FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY
THE CHURCH FORGERY MILL
SEGMENTS:R R LYINGLY FOUNDED R R THE FORGED APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS R R THE FORGED "APOSTOLIC CANONS"
RR THE FORGED LIBER PONTIFICALIS R R THE "CONVERSION OF CONSTANTINE" FRAUD R R CHRISTIAN FORGERIES FOR POWER AND PELF
RR THE "CONSTANTINE" FORGERIES R R FORGED DEEDS OF EMPIRE R R THE FORGED LETTER OF ST. PETER R R A HOLY CONSPIRATION
RR THE POPE SYLVESTER FORGERIES R R THE FORGED "DONATION OF CONSTANTINE" R R THE "SYMMACHIAN FORGERIES"
RR THE "FALSE DECRETALS" FORGERIES R R THE FORGED DECRETUM OF GRATIAN R R THE FULL FRUITION OF FORGERY
RR THE FRUSTRATED EMS REVOLT R R FORGED SAINTS, MARTYRS AND MIRACLES R R "SPECULA STULTORUM" R R OLD PAGAN STUFF
RR FORGED AND FAKED RELICS R R THE "INVENTION OF THE CROSS," ET AL. R R ANCIENT FAKES YET ACCREDITED
RR HOLY OILS, WATERS, AND FETISHES R R THE AGNUS DEI R R THE TRAGEDY OF THE "MYSTICAL MARRIAGE"
R RRETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
"Nevertheless, the forging of papal letters was even more frequent in the Middle Ages than in the early Church." (CE. ix, 203.)
LYINGLY FOUNDED on forgery upon forgery, as has been made manifest by manifold admissions and proofs, the Church of Christ perpetuated itself and consolidated its vast usurped powers, and amassed amazing wealth, by a series of further and more secular forgeries and frauds unprecedented in human history-faintly approximated only by its initial forgeries of the fundamental gospels and epistles of the "New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," and of the countless other forged religious documents which we have so far reviewed. These first relate to the infance of the Church-constitute its false certificates of Heavenly birth and of Divine civil status. They are, as it were, the livery of heaven with which Holy Church clothed its moral nakedness until it attained maturer strength and became adept to commit the most stupendous forgeries for its own self-aggrandizement and for the completer domination of mind and soul of its ignorant and superstitious subjects.
The record which we shall now expose is the most sordid in human annals,-of frauds and forgeries perpetrated for the base purposes of greed for worldly riches and power, and designed so to paralyze and stultify the minds and reason of men that they should suffer themselves to be exploited without caring or daring to question or complain, and be helpless to resist the crimes committed against them. Into this chapter we shall compress in as summary manner as possible the revolting record of Christian fraud by means of forged title deeds to vast territories, forged documents of ecclesiastical power spiritual and temporal, forged and false Saints, Martyrs, 'Miracles' and Relics-surpassing the power of imagination or accomplishment by any other than a divinely inspired Church which "has never deceived anyone," and which "never has erred"-in its profound, cynical knowledge and exploitation of the degraded depths of ignorance and superstition to which it had sunk its victims, and of their mental and moral incapacity to detect the holy frauds worked upon them. This was the glorious Age of Faith-the Dark Ages of human benightedness and priestly thralldom-when Holy Church was the Divinely-illumined and unique Teacher of Christendom, and when the Christian world was too ignorant to be unbelieving or heretic,-for "unbelief is no sin that ignorance was ever capable of being guilty of."
In those "Dark Ages, as the period of Catholic ascendancy is justly called" (Lecky, History of European Morals, ii, 14), "men were credulous and ignorant," says Buckle; "they therefore produced a religion which required great belief and little knowledge." Again he says: "The only remedy for superstition is knowledge. ... Nothing else can wipe out that plague-spot of the human mind." It was, indeed, agrees CE.-(from 432 to 1461)-"an age of terrible corruption and social decadence" (xiv, 318); and of its mental state it says: "To such an extent had certain imaginary concepts become the common property of the people, that they repeated themselves as auto-suggestions and dreams." (CE. ix, 130.) But exactly this period-the "Dark Ages of Catholic ascendancy," -with centuries before and since, was the heyday of Holy Faith and Holy Church: it may well be wondered who was responsible for such conditions, when only Holy Church existed, in plentitude of power, the inspired Teacher of Christendom? During all these centuries, "the overwhelming importance attached to theology diverted to it all those intellects which in another condition of society would have been employed in the investigations of science." (Lecky, History of Rationalism in Europe, i, 275; ef. Bacon, Novum Organum, I, 89.) What else could be expected, was possible, when "a bountyless intolerance of all divergences of opinion was united with an equally boundless toleration of all falsehood and deliberate fraud that could favor received opinions?" (Lecky, History of European Morals, ii, 15.) Indeed, "few people realize the degree in which these superstitions were encouraged by the Church which claims infallibility." (Lecky, Hist. Rationalism, i, 79, n.) It is confessed: "The Church is tolerant of 'pious beliefs' which have halved to further Christianity"! (CE. xix,341.)
THE FORGED APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS
For more than a thousand years, until their fraud was exposed by modern historical criticism, these voluminous and most commodious forgeries formed the groundwork and foundation of some of the most extravagant pretensions of the Church and its most potent instrument of establishment and dominion of its monarchical government The Apostolic Constitutions, which we have admitted for naivete of invention with respect to the Apostolic Prince Peter and Simon Magus in their magic contests in Rome, is in fact "a fourth-century pseudo-Apostolic collection. ... It purports to be the work of the Apostles, whose instructions, whether given by them individually or as a body, are supposed to be gathered and handed down by the pretended compiler, [Pope] St. Clement of Rome, the authority of whose name gave fictitious weight to more than one such piece of early Christian literature. ... The Apostolic Constitutions were held generally in high esteem and served as the basis for much ecclesiastical legislation. ... As late as 1563 ... despite the glaring archaisms and incongruities of the collection it was contended that it was the genuine work of the Apostles ... could yet pretend, in an uncritical age, to Apostolic origin." (CE. i, 636.)
The Constitutions, pretending to be written by the apostles, laid down in minute detail all the intricacies of organization of several centuries later; there being elaborate chapters "concerning bishops," presbyters, deacons, all kinds of clergy, liturgies, and Church proceedings and services, undreamed of by "apostles," or in the "apostolic age." The prescriptions regarding the selection of bishops are quite democratic, and vastly different from present papal practices; the Churches, too, are distinctly episcopal and independent. The nature of these provisions, as well as the grossly false and fraudulent character of the whole, a vast arsenal of papal aggression, may be seen by the following passage in the apostolic first person: "Wherefore we, the twelve apostles of the Lord, who are now together, give you in charge those divine constitutions concerning every ecclesiastical form, there being present with us Paul, the chosen vessel, our fellow apostle, and James the bishop, and the rest of the presbyters, and the seven deacons. In the first place, therefore, I Peter say, that a bishop to be ordained is to be, as we have already, all of us, appointed, ... chosen by the whole people, who, when he is named and approved, let the people assemble, with the presbyters and bishops that are present, on the Lord's day, and let them give their consent. ... And if they give their consent," etc. (Apost. Const. VIII, 2, iv; ANF. vii, 481-482.)
THE FORGED "APOSTOLIC CANONS"
From the same pious forging hand, says CE. (i, 637), comes the related Apostolic Canons (composed about 400), "a collection of ancient ecclesiastical decrees concerning the government and discipline of the Church; ... in a word, they are a handy summary of the statutory legislation of the primitive Church. ... The claim to be the very legislation of the Apostles themselves, at least as promulgated by their great disciple Clement. Nevertheless, their claim to genuine Apostolic origin is quite false and untenable. ... The text passed into Pseudo-Isidore, and eventually Gratian included (about 1140) some excerpts of these canons in his 'Decretum,' whereby a universal recognition and use were gained for them in the law schools. At a much earlier date, Justinian (in his sixth Novel) had recognized them as the work of the Apostles, and confirmed them as ecclesiastical law." (CE. iii, 279, 280.) Here the pious priests of God palmed off these self-serving forgeries on the great but superstitious Emperor and fraudulently secured their enactment into imperial law. In the same article is a description of "a larger number of forged documents appearing about the middle of the ninth century," among which "the Capitula of Benedict Levita, Capitula Angilrammi, Canons of Isaac of Langres,-above all the collection of Pseudo-Isidore" (Ib. 285), which arch-forgery we shall describe in its turn.
THE FORGED LIBER PONTIFICALIS
This famous, or infamous, official fabrication, "The Book of the Popes," is notorious for its spurious accounts of the early and mythical "successors of St. Peter." The Liber Pontificalis purports to be "a history of the popes, beginning with St. Peter and continued down to the fifteenth century, in the form of biographies" of their respective Holinesses of Rome. (CE. ix, 224.) It is an official papal work, written and kept in the papal archives, and preserves for posterity the holy lives and wonderful doings of the heads of the Church universal. "Historical criticism," says CE., "has for a long time dealt with this ancient text in an exhaustive way ... especially in recent decades." The Liber starts off in a typically fraudulent clerical manner: "In most of its manuscript copies there is found at the beginning a spurious correspondence between Pope Damasus and St. Jerome. These letters were considered genuine in the Middle Ages. ... Duchesne has proved exhaustively and convincingly that the first series of biographies, from St. Peter to Felix III (IV, died 530) were compiled at the latest under Felix's successor, Boniface II (530-532). ... The compiler of the Liber Pontificalis utilized also some historical writings, a number of apocryphal fragments (e.g. the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions), the Constitutum Sylvestri, the spurious Acts of the alleged Synod of the 275 Bishops under Sylvester, etc., and the fifth century Roman Acts of Martyrs. Finally, the compiler distributed arbitrarily along his list of popes a number of papal decrees taken from unauthentic sources, he likewise attributed to earlier popes liturgical and disciplinary regulations of the sixth century. ... The authors were Roman ecclesiastics, and some were attached to the Roman Court." (CE. ix, 225.) The general falsity of the Liber is again shown and the fraudulent use made of it by the later Church forgers, thus indicated: For instances, "in the 'Liber' it is recorded that such a pope issued a decree that has been lost, or mislaid, or perhaps never existed at all. Isidore seized the opportunity to supply a pontifical letter suitable for the occasion, attributing it to the pope whose name was mentioned in the 'Liber."' (CE. v. 774.) Thus confessed forgery and fraud taint to the core this basic record for some five centuries of the official "histories" and Acts of Their Holinesses of the primitive and adolescent years of the Holy Church. Pope Peter and his "Successors" for a century or more are thus again proven pious fictions and frauds.
THE "CONVERSION OF CONSTANTINE" FRAUD
As several of the most monumental of these holy Church forgeries are associated with the first "Christian" Emperor, Constantine, and His contemporary Holiness, Pope Sylvester I (314-335), we may first notice the pious forged miracles which brought Constantine to Christ-rather to the Christians, and thus blightingly changed the history of the world. Constantine, Augustus of Rome, was the bastard son of the Imperator Constantius Chlorus and a Bythnian barmaid who became his mistress, and, later, by virtue of opulent gifts to the Church, was raised to Heaven as St. Helena. Constantine was a picturesque "barbarian" Pagan, with a very bloody record of family-and other-murders to his credit, mostly made to further his political ambitions. He was rival of the four Caesars who shared the divided government, against whom he was engaged in titanic struggle, to win the sole crown of empire. The Christians were now become rather numerous in East and West, some two and a half or three millions out of the hundred millions of the Empire, sufficient to make their adherence and support important to the contestant who could gain control of them. To curry their favor and support Constantine adopted the tactics of his sportive father, Constantius, and made show of friendly disposition to them and even of possible adoption of the new faith.
The occasion and the purely selfish and superstitious motive for the alliance of Constantine with the Christians and their God, are described by the three noted Church historians of the period,-all writing after his death,-Eusebius, Socrates and Sozomen, all of whom give substantially the following account, here abbreviated from Eusebius, "Father of Church History," and an intimate of the Emperor, in his ludicrously laudatory Life of Constantine:
"Being convinced that he needed some more powerful aid than his military forces could afford him, on account of the wicked and magical enchantments which were so diligently practiced by the tyrant Maxentius, he sought divine assistance. ... He considered, therefore, on what God he might rely for protection and assistance. While engaged in this enquiry, the thought occurred to him, that, of the many emperors who had preceded him, who had rested their hopes on a multitude of gods. ... none had profited at all by the pagan deities, whom they sought to propitiate ... all had at last met with an unhappy end, ... while the God of his father had given to him, on the other hand, manifestations of his power. ... Reviewing, I may say, all these considerations, he judged it to be folly indeed to join in the idle worship of those who were no gods, and therefore felt it incumbent on him to honor his father's God alone." (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, I, 27; N&PNF. I, 489; cf. Socrates, Eccles. Hist. I, 2; Ib. II, 1-2; Sozomen, Eccles. Hist. I, 3; Ib. p. 241.) So, Constantine chose the Christian's God to offset the "magical enchantments" of the Pagan gods in favor of his rival, Maxentius. The Christians flocked to his court and armies, and proud prelates of the Church hung around him and flattered his hopes. After several military successes aided by the Christians, the rival armies faced for decisive contest near the historic Milvian Bridge, in the environs of Rome, in the year 312. All are familiar with the fabulous priestly story of the miraculous Fiery Cross said to have been hung out in heaven just before the battle in the sight of Constantine and all his army, blazing with the famous device "In Hoc Signo Vinces-By this Sign Conquer"-though it was in Greek and read "En Touto Nika,"-and by virtue of which Constantine was himself conquered for Christ or for His Church.
Here we may again see the "god in the machine'-a pious Christian fraud in the making, and watch its growth from nothing in proportion of wonder from lying Father to Father as it is handed on. Very remarkable it is, that Father Bishop Eusebius wholly omits this portentous event, though he devotes a large part of Book IX and all of Book X of his History of the Church (written in 324), to Constantine, and enthusiastically describes the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Although he lugs divine intervention by the Christian God into every phase of the campaign, he is content with this colorful, naive, account: "But the emperor (Constantine), stimulated by the divine assistance, proceeded against the tyrant, and defeating him in the first, second, and third engagements, he advanced through the greatest part of Italy, and came almost to the very gates of Rome. Then God himself drew the tyrant [Maxentius], as if bound in fetters, to a considerable distance from the gates [i.e. to the Milvian Bridge]; and here He confirmed those miraculous events performed of old against the wicked, and which have been discredited by so many, as if belonging to fiction and fable, but which have been established in the sacred volume, as credible to the believer. He confirmed them, I say, as true, by an immediate interposition of his power, addressed alike I may say to the eyes of believers and unbelievers. As, therefore, anciently in the days of Moses, the chariots of Pharaoh and his forces were cast into the Red Sea, thus also Maxentius, and his combatants and guards about him, sunk into the depths like a stone, when he fled before the power of God which was with Constantine." And, in commemoration of such signal divine aid, Constantine "immediately commanded a trophy of the Savior's passion [a Cross] to be placed in the hand of his own statue" in Rome. (Eusebius, HE. IX, ix, p. 397-9.) And with all this miraculous embellishment, not a word of the Fiery Cross in Heaven, nor of the "miraculous conversion" of Constantine.
The pious fable, whether by him invented or not, is first recorded by Father Lactantius, tutor to Constantine's son Crispus before the pious father murdered his son; he tells it-after Constantine's death-in its primitive and more modest form-a simple dream by night, in which Jesus the Christ appeared to Constantine, and was seen or heard-or was fabled-to tell Constantine to decorate the shields of his soldiers with the holy "sign of the Cross" before they went into the fight; this he did and won the battle-post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Constantine may perhaps quite naturally have had such a dream-dreams have many vagaries, and the priests were ever at his ear. But the "heavenly sign," the Labarum or Monogram of Christ, which Constantine was by divine revelation or priestly suggestion directed to place on the shields of his soldiers, was no novel thing requiring a divine revelation, even in a dream, to suggest to the Christian priests of a Pagan emperor; "for it had been a familiar Christian symbol prior to his conversion." (CE. viii, 718.) By a similar divine revelation or priest-prompting, the Persian Cambyses had tied cats to the shields of his soldiers in their campaign in 525 B.C. against the cat-worshipping Egyptians, who thus dared not strike with their swords; the Christians worshipped the Cross of which the Pagans were superstitiously afraid, as we have seen from Father Lactantius. The result was at least the same, as related by Father Lactantius:
"And now a civil war broke out between Constantine and Maxentius. ... At length Constantine ... led his whole forces to the neighborhood of Rome, and encamped them opposite to the Milvian Bridge. ... Constantine was directed in a dream to cause the heavenly sign to be delineated on the shields of his soldiers, and to proceed to battle. He did as he had been commanded, and he marked on their shields the letter X, with a perpendicular line drawn through it and turned round thus at the top, being the cipher of Christ. ... The bridge in the rear (of Maxentius) was broken down. The hand of the Lord prevailed, and the forces of Maxentius were routed." (Lact., On the Death of the Persecutors, ch. xliv; ANF. vii, 318.)
These Christ-monogram crosses were probably, to the mind's eye of Lactantius, simple wooden or painted miniatures like the more life-sized one which a modern Holiness specially exorcised and sent along as an amulet or pious fetich of success on a recent disastrous Polar Expedition. But by the time Bishop Eusebius came on to embellish the tale, the model at least was a thing truly of beauty and wonder. In his Life of Constantine, the holy Bishop, who was on the Emperor's pay-roll, thus in substance relates:
"Constantine, having resolved to liberate Rome from the tyranny of Maxentius, and having meditated on the unhappiness of those who worshipped a multitude of idols, as contrasted with the good fortune of his own father Constantius, who had favored Christianity, resolved to worship the One True God; and while he was in prayer to God that He would reveal Himself to him, and stretch forth His right hand to succor him, he had a vision after midday, when the sun was declining, in a luminous forin over the sun, and an inscription annexed to it, 'Touto Nika'-(by this conquer), and at the sight of it he and all his forces were astounded, who were spectators of the miracle. ... The following night, when Constantine was asleep, Christ appeared to him with that sign, which had been displayed to him in the heavens, and commanded him to make a standard according to the pattern of what he had seen, and to use it as a defense against his enemies; and as soon as it was day Constantine called together the workers in gold and precious stones, and ordered them to fashion it accordingly"-(it being, by his description, certainly rich, if not gaudy). And bishop Eusebius states that Constantine, "a long time after the event affirmed with an oath the truth of what the Bishop had recorded" of this wonderful unhistorical fact. (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, I, 26-31; N&PNF. i, 489-491; CE. viii, 717-8; Wordsworth, op. cit. i, 358-9.) In a note to the last reference, the acute Protestant clerical mind, in eager defense of even the most absurd Catholic fables, is seen at play: "It has been objected (by Dean Milman and others) that it is incredible that a warlike motto on the Cross, converted into a military standard, should be suggested by Him who is Prince of Peace. But He Who is Prince of Peace is also Lord of Hosts; and Christ is revealed not only in the Psalms, but also in the Apocalypse, as a Mighty Warrior going forth conquering and to conquer." Clerical persons are really Funny-mentalists!
The pious Bishop Eusebius, exemplar of Christian historical un-veracity to the glory of God and Church, begins his Life of Constantine with this rhapsody over Constantine dead: "When I raise my thoughts even to the arch of heaven, and there contemplate his thrice-blessed soul in communion with God himself, freed from every mortal and earthly vesture, and shining in a refulgent robe of light, honored with an ever-blooming crown, and an immortality of endless and blessed existence, I stand as it were without power of speech or thought and unable to utter a single phrase, but condemning my own weakness, and imposing silence on myself, I resign the task of speaking his praises worthily to the immortal God, who alone has power to confirm his own sayings." (Eusebius, Life, 1, 2; N&PNF. i, 481-2.)
Here is the thrice-blessed Holy Emperor's record before he was "freed from every mortal and earthly vesture," and before his blood-stained earthly vestments were exchanged for that refulgent robe of light in which he communed with God himself; this record is of the one item only of family murderings: Maximian, his wife's father, 310; Bassianus, his sister Anastasia's husband, 314; Licinianus, his nephew, son of his sister Constantina, 319; Fausta, his wife, in a bath of boiling water, 320; Sopater, Pagan philosopher and his former intimate Counsellor, 321; Licinius, his colleague Caesar and his sister Constantine's husband, 325; with this last, and the beheading of his own son Crispus, 326, he fitly inaugurated and consecrated the celebrated Council of Nicaea, which he invoked to settle the famous puzzle, whether Jesus Christ, the Son, being born of the Father, were not consequently less ancient than his Sire, so that there was a time when the Begotten Son did not exist, and whether they were "of the same substance," or different. It may be noticed, that the devout "Christian" Emperor regarded this as a trifling matter of dispute not justifying the terrible row which it kicked up among the clericals, splitting the subjects of the Empire into throat-cutting factions for four centuries. In his opening Address to the Council which he called to establish peace among the priests, he turned to Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, and to Arius, his presbyter, and their respective howling factions, and declared: "I understand, then, that the origin of this controvers is this-[the question stated by Alexander on this point, and the negative reply of Arius]. Let therefore both the unguarded question and the inconsiderate answer receive your mutual forgiveness. ... For as long as you continue to contend about these small and insignificant questions, it is not fitting that so large a portion of God's people should be under the direction of your judgment, since you are thus divided among yourselves"! (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, II, 69-71; N&PNF. i, 516-7.)
With respect to the Christian Emperor's murderings, the good Bishop Lardner, with truly Christian modern moderation, admits that the murderous atrocities of Constantine above listed "seem to cast a reflection upon him"! But the holy Emperor was truly conscientious and scrupulously concerned for his soul's salvation on account of them; for it is recorded by the Church historian Sozomen, that Constantine is said to have sought first Pagan, then Christian, absolution from these murders, first from Sopater, then from the Christian bishops. He relates the anxious solicitations of the murderer thus: "It is reported by the Pagans that Constantine, after slaying some of his nearest relations, and particularly after assenting to the murder of his own son Crispus, repented of the evil deeds, and inquired of Sopater, the philosopher, concerning the means of purification from guilt. The philosopher, so the story goes, replied that such moral defilement could admit of no purification, The Emperor was grieved at this repulse; but happening to meet some bishops who told him that he would be cleansed from sin, on repentance and on baptism, he was delighted with their representations, and admired their doctrines, and became a Christian, and led his subjects to the same faith. It appears to me that this story was the invention of persons who desired to vilify the Christian religion. ... It cannot be imagined the philosopher was ignorant that Hercules obtained purification at Athens by the celebration of the mysteries of Ceres after the murder of his children, and of Iphitus, his guest and friend. That the Greeks held that purification from guilt of this nature could be obtained, is obvious from the instance I have just alleged, and he is a false calumniator who represents that Sopater taught the contrary, ... for he was at that period esteemed the most learned man in Greece." (Sozomen, i, 5; ii, 242-3.) It is said that the rebuff of Sopater denying Pagan absolution was the motive of his murder by the Christian Emperor. Howbeit, Constantine cautiously denied himself the saving Christian rite of baptism until he was on his deathbed, in Nicomedia, in the year of his forgiving Lord 337. (Euseb., Life, iv, 62; Soc., i, 39; Soz., ii, 34; CE. i, 709.) But none can deny the superiority of Christianity over Paganism in this point of saving grace. The Christian historian, however, clearly avers that some of the divinest sacraments of Christian Revelation, forgiveness of sin by God and absolution per priests, were ancient features of the Pagan "Mysteries," of which even sinful Pagan demigods might be the beneficiaries.
But "the mighty and victorious Constantine, adorned with every virtue of religion, with his most pious son, Crispus Caesar, resembling in everything his father,"-as his doxology is sung-before the murder of Crisptis-by good Bishop Eusebius (HE. ix, p. 443),-was rather dubiously a "practicing" Christian; he remained until death Pontifex Maximus, or Sovereign Pontiff of the Pagan religion, a title which the Christian Bishops could not arrogate until the Christian Emperors abandoned it; he ordered the auspices or divination by inspection of the entrails of birds, and on his death, amply baptized with blood and by the deathbed heretic Christian rite, he was apotheoisized according to Pagan custom and raised as a god to heaven-to rank along with his Christian Sainted Mother, St. Helena, of whom more anon.
In this ecstatic vision of the celestial beatitude of Constantine, the good Bishop Eusebius was, from the orthodox or "right-thinking" viewpoint sadly mistaken. Constantine went unshriven to Hell and everlasting torment; not indeed for his crimes but for his errant creed, as a disbeliever in the Divinity of Jesus Christ and in the Holy Trinity-which, indeed, had not been yet invented. The majority of the Council of Niceea had by force and terrorism decreed that Jesus Christ was of the "same substance" as his father God, co-eternal and coequal, ergo also God. But Constantine heretically disbelieved this inspired dogma; he banished Athanasius and other "Trinitarian?' prelates; even "the death of Arius did not stay the plague. Constantine now favored none but Arians; he was baptized in his last moments by the shifty [Arian] prelate of Nicomedia; and he bequeathed to his three sons [themselves either Pagans or Arian heretics] an empire torn by dissensions which his weakness and ignorance had aggravated." (CE. i, 709.) To such a "weak and ignorant" Emperor is due, however, the salvation of Christianity from oblivion, and upon him is lavished the adulations of the now "indefectible Church" which his favor alone made possible. As for the pious Bishop Eusebius, he was himself an Arian heretic, and from his point of view he may have thought that he visioned Constantine glorious in Heaven. So much for divergent religious standpoints, which at the first Church Council "proved a beginning of strife, ... bequeathed an empire torn with dissensions, ... [until] the Catholic bishops, the monks, the sword of Clovis, and the action of the Papacy, made an end of it before the eighth century" (CE. i, 710),-thus nearly four hundred years of throat-cutting and persecutions before Constantine was finally proved a villainous heretic, the fatal effects of his "weakness and ignorance" overcome, and "Catholic Truth" began to assume its full sway undisputed through the long intellectual night of the Christian Dark Ages of Faith.
CHRISTIAN FORGERIES FOR POWER AND PELF
The "league with Death and covenant with Hell" whereby the new Paganism called Christianity became the official State religion being now signed and sealed, and soon enforced by laws of bloody persecution, we shall now admire the most monumental of the holy forgeries by which the Church consolidated its vast and nefast dominion over the minds and bodies of the quickly degraded populations under its sway.
THE "CONSTANTINE" FORGERIES
A series of Church forgeries of the greatest magnitude and most far-reaching evil consequences grew up around the name of Constantine, forged in his name or falsely associated with it in the nefarious work of almost limitless larceny of territorial possessions and of papal sovereignty. A bit of historical background is necessary to properly appreciate the underground workings of Providence in disposing the success of these designs,-whereby, as said by Dr. McCabe, "Pope Adrian I induced Charlemagne to found the papal states by producing two of the most notorious and most shameless forgeries ever perpetrated: 'The Acts of St. Sylvester,' and 'The Donation of Constantine,' documents which mendaciously represented the emperor Constantine as giving most of Italy to the papacy, and which were fabricated in Rome in the eighth century and were used by the popes to maintain this gigantic fraud."
The intricate intriguing and conspiracies of the embryo papacy under their Holinesses Zacharias, Stephen II, Adrian I, Leo III, and of the semi-barbarian aspirants for the Frankish monarchy, Clovis, Charles Martel, Pepin, Charlemagne, cannot be here recounted. According to the picturesque account of Bishop St. Gregory of Tours-whose History is a thesaurus of the revolting social and moral degradation of the times, Clovis was converted as the result of his vow to the God of his Christian wife Clotilda, that if victory were granted to him in a great battle against the Alemanni, in which he was hard pressed, he would become a Christian. Miracles at once attested the Divine favor: "St. Martin showed him a ford over the Vienne by means of a hind; St. Hilary preceded his armies in a column of fire." (Von Ranke, i, 12.) It will be remembered that all the barbarian nations of the time were "heretic" Christians of the hated Arian sect, who denied the divinity of Christ and derided the Holy Trinity; the Franks thus became the only "orthodox" Christians and the defenders of the True Faith on behalf of the Popes. Winning the fight, Clovis and 3000 of his army were baptized on Christmas day by Bishop St. Remigius of Rheims. When this good Bishop came to perform the baptismal ceremony on the king in the cathedral of Rheims, "the chrism for the baptismal ceremony was missing, and was brought from heaven in a vase (ampulla) borne by a dove. This is what is known as the Sainte Ampoule of Rheims, preserved in the treasury of the Cathedral of that City, and used for the coronation of the kings of France from Philip Augustus down to Charles X"! (CE. v, 71.)
FORGED DEEDS OF EMPIRE
The Merovingian kings of the Franks had become mere puppets in the hands of their "Mayors of the Palace," in league with the bishops of Rome. At last "Pepin addressed to the pope the suggestive question: 'In regard to the Kings of the Franks who no longer possess the royal power, is this state of things proper?' ... Pope Zacharias replied that such a state of things was not proper-[that "he should be king who possessed the royal power"]. After this decision the place Pepin desired was declared vacant. ... Still this external cooperation of the pope in the transfer of the Kingdom would necessarily enhance the importance of the Church. Pepin was also obliged to acknowledge the increased power of the Church by calling on it for moral [?] support." (CE. xi, 663.) In pay or reward for this "moral support" given by the Church, Pepin, it is said, gave to the Church some considerable territories around Rome, which at the incitation of the Pope he had wrested by arms from the neighboring Lombards.
THE FORGED LETTER OF ST. PETER
To this alleged gift Pepin was induced not alone by the sentiment of guilty gratitude to Zacharias and Stephen, the latter of whom crowned him King of the Franks in 751; for further persuasion His Holiness Stephen II procured from the Vatican Forgery Mill the identical autograph letter of St. Peter himself, prophetically addressed "To the King of the Franks," and so mystically worded that: "When Stephen II performed the ceremony of anointing Pepin and his son at St. Denis, it was St. Peter who was regarded as the mystical giver of the secular power"! (CE. xi, 663.) This cunning Papal forgery and fraud is thus described by a high authority: "The pontiff dictated his letter in the name of the apostle Peter, closely imitating his epistles, and speaking in a language which implied that he was possessed of an authority to anoint or dethrone kings, and to perform the offices, not of a messenger, of a teacher sent from God, which is the highest characteristic of an apostle, but of a delegated minister of His power and justice." (Historians' History of the World, vol. viii, p. 557.)
Also: "The Frankish king received the title of the former representative of the Byzantine Empire in Italy, i.e. 'Patricius,' and was also assigned the duty of protecting the privileges of the Holy See. ... After the acknowledgment of his territorial claims the pope was in reality a ruling sovereign, but he had placed himself under the protection of the Frankish ruler, and had sworn that he and his people would be true to the king" (CE. xi, 663),-the divine birthright thus swapped for a mess of political potage: for over a thousand years since it has been a mess indeed. Thus by conspiracy, fraud, and unrighteous conquest was laid the foundation of the sacred "Patrimony of Peter," and the unholy league between the papacy and the French kings, which reached full fruition in the holy massacres of the Albigenses, of the Vendee, and of St. Bartholomew.
A HOLY CONSPIRATION
The next step in the progress "conquering and to conquer" of Christ's prostituted Church was on a broader stage and with yet vaster consequences. Pepin died in 768, dividing his realms between his two sons, Carloman and Charles, later "by the Grace of God" and great villainy known to fame as Charles the Great or Charlemagne; Charles receiving the German part, Carloman the French. On the death of Carloman, in 771, Charles seized the Frankish kingdom. The widow and young heirs of Carloman fled for protection and aid to Desiderius, king of the Lombards, part of whose stolen territory the pope held for God and Church. Desiderius was also father of the repudiated first wife of Charles; the holy matrimonial mess is thus defined: "Charles was already, in foro conscientiae, if not in Frankish law, wedded to Himiltrude. In defiance of the pope's protest, Charles married Desiderata, daughter of Desiderius (770); three years later he repudiated her and married Hildegarde, the beautiful Swabian. Naturally, Desiderius was furious at this insult, and the dominions of the Holy See bore the first brunt of his wrath." (CE. iii,.612.) Charles thereupon "had to protect Rome against the Lombard"; finally the Lombards were "put to utter rout"; Charles proceeded to Rome; and "history records with vivid eloquence the first visit of Charles to the Eternal City. ... Charles himself forgot pagan Rome and prostrated himself to kiss the threshold of the Apostles, and then spent seven days in conference with the successor of Peter. It was then that he undoubtedly formed many great designs for the glory of God and the exaltation of Holy Church, which, in spite of human weaknesses, and, still more, ignorance, he did his best to realize." (Ib. 612.) The principal fruit of this weakness and ignorance of Charles seems to be that he could so easily let himself be duped by His Holiness through the enormous forgeries for Christ's sake that were now imposed upon him. In 774 Charles finally defeated Desiderius and "assumed the crown of Lombardy, and renewed to Adrian [now Holiness of Rome] the donation of territory made by Pepin." The "genuineness of this donation," as well as of "the original gift of Pepin," have been much questioned, says CE., but are "now generally admitted,"-which is none too assuring; but another document, this time favorable to Charles, is just the other way: "The so-called 'Privilegium Hadriani pro Carolo' granting him full right to nominate the pope and to invest all bishops, is a forgery." (CE. xi, 612). Here is precisely the reason and only effective use of this forged "Donation of Constantine"-it was the basis for the inducement to Charlemagne to win the Lombard territories for the Church and to reinstate it in the "Patrimony of Peter," largely swollen by the pretended new gifts of the ambitious king, who, in the seven days' conference with His Holiness, had, undoubtedly, formed together "some great designs for the glory of God and the exaltation of Holy Church," now begun to be realized.
The quarter of a century passed, and much history was made. The Roman emperors ruled from Constantinople; Roman popes and kings were legitimately their liegemen; "the Emperor of Constantinople, legitimate heir of the imperial title," now becomes the victim of papal and kingly conspiration, thus brought to its climax: "On Christmas Day, 800, took place the principal event of the life of Charles. During the Pontifical Mass celebrated before the high altar beneath which lay the bodies of Sts. Peter and Paul, the pope (Leo III) approached him, placed upon his head the imperial crown, did him formal reverence after the ancient manner, saluted him as Emperor and Augustus and anointed him," while the Roman rabble shouted its approval. Thus, again by collusion and usurpation, began that Holy Roman Empire, of nefast history, which Bryce qualifies as "neither holy, nor Roman, nor empire"; but the Vicars of God were now well started on their way to worldly grandeur and moral degradation. Now for their forgeries.
THE POPE SYLVESTER FORGERIES
The monumental forgeries which were boldly used by their Holinesses to dupe Charlemagne and Christendom into recognizing the papal claim of right of ownership and sovereignty over a great part of Italy are a series of spurious documents harking in pretended date and origin back to the "first Christian emperor" Constantine and to His Holiness Pope St. Sylvester (314-335). About the name of Sylvester arose "the Sylvester Legend later surrounded with that network of myth, that gave rise to the forged document known as the Donation of Constantine." (CE. xiv, 257.) This fable, says Prof. Shotwell, "made its way, gathering volume as it went, reinforced eventually by a forged Donation, until it had imposed upon all Europe the conception of Sylvester as the potent influence behind Constantine's most striking measures and of Constantine himself as the dutiful servant of the See of Peter." (See of Peter, xxvi.) The extensive variety but common general nature of these Sylvester forgeries is thus indicated:
"At an early date legend brings Pope St. Sylvester into close relationship with the first Christian emperor, but in a way that is contrary to historical fact. These legends were introduced especially into the 'Vita beati Sylvestri,' and in the 'Constitutum Sylvestri'-an apocryphal account of an alleged Roman council which belongs to the Symmachian forgeries and appeared between 501 and 508, and also in the 'Donatio Constantini.' The accounts given in all these writings concerning the persecution of Sylvester, the healing and baptism of Constantine, the emperor's gift to the pope, the rights granted to the latter, and the council of 275 bishops at Rome, are entirely legendary" (CE. xiv, 370-371).
THE FORGED "DONATION OF CONSTANTINE"
"Ah, Constantine! to how much ill gave birth,
Not thy conversion, but that plenteous dewer,
Which the first wealthy Father gained from thee!"
- Dante, Inferno, xix, 115.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, artless revealer of the frauds of the Church for which it is an authorized spokesman, gives this account of the famous Donatio Constantini, which is describes as "a forged document of Emperor Constantine the Great, by which large privileges and rich possessions were conferred on the pope and the Roman Church. ... It is addressed by Constantine to Pope Sylvester I (314-35), and consists of two parts. ... Constantine is made to confer on Sylvester and his successors the following privileges and possessions: the pope, as successor of St. Peter, has the primacy over the four Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, also over all the bishops in the world. ... The document goes on to say that for himself the Emperor has established in the East a new capital which bears his name, and thither he removes his capital, since it is inconvenient that a secular emperor have power where God has established the residence of the head of the Christian religion. The document concludes with malediction's against all who violate these donations and with the assurance that the emperor has signed them with his own hand and placed them on the tomb of St. Peter. This document is without doubt a forgery, fabricated somewhere between the years 750 and 850. As early as the 15 th century its falsity was known and demonstrated. ... Its genuinity was yet occasionally defended, and the document still further used as authentic, until Baronius in his Annals Ecclesiastici admitted that the 'Donatio' was a forgery, whereafter it was soon universally admitted to be such. It is so clearly a fabrication that there is no reason to wonder that, with the revival of historical criticism in the 15 th century, the true character of the document was at once recognized. ... The document obtained wider circulation by its incorporation with the 'False Decretals' (840-850)." (CE. v, 118, 119, 120.)
By Lord Bryce a graphic sketch of this notorious fraud is given, with comments as to the mental and moral qualities of the priestcraft which it reflects. It is, he says, the-"most stupendous of medieval forgeries, which under the name of Donation of Constantine commanded for seven centuries the unquestioning belief of mankind. Itself a portentous falsehood, it is the most unimpeachable evidence of the thoughts and beliefs of the priesthood which framed it, sometime between the middle of the eighth and the middle of the tenth century. It tells how Constantine the Great, cured of his leprosy by the prayers of Sylvester, resolved, on the fourth day of his baptism, to forsake the ancient seat for a new capital on the Bosphorus, lest the continuance of the secular government should cramp the freedom of the spiritual, and how he bestowed therewith upon the Pope and his successors the sovereignty over Italy and the countries of the West." (Bryce, Holy Roman Empire, Ch. vii, p. 97; Latin text, extracts, p. 98.) In addition to these extraordinary investitures, all forms of imperial pomp, privileges and dignities were spuriously granted to the Pope and his clerics, "all of them enjoyed by the Emperor and his senate, all of them showing the same desire to make the pontifical a copy of the imperial office. The Pope is to inhabit the Lateran palace, to wear the diadem, the collar, the purple cloak, to carry the scepter, and to be attended by a body of chamberlains. Similarly his clergy are to ride on white horses and receive the honors and immunities of the senate and patricians," including "the practice of kissing the pope's foot, adopted in imitation of the old imperial court." (Ib. pp. 97-98.)
The grossness and absurdity of these stupendous forgeries, with their pious recitals of Constantine's leprosy cured by Sylvester's prayers, the consequent conversion and baptism of the Emperor in the Lateran font, and the abandonment of Rome by Constantine in order to leave it free for God's Vicar, just up from the catacombs, to ape imperial pomp, is made manifest by a moment's notice of dates, and recollection of contemporary history. Sylvester's Holiness dates from 314, he died in 335; Constantine in 337. Constantine's "conversion" by the "In Hoc Signo" miracle, was in 312, before Sylvester became pope; at no time did Constantine have leprosy, other than moral, therefore no physical cure was wrought by Sylvester's prayers, and certainly no moral cleansing worthy of note; Constantine was not baptized by Sylvester in Rome, but heretically received that rite long after Sylvester's death, and just before his own, in Nicomedia of Asia Minor. (CE. i, 709.) But Christians were too sodden in ignorance to know these things, and it was only with the "revival of historical criticism" which marked the beginning of the end of the Ages of Faith, that the truth was disclosed, or could have been perceived. In words that blast and sear with infamy the perpetrators and the conscious beneficiaries of this monumental fraud and forgery, Gibbon says:
"Fraud is the resource of weakness and cunning; and the strong, though ignorant barbarian, was often entangled in the net of sacerdotal policy. ... The Decretal and the Donation of Constantine, the two magical pillars of the spiritual and temporal monarchy of the popes. This memorable donation was first introduced to the world by an epistle of Adrian the first, who exhorts Charlemagne to imitate the liberality, and revive the name, of the great Constantine. ... So deep was, the ignorance and credulity of the times, that the most absurd of fables was received, with equal reverence, in Greece and in France, and is still enrolled among the decrees of the canon law. The emperors, and the Romans, were incapable of discerning a forgery, that subverted their rights and freedom.
... The popes themselves have indulged a smile at the credulity of the vulgar; but a false and obsolete title still sanctifies their reign; and, by the same fortune which has attended the decretals and the Sibylline Oracles, the edifice has subsisted after the foundations have been undermined."
(Gibbon, Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch. xiv, pp. 740, 741, 742.)
The falsity of the Donation was first alleged and proved, in 1440, by the acute Humanist critic Lorenzo Valla, who has the exposure of more than one Church forgery to his credit, and who narrowly escaped the Holy Inquisition; and yet the document "was still used as authentic" by Holy Church until the great Churchman critic Baronius forced the confession of the fraud, but the Church still for centuries clung to the fruits of its fraud, and would not give them up, with their revenues and rotten "sovereignty." The ancient forgery of "Donation" was finally canceled by Italian patriot bayonets in 1870, and the stolen territories of "Peter's Patrimon" restored to United Italy. That these Papal territories were not of "divine" right, nor of even forged muniments which can be plausibly urged, is thus confessed: "All of this, of course, is based upon painstaking deductions since no document has come down to us either from the time of Charlemagne or from that of Pepin." (CE. xiv, 261.) This is confirmed, and the precarious nature of the usurped tenure thus stated: "Nominally, Adrian I (772-775) was now monarch of about two-thirds of the Italian peninsula, but his sway was little more than nominal. ... It was in no slight degree owing to Adrian's political sagacity, vigilance, and activity, that the temporal power of the Papacy did not remain a fiction of the imagination. ... The temporal power of the popes, of which Adrian I must be considered the real founder." (CE. i, 155-156.)
In a paragraph which gives a word of credit to Valla for his exposure of the forgeries of the "Donation" and the immense and remarkable "Pseudo-Areopagite" Forgeries, previously mentioned, the vast extent of the output of the Vatican Forgery-Mill-and the evil persistence of the Church in clinging to them after exposure, is thus admitted: "Lorenzo Valla, 1440, counselled Engenius IV not to rely on the Donation of Constantine, which he proved to be spurious. ... It was Valla who first denied the authenticity of those writings which for centuries had been going about as the treatises composed by Dionysius the Areopagite. Three centuries later the Benedictines of St. Maur and the Bollandists were still engaged in sifting out the true from the false in patristic literature, in hagiology, in the story of the foundation of local churches" (CE. xii, 768),-such Liars of the Lord were the pious parasites of Holy Church.
THE "SYMMACHIAN FORGERIES"
Among the sheaf of forged documents above confessed by CE. are the so-called "Symmachian Forgeries," forged by or in behoof of His Holiness Pope St. Symmachus (498-514), products of the Church Forgery Mill operated by the Pope to further papal pretensions of the independence of the Bishops of Rome from the just criticisms and judgment of ecclesiastical tribunals, and putting them above law clerical and secular. Whenever there was need for false precedents, a simple turn of the crank of the wheel of the papal forgery-mill produced them just to order. Thus, in this instance: "During the dispute between Pope St. Symmachus and the anti-pope Laurentius, the adherents of Symmachus drew up four apocryphal writings called the 'Symmachian Forgeries'. ... The object of these forgeries was to produce alleged instances from earlier times to support the whole procedure of the adherents of Symmachus, and, in particular, the position that the Roman bishop could not be judged by any court composed of other bishops." (CE. xiv, 378.) Our Confessor is careful twice to impute these confessed forgeries to the "adherents" of His Holiness; but they were forged for him, used, of course with his knowledge and consent, to further his cause in the dispute; they are thus distinctly forgeries by His Holiness.
THE "FALSE DECRETALS" FORGERIES
A "record of forgery in the interest of the Church which resembles nothing else in history," in the words of Dr. McCabe, has so far been presented; the climax and capstone is now to be seen in what Voltaire terms "the boldest and most magnificent forgery which has deceived the world for centuries," the so-called "False Decretals of Isidore." While it is true, as said by Reinach, that "never yet has the papacy acknowledged that for 1000 years it made use of forged documents for its own benefit," yet we have seen a thousand confessions of the fact of forgery, and either the admission or the inevitable inference, that they were used by the Church in the fraudulent obtention of viciously illicit ends. The following brief paragraph of further confession from CE., is pregnant with suggestion of the moral depravity of popes and priests, the whole Church, the sodden ignorance of the votaries of Holy Church, cleric and lay, the darkness of the life of mind and spirit till at the "Renaissance" men were reborn indeed, and after slow and painful growth of learning and of freeing from fear, began to expose the Church in its forgeries, frauds, and vices. The tone of CE. is quite apologetical for this particular monument of Church fraud; it seeks palliation in the conditions of ignorance of the Middle Ages; but it forgets that Holy Church purposely produced this ignorance, and that Popes and Church are illumined by the Holy Ghost of their God against all ignorance and error so that its "Church never has erred and never shall": but maybe this statement is itself an error. CE. now speaks for this gigantic fraud of Holy Church, the False Isidorian Decretals:
"Isidorian Decretals is the name given to certain apocryphal letters contained in a collection of canon laws composed about the middle of the ninth century. ... Nowadays every one agrees that these so-called papal letters are forgeries. These documents, about 100 in number, appeared suddenly in the ninth century and are nowhere mentioned before that time. ... The pseudo-Isidore makes use of documents written long after the times of the popes to whom he attributed them. The popes of the first three centuries are made to quote documents that did not appear until the fourth or fifth century, etc. Then again there are endless anachronisms. The Middle Ages were deceived by this huge forgery, but during the Renaissance men of learning and the canonists generally began to recognize the fraud. ... Nevertheless the official edition of the 'Corpus Juris,' in 1580, upheld the genuineness of the false decretals." (CE. vi, 773.) But the God-guided Vicars of God knew they were forgeries.
"Upon these spurious decretals," says Hallam, "was built the great fabric of papal supremacy over the different national churches; a fabric which has stood after its foundations crumbled beneath it; for no one has pretended to deny, for the last two centuries, that the imposture is too palpable for any but the most ignorant ages to credit." (History of the Middle Ages, Bk. VII, ch. ii, 99.) Though on their face affecting only matters spiritual and causes ecclesiastical, they soon had all Europe strangled as in the tentacles of a giant octopus, by a process thus described by Lord Bryce: "By the invention and adoption of the False Decretals it (the Church) had provided itself with a legal system suited to any emergency, and which gave it unlimited authority through the Christian world in causes spiritual and over persons ecclesiastical. Canonical ingenuity found it easy in one way or another to make this include all causes and persons whatsoever; for crime is always and wrong is often sin, nor can aught be done anywhere which may not affect the clergy." (Holy Roman Empire, ch. x, 152.) "The Forgery," says Dr. Draper, "produced an immense extension of papal power, it displaced the old Church government, divesting it of the republican attributes it had possessed, and transforming it into an absolute monarchy. It brought the bishops into subjection to Rome, and made the pontiff the supreme judge of the whole Christian world. It prepared the way for the great attempt, subsequently made by Hildebrand, to convert the states of Europe into a theocratic priest-kingdom, with the pope at its head."
(Conflict between Religion and Science, ch. x, 271.)
The false pretense back of the huge forgery was that the documents included were genuine papal letters and decretals of the earliest popes, thus carrying back the Church's late pretensions to the very first of the Church and to the pretended and fictitious associates and "Successors" of Peter. These spurious documents are taken up seriatim by the critical Father Dupin, as outlined in ANF., viii, and each in its turn pronounced a forgery. From the "Introductory Notice to the Decretals," I think it pertinent to quote the following paragraph:
"These frauds, which, pretending to be a series of 'papal edicts' from Clement and his successors during the ante-Niccne ages, are, in fact, the manufactured product of the ninth century,-the most stupendous imposture of the world's history, the most successful and the most stubborn in its hold upon enlightened nations. Like the mason's framework of lath and scantlings, on which he turns an arch of massive stone, the Decretals served their purpose, enabling Nicholas I to found the Papacy by their insignificant aid. That swelling arch of vanity once reared, the framework might be knocked out; but the fabric stood, and has borne up every weight imposed upon it for ages. Its strong abutments have been ignorance and despotism. Nicholas produced his flimsy framework of imposture, and amazed the whole Church by the audacity of the claims he founded upon it. The age, however, was unlearned and uncritical; and, in spite of remonstrances from France under lead of Hincmar, bishop of Rheims, the West patiently submitted to the overthrow of the ancient Canons and the Nicene Constitutions, and bowed to the yoke of a new canon law, of which these frauds were not only made an integral, but the essential, part. The East never accepted them for a moment. ... The Papacy created the Western schism, and contrived to call it 'the schism of the Greeks.' The Decretals had created the Papacy, and they enabled the first Pope to assume that communion with himself was the test of Catholic communion: hence his excommunication of the Easterns, which, after brief intervals of relaxation, settled into the chronic schism of the Papacy, and produced the awful history of the medieval Church in Western Europe." (ANF. viii, 601.)
THE FORGED DECRETUM OF GRATIAN
Great and pernicious as were the influences of the forged Isidorian Decretals, there yet remained a step to bring the Forger Church to the height of its age-old ambitious scheme to completely imitate the olden Roman Empire and dominate the world. "The School of Bologna had just revived the study of Roman law; Gratian sought to inaugurate a similar study of canon law. But while compilations of texts and official collections were available for Roman law, or 'Corpus juris civilis,' Gratian had no such assistance. He therefore adopted the plan of inserting the texts in the body of his general treatise; from the disordered mass of canons, collected from the earliest days, he selected the law actually in force. ... The science of canon law was at length established." (CE. ix, 57.) But this disordered mass out of which Gratian selected was very largely the old forged reliances of the Church; thus in making his selections "Gratian alleges forged decretals" (CE. iv,),-including the Constantine Donation, the Isidore forgeries, etc. Yet, withal, "the 'Decretum' of Gratian was considered in the middle of the twelfth century as a corpus juris canonici, i.e. a code of ecclesiastic laws then in force." (CE. iv, 671.) It clinched the rivets in the forged fetters of the Church upon the neck of Christendom, and sanctioned the principles which in the next century were invoked to found and justify the Holy Inquisition. Of this celebrated document, the beginning of the "science" of Church legistic sophistry, Draper says: "The most potent instrument of the new papal system was Gratian's Decretum, which was issued about the middle of the Twelfth Century. It was a mass of fabrications. It made the whole Christian world, through the papacy, the domain of the Italian clergy. It inculcated that it is lawful to constrain men to goodness, to torture and execute heretics, and to confiscate their property; that to kill an excommunicated person is not murder; that the pope, in his unlimited superiority to all law, stands on an equality with the Son of God." (Conflict between Science and Religion, ch. x, p. 273.)
THE FULL FRUITION OF FORGERY
As said by Dr. McCabe: "There was no need of further forgeries. Now securely established on its basis of forged donations of temporal power and territory, forged decretals stating its spiritual powers, and forged lives of saints and martyrs, the papacy was so strong and prosperous that the popes actually dreamed of forming a sort of United States of Europe with themselves as virtual presidents. Nearly every country was in some ingenious way made out to be a fief of the Papacy and bound to recognize the Pope as its feudal monarch." (LBB. 1130, 44-5.)
Founding thus its religion, that newer form of Paganism called Christianity, on falsehood and forged "Scripture" documents; its pretensions to superiority and "primacy" on gross "interpolations" into the forged Scriptures; its spurious claims to territorial possessions and temporal sovereignty upon forged title-deeds and Donations; its "spiritual" and legal domination upon forged Church law and constitutions,-thus was the visible Church of Christ brought to the perfection of its power and degradation. For fifteen hundred years every document under which it claimed, it forged; it forged until it had no longer need of forgery, for nothing was left to forge; forged so long as it could forge with impunity, for with the Renaissance its old forgeries began to be discovered and exposed, and it could commit undetected no further documentary forgeries.
Such is the objective side, as it were, of the Christian religion and its Church. Its subjective side, the subjugation of its victims by imposed ignorance and superstition, through limitless forgeries of miracles, martyrs, saints and relics, remains to be briefly noticed as a sort of by-product of the Holy Church Forgery Mill.
THE FRUSTRATED EMS REVOLT
Not to mention the revolt known as the "Reformation," the discovery of the unholy and criminal practices of the Church in the matter of its claims of primacy and jurisdiction, as defined in the Isidorian False Decretals, led to one tardy and half-way ecclesiastical effort of revolt within the Roman Church, which might have developed into something worth while to humanity as a whole, but that "political considerations" intervened to bring it to naught. It is cited simply by way of historical reminder, and as suggestive of what may yet be effectively accomplished to the full extent of popular repudiation.
The Congress of Ems, in 1786, was a gathering of the representatives of a number of German Archbishops and other clergy, "for the purpose of protesting against papal interference in the exercise of episcopal powers and fixing the future relations between these archbishops and the Roman pontiff. ... On 25 August, 1786, these archiepiscopal representatives signed the notorious 'Punctation of Ems', consisting of twenty-three articles, which aimed at making the German archbishops practically independent of Rome. Assuming that Christ gave unlimited power of binding and loosing to the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, the 'Punctation' maintains that all prerogatives and reservations which were not actually connected with the primacy during the first three centuries owe their origin, to the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals, universally acknowledged as false, and, hence, that the bishops must look upon all interference of the Roman Curia with the exercise of their episcopal functions in their own dioceses as encroachments on their rights. ... It may easily be seen that the articles of the 'Punctation' lower the papal primacy to a merely honorary one and advocate an independence of the arch-bishops in regard to the pope which is entirely incompatible with the Unity and Catholicity of the Church of Christ,"-such are the unctuous objections made by Christ's Church. However, the Punctations were "ratified by the Archbishops, and sent to Emperor Joseph ii for his support. The Emperor was pleased with the articles, and would have pledged his unqualified support if his councillors had not for political reasons advised him otherwise." (CE. v, 409-10.) Rejecting the "assumption," now known to be false and forged, that Christ had anything at all to do with Peter and the Rock-and-Keys forgery, all may now feel free to discard these primitive "Scripture" frauds just as all the others of the Church which have been exposed as false and abandoned.
FORGED SAINTS, MARTYRS AND MIRACLES
"Throughout Church History there are miracles so well authenticated that their truth cannot be denied." (CE. x, 345.)
" ... after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." (2 Thess. ii, 9.)
Look we for a moment 'on this picture and on that, the counterfeit presentment, to slightly adapt Hamlet, of two modern Miracles, published to the world in the Metropolitan press,-a sort of study in what may be called Comparative Credulity. The first, although they "read it in the paper," no Christian or no Infidel will hesitate to laugh at or commiserate as a ridiculous superstition, taken advantage of by greedy priests to exploit their credulous dupes. Only benighted heathen Buddhists religiously believe the following:
"Peasant says Buddha Arose and Cured Him.
"Chinese Tale of a 'Miracle' by Stone Image Causes Religious "Revival at Peking
"Peking, Sept. 7. A tremendous revival of religious superstition is being experienced by the Buddhists of Peking and vicinity, because an aged peasant vows that he was cured (last week) of a long-standing ailment when one of the stone images of the sitting Buddha at Palichwang Pagoda rose to its feet, stepped forward, and then raised its arm in sign of benediction.
"The old peasant, named Chang Chi-kuang, is a farmer, living near Palichwang Pagoda [a short distance from the Peking gate of the Great Wall]. Chang Chi-kuang, who, his neighbors say, has long suffered from lung trouble [passing by with a load of garden-truck which he was carrying afoot into the city], became exhausted, and stopped for rest and for refuge from the heat in the shade of an old tree near the Pagoda, which is thirteen stories high and was built 500 years ago, and in the days of the Ming emperors.
"Chang Chi-kuang, as he lay resting in the shade, found his gaze focused on the figure of the sitting Buddha, in the third story of the Pagoda. ... The figure rose, Chang says, took two steps, and raised its arms with a gesture of blessing. At this point, according to Chang, he nearly swooned. He then fell to his knees in devout worship, and when he raised his head after a long prayer the Buddha had gone back to the place and position of the last few hundred years.
"The story of this miracle has spread rapidly. Every day now thousands of pilgrims go to Palichwang from Peking and from the villages and farms in this part of the province.
"Both sides of the road from the Peking gate to the Pagoda are now lined with booths where incense is sold, and hundreds of Lama priests, with their begging bowls, now reap a rich gathering from the pious pilgrims. ... And old Chang swears that he is now in better health than he has enjoyed since he was a boy." (Special Correspondence of the New York Times, October 14, 1928.)
The foregoing religious news item is found archived in the "Morgue" of the Great "Religious" Daily under the discrediting caption "Superstitions"; it will be noticed that the word "Miracle" in the headline is printed in quotes. No such skeptical note is to be found in its next-Christian-report.
Hundreds of millions of pious priest-ridden Christians do believe the following, testified under oath in a military court,-other hundreds of millions will regard it as they do the Buddhist tale above related,-and the Christian one below:
"Soldier's Story of a Miracle Saves Him at Court-Martial.
"Croatian newspapers tell how a miracle figured as a determining factor in a court-martial trial. During the Austrian invasion of Upper Italy a Croatian soldier was suspected of having stolen a pearl necklace from a statue of the Holy Virgin in a pilgrims' church and was brought to trial. He admitted having taken the necklace. but insisted that it was a gift to him.
He said that he had gone into the church to pray, and had lamented before the statue of the Virgin the sad lot of his family, whom he had been compelled to leave destitute. Thereupon, he said, the Holy Virgin bowed her head, and took the pearls from her neck and handed them to him.
"The Court could not venture to reject this story offhand, as there was general belief in the miracle-working power of the statue. So it referred the matter to two Bishops, asking them whether such a miracle was within the domain of possibility.
"The Bishops were perplexed. If they answered 'Yes,' they might be protecting a rascal. But if they said 'No,' they would destroy the repute of that church for miraculous power and phenomena. Finally they answered that such a miracle was within the range of possibility; and in consequence the soldier was acquitted.
"But the Colonel of the regiment to which the soldier belonged was either skeptical or of a most prudent turn of mind, for after the verdict of the court had been announced he issued his order: 'In future no soldier under my command is permitted, under heavy penalty, to accept a gift from anybody."' (New York Times, Oct. 10, 1926.)
It is not reported whether this episcopal pair of men of God were unfrocked for perjury and the perversion of justice, or even gently chided by His Holiness.
The "lying wonders" of saints, martyrs and miracles are so intimately related, and so inextricably interwoven the one form of pious fraud with the others, that they must needs be bunched together in this summary treatment of but few out of countless thousands, millions perhaps, of them recorded for faith and edification in the innumerable "Acts" and "Lives" and wonder-works of the Holy Church of God. Those which are here mentioned are picked at random from a turning of the pages of the fifteen ponderous tomes of CE., where they may be verified under the respective names of the Saints. With scarcely an exception they are soberly recounted as actual verities of the past and living realities of the present.
The degraded state of mind of the Faithful, and the moral depravity of the Church which for nearly two millennia, and yet into the twentieth century, peddles these childish fables as articles of Christian faith, may be known by the mere fact of the existence in limitless numbers of these precious myths. Founded by Jean Bolland, of Belgium, in the early years of the 1600's, an important Church Society, known as the Bollandists, yet exists and industriously carries on its labors. "This monumental work, the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, has become the foundation of all investigation in hagiography and legend." (CE. ix, 129.) For some three centuries its task has been and yet is, to edit and publish in official Acta Sanctorum the Lives and "Acts"-authenticated records-of every Saint in the Holy Roman Calendar. Arranged in order of dates of their "feast days," so numerous is this heavenly mill-made host that up to the month of October over 25,000 officially authenticated Saints are recorded; the Saint-library of the Society has over 150,000 saintly volumes. As it costs about $50,000 to turn out one Saint by canonization, and "not less than $20,000" for beatification or the bestowal of the title of Blessed (CE. ii, 369),-the Church revenue from this single source is seen to have been considerable.
Holy Church is very careful and conscientious in its processes of certifying Saints; at least two allegedly genuine and fully authenticated miracles must be proven to have been performed by the candidate alive or worked by his relics after death, before final payment is required and the name certified as a Saint to the Calendar. A fairly modern instance showing this clerical scrupulosity may be cited, that of the Venerable Mary de Sales, who died in 1875 -- "Wishing to save the world over again, Jesus Our Lord had to use means till then unknown," that is, "The Way" invented by Mary; but no miracles were satisfactorily proved to justify making her a Saint; however, her sanctity was proved, and she was decreed Venerable; some miracles must later have been proved up in her behalf, or the requisite $20,000 paid,-for in 1897 her Beatification was decreed. (CE. ix, 754.)
However, even Infallibility may be fooled sometimes, even if not all the time. The most notorious instance is that of the holy Saint Josaphat, "under which name and due to an odd slip of inerrant inspiration, the great Lord Buddha, "The Light of Asia," was duly certified a Saint in the Roman Martyrology (27 Nov.; CE. iii, 297). More modernly, in 1802, an old grave was found containing a cadaver and a bottle "supposed to contain the blood of a martyr"; the relies were enshrined in an altar, and the erstwhile owner of the remains was duly and solemnly canonized as Saint Philomena; but this was "by mistake"; and thus were fooled two infallible Holinesses, Gregory XVI and Leo III. (CE. xii, 25.)
Before thumbing the wonder-filled pages of CE. to pick out from thousands, sundry examples of the inspired and truthful histories of Saints and Martyrs, recorded for the moral edification and mental stultification of the Faithful of the Twentieth Century,-when only the miracles of Science in benefit of humanity are recognized by many as real,-we may note the comment of that Exponent of "Catholic Truth" conscientiously questioning a case or two of the certified Saint- records. With respect to one of the notable female Saints, St. Catherine of Alexandria, it is candidly explained: "Unfortunately these Acts have been transformed and distorted by fantastic and diffuse descriptions which are entirely due to the imagination of the narrators-[a notable one of whom was the great Bossuet of France],-who cared less to state authentic facts than to charm their readers by recitals of the marvelous." (CE. iii, 445.) Speaking of another case, St. Emmeram: "The improbability of the tale, the fantastic details of the Saint's martyrdom, and the fantastic account of the prodigies attending his death, show that the writer, infected by the pious mania of his time, simply added to the facts imaginary details supposed to redound to the glory of the martyr." (v, 406.) How often have we heard from this same exponent of "Catholic Truth" this same exculpation of priestly pious mendacity in wondermongering!
Questioning a few such instances, implicitly carries with it the moral assurance that all the others, related as unquestioned fact, are free from such taint of fraud,-are, indeed, among those "miracles so well authenticated that their truth cannot be denied." Indeed, the reality and authenticity of very many, for example, the bubbling blood of the sixteen-hundred-year-old martyred St. Januarius, and its frequent efficacy in stopping eruptions of the Volcano Mt. Vesuvius, are explicitly affirmed by the Catholic Encyclopedia, which is now to be quoted. It may be suspected, however, that even these certified Saint-tales, like so many others, are fakes and "belong to the common foundation of all legends of saints" (CE. i, 40), the fraud of which is confessed.
Very portentous is this St. Januarius, "martyred" about 305: "His holy blood is kept unto this day in a phial of glass, which being set near his head, bubbles up as though it were fresh," in the church of St. Januarius at Naples; a long article is replete with plenary proofs of this and other miracles of the Saint. He was thrown into a fiery furnace, but the flames would not touch him and his companions; his executioner was struck blind, but the Saint cured him. His holy remains were brought to Naples, and are famous on account of many miracles, as recorded in the official papal "present Roman Martyrology," a longer account being given in the Breviary, as quoted in these words of assurance: "Among these miracles is remarkable the stopping of eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, whereby both that neighborhood and places afar off have been like to be destroyed. It is also well known and is the plain fact, seen even unto this day, that when the blood of St. Januarius, kept dried up in a small glass phial, is put in sight of the head of the same martyr, it is wont to melt and bubble up in a very strange way, as though it had but freshly been shed. ... For more than four hundred years this liquefaction has taken place at frequent intervals"; elaborate tests, the last reported in 1902 and 1904, have been unable to account for the phenomenon except as due to miracle. "It has had much to do with many conversations to Catholicism. Unfortunately, however, allegations have often been made as to the favorable verdict expressed by scientific men of note, which are not always verifiable. The supposed testimony of the great chemist, Sir Humphrey Davy, who is declared to have expressed his belief in the genuineness of the miracle, is a case in point." (CE. viii, 295-7.)
This Holy Bottle of blood might well be borrowed to stop the present eruption of Mt. AEtna in Sicily, which (as this is written), is destroying several populous towns and "the most intensively cultivated land in Sicily," by a torrent of lava a mile in width, against which the local Patron seems impotent: "The lava struck Mascali, a town of 10,000 inhabitants last night, just after the townsfolk had finished celebrating the feast of their patron, St. Leonardo, whose statue was carried on the shoulders of four old men." (N.Y. Herald-Tribune, Nov. 8, 1928.) But such pious thaumaturgies do not seem to be overly potent this year. In this unguarded a priori surmise I find myself mistaken, and apologize to the gentle reader and to Holy Church. There is no need to borrow the Vesuvius-stopping Blood of St. Januarius; Sicily has its own local AEtna-stopper, the Holy Veil of St. Agatha, "which, according to tradition, has arrested the flow of lava toward Catania in the past." This sacred and potent relic, a bit tardily, after several large towns have been wiped out, has now "been exposed in the cathedral by order of the Archbishop Cardinal Nava, who also issued an appeal for prayers by all in the diocese. He exhorted the population to remain calm and maintain their faith. On previous occasions prayers to St. Agatha were said when an eruption occurred, and the lava stopped short before Nicolosi and Linguaglossa, twenty-five miles north of Catania." (N.Y. Sun, Nov. 13, 1928.) This tardy exposition of the Relics and order for prayers,-after scientific examinations and airplane explorations had shown that the fiery forces were about spent and "the lava showing signs of solidification and emissions from the smoking mountain lessening,"-is somewhat posthumous, or humorous; the devastation was already wrought. If St. Agatha's anti-volcano Veil had been gotten out of storage and waved or hung up on the first signs of eruption, some of this history, one way or another, would have been different. But if the Saint can stop volcanoes after the evil deed is done,-Well, one miracle of prevention is better than a larger number of miracles of cure,-which are ineffective to repair the havoc in such cases. Like miracles of 'liquefaction of Holy Blood yet occur abundantly, as in the noted cases of "'Saints John the Baptist, Stephen, Pantaleone, Patricia, Nicholas, Aloysius," et id omne genus; so with the bottled "Milk of our Lady" and the canned "fat of St. Thomas Aquinas," on their respective Saint-days!. (CE. viii, 297.)
The sacred Council of Trent, in 1546, decreed: "That the saints who reign with Christ offer to God their prayers for men; that it is good and useful to invoke them by supplication and to have recourse to their aid and assistance in order to obtain from God His benefits through His Son and Our Savior Jesus Christ, who alone is our Savior and Redeemer." (Session xxv.) But the sacred Council, in its preoccupation of combating the nascent outraged revolt and protest of Protestantism, which was filching its most plausible counterfeits for circulation in a hostile camp,-seems to have overlooked this scrap of forged Scripture: "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (I Tim. ii, 5.) The effect, however, of this multiplication of saintly mediators is picturesque; it is finely exemplified in the great painting "The Intercession of the Saints," in the Royal Gallery at Naples: In the background is the plague-stricken city; in the foreground the people are praying to the city authorities to avert the plague; the city authorities are praying to the Carthusian monks; the monks are praying to the Blessed Virgin; the Virgin prays to Christ; and Christ prays to his Father Almighty. The Holy Ghost, who "itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered," is quite left out of the picture. Just how good and useful it is to invoke the Saints directly, saving Doctor's bills and other inconveniences, will be noticed in the catalogue of Saints below inscribed.
It was in the fifth century, says Dr. McCabe, that "Rome began on a large scale the forgery of lives of martyrs. Relics of martyrs were now being 'discovered' in great numbers to meet the pious demand of ignorant Christendom, and legends were fabricated by the thousands to authenticate the spurious bits of bone." (LBB. 1130, p. 40.) "Such," says CE., "are the 'Martyrium S. Polycarpi,' admitting, though it does, much that may be due to the pious fancy of the eye-witness"; also "the 'Acta SS. Perpetuae et Felicitas.'"
The Saint-mill of Holy Church began operations very early, or reached for grist far back into antiquity for the beginnings of its Calendar of Saints. The first Saint who greets us among the countless hordes of canonized Holy Ones is no less a primitive personage that St. Abel, the younger son and second heir of our mythical Father Adam, of Eden, who was canonized by Jesus Christ himself, we are told, "as the first of a long line of prophets martyred for justice's sake," as is the clerical interpretation of Matt. xxiii, 34-35, "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias,"-a bloody invocation in later centuries peculiarly appropriate to the Church of Jesus Christ. This is a genuine surprise, for no miracles wrought by St. Abel are recorded, and no generous canonization fees seem to have been paid for his account into the Treasury of the Lord in Rome.
OLD PAGAN STUFF
Many of the Pagan gods were converted into Christian Saints, and seem to have brought over with them the special curative or prophylactic attributes for which they were invoked as specifics. Indeed, the whole system was purely Pagan: "Cures, apparitions, prophecies, visions, transfigurations, stigmata, pleasant odor, incorruption-all these phenomena were also known to antiquity. Ancient Greece exhibits stone monuments and inscriptions which bear witness to cures and apparitions in ancient mythology. History tells of Aristeas of Proconnessus, Hermotimus of Claxomenae, Epimenides of Crete, that they were ascetics and thereby became ecstatic, even to the degree of the soul leaving the body, remaining far removed from it, and being able to appear in other places." (CE. ix, 129.) The pious plan of temporal salvation in the Ages of Faith is thus historically vouched: "The whole social life of the Catholic world before the Reformation was animated with the idea of protection from the citizens of heaven. There were patrons or protectors in various forms of illness, as for instance: St. Agatha, diseases of the breast; Apollonia, toothache; Blaise, sore throat; Clare and Lucy, eyes; Benedict, against poison; Hubert, against bites of dogs." (CE. xi, 566.) "Catania honours St. Agatha as her patron saint, and throughout the region around Mt. AEtna she is invoked against the eruptions of the volcano, as elsewhere against fire and lightning." (i, 204.)
To the infamous sanctified fable of St. Hugh are imputed sundry unholy accusations and persecutions against the Jews,-(here only repeated because they are falsely affirmed in the inspired Bull of Canonization. A Christian child was lyingly alleged to have been crucified by the Jews; the earth refused to receive its body, and it was thrown into a well, where it was found with the marks of crucifixion upon it; nineteen Jews were infamously put to death for the fabulous crime, and ninety others were condemned to death but released, for the sake of greed, upon payment of large fines; "Copin, the leader, stated that it was a Jewish custom to crucify a boy once a year"! (CE. vii, 515); similar infamies of falsehood are related in connection with St. William of Norwich. (CE. xv, 635.)
Here is a monumental miracle with every assurance of verity. "St. Winefride was a maiden of great personal charm and endowed with rare gifts of intellect. The fame of her beauty and accomplishments reached the ears of Caradoc, son of the neighboring Prince Alen." She refused all his advances; frightened by his threats she fled towards the church where her uncle St. Beuno was celebrating Mass. "Maddened by a disappointed passion, Caradoc pursued her and, overtaking her on the slope above the site of the present well, he drew his sword and at one blow severed her head from the body. The head rolled down the incline and, where it rested, there gushed forth a spring." St. Beuno, hearing of the tragedy, left the altar, and accompanied by the parents came to the spot where the head lay beside the spring. "Taking up the maiden's head be carried it to where the body lay, covered both with his cloak, and then re-entered the church to finish the Holy Sacrifice. When Mass was ended he knelt beside the Saint's body, offered up a fervent prayer to God, and ordered the cloak which covered it to be removed. Thereupon Winefride, as if awakening from a deep slumber, rose up with no sign of the severing of the head except a thin white circle round her neck. Seeing the murderer leaning on his sword with an insolent and defiant air, St. Beuno invoked the chastisement of heaven, and Caradoc fell dead on the spot, the popular belief being that the earth opened and swallowed him. Miraculously restored to life, Winefride seems to have lived in almost perpetual ecstasy and to have had familiar converse with God." The place where this signal miracle occurred was at the time called "Dry Hollow," but with its miraculous spring its name was changed to Holywell, and it stands there in Wales to this day, a bubblingly vocal witness to the verity of this holy yarn. Born in 600, beheaded and reheaded at sweet sixteen, she died Nov. 3, 660; "her death was foreshown to her in a vision by Christ Himself." (CE. xv, 656-657.) "For more than a thousand years this Miraculous Well has attracted numerous pilgrims; documents preserved in the British Museum give us its history, with the earliest record of the miraculous cures effected by its waters. These ancient cures included cases of dropsy, paralysis, gout, melancholia, sciatica, cancer, alienation of mind, blood spitting, etc. etc., also deliverance from evil spirits." (CE. repeats the history of St. Winefride, or Gwenfrewi, in vii, 438.)
St. Wolfgang, by a unique miracle, "forced the devil to help him build a church."-Et id omne genus-ad nauseam. Such is a handful of the holy chaff of faith, purveyed by Holy Church to all Believers to this day. Scores of like saint-lies are here omitted to save space.
These gross and degrading impostures by forged miracles not only went unrebuked and unchecked by the Vicars of God; many of the vice-Gods were among the most prolific miracle-mongers of the ages of Faith. One of the most notorious wonder-workers and wonder-forgers of Holy Church was no less a personage than His Holiness Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604). He has the doubtful distinction of being the author of four celebrated volumes of Dialogi, which are a veritable thesaurus of holy wonders. From this treasury of nature-fakery we have seen the old Pagan example, affirmed as Christian fact by Gregory, as quoted by CE., of the man carried off by mistake by the Angel of Death, but restored to life when the oversight was discovered. He also relates a great flood of the Tiber which threatened to destroy Rome, until a copy of His Holiness's "Dialogi" was thrown into the swollen waters, which immediately subsided, and the Holy City was thus saved. His Holiness solemnly records the case of an awful belly-ache suffered by a holy nun, which he avers was caused by her having swallowed a devil along with a piece of lettuce which she was eating without having taken the due precaution of making the sign of the cross over it to scare away any lurking imps of Satan; and this devil, when commanded by a holy monk to come out of the nun, derisively replied: "How am I to blame? I was sitting on the lettuce, and this woman, not having made the sign of the cross, ate me along with it!" (Dial. lib. i, c. 4.) When elected Pope in 590 the city of Rome was afflicted by a dreadful pestilence; the angels of the angry God of all mercies were relentlessly flinging fiery darts among the devout Christian populace. To conjure away the pestilence-due perhaps primarily to the filth of the Holy City and its inhabitants-His Holiness headed a monkish parade through the stricken city, when of a sudden he saw the Archangel Michael hovering over the great Pagan mausoleum of Hadrian, just in the act of sheathing his flaming sword, while three angels with him chanted the original verses of the Regina Caeli; the great Pope made the Sign of the Cross and broke into Hallelujahs-(that is, "Praise to Yahveh," the old Hebrew war-god). In commemoration of the wondrous event, the pious Pope built a Christian chapel, dedicated to St. Michael, atop the Pagan monument, and over it erected the colossal statue of the Archangel in the sword-sheathing act, which stands there in Rome to this day-the Castel Saint' Angelo, in enduring proof of the miracle and of the veracity of papal narratives. (CE. vi, 782.) The authorship of this monkish Hymn to the Queen of Heaven being unknown, pious invention supplied its true history: "that St. Gregory the Great heard the first three lines chanted by angels on a certain Easter morning in Rome while he walked barefoot in a great religious procession, and that the Saint thereupon added the fourth line." (C.E. xii, 719.)b Such is ecclesiastical "history."
The literary attainments of His Holiness Gregory were tempered, if not corrupted, by his holy zeal, for "in his commentary on Job, Gregory I warns the reader that he need not be surprised to find mistakes of Latin Grammar, since in dealing with so holy a work as the Bible a writer should not stop to make sure whether his cases and tenses are right." (Robinson, The Ordeal of Civilization, p. 62.) However, his zeal for more material things was not thus hampered: "Pope Gregory I contrived to make his real belief in the approaching end of the world yield the papacy about 1800 square miles of land and a revenue of about $2,000,000. He used bribes, threats and all kinds of stratagems to attain his ends." (McCabe, LBB. 1130, p. 40.)
His Holiness Gregory I was himself one of the greatest thaumatur-gists of the Ages of Faith: "the miracles attributed to Gregory are very many." (CE. vi, 786.) When Mohammed was forging his inspired Book of Koran, the illuminating spirit, in the guise of a dove, would perch on his shoulder and whisper the divine revelations into his ear,-a miracle which none but quite devout Mohammedans believe. But Peter the Deacon, in his Vita of His wonder-working Holiness, records that when St. Gregory was dictating his Homilies On Ezekiel: "A veil was drawn between his secretary and himself. As, however, the pope remained silent for long periods at a time, the servant made a hole in the curtain and, looking through, beheld a dove seated on Gregory's head with his beak between his lips. When the dove withdrew its beak the holy pontiff spoke and the secretary took down his words; but when he became silent the secretary again applied his eye to the hole and saw that the dove had replaced its beak between his lips." (CE. vi, 786.) No good Christian can doubt, after this proof, that their Holinesses are constantly and directly inspired and guided by the Holy Ghost, as Holy Church assures. Wonderful as this bit of Gregory's history is, to recommend him to lasting remembrance, "his great claim to remembrance lies in the fact that he is the real father of the medieval papacy." (Ibid.) These qualities of the Holy Father which we have noticed may to an extent explain some of the eccentricities of the Medieval Papacy.
FORGED AND FAKED RELICS
"Making every allowance for the errors of the most extreme fallibility, the history of Catholicism would on this hypothesis represent an amount of imposture probably unequalled in the annals of the human race."
Lecky, History of Rationalism, i, 164.
As loathsome an example as is to be found in the annals of Christian apologetics for fraud and imposture is this from CE., following a long and revolting exposition of the Christian frauds with respect to holy Relics of the Church:
"Still, it would be presumptuous in such cases to blame the action of the ecclesiastical authority in permitting the continuance of a cult which extends back into remote antiquity. [i. e. into Paganism.] ...
"Supposing the relic to be spurious, NO DISHONOR IS DONE TO GOD by the continuance of an error handed down in perfect good faith for many centuries"! (CE. xii, 387.)
It may well be that the holy God of the Christians is immune to dishonor by worship through lying Christian frauds; but one may question the dishonor to the human mind wrought by the impostures of God's Vicars and his Church, cozening men into holy faith in lies; to say nothing of the shaming dishonor of Church and priest, who with utter want of good faith and common honesty created and fostered all these degrading Churchly cheats.
Before viewing some of these priestly impostures, never once rebuked or prevented by pope or priest, but, rather, industriously stimulated by them for purposes of perpetuating ignorance and superstition, and of feeding their own insatiate avarice, CE. will be invoked to give a graphic, though clerically casuistic and apologetic review of the debauchery of morals and mind which made possible these scandalous unholy practices of Holy Church.
"Naturally it was impossible for popular enthusiasm to be roused to so high a pitch in a matter which easily lent itself to error, fraud, and greed for gain, without at least the occasional occurrence of many, grave abuses. ... In the Theodosian Code the sale of relics is forbidden (vii, ix, 17), but numerous stories, of which it would be easy to collect a long series, beginning with the writings of Pope St. Gregory the Great and St. Gregory of Tours, prove to us that many unprincipled persons found a means of enriching themselves by a sort of trade in these objects of devotion, the majority of which no doubt were fraudulent. At the beginning of the ninth century the exportation of the bodies of martyrs from Rome had assumed the proportions of a regular commerce, and a certain deacon, Deusdona, acquired an unenviable notoriety in these transactions. What was in the long run hardly less disastrous than fraud or avarice, was the keen rivalry between religious centers, and the eager credulity fostered by the desire to be known as the possessor of some unusually startling relic. In such an atmosphere of lawlessness doubtful relics came to abound. There was always disposition to regard any human remains accidentally discovered near a church or in the catacombs as the body of a martyr ... the custom of making facsimiles and imitations, a custom which persists to our own day in the replicas of the Vatican statue of St. Peter-[itself a fraud] or of the Grotto of Lourdes-all these are causes adequate to account for the multitude of unquestionably spurious relics with which the treasuries of great medieval churches were crowded. ... Join to this the large license given to the occasional unscrupulous rogue IN AN AGE NOT ONLY UTTERLY UNCRITICAL but often curiously morbid in its realism, and it becomes easy to understand the multiplicity and extravagance of the entries in the relics inventories of Rome and other countries.
"Such tests [to secure the Faithful against deception] were applied as the historical and antiquarian science of that day were capable of devising. Very often, however, this test took the form of an appeal to some miraculous sanction, as in the well known story repeated by St. Ambrose, according to which, when doubt arose which of the three crosses discovered by St. Helena was that of Christ, the healing of a sick man by one of them dispelled all further hesitation. Nevertheless it remains true that many of the more important ancient relics duly exhibited for veneration in the great sanctuaries of Christendom or even at Rome itself must now be pronounced to be either certainly spurious or open to grave suspicion. To take one example of the latter class, the boards of the crib (Praesaepe) a name which for more than a thousand years has been associated, as now, with the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore-can only be considered to be of doubtful authenticity. ... Strangely enough, an inscription in Greek uncials of the eighth century is found on one of the boards, the inscription having nothing to do with the Crib but being apparently concerned with some commercial transaction. It is hard to explain its presence on the supposition that the relic is authentic. Similar difficulties might be urged against the supposed 'Column of the Flagellation' venerated at Rome in the church of Santa Prassede, and against many other famous relics. ... Neither has the church ever pronounced that any particular relic, not even that commonly venerated as the wood of the Cross, is authentic; but she approves of honor being paid to those relics which with reasonable probability are believed to be genuine, and which are invested with due ecclesiastical sanctions." (CE. xii, 737.) Such sophistry!
The pettifogging sophistry of the foregoing argumentation, as of that which follows from the same clerical source, needs no comment. The Church of God, headed by his own Vicar General on earth, divinely guided against all error in matters of faith and morals, and which can detect the faintest taint of heresy of belief further than the most gifted bird of rapine can scent a carcass, can make no apology for permitting these degrading superstitions, which it not only tolerates but actively propagates and encourages, for the rich revenues they bring in. What a catalogue of its most sacred mummeries is branded with the infamy of fraudulent in the following:
"The worship of imaginary saints or relics, devotion based upon false revelations, apparitions, supposed miracles, or false notions generally, is usually excusable in the Worshipper on the ground of ignorance and good faith; but there is no excuse for those who use similar means to exploit popular credulity for their own pecuniary profit. The originators of such falsehoods are liars, deceivers, and not rarely thieves; but a milder judgment should be pronounced on those who, after discovering the imposture tolerate the improper cults [!] ... The Catholic devotions which are connected with holy places, holy shrines, holy wells, famous relics, etc., are commonly treated as superstitions by non- Catholics. ... It must be admitted that these hallowed spots and things have occasioned many legends; that popular credulity was in some cases the principal cause of their celebrity; that here or there instances of fraud can be adduced; yet, for all that, the principles which guide the worshipper, and his good intentions, are not impaired by an undercurrent of error as to facts. [!] Moreover ... the Church is tolerant of 'pious beliefs' which have helped to further Christianity Thus, alleged saints and relies are suppressed as soon as discovered, but belief in the private revelations to which the feast of Corpus Christi, The Rosary, the Sacred Heart, and many other devotions owe their origin is neither commanded nor prohibited; here each man is his own judge. ... The apparent success which so often attends a superstition can mostly be accounted for by natural causes. When the object is to ascertain, or to effect in a general way, one of two possible events, the law of probabilities gives an equal chance to success and failure, and success does more to support than failure would do to destroy superstition." (CE. xiv, 340, 341.) All these holy cults are thus confessed frauds and superstitions fostered by ecclesiastic greed.
Let us remember that no True Church in Christendom can be built and consecrated without a box of dead man's bones or other fetid human scraps and relics deposited under the holy altar of God. The decree of the second council of Nice, A.D. 787, reaffirmed by the Council of Trent in 1546, forbade the consecration of any Church without a supply of relics. (CE. xii, 737.) Thus the ancient superstition is sanctioned and its observance made mandatory; an unceasing demand is created, and the market supply is more than equal to the pious demand. Hence the great and valuable, and fraudulent, traffic above confessed and clerically palliated.
THE "INVENTION OF THE CROSS," ET AL.
"The Legend as to the discovering of the Cross of Christ" (CE. vii, 203). The Holy City, Jerusalem, was, twice destroyed by the Romans, in 70 A.D. by Titus, and again as the result of the rebellion of Bar-Cochba, 132-135 A.D. The work was peculiarly thorough,; not one stone was left upon another; the site was plowed over as a mark of infamy, and the ground is said to have been sown with salt so that nothing might ever grow there again: though pious myths soon flourished exuberantly. Later a pagan city was established on the site, named AElia Capitoline, and a great Temple of Venus was erected on a suitable spot. Over two centuries later, about 326 A.D., a great and venerated Catholic lady Saint made a pious pilgrimage to the Holy City, namely, St. Helena, sainted mother of the new "Christian" Emperor Constantine. This is the St. Helena who got her start as a Pagan barmaid in a wild country village; she fell into the graces of the Roman Imperator Constantius as he marched through the country, became his mistress
Emperor Constantine. (CE. iv, 300.) Upon the pilgrimage of the pious Dowager-mother to Jerusalem, great pomp and ceremony attended her visit, under the auspices of the good Bishop Macarius. By order of the Bishop and in honor of the Christian Saint, the Temple of Venus was torn down; it was found to have been built over an empty rock grave therefore identically the authentic sepulchre of Jesus Christ. is it true, that this destroyed Temple of Venus and the inclosed Holy Sepulchre were inside the walls of the City, while the Gospels inspiredly aver that the grave was outside the walls: a trifling discrepancy for Faith.
Rummaging the ruins, a vaulted underground room or cellar was found: its wonderful contents make to pale into triviality the lately discovered tomb-treasures of Tut-ankh-Amen. There propped against the cellar-wall was the whole apparatus of the Crucifiction: the three identical Crosses whereon had hung the Christ and the two thieves; the very Nails wherewith they had been fastened; the autograph trilingual Inscription set by Pilate over the head of the Christ; the precise Spear which had pierced his side; the cruel Crown of Thorns which tore his brow; the holy Seamless Coat which he had worn and for which the Roman soldiers gambled in the hour of death (it's curious that the winner should have left it behind); the sacred Shroud in which the dead God was. buried. The Pilatic Inscription was not in situ; it had evidently been knocked off and lay apart, a "separate piece of wood, on which were inscribed in white letters in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, the following words: 'Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,'" as recorded by Sozomen, the Church historian. (Eccles. Hist, ii, 1; N&PNF. II, p. 258.)
Due to its unfortunate separation from its original position, it was for the moment impossible to distinguish the True Cross of Christ from those of the thieves. A miracle was vouchsafed, however, to identify the real Cross of the Christ: the True Cross bowed itself down before the Saintly Empress; or, a sick woman-or a sick man-was cured upon touching the True Cross after having tried the other two in vain-according to which priestly version is the more truthful. Sozomen (supra) says that it was "a certain lady of rank in Jerusalem who was inflicted with a most grievous and incurable disease," whose miraculous curing attested the True Cross; "a dead person was also restored to life" by its thaumaturgic touch:-"all as predicted by the prophets and by the Sibyl." Some tinge of dubiety may be thrown upon the report of Bishop Macarius, who made the wondrous discoveries first recorded by the Church historians Socrates, about 439 A.D. (Eccles. Hist. I, xvii), and Sozomen, who wrote a little later (Eccles. Hist. II, i), by the fact that the earliest Church Historian, the very informative and fabling Bishop Eusebius (d. 340), in his Life of Constantine (III, iii, and III, xxviii), gives a very circumstantial account of the visit of the ex-Empress St. Helena to Jerusalem, and of the erection of a Christian Church over the Holy Sepulchre, but he is silent as the grave about the discovery of any Cross of Christ or any of the other holy marvels. The notable event is known, in Church parlance, as "The Invention of the Cross"-which exactly it was.
The subsequent "history" of the Cross of Christ is a tangle of typically clerical contradictions and impossibilities. "Very soon after the discovery of the True Cross, its wood was cut up into small relics and scattered throughout Christendom." (CE. iv, 524.)
"We learn from St. Cyril of Jerusalem (before 350) that the wood of the Cross, discovered about 318, [it was in 326] was already distributed throughout the world." (CE. xii, 736.) But these assurances of St. Cyril and of CE. seem out of harmony with the accredited history of the capture and asportation of the reputed integral True Cross by Chosroes (Khosru) II, King of Persia, who took Jerusalem in 614, massacring 90,000 good Christians, captured the Cross of Christ among his booty, and carried it off whole in triumph to Persia! (CE. iii, 105),-with results very disastrous to the Faith: "The shock which religious men received through this dreadful event can hardly now be realized. The imposture of Constantine bore bitter fruit; the sacred wood which had filled the world with its miracles was detected to be a helpless counterfeit, borne off in triumph by deriding blasphemers. All confidence in the apostolic powers of the Asiatic bishops was lost; not one of them could work a wonder for his own salvation in the dire extremity." (Draper, The Intellectual Development of Europe, i, 328; Gibbon, p. 451.) The truly miraculous nature of this True Cross is thus described by Draper: "The wood of the Cross displayed a property of growth, and hence furnished an abundant supply for the demands of pilgrims and an unfailing source of pecuniary profit to its possessors. In the course of subsequent years there was accumulated in the various churches of Europe, from this particular relic, a sufficiency to have constructed many hundred crosses." (Op. cit. i, 309.) On a great porphyry column before the Church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, stood a statue of the Pagan god Apollo; the face was altered into the features of the Emperor Constantine, and the Nails of the True Cross, set around like rays, were used to garnish the crown upon his head. Another of these holy Nails has for centuries adorned and consecrated the crown of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The horses of a regiment of cavalry could probably be shod with the copious supply of these Holy Nails now venerated as sacred relies.
"It is remarkable," says CE., "that St. Jerome, who expatiates upon the Cross, the Title, and the Nails, discovered by St. Helena, says nothing either of the Lance or of the Crown of Thorns, and the silence of Andreas of Crete in the eighth century is still more surprising." But in due time this oversight was piously repaired. Bishop Gregory of Tours, among other faithful Church chroniclers, produces the Crown of Thorns, and, as an eyewitness to it, "avers that the thorns in the Crown still looked green, a freshness which was miraculously renewed every day"; which episcopal assurance, skeptically remarks CE., "does not much strengthen the historical testimony for the authenticity of the relic." But, "in any case, Justinian, who died in 565, is stated to have given a thorn to St. Germanus, which was long preserved at Saint-Germain-des-Pres, while the Empress Irene sent Charlemagne several thorns which were deposited by him at Aachen. ... In 1238 Baldwin II, the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, anxious to obtain support for his tottering empire, offered the Crown of Thorns to St. Louis, King of France. It was then actually [in pawn] in the hands of the Venetians as security for a heavy loan, but it was redeemed and conveyed to Paris, where St. Louis built the Sainte Chapelle for its reception." The further history of the holy spurious relic is traced in detail; as late as 1896 "a magnificent new reliquary of rock crystal was made for it"; but by that time the holy relic, like a fighting-cock with his tail-feathers clawed out, was a sorry sight: "The Crown, thus preserved, consists only of a circlet of rushes, without any trace of thorns." A ray of light on Church fakery is thrown by the closing comment: "That all the reputed holy thorns of which notice has survived cannot by any possibility be authentic will be disputed by no one; more than 700 such relics have been enumerated"! (CE. iv, 540, 541.)
As for the Holy Lance, which pierced the side of the dying God, also resurrected by pious diligence of "invention," its devious and dubious history is thus traced by our modern ecclesiastical mummery" monger: "A spear believed to be identical with that which pierced our Savior's body, was venerated at Jerusalem at the close of the sixth century. The sacred relics of the Passion fell into the bands of the pagans. Many centuries afterwards (i.e. in 1241), the point of the Lance was presented by Baldwin to St. Louis, and it was enshrined with the Crown of Thorns in the Sainte Chapelle. Another part of the Lance is preserved under the dome of St. Peter's in Rome. ... Rival lances are known to be preserved at Nuremberg, Paris, etc. Another lance claiming to be that which produced the wound in Christ's side is now preserved among the imperial insignia at Vienna; another is preserved at Cracow. Legend assigns the name of Longinus to the soldier who thrust the Lance into our Savior's side; according to the same tradition, he was healed of ophtbalmia and converted by a drop of the precious blood spurting from the wound." (viii, 773-4.)
There was also timely discovered, by some notable chance or miracle, the very stairway, "consisting of twenty-eight white marble steps, ... the stairway leading once to the Praetorium of Pilate, hence sanctified by the footsteps of Our Lord during his Passion," as we are assured by CE. (viii, 505.) This famous relic, the "Holy Stairs," which somehow escaped the two destructions of Jerusalem and the ravages of time for nearly three centuries, was "brought from Jerusalem to Rome about 326 by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. ... It is now before the Sancta Sanctorum (Holy of Holies) of the Lateran Palace. The Sancta Sanctorum receiving its name from the many precious relics preserved there, also contains the celebrated image of Christ, 'not made with hands,' which on certain occasions used to be carried through Rome in procession. ... The Holy Stairs may only be ascended on the knees. ... Finally Pius X, on 26 February, 1908, granted a plenary indulgence [i.e. a permanent escape from Purgatory]-to be gained as often as the Stairs are devoutly ascended after confession and communion." (CE. viii, 505.) It is related that Father Luther was performing this holy penitential climb of the "Scala Sancta," when suddenly the vast sham and fraud of his religion burst upon his consciousness: the Reformation was a consequence. In passing this famous "Mother of Churches," St. John Lateran, we may admire the wonderful portrait of Jesus Christ which adorns its sacred walls; the painting of it was begun by Dr. St. Luke himself, but being left incomplete, it was finished by an angel.
ANCIENT FAKES YET ACCREDITED
Think not that these ancient frauds of the Church have been discarded in shame by the Church now that their fraudulent origin and purpose are exposed to public obloquy and ridicule. In full blaze of world attention and publicity of the Twentieth Century, God's own Vicar vouches before the world for these tawdry impostures, brought forth before the world to lend climax of superstitious solemnity to his crazy Crusade of prayer and incited pious hatred against the brave efforts of the Russians to undo the fell work of the Church in that unhappy land. Associated Press dispatches from Vatican City announce: "To lend emphasis to the protest here, celebrated relics kept at St. Peter's-a portion of the true cross; St. Veronica's Veil, with which Christ is said to have wiped His face on His way to Calvary, and the centurion's lance which pierced His Side-will be displayed." (N.Y. Herald-Tribune, March 19, 1930.) "After the ceremony those present will receive benediction with the sacred relics." (N.Y. Sun, Mch. 13, 1930.) Nearby, "the stones of the pavement on which the Apostles [Peter and Paul] knelt in prayer and which are said to contain the impression of their knees, are now in the wall of the Church of Santa Francesca Romana." (CE. xiii, 797.) Such lying vouchers are fit setting for the crusade of unholy lies and hate against a people which for centuries has been kept in grossest ignorance and superstition by greedy priestcraft, now repudiated by its victims.
The foregoing solemn vouching for antique fakeries provoked a deal of skeptical ridicule throughout the world, even among some of the Faithful: so it must needs be emphasized by repetition, with some notable other Fake Relics added for "assurance doubly sure." So, when the Pagan Festival of Easter dawned on the Pagan "Day of the Venerable Sun," His Royal-Holiness came forth in the full splendor of the Pagan Pontifex Maximum to celebrate the Event, and by his Infallible presence to vouch again for the genuineness of these holy spurious Relics. Probably he wore and ostentated in the joy of its recovery, the celebrated "so-called Episcopal Ring of St. Peter, rich with sapphires and diamonds," stolen from the Vatican treasury in 1925, and recently recaptured with the thief. (Herald-Tribune, Dec. 3, 1929.) It is possible that he sat in state in the very Throne or "Chair of St. Peter," which the Fisherman Pope used, as dubiously vouched by CE. under that caption. In any event, whatever throne he used was planted immediately above the grave where lies the headless cadaver of St. Peter himself, for "the skulls of Sts. Peter and Paul" were later viewed at the Lateran, and there "shown for the adoration of the Faithful." As announced in several Press dispatches, an inventory of the holy Relies and ceremonials is here recorded. In preparation for the Sacred Event in the Twentieth Century: "The major basilicas will all have on display their most precious relics. ... The purported Cradle of Bethlehem [made out of an eighth century packing case] will be brought forth. Those attending mass at the Lateran will be able to view the skulls of Sts. Peter and Paul, and a bit of what is believed [by whom, not stated] to be the True Cross-[carried off entire in 614 by the Persians]; ... the reputed Lance of the Roman centurion who speared the side of Christ, and the 'Holy Veil' or napkin offered to Christ by St. Veronica,"-who is a myth forged from "vera icon." (A.P. dispatch, Apl. 19, 1930.) Also: "A fragment of the Cross and two Thorns from the crown of the Savior. ... The Sancta Scala (Holy Stairs), ... drew the usual Good Friday throngs of the Faithful today. ... Processions were held inside the ancient edifices to honor the relics, [including] what, according to tradition, are the heads of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul ... shown for the adoration of the Faithful." (Herald-Tribune, Apl. 19, 1930.) Then came the consummation and solemn Infallible accrediting of these "most precious relics":-"Pope Celebrates Easter Mass. ... Relics of the Passion [surrounded him],-a reputed fragment of the Cross, a piece of the Spear which pierced [reputedly] the side of the Savior, and the Veil of St. Veronica. ... were displayed from the balcony above the Papal Altar." (Ibid, Apl. 21, 1930.) Now at last, in Twentieth Century, "Roma locuta est-causa finita est"-and these originally bogus frauds are genuine and authentic Relics-for the Faithful who may believe it.
Samples of the "seed of the Serpent" of Eden, the scales that fell from the eyes of Elijah's servant, the original wicked flea, the two dwarf mummies of Bildad the Shu-hite and Ne-hi-miah, the 200 Philistine trophies (foreskins) brought in by David as his marriage dot (1 Sam. xviii, 25-27), the horn of salvation, and the instruments of Cornelius's Italian Band, are about the only honest-to-goodness authentic Biblical relics which seem not to be preserved among the countless holy fake treasures of Holy Church. The famous juvenile pocket-inventories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and the monstrous fakeries of the late lamented Phineas Barnum, are paltry trivialities beside the countless and priceless Relic-treasures of Holy Church, religiously guarded for "veneration" by True Believers blessed by the privilege of paying-the more you pay the more you merit" is the maxim - to gaze in rapt awe at, and to kiss and fondle, these ghastly and ghoulish, false and forged, bloody scraps and baubles of perverted piosity. The foreskin of the Child Christ miraculously preserved exists to this day; enough of his diapers and swaddling-cloths, as of the sanitary draperies of his Ever-Virgin Mother, are of record to stock a modern department store. During the era of the unholy Crusades the soldiers of Christ brought from the Holy Land countless numbers of duly certified bottles of the Milk of the Virgin Mother of God, and drove a thrifty business selling them to churches and superstitious dupes through Europe.
Yet in existence are several portraits of the Mother of God, "said to have been painted by St. Luke; they belong to the Sixth century." (CE. xv, 471.) "There is still preserved at Messina a letter attributed to the Blessed Virgin, which, it is claimed, was written by her to the Messenians when Our Lady heard of their conversion by St. Paul" (x, 217; cf. list of several: i, 613.) "The Shroud of the Blessed Virgin is preserved in the Church of Gethsemane." (xiv, 775.) The Holy Winding Sheet or shroud of the Christ was formerly "exposed for veneration" at Troyes; but the Bishop "declared after due inquiry that the relic was nothing but a painting and opposed its exposition. Clement VI, by four Bulls (1390), approved the exposition as lawful." After being stolen and hawked about, this sacred relic "is now exposed and honored at Turin." (xv, 67-68.) There must be something wrong about this, for "The Diocese of Perigueux has a remarkable The Holy Shroud of Christ, brought back after the first crusade. An official investigation in 1444 asserted the authenticity of the relic." (xi, 668.) The Minster treasury of the Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, or Aachen, where Charlemagne enshrined the Holy Thorns, "includes a large number of relics, vessels, and vestments, the most important being those known as the four 'Great Relics,' namely, the cloak of the Blessed Virgin, the swaddling-clothes of the infant Jesus, the loin-cloth worn by Our Lord on the Cross, and the cloth on which lay the head of John the Baptist after his beheading. They are exposed every seven years, and venerated by thousands of Pilgrims (139,628 in 1874, and 158,968 in 1881")! (i, 92.)
Without comment we let CE. record for the faith of its readers, several of the very notable and most remunerative Relics treasured by Holy Church. That they are all impossible, are all bogus, all crude forgeries and fakes only possible of credit by the most credulous child-minds, needs no comment. The sordid debasement of the human mind to the degree of credulity here displayed, the crass dishonesty of the false pretenses which give credit to these things for purposes of extortion from silly dupes of religion, the vastness of the grand larceny thus perpetrated in the name of God,-are beyond orderly comment.
"The possession of the seamless garment of Christ is claimed by the Cathedral of Trier and by the parish church of Argenteuil; the former claims that the relic was sent by the Empress St. Helena, basing their claim on a document sent by Pope Sylvester to the Church of Trier, but this cannot be considered genuine. ... The relic itself offers no reason to doubt its genuineness. Plenary indulgences were granted to all pilgrims who should visit the cathedral of Trier at the time of the exposition of the Holy Coat, which was to take place every seven years." (vii, 400-1.) "The Church venerates the Holy Innocents, or Martyrs, the children massacred by Herod, estimated in various Liturgies as 14,000, 64,000, 144,000 boys. The Church of Paul's Outside the Walls is believed to possess the bodies of several of the Holy Innocents. A portion of these relics was transferred by Sixtus V to Santa Maria Maggiore. The Church of St. Justina at Padua, the cathedrals of Lisbon and Milan, and other Churches also preserve bodies which they claim to be those of some of the Holy Innocents. It is impossible to determine the day or the year of the death of the Holy Innocents, since the chronology of the birth of Christ and the subsequent Biblical events is most uncertain"' (CE. vii, 419.)
In the cathedral of Cologne are preserved the skulls of the Three Wise Men who followed the Star of Bethlehem. In the neighboring Church of St. Gereon are distributed over the walls the bones from a whole cemetery, dug up and displayed as those of that mythical Saint and his Theban Band of 10,000 Martyrs; in fitting competition are the spoils of the neighboring graveyard, yielding the bones of St. Ursula and her 11,000 Virgin Martyrs. The miraculous bones of Santa Rosalia in Palermo are the bones of a deceased goat!
"The city of Tarascon has for its patron, St. Martha, who, according to the legend, delivered the country from a monster called 'Tarasque.' The Church of 'Saintes Marias de la Mer' contains three venerated tombs; according to a tradition which is attached to the legends concerning the emigration of St. Lazarus, St. Martha, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Maximus, these tombs contain the bodies of the three Marys of the Gospels."
(CE. i, 238.)
The Abbot Martin obtained for his monastery in Alsace the following inestimable articles: A spot of the blood of our Savior; a piece of the True Cross; the arm of the Apostle James; part of the skeleton of John the Baptist; a bottle of the Milk of the Mother of God. (Draper, The Intellectual Development of Europe, ii, 57.) But perhaps none of these impostures surpassed in audacity that offered by a monastery in Jerusalem, which presented to the beholder ONE OF THE FINGERS OF THE HOLY GHOST! (Draper, Conflict between Science and Religion, p. 270.) Also there were displayed sundry choice collections of the wing and tail feathers of the said Holy Ghost, from time to time shed off or pulled out when, in the disguise of a Dove, It (or He or She) came down and perched on people. In England at the time of Henry VIII (1501), Our Lady's girdle was shown in not less than eleven places, and Our Lady's milk, in a condensed form, in eight places. One of these girdles the good Queen-mother procured for Catherine of Aragon, on her marriage with Henry, to present to her when the expected time should come. During the plague of 1531, Henry VIII, for a goodly price, bought some precious relic waters to avert the plague from himself: a tear which Our Lord shed over Lazarus, preserved by an angel who gave it in a phial to Mary Magdalene; and a phial of the sweat of St. Michael when he contended with Satan, as recorded in the Book of Enoch and vouched for in the sacred Book of Jude. (Hackett, Henry VIII, pp. 11, 234.) The Cathedral of Arras, in France, possesses some highly venerated and remarkable relies, to wit, some of the Holy Manna which fell from Heaven in the year 371 during a severe famine; and the identical Holy Candle, a wax taper, which was presented by the Blessed Virgin to Bishop Lambert, in 1105, to stop an epidemic. (CE. i, 752.) This same waxen Holy Candle has burned continuously from 1105 to at least 1713 without being to the slightest degree diminished, as his view of it was then reported by Anthony Collins, in his Discourse of Free Thinking; he expresses the doubt whether the attendant clergy would permit a careful scrutiny to be made of the phenomenon.
A final job lot of these holy fetishes as recorded by Dr. McCabe with some pertinent comments, may be admired: "At Laon the chief treasures shown to the public were some milk and hair of the Virgin Mary. This was Laon's set-off to the rival attraction at Soissons, a neighboring town, which had secured one of the milk-teeth shed by the infant Jesus. There seems to have been enough of the milk of the Virgin-some of it was still exhibited in Spanish churches in the nine-teenth century-preserved in Europe to feed a few calves. There was hair enough to make a mattress. There were sufficient pieces of 'the true cross' to make a boat. There were teeth of Christ enough to outfit a dentist (one monastery, at Charroux, had the complete set). There were so many sets of baby-linen of the infant Jesus, in Italy, France and Spain, that one could have opened a shop with them. One of the greatest churches in Rome had Christ's manger-cradle. Seven churches had his authentic umbilical cord, and a number of churches had his foreskin (removed at circumcision and kept as a souvenir by Mary). One church had the miraculous imprint of his little bottom on a stone on which he had sat. Mary herself had left enough wedding rings, shoes, stockings, shirts, girdles, etc. to fill a museum; one of her shifts is still in the Chartres cathedral. One church had Aaron's rod. Six churches had the six heads cut off John the Baptist. ... Every one of these things was, remember, in its origin, a cynical blasphemous swindle. Each of these objects was at first launched upon the world with deliberate mendacity. ... One is almost disposed to ask for an application to the clergy of the law about obtaining money under false pretenses." (McCabe, The Story of Religious Controversy, p. 353.)
HOLY OILS, WATERS, AND FETISHES
These sacred and sanctified wonder-working objects are too numerous to more than mention a few of the most celebrated. Miraculous "waters" were in great profusion distilled or in some weird way extracted from numbers of dead Saints, "blessed" for a variety of purposes, and vended under the names of the productive Saints; as "The Water of St. Ignatius," of Sts. Adelhaid, Vincent Ferrer, Willibrord, etc. That of St. Hubert was notably a specific for the bite of mad dogs. The formula for these holy extracts or emulsions, with their properties and miraculous effects, are set forth in the official "Rituale Romanum." (CE. xv, 564.) The widely celebrated "Oil of Saints" was in immense vogue and possessed wonderful properties, as vouched by CE. under that title. This holy unction was "an oily substance which is said to have flowed, or still flows, from the relics or burial places of certain saints, and water which has in some way come in contact with their relics. These oils are or have been used by the faithful, with the belief that they will cure bodily and spiritual ailments the custom prevailed of pouring oil over the relics or reliquaries of martyrs and then gathering it in vases, sponges or pieces of cloth. This oil, oleum martyris, was distributed among the faithful as a remedy against sickness. ... At present the most famous of the oils of saints is the oil of St. Walburga (Walburgis oleum). It flows from the stone slab and the surrounding metal plate on which rest the relies of St. Walburga in her church in Eichstadt in Bavaria. The fluid is caught in a silver cup and is distributed to the faithful for use against diseases of the body and soul. Similarly of the Oil of St. Menas, of which thousands of little flasks have recently been discovered, found at many Places in Europe and Africa; there is also a like Oil of St. Nicholas of Myra, which emanates from his relics at Bari in Italy, whither they were brought in 1087. A certain substance like flour, is recorded by St. Gregory of Tours, to emanate from the sepulchre of St. John the Evangelist; also that from the sepulchre of the Apostle St. Andrew emanated manna in the form of flour and fragrant oil." A list half a column long is given of other saints from whose relics or sepulchres oil is said to have flowed. (CE. xi, 228-9.)
THE AGNUS DEI
"These are discs of wax impressed with the figure of a lamb; and blessed at stated seasons by the Pope. The rule still followed is that the great consecration of the Agnus Dei takes place only in the first year of each pontificate and every seventh year afterwards. It seems probable that they had their beginning in some pagan usage of charms or amulets, from which the ruder populace were weaned by the employment of this Christian substitute [charm or amulet] blessed by prayer. The early history of Catholic ceremonial affords numerous parallels for this Christianizing of pagan rites. ... So the purpose of these consecrated medallions is to protect those who wear or possess them from all malign influences. In the prayers of blessing, special mention is made of the perils from storm and pestilence, from fire and flood, and also of the dangers to which women are exposed in childbirth. Miraculous effects have been believed to follow the use of these objects of piety. Fires are said to have been. extinguished, and floods stayed. They were much subject to counterfeit, the making of which has been strictly prohibited by various papal bulls,"-(this proving the obtaining of money by false pretenses in the papal. monopoly of peddling them to the moron Faithful). "There are also Agnus Deis made from wax mingled with the dust which is, believed to be that of the bones of martyrs; these are called Paste de' SS. Martiri, or Martyrs' Paste." (CE. i, 220.) The peddling of these frauds has not yet been forbidden by the criminal code, nor by the Vicars of God who gain by them. Three pages of a separate article, are devoted to the potent prayers in Liturgies, several in doggerel Latin verse, on pages 221-223. One of these inspired Papal invocations over the sacred amulets is quoted by Dr. White:
"O God, ... we humbly beseech thee that thou wilt bless these waxen forms, figured with the image of an innocent lamb, .... that, at the touch and sight of them, the faithful shall break forth into praises, and that the crash of hailstorms, the blast of hurricanes, the violence of tempests, the fury of winds, and the malice of thunderbolts may be tempered, and evil spirits flee and tremble before the standard of the holy cross, which is graven upon them."
(White, Warfare between Science and Religion. i, 343.)
The recurrence in modern times of the above recited catastrophes raised by imps of the devil, not unseldom doing damage even to the Faithful and to their sacred edifices, must be due to the punible neglect to have a supply of these thaumaturgic crackers on hand at the time and place of the flagellations of the Evil One.
THE TRAGEDY OF THE "MYSTICAL MARRIAGE"
What to a Rationalist may seem a very inhuman superstition-though often attenuated by the clerical formula "With all my worldly goods I thee endow," pronounced to his earthly vicar by the happy "Bride of Jesus Christ," is the unctuously so-called Mystical Marriage, the nuptial ceremony whereby a deluded female enters into the joys of her Lord without actually sharing them. This holy mummery is thus described by the oft-cited Exponent of Catholic Truth:
"Christian virginity has been considered from the earliest centuries as a special offering made by the soul to its spouse, Christ. ... In many of the lives of the Saints, the mystical marriage consists of a vision in which Christ tells a soul that He takes it for His bride, presenting it with the customary ring, and the apparition is accompanied by a ceremony; the Blessed Virgin Mary, saints and angels are present. ... Moreover, as a wife should share in the life of her husband, and as Christ suffered for the redemption of mankind, the mystical bride enters into a more intimate participation of His sufferings,-[casus omissus being the sharing of the nuptial joys also involved in the notion of marriage]. Accordingly, in three cases out of four, the mystical marriage has been granted to stigmatics. History [priest-written, of course] has recorded seventy-seven mystical marriages, in connection with female saints, blesseds and venerables";-a number of whom are named, including, appropriately, St. Mary Magdalene dei Pazza-"of the Crazy Ones"-as were they all. (CE. ix, 703.)
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