When monotheism goes really wrong

Who would have guessed that Jesus’ fundamentalist Judaism would be hijacked by Paul as pro-Roman, and end up anti-Jewish? And who would have thought that a message of poverty and trust in God would lead to Pope Leo X…

If Heaven was a thing that money could buy, the rich would all be there...

At age 38 Giovanni de’ Medici – sick, syphilitic, stinking from open ulcers, and having bribed the Vatican’s physicians to say he had less than a month to live – was elected Pope to give the Cardinals time to decide on a real successor to Julius II. But he recovered, and his first declaration as Pope Leo X was “God has given me the papacy, now let me enjoy it.”

He turned the Vatican into a non-stop party of banquets and sex – his preferences were obscene plays, and sex with his chamberlains. To raise money, he created 1,353 new salable Vatican offices, licensed and taxed 6,800 prostitutes (for a city of 100,000 people), borrowed massively at 40% interest, and greatly extended the sale of indulgences (rich people buying forgiveness of sins so that they don’t have to spend time being cleansed in Purgatory before they can enter Heaven).

It was Leo who created one of the most famous and damaging quotes in Christian history. At a lavish Vatican banquet on Good Friday, 1514, in the company of Cardinals who recorded it, he raised a chalice of wine and toasted:

“How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us and our predecessors.”

All of this – the immorality, profligacy, and sale of indulgences – led directly to the Protestant revolt touched off by Martin Luther in October 1517.

But of course, the Roman Catholic church wouldn’t engage in anything so cynical nowadays, would it?

NOTE: The comments immediately below the clipping are NOT MINE, thank you!

Refs: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vatican/esp_vatican30c.htm

http://www.nexusmagazine.com/articles/Papacy3.html

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 3rd ed., Edinburgh, 1788-97, vol. ix

and other references found within the above.

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5 comments on “When monotheism goes really wrong

  1. -face palm- Paul never taught pro-romanism. In fact from what I’ve found the Roman Catholic church went down hill around about 300AD IF I am remembering correctly. Still… why? Why do people defend this absurdidty? Thanks for the post, ver eye opening, I didn’t think that so called “Church” of Rome was still pulling this nonsense.

    • I think ‘romanism” is an ambiguous word here. My contention in the novel and in the blog is that Jesus considered the Roman occupation an evil – he wanted Israel to return to the Covenant, and to expel the idolatrous, beard-shaving, pig-eating polytheists.
      Paul, on the other hand, was a Romanized Jew and wanted to spread his vision of a Rome-friendly Judaism throughout the Roman Empire, even if that meant downplaying Jesus the Jew and Jesus the man in favor of Jesus the nebulous force of salvation.
      There were many steps from Jesus’ statement of the primacy of the Shema (“Hear, O Israel…”) to the Roman Catholic papacy. Neither Jesus nor Paul would have appreciated the Vatican.

  2. Wow, really back to the sale of indulgences. Because it worked so well the last time. Maybe next we’ll get crusades (not that we probably couldn’t use them in the middle east atm, but that’s another topic).

    But since we’re bringing back the old songs, wonder if I can bilk them for weregeld for the crimes done against my Heathen ancestors…

    • Our Heathen ancestors did a lot of their own pillaging… I think if all of history’s wrongs were being repaid with cash, the rest of us would end up owing the native peoples of the Americas and Australia, and they’d end up owing each other. There has always been tribalism, warfare, genocide and injustice.

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