"Furthermore, We declare, We proclaim, We define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."- Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spanish Leader to Visit Pope

ROME, MAY 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The prime minister of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, will visit Benedict XVI on June 10, as Spain takes over the presidency of the European Union.

The Spanish embassy in Rome today confirmed the visit, saying Zapatero will only visit the Vatican.

This will be the second meeting between Zapatero and Benedict XVI. The first took place in Valencia, Spain, in 2006, in the context of the Pope's visit there for the World Meeting of Families.

Since his election in 2004, Zapatero and the Church have often been at odds over his policies to allow more abortions, to permit same-sex marriages and to end compulsory religious education in public schools.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Revealed: the tired, trendy, dated music planned for the Papal Mass in Coventry

By Damian Thompson from the Telegraph.co.uk

A ghastly discovery today: plans to subject Pope Benedict XVI to trendy musical tripe when he celebrates the Beatification Mass for Cardinal Newman at Coventry Airport on September 19. According to Nick Baty, a supporter of the little gang of composers who have liturgical commissions sewn up in this country, the music for the Mass will include:

• Eucharistic acclamations by Fr Peter Jones, who wrote the tiresome Coventry Gloria for John Paul II’s visit in 1982. Yes, he’s still going strong;

• Christ be our Light by Bernadette Farrell, one of the inner circle of old trendies whose work is forced on Massgoers by cloth-eared PPs every week;

• Salisbury Alleluia by Christopher Walker, another of the inner circle;

• A Gloria by Alan Smith (you can hear a taste of it here: not trendy but utterly banal) and a psalm by Paul Wellicome. According to this document, both men are members of the relevant Birmingham diocesan committee;

• One of the most hideous of all folk hymns, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace;

• Some Taizé. You would have thought we’d heard enough Taizé over the years, but apparently not.

Oh, and there’s a brief motet by Elgar and a couple of rousing Newman-based hymns; but basically it’s game set and match to the Society of St Gregory (SSG), the mafia of the mediocre who ensure that most music at Mass in most dioceses reeks of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This stuff didn’t sound either beautiful or cutting-edge when it was performed for Pope John Paul; how will it sound to the ears of a genuine music lover, Pope Benedict XVI? And young Catholics, especially, loathe it.

I’m confused. I thought that the Bishops of England and Wales had helped to commission the setting of the Mass by James MacMillan that will be heard at the papal ceremony in Glasgow. That is a lovely piece: fresh, original, full of unexpected modulations but also majestic traditional harmonies that will appeal to our Bruckner-loving Pontiff. Why not also perform the MacMillan Mass at the Newman beatification?

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham is a former student of the Royal Northern College of Music. Your Grace, how can you justify forcing the Holy Father to listen to music that he will not like – indeed, that no one much likes, apart from a few elderly Tabletistas and the SSG (some of whose members make far too much money out of their cosy arrangements with dioceses)?

It’s not too late to put things right, I hope. Does Mgr Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, know of these depressing plans? Also, if the music is going to be this corny, that doesn’t augur well for the rest of the liturgy, does it? The Coventry Mass should be one that makes the heart soar, not the toes curl.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pope tells crowd Priests must resist temptation

VATICAN CITY, May 16 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, facing the worst crisis of his five-year-old Papacy because of a widening sexual abuse scandal, told a crowd of nearly 200,000 on Sunday that Priests must guard against worldly temptation.

Benedict said such tests should drive Catholics to greater spiritual fervour and stricter adherence to Church rules.

"The real enemy to fear and to fight is sin, spiritual ill, which sometimes unfortunately affects even members of the Church," the 83-year-old German Pontiff told the crowd gathered in St Peters square.

"We live in the world but we are not of the world, even if we must guard against its temptations," he said. "The tests that the Lord provides drive us to greater fervour and consistency."

Benedict’s tone marked an extension of the latest change in the Vatican’s response to the abuse scandal, which has forced the resignation of Bishops in Ireland, Belgium and Germany.
In recent weeks, a number of Vatican officials had accused the media, gays or progressives of waging a smear campaign against the Church.

However, earlier last week the Pope said during a trip to Portugal that Catholicism’s greatest threat came from "sins within the Church" and he acknowledged it must seek forgiveness, though this was no substitute for justice.

Sunday’s demonstration of support, organised by an Italian Catholic lay association, brought nearly 200,000 people to the wide circular space before St. Peters basilica.

Many of those who came from across Italy waved banners such as "The people of Rome with the Holy Father" or "Renewing the Holy Spirit".

"Thank you for your presence and your faith," the Pope told the crowd, which interrupted his speech with applause. "Today you demonstrate the great affection and closeness of the Church and the Italian people to the Pope and your Priests."

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops conference and a close collaborator of the Pope’s, said the Church "purified by penitence should be a place of justice and comfort for the faithful".

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Pope+tells+crowd+priests+must+resist+temptation/3035017/story.html#ixzz0oBLtZc5c

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Over 150,000 in show of support for Pope at Vatican

By Gildas Le Roux (AFP)
VATICAN CITY — Tens of thousands pilgrims flocked to the Vatican on Sunday in a rally of support for Pope Benedict XVI as he battles a paedophile Priest scandal.

Police estimated the crowd which filled St Peter's Square and Via della Conciliazione, the broad avenue leading to the holy city, at more than 150,000.

Some bore banners of support for the embattled head of the Roman Catholic Church saying "Together with the Pope" and "Your Holiness, you are not Alone, the whole Church is with you."

The demonstration of support was organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference, two days after Benedict's return from a four-day visit to Portugal which was marked by huge crowds.

"Today you show the great affection and profound closeness of the Church and the Italian people to the Pope and your Priests... because, in the commitment to spiritual and moral renewal, we can always do better," Benedict said, addressing the crowd from the balcony of his Vatican apartment.

"The real enemy to fear and to fight is sin, spiritual evil, which at times, unfortunately, also infects members of the Church," he said.

In what may yet be seen as a watershed in his battle against the Church's biggest crisis in decades, a penitent Pope said last week en route to Portugal that the problems it faced came not from its enemies, but from sin within the institution itself.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops Conference and Archbishop of the northern city of Genoa, led a group prayer focused on the meaning of purification, solidarity, forgiveness and justice.

The Church, "faithful to its mission", must be "purified of the sins of its sons", Bagnasco said.
Tens of thousands of pilgrims, made up of many Catholic associations, arrived in Rome aboard hundreds of chartered buses and special trains.

"We came from all over Italy to Saint Peter's to express our affection in a moment that is so difficult for him and the entire Church," said Paola Dal Toso, head of one of the associations that organised the rally.

"I am here to support the Holy Father in this difficult moment for the Church. He's a good Pope who has known how to react to the paedophilia scandals," said Cristian Papachioli, a 25-year-old student Priest.

Chiara, a 37-year-old from the northern Italian city of Piacenza, said: "We are lucky to have such a committed Pope, it's a blessing."

The faithful had gathered beneath a cloudy sky below the Pope's balcony since early morning, to pray with him during the Regina Coeli, celebrated each Sunday in the weeks ahead of Pentecost.
"I thank you with all my heart, dear brothers and sisters, for your warm presence," Benedict told them.

The Church has for months been embroiled in a series of sex abuse scandals amid allegations that the Vatican had protected paedophile Priests from prosecution in several European countries and the United States.

The Pope's comments that the Church was alone culpable were effectively a reversal of earlier Vatican attempts to blame media sensationalism for its problems and won praise from Vatican watchers.

The Holy See said the turnout in Portugal has been a strong public response to attacks on the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics over his handling of the paedophile crisis.

"The vitality of the people's faith demonstrates great hope, despite internal and external difficulties" facing the Church, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at the end of the visit.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Holy Mary pray for thy Pope.

10 May
Taken from: http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/World/Story/A1Story20100510-215260.html

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI, a bookish theologian, holds a deep-rooted interest in the popular cult of the Virgin Mary, which will be on display during his visit to the shrine of Fatima in Portugal.

"Contrary to what one could imagine, Benedict XVI has a very positive opinion of demonstrations of popular faith like the one you can see in Fatima," Vatican expert Sandro Magister told AFP.

The Pope heads to Portugal on Tuesday to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the beatification of young shepherds who claim to have seen the Virgin Mary appear.

"Like his predecessor John Paul II, Benedict XVI is very pious with regards to Mary," French Cardinal Paul Poupard told AFP.

Several trips have already brought Benedict to sanctuaries devoted to the Virgin Mary, where he celebrated Masses in front of thousands of faithful: Marizell in Austria, Loreto in Italy, Aparecida in Brasil, Altotting in Germany, the "house of Mary" in Turkey and Lourdes in France.

As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Pope - then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - dealt thoroughly with apparitions and miracles.

In 2000, John Paul II entrusted Ratzinger with writing a theological document on an aspect of the Virgin's six apparitions to three shepherds in Fatima between May 13 and October 13 in 1917.

The text dealt with what is known as the third secret of Fatima, which John Paul II believed to be a prophecy of the assassination attempt he survived on May 13 1981.

The three secrets of Fatima are visions and prophecies allegedly given by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young Portuguese shepherds.

"The Pope's visit to Fatima is not a visit to any sanctuary dedicated to Mary, as it was in other trips," the Pope's spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

"The Pope dealt thoroughly with these events from the theological and spiritual point of view," he said.

Since the beginning of Benedict's Papacy in 2005, references to the Virgin in his homilies have been on the rise.

Benedict "has often underscored the importance of Catholicism speaking to everyone, including the 'lost sheep,' Catholics who do not practice on a regular basis," Magister told AFP.

"These pilgrimage sites are a way to gather masses. It is not contradictory with his love of sciences and with his university experience," he added.

Benedict has also often shown appreciation for the simple and popular faith of Bavaria, the predominatly Protestant German region where he was born.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pope's visit to Portgual may shed light on Third Secret of Fatima

Taken from the Telegraph.co.uk

The Pope will travel to Portugal this week amid hopes that he might shed light on one of the Catholic Church's most intriguing mysteries – the so-called Third Secret of Fatima

During his four day visit, Benedict XVI will pray at the shrine of Fatima, one of the best known centres of Catholic pilgrimage in the world and the focus of endless conspiracy theories and Doomsday predictions.

Its cult is founded on the belief that three shepherd children witnessed a series of apparitions and prophecies of the Virgin Mary in 1917.

Three secrets were supposedly disclosed to them, with the first and second relating to a vision of Hell and predicting the end of World War I, the outbreak of World War II, the collapse of the Soviet Union and Russia's return to Christianity.

The third secret was only disclosed by the Vatican in 2000 and was said to have foretold the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II by a Turkish gunman in 1981.

There has been intense speculation ever since that the Vatican withheld part of the secret, which is said to have concerned the Satanic infiltration of the Catholic Church, the rise of an anti-Pope or even nuclear Armageddon. The Holy See claims that it has released the full text of the secret and that it is holding nothing back, but many Catholics are not convinced.

Benedict is one of the world's leading authorities on the mystery because as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, before he was elected Pope in 2005, he was responsible for developing the Vatican's official position on the miracle of Fatima and wrote a scholarly interpretation of the Third Secret.

Benedict's visit is heavy with symbolism. He will be in Fatima on May 13 – the same day, in 1917, that the Madonna supposedly first appeared to the children. It is also the date on which Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca came close to killing John Paul II after shooting him in St Peter's Square.

Text the Pope.


ROME — Roman Catholics can send now text messages of support to Pope Benedict XVI, Italian public television said Saturday, as the Church faces an international paedophile scandal.
The mobile phone service was launched by Rai television's Sunday weekly religious programme, ahead of a gathering organised by lay groups in Saint Peter's Square on May 16 to show their backing for the Pontiff.

All messages sent to the special number -- +39 335 18 63 091 -- will be passed along to the Pope by the end of May, the broadcaster said. They will be shown from Sunday during the television show "In His Image".

"It's a truly unique event, because with this number everyone can show their solidarity without being physically present in Saint Peter's Square," said Rosario Carello, the chief of the programme on the Rai Uno channel.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pope Alexander VI

An article by Mr. A.G. Ritchie

Pope Alexander VI

"Was Pope Alexander VI the moral monster of legend, and was he truly concerned about the wellbeing of the Church?"

The most infamous of all the Popes, father of several children, and politician extraordinaire. The second Borgia Pope, the most misunderstood and most unexplainable character to have ever sat upon the throne of Saint Peter, dynamic, enigmatic, and intelligent, this man was a shrewd political leader, with a very clear understanding of the politics of his day. Alexander was not a Churchman, he belonged else where, yet he did not neglect his responsibilities to the Church. By no means was he an exemplary Christian, however, he did bring back a prestige and power to the Church that made Her enemies tremble, and Her faithful gasp in wonder and awe.

On 1 January 1431 at Xativa, near Valencia, in Spain, Isabella de Borja gave birth to Rodrigo de Borja, the future Pope Alexander VI. The young Rodrigo had not decided upon any particular profession, however this all changed in 1455.Isabella’s brother, Cardinal Alfonso de Borja, who become Pope Callixtus III in 1455, opened up a completely new host of opportunities for the ambitious Rodrigo. Rodrigo was adopted into Callixtus’ immediate family and entered into the Church, not to serve as a spiritual leader, the thought of a clerical vocation was not even considered, but rather it was the perfect opportunity for him to further himself politically, socially, and financially. The Italians knew Rodrigo de Borja henceforward as Rodrigo Borgia.

Rodrigo’s uncle, Pope Callixtus III, bestowed many rich benefices upon Rodrigo, and then sent him to study law at the University of Bologna for a year. Then in 1456, he was made Cardinal-Deacon of St. Nicolo in Carcere at the age of twenty-five, and he held that title until 1471, when he was made Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, then in 1476, he was made Cardinal-Bishop of Porto and Dean of the Sacred College. Rodrigo’s official position in the Curia of the Church, after 1457, was that of Vice-Chancellor of the Roman Catholic Church, which earned him the envy of many. This was an important and lucrative position, and it seems in his long position in the administration of the Papal Chancery to have given a satisfactory service. Francesco Guicciardini (1483-1540), a Florentine politician and historian, wrote of Rodrigo, “…in him [Rodrigo Borgia] were combined rare prudence and vigilance mature reflection, marvelous power of persuasion, skill and capacity for the conduct of the most difficult affairs…” The list of archbishoprics, bishoprics, abbacies, and other dignitaries that Rodrigo held were many; he had a magnificent household, and had a passion for card playing. He was a moderate eater and drinker, and a careful administrator, all was well for Rodrigo, and it should not come as a surprise to find that he quickly became one of the richest men of his time.

At the age of twenty nine Rodrigo upset the entire town and court of Sienna, after having received a letter from Pope Pius II condemning his misconduct which, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “…had been so notorious as to shock the whole town and court.” In 1468, Rodrigo was ordained into the Priesthood, yet he continued with his immoral ways. In 1470, his relations with the Roman woman, Vanozza de Catanei, begun, she was the mother of Rodrigo’s four children: Juan, Caesar, Lucrezia, and Jofre.

Rodrigo’s contemporaries described him as tall and handsome. Sigismondo de Conti speaks of him as a large, robust man, with a sharp gaze, great amiability, and "wonderful skill in money matters." Others admired his florid complexion, dark eyes, and full mouth; he was praised for his imposing figure, his cheerful countenance, persuasive manner, brilliant conversation, and intimate mastery of the ways of polite society. It is no wonder that a man with handsome features, and the characteristics of prince or politician, did not make a good Priest, yet alone a Pope.

With the death of Pope Innocent VIII on the 25 July 1492, the struggle for the seat of Saint Peter had begun. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Rodrigo had won the Conclave by a two-thirds majority, which was likely due to vast sums of money, promises, and favors. Rodrigo was a brilliant negotiator and was very good at persuading people to do what he wanted. According to legend, Rodrigo had paid Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, who was the final vote needed to secure a two-thirds majority, four mule loads of silver to sway him to vote for Rodrigo at the Conclave. This story has since been discredited, as Cardinal Ascanio stood to gain more by voting for Rodrigo, because he would become the Pope’s Chief Adviser, which was a lucrative position. Furthermore, there is actually not a single piece of irresistible evidence to prove that Rodrigo had bribed anyone at all. The Conclave was not contested, and according to the law at the time, it was found to be a valid Conclave, which would disprove the fact that Rodrigo had obtained the Papacy through simony.

Francesco Guicciardini wrote that on the 11 August 1492, Rodrigo Borgia become Pope Alexander VI, and this caused great “alarm and horror” in Rome. However, there seems to be no justification for this statement, because there was a massive celebration in Rome on that day. Huge bonfires were lit, there were torchlight processions, garlands of flowers and, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “…triumphal arches were erected with extravagant inscriptions.” Furthermore, on the 26 August 1492, the day of his coronation at Saint Peter’s basilica, and during his progression to the basilica of Saint John Lateran, he was met, according to “The Diarist”, an unknown Papal biographer, with an ovation “…greater than any Pontiff had ever received.” The people of Rome considered Alexander as one of their own, and were confident that he would be a good Pope, bringing peace and dignity back to Rome. It did not take long for Alexander to meet the expectations of the people.

Before Alexander’s ascension to the throne of Saint Peter, Rome was in a terrible state. Two very powerful, baronial families were constantly vying for control of the city. It was not uncommon to see fighting in the streets, and assassinations were commonplace too. According to a historian, Infessura, who lived at the time, there were over two hundred and twenty assassinations in the few months before Alexander’s rise to the Papacy. Rome was falling apart; the Eternal City was in squalor, thieves ran amok and it was in no way a city that was supposed to represent the centre, and seat of power of Christianity. One may ask why previous Popes had not done anything to solve this. The answer is simple; the two baronial families that were mentioned earlier had an almost complete and crippling control of the city.

To answer this question more fully we need to look at the political situation of the time. Nicolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a Florentine politician who wrote a book called “The Prince”; this book explains the political situation of Italy and gives a very good insight into the Papacy of Alexander VI. Italy was divided up into many minor states, the main ones being; the Papal States, ruled by the Pope, the state of Venice, which was a Republic, the state of Florence, which was also a Republic, the Kingdom of Naples, which was run by the King of Naples, and lastly the Dukedom of Milan, which was run by the Duke of Milan. There were also a few other smaller states, which were not major players in the political field. These Italian states had two fears, that of foreign invasion, and that of another state taking more territory. Now excluding the fear of foreign invasion, the Italians were most afraid of two states taking more territory, and those were the states of Venice, and the Papal States. In order to restrain the Venetians the different Italian states formed an alliance against them, not to conquer them completely, but just to keep them within their own territory. In order to stop the Popes from taking more land, the Italians made use of the Barons of Rome.

There were two baronial families in Rome, and both were very powerful. The Orsini and the Colonna, they hated each other, and there continual fighting caused the Popes to focus their attentions on solving family feuds, rather than running the Papal States and seeing to the needs of the Church. The Orsini and the Colonna would buy Cardinals, and would use them to vote in a Pope that was sympathetic to their family. Now, as Nicolò points out in his book, that Pope would try to destroy the other family, however, due to a Pope’s short lifespan, usually ten years, the opposing family would never be completely destroyed. When a new Pope came into power, he would be sympathetic to the other family, and would start to destroy the opposing family. Thus, the situation could never be resolved, and as Nicolò says, “This was the reason why the temporal powers of the Pope were little esteemed in Italy.”

Alexander VI changed all of that. With his vast sums of money, his army, and by using Duke Valentino, his son Caesar, Alexander managed to crush both families, and regain power over Rome. No longer would a particular family lay claim to Rome, the Eternal City once again belonged to the successor of Saint Peter. Alexander immediately set out to restore the beauty and grandeur of Rome. Alexander split up the city into four districts, each with its own magistrate. Investigations were made into murders, especially assassinations, the guilty were hanged on the spot, and their houses razed to the ground. Alexander even allowed on a Tuesday for anyone, man or woman, to bring their grievances before him, and he would then resolve them himself, and according to “The Diarist”, “he set about dispensing justice in an admirable manner.” Although Alexander was not a well-educated man, he surrounded himself with learned men, and became a patron of the arts and sciences. He had the University of Rome rebuilt, and hired the greatest professors to teach there. Alexander also loved the theatre, and became a patron of the dramatic arts too.

Alexander then looked to the defense of the city; he turned the Mausoleum of Adrian into a fortress, capable of withstanding a siege, and by fortifying the Torre di Nona, he made Rome safe from a naval attack too. By allowing the growth of art, many great artists and architects came to the city, hoping to find a patron, and Alexander was only too happy to oblige. Artists such as Bramante and Pinturicchio worked for Alexander, in fact, the beautiful Mysteries of Faith, by Pinturicchio was commissioned by Alexander, and they still adorn the walls of the Appartimento Borgia in the Vatican today. The amazing ceiling of the Santa Maria Maggiore was commissioned by Alexander, using the first gold brought from the Americas by Columbus.

Alexander loved Pontifical ceremonies, and fine music. He would listen to good sermons with a critical ear, and he wrote two treaties on canonical subjects, as well as a defense of the Christian Faith. Alexander also passed decrees on prayers and devotions to the Virgin Mary that are still in place today. In 1493, Alexander released a Papal Bull that separated the world into two halves, giving all undiscovered lands in the west to the Spanish, and all undiscovered lands in the east to the Portuguese, thus solving a problem that may have resulted in war between the two nations. Alexander also sent the first missionaries into the Americas and issued a decree that banned certain books that would have caused major uprisings. Alexander was also very lenient on Rome’s Jews by allowing them to live in the city without persecution. He also tried to establish, like his uncle before him, an alliance against the Turks, and he tried his best to persuade Charles VIII of France from invading Italy. In the Jubilee year of 1500, Alexander also managed to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims that came to visit the city, and he did not spare a single coin, in order to ensure the safety and comfort of his “guests”.

Besides all of these things, Alexander still lived an immoral life, in 1492, before he became Pope, Alexander had put aside his mistress, Vanozza de Catanei, and replaced her with the younger Guilia Faranese, who bore another two or three of Alexander’s children. Contrary to popular belief, Alexander had not hosted wild orgies in the Vatican, nor did he fund the Banquet of Chestnuts, a massive orgy, that involved over 50 prostitutes. These tall tales have been found to be just the stories of Alexander’s enemies. Alexander was extremely fond of his children, and he spent lots of money on keeping them pleased, not ashamed of flaunting his children, he earned the disrespect of many of his Cardinals. Alexander’s two favorite children were Lucrezia and Caesar, and with their help, Alexander would become more powerful and rich. Alexander had made his mistress’ brother, Alessandro Faranese a Cardinal, and he was later to become Pope Paul III.

Alexander married his daughter off three times, the first marriage he had annulled, the second marriage was ended when Caesar had killed her husband, and the third she lived out peacefully until her death. Lucrezia was often put in charge of the Church when her father went on his travels, and the rumors that her and her father had sexual relations was just the heated lies of Alexander’s many enemies. Lucrezia is often portrayed in popular media as a vile and immoral person, but she was much more moral and upstanding than she is given credit for.

On the 31 December 1494, the French entered into the city of Rome, Charles VIII was upset that Alexander had refused to crown him King of Naples. Alexander wanted to keep the very fragile peace that was in Italy and had instead crowned Alfonso II, the rightful heir to the throne. At the sight of the French canons, everyone had abandoned Alexander, and he was left alone to face the upset King. Cardinal della Rovere, who supported the French invasion, as he wanted Alexander deposed, had lead a rebellion against Alexander, and had the support of half of the Cardinals. Alexander’s closest ally, his commander of the army, Virginio Orsini had also abandoned him, which was a very harsh blow, yet under all these pressures, Alexander did not give in. After a fortnight, it was Charles who finally gave in, he acknowledged Alexander as the true Pope, and he performed his filial obedience with utmost humility. Charles could still not get Alexander to accept his claims to the Neapolitan crown. Charles entered into Naples and disposed of the unpopular Alfonso, and then wasted two months in trying to convince the Pope that he was in fact the true King of Naples, by this time an alliance of the Italian states, Spain, and the Empire had formed to chase the French out of Italy

Alexander had regained the respect of many, and was now a major player in the political scene. With everything fine in Rome, Alexander turned his attentions to the Papal States. After many years of neglect, the Papal States had been ruled by petty tyrants and rogues, and were in a state of chaos. With the help of his cruel and ruthless son, Alexander managed to bring the Papal States under his control again. Caesar was the head of the Papal army, he was a brilliant military leader, but his cruelty earned not only fear, but disrespect amongst his officers. Some of Caesar’s closest officers were plotting against him, and when he found out, he had no remorse or pity when he had them killed. With the Papal States under his control again, Alexander now wanted to exact revenge on the people who had betrayed him at the French invasion. He had them all excommunicated, and in their powerlessness they handed the keys to their castles to the Sacred College, but Alexander wanted them for himself. When Alexander found out that Cardinal Orsini had been involved in the conspiracy against his son, he showed no mercy on the Orsini at all. Caesar was sent to destroy them completely, and all that remained of them was the fortress of Bracciano, the Pope was truly in control.

On the 18 August 1503, Pope Alexander VI had died of Roman Fever. Contrary to popular belief, he did not die by mistakenly drinking a poisoned wine destined for his Cardinal host. The death of Alexander quickly brought down the empire of his son Caesar, who died in 1507, but the power that Alexander had brought to the Church was never lost.


To the uneducated person it may seem extremely strange as to why, or how, could a man of such ill repute be given the position of power over a religious institution. Furthermore, if we look into Catholic Theology, we shall see that the papacy is a function of extreme importance within the life of the Church. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ on Earth! So again, we ask, how can this be?

Well it is important to remember that before the reforming Council of Trent, in the mid 16th Century, the papacy was viewed, by the Renaissance world, as an office. It was a position of power, and the thought of it being a religious calling was rarely thought of. The political situations at the time called for a more worldly or secular man to hold the title of Successor of Saint Peter. The Church was fine in terms of spirituality, but in terms of temporal powers, She was in a shambles. A Pope who was concerned about spirituality could not deal with the influences of outside, non-Church related parties. What the Church needed at that time, was a man who could pull the Church out of the clutches of feuding families and barons, and make the Church powerful again, so that the Church could rule Herself, and not be dictated to by kings and princes.

The man to fill that gap was Pope Alexander VI. If he was born in another time, there would have been little chance of him becoming a Priest, yet alone a Pope, but one cannot deny the fact that Pope Alexander did indeed restore the Church to Her former glory. Once Alexander had restored power back to the Church, from then on, more spiritual men could take charge, and see to the needs of the Church.

What is the importance of this investigation? Well it is simple. History has dealt Pope Alexander VI a bad hand, his name deserves to be cleared from the lies he was usually subscribed to. There is a need to show the truth, and whether that truth is bad, or good, it must be shown. Pope Alexander VI has been a bit of a black sheep for the Church, but this investigation wishes to show that there is no need for the Church to see Alexander in that light. Although the chances of Alexander ever being declared a Saint are near impossible, he should at least be given some credit for restoring the dignity of the Holy See, and the might of the Church.

One can look over all the evidence for one’s self and one can interpretate this evidence in a variety of manners; however, the burden of proof will rest on your shoulders in trying to prove that Alexander was the moral monster of legend. The majority of the evidence points out Alexander’s faults, and even less point’s out his strengths, yet only a fool, bigot, or completely ignorant person would still cling to the notion that he was a lustful, power maddened, and blood-thirsting creature.

Pope Alexander VI, was he the moral monster of legend? No, although he was not an upstanding moral spiritual leader, and by no means was he a good example of Christian virtues, he was not the vile man he is popularly made out to be. He was ruthless, yet the politics of the time called for it. It must be understood that the Papacy was viewed as an office, not a vocation, and it must be said that there were many times that Alexander performed in a manner that most other men would have shrunk away from. He was resilient, intelligent, and brave, he would have, and did, make a brilliant secular leader. De Maistre in his book “Du Pape” said it right when, “…the vices lightly passed over in a Louis XIV become most offensive and scandalous in an Alexander VI.” He did nothing that is wrong when viewed from the perspective of a secular leader, but as a spiritual one, he became the infamous “Borgia Pope”.

Was he truly concerned about the wellbeing of the Church? At times, it may seem that he was only concerned about himself, and his family, which was true, yet he did a great many things for the Church, and he ensured the propagation of the Faith to those people in the New World. Although not a great Churchman, he did bring back glory and dignity to the Holy See, and made the Church powerful and rich. It is important to realize, as Pope Leo the Great once said, “…the dignity of Peter suffers no diminution even in an unworthy successor.” Therefore, as much as an unworthy successor Alexander may have been, this does in no way damage or harms the truth of the Faith or the validity of the Catholic Church.



Loughlin, J. (1907). Pope Alexander VI. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.Retrieved June 1, 2008 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01289a.htm

Gardner, E. (1910). Francesco Guicciardini. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.Retrieved June 1, 2008 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07064a.htm


“The Prince”, by Nicolò Machiavelli. Translated by, W.K. Marriott, published by, William Benton, published in 1978. Part of Encyclopedia Britannica. Copyright 1952

“The Papacy”, by Paul Johnson. Published by, George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd. Published in 1997. Copyright 1997

“A short history of the Catholic Church”, by J. Derek Holmes and Bernard W. Bickers. Published by, Burns & Oates, published in 1992. Copyright 1983

“Rome and Vatican”, by Cinzia Valigi. Published by, Plurigraf Narni-Teri, published in 1990. Copyright 1990

5th of May feast of Pope Saint Pius V

Read about this Saint on Rorate Caeli

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pope’s Pain at Continued Attacks on Iraq’s Christians

(04 May 10 – RV) On Tuesday Pope Benedict XVI denounced renewed attacks against the Christian community in Iraq. A telegram written on his behalf by the Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone, was sent to Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa , the Syrian Archbishop of Mosul. It notes the Pope’s deep sadness at the “news of the tragic loss of life and injuries caused by the recent bomb attack near Mosul”.

The Holy Father was referring to a weekend bomb attack on a column of buses carrying Christian students from the village of Hamdaniya, 40 km east of Mosul, to University in the city.

Four people were killed and 171 injured, at least 17 seriously. Pope Benedict XVI asks local Church leaders to convey his heartfelt condolences to those affected by this crime and to their families. He reaffirms his spiritual closeness to the Christian communities of Iraq and renews his appeal to all men and women of good will to hold steadfast to the ways of peace and to repudiate all acts of violence which have caused so much suffering.

The Holy Father offers fervent prayers for the eternal repose of the victims and invokes Almighty God’s abundant gifts of strength and consolation upon those who are injured and mourning.