No, the headline is not a repeat from the year 1073. After Pope Francis began condemning so-called “Fake News,” the Vatican has been caught red-handed, forging documents and issuing the photoshopped fakes in press releases. The story began as the Vatican began lauding a letter written by Pope Benedict on February 7, and sent to the Vatican’s prefect of the Secretariat for Communications. As Pope Francis is increasingly accused of heresy because of his Amoris Laetitia statement, in which he softens the traditional Romanist tone on divorce and traditional marriage (which has been used by Romanists the world over to embrace very non-Romanist ideas on human sexuality), it has caused many people to wonder what the former Pope is thinking about the current Pope, a historical phenomenon caused by Pope Benedict retiring in 2013, whereas historically, most Popes die in office, either from natural causes or from being murdered and/or deposed by their successors. Benedict’s letter to Pope Francis was heralded as a bold defense of the current Pontiff by the Vatican, which released copies of the letter.
Reportedly, Benedict wrote:
I applaud this initiative that seeks to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice according to which Pope Francis would only be a practical man devoid of particular theological or philosophical formation, while I would have been only a theoretician of theology that understood little of the concrete life of a Christian today.
In other words, Benedict had given a unilateral “thumbs up” to the current Bishop of Rome.
The problem is, the Associated Press discovered that the Vatican had “doctored” the letter and photoshopped it, distorting its message and violates standards of journalism. The photoshopping significantly changes the letter’s intention and meeting and was not meant to absolve the current Pontiff of heresy by the opinion of Benedict. In the part of the letter made visible by the Vatican, Benedict wrote that a series of books defending Francis’ theology might “react to the foolish prejudice” against him. However, in the part blurred out by the Vatican, Benedict actually declines the invitation from the Secretariat for Communications to read the books, saying he didn’t have time. It was not, therefore, a unilateral defense of Francis, as the Vatican made it out to be; Benedict had not read the books and applauded the effort to defend Francis, but stopped short of saying whether or not the books achieved that end. Similarly, Benedict declined to give a theological assessment of Francis, recusing himself from the process altogether. This is the opposite of the Vatican’s #FakeNews reporting.
The Vatican has reluctantly admitted – to their shame – of doctoring and photoshopping the letter.
When Hildebrand became Pope Gregory VII in 1073, he drew up a Dictatus – a list – of 27 powers of the Pope. Most were never assumed before. These new powers of the Pope included:
- The Pope can be judged by no one on Earth
- The Roman church has never erred and can never err
- The Pope alone can depose bishops
- The Pope can dethrone emperors and kings
- All Princes must kiss the Pope’s feet
Most of Gregory VII’s evidence for these new powers of the Pope were build on forged documents, completely fabricated by the church in Rome. For more than 700 years, the Greeks called Rome “the home of forgeries.” Whenever someone challenged the Roman church, they would bring out documents, allegedly from centuries past, proving whatever at the moment they were trying to prove.
The documents already forged, however, did not satisfy Gregory VII. Soon, he had an entire school of forgers turning out documents, with his papal seal of approval (which he said lent them infallibility). Many early documents that weren’t outright forgeries were “touched up” to say what they originally did not say, a medieval version of photoshop. By constantly “going back in time” and changing these ancient documents, Gregory’s forgers could make it appear that the Romanist church wasn’t changing; after all, an infallible church must be an immutable church. “No, this has always been our teaching,” they would say, with as much conviction as Orwell’s Winston, shoving yesterday’s newspaper into the memory hole.
For example, the greatest and most influential of these forgeries were the 9th-century “Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals” – made in France – which Rome seized upon and Gregory said made him infallible. It contained 115 documents, supposedly written by early bishops like Clement. An additional 125 forged documents were added to it, all of which claimed infallibility for the Papacy. It also forbade trade with someone who had been excommunicated.
Another influential forgery were documents forged at Bologna by Gratian, who was a Benedictine monk. His Code of Canon Law was “peppered with three centuries of forgeries and conclusions drawn from them, with his own fictional addictions.” In fact, of the 324 passages he quotes from Popes of early church history, only 11 were reportedly genuine. The consequence of Gratian’s vast forgeries were tragic. They were the foundation for St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. It is sad that such a brilliant thinker as Aquinas built his work upon the shifting sand of Romanist forgeries.
Soon after becoming Pope, Gregory VII’s school of forgers had manufactured virtually all of early church history. He drastically changed the course of the Romanist church. Suddenly, priests had to be celibate, and this was the teaching of the church all along! Claiming that long-lost and recently-found documents forbade priests to marry, Gregory VII demanded priests leave their wives. Of this, Ray C. Perry writes, This “was to make virtual prostitutes by the thousands out of innocent wives of bewildered and angry little clergymen” and cause no shortage of the wives to commit suicide, faced with the alternative of being a single woman in a dangerous, medieval world.
What the Vatican is doing now is no different than what the Vatican has always done; it has always been the mother of lies and forgeries.
[Editor’s Note: We are indebted for the information provided concerning Gregory’s forgeries from Peter De Rosa’s excellent book, Vicars of Christ]
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