Monday, January 4, 2010
A POPE LEADS A DANGEROUS LIFE
The sacrality of the Papal Office has often been challenged for personal gain or to secure yet more power for one's family and clan.
Saint Peter, acknowledged as the First Pope was crucified upside down. Saint Paul, though not a Pope was a high ranking prelate of the Church. The Emperor Nero, by tradition ordered their executions.
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome. Throughout the ages, an infinity of Bishops have been cut down to bits, their executioners have delighted in slitting their throats, or stabbing them with so many wounds, a sieve would have been a prettier sight.
Our beloved Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa was brutally murdered by theVandals and the Visigoths. Many of the early Popes perished from mysterious ailments - poison, perhaps?
Let's begin with the most recent episodes of physical attacks against the person and persona of the Pope.
This one occurred on Christmas Eve last, when a young woman under psychiatric treatment, went right up near Bernini's altar at the Basilica of Saint Peter and knocked the Pope down to the floor. Pope Ratzinger is made of sterner stuff, he stood up quickly, just as soon as the Vatican Swiss Guards pulled her off him.
"I just wanted to hug him," said she. On the floor? Give me a break!
Last year this same disturbed individual also approached the Pope but his Security guards stopped her. What is it with these recent episodes of "would do harm" persons?
A sort of deranged chap threw a shoe at President Bush. That is not a laughing matter. It could have been a dart aimed at his eye. A small Swiss knife thrown by an expert marksman would surely have sliced his windpipe. I could think of more but I won't write about it because there are unstable and ordinary men and women everywhere with evil intent.
I am aware that the worldwide Media have recounted these episodes as the work of unbalanced individuals. Suppose they are all under some form of mind control? And all the incidents just test runs?
The SS had excellent results with mind control experiments in the late 30's to the early 40's under Reinhard Heydrich. Almost all of these scientists came to America after the end of WW2 . The CIA conducted its now famous or should I say infamous? MK Ultra mind control experiments in the 50's and in the 60's.
SRI - Stanford Research Institute has been conducting "remote viewing" experiments for the last 20 years. Their success rate is about 80 to 90 %. Some define this attribute as Psychic remote viewing. I prefer to call it "virtual clairvoyant traveling."
There is a great deal of rumination to be done here.
The most horrifying attempt on a Pope's life in our time was at Saint Peter's Square in May of 1981. A cold blooded Turkish assassin shot Pope John Paul ll in the abdomen. Ali Agca was reputed to be an extraordinary shootist so I surmise that he missed deliberately as a warning of some sort or he aimed for a head shot except that at the last second the Pope moved to touch a portrait of the Virgin of Fatima which a pilgrim was holding up for him. Pope John Paul ll believes the Virgin saved his life. One of the three prophesies made to the three peasant children (Lucia, Jacinta, and Pedro) in Fatima, Portugal on the eve of WWl was that an assassin would attack a man in white half a century later.
My friends at the Vatican Curia such as Monsignors and Cardinals said that they had not seen such a perfect assassin such as Ali Agca. During all the interrogations his heartbeat never accelerated to more than 60 and his blood pressure remained steady at 110 over 70. His voice was calm without the slightest trace of agitation. Torture was out of the question. The highest ranking authorities in the Vatican Curia nixed it. Ca va sans dire, His Holiness who remained conscious would never have countenanced it.
At Manila airport in 1970, a man with a dagger attempted to stab Pope Paul Vl. Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, a giant at 6 foot 6, and head of the Pope's security as well as planning his trips overseas, prevented the would be killer from even getting close enough to nick His Holiness.
In Vatican circles and in the salons of the black Roman nobility, it is an accepted fact that Pope Pius Xll,who ceaselessly sent communiques to Adolf Hitler pleading for the lives of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs Christians and Catholics had been targeted for kidnapping by the SS in the late 1940's. The plan was to storm theVatican and seize not only the Pope but as many Cardinals and Monsignors as they could. The Wehrmacht, in the person of General Wolff would not comply and General Keppler of the SS in Italy refused to go along with it. We are led to believe that the Germany army were monsters - but other army in the world - would ignore such instructions?
It is fascinating to see the architectural evolution of papal palaces to prevent attacks by armed thugs or even an army. Let us take as an example the Lateran Palace in Rome where Popes resided and presided over spiritual and temporal power for a millennium. The Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and the Huns attacked Rome repeatedly and mercilessly. Instead of a moat, the Piazza or Square of the Lateran Palace was surrounded by buildings which resembled almost impenetrable fortresses.
Pope Innocent lV ( 1243- 1254) built his Papal Palace on one of Rome's seven hills. There could be no doubt of its palatial splendor throughout its interior but the architecture was strictly a fortress. The Norman Emperor Frederick ll whose seat of power was in Palermo, Sicily intended to expand his hegemony over all of the Italian Peninsula. Pope Innocent prudently foresaw this. A few years before Frederick's march on Rome, he had captured and imprisoned in 1241 two of the Curia's most important Cardinals and trusted advisors of His Holiness. The Isola de Giglio, a gorgeous island off Sicily served as their place of captivity.
All the Christian world, from Iceland to Sicily, the British Isles to Ireland, Scotland, mainland Europe, Russia and Byzantine Europe and Turkey reacted in shock and disbelief. Frederick declared himself a devout Catholic. Power proved a stronger concomitant.
Anyone today who strolls through Avignon, in southern France and visits the Palace of the Popes cannot fail to be impressed by the defensive aspects of the Palace which stands almost alone in medieval history because of it architectural defenses. Even the Palaces of the Cardinals are veritable fortresses. The Avignon Period is a tragic period for the Roman Papacy. A split occurred between two factions of theVatican Curia during a conclave. Those Cardinals who disagreed and had voted for another Pope left Rome for Avignon. An artful compromise was out of the question. Too many hateful words and deeds had ruined the possibility of an accord, even a defective one. The newly elected Pope of Rome found himself abandoned and powerless in Italy. The French Kings backed the Papacy at Avignon.
The news of the death of a Pope or even of one in his final hours, brought the rapacious Roman crowds egged on by rival papal nobles and families to attack and and sack his Palace. Indeed, Pope Honorius lll, in the middle of his death rattle but still alive, was presented to the rabble below on a dais in his balcony in the hope that the Lateran Palace in Rome would not be robbed and plundered.
At the end of the 13th century, Cardinals Sciarra Colonna (a rival Papal family) and Guillaume de Nogaret, acting on orders from the French King Philip the Fair. Yes Indeed! the same one who captured, tortured, executed and disbanded the Knights Templars in France; kidnapped Pope Boniface Vll with the sole purpose of taking him to Paris to force the Pope to call a Vatican Council. Cardinal Sciarra Colonna, a Roman Cardinal allied himself with the French King for revenge. Pope Boniface was a Caetani, another rival papal family and his bribes had been more generous during the Conclave to elect him as Pontiff. In addition, Pope Boniface had embarked on a campaign using the power of his papal office to kill as many of the Colonna as he could. The inhabitants of the city of Anagni assisted Colonna in the kidnapping. The Pope was their captive for three days. And then troops of the powerful Orsini family that had remained faithful to the Caetani marched resolutely into Anagni. Reluctantly, the Pope was handed over to the Orsini who proceeded to transport him back to Rome.
Without a doubt, the Pope was beaten and tortured. Cardinal Colonna slapped the Pope several times on the face with His Holiness's own iron gloves. The attacks on the Pope and the rough journey back to the Lateran Palace in Rome proved too much for Boniface and he died 17 days later. The attempt at Anagni formally marked the end of the true Popes elected in Rome, as set forth in the reforms established by the great Pope Gregory Vll.
This is the famous Pope who constrained Henry lV of England and husband of the spectacular Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was far wealthier than he to come to Italy and kneel in the snow for days at Canossa in Lombardy) in order to beg the Pope's forgiveness for the murder of Thomas a Beckett - his priest/advisor and Privy Councilor. Seven years later Pope Gregory fled Rome when the troops of His Imperial Catholic Majesty, Henry of France attacked Rome. The city was saved from a horrifying fate by Duke Robert de Guiscard, a loyal vassal of the Church. Nontheless, Pope Gregory amid the lamentations of his people fled to Salerno, capital of the Norman kingdom. On his death bed on the 25th of May 1085, the Pope, still in Salerno pronounced the now famous declaration" I have loved justice and hated iniquity all my life, thus I die in exile."
The papal struggles continued in Rome and in Avignon. The death of the Borgia Pope Alexander Vl is still considered by some historians as the result of a toxin from India by way of the Middle East.
Henry Vlll executed the friend he loved the most. His Prime Minister Thomas More. He cried for days, tis said. Thomas More was a Catholic as was the King. He would not recognize the King as the Head of the Church - only the Pontiff in Rome had that spiritual power.
Napoleon Bonaparte in his early years had invited the Pope to Paris to crown him Emperor at Notre Dame de Paris. When the Pope hesitated, he placed the crown on his head himself. In 1808, the troops of his General, Miollis entered Rome with a proclamation from Napoleon - the annexation of the Papal States to France. This incurred the wrath of Pius Vll. He excommunicated Napoleon in the harshest language he could employ. He ordered his Swiss Guards to affix the Proclamations of the Excommunication on the Basilica of Saint Peter, the Cathedral of Saint John Lateran, in the Palace of the Chancellery at Monte Citorio ( now the seat of the Italian Parliament) and the entrance to Campo dei Fiori, where a temple of Mars had once stood in all its glory during the time of Julius Caesar. The French agents removed the proclamations. But the Swiss Guards and the Romans affixed them again and again.
A furious Napoleon ordered his army to enter the Vatican, seize the Pope and hundreds of valuable paintings and statues. His Holiness was taken to Savona in Liguria near the French border. He was held in an unpleasant house arrest, and then he was bundled off to Fontainebleu. Only the fall of Napoleon's Empire put an end to the Pope's imprisonment. He re-entered Rome on the 24th of May 1814. Not at all a picnic for the Pope.
Pope Pius XlX,who descended from the noble line of the Mastai-Ferretti was residing in the Quirinale when Giuseppe Garibaldi and his thousand red shirts tramped into Rome. He tasked Pellegrino Rossi, one of his most trusted aides to establish order in the city. I think Garibaldi, acting under orders from Mazzini (the man who TRULY pulled all strings) might very well have taken Pius XlX prisoner. To exile once again. This time, to Gaeta, near Naples where the Bourbon kings loyal to Rome ruled. Only on the 12th of April 1850, did the French army led by General Oudinot guarantee safe passage for the Pope to return to Rome. The Quirinale with all its exquisite tapestries, paintings, sculptures and carpets was occupied by the French. Later, this would be where all Italian Presidents would reside.
As a symbol that he was indeed a prisoner, Pius XlX entered the Vatican and never left the confines of Vatican territory. This remained so for almost a 100 years. Until Angelo Roncalli, Patriarch of Venice was elected Pope in 1956. He took the name of John the XXlll, which was very meaningful to the Church. At Avignon one of the most vicious false Popes had named himself Pope John the XXlll.
Pope Roncalli stunned the Roman people by going for a walks OUTSIDE confines of the Vatican. He went to Venice, Naples and Florence. Thus, he broke the self imposed imprisonment which Pius XiX had placed o himself and on all future Popes. He called for a second Vatican Council.
"Let's open a window and let in some fresh air," he declared to a shocked Curia and world.
And then we have another Patriarch of Venice elected Pope after the death of Pope PaulVl. Cardinal Albini. Even to this day, conspiracy theories fly regarding his death after just 33 days as Pontiff. Some claim he was poisoned. Others that he was given a heavy dose of insulin to provoke a massive heart attack. Pope John Paul l was a very sick man. He had serious heart and lung ailments. The Cardinals could not agree on a Pope. No one had a majority. The compromise was Albini. Everyone present at the Conclave in the Sistine Chapel knew about his delicate condition.
Upon his untimely demise, the young Bishop of Cracow, Karol Wojtila was elected Pope with the strong votes from the German,Austrian,Belgian and French cardinals. He took the name of two Popes, like his predecessor, John Paul ll.
No world Leader has traveled more than Karol Wojtila, Pope John Paul ll.
Every leader has come and gone; the Pope and the Church remains on the rock. AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT. (Acts of the Apostles)