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The lady was a pope
U.S. News & World Report ^ | 7/24/00 | LEWIS LORD

Posted on 12/03/2007 8:37:11 PM PST by Alex Murphy

The story is as enduring as it is dubious: A millennium or so ago in Rome, the pope was riding in a procession when suddenly she–that's right, she–went into labor and had a baby.

Nonsense? Europeans in the Middle Ages didn't think so. The story of a pope named Joan, writes historian J.N.D. Kelly in his Oxford Dictionary of Popes, "was accepted without question in Catholic circles for centuries." Only after the Reformation, when Protestants used the story to poke fun at Roman Catholics, did the Vatican begin to deny that one of its Holy Fathers had become an unholy mother.

The tale faded in the 17th century but never died. While most Americans apparently have never heard of the story, it continues to fascinate people in Europe. In the last three years, 2 million Germans–and about 100,000 Americans–have bought copies of Pope Joan, a historical novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross, a New York writer who suggests that a 400-year clerical coverup kept her hero from being recognized as one of history's most famous women. Legions of Americans likely will become believers, too, if Hollywood's Harry Ufland, producer of The Last Temptation of Christ and Snow Falling on Cedars, shoots the Pope Joan movie he hopes to make next year.

During the Middle Ages, many versions of the "popess" affair appeared. Most accounts came from friars compiling church histories, though the Vatican later would argue that Protestant forgers tinkered with the text. A few medieval chronicles said Joan's great deception occurred in the 10th or 11th century. The report that gained the widest acceptance, written in 1265 by a Dominican friar from Poland named Martin of Troppau, set the unblessed event in the ninth century.

Papal momma. According to most versions, spectators watched in horror as the pope, trying to mount a horse, went into labor and gave birth to a son. Moments later, some reports said, the crowd tied her feet to the horse's tail, then stoned her to death as she was dragged along a street. Still other records showed her banished to a convent and living in penance as her son rose to become a bishop.

The female pope reportedly was born in Germany of English missionary parents and grew up unusually bright in an era when learned women were considered unnatural and dangerous. To break the glass ceiling, it was said, she pretended to be male. At 12, she was taken in masculine attire to Athens by a "learned man," a monk described as her teacher and lover.

Disguised in the sexless garb of a cleric, she "made such progress in various sciences," Martin of Troppau wrote, "that there was nobody equal to her." Eventually, it was said, she became a cardinal in Rome, where her knowledge of the scriptures led to her election as Pope John Anglicus. Martin of Troppau's account had her ruling male-dominated Christendom from 855 till 858, specifically two years, seven months, and four days. Her original name, according to some, was Agnes. Others called her Gilberta and Jutta. Many years after she died–assuming she ever lived–scribes began calling her Joan, the feminine form of John.

But by no name would she win a place in the Vatican's official catalog of popes. The church insists that its papal line, dating back to St. Peter, is an unbroken string of men. Scholars tend to agree. An array of reference books, from the Encyclopaedia Britannica to the Oxford Dictionary of Popes, dismiss Pope Joan as a mythical or legendary figure, no more real than Paul Bunyan or Old King Cole. (Another Joan, the 15th-century martyr Joan of Arc, is honored by the church as a saint.)

The chief weakness of the Pope Joan story is the absence of any contemporary evidence of a female pope during the dates suggested for her reign. In each instance, clerical records show someone else holding the papacy and doing deeds that are transcribed in church history.

Another problem is the gap between the alleged event and the news of it. Not until the 13th century–400 years after Joan, by the most accepted accounts, ruled–does any mention of a female pope appear in any documents. That's akin to word breaking out just now that England in 1600 had a queen named Elizabeth.

The historical gap, some Joanites suggest, was deliberately created. Cross, the novelist, argues that clerics of the day were so appalled by Joan's trickery that they went to great lengths to avoid and eliminate any written report of it.

Busted. Once the story started, there was no stopping it. Some writers, including the 14th-century poet Petrarch, scorned Joan. But she also had backers. In Tuscany around 1400, her face was carved among the papal busts in the cathedral at Siena. It remained there, travelers said, until its replacement by the bust of a male pope two centuries later. God used her elevation, claimed one Renaissance writer, to demonstrate that women were equal to men.

Medieval accounts show the Vatican striving to avoid a repeat of its Joan episode. For several centuries, popes shunned the street where Joan allegedly gave birth. The pontiffs were said to regard the route as a scene of shame. The Vatican later would argue that the street was simply too narrow for a procession. In his 1999 book, The Legend of Pope Joan, British writer Peter Stanford reports visiting the Vatican and inspecting an unusual chair inspired by the trouble with Joan. The wooden throne, with a potty-style hole in the seat, is said to have been used until the 16th century in the ceremony of papal consecration. According to medieval accounts, each prospective pope would sit on the hole while an examining cleric felt under the seat. A moment later, the examiner would withdraw his hand and solemnly declare: "Our nominee is a man." Stanford, a former editor of London's Catholic Herald, argues that Pope Joan was a historical figure, although he doubts some of the story's details. Donna Cross agrees. "Where there's that much historical smoke, there must have been a fire," she says. "Something happened."

So, if a woman didn't become pope, what did happen? Joan's detractors can only guess, but a favorite hunch is that somebody a long time ago tried to be funny.

On the narrow Roman street in question–the Vicus Papissa–records from the 10th century show the well-to-do family of Giovanni Pape owning a home and a chapel. Years after the Papes were gone, it's suggested, a visitor joked that Vicus Papissa meant "the street of the woman pope." Over time, the wisecrack was embellished to include the outcome of a papal pregnancy, a tale riveting enough to become part of the church chronicles.

What Vicus Papissa really means, the skeptics say, is "the street of Mrs. Pape."


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: bravosierra; moacb; popejoan
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Nonsense? Europeans in the Middle Ages didn't think so. The story of a pope named Joan, writes historian J.N.D. Kelly in his Oxford Dictionary of Popes, "was accepted without question in Catholic circles for centuries." Only after the Reformation, when Protestants used the story to poke fun at Roman Catholics, did the Vatican begin to deny that one of its Holy Fathers had become an unholy mother.
1 posted on 12/03/2007 8:37:12 PM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

File this under, “I’ll believe anything as long as it maligns the Catholic Church.”


2 posted on 12/03/2007 8:44:36 PM PST by Antoninus (Republicans who support Rudy owe Bill Clinton an apology.)
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To: All
Who'da thunk that there's a stage musical about Pope Joan, written by Christopher Moore, based upon the novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross.

My guess is that this is the same Christopher Moore that wrote the novels Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal , and The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror.

3 posted on 12/03/2007 8:45:02 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: Alex Murphy

Would you normally believe U.S. News and Report as a publication that would report something without bias? If you wouldn’t, then why then do you take this article at its word?


4 posted on 12/03/2007 8:46:01 PM PST by Pyro7480 ("Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesus" -St. Ralph Sherwin's last words at Tyburn)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Alex Murphy

Alex...you must NEVER sleep since you ONLY post ANTI-Catholic items....your mother must be soooooo proud.


6 posted on 12/03/2007 8:50:18 PM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Religion Moderator

I thought the “Pope Joan” slanders were verboten, like Jack Chick.


7 posted on 12/03/2007 8:51:49 PM PST by Petronski (Reject the liberal superfecta: huckabee, romney, giuliani, mccain)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Petronski

No, the Pope Joan legend is not banned like Jack Chick materials.


9 posted on 12/03/2007 9:01:38 PM PST by Religion Moderator
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To: Religion Moderator

It should be.


10 posted on 12/03/2007 9:04:08 PM PST by Petronski (Reject the liberal superfecta: huckabee, romney, giuliani, mccain)
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To: Alex Murphy

Pope Joan or no Pope Joan, who cares? It does not change the true teachings of the Church. Could someone start a discussion on Britney Spears? Much more interesting.


11 posted on 12/03/2007 9:10:44 PM PST by 353FMG (Hillary - Al Qaeda's Dream Woman)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

Prior threads on Pope Joan:

Jeopardy Question Last Night: "Who is Pope Joan?"
Pope Joan (Diane Sawyer looks at FEMALE POPE)
ABC-TV DISCOVERS “POPE JOAN”
ABC's Bogus "Pope Joan" Story Also Hocked Debunked "Rule of Thumb" Myth
The Fable of “Pope Joan” [Debunks Diane Sawyer on ABC]

13 posted on 12/03/2007 9:18:23 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: sandyeggo; NYer; Salvation; Campion; ninenot; narses; AnAmericanMother; american colleen; ...

Annoying falsehoods being brought up thread.


14 posted on 12/03/2007 9:21:36 PM PST by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: StAthanasiustheGreat; OAKC0N; time4good; Mike32; genxer; PatriotEdition; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic Ping List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to all note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

15 posted on 12/03/2007 9:27:31 PM PST by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: Petronski

Agreed. This is the same sort of maligning of the Church that is done by lunatics like Jack Chick.

Posting it here is an attack on the Church and on all Catholics.


16 posted on 12/03/2007 9:27:57 PM PST by B Knotts (Tancredo '08!)
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To: B Knotts; All
This is the same sort of maligning of the Church that is done by lunatics like Jack Chick.

Regulars know what comes next....

17 posted on 12/03/2007 9:32:06 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: Alex Murphy
The Myth of Pope Joan

by Patrick Madrid

The Myth:
In the middle ages, there was a "Pope Joan," a woman who hid her gender and rose through the ranks of the Church, became a cardinal and was elected pope. No one knew she was a woman until, during a papal procession through the streets of Rome, she went into labor and gave birth to a child. She and the baby were killed on the spot by the mob, enraged at her imposture.

A lot of things are said about the alleged "Pope Joan." Depending on who is telling the story, she was a courageous feminist, a clever opportunist, a brilliant scholar who couldn't make it as a woman in a man's world. She is said to have been a wise ruler and an astute theologian, though, oddly, no decree or theological teaching purporting to have come from her has made its way down to our day.

In any case, the fact is, there was no Pope Joan. She exists only as pure legend, but one that makes for a sexy story. And when it comes to sexy stories, you know Hollywood will try its hand at making a blockbuster out of this piece of pope fiction.

New Line Cinema (that's right, the same good folks who produced The Last Temptation of Christ) has reportedly bought the movie rights to Pope Joan, the best-selling 1996 novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross. Her book is couched as an historical "novel" - embellishing on a grand scale the rather sparse details that have clung to the legend of a brilliant, plain girl who rises to the highest levels in Church service, culminating in her being elected pope by an unsuspecting college of cardinals.

The way the book is written and the way it's being promoted support my concern that it will be seen by most of its historically ignorant readers, not as a novel, a fiction, but as a real biography of the one woman who "made it to the top." When the movie comes out, this problem will certainly grow in proportions.

It's important to remember that even if there had been a female impostor pope, this would just mean that an invalid election had taken place, nothing more. Other invalidly elected claimants to the papal office have come and gone over the centuries, and the fact that a woman made that list would simply mean that a woman made that list, She would not have been pope - no one invalidly elected would be. And nothing in the Church's teachings about the papacy would be injured or disproved.

But in reality, the Pope Joan story is all sizzle and no steak. The basic outline of the main legend (actually, there have been several competing legends over the centuries) has it that in the ninth or tenth century, a plain but extraordinarily brilliant young woman contrived to enter the university disguised as a man. Her intellect outstripped her male classmates and she shot to the top rank of students. Talk of her prowess in law, science, rhetoric, philosophy and languages was widespread.

In another legend, popularized by several 13th century works such as the Chronicle of Martin Polonus, the Universal Chronicle of Metz and Wonders of the City of Rome, she traveled first to Greece with her boyfriend (why he wanted a girlfriend who disguised herself as a man is unknown), made a name for herself in the university there, then traveled to Rome.

Here all the legends converge into the main one that has come down to our day. Once in Rome, Joan managed to enter religious life (although no legend is able to say which order she entered), was ordained a priest and earned a high reputation as a notary in the papal court.

Eventually, she was noticed by the pope and made a cardinal. You can guess what happens next. She is eventually elected pope, takes the name John, and sets about skillfully ruling the Church, It's at this point that the most dramatic scenes of the story unfold.

The legends vary as to how Joan's gender and identity were discovered. One holds that she was granted a vision by God in which she was shown two options for her fate, being discovered and disgraced by the world or roasting in hell for her crime. She chose the former. Another version says she got pregnant by one of her curial advisors and somehow was able to maintain the charade until she gave birth to the baby.

At that point her secret was discovered and she was deposed as pope and sent to a convent to do penance for the rest of her life. According to this legend, the child she bore went on to became the bishop of Ostia, about 30 miles southwest of Rome, and when she died, he had her body buried there. Of course, no evidence exists to support this.

The main detail these legends have in common is that Joan was discovered because her hanky panky with a cardinal or secretary resulted in pregnancy, and the childbirth exposed her fraud. The main legend is the most gory on this point. In it, Pope Joan goes into labor while riding in her sede gestiatoria - the portable throne in which popes were carried - as her procession passed the Coliseum on its way from St, Peter's Basilica to St. John Lateran Cathedral.

The procession halted, the baby was born, and the confused and angry onlookers killed Pope Joan and her baby on the spot. Most accounts say she was killed by stoning, another says she died in childbirth as the mob watching the spectacle shouted and insulted her. Still another says she was dragged to death behind a horse as punishment. Either way, the legends agree that the Romans didn't appreciate the unpleasant discovery.

Several odd historical details gave weight to the legend, including the fact that among the carved busts of the popes in the cathedral of Sienna was one of an unnamed woman, No one knows who created it or how it was put there, but when Pope Clement VIII (reigned 1592 - 1605) discovered it, he ordered it reworked enough to represent Pope Zacharias, whose image had not previously been included in the collection.

This is not surprising, though, given the widespread belief in Europe in the Pope Joan legend during the 13th through 18th centuries. Versions abounded, and many credulous folk, Catholics included, were sincerely convinced that there had indeed been a female pope.

But the facts of history show otherwise. The primary proofs that this is all just a fable are these: First, the earliest point that we can trace the legend to is the mid- 13th century, but the legend didn't really gain wide currency until the late 14th century.

No evidence of any kind exists from the ninth century (when Pope Joan was alleged to have reigned), nor do we see any in the 10th through 12th centuries. None of the annals or acts of the popes that were written between the ninth and 13th centuries (and none after that, either) mention her.

Church historian J. P. Kirsch wrote that "Not one contemporaneous historical source among the papal histories knows anything about her, also, no mention is made of her until the middle of the 13th century. Now it is incredible that the appearance of a 'popess,' if it was a historical fact, would be noticed by none of the numerous historians from the 10th to the 13th century.

In the history of the popes, there is no place where this legendary figure will fit in. Between Leo IV and Benedict III, where Martinus Polonus places her, she cannot be inserted . . ."(Article on Pope Joan, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913).

So where did the legend come from? There are two likely possibilities, The first is that the Roman population became disgusted with the corrupt influence wielded over Pope Sergius (reigned 904-911) by the powerful and wealthy Theodora Theophylact, and more specifically by her young daughter Morozia, a cunning and exceptionally attractive woman. It appears that Morozia was Sergius' mistress and bore him at least one son (the future Pope John XI).

The fabulously wealthy and prestigious Theophylact family wielded immense power in Rome during the 10th century, even, sadly, over several popes. This is a sorry episode in the history of the Church, one which displayed a decadence and immorality that even popes, at times, could fall prey to - a reminder to us all that men, even the holiest of men, are not invulnerable to temptation and personal weakness. Despite their sins, Christ's promise that the Church would be protected from error was not, nor has it ever been, broken.

From the details of Sergius III's pontificate, it seems clear that he was a vain, violent and sensuous man. It's quite possible that the disgusted faithful took to mocking him or one of his immediate successors because he was perceived to have been under the influence of the Theophylact women.

Some historians trace the legend of a female pope to Morozia, saying the people called her "Pope Joan" to mock the weak popes she controlled, in the same way some American first ladies have been called "president" to mock their perceived weak husbands.

Another possible explanation for the Pope Joan legend lies in the conduct of the much maligned Pope John VIII (reigned 872-882). He appears to have had a very weak personality, even perhaps somewhat effeminate.

Cardinal Baronius, in his Church history Annals, suggests that John VIII's reputation as effeminate gave rise to the legend. Indeed, it would seem that over time, the common folk added ever more lurid embellishments until the vulgar jokes about the hapless (and certainly male) pope ballooned and metamorphosed into a female "popessa."


Patrick Madrid is the editor of Envoy magazine, a Catholic journal of apologetics and evangelization. This article originally appeared in Envoy magazine and was later reprinted in Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid.

18 posted on 12/03/2007 10:10:35 PM PST by BlessedBeGod
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To: Alex Murphy; Patrick Madrid
More objectivity, "Alex"? You're a broken record.


19 posted on 12/04/2007 4:35:56 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Petronski

Of course not. Phony deacons and phony popes are allowed.


20 posted on 12/04/2007 4:37:41 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Alex Murphy
The story of a pope named Joan, writes historian J.N.D. Kelly in his Oxford Dictionary of Popes, "was accepted without question in Catholic circles for centuries."

While some ignorant Catholics may have believed in this legend, it has never been accepted by the Church or by educated Catholics. Scholars certainly don't accept it. The fact that some novelist wants to make money off of it only means that there are still people today who are ignorant enough to believe such nonsense.

21 posted on 12/04/2007 5:01:39 AM PST by steadfastconservative
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To: Alex Murphy

I see that the quality of your topics has remained consistent. :)


22 posted on 12/04/2007 5:12:55 AM PST by MarkBsnr (V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae. R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.)
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To: Religion Moderator; Petronski; Alex Murphy
No, the Pope Joan legend is not banned like Jack Chick materials.

Same hate-mongering, different century. I see no reason why it isn't.

I suspect this entire posting is in response to the thread from yesterday. (Link to a relevant post I made on the thread.)

23 posted on 12/04/2007 5:20:37 AM PST by GCC Catholic (Sour grapes make terrible whine.)
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To: Religion Moderator

I gree that it should be banned. It’s right up there with 1918 KKK tracts ending with the college of Cardinals murdering the Joan woman when she gave birth during a Papal procession.


24 posted on 12/04/2007 5:30:22 AM PST by Cheverus
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To: B Knotts

Maybe - I see your point about it being Anti-Catholic, as USN&WR is usually anti-Christian, but it’s not exactly in the same league as Jack Chick. It’s a legitimate mainstream news magazine, whether you like it or not.


25 posted on 12/04/2007 6:20:35 AM PST by Reagan79 (Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys)
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To: Reagan79

I agree...I’m talking here specifically of the Pope Joan nonsense.


26 posted on 12/04/2007 6:49:38 AM PST by B Knotts (Tancredo '08!)
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To: All
KEYWORDS:: bravosierra; moacb; Click to Add Keyword


27 posted on 12/04/2007 6:52:58 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: Alex Murphy

Have you gone insane? What is that picture?


28 posted on 12/04/2007 6:57:45 AM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Alex Murphy
moacb

Apparently I'm not here enough anymore. What is that?

29 posted on 12/04/2007 6:57:48 AM PST by GCC Catholic (Sour grapes make terrible whine.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Indeed. But all five that you cite are in response to then-ongoing discussions on television about this issue (a Jeopardy question and a Diane Sawyer TV program), and all of them have as their object the direct rebuttal of the myth of Pope Joan. It is for those reasons that all of these threads were posted by Catholics. Are you implying that those Catholic posters were trivially “perpetuating” this issue on FR? I would say that they were merely refuting it.

Does your posting of a 7 year-old article have the same aim of refuting a currently ongoing discussion in the MSM? If not, then why bring it up afresh now? Since the massively overwhelming opinion of historians is that the story is bogus and leads to nothing good, one can only wonder what prompts this article’s presence here. While the article does, in fact, get around to citing the usual denials of authenticity for the legend, its first third is murky enough to plant a seed of doubt on the scholars’ findings. Is that, in fact, the goal of of posting such sensationalist nonsense now?


30 posted on 12/04/2007 7:36:38 AM PST by magisterium
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To: B Knotts
Agreed. This is the same sort of maligning of the Church that is done by lunatics like Jack Chick.

How can it be maligning your church when the history has been written by people of your church???

Besides, isn't there a history of some of your popes as being homosexual??? And some that fathered children???

I'd much rather admit to a female pope than a homosexual pope...But that's just me...

31 posted on 12/04/2007 7:54:33 AM PST by Iscool
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To: Petronski

What is Jack Chick? I don’t want to step on any toes, but I have never heard of him.


32 posted on 12/04/2007 7:54:54 AM PST by DeLaine
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To: narses

Is this a different Catholic thread list than the one NYer has??
Thank you


33 posted on 12/04/2007 7:54:55 AM PST by DeLaine
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To: DeLaine

A rather insane cartoonist who spreads vicious lies about Catholicism: the Holy Eucharist is some kind of “death cookie,” thinks like that.


34 posted on 12/04/2007 7:58:03 AM PST by Petronski (Reject the liberal superfecta: huckabee, romney, giuliani, mccain)
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To: Alex Murphy

Just in time for Christmas we have US Snews and World Distort bashing Catholics over the head with fairy tales.


35 posted on 12/04/2007 8:00:10 AM PST by NeoCaveman ("On illegal immigration, Huckabee makes George Bush sound like Tom Tancredo." - Ann Coulter)
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To: Iscool
I'd much rather admit to a female pope than a homosexual pope...But that's just me...

Why would you "admit" to a falsehood?

That's just stupid.

36 posted on 12/04/2007 8:00:15 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: DeLaine

Wikipedia has what seems to be a fair (and also pretty respectful) biography of him.


37 posted on 12/04/2007 8:05:11 AM PST by GCC Catholic (Sour grapes make terrible whine.)
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To: magisterium; Alex Murphy; Religion Moderator
You have called for the subject of "Pope Joan" to be banned from this forum being offensive to Catholics. Yet when Alex pointed out that Catholics have also posted on the same subject you stand in defense of their right to post this subject. You can't have it both ways. Either the subject should be banned for everyone or it is not banned at all.

Does your posting of a 7 year-old article have the same aim of refuting a currently ongoing discussion in the MSM? If not, then why bring it up afresh now? Since the massively overwhelming opinion of historians is that the story is bogus and leads to nothing good, one can only wonder what prompts this article’s presence here. While the article does, in fact, get around to citing the usual denials of authenticity for the legend, its first third is murky enough to plant a seed of doubt on the scholars’ findings. Is that, in fact, the goal of of posting such sensationalist nonsense now?

This whole paragraph is just a backhanded way of attributing motives to a poster by questioning the motives of the poster.

"Attributing motives to another poster or otherwise reading his mind is “making it personal.""

38 posted on 12/04/2007 8:18:29 AM PST by Between the Lines (I am very cognizant of my fallibility, sinfulness, and other limitations.)
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To: Between the Lines
This whole paragraph is just a backhanded way of attributing motives to a poster by questioning the motives of the poster.

Everything we write says a little about who we are, I believe.

When one frequents a forum such as this on a daily basis and reads multiple postings by the same author per day, I'd contend that it is impossible not to a) get to know the poster's personality and b) develop an understanding of his/her motives. Unless of course, one has no critical faculties nor intelligence. It's not judgment. One simply reads what is put out by the individual in question.

You can protest somebody's judgment about a poster but it's usually been made as the result of deja vu. On any given day, there may be nothing remarkable about a person's behavior. However, over the course of months and years, certain patterns appear. The same things are repeated, the same issues are returned to. The same reactions occur. A picture begins to emerge.

Of course, we're not allowed to voice what we've seen and learned but that's OK. We all know how the game is played by now and most of us understand what's happening.

39 posted on 12/04/2007 8:47:56 AM PST by marshmallow
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: marshmallow
Everything we write says a little about who we are, I believe.

When one frequents a forum such as this on a daily basis and reads multiple postings by the same author per day, I'd contend that it is impossible not to a) get to know the poster's personality and b) develop an understanding of his/her motives. Unless of course, one has no critical faculties nor intelligence. It's not judgment. One simply reads what is put out by the individual in question.

You can protest somebody's judgment about a poster but it's usually been made as the result of deja vu. On any given day, there may be nothing remarkable about a person's behavior. However, over the course of months and years, certain patterns appear. The same things are repeated, the same issues are returned to. The same reactions occur. A picture begins to emerge.

Of course, we're not allowed to voice what we've seen and learned but that's OK. We all know how the game is played by now and most of us understand what's happening.

You really need to continue pinging me despite promises to the contrary, since you continue to talk about me despite promises to the contrary.

41 posted on 12/04/2007 8:58:10 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: Between the Lines; Alex Murphy

Uh...I, to the best of my recollection, never asked for this topic to be placed “under the ban,” though I probably would be less than saddened if it were. I merely sought the rationale for posting a 7 year-old article about such an inherently divisive topic, and further questioned the citation - in order to create a juxtaposition of sorts - of five other threads, which at least were current-events related when they were first posted some years ago.

As for questioning motives, well, what is one to think when a 7 year-old article is posted that is thoroughly detached from any issues in current news, the movies, etc.? I merely asked for an explanation. How far back does an article have to go, and how unnecessarily incendiary does it have to be, before it should be clear to a potential poster that the potential gains are far outweighed by the losses incurred on the Religion Forum? Consider that many seekers and fence-sitters are on this site, and the inter-religious sniping they see here is most unseemly. We don’t do very well in this regard even in legitimate areas of contention; the quality of debate often (on both sides of an issue) quickly turns to mud slinging and “Yeah, well so are you!” types of “discourse.” How much worse, in the aforementioned seekers’ eyes, are threads that clearly are out to serve no good purpose? Doesn’t this sort of thing make us ALL look bad?


43 posted on 12/04/2007 11:55:45 AM PST by magisterium
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To: Between the Lines; Alex Murphy; marshmallow; magisterium; Religion Moderator
You have called for the subject of "Pope Joan" to be banned from this forum being offensive to Catholics. Yet when Alex pointed out that Catholics have also posted on the same subject you stand in defense of their right to post this subject. You can't have it both ways. Either the subject should be banned for everyone or it is not banned at all.

No. I think you're oversimplifying the issue. When something comes up in the media (be that "Pope Joan," "the Da Vinci Code," "the Golden Compass," or even despite his being taboo here, Jack Chick), it merits discussion, especially if it's in the context of analyzing and arguing against it. Each of the five articles mentioned previously about "Pope Joan" are in this context: one informing about a book, one calling to action in response to a question on Jeopardy, and three clearly debunking the myth in response to it being in the MSM stories.

This whole paragraph is just a backhanded way of attributing motives to a poster by questioning the motives of the poster.

Yet the basic facts of the paragraph are true.

From the best that I can tell, by ordering us to not "make it personal" the RM is asking us to give posters the benefit of the doubt as to their motives by sticking to the issues. We all make judgments; that's part of being human. Not "making it personal" is a way to keep those judgments to ourselves to keep relative peace here on the forum. That said, sometimes, some posters make it very very difficult to do that.

None of these posts are done in isolation; FR is a community, and members of a community have personalities that, as time goes on, are easier to discern. Sometimes this is beneficial, sometimes it isn't, but either way it's inevitable.

Context is everything. What a poster posts, when the poster posts, and what else has been posted in recent memory are all important. I think Marshmallow's analysis in 39 explains the situation very well.

But I'm not the RM, so take my 2 cents worth as just that.

44 posted on 12/04/2007 11:55:54 AM PST by GCC Catholic (Sour grapes make terrible whine.)
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To: Religion Moderator
No, the Pope Joan legend is not banned like Jack Chick materials.

So, should we all muck up FR's bandwidth by posting seven year old articles? If this article was current, it would be one thing, but when people go to the trouble to scrounge up something from seven years ago just to poke a stick at the Catholics on the forum...well..I don't see the logic there.

45 posted on 12/04/2007 4:01:50 PM PST by sockmonkey
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To: Petronski; GCC Catholic; Alex Murphy; Cheverus; magisterium; Between the Lines; marshmallow; ...
Here’s the deal. Jack Chick materials monger hatred plain and simple and therefore are not allowed on this forum.

The Pope Joan rumor, on the other hand, was widely believed for nearly four centuries, from the 1200’s through the late 1500’s. Evidently it did not become a tool for bashing Catholicism until well after the Reformation which began in 1517.

In other words, the history of the rumor is of general interest and is therefore subject to discussion on open threads in the Religion Forum. That the Catholic Church officially debunked the rumor nearly five centuries ago does not negate the interest in the rumor.

Also, the age of the article is immaterial. Many articles on the Religion Forum date back a century, several centuries, two millennia or more.

Discuss the issues all you want, but do NOT make it personal!

46 posted on 12/04/2007 10:04:58 PM PST by Religion Moderator
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To: GCC Catholic; marshmallow

I agree with your post and with Marshmallow’s.

The impressions do emerge, whether or not it is allowable to comment on them.


47 posted on 12/04/2007 10:48:16 PM PST by Running On Empty ((The three sorriest words:"It's too late"))
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To: magisterium
to the best of my recollection, never asked for this topic to be placed “under the ban,”

You are correct. I have mistaken you for somebody else and I apologize for that. I was following too many threads/conversations yesterday for my poor mind and got confused. I promise to do better in the future.

Again, sorry for my confusion.

48 posted on 12/05/2007 5:13:20 AM PST by Between the Lines (I am very cognizant of my fallibility, sinfulness, and other limitations.)
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To: Between the Lines
I thank you for your graciousness, BtL.

In a perfect FR world, we could all agree to keep our more contentious threads relevant to our actual theological disagreements, and then try to keep those disagreements "civil" in tone. The mud-slinging and ill-will we too often manifest is a poor witness indeed to the many lurkers on this site who are still finding their way to God. I just wish that we would all stop dredging up the "gotcha" types of stuff that don't adress legitimate differences of opinion, but only serve to make some other group look bad. Members of Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Mormon and Noachide groups all stand guilty at the bar when it comes to this. In the end, God cannot be pleased with any of us. Perhaps we all need to remember that when we're tempted to posting those sorts of threads and making comments on them..

49 posted on 12/05/2007 6:27:49 AM PST by magisterium
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To: magisterium

Dittos and amen.

It’s especially true regarding the effect that the baiting and contentiousness has on lurkers-—who are, BTW, very likely to be just as sharp-minded and perceptive as the active posters are.


50 posted on 12/05/2007 6:57:46 AM PST by Running On Empty ((The three sorriest words:"It's too late"))
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