert, had called in Arnulf to become emperor and put down the Spoletans. Driven out of Rome by Arnulf and threatened in Spoleto itself, Lambert was saved by Arnulf's sudden sickness. Then he cleared out Arnulf's officials and took over central Italy. In January 897 Lambert and his mother, the fiery Ageltruda, entered Rome in triumph. But Formosus was beyond vengeance. He was dead and buried with honor as pope. This last fact could still be canceled. ... When Lambert had to leave to fight the marquis of Tuscany, the Romans rose against Stephen. Then he was seized and himself stripped of the pontifical robes. Clad in a monk's habit, he was thrown into a dungeon, and in August, 897, Stephen VII was strangled (Brusher).
Pope Sergius III (1/29/904-4/14/911)
Sergius at once declared the ordinations conferred by Formosus null; but that he put his two predecessors to death, and by illicit relations with Marozia had a son, who was afterwards John XI, must be regarded as highly doubtful. These assertions are only made by bitter or ill-informed adversaries, and are inconsistent with what is said of him by respectable contemporaries [such as Flodoard] (Mann).
Pope John XI (3/931-12/935)
Through the intrigues of his mother, who ruled at that time in Rome, he was raised to the Chair of Peter, and was completely under the influence of the Senatrix et Patricia of Rome. ... In this way Alberic became ruler of Rome, and the pope, who suffered by his mother's fall, now became almost entirely subject to his brother, being only free in the exercise of his purely spiritual duties. All other jurisdiction was exercised through Alberic. This was not only the case in secular, but also in ecclesiastical affairs. It was at the instance of Alberic that the pallium was given to Theophylactus, Patriarch of Constantinople (935), and also to Artold, Archbishop of Reims (933). It was this pope who sat in the Chair of Peter during its deepest humiliation, but it was also he who granted many privileges to the Congregation of Cluny, which was later on so powerful an agent of Church reform (Kirsch).
Pope John XII (12/16/955-5/14/964)
"There cannot be a doubt that John XII was anything but what a Pope, the chief pastor of Christendom, should have been" (Mann IV:241).

The temporal and spiritual authority in Rome were thus again united in one person — a coarse, immoral man, whose life was such that the Lateran was spoken of as a brothel, and the moral corruption in Rome became the subject of general odium. War and the chase were more congenial to this pope than church government (Kirsch).

John XII has a bad reputation, but it is only fair to remember that many of the stories told about him come from political enemies, especially that evil-tongued old gossip, Liutprand of Cremona. But even after allowing a generous discount for prejudice, enough remains against John XII to rank him as one of the few bad popes (Brusher).

He [John XII] brought to the Chair of St. Peter only the vices and dissolute morals of a young debauchee; and though Luitprand must have exaggerated the disorders of this Pope, yet there remains enough of truth in the account to have brought down the scandal of the pontificate through succeeding ages, like a loud blasphemy, which makes angels weep and Hell exult ... John XII looked upon his new dignity only as a means of more fully indulging his licentious passions (Darras II:592).
Pope John XIII (10/1/965-9/6/972)
John XII might have been called John the Bad; John XIII was called John the Good. ... John XIII died peacefully at Rome, September 6, 972. Though noticeably under Otto's influence, he was a good pope (Brusher).

John XIII ... reigned from A.D. 965 to A.D. 972. The most impartial writers speak loudly in his praise. He was "un dignissimo papa" according to Muratori [An. 972 p. 283] (Miley II:340).
Pope Benedict IX (10/1032-5/1/1045)
He was a disgrace to the Chair of Peter. ... But it is more probable that the truth lies with the tradition of the Abbey of Grottaferrata, first set down by Abbot Luke, who died about 1085, and corroborated by sepulchral and other monuments within its walls. Writing of Bartholomew, its fourth abbot (1065), Luke tells of the youthful pontiff turning from his sin and coming to Bartholomew for a remedy for his disorders. On the saint's advice, Benedict definitely resigned the pontificate and died in penitence at Grottaferrata. [See "St. Benedict and Grottaferrata" (Rome, 1895), a work founded on the more important "De Sepulcro Benedicti IX", by Dom Greg. Piacentini (Rome, 1747)] (Mann, Benedict IX).

"That [Clement II] was poisoned by the partisans of Benedict IX is a mere suspicion without proof" (Mann, Clement II).

Martin IV (2/22/1281-3/28/1285)
From this total rejection [of all Eastern Catholics post-Lyons as insincere converts] and unmerited condemnation of men who (whatever their motives) had risked their fortunes and their lives for the Catholic Faith and the Church of Rome, flowed all the ensuing evils of Martin IV's pontificate, and many of the still worse disasters that came after it. No Pope has made a greater mistake. ... there could be no excuse for calling such a war [by Charles of Anjou against Sicily] a crusade. Everyone knew it. It is hard to imagine how Pope Martin IV could have even justified it to himself. ... [Martin] had re-created the Eastern schism; destroyed the crusading ideal; riven the body of Christendom by incessantly demanding war to the finish against two large Christian countries, Sicily and Aragon--wars that could not be won, whose prosecution was to hang like a millstone around the necks of the Popes for the next quarter-century; and made himself little more than an instrument of French foreign policy. In just four years in office Martin IV had done as much harm to Christendom as any Pope in two millenia. (Carroll III:312, 315, 316-317).

Pope Boniface VIII (12/24/1294-10/11/1303)
Pope John XXII (8/7/1316-12/4/1334)
[T]here has been much speculation about whether and under what circumstances a Pope might hold an erroneous theological opinion without teaching it so as to be binding on the whole Church; but the Beatification Vision controversy involving Pope John XXII is the only actual example of this kind. .... a touch of senility may help to explain the astonishing imprudence of John XXII in this particular matter ... Pope John XXII argued that only the complete human being--soul and body reunited, after the resurrection, can truly see God [except for Jesus and Mary]. ... [John said] the souls of the blessed dead ... see the human Christ, but not His full divinity. (The Pope's critics--and he had many--did not hesitate to call this a revival of the Nestorian heresy, which separated too widely Christ's divine nature from His human nature.) These views, proclaimed suddenly and without warning in November 1331, were directly contrary to the position Pope John XXII had taken earlier on the same subject in his bull of canonization of the Franciscan Archbishop of Toulouse, Louis of Anjou, in 1317 and his correspondence with the Armenian Church in 1321 and with the Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1326. ... a Pope can never really be only a "private theologian." While he may speak on theological issues without intending to bind the faithful, his unique post and duties and responsibilities make it inevitable that any pronouncement by him on such issues will have enormous impact. He cannot avoid seeming to teach whenever he speaks on theology. For a Pope to propose a doctrine, actually or apparently contrary to that held by most of the Church, when he is not sure of its truth, is imprudent in the highest degree. No Pope has ever gone so far in such imprudence as John XXII in the Beatific Vision controversy. ... the Pope was not imposing his erroneous view, nor teaching it ex cathedra. But by continuing to press the issue he was putting himself and the Church in a most peculiar position--indeed, almost inviting the Church to repudiate him on a subject where he had supreme and infallible authority but was refusing to exercise it, evidently because he had genuine doubts about the truth of his propositions. But if he doubted them, why in the world did he keep proposing them? History gives us no answer to that question; but a Catholic historian can well remind us that this would not have been the first time Satan had tempted a Pope, right up to the brink of a disaster which God will not allow to happen. ... A year later, on his deathbed at ninety, facing the Judgment, Pope John XXII retreacted his error. ... Papal infallibility had once again been preserved--and once again, as with Popes Liberius, Vigilius, and Honorius, by a very narrow margin. (Carroll III:371-373).

In the last years of John's pontificate there arose a dogmatic conflict about the Beatific Vision, which was brought on by himself, and which his enemies made use of to discredit him. Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question, in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on the matter (November, 1333), and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter. In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question. In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision. (Kirsch 433)
Pope Clement V (6/5/1305-4/20/1314)
The memory of Clement V comes down to us charged with having ambitiously intrigued for the tiara, by promising to Philip the Fair to rescind the acts of Boniface, and to condescend to his will on some important point, not then disclosed. This compact originally rests on the authority of Villani, a partisan of the schismatical Louis of Bavaria. On the same suspicious testimony, his supposed amours with the countess of Perigord have been too lightly credited, notwithstanding the silence of his early biographers, six in number (Kenrick 420).
Pope Clement VI (5/7/1342-12/6/1352)
Villani has attacked the moral character of Clement VI, but I feel dispensed from vindicating it, whilst it is assailed only by the professed enemy of the lawful Pontiffs (Kenrick 420).
Pope Urban VI (4/8/1378-10/15/1389)
Carroll III:
Pope Paul II (8/30/1464-7/26/1471)
The sudden death of Paul II, who was found dead in his bed, arose from an unwholesome supper on melons; and was not attended with any disgraceful circumstances. Although his life was not austere, there is not any ground for censuring his conduct, unless, perhaps, his failure to observe the conditions to which, in common with the other cardinals in conclave, he had bound himself. This, however, may be accounted for by the necessity of his situation, in which he deemed it injurious to observe restrictions unwisely imposed on an authority which Christ willed to be free. Above a century before, Innocent VI had declared such engagements to be radically null (Kenrick 420-421).
Pope Innocent VIII (8/29/1484-7/25/1492)
Although Pope Innocent meant well, he contributed to the decline of papal prestige by his open acknowledgment of his illegitimate children in the Vatican. His son Franceschetto, who was living a dissolute life, was no help to the Pope. Then too, Innocent was very hard pressed for funds. To get them he increased the number of purchasable offices. This in turn caused graft and corruption among official. ... But his pontificate, on the whole, did little for the Church. He himself seemed to realize this, and on his deathbed he asked the cardinals' forgiveness for having done so little and begged them to elect a better successor. ... Innocent VIII died devoutly on July 25, 1492 (Brusher).

Innocent VIII, though not personally an evil man, was a failure as Pope, and his failure opened the way to the disastrous pontificate of Rodrigo Borgia that was to follow after Innocent died in 1492 (Carroll III:623).
Pope Alexander VI (8/11/1492-8/18/1503)

(Parsons )



... though Borgia made many promises to his supporters of offices and benefits if he became Pope, the cardinals appear to have been more influenced in their voting by political considerations than by prospects of personal financial gain, believing--with some reason--that Rodrigo Borgia was the cleverest and most effective political operator among the papal candidates. .... [Alexander VI] publicly and repeatedly acknowledged all seven [children] as his own, and there is some reason to believe that an eighth child of his was born while he was Pope, though this is not certain. All attempts to rehabilitate Rodrigo Borgia--and there have been several--must founder in the face of this appalling scandal, unmatched in the whole 2000-year history of the papacy. The lush and lurid Borgia legend, mushrooming down the years, is certainly not all true; many of its stories (such as the incest of Rodrigo Borgia's daughter Lucrezia with her brother and/or her father) are historical unsupported and unworthy of belief. ... The five-volume apologia for Rodrigo Borgia by Peter de Roo, Materials for a History of Alexander VI, his Relatives and his Times (Bruges 1924, though extensively researched and occasionally a useful corrective to exaggerations of the Borgia legend, is essentially vitiated as a reliable source by the author's persistent refusal to admit that [Borgia's children were in fact his children]. (Carroll III: 637-639)

Recent research [by Michael Edward Mallett] has largely cleared [Alexander VI] of the charge of simony at his election as Pope, but the disgrace of his personal life stands. The Catholic historian can do no better than to quote the magisterial verdict of one of the greatest of his kind, Ludwig von Pastor: "Thus he who should have been the guardian of his time, saving all that could be saved, contributed more than any other man to steep the Church in corruption. His life of unrestrained sensuality was in direct contradiction with the precepts of Him whose representative on earth he was, and to this he gave himself up to the very end of his days. But it is noteworthy that in matters purely concerning the Church, Alexander never did anything that justly deserves blame; even his bitterest enemies are unable to formulate any accusation against him in this respect. Her doctrines were maintained in all their purity. It seemed as though his reign were meant by Providence to demonstrate the truth that though men may hurt the Church they cannot harm her...Just as the intrinsic worth of a jewel is not lessened by an inferior setting, so the sins of a priest cannot essentially affect his power of offering sacrifice or administering sacraments or transmitting doctrine. The personal holiness of the priest is, of course, of the highest importance for the lives of the faithful, inasmuch as he constitutes a living example for them to follow, and compels the respect and esteem of those who are outside. Still the goodness or badness of the temporary minster can exercise no substantial influence on the being, the divine character, or the holiness of the Church; on the word of revelation; on the graces and spiritual powers with which she is endowed. Thus even the supreme high priest can in no way diminish the value of that heavenly treasure which he controls as dispenses, but only as a steward. The gold remains gold in impure as in pure hands".105 105: Von Pastor, History of the Popes, VI, 140-141 (Carroll III:672)

Pope Julius II (10/31/1503-2/21/1513)
The ardor of the martial Julius II betrayed him in youth into excess, of which a daughter was the acknowledged fruit. Her children were promoted to the purple. Since St. Francis de Paula is known to have foretold to him his elevation to the papal throne, we have reason to believe, that after his entrance into orders, his morals were blameless (Kenrick 421).

Julius II was chiefly a soldier, and the fame attached to his name is greatly due to his re-establishment of the Pontifical States and the deliverance of Italy from its subjection to France. Still he did not forget his duties as the spiritual head of the Church. He was free from nepotism; heard Mass almost daily and often celebrated it himself; issued a strict Bull against simony at papal elections and another against duels; erected dioceses in the recently discovered American colonies of Haiti (Espanola), San Domingo, and Porto Rico; condemned the heresy of Piero de Lucca concerning the Incarnation on 7 September, 1511; made various ordinances for monastic reforms; instituted the still existing Capella Julia, a school for ecclesiastical chant which was to serve as a feeder for the Capella Palatina; and finally convoked the Fifth Lateran Council to eradicate abuses from the Church and especially from the Roman Curia, and to frustrate the designs of the schismatic cardinals who had convened their unsuccessful council first at Pisa, then at Milan (Ott).

He was vigorous, irascible, a man of his own counsel, very much a man of his own age, an outstanding personality in an age of individualists. He is chiefly remembered for two things: he rebuilt the papal kingdom, and he made Rome a Mecca for artists and art-lovers. ... After ailing for some time Julius II died peacefully on February 21, 1513. His death was regretted by the Romans, for if he had not been a great Pope, he had been a good king. Julius II shocked many by his open display of power politics, but it must be said that if Julius worked like a secular prince, it was not to promote the glory of his own family, but the welfare of the papal kingdom. He has been called the second founder of the papal states (Brusher).
Pope Leo X (3/9/1513-12/1/1521)
The only possible verdict on the pontificate of Leo X is that it was unfortunate for the Church. Sigismondo Tizio, whose devotion to the Holy See is undoubted, writes truthfully: "In the general opinion it was injurious to the Church that her Head should delight in plays, music, the chase and nonsense, instead of paying serious attention to the needs of his flock and mourning over their misfortunes". Von Reumont says pertinently–"Leo X is in great measure to blame for the fact that faith in the integrity and merit of the papacy, in its moral and regenerating powers, and even in its good intentions, should have sunk so low that men could declare extinct the old true spirit of the Church" (Löffler).
Pope Paul III (10/13/1534-11/10/1549)
Paul III owned as his son Pier Luigi Farnese, who was alleged to be the fruit of a secret marriage, before his father entered into orders. His grandson Alexander was promoted to the purple, which he adorned by his virtues. Paul was truly a great Pontiff, whose administration was most advantageous to the Church: but the lustre of his reign was tarnished by family attachments (Kenrick 421).

Though he entered the service of the Church and was created cardinal in 1503 by Alexander VI, he lived a loose life. But he gradually improved, and when in 1519 he decided to become a priest, he turned over a new leaf and thenceforth lived chastely. ... Paul III ... was a good pope, a strong pope, sagacious, energetic, and largely devoted; not entirely devoted, for he was guilty of favoring his relations. But he compensated for this dangerous fault by his great work in promoting the Catholic Reform (Brusher).

Not all the popes repose in monuments corresponding to their importance in the history of the Church; but few will be disposed to contest the right of Farnese to rest directly under Peter's chair. He had his faults; but they injured no one but himself. The fifteen years of his pontificate saw the complete restoration of Catholic faith and piety. He was succeeded by many saintly pontiffs, but not one of them possessed all his commanding virtues. In Rome his name is written all over the city he renovated. The Pauline chapel, Michelangelo's work in the Sistine, the streets of Rome, which he straightened and broadened, the numerous objects of art associated with the name of Farnese, all speak eloquently of the remarkable personality of the pontiff who turned the tide in favour of religion. If to this we add the favour accorded by Paul to the new religious orders then appearing, the Capuchins, Barnabites, Theatines, Jesuits, Ursulines, and many others, we are forced to confess that his reign was one of the most fruitful in the annals of the Church (Loughlin).
Pope Julius III (2/7/1550-3/29/1555)
Julius was a well-meaning but easy-going man. He favored his relatives, spent money lavishly, and loved good times. But on the other hand, he did continue Paul III's work in favoring the forces of reform. At the instance of St. Ignatius he founded the famous German College to provide zealous and learned priests for the afflicted Empire. ... Julius showed excellent good sense and tact in his dealings with England ... He was rewarded by seeing England once more a Catholic country. ... Julius might have been more fond of ease and jollification than suited either his state or the times, but it is to his credit that the work of reform did continue (Brusher).

At the beginning of his pontificate Julius III had the earnest desire to bring about a reform in the Church and with this intent he reopened the Council of Trent. That the council was again suspended was due to the force of circumstances. His inactivity during the last three years of his pontificate may have been caused by the frequent and severe attacks of the gout to which he was subject. The great blemish in his pontificate was nepotism. Shortly after his accession he bestowed the purple on his unworthy favourite Innocenzo del Monte, a youth of seventeen whom he had picked up on the streets of Parma some years previously, and who had been adopted by the pope's brother, Balduino. This act gave rise to some very disagreeable rumours concerning the pope's relation to Innocenzo. Julius was also extremely lavish in bestowing ecclesiastical dignities and benefices upon his relatives (Ott).

The accusation, however, of the gravest immorality has never been proved against him, either at that time or afterwards. Julius himself was to blame that such an idea should have arisen and been believed, as his attitude towards Innocenzo del Monte must have given rise to the gravest suspicions, especially at a time of such unbridled license. 1... Had there been any proof of the accusation Sarpi would not have failed to put it forward.  (Pastor XIII:71-72).
Works Cited
*Brusher, Fr. Joseph, S.J. Popes Through the Ages. 7 Dec. 2009 <>.
*Carroll, Dr. Warren Hasty, The Glory of Christendom, 1100-1517: A History of Christendom, vol. 3 (Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1993)
*The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. <>.
*Chapman, John, The Condemnation of Pope Honorius (London, Catholic Truth Society, 1907) <>. 
*Kenrick, Francis Patrick. The Primacy of the Apostolic See Vindicated. Baltimore: John Murphy & Co., 1855. 7 Dec. 2009 <>.
*Mann, Rev. Fr. Horace Kinder. The Lives of the Popes In The Early Middle Ages, vol. IV. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co., Ltd., 1910. 7 Dec. 2009 <>.