Skip to comments.ABC Pushes Anti-Catholic "Pope Joan" Tale
Posted on 12/28/2005 10:48:42 AM PST by infoguy
Check out the promotional ad for this Thursday evening's (December 29, 2005) episode of ABC's Primetime. The promo is for the story, "On the Trail of Pope Joan" (audiotape on file; emphasis mine):
"Diane Sawyer takes you on the trail of a passionate mystery. Just as intriguing as The Da Vinci Code. Chasing down centuries-old clues hidden even inside the Vatican. Could a woman disguised as a man have been Pope? Thursday night. One astonishing Primetime."
It doesn't get much uglier than this, folks. Quite simply, there was never a female pope, or "Pope Joan." The tale is a complete fabrication dating back to the 13th century - nearly 400 years after the reported "reign" of the so-called "Joan." For reliable summaries of the bogus tale, see this and this. Scholars debunked the fable hundreds of years ago, and recent books (this and this, for example) have further repudiated it.
Over the centuries, the "Pope Joan" story has been used as a slanderous tool to tarnish the Catholic Church and degrade Catholics. In his acclaimed 2003 book The New Anti-Catholicism, Philip Jenkins writes, "The Pope Joan legend is a venerable staple of the anti-Catholic mythology" (page 89). Jenkins adds,
"Though it has not the slightest foundation ... [f]rom the sixteenth century through the nineteenth, the tale was beloved by Protestants, since it testified to Catholic stupidity ... [Today] Pope Joan enjoys a lively presence on the Web, where feminist anti-Catholics celebrate her existence much as did seventeenth-century Calvinists" (page 89).
That a major network like ABC would lend credibility to such a vicious anti-Catholic smear is deplorable.
What could be worse? Donna Woolfolk Cross' novel, Pope Joan, seeks to advance the stature and validity of the fictional character, and a movie of this book is currently in production. Yikes.
You can tell a lot about a man (or an organization) by his enemies.
For a moment there I thought you were referring to Joan of Ark.
I'm breathlessly awaiting ABC's next passionate reportage: "Was Mohammed A Child Molester?"
Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs Seeing Is Believing
How is this "anti-Catholic"? I find it interesting.
Let me know when Diane Sawyer does one of these "investigative reports" on Mohammed, will you?
I do too. Had never heard this. Of course until a few months ago I had never heard the term 'anti-pope'. The Catholic Church has some interesting history to say the very least.
Right up there with Chariots of the Gods.
Actually, I think it does. The Catholic church will hardly rise or fall based on an "investigation" on ABC's "Primetime" of something that may or may not have happened 400 years ago. It just goes to show how desperate the media has become in their effort to make news. What's next...perhaps an in depth investigation into the Abominable Snowman? It would be just as relevant. Just do what 99.5% of the rest of America does, and ignore the show altogether.
Or maybe "Was Mohammed Gay?"
Many yeas ago before computers were common place in the classroom. I had my students do a 5 minute oral presentation on someone famous in history.
One of the boys was assigned to do a report on Joan of Arc.
The next morning the boy, dropped his encyclopedia on this desk and exclaimed, "How am I going to do a report on this lady?? She was captured by cannibals who beat her up and ate her."
By the expression on my face and the rest of the classroom, he knew he had our undivided attention.
"Really Miss. it is right here, she was beatified and cannibalized and her feast day is May 1st.
The MSM runs this kind of dreck, then when it fails they will claim there is no market for religous programs.
It's easy to ignore Primetime and their anti-Catholic bias; less easy to ignore it when it's right here on FR.
It's false scandal-mongering aimed at undermining the authority of the Pope.
The myth comes from various sources: The name possibly comes from a Pope John, who was derided for being affeminate who may have been mocked as "Pope Joan." That probably accounts for the name.
There was an incident of one of the Medici family (Catherine?) giving birth during a papal procession. This woman was powerful enough, it was joked that she was the real Pope, like people nowadays scornfully refer to President Hilllary. That probably accounts for many of the details.
And then there the street named for a Mrs. Pape, which non-Italians could easily mistake for being named after a female Pope.