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Pope Joan: Subversive! Controversial! And, uh, not real
Ignatius Insight ^ | June 26, 2009 | Carl Olson

Posted on 06/26/2010 3:32:22 PM PDT by NYer

The Syndney Morning Herald reports that a German movie about "Pope Joan" has been making some waves in Europe:

Her story was considered so subversive that for centuries the Vatican tried to expunge it from the records.

Now a film, which last week reached the top 10 box office list in Italy, has revived the story of Pope Joan - an Englishwoman who, legend has it, disguised herself as a man and became the only female pontiff.

The film will fuel debate over whether Pope Joan really existed or whether, as the Catholic Church maintains, she was a mythical figure used by the early Protestants to discredit and embarrass Rome.
And the kicker:
For a church that even today remains staunchly opposed to the idea of female priests, a female pope is anathema.
Impossible, actually, just as pizza and soda consecrated by a priest can never be the Eucharist, no matter how hip and trendy he might consider it to be. No amount of Church authority, pomp, or ceremony could ever make a woman (nor, for that matter, non-ordained lay person, etc.) pope, just as no amount of court rulings and gnashing of teeth by Those Who Know Best About the Need For Progress can make the union of two men or two women a marriage. Anyhow, I've not been able to find information about whether or not the movie will play in North America, but I assume it will make its way to DVD at some point.

Inside Catholic has just posted a 2001 book review by Sandra Miesel, "The Myth of Pope Joan," in which she writes:

Pope Joan is one of the most tenacious myths of the Middle Ages, told and retold by Catholics and anti-Catholics alike since the 13th century. It is said that beautiful young Joan, an Englishwoman born in Mainz, Germany, disguised herself as a man to gain higher education beside her scholarly lover. Her brilliance won her election as pope under the name John in 855 (some say 1100). After reigning less than three years, she bore a child during a papal procession and died immediately, either from childbirth or stoning. Subsequent popes are supposed to have avoided this shameful place and had their maleness verified during their coronation ceremonies, during which an inscription was read as a commemoration of Joan: "Peter, Father of Fathers, Publish the Parturition of the Popess."Though long disproved by historians, this scandalous legend still requires an occasional rebuttal by Catholic apologists. But its relevance has been renewed by the clamor for women’s ordination and contemporary enthusiasm for gender-bending. Among past novels, Donna Woolfolkcross’s Pope Joan has been re-issued as a movie tie-in, and the ex-nun posing as a priest in Louise Edrich’s Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a Joan-clone among the Ojibwe Indians.

The January 2008 issue of This Rock has a helpful piece, "The Popess Who Just Won’t Go Away", by Robert P. Lockwood, who states:
Let’s have a Catholic urban legend with a twist. This one dates from before the Reformation and its sources are therefore entirely Catholic. And in a final twist, the first widely accepted refutation came from a Calvinist scholar.

It is the legend of Pope Joan, allegedly the first and only woman elected pope. According to the story, she was pope in the ninth century during the so-called "Dark Ages" until her female identity was revealed. As old as the 13th century, and as recent as a 2005 ABC News "special," Pope Joan will be around as long as she serves an anti-Catholic purpose. She began as an anti-papal fable, persisted as nativist anti-Catholic propaganda, and has blossomed into a 21st-century feminist icon.

In many ways, Pope Joan fits the traditional Catholic urban legend. Take any historical period and she can be molded into a solidly anti-Catholic niche. In the 16th century, Protestant dissenters used her to illustrate the nadir of an ever-corrupt papacy. In the 19th century, she was portrayed as a woman violated and ruined by lascivious clericalism, symbolic of the perversity to which Rome had sunk. In the 21st century, she represents the empowered female who fought the intransigent sexism of the Catholic Church and who therefore had to be destroyed.
And Patrick Madrid, who addressed this topic in his book Pope Fiction, has recently posted a primer on the persistent myth:
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.
As with The Da Vinci Code, this latest bit of historical malarkey may provide some opportunities to discuss Church history and doctrine with folks. It will also be an opportunity to hear and endure more silliness, some of it sincerely naive and some it overtly nasty, from the usual suspects. It wouldn't surprise me if ABC or the History Channel had a special about how Pope Joan was both a Knights Templar and Gnostic who was a direct descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene who also happened to pass along the sacred truths and secrets of ancient witchcraft, the pyramids of Egypt, and Tri-Lateral Commission—and who invented electricity, women's suffrage, and the Internet.


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History
KEYWORDS: catholic; fiction; godsgravesglyphs; pope; popejoan; potpourri

1 posted on 06/26/2010 3:32:24 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...

History ping!


2 posted on 06/26/2010 3:32:53 PM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: NYer
As with The Da Vinci Code, this latest bit of historical malarkey may provide some opportunities to discuss Church history and doctrine with folks. It will also be an opportunity to hear and endure more silliness, some of it sincerely naive and some it overtly nasty, from the usual suspects. It wouldn't surprise me if ABC or the History Channel had a special about how Pope Joan was both a Knights Templar and Gnostic who was a direct descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene who also happened to pass along the sacred truths and secrets of ancient witchcraft, the pyramids of Egypt, and Tri-Lateral Commission—and who invented electricity, women's suffrage, and the Internet.

************************

Heh. :)

3 posted on 06/26/2010 3:34:23 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer

There seems to be a huge market for Christian fiction. Davinci Code, now this.

I hope this one is not as bad as the Davinci code book. It reminded me of the old Tom Swift novels except not as exciting.


4 posted on 06/26/2010 3:41:48 PM PDT by texmexis best (My)
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To: NYer
...It will also be an opportunity to hear and endure more silliness, some of it sincerely naive and some it overtly nasty, from the usual suspects.

Like the one about Pope Pius XII being a closet Nazi...

5 posted on 06/26/2010 3:50:25 PM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: NYer

Thanks for posting this. We needed it!


6 posted on 06/26/2010 3:52:25 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

Ever since we elected a Muslim President HUSSEIN Obama, I am open to believing anything.


7 posted on 06/26/2010 3:52:29 PM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: NYer

Pope fiction? Someone from the Vatican is going to have to get medieval on Hollyweird...


8 posted on 06/26/2010 4:05:54 PM PDT by ikka
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To: ikka

I have heard reference to a Petrinella who was as legend has it, the daughter of St. Peter.


9 posted on 06/26/2010 4:51:01 PM PDT by johnnycap
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To: ikka

“Pope fiction?”

LOL


10 posted on 06/26/2010 5:03:46 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: trisham; NYer

The Internet? Duh....everyone knows that was Algore. ;o)


11 posted on 06/26/2010 6:21:50 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to him.)
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To: trisham

You think that’s a joke, but someone on another thread googled “Pope Joan” and come up the the “fact” that she’s an exemplar of the Transgendered and very relevant to modern society.

When people have an agenda, you can’t tell ‘em nuthin.


12 posted on 06/26/2010 7:50:00 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Get to the beach, or at least in the pool!)
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To: johnnycap

Some fairly early sources refer to “Petronilla,” the wife of St. Peter, or a daughter. (The names make no sense, in context: St. Peter was not Roman, and his real name was Simon. It’s as if my referring to my children as the “Tax-chickadees” were taken as indicating their real names.)

However, the Bible says he had a mother-in-law, so he must have had a wife at some point in his life. Children are not mentioned in Scripture, nor the wife herself. She may have been dead by the time St. Peter became a disciple of Jesus.


13 posted on 06/26/2010 7:54:47 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Get to the beach, or at least in the pool!)
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To: ModelBreaker

http://www.amazon.com/Pope-Fiction-Answers-Misconceptions-Papacy/dp/0964261006/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277613369&sr=8-1


14 posted on 06/26/2010 9:39:03 PM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: NYer; Irisshlass; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...
+

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

Add me / Remove me

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

15 posted on 06/26/2010 9:45:37 PM PDT by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
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To: Tax-chick

Vlad, the Tax Chickadee??? Things that make you go hmmmm!


16 posted on 06/27/2010 5:36:28 AM PDT by BlackElk (Dean of Discipline, Tomas de Torquemada Gentlemen's Club: Burn 'em Bright!!!)
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To: BlackElk

My whole family makes reasonable people go hmmmmmm ... and also “Yikes!”


17 posted on 06/27/2010 5:39:45 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Get to the beach, or at least in the pool!)
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To: Salvation; NYer; narses

The story mentions a refutation of the story, but doesn’t say what the disproof of this myth actually is.

Without a rebuttal, there’s nothing to rebute, no way to rebute the myth. 8<)


18 posted on 06/27/2010 8:45:07 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Tax-chick
You think that’s a joke, but someone on another thread googled “Pope Joan” and come up the the “fact” that she’s an exemplar of the Transgendered and very relevant to modern society.

When people have an agenda, you can’t tell ‘em nuthin.

********************

It's an unfortunate truth.

19 posted on 06/27/2010 9:27:17 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: ikka; monkapotamus

Don’t tell me Pope have bring out IMP he might be sleeping right now you have wake him up

BRING OUT THE IMP NOWWWW


20 posted on 06/27/2010 9:55:46 AM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us ,resistance is futile")
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To: ikka; monkapotamus

Don’t tell me Pope have bring out IMP he might be sleeping right now you have wake him up

BRING OUT THE IMP NOWWWW


21 posted on 06/27/2010 9:55:54 AM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us ,resistance is futile")
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Thanks NYer.

But Pope Goestheweasel was real, right? There was a whole song and everything. ;')

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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22 posted on 06/28/2010 3:05:18 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: NYer
It wouldn't surprise me if ABC or the History Channel had a special about how Pope Joan was both a Knights Templar and Gnostic who was a direct descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene who also happened to pass along the sacred truths and secrets of ancient witchcraft, the pyramids of Egypt, and Tri-Lateral Commission—and who invented electricity, women's suffrage, and the Internet.

I can actually see the History Channel doing just this very thing.

23 posted on 06/28/2010 3:16:29 PM PDT by RikaStrom (Pray for Obama - Psalm 109:8 "Let his days be few; and let another take his place of leadership.")
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all of 'em (I think): some vaguely related ones:
24 posted on 06/28/2010 4:25:56 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: NYer

I am a fan of legends and folklore, especially period literature related to the history of the Church. In fact, I really enjoyed reading a few books I found on “Pope Joan.”

But I also enjoyed reading books on Robin Hood and King Arthur.

Taken as metaphor and acknowledged as a legend, the stories about “Pope Joan” give great insight into the time from which these stories arose. The problem, I fear, is that Unholywood is going to try to frame this as fact, and idiots out there are going to start believing it.


25 posted on 06/29/2010 2:54:23 PM PDT by HushTX (get over it.)
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To: HushTX
The problem, I fear, is that Unholywood is going to try to frame this as fact, and idiots out there are going to start believing it.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying folklore and legends but as you aptly pointed out, there are those who, for whatever reason, begin to absorb these tales and start to believe them. I have never understood the great desire to have a King and Queen and distinctly recall how the election of John F. Kennedy inspired some Americans to view it as our "Camelot". Fantasy is fine but we live in a world of reality. We saw, in the last presidential election, where fantasy can lead.

Thanks for the post and ping!

26 posted on 06/29/2010 4:06:20 PM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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