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Mystery of the pregnant pope: New film reopens one of the Vatican's most enduring wounds
Daily Mail ^ | June 22, 2010 | Peter Stanford

Posted on 06/21/2010 9:45:25 PM PDT by Alex Murphy

Catholics have long been told there has only been one English pope - Adrian IV in the 1150s. But according to many medieval chronicles, John Anglicus - John the English - reigned from AD855 for two years, seven months and four days before the astonishing revelation that he was, in fact, a she called Joan.

Many of the medieval Books Of Popes, the principal source for the history of the papacy during the Dark Ages, record the tale of a young girl born of English missionary parents.

Raised in Germany at Fulda - the final resting place of St Boniface, who had travelled there from his native Devon to convert pagans - it is said she was clever and spent all her time in the libraries Boniface had established.

When she was 12, she was told she could not continue her studies alongside the boys in her class, but had to marry and have children.

She refused and, donning a monk's cowl and ankle-length tunic to pass herself off as a man, ran away in the company of what some chroniclers say was her teacher, others her lover.

They headed for Greece, a centre of learning, and Joan is said to have impressed all of Athens with her learning. By the 840s, she set off again - for Rome.

It was there that she caught the eye of Pope Leo IV, best remembered for building the defensive Leonine walls that still surround part of the Vatican.

Believing, like everyone else, that she was a man, he promoted her to his inner circle and, as he lay dying, recommended her as his successor.

Popes at that time were often elected by popular acclaim of Roman citizens and, thanks to Leo's patronage, Joan got the nod.

By all accounts, she was a

(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: catholic; freformed; popejoan
Catholics have long been told there has only been one English pope - Adrian IV in the 1150s. But according to many medieval chronicles, John Anglicus - John the English - reigned from AD855 for two years, seven months and four days before the astonishing revelation that he was, in fact, a she called Joan.

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1 posted on 06/21/2010 9:45:28 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Um, sounds like the Catholic version of “Yentl.”


2 posted on 06/21/2010 10:35:52 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Amber Lamps !"~~)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Pure nonsense. There are no such “Books of the Popes” citing any such Pope Joan. The first mention of any such pope was in the 13th century, 400 years later. In that story, clearly a fiction Pope Joan reigned in 1099. The problem with taking that assertion seriously is that Pope Urban II, who called forth the Crusades, reigned in 1099. He died July 29th and a mere two weeks later, Pope Paschall II reigned.

Those who would try to parlay the fiction into legend or slander realized they’d have to pick a much earlier date for the alleged Pope Joan, so chose the ninth century. The dates of the Popes’ reigns in the ninth century are well recorded, so no such pope could have existed then, but such knowledge was certainly much scarcer among the townspeople:

If I created a story about a Governor Baker of California in 1973, Freepers would quickly object that Reagan was governor then. However, if I spoke of a Governor, I’d be quite credible.


3 posted on 06/21/2010 11:05:47 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Alex Murphy

I saw this referred to on the History Channel once ...

“Finally, there is the peculiar pierced chair in the Vatican Museum. A host of medieval travellers record its use in the election ceremony for popes. Before an appointment could be confirmed, the candidate had to sit in the chair, which has a large key-shaped hole cut in its seat. The youngest deacon present would kneel down and reach up and under the chair through the hole to check its occupant was a man.

Why else would the Church employ what is popularly known as the ‘ball-feeling chair’ if Joan had never existed?”


4 posted on 06/21/2010 11:12:24 PM PDT by Lmo56
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Later histories placed the reign of Pope Joan between the reigns of Leo IV and Benedict III. Leo died and Benedict was elevated in 855. But could a female pope have ruled then?

Among the commonfolk, the date, six centuries prior, must have seemed plausible... unless one knew what was going on just after 855: The Photios controversy.

The emperor of Constantinople had deposed the Patriarch of Constantinople. All the priests of Constantinople were loyal to him, however, so no successor could be chosen among them. Therefore, the emperor elevated a layman to become bishop. The bishop of Rome, the pope, siding with the deposed patriarch, objected that such an elevation was improper. The emperor insisted the Roman patriarch had no such authority to object. Thus began the controversies which would result in the Great Schism between Orthodox and Catholic churches.

So, according to the Pope Joan legend, this all unfolded immediately following Pope Joan. How could extensive debates which followed never make any reference to the supposed fact that the See of Rome had just been occupied by someone canonically unfit to be a bishop? To the fifteenth-century scalliwag, A.D. 855 seemed like a remote and unknowable date. But to a historian, it was a particularly well-documented and well-detailed era of Catholic history.

So why create such a scurrilous tale if it were truly fictitious?

The legend probably comes from Pope John XI, not, as the story would have it Pope John VIII. John XI was from Italy, not England. John’s mother was ruler of Rome. He was a weak, ineffectual ruler, dominated by her, until she was overthrown. Then, he was afforded virtually no temporal (”secular”) power. His reign was considered by many to be the deepest humiliation of the papacy. Pope Joan may be a conflation of John XI and his mother, whom critics may well have scoffed was a “de facto pope.”


5 posted on 06/21/2010 11:23:37 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Lmo56

The chair, first used in the twelfth century (three centuries after Pope Joan supposedly reigned) was used by Roman emperors many, many centuries before Pope Joan supposedly reigned. The supposed use for checking out whether the Pope has balls is of a satirical origin.

I also saw on the History Channel that Jesus was really a genetically impaired woman, that he married Mary Magdeline, that he was only celibate because he was impotent, that he never existed, that someone else was substituted for him on the cross, etc., etc., etc.

The History Channel is absolutely notorious for its persistently anti-Christian trash. But if it tells you something that is specifically anti-Catholic, then it must be telling the truth, huh?


6 posted on 06/21/2010 11:28:48 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus

One other supposed support for Pope Joan:

For centuries, Papal processions have avoided a narrow street called “Via Papessa.” Supposedly, this is where Pope Joan was killed.

The problem is that the reason for processions avoiding it is obvious: it’s too narrow. Further, “Via Papessa” may seem to an English ear to be an Italian feminizaition of “Il Papa,” “the Pope.”

Nope. “Il Papa” means, simply, “The Dad.” Feminizing that would be “Mama,” not “Papessa.” Along that street, in the 10th century, when it was named, there lived a wealthy family named “Pape.” The matriarch, “La Papessa,” built a chapel on that street.


7 posted on 06/21/2010 11:42:44 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
This article, The Popess Who Just Won't Go Away, corroborates what you've written, with the interesting addition that it was the Calvinist, David Blondel, who first debunked this nonsense.

As early as the 15th century, when the first stirrings of what might be called a more disciplined approach to history had begun, the story of Joan was being called into question. When the fable was used as anti-Catholic fodder during the Reformation, Catholic historians began to question its historicity. And soon, oddly enough, their perspective was confirmed by a French Calvinist historian.

David Blondel (1590-1655) was a Protestant living in the Netherlands who effectively used the early tools of historical study to dismantle the myth of Pope Joan. Tracking the history of the popes during that period and the lack of any contemporary mention of Joan in what would have been, if true, an astounding event to be exploited by papal enemies, he dismissed the legend. His fellow Protestants of the era dismissed Blondel because, as Pierre Bayle said, "the Protestant interest requires the story of Joan to be true."

But the story is protean, so it persists. These days, it serves the secular agenda as an example of the supposedly "hypocritical" origins of priestly celibacy and the all-male clergy in the Catholic Church. The presumption is that such propaganda will cause the Church to change her practice in these areas. That's not going to happen, of course, but it will be an effective polemic in certain circles against the Church's moral teaching.

Eventually, the story will probably serve as the first combination foot ointment and salad dressing.

8 posted on 06/21/2010 11:44:21 PM PDT by cantabile
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To: Alex Murphy

No big deal here, this is possibly a remake.
I watched a movie called Pope Joan in the either late seventies or early eighties.
Where she gets pregnant to the local king, not sure which one, because he knows her secret and has his way with her.
In the end she falls down in the street going into labour in front of crowds of worshippers and when they realise what is happening promptly stone her to death. Was a good movie/


9 posted on 06/22/2010 2:25:01 AM PDT by MrDaddyLongLegs (You dont need any qualifications to be a Politician)
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To: cantabile
Eventually, the story will probably serve as the first combination foot ointment and salad dressing.

Twip! for your dip! Twip! for your do!

10 posted on 06/22/2010 3:45:48 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Beam me somewhere, Mr. Scott. You pick the century and I'll pick the spot!)
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To: Alex Murphy
Must be the silly season again.

If this has happened. Photius would have been screaming about it. We hear no claims of a female pope till the 12th century.

Kind of funny though it was a Catholic legend debunked by a Calvinist.

11 posted on 06/22/2010 4:24:33 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: cantabile

Curiously, I’ve read where the Benedictines are partly responsible for its popularity, finding a morality play in it. Presumably, they had no intention for it to be taken as true and as a slander against the papacy, but I do wonder their moral had been.


12 posted on 06/22/2010 4:48:03 AM PDT by dangus
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To: MrDaddyLongLegs; Alex Murphy; cantabile; fieldmarshaldj

For the record:

The film was released over a year ago. Another was made in 1970. The “journalist” is just writing about the movie because he is hawking his own propaganda book, “The She-Pope.”


13 posted on 06/22/2010 4:59:39 AM PDT by dangus
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To: MrDaddyLongLegs; Alex Murphy; cantabile; fieldmarshaldj

For the record:

The film was released over a year ago. Another was made in 1970. The “journalist” is just writing about the movie because he is hawking his own propaganda book, “The She-Pope.”


14 posted on 06/22/2010 4:59:44 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Alex Murphy; dangus; Lmo56
It's all true. Pope Joan is a true feminist. She is a model to lesbians and bisexuals and transvestites everywhere. Kuds to Alex for supporting this LGBT movement

Joanie was also one of the progressives of the 9th century (since she was gay, what else could she be?) and promoted the use of rockets in warfare (male symbolism getting fired and destroyed -- quite true) and also foresaw the use of the iPod.

And that ball-feeling chair is true, like the ancient origins of the port-a-potty. A chair with a hole cut into it just where you place your nasty bits -- what else could it be used for? As a toilet you say? Naah, that's too obvious, it must be a ball-feeler

Now next we have to prove that all the Popes from St. Peter until Joan were all imaginary and only Joan was real and was the first Pope. That must be true as you can now reference this sentence and give it as proof for the first pope Joan and the ball-feelers of Lmo56
15 posted on 06/22/2010 5:30:44 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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To: Lmo56

You wrote:

“Why else would the Church employ what is popularly known as the ‘ball-feeling chair’ if Joan had never existed?””

Two points:

1) The existence of the chair in no way implies the existence of a “Pope Joan”

2) where is the evidence this charis even exists first? I have seen people mention it, but isn’t there more than hearsay?

It seems to me that this is all very suspect. First of all, the seat in question is called sedia stercoraria whioh clearly means it is a toilet chair (a commode if you will). Also, the person who first claimed that this chair was used in papal election of coronation ceremonies - a Dominican named Robert of Uzès - described it from one of his VISIONS. He never actually saw it. He just saw it in a vision so who knows how accurate that info is?

The simple fact is that “Pope Joan” is a made up story with no basis in history whatsoever.


16 posted on 06/22/2010 5:47:36 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: Cronos; Alex Murphy

>> It’s all true. Pope Joan is a true feminist. She is a model to lesbians and bisexuals and transvestites everywhere. Kuds to Alex for supporting this LGBT movement <<

Bwah-ha-ha-ha! Now that there is funny.


17 posted on 06/22/2010 5:47:41 AM PDT by dangus
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To: vladimir998

Actually, the chair does exist. But its creation predates the legend of Pope Joan by many centuries, and its use was a couple centuries after Pope Joan supposedly lived. And given how many robes and that the pope wears during his coronation (when it was used), can you possibly imagine how awkward it would have to be to sit on the throne in such a way as to allow someone underneath to reach up and check gender?


18 posted on 06/22/2010 5:51:53 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Alex Murphy

Ya know, I didn’t even notice this whopper:

“Popes at that time were often elected by popular acclaim of Roman citizens and, thanks to Leo’s patronage, Joan got the nod.”

Elected by popular acclaim????


19 posted on 06/22/2010 6:10:00 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Alex Murphy

Ya know, I didn’t even notice this whopper:

“Popes at that time were often elected by popular acclaim of Roman citizens and, thanks to Leo’s patronage, Joan got the nod.”

Elected by popular acclaim????


20 posted on 06/22/2010 6:10:00 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus

well, what’s really starnge is that one of the descriptions that is bandied about regarding this “inspection” is that the pope would be naked. If he’s naked, then why would there be a need for the chair?

The story makes no sense!


21 posted on 06/22/2010 6:15:54 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: vladimir998

The crazy things vicious hate-mongering slanderers will unquestioningly believe!

(Sue he’s naked, but they’re not ALLOWED to look!)

This is all starting to remind me of the vacuum potty episode of MythBusters.


22 posted on 06/22/2010 6:21:43 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Alex Murphy
New film reopens one of the Vatican's most enduring wounds

Most enduring myth is more like it.

23 posted on 06/22/2010 6:36:36 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: dangus

But it’s TRUE — Alex says that there was a Pope Jeannie and it’s googlable, hence it must be true. Here’s to Pope Ellen and Alex for supporting the LGBT movement by revealing interesting historical FACTUAL lesbians and bisxuals like Eve, Nefertiti, Abe’s wife Sara, etc.


24 posted on 06/22/2010 6:56:58 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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To: dangus

But it’s TRUE — Alex says that there was a Pope Jeannie and it’s googlable, hence it must be true.


25 posted on 06/22/2010 6:57:06 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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To: Cronos
But it’s TRUE — Alex says that there was a Pope Jeannie and it’s googlable, hence it must be true. Here’s to Pope Ellen and Alex for supporting the LGBT movement by revealing interesting historical FACTUAL lesbians and bisxuals like Eve, Nefertiti, Abe’s wife Sara, etc.

Ping me when you talk about me.

26 posted on 06/22/2010 7:51:39 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2503089/posts?page=9#9)
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To: Alex Murphy

Sorry about that — meant to add you in, hence the double posts.


27 posted on 06/22/2010 7:58:45 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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To: Cronos
Sorry about that — meant to add you in, hence the double posts.

Which of course explains the double-not-ping on top of the three-times slander.

28 posted on 06/22/2010 8:07:10 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2503089/posts?page=9#9)
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To: Alex Murphy

True, that it does. I see you posted another one on the LGBT role model Pape Joan.


29 posted on 06/22/2010 9:45:46 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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To: vladimir998

According to the article the chair is in the Vatican
Museum. You go look and come back and tell us if it
is there.


30 posted on 06/22/2010 10:18:41 AM PDT by Doulos1 (Bitter Clinger Forever)
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To: Lmo56

**Why else would the Church employ what is popularly known as the ‘ball-feeling chair’ if Joan had never existed?”**

Spuns like a potty chair to me.


31 posted on 06/22/2010 11:07:21 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar ( Viva los SB 1070)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Spuns like a potty chair to me.

SOUNDS like a potty chair to me.


32 posted on 06/22/2010 11:17:40 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar ( Viva los SB 1070)
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To: Cronos; Alex Murphy; dangus; Lmo56
Kudos to Alex for supporting this LGBT movement


"Not that there's anything wrong with that."



33 posted on 06/22/2010 5:18:01 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Judas Iscariot - the first social justice advocate. John 12:3-6)
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To: Jeff Chandler; Alex Murphy; dangus; Lmo56

Yes, my mistake to not add that in, sorry Alex.


34 posted on 06/23/2010 12:41:59 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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To: Doulos1; vladimir998

Yes, there are potty chairs stored in museums dating back to the middle ages, where elder gents could sit, and they had nice little holes cut in the seats for ahem...


35 posted on 06/23/2010 1:04:26 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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To: Doulos1; Lmo56; vladimir998; Ruy Dias de Bivar
Perhaps you refer to something akin to


36 posted on 06/23/2010 1:07:13 AM PDT by Cronos (Origen(200AD)"The Church received from theApostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants")
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