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Chapter 6

Joseph Wheless

            42 page printout, pages 196 to 237 of 322
                           CHAPTER VI

                     THE CHURCH FORGERY MILL

     "Nevertheless, the forging of papal letters was even more
frequent in the Middle Ages than in the early Church." (CE. ix,
203.)

     LYINGLY FOUNDED on forgery upon forgery, as has been made
manifest by manifold admissions and proofs, the Church of Christ
perpetuated itself and consolidated its vast usurped powers, and
amassed amazing wealth, by a series of further and more secular
forgeries and frauds unprecedented in human history -- faintly
approximated only by its initial forgeries of the fundamental
gospels and epistles of the "New Testament of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ," and of the countless other forged religious
documents which we have so far reviewed. These first relate to the
infance of the Church -- constitute its false certificates of
Heavenly birth and of Divine civil status. They are, as it were,
the livery of heaven with which Holy Church clothed its moral
nakedness until it attained maturer strength and became adept to
commit the most stupendous forgeries for its own self-
aggrandizement and for the completer domination of mind and soul of
its ignorant and superstitious subjects.

     The record which we shall now expose is the most sordid in
human annals, -- of frauds and forgeries perpetrated for the base
purposes of greed for worldly riches and power, and designed so to
paralyze and stultify the minds and reason of men that they should
suffer themselves to be exploited without caring or daring to
question or complain, and be helpless to resist the crimes
committed against them. Into this chapter we shall compress in as
summary manner as possible the revolting record of Christian fraud
by means of forged title deeds to vast territories, forged
documents of ecclesiastical power spiritual and temporal, forged
and false Saints, Martyrs,'Miracles and Relics -- surpassing the
power of imagination or accomplishment by any other than a divinely
inspired Church which "has never deceived anyone," and which "never
has erred" -- in its profound, cynical knowledge and exploitation
of the degraded depths of ignorance and superstition to which it
had sunk its victims, and of their mental and moral incapacity to
detect the holy frauds worked upon them. This was the glorious Age
of Faith -- the Dark Ages of human benightedness and priestly
thralldom -- when Holy Church was the Divinely-illumined and unique
Teacher of Christendom, and when the Christian world was too
ignorant to be unbelieving or heretic, -- for "unbelief is no sin
that ignorance was ever capable of being guilty of."

     In those "Dark Ages, as the period of Catholic ascendancy is
justly called" (Lecky, History of European. Morals, ii, 14), "men
were credulous and ignorant," says Buckle; "they therefore produced
a religion which required great belief and little knowledge." Again
he says: "The only remedy for superstition is knowledge. ...
Nothing else can wipe out that plague-spot of the human mind." It
was, indeed, agrees CE. -- (from 432 to 1461) -- "an age of
terrible corruption and social decadence" (xiv, 318); and of its
mental state it says: "To such an extent had certain imaginary
concepts become the common property of the people, that they
repeated themselves as auto-suggestions and dreams." (CE. ix, 130.)
But exactly this period -- the "Dark Ages of Catholic ascendancy," 

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-- with centuries before and since, was the heyday of Holy Faith
and Holy Church: it may well be wondered who was responsible for
such conditions, when only Holy Church existed, in plentitude of
power, the inspired Teacher of Christendom? During all these
centuries, "the overwhelming importance attached to theology
diverted to it all those intellects which in another condition of
society would have been employed in the investigations of science."
(Lecky, History of Rationalism in Europe, i, 275; ef. Bacon, Novum
Organum, I, 89.) What else could be expected, was possible, when "a
bountyless intolerance of all divergences of opinion was united
with an equally boundless toleration of all falsehood and
deliberate fraud that could favor received opinions?" (Lecky,
History of European Morals, ii, 15.) Indeed, "few people realize
the degree in which these superstitions were encouraged by the
Church which claims infallibility." (Lecky, Hist. Rationalism, i,
79, n.) It is confessed: "The Church is tolerant of 'pious beliefs'
which have halved to further Christianity"! (CE. xix,341.)

               THE FORGED APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS

     For more than a thousand years, until their fraud was exposed
by modern historical criticism, these voluminous and most 
commodious forgeries formed the groundwork and foundation of some
of the most extravagant pretensions of the Church and its most
potent instrument of establishment and dominion of its monarchical
government The Apostolic Constitutions, which we have admitted for
naivete of invention with respect to the Apostolic Prince Peter and
Simon Magus in their magic contests in Rome, is in fact "a fourth-
century pseudo-Apostolic collection. ... It purports to be the work
of the Apostles, whose instructions, whether given by them
individually or as a body, are supposed to be gathered and handed
down by the pretended compiler, [Pope] St. Clement of Rome, the
authority of whose name gave fictitious weight to more than one
such piece of early Christian literature. ... The Apostolic
Constitutions were held generally in high esteem and served as the
basis for much ecclesiastical legislation. ... As late as 1563 ...
despite the glaring archaisms and incongruities of the collection
it was contended that it was the genuine work of the Apostles ...
could yet pretend, in an uncritical age, to Apostolic origin." (CE.
i, 636.)

     The Constitutions, pretending to be written by the apostles,
laid down in minute detail all the intricacies of organization of
several centuries later; there being elaborate chapters "concerning
bishops," presbyters, deacons, all kinds of clergy, liturgies, and
Church proceedings and services, undreamed of by "apostles," or in
the "apostolic age." The prescriptions regarding the selection of
bishops are quite democratic, and vastly different from present
papal practices; the Churches, too, are distinctly episcopal and
independent. The nature of these provisions, as well as the grossly
false and fraudulent character of the whole, a vast arsenal of
papal aggression, may be seen by the following passage in the
apostolic first person: "Wherefore we, the twelve apostles of the
Lord, who are now together, give you in charge those divine
constitutions concerning every ecclesiastical form, there being
present with us Paul, the chosen vessel, our fellow apostle, and
James the bishop, and the rest of the presbyters, and the seven 

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deacons. In the first place, therefore, I Peter say, that a bishop
to be ordained is to be, as we have already, all of us, appointed,
... chosen by the whole people, who, when he is named and approved,
let the people assemble, with the presbyters and bishops that are
present, on the Lord's day, and let them give their consent. ...
And if they give their consent," etc. (Apost. Const. VIII, 2, iv;
ANF. vii, 481-482.)

                  THE FORGED "APOSTOLIC CANONS"

     From the same pious forging hand, says CE. (i, 637), comes the
related Apostolic Canons (composed about 400), "a collection of
ancient ecclesiastical decrees concerning the government and
discipline of the Church; ... in a word, they are a handy summary
of the statutory legislation of the primitive Church. ... The claim
to be the very legislation of the Apostles themselves, at least as
promulgated by their great disciple Clement. Nevertheless, their
claim to genuine Apostolic origin is quite false and untenable. ...
The text passed into Pseudo-Isidore, and eventually Gratian
included (about 1140) some excerpts of these canons in his
'Decretum,' whereby a universal recognition and use were gained for
them in the law schools. At a much earlier date, Justinian (in his
sixth Novel) had recognized them as the work of the Apostles, and
confirmed them as ecclesiastical law." (CE. iii, 279, 280.) Here
the pious priests of God palmed off these self-serving forgeries on
the great but superstitious Emperor and fraudulently secured their
enactment into imperial law. In the same article is a description
of "a larger number of forged documents appearing about the middle
of the ninth century," among which "the Capitula of Benedict
Levita, Capitula Angilrammi, Canons of Isaac of Langres, -- above
all the collection of Pseudo-Isidore" (Ib. 285), which arch-forgery
we shall describe in its turn.

                  THE FORGED LIBER PONTIFICALIS

     This famous, or infamous, official fabrication, "The Book of
the Popes," is notorious for its spurious accounts of the early and
mythical "successors of St. Peter." The Liber Pontificalis purports
to be "a history of the popes, beginning with St. Peter and
continued down to the fifteenth century, in the form of
biographies" of their respective Holinesses of Rome. (CE. ix, 224.)
It is an official papal work, written and kept in the papal
archives, and preserves for posterity the holy lives and wonderful
doings of the heads of the Church universal. "Historical
criticism," says CE., "has for a long time dealt with this ancient
text in an exhaustive way ... especially in recent decades." The
Liber starts off in a typically fraudulent clerical manner: "In
most of its manuscript copies there is found at the beginning a
spurious correspondence between Pope Damasus and St. Jerome. These
letters were considered genuine in the Middle Ages. ... Duchesne
has proved exhaustively and convincingly that the first series of
biographies, from St. Peter to Felix III (IV, died 530) were
compiled at the latest under Felix's successor, Boniface II
(530-532). ... The compiler of the Liber Pontificalis utilized also
some historical writings, a number of apocryphal fragments (e.g.
the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions), the Constitutum Sylvestri, the
spurious Acts of the alleged Synod of the 275 Bishops under 

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Sylvester, etc., and the fifth century Roman Acts of Martyrs.
Finally, the compiler distributed arbitrarily along his list of
popes a number of papal decrees taken from unauthentic sources, he
likewise attributed to earlier popes liturgical and disciplinary
regulations of the sixth century. ... The authors were Roman
ecclesiastics, and some were attached to the Roman Court." (CE. ix,
225.) The general falsity of the Liber is again shown and the
fraudulent use made of it by the later Church forgers, thus
indicated: For instances, "in the 'Liber' it is recorded that such
a pope issued a decree that has been lost, or mislaid, or perhaps
never existed at all. Isidore seized the opportunity to supply a
pontifical letter suitable for the occasion, attributing it to the
pope whose name was mentioned in the 'Liber."' (CE. v. 774.) Thus
confessed forgery and fraud taint to the core this basic record for
some five centuries of the official "histories" and Acts of Their
Holinesses of the primitive and adolescent years of the Holy
Church. Pope Peter and his "Successors" for a century or more are
thus again proven pious fictions and frauds.

              THE "CONVERSION OF CONSTANTINE" FRAUD

     As several of the most monumental of these holy Church
forgeries are associated with the first "Christian" Emperor,
Constantine, and His contemporary Holiness, Pope Sylvester I
(314-335), we may first notice the pious forged miracles which
brought Constantine to Christ -- rather to the Christians, and thus
blightingly changed the history of the world. Constantine, Augustus
of Rome, was the bastard son of the Imperator Constantius Chlorus
and a Bythnian barmaid who became his mistress, and, later, by
virtue of opulent gifts to the Church, was raised to Heaven as St.
Helena. Constantine was a picturesque "barbarian" Pagan, with a
very bloody record of family -- and other -- murders to his credit,
mostly made to further his political ambitions. He was rival of the
four Caesars who shared the divided government, against whom he was
engaged in titanic struggle, to win the sole crown of empire. The
Christians were now become rather numerous in East and West, some
two and a half or three millions out of the hundred millions of the
Empire, sufficient to make their adherence and support important to
the contestant who could gain control of them. To curry their favor
and support Constantine adopted the tactics of his sportive father,
Constantius, and made show of friendly disposition to them and even
of possible adoption of the new faith.

     The occasion and the purely selfish and superstitious motive
for the alliance of Constantine with the Christians and their God,
are described by the three noted Church historians of the period,
-- all writing after his death, -- Eusebius, Socrates and Sozomen,
all of whom give substantially the following account, here
abbreviated from Eusebius, "Father of Church History," and an
intimate of the Emperor, in his ludicrously laudatory Life of
Constantine:

          "Being convinced that he needed some more powerful aid
     than his military forces could afford him, on account of the
     wicked and magical enchantments which were so diligently
     practiced by the tyrant Maxentius, he sought divine
     assistance. ... He considered, therefore, on what God he might
     

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     rely for protection and assistance. While engaged in this
     enquiry, the thought occurred to him, that, of the many
     emperors who had preceded him, who had rested their hopes on
     a multitude of gods. ... none had profited at all by the pagan
     deities, whom they sought to propitiate ... all had at last
     met with an unhappy end, ... while the God of his father had
     given to him, on the other hand, manifestations of his power.
     ... Reviewing, I may say, all these considerations, he judged
     it to be folly indeed to join in the idle worship of those who
     were no gods, and therefore felt it incumbent on him to honor
     his father's God alone." (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, I,
     27; N&PNF. I, 489; cf. Socrates, Eccles. Hist. I, 2; Ib. II,
     1-2; Sozomen, Eccles. Hist. I, 3; Ib. p. 241.) So, Constantine
     chose the Christian's God to offset the "magical enchantments"
     of the Pagan gods in favor of his rival, Maxentius. The
     Christians flocked to his court and armies, and proud prelates
     of the Church hung around him and flattered his hopes. After
     several military successes aided by the Christians, the rival
     armies faced for decisive contest near the historic Milvian
     Bridge, in the environs of Rome, in the year 312. All are
     familiar with the fabulous priestly story of the miraculous
     Fiery Cross said to have been hung out in heaven just before
     the battle in the sight of Constantine and all his army,
     blazing with the famous device "In Hoc Signo Vinces -- By this
     Sign Conquer" -- though it was in Greek and read "En Touto
     Nika," -- and by virtue of which Constantine was himself
     conquered for Christ or for His Church.

     Here we may again see the "god in the machine' -- a pious
Christian fraud in the making, and watch its growth from nothing in
proportion of wonder from lying Father to Father as it is handed
on. Very remarkable it is, that Father Bishop Eusebius wholly omits
this portentous event, though he devotes a large part of Book IX
and all of Book X of his History of the Church (written in 324), to
Constantine, and enthusiastically describes the Battle of the
Milvian Bridge. Although he lugs divine intervention by the
Christian God into every phase of the campaign, he is content with
this colorful, naive, account: "But the emperor (Constantine),
stimulated by the divine assistance, proceeded against the tyrant,
and defeating him in the first, second, and third engagements, he
advanced through the greatest part of Italy, and came almost to the
very gates of Rome. Then God himself drew the tyrant [Maxentius],
as if bound in fetters, to a considerable distance from the gates
[i.e. to the Milvian Bridge]; and here He confirmed those
miraculous events performed of old against the wicked, and which
have been discredited by so many, as if belonging to fiction and
fable, but which have been established in the sacred volume, as
credible to the believer. He confirmed them, I say, as true, by an
immediate interposition of his power, addressed alike I may say to
the eyes of believers and unbelievers. As, therefore, anciently in
the days of Moses, the chariots of Pharaoh and his forces were cast
into the Red Sea, thus also Maxentius, and his combatants and
guards about him, sunk into the depths like a stone, when he fled
before the power of God which was with Constantine." And, in
commemoration of such signal divine aid, Constantine "immediately
commanded a trophy of the Savior's passion [a Cross] to be placed 

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in the hand of his own statue" in Rome. (Eusebius, HE. IX, ix, p.
397-9.) And with all this miraculous embellishment, not a word of
the Fiery Cross in Heaven, nor of the "miraculous conversion" of
Constantine.

     The pious fable, whether by him invented or not, is first
recorded by Father Lactantius, tutor to Constantine's son Crispus
before the pious father murdered his son; he tells it -- after
Constantine's death -- in its primitive and more modest form -- a
simple dream by night, in which Jesus the Christ appeared to
Constantine, and was seen or heard -- or was fabled -- to tell
Constantine to decorate the shields of his soldiers with the holy
"sign of the Cross" before they went into the fight; this he did
and won the battle-post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Constantine may
perhaps quite naturally have had such a dream -- dreams have many
vagaries, and the priests were ever at his ear. But the "heavenly
sign," the Labarum or Monogram of Christ, which Constantine was by
divine revelation or priestly suggestion directed to place on the
shields of his soldiers, was no novel thing requiring a divine
revelation, even in a dream, to suggest to the Christian priests of
a Pagan emperor; "for it had been a familiar Christian symbol prior
to his conversion." (CE. viii, 718.) By a similar divine revelation
or priest-prompting, the Persian Cambyses had tied cats to the
shields of his soldiers in their campaign in 525 B.C. against the
cat-worshipping Egyptians, who thus dared not strike with their
swords; the Christians worshipped the Cross of which the Pagans
were superstitiously afraid, as we have seen from Father
Lactantius. The result was at least the same, as related by Father
Lactantius:

          "And now a civil war broke out between Constantine and
     Maxentius. ... At length Constantine ... led his whole forces
     to the neighborhood of Rome, and encamped them opposite to the
     Milvian Bridge. ... Constantine was directed in a dream to
     cause the heavenly sign to be delineated on the shields of his
     soldiers, and to proceed to battle. He did as he had been
     commanded, and he marked on their shields the letter X, with
     a perpendicular line drawn through it and turned round thus at
     the top, being the cipher of Christ. ... The bridge in the
     rear (of Maxentius) was broken down. The hand of the Lord
     prevailed, and the forces of Maxentius were routed." (Lact.,
     On the Death of the Persecutors, ch. xliv; ANF. vii, 318.)

     These Christ-monogram crosses were probably, to the mind's eye
of Lactantius, simple wooden or painted miniatures like the more
life-sized one which a modern Holiness specially exorcised and sent
along as an amulet or pious fetich of success on a recent
disastrous Polar Expedition. But by the time Bishop Eusebius came
on to embellish the tale, the model at least was a thing truly of
beauty and wonder. In his Life of Constantine, the holy Bishop, who
was on the Emperor's pay-roll, thus in substance relates:

     "Constantine, having resolved to liberate Rome from the
tyranny of Maxentius, and having meditated on the unhappiness of
those who worshipped a multitude of idols, as contrasted with the
good fortune of his own father Constantius, who had favored
Christianity, resolved to worship the One True God; and while he 

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was in prayer to God that He would reveal Himself to him, and
stretch forth His right hand to succor him, he had a vision after
midday, when the sun was declining, in a luminous forin over the
sun, and an inscription annexed to it, 'Touto Nika' -- (by this
conquer), and at the sight of it he and all his forces were
astounded, who were spectators of the miracle. ... The following
night, when Constantine was asleep, Christ appeared to him with
that sign, which had been displayed to him in the heavens, and
commanded him to make a standard according to the pattern of what
he had seen, and to use it as a defense against his enemies; and as
soon as it was day Constantine called together the workers in gold
and precious stones, and ordered them to fashion it accordingly" --
(it being, by his description, certainly rich, if not gaudy). And
bishop Eusebius states that Constantine, "a long time after the
event affirmed with an oath the truth of what the Bishop had
recorded" of this wonderful unhistorical fact. (Eusebius, Life of
Constantine, I, 26-31; N&PNF. i, 489-491; CE. viii, 717-8;
Wordsworth, op. cit. i, 358-9.) In a note to the last reference,
the acute Protestant clerical mind, in eager defense of even the
most absurd Catholic fables, is seen at play: "It has been objected
(by Dean Milman and others) that it is incredible that a warlike
motto on the Cross, converted into a military standard, should be
suggested by Him who is Prince of Peace. But He Who is Prince of
Peace is also Lord of Hosts; and Christ is revealed not only in the
Psalms, but also in the Apocalypse, as a Mighty Warrior going forth
conquering and to conquer." Clerical persons are really Funny-
mentalists!

     The pious Bishop Eusebius, exemplar of Christian historical
un-veracity to the glory of God and Church, begins his Life of
Constantine with this rhapsody over Constantine dead: "When I raise
my thoughts even to the arch of heaven, and there contemplate his
thrice-blessed soul in communion with God himself, freed from every
mortal and earthly vesture, and shining in a refulgent robe of
light, honored with an ever-blooming crown, and an immortality of
endless and blessed existence, I stand as it were without power of
speech or thought and unable to utter a single phrase, but
condemning my own weakness, and imposing silence on myself, I
resign the task of speaking his praises worthily to the immortal
God, who alone has power to confirm his own sayings." (Eusebius,
Life, 1, 2; N&PNF. i, 481-2.)

     Here is the thrice-blessed Holy Emperor's record before he was
"freed from every mortal and earthly vesture," and before his
blood-stained earthly vestments were exchanged for that refulgent
robe of light in which he communed with God himself; this record is
of the one item only of family murderings: Maximian, his wife's
father, 310; Bassianus, his sister Anastasia's husband, 314;
Licinianus, his nephew, son of his sister Constantina, 319; Fausta,
his wife, in a bath of boiling water, 320; Sopater, Pagan
philosopher and his former intimate Counsellor, 321; Licinius, his
colleague Caesar and his sister Constantine's husband, 325; with
this last, and the beheading of his own son Crispus, 326, he fitly
inaugurated and consecrated the celebrated Council of Nicaea, which
he invoked to settle the famous puzzle, whether Jesus Christ, the
Son, being born of the Father, were not consequently less ancient
than his Sire, so that there was a time when the Begotten Son did 

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not exist, and whether they were "of the same substance," or
different. It may be noticed, that the devout "Christian" Emperor
regarded this as a trifling matter of dispute not justifying the
terrible row which it kicked up among the clericals, splitting the
subjects of the Empire into throat-cutting factions for four
centuries. In his opening Address to the Council which he called to
establish peace among the priests, he turned to Alexander, Bishop
of Alexandria, and to Arius, his presbyter, and their respective
howling factions, and declared: "I understand, then, that the
origin of this controvers is this -- [the question stated by
Alexander on this point, and the negative reply of Arius]. Let
therefore both the unguarded question and the inconsiderate answer
receive your mutual forgiveness. ... For as long as you continue to
contend about these small and insignificant questions, it is not
fitting that so large a portion of God's people should be under the
direction of your judgment, since you are thus divided among
yourselves"! (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, II, 69-71; N&PNF. i,
516-7.)

     With respect to the Christian Emperor's murderings, the good
Bishop Lardner, with truly Christian modern moderation, admits that
the murderous atrocities of Constantine above listed "seem to cast
a reflection upon him"! But the holy Emperor was truly
conscientious and scrupulously concerned for his soul's salvation
on account of them; for it is recorded by the Church historian
Sozomen, that Constantine is said to have sought first Pagan, then
Christian, absolution from these murders, first from Sopater, then
from the Christian bishops. He relates the anxious solicitations of
the murderer thus: "It is reported by the Pagans that Constantine,
after slaying some of his nearest relations, and particularly after
assenting to the murder of his own son Crispus, repented of the
evil deeds, and inquired of Sopater, the philosopher, concerning
the means of purification from guilt. The philosopher, so the story
goes, replied that such moral defilement could admit of no
purification, The Emperor was grieved at this repulse; but
happening to meet some bishops who told him that he would be
cleansed from sin, on repentance and on baptism, he was delighted
with their representations, and admired their doctrines, and became
a Christian, and led his subjects to the same faith. It appears to
me that this story was the invention of persons who desired to
vilify the Christian religion. ... It cannot be imagined the
philosopher was ignorant that Hercules obtained purification at
Athens by the celebration of the mysteries of Ceres after the
murder of his children, and of Iphitus, his guest and friend. That
the Greeks held that purification from guilt of this nature could
be obtained, is obvious from the instance I have just alleged, and
he is a false calumniator who represents that Sopater taught the
contrary, ... for he was at that period esteemed the most learned
man in Greece." (Sozomen, i, 5; ii, 242-3.) It is said that the
rebuff of Sopater denying Pagan absolution was the motive of his
murder by the Christian Emperor. Howbeit, Constantine cautiously
denied himself the saving Christian rite of baptism until he was on
his deathbed, in Nicomedia, in the year of his forgiving Lord 337.
(Euseb., Life, iv, 62; Soc., i, 39; Soz., ii, 34; CE. i, 709.) But
none can deny the superiority of Christianity over Paganism in this
point of saving grace. The Christian historian, however, clearly
avers that some of the divinest sacraments of Christian Revelation,

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forgiveness of sin by God and absolution per priests, were ancient
features of the Pagan "Mysteries," of which even sinful Pagan
demigods might be the beneficiaries.

     But "the mighty and victorious Constantine, adorned with every
virtue of religion, with his most pious son, Crispus Caesar,
resembling in everything his father," -- as his doxology is sung --
before the murder of Crisptis -- by good Bishop Eusebius (HE. ix,
p. 443), -- was rather dubiously a "practicing" Christian; he
remained until death Pontifex Maximus, or Sovereign Pontiff of the
Pagan religion, a title which the Christian Bishops could not
arrogate until the Christian Emperors abandoned it; he ordered the
auspices or divination by inspection of the entrails of birds, and
on his death, amply baptized with blood and by the deathbed heretic
Christian rite, he was apotheoisized according to Pagan custom and
raised as a god to heaven -- to rank along with his Christian
Sainted Mother, St. Helena, of whom more anon.

     In this ecstatic vision of the celestial beatitude of
Constantine, the good Bishop Eusebius was, from the orthodox or
"right-thinking" viewpoint sadly mistaken. Constantine went
unshriven to Hell and everlasting torment; not indeed for his
crimes but for his errant creed, as a disbeliever in the Divinity
of Jesus Christ and in the Holy Trinity -- which, indeed, had not
been yet invented. The majority of the Council of Niceea had by
force and terrorism decreed that Jesus Christ was of the "same
substance" as his father God, co-eternal and coequal, ergo also
God. But Constantine heretically disbelieved this inspired dogma;
he banished Athanasius and other "Trinitarian?' prelates; even "the
death of Arius did not stay the plague. Constantine now favored
none but Arians; he was baptized in his last moments by the shifty
[Arian] prelate of Nicomedia; and he bequeathed to his three sons
[themselves either Pagans or Arian heretics] an empire torn by
dissensions which his weakness and ignorance had aggravated." (CE.
i, 709.) To such a "weak and ignorant" Emperor is due, however, the
salvation of Christianity from oblivion, and upon him is lavished
the adulations of the now "indefectible Church" which his favor
alone made possible. As for the pious Bishop Eusebius, he was
himself an Arian heretic, and from his point of view he may have
thought that he visioned Constantine glorious in Heaven. So much
for divergent religious standpoints, which at the first Church
Council "proved a beginning of strife, ... bequeathed an empire
torn with dissensions, ... [until] the Catholic bishops, the monks,
the sword of Clovis, and the action of the Papacy, made an end of
it before the eighth century" (CE. i, 710), -- thus nearly four
hundred years of throat-cutting and persecutions before Constantine
was finally proved a villainous heretic, the fatal effects of his
"weakness and ignorance" overcome, and "Catholic Truth" began to
assume its full sway undisputed through the long intellectual night
of the Christian Dark Ages of Faith.

             CHRISTIAN FORGERIES FOR POWER AND PELF

     The "league with Death and covenant with Hell" whereby the new
Paganism called Christianity became the official State religion
being now signed and sealed, and soon enforced by laws of bloody
persecution, we shall now admire the most monumental of the holy 

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forgeries by which the Church consolidated its vast and nefast
dominion over the minds and bodies of the quickly degraded
populations under its sway.

                   THE "CONSTANTINE" FORGERIES

     A series of Church forgeries of the greatest magnitude and
most far-reaching evil consequences grew up around the name of
Constantine, forged in his name or falsely associated with it in
the nefarious work of almost limitless larceny of territorial
possessions and of papal sovereignty. A bit of historical
background is necessary to properly appreciate the underground
workings of Providence in disposing the success of these designs,
-- whereby, as said by Dr. McCabe, "Pope Adrian I induced
Charlemagne to found the papal states by producing two of the most
notorious and most shameless forgeries ever perpetrated: 'The Acts
of St. Sylvester,' and 'The Donation of Constantine,' documents
which mendaciously represented the emperor Constantine as giving
most of Italy to the papacy, and which were fabricated in Rome in
the eighth century and were used by the popes to maintain this
gigantic fraud."

     The intricate intriguing and conspiracies of the embryo papacy
under their Holinesses Zacharias, Stephen II, Adrian I, Leo III,
and of the semi-barbarian aspirants for the Frankish monarchy,
Clovis, Charles Martel, Pepin, Charlemagne, cannot be here
recounted. According to the picturesque account of Bishop St.
Gregory of Tours -- whose History is a thesaurus of the revolting
social and moral degradation of the times, Clovis was converted as
the result of his vow to the God of his Christian wife Clotilda,
that if victory were granted to him in a great battle against the
Alemanni, in which he was hard pressed, he would become a
Christian. Miracles at once attested the Divine favor: "St. Martin
showed him a ford over the Vienne by means of a hind; St. Hilary
preceded his armies in a column of fire." (Von Ranke, i, 12.) It
will be remembered that all the barbarian nations of the time were
"heretic" Christians of the hated Arian sect, who denied the
divinity of Christ and derided the Holy Trinity; the Franks thus
became the only "orthodox" Christians and the defenders of the True
Faith on behalf of the Popes. Winning the fight, Clovis and 3000 of
his army were baptized on Christmas day by Bishop St. Remigius of
Rheims. When this good Bishop came to perform the baptismal
ceremony on the king in the cathedral of Rheims, "the chrism for
the baptismal ceremony was missing, and was brought from heaven in
a vase (ampulla) borne by a dove. This is what is known as the
Sainte Ampoule of Rheims, preserved in the treasury of the
Cathedral of that City, and used for the coronation of the kings of
France from Philip Augustus down to Charles X"! (CE. v, 71.)

                     FORGED DEEDS OF EMPIRE

     The Merovingian kings of the Franks had become mere puppets in
the hands of their "Mayors of the Palace," in league with the
bishops of Rome. At last "Pepin addressed to the pope the
suggestive question: 'In regard to the Kings of the Franks who no
longer possess the royal power, is this state of things proper?'
... Pope Zacharias replied that such a state of things was not 

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proper -- [that "he should be king who possessed the royal power"].
After this decision the place Pepin desired was declared vacant.
... Still this external cooperation of the pope in the transfer of
the Kingdom would necessarily enhance the importance of the Church.
Pepin was also obliged to acknowledge the increased power of the
Church by calling on it for moral support." (CE. xi, 663.) In pay
or reward for this "moral support" given by the Church, Pepin, it
is said, gave to the Church some considerable territories around
Rome, which at the incitation of the Pope he had wrested by arms
from the neighboring Lombards. 

                 THE FORGED LETTER OF ST. PETER

To this alleged gift Pepin was induced not alone by the sentiment
of guilty gratitude to Zacharias and Stephen, the latter of whom
crowned him King of the Franks in 751; for further persuasion His
Holiness Stephen II procured from the Vatican Forgery Mill the
identical autograph letter of St. Peter himself, prophetically
addressed "To the King of the Franks," and so mystically worded that:
"When Stephen II performed the ceremony of anointing Pepin and his
son at St. Denis, it was St. Peter who was regarded as the mystical
giver of the secular power"! (CE. xi, 663.) This cunning Papal
forgery and fraud is thus described by a high authority: "The pontiff
dictated his letter in the name of the apostle Peter, closely
imitating his epistles, and speaking in a language which implied that
he was possessed of an authority to anoint or dethrone kings, and to
perform the offices, not of a messenger, of a teacher sent from God,
which is the highest characteristic of an apostle, but of a delegated
minister of His power and justice." (Historians' History of the
World, vol. viii, p. 557.)

Also: "The Frankish king received the title of the former
representative of the Byzantine Empire in Italy, i.e. 'Patricius,'
and was also assigned the duty of protecting the privileges of the
Holy See. ... After the acknowledgment of his territorial claims the
pope was in reality a ruling sovereign, but he had placed himself
under the protection of the Frankish ruler, and had sworn that he and
his people would be true to the king" (CE. xi, 663), -- the divine
birthright thus swapped for a mess of political potage: for over a
thousand years since it has been a mess indeed. Thus by conspiracy,
fraud, and unrighteous conquest was laid the foundation of the sacred
"Patrimony of Peter," and the unholy league between the papacy and
the French kings, which reached full fruition in the holy massacres
of the Albigenses, of the Vendee, and of St. Bartholomew. 

A HOLY CONSPIRATION

The next step in the progress "conquering and to conquer" of Christ's
prostituted Church was on a broader stage and with yet vaster
consequences. Pepin died in 768, dividing his realms between his two
sons, Carloman and Charles, later "by the Grace of God" and great
villainy known to fame as Charles the Great or Charlemagne; Charles
receiving the German part, Carloman the French. On the death of
Carloman, in 771, Charles seized the Frankish kingdom. The widow and
young heirs of Carloman fled for protection and aid to

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Desiderius, king of the Lombards, part of whose stolen territory the
pope held for God and Church. Desiderius was also father of the
repudiated first wife of Charles; the holy matrimonial mess is thus
defined: "Charles was already, in foro conscientiae, if not in
Frankish law, wedded to Himiltrude. In defiance of the pope's
protest, Charles married Desiderata, daughter of Desiderius (770);
three years later he repudiated her and married Hildegarde, the
beautiful Swabian. Naturally, Desiderius was furious at this insult,
and the dominions of the Holy See bore the first brunt of his wrath."
(CE. iii, 612.) Charles thereupon "had to protect Rome against the
Lombard"; finally the Lombards were "put to utter rout"; Charles
proceeded to Rome; and "history records with vivid eloquence the
first visit of Charles to the Eternal City. ... Charles himself
forgot pagan Rome and prostrated himself to kiss the threshold of the
Apostles, and then spent seven days in conference with the successor
of Peter. It was then that he undoubtedly formed many great designs
for the glory of God and the exaltation of Holy Church, which, in
spite of human weaknesses, and, still more, ignorance, he did his
best to realize." (Ib. 612.) The principal fruit of this weakness and
ignorance of Charles seems to be that he could so easily let himself
be duped by His Holiness through the enormous forgeries for Christ's
sake that were now imposed upon him. In 774 Charles finally defeated
Desiderius and "assumed the crown of Lombardy, and renewed to Adrian
[now Holiness of Rome] the donation of territory made by Pepin." The
"genuineness of this donation," as well as of "the original gift of
Pepin," have been much questioned, says CE., but are "now generally
admitted," -- which is none too assuring; but another document, this
time favorable to Charles, is just the other way: "The so-called
'Privilegium Hadriani pro Carolo' granting him full right to nominate
the pope and to invest all bishops, is a forgery." (CE. xi, 612).
Here is precisely the reason and only effective use of this forged
"Donation of Constantine" -- it was the basis for the inducement to
Charlemagne to win the Lombard territories for the Church and to
reinstate it in the "Patrimony of Peter," largely swollen by the
pretended new gifts of the ambitious king, who, in the seven days'
conference with His Holiness, had, undoubtedly, formed together "some
great designs for the glory of God and the exaltation of Holy Church,"
now begun to be realized.

The quarter of a century passed, and much history was made. The Roman
emperors ruled from Constantinople; Roman popes and kings were
legitimately their liegemen; "the Emperor of Constantinople, legitimate
heir of the imperial title," now becomes the victim of papal and
kingly conspiration, thus brought to its climax: "On Christmas Day,
800, took place the principal event of the life of Charles. During
the Pontifical Mass celebrated before the high altar beneath which lay
the bodies of Sts. Peter and Paul, the pope (Leo III) approached
him, placed upon his head the imperial crown, did him formal reverence
after the ancient manner, saluted him as Emperor and Augustus and
anointed him," while the Roman rabble shouted its approval. Thus,
again by collusion and usurpation, began that Holy Roman Empire, of
nefast history, which Bryce qualifies as "neither holy, nor Roman, nor
empire"; but the Vicars of God were now well started on their way
to worldly grandeur and moral degradation. Now for their forgeries.

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                  THE POPE SYLVESTER FORGERIES

The monumental forgeries which were boldly used by their Holinesses
to dupe Charlemagne and Christendom into recognizing the papal claim
of right of ownership and sovereignty over a great part of Italy are
a series of spurious documents harking in pretended date and origin
back to the "first Christian emperor" Constantine and to His Holiness
Pope St. Sylvester (314-335). About the name of Sylvester arose
"the Sylvester Legend later surrounded with that network of myth,
that gave rise to the forged document known as the Donation of
Constantine." (CE. xiv, 257.) This fable, says Prof. Shotwell, "made
its way, gathering volume as it went, reinforced eventually by a
forged Donation, until it had imposed upon all Europe the conception
of Sylvester as the potent influence behind Constantine's most
striking measures and of Constantine himself as the dutiful servant
of the See of Peter." (See of Peter, xxvi.) The extensive variety but
common general nature of these Sylvester forgeries is thus indicated:

          "At an early date legend brings Pope St. Sylvester into
     close relationship with the first Christian emperor, but in a
     way that is contrary to historical fact. These legends were
     introduced especially into the 'Vita beati Sylvestri,' and in
     the 'Constitutum Sylvestri' -- an apocryphal account of an
     alleged Roman council which belongs to the Symmachian forgeries
     and appeared between 501 and 508, and also in the 'Donatio
     Constantini.' The accounts given in all these writings
     concerning the persecution of Sylvester, the healing and
     baptism of Constantine, the emperor's gift to the pope, the
     rights granted to the latter, and the council of 275 bishops at
     Rome, are entirely legendary" (CE. xiv, 370-371).

              THE FORGED "DONATION OF CONSTANTINE"

     "Ah, Constantine! to how much ill gave birth,
     Not thy conversion, but that plenteous dewer,
     Which the first wealthy Father gained from thee!"
     -- Dante, Inferno, xix, 115.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, artless revealer of the frauds of the
Church for which it is an authorized spokesman, gives this account
of the famous Donatio Constantini, which is describes as "a forged
document of Emperor Constantine the Great, by which large privileges
and rich possessions were conferred on the pope and the Roman Church.
... It is addressed by Constantine to Pope Sylvester I (314-35), and
consists of two parts. ... Constantine is made to confer on Sylvester
and his successors the following privileges and possessions: the
pope, as successor of St. Peter, has the primacy over the four
Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Jerusalem,
also over all the bishops in the world. ... The document goes on to
say that for himself the Emperor has established in the East a new
capital which bears his name, and thither he removes his capital,
since it is inconvenient that a secular emperor have power where God
has established the residence of the head of the Christian religion.
The document concludes with malediction's against all who violate
these donations and with the assurance that the emperor has signed
them with his own hand and placed them on the tomb of St.

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Peter. This document is without doubt a forgery, fabricated
somewhere between the years 750 and 850. As early as the 15th
century its falsity was known and demonstrated. ... Its genuinity
was yet occasionally defended, and the document still further
used as authentic, until Baronius in his Annals Ecclesiastici
admitted that the 'Donatio' was a forgery, whereafter it was soon
universally admitted to be such. It is so clearly a fabrication
that there is no reason to wonder that, with the revival of
historical criticism in the 15 th century, the true character of
the document was at once recognized. ... The document obtained
wider circulation by its incorporation with the 'False Decretals'
(840-850)." (CE. v, 118, 119, 120.)

By Lord Bryce a graphic sketch of this notorious fraud is given,
with comments as to the mental and moral qualities of the
priestcraft which it reflects. It is, he says, the -- "most
stupendous of medieval forgeries, which under the name of
Donation of Constantine commanded for seven centuries the
unquestioning belief of mankind. Itself a portentous falsehood,
it is the most unimpeachable evidence of the thoughts and beliefs
of the priesthood which framed it, sometime between the middle of
the eighth and the middle of the tenth century. It tells how
Constantine the Great, cured of his leprosy by the prayers of
Sylvester, resolved, on the fourth day of his baptism, to forsake
the ancient seat for a new capital on the Bosphorus, lest the
continuance of the secular government should cramp the freedom of
the spiritual, and how he bestowed therewith upon the Pope and
his successors the sovereignty over Italy and the countries of
the West." (Bryce, Holy Roman Empire, Ch. vii, p. 97; Latin text,
extracts, p. 98.) In addition to these extraordinary investitures,
all forms of imperial pomp, privileges and dignities were
spuriously granted to the Pope and his clerics, "all of them
enjoyed by the Emperor and his senate, all of them showing the
same desire to make the pontifical a copy of the imperial office.
The Pope is to inhabit the Lateran palace, to wear the diadem,
the collar, the purple cloak, to carry the scepter, and to be
attended by a body of chamberlains. Similarly his clergy are to
ride on white horses and receive the honors and immunities of
the senate and patricians," including "the practice of kissing
the pope's foot, adopted in imitation of the old imperial court."
(Ib. pp. 97-98.) 

The grossness and absurdity of these stupendous forgeries, with
their pious recitals of Constantine's leprosy cured by Sylvester's
prayers, the consequent conversion and baptism of the Emperor in
the Lateran font, and the abandonment of Rome by Constantine in
order to leave it free for God's Vicar, just up from the
catacombs, to ape imperial pomp, is made manifest by a moment's
notice of dates, and recollection of contemporary history.
Sylvester's Holiness dates from 314, he died in 335; Constantine
in 337. Constantine's "conversion" by the "In Hoc Signo" miracle,
was in 312, before Sylvester became pope; at no time did
Constantine have leprosy, other than moral, therefore no physical
cure was wrought by Sylvester's prayers, and certainly no moral
cleansing worthy of note; Constantine was not baptized by
Sylvester in Rome, but heretically received that rite long after
Sylvester's death, and just before his own, in Nicomedia of

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Asia Minor. (CE. i, 709.) But Christians were too sodden in
ignorance to know these things, and it was only with the
"revival of historical criticism" which marked the beginning of
the end of the Ages of Faith, that the truth was disclosed, or
could have been perceived. In words that blast and sear with
infamy the perpetrators and the conscious beneficiaries of this
monumental fraud and forgery, Gibbon says:

          "Fraud is the resource of weakness and cunning; and
     the strong, though ignorant barbarian, was often entangled
     in the net of sacerdotal policy. ... The Decretal and the
     Donation of Constantine, the two magical pillars of the
     spiritual and temporal monarchy of the popes. This
     memorable donation was first introduced to the world by an
     epistle of Adrian the first, who exhorts Charlemagne to
     imitate the liberality, and revive the name, of the great
     Constantine. ... So deep was, the ignorance and credulity
     of the times, that the most absurd of fables was received,
     with equal reverence, in Greece and in France, and is still
     enrolled among the decrees of the canon law. The emperors,
     and the Romans, were incapable of discerning a forgery,
     that subverted their rights and freedom.

          ... The popes themselves have indulged a smile at the
     credulity of the vulgar; but a false and obsolete title
     still sanctifies their reign; and, by the same fortune
     which has attended the decretals and the Sibylline Oracles,
     the edifice has subsisted after the foundations have been
     undermined."

     (Gibbon, Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch. xiv,
     pp. 740, 741, 742.)

The falsity of the Donation was first alleged and proved, in
1440, by the acute Humanist critic Lorenzo Valla, who has the
exposure of more than one Church forgery to his credit, and who
narrowly escaped the Holy Inquisition; and yet the document
"was still used as authentic" by Holy Church until the great
Churchman critic Baronius forced the confession of the fraud,
but the Church still for centuries clung to the fruits of its
fraud, and would not give them up, with their revenues and
rotten "sovereignty." The ancient forgery of "Donation" was
finally canceled by Italian patriot bayonets in 1870, and the
stolen territories of "Peter's Patrimon" restored to United
Italy. That these Papal territories were not of "divine" right,
nor of even forged muniments which can be plausibly urged, is
thus confessed: "All of this, of course, is based upon
painstaking deductions since no document has come down to us
either from the time of Charlemagne or from that of Pepin."
(CE. xiv, 261.) This is confirmed, and the precarious nature of
the usurped tenure thus stated: "Nominally, Adrian I (772-775)
was now monarch of about two-thirds of the Italian peninsula,
but his sway was little more than nominal. ... It was in no
slight degree owing to Adrian's political sagacity, vigilance,
and activity, that the temporal power of the Papacy did not
remain a fiction of the imagination. ... The temporal power of
the popes, of which Adrian I must be considered the real
founder." (CE. i, 155-156.) 

In a paragraph which gives a word of credit to Valla for his
exposure of the forgeries of the "Donation" and the immense and
remarkable "Pseudo-Areopagite" Forgeries, previously mentioned,

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the vast extent of the output of the Vatican Forgery-Mill -- and the
evil persistence of the Church in clinging to them after exposure, is
thus admitted: "Lorenzo Valla, 1440, counselled Engenius IV not to
rely on the Donation of Constantine, which he proved to be spurious.
... It was Valla who first denied the authenticity of those writings
which for centuries had been going about as the treatises composed
by Dionysius the Areopagite. Three centuries later the Benedictines of
St. Maur and the Bollandists were still engaged in sifting out the
true from the false in patristic literature, in hagiology, in the
story of the foundation of local churches" (CE. xii, 768), -- such
Liars of the Lord were the pious parasites of Holy Church.

                    THE "SYMMACHIAN FORGERIES"

Among the sheaf of forged documents above confessed by CE. are the
so-called "Symmachian Forgeries," forged by or in behoof of His
Holiness Pope St. Symmachus (498-514), products of the Church Forgery
Mill operated by the Pope to further papal pretensions of the
independence of the Bishops of Rome from the just criticisms and
judgment of ecclesiastical tribunals, and putting them above law
clerical and secular. Whenever there was need for false precedents, a
simple turn of the crank of the wheel of the papal forgery-mill
produced them just to order. Thus, in this instance: "During the
dispute between Pope St. Symmachus and the anti-pope Laurentius, the
adherents of Symmachus drew up four apocryphal writings called the
'Symmachian Forgeries'. ... The object of these forgeries was to
produce alleged instances from earlier times to support the whole
procedure of the adherents of Symmachus, and, in particular, the
position that the Roman bishop could not be judged by any court
composed of other bishops." (CE. xiv, 378.) Our Confessor is careful
twice to impute these confessed forgeries to the "adherents" of His
Holiness; but they were forged for him, used, of course with his
knowledge and consent, to further his cause in the dispute; they are
thus distinctly forgeries by His Holiness. 

                 THE "FALSE DECRETALS" FORGERIES

A "record of forgery in the interest of the Church which resembles
nothing else in history," in the words of Dr. McCabe, has so far been
presented; the climax and capstone is now to be seen in what Voltaire
terms "the boldest and most magnificent forgery which has deceived
the world for centuries," the so-called "False Decretals of Isidore."
While it is true, as said by Reinach, that "never yet has the papacy
acknowledged that for 1000 years it made use of forged documents for
its own benefit," yet we have seen a thousand confessions of the fact
of forgery, and either the admission or the inevitable inference,
that they were used by the Church in the fraudulent obtention of
viciously illicit ends. The following brief paragraph of further
confession from CE., is pregnant with suggestion of the moral
depravity of popes and priests, the whole Church, the sodden
ignorance of the votaries of Holy Church, cleric and lay, the
darkness of the life of mind and spirit till at the "Renaissance" men
were reborn indeed, and after slow and painful growth of learning and
of freeing from fear, began to expose the Church in its forgeries,

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frauds, and vices. The tone of CE. is quite apologetical for this
particular monument of Church fraud; it seeks palliation in the
conditions of ignorance of the Middle Ages; but it forgets that Holy
Church purposely produced this ignorance, and that Popes and Church
are illumined by the Holy Ghost of their God against all ignorance
and error so that its "Church never has erred and never shall": but
maybe this statement is itself an error. CE. now speaks for this
gigantic fraud of Holy Church, the False Isidorian Decretals:

          "Isidorian Decretals is the name given to certain
     apocryphal letters contained in a collection of canon laws
     composed about the middle of the ninth century. ... Nowadays
     every one agrees that these so-called papal letters are
     forgeries. These documents, about 100 in number, appeared
     suddenly in the ninth century and are nowhere mentioned before
     that time. ... The pseudo-Isidore makes use of documents
     written long after the times of the popes to whom he attributed
     them. The popes of the first three centuries are made to quote
     documents that did not appear until the fourth or fifth century,
     etc. Then again there are endless anachronisms. The Middle Ages
     were deceived by this huge forgery, but during the Renaissance
     men of learning and the canonists generally began to recognize
     the fraud. ... Nevertheless the official edition of the 'Corpus
     Juris,' in 1580, upheld the genuineness of the false decretals."
     (CE. vi, 773.) But the God-guided Vicars of God knew they were
     forgeries.

          "Upon these spurious decretals," says Hallam, "was built
     the great fabric of papal supremacy over the different national
     churches; a fabric which has stood after its foundations
     crumbled beneath it; for no one has pretended to deny, for the
     last two centuries, that the imposture is too palpable for any
     but the most ignorant ages to credit." (History of the Middle
     Ages, Bk. VII, ch. ii, 99.) Though on their face affecting only
     matters spiritual and causes ecclesiastical, they soon had all
     Europe strangled as in the tentacles of a giant octopus, by a
     process thus described by Lord Bryce: "By the invention and
     adoption of the False Decretals it (the Church) had provided
     itself with a legal system suited to any emergency, and which
     gave it unlimited authority through the Christian world in
     causes spiritual and over persons ecclesiastical. Canonical
     ingenuity found it easy in one way or another to make this
     include all causes and persons whatsoever; for crime is always
     and wrong is often sin, nor can aught be done anywhere which
     may not affect the clergy." (Holy Roman Empire, ch. x, 152.)
     "The Forgery," says Dr. Draper, "produced an immense extension
     of papal power, it displaced the old Church government,
     divesting it of the republican attributes it had possessed,
     and transforming it into an absolute monarchy. It brought the
     bishops into subjection to Rome, and made the pontiff the
     supreme judge of the whole Christian world. It prepared the
     way for the great attempt, subsequently made by Hildebrand, to
     convert the states of Europe into a theocratic priest-kingdom,
     with the pope at its head."

     (Conflict between Religion and Science, ch. x, 271.)

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The false pretense back of the huge forgery was that the documents
included were genuine papal letters and decretals of the earliest
popes, thus carrying back the Church's late pretensions to the very
first of the Church and to the pretended and fictitious associates
and "Successors" of Peter. These spurious documents are taken up
seriatim by the critical Father Dupin, as outlined in ANF., viii,
and each in its turn pronounced a forgery. From the "Introductory
Notice to the Decretals," I think it pertinent to quote the
following paragraph:

          "These frauds, which, pretending to be a series of 'papal
     edicts' from Clement and his successors during the ante-Niccne
     ages, are, in fact, the manufactured product of the ninth
     century, -- the most stupendous imposture of the world's
     history, the most successful and the most stubborn in its hold
     upon enlightened nations. Like the mason's framework of lath
     and scantlings, on which he turns an arch of massive stone,
     the Decretals served their purpose, enabling Nicholas I to
     found the Papacy by their insignificant aid. That swelling
     arch of vanity once reared, the framework might be knocked
     out; but the fabric stood, and has borne up every weight
     imposed upon it for ages. Its strong abutments have been
     ignorance and despotism. Nicholas produced his flimsy
     framework of imposture, and amazed the whole Church by the
     audacity of the claims he founded upon it. The age, however,
     was unlearned and uncritical; and, in spite of remonstrances
     from France under lead of Hincmar, bishop of Rheims, the West
     patiently submitted to the overthrow of the ancient Canons
     and the Nicene Constitutions, and bowed to the yoke of a new
     canon law, of which these frauds were not only made an
     integral, but the essential, part. The East never accepted
     them for a moment. ... The Papacy created the Western schism,
     and contrived to call it 'the schism of the Greeks.' The
     Decretals had created the Papacy, and they enabled the first
     Pope to assume that communion with himself was the test of
     Catholic communion: hence his excommunication of the
     Easterns, which, after brief intervals of relaxation,
     settled into the chronic schism of the Papacy, and produced
     the awful history of the medieval Church in Western Europe."
     (ANF. viii, 601.)

                  THE FORGED DECRETUM OF GRATIAN

Great and pernicious as were the influences of the forged Isidorian
Decretals, there yet remained a step to bring the Forger Church to
the height of its age-old ambitious scheme to completely imitate the
olden Roman Empire and dominate the world. "The School of Bologna
had just revived the study of Roman law; Gratian sought to inaugurate
a similar study of canon law. But while compilations of texts and
official collections were available for Roman law, or 'Corpus juris
civilis,' Gratian had no such assistance. He therefore adopted the
plan of inserting the texts in the body of his general treatise; from
the disordered mass of canons, collected from the earliest days, he
selected the law actually in force. ... The science of canon law was
at length established." (CE. ix, 57.) But this disordered mass out
of which Gratian selected was very largely the old

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forged reliances of the Church; thus in making his selections "Gratian
alleges forged decretals" (CE. iv,), -- including the Constantine
Donation, the Isidore forgeries, etc. Yet, withal, "the 'Decretum' of
Gratian was considered in the middle of the twelfth century as a
corpus juris canonici, i.e. a code of ecclesiastic laws then in
force." (CE. iv, 671.) It clinched the rivets in the forged fetters of
the Church upon the neck of Christendom, and sanctioned the principles
which in the next century were invoked to found and justify the
Holy Inquisition. Of this celebrated document, the beginning of the
"science" of Church legistic sophistry, Draper says: "The most potent
instrument of the new papal system was Gratian's Decretum, which was
issued about the middle of the Twelfth Century. It was a mass of
fabrications. It made the whole Christian world, through the papacy,
the domain of the Italian clergy. It inculcated that it is lawful to
constrain men to goodness, to torture and execute heretics, and to
confiscate their property; that to kill an excommunicated person is
not murder; that the pope, in his unlimited superiority to all law,
stands on an equality with the Son of God." (Conflict between Science
and Religion, ch. x, p. 273.) 

                  THE FULL FRUITION OF FORGERY

As said by Dr. McCabe: "There was no need of further forgeries. Now
securely established on its basis of forged donations of temporal
power and territory, forged decretals stating its spiritual powers,
and forged lives of saints and martyrs, the papacy was so strong and
prosperous that the popes actually dreamed of forming a sort of
United States of Europe with themselves as virtual presidents. Nearly
every country was in some ingenious way made out to be a fief of the
Papacy and bound to recognize the Pope as its feudal monarch." (LBB.
1130, 44-5.)

Founding thus its religion, that newer form of Paganism called
Christianity, on falsehood and forged "Scripture" documents; its
pretensions to superiority and "primacy" on gross "interpolations"
into the forged Scriptures; its spurious claims to territorial
possessions and temporal sovereignty upon forged title-deeds and
Donations; its "spiritual" and legal domination upon forged Church law
and constitutions, -- thus was the visible Church of Christ brought to
the perfection of its power and degradation. For fifteen hundred
years every document under which it claimed, it forged; it forged
until it had no longer need of forgery, for nothing was left to forge;
forged so long as it could forge with impunity, for with the
Renaissance its old forgeries began to be discovered and exposed, and
it could commit undetected no further documentary forgeries.

Such is the objective side, as it were, of the Christian religion and
its Church. Its subjective side, the subjugation of its victims by
imposed ignorance and superstition, through limitless forgeries of
miracles, martyrs, saints and relics, remains to be briefly noticed as
a sort of by-product of the Holy Church Forgery Mill.

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                    THE FRUSTRATED EMS REVOLT 

Not to mention the revolt known as the "Reformation," the discovery
of the unholy and criminal practices of the Church in the matter of
its claims of primacy and jurisdiction, as defined in the Isidorian
False Decretals, led to one tardy and half-way ecclesiastical effort
of revolt within the Roman Church, which might have developed into
something worth while to humanity as a whole, but that "political
considerations" intervened to bring it to naught. It is cited simply
by way of historical reminder, and as suggestive of what may yet be
effectively accomplished to the full extent of popular repudiation.

The Congress of Ems, in 1786, was a gathering of the representatives
of a number of German Archbishops and other clergy, "for the purpose
of protesting against papal interference in the exercise of episcopal
powers and fixing the future relations between these archbishops
and the Roman pontiff. ... On 25 August, 1786, these archiepiscopal
representatives signed the notorious 'Punctation of Ems', consisting
of twenty-three articles, which aimed at making the German
archbishops practically independent of Rome. Assuming that Christ
gave unlimited power of binding and loosing to the Apostles and their
successors, the bishops, the 'Punctation' maintains that all
prerogatives and reservations which were not actually connected with
the primacy during the first three centuries owe their origin, to
the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals, universally acknowledged as false,
and, hence, that the bishops must look upon all interference of the
Roman Curia with the exercise of their episcopal functions in their
own dioceses as encroachments on their rights. ... It may easily be
seen that the articles of the 'Punctation' lower the papal primacy
to a merely honorary one and advocate an independence of the
arch-bishops in regard to the pope which is entirely incompatible
with the Unity and Catholicity of the Church of Christ," -- such
are the unctuous objections made by Christ's Church. However, the
Punctations were "ratified by the Archbishops, and sent to Emperor
Joseph II for his support. The Emperor was pleased with the articles,
and would have pledged his unqualified support if his councillors had
not for political reasons advised him otherwise." (CE. v, 409-10.)
Rejecting the "assumption," now known to be false and forged, that
Christ had anything at all to do with Peter and the Rock-and-Keys
forgery, all may now feel free to discard these primitive "Scripture"
frauds just as all the others of the Church which have been exposed
as false and abandoned. 

                FORGED SAINTS, MARTYRS AND MIRACLES

          "Throughout Church History there are miracles so well
     authenticated that their truth cannot be denied." (CE. x, 345.)

          " ... after the working of Satan with all power and signs
     and lying wonders." (2 Thess. ii, 9.) 

Look we for a moment 'on this picture and on that, the counterfeit
presentment, to slightly adapt Hamlet, of two modern Miracles,
published to the world in the Metropolitan press, -- a sort of study
in what may be called Comparative Credulity. The

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first, although they "read it in the paper," no Christian or no
Infidel will hesitate to laugh at or commiserate as a ridiculous
superstition, taken advantage of by greedy priests to exploit their
credulous dupes. Only benighted heathen Buddhists religiously believe
the following:

          "Peasant says Buddha Arose and Cured Him.

          "Chinese Tale of a 'Miracle' by Stone Image Causes Religious
     Revival at Peking

          "Peking, Sept. 7. A tremendous revival of religious
     superstition is being experienced by the Buddhists of Peking and
     vicinity, because an aged peasant vows that he was cured (last
     week) of a long-standing ailment when one of the stone images of
     the sitting Buddha at Palichwang Pagoda rose to its feet, stepped
     forward, and then raised its arm in sign of benediction.

          "The old peasant, named Chang Chi-kuang, is a farmer, living
     near Palichwang Pagoda [a short distance from the Peking gate of
     the Great Wall]. Chang Chi-kuang, who, his neighbors say, has long
     suffered from lung trouble [passing by with a load of garden-truck
     which he was carrying afoot into the city], became exhausted, and
     stopped for rest and for refuge from the heat in the shade of an
     old tree near the Pagoda, which is thirteen stories high and was
     built 500 years ago, and in the days of the Ming emperors.

          "Chang Chi-kuang, as he lay resting in the shade, found his gaze
     focused on the figure of the sitting Buddha, in the third story of
     the Pagoda. ... The figure rose, Chang says, took two steps, and
     raised its arms with a gesture of blessing. At this point, according
     to Chang, he nearly swooned. He then fell to his knees in devout
     worship, and when he raised his head after a long prayer the Buddha
     had gone back to the place and position of the last few hundred years.

          "The story of this miracle has spread rapidly. Every day now
     thousands of pilgrims go to Palichwang from Peking and from the
     villages and farms in this part of the province.

          "Both sides of the road from the Peking gate to the Pagoda are now
     lined with booths where incense is sold, and hundreds of Lama priests,
     with their begging bowls, now reap a rich gathering from the pious
     pilgrims. ... And old Chang swears that he is now in better health than
     he has enjoyed since he was a boy." (Special Correspondence of the New
     York Times, October 14, 1928.)

The foregoing religious news item is found archived in the "Morgue" of the
Great "Religious" Daily under the discrediting caption "Superstitions"; it
will be noticed that the word "Miracle" in the headline is printed in quotes.
No such skeptical note is to be found in its next -- Christian -- report.

Hundreds of millions of pious priest-ridden Christians do believe the
following, testified under oath in a military court, -- other hundreds of
millions will regard it as they do the Buddhist tale above related, -- and
the Christian one below:

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          "Soldier's Story of a Miracle Saves Him at Court-Martial.

          "Croatian newspapers tell how a miracle figured as a
     determining factor in a court-martial trial. During the Austrian
     invasion of Upper Italy a Croatian soldier was suspected of having
     stolen a pearl necklace from a statue of the Holy Virgin in a
     pilgrims' church and was brought to trial. He admitted having
     taken the necklace. but insisted that it was a gift to him.

          "He said that he had gone into the church to pray, and had
     lamented before the statue of the Virgin the sad lot of his family,
     whom he had been compelled to leave destitute. Thereupon, he said,
     the Holy Virgin bowed her head, and took the pearls from her neck
     and handed them to him.

          "The Court could not venture to reject this story offhand, as
     there was general belief in the miracle-working power of the statue.
     So it referred the matter to two Bishops, asking them whether such a
     miracle was within the domain of possibility.

          "The Bishops were perplexed. If they answered 'Yes,' they might
     be protecting a rascal. But if they said 'No,' they would destroy the
     repute of that church for miraculous power and phenomena. Finally they
     answered that such a miracle was within the range of possibility;
     and in consequence the soldier was acquitted.

          "But the Colonel of the regiment to which the soldier belonged was
     either skeptical or of a most prudent turn of mind, for after the
     verdict of the court had been announced he issued his order: 'In future
     no soldier under my command is permitted, under heavy penalty, to
     accept a gift from anybody." (New York Times, Oct. 10, 1926.)

It is not reported whether this episcopal pair of men of God were unfrocked
for perjury and the perversion of justice, or even gently chided by His
Holiness. 

The "lying wonders" of saints, martyrs and miracles are so intimately
related, and so inextricably interwoven the one form of pious fraud
with the others, that they must needs be bunched together in this summary
treatment of but few out of countless thousands, millions perhaps, of them
recorded for faith and edification in the innumerable "Acts" and "Lives"
and wonder-works of the Holy Church of God. Those which are here mentioned
are picked at random from a turning of the pages of the fifteen ponderous
tomes of CE., where they may be verified under the respective names of the
Saints. With scarcely an exception they are soberly recounted as actual
verities of the past and living realities of the present.

The degraded state of mind of the Faithful, and the moral depravity of the
Church which for nearly two millennia, and yet into the twentieth century,
peddles these childish fables as articles of Christian faith, may be known
by the mere fact of the

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existence in limitless numbers of these precious myths. Founded by
Jean Bolland, of Belgium, in the early years of the 1600's, an
important Church Society, known as the Bollandists, yet exists and
industriously carries on its labors. "This monumental work, the Acta
Sanctorum of the Bollandists, has become the foundation of all
investigation in hagiography and legend." (CE. ix, 129.) For some
three centuries its task has been and yet is, to edit and publish in
official Acta Sanctorum the Lives and "Acts" -- authenticated
records -- of every Saint in the Holy Roman Calendar. Arranged in
order of dates of their "feast days," so numerous is this heavenly
mill-made host that up to the month of October over 25,000
officially authenticated Saints are recorded; the Saint-library of
the Society has over 150,000 saintly volumes. As it costs about
$50,000 to turn out one Saint by canonization, and "not less than
$20,000" for beatification or the bestowal of the title of Blessed
(CE. ii, 369), -- the Church revenue from this single source is seen
to have been considerable. 

Holy Church is very careful and conscientious in its processes of
certifying Saints; at least two allegedly genuine and fully
authenticated miracles must be proven to have been performed by the
candidate alive or worked by his relics after death, before final
payment is required and the name certified as a Saint to the
Calendar. A fairly modern instance showing this clerical
scrupulosity may be cited, that of the Venerable Mary de Sales, who
died in 1875 -- "Wishing to save the world over again, Jesus Our
Lord had to use means till then unknown," that is, "The Way"
invented by Mary; but no miracles were satisfactorily proved to
justify making her a Saint; however, her sanctity was proved, and
she was decreed Venerable; some miracles must later have been proved
up in her behalf, or the requisite $20,000 paid, -- for in 1897 her
Beatification was decreed. (CE. ix, 754.) 

However, even Infallibility may be fooled sometimes, even if not all
the time. The most notorious instance is that of the holy Saint
Josaphat, under which name and due to an odd slip of inerrant
inspiration, the great Lord Buddha, "The Light of Asia," was duly
certified a Saint in the Roman Martyrology (27 Nov.; CE. iii, 297).
More modernly, in 1802, an old grave was found containing a cadaver
and a bottle "supposed to contain the blood of a martyr"; the relies
were enshrined in an altar, and the erstwhile owner of the remains
was duly and solemnly canonized as Saint Philomena; but this was "by
mistake"; and thus were fooled two infallible Holinesses, Gregory
XVI and Leo III. (CE. xii, 25.) 

                       "SPECULA STULTORUM"

Before thumbing the wonder-filled pages of CE. to pick out from
thousands, sundry examples of the inspired and truthful histories of
Saints and Martyrs, recorded for the moral edification and mental
stultification of the Faithful of the Twentieth Century, -- when only
the miracles of Science in benefit of humanity are recognized by many
as real, -- we may note the comment of that Exponent of "Catholic
Truth" conscientiously questioning a case or two of the certified
Saint-

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records. With respect to one of the notable female Saints, St. Catherine
of Alexandria, it is candidly explained: "Unfortunately these Acts have
been transformed and distorted by fantastic and diffuse descriptions
which are entirely due to the imagination of the narrators -- [a notable
one of whom was the great Bossuet of France], -- who cared less to state
authentic facts than to charm their readers by recitals of the
marvelous." (CE. iii, 445.) Speaking of another case, St. Emmeram: "The
improbability of the tale, the fantastic details of the Saint's
martyrdom, and the fantastic account of the prodigies attending his
death, show that the writer, infected by the pious mania of his time,
simply added to the facts imaginary details supposed to redound to the
glory of the martyr." (v, 406.) How often have we heard from this same
exponent of "Catholic Truth" this same exculpation of priestly pious
mendacity in wondermongering! 

Questioning a few such instances, implicitly carries with it the moral
assurance that all the others, related as unquestioned fact, are free
from such taint of fraud, -- are, indeed, among those "miracles so well
authenticated that their truth cannot be denied." Indeed, the reality
and authenticity of very many, for example, the bubbling blood of the
sixteen-hundred-year-old martyred St. Januarius, and its frequent
efficacy in stopping eruptions of the Volcano Mt. Vesuvius, are
explicitly affirmed by the Catholic Encyclopedia, which is now to be
quoted. It may be suspected, however, that even these certified
Saint-tales, like so many others, are fakes and "belong to the common
foundation of all legends of saints" (CE. i, 40), the fraud of which is
confessed. 

Very portentous is this St. Januarius, "martyred" about 305: "His holy
blood is kept unto this day in a phial of glass, which being set near
his head, bubbles up as though it were fresh," in the church of St.
Januarius at Naples; a long article is replete with plenary proofs of
this and other miracles of the Saint. He was thrown into a fiery furnace,
but the flames would not touch him and his companions; his executioner
was struck blind, but the Saint cured him. His holy remains were brought
to Naples, and are famous on account of many miracles, as recorded in the
official papal "present Roman Martyrology," a longer account being given
in the Breviary, as quoted in these words of assurance: "Among these
miracles is remarkable the stopping of eruptions of Mount Vesuvius,
whereby both that neighborhood and places afar off have been like to be
destroyed. It is also well known and is the plain fact, seen even unto
this day, that when the blood of St. Januarius, kept dried up in a small
glass phial, is put in sight of the head of the same martyr, it is wont
to melt and bubble up in a very strange way, as though it had but freshly
been shed. ... For more than four hundred years this liquefaction has
taken place at frequent intervals"; elaborate tests, the last reported in
1902 and 1904, have been unable to account for the phenomenon except as
due to miracle. "It has had much to do with many conversations to
Catholicism. Unfortunately, however, allegations have often been made as
to the favorable verdict expressed by scientific men of note, which are
not always verifiable. The supposed testimony of the great chemist, Sir
Humphrey Davy, who is declared to have expressed his belief in the
genuineness of the miracle, is a case in point." (CE. viii, 295-7.)

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This Holy Bottle of blood might well be borrowed to stop the present
eruption of Mt. AEtna in Sicily, which (as this is written), is
destroying several populous towns and "the most intensively cultivated
land in Sicily," by a torrent of lava a mile in width, against which
the local Patron seems impotent: "The lava struck Mascali, a town of
10,000 inhabitants last night, just after the townsfolk had finished
celebrating the feast of their patron, St. Leonardo, whose statue was
carried on the shoulders of four old men." (N.Y. Herald-Tribune, Nov.
8, 1928.) But such pious thaumaturgies do not seem to be overly potent
this year. In this unguarded a priori surmise I find myself mistaken,
and apologize to the gentle reader and to Holy Church. There is no
need to borrow the Vesuvius-stopping Blood of St. Januarius; Sicily
has its own local AEtna-stopper, the Holy Veil of St. Agatha, "which,
according to tradition, has arrested the flow of lava toward Catania
in the past." This sacred and potent relic, a bit tardily, after
several large towns have been wiped out, has now "been exposed in the
cathedral by order of the Archbishop Cardinal Nava, who also issued an
appeal for prayers by all in the diocese. He exhorted the population
to remain calm and maintain their faith. On previous occasions prayers
to St. Agatha were said when an eruption occurred, and the lava
stopped short before Nicolosi and Linguaglossa, twenty-five miles
north of Catania." (N.Y. Sun, Nov. 13, 1928.) This tardy exposition of
the Relics and order for prayers, -- after scientific examinations and
airplane explorations had shown that the fiery forces were about spent
and "the lava showing signs of solidification and emissions from the
smoking mountain lessening," -- is somewhat posthumous, or humorous;
the devastation was already wrought. If St. Agatha's anti-volcano Veil
had been gotten out of storage and waved or hung up on the first signs
of eruption, some of this history, one way or another, would have been
different. But if the Saint can stop volcanoes after the evil deed is
done, -- Well, one miracle of prevention is better than a larger
number of miracles of cure, -- which are ineffective to repair the
havoc in such cases. Like miracles of 'liquefaction of Holy Blood yet
occur abundantly, as in the noted cases of "Saints John the Baptist,
Stephen, Pantaleone, Patricia, Nicholas, Aloysius," et id omne genus;
so with the bottled "Milk of our Lady" and the canned "fat of St.
Thomas Aquinas," on their respective Saint-days!. (CE. viii, 297.)

The sacred Council of Trent, in 1546, decreed: "That the saints who
reign with Christ offer to God their prayers for men; that it is good
and useful to invoke them by supplication and to have recourse to their
aid and assistance in order to obtain from God His benefits through His
Son and Our Savior Jesus Christ, who alone is our Savior and Redeemer."
(Session xxv.) But the sacred Council, in its preoccupation of
combating the nascent outraged revolt and protest of Protestantism,
which was filching its most plausible counterfeits for circulation in a
hostile camp, -- seems to have overlooked this scrap of forged
Scripture: "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus." (I Tim. ii, 5.) The effect, however, of this
multiplication of saintly mediators is picturesque; it is finely
exemplified in the great painting "The Intercession of the

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Saints," in the Royal Gallery at Naples: In the background is the
plague-stricken city; in the foreground the people are praying to the
city authorities to avert the plague; the city authorities are
praying to the Carthusian monks; the monks are praying to the Blessed
Virgin; the Virgin prays to Christ; and Christ prays to his Father
Almighty. The Holy Ghost, who "itself maketh intercession for us with
groanings which cannot be uttered," is quite left out of the picture.
Just how good and useful it is to invoke the Saints directly, saving
Doctor's bills and other inconveniences, will be noticed in the
catalogue of Saints below inscribed.

It was in the fifth century, says Dr. McCabe, that "Rome began on a
large scale the forgery of lives of martyrs. Relics of martyrs were
now being 'discovered' in great numbers to meet the pious demand of
ignorant Christendom, and legends were fabricated by the thousands to
authenticate the spurious bits of bone." (LBB. 1130, p. 40.) "Such,"
says CE., "are the 'Martyrium S. Polycarpi,' admitting, though it
does, much that may be due to the pious fancy of the eye-witness";
also "the 'Acta SS. Perpetuae et Felicitas.'"

The Saint-mill of Holy Church began operations very early, or reached
for grist far back into antiquity for the beginnings of its Calendar
of Saints. The first Saint who greets us among the countless hordes
of canonized Holy Ones is no less a primitive personage that St. Abel,
the younger son and second heir of our mythical Father Adam, of Eden,
who was canonized by Jesus Christ himself, we are told, "as the first
of a long line of prophets martyred for justice's sake," as is the
clerical interpretation of Matt. xxiii, 34-35, "That upon you may come
all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel
unto the blood of Zacharias," -- a bloody invocation in later
centuries peculiarly appropriate to the Church of Jesus Christ. This
is a genuine surprise, for no miracles wrought by St. Abel are
recorded, and no generous canonization fees seem to have been paid for
his account into the Treasury of the Lord in Rome. 

                          OLD PAGAN STUFF 

Many of the Pagan gods were converted into Christian Saints, and seem
to have brought over with them the special curative or prophylactic
attributes for which they were invoked as specifics. Indeed, the whole
system was purely Pagan: "Cures, apparitions, prophecies, visions,
transfigurations, stigmata, pleasant odor, incorruption -- all these
phenomena were also known to antiquity. Ancient Greece exhibits stone
monuments and inscriptions which bear witness to cures and apparitions
in ancient mythology. History tells of Aristeas of Proconnessus,
Hermotimus of Claxomenae, Epimenides of Crete, that they were ascetics
and thereby became ecstatic, even to the degree of the soul leaving
the body, remaining far removed from it, and being able to appear in
other places." (CE. ix, 129.) The pious plan of temporal salvation in
the Ages of Faith is thus historically vouched: "The whole social life
of the Catholic world before the Reformation was animated with the
idea of protection from the citizens of heaven. There were patrons or
protectors in various forms of

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illness, as for instance: St. Agatha, diseases of the breast; Apollonia,
toothache; Blaise, sore throat; Clare and Lucy, eyes; Benedict, against
poison; Hubert, against bites of dogs." (CE. xi, 566.) "Catania honours
St. Agatha as her patron saint, and throughout the region around Mt.
AEtna she is invoked against the eruptions of the volcano, as elsewhere
against fire and lightning." (i, 204.) 

To the infamous sanctified fable of St. Hugh are imputed sundry unholy
accusations and persecutions against the Jews, -- (here only repeated
because they are falsely affirmed in the inspired Bull of Canonization.
A Christian child was lyingly alleged to have been crucified by the Jews;
the earth refused to receive its body, and it was thrown into a well,
where it was found with the marks of crucifixion upon it; nineteen Jews
were infamously put to death for the fabulous crime, and ninety others
were condemned to death but released, for the sake of greed, upon payment
of large fines; "Copin, the leader, stated that it was a Jewish custom to
crucify a boy once a year"! (CE. vii, 515); similar infamies of falsehood
are related in connection with St. William of Norwich. (CE. xv, 635.)

Here is a monumental miracle with every assurance of verity. "St.
Winefride was a maiden of great personal charm and endowed with rare
gifts of intellect. The fame of her beauty and accomplishments reached
the ears of Caradoc, son of the neighboring Prince Alen." She refused all
his advances; frightened by his threats she fled towards the church where
her uncle St. Beuno was celebrating Mass. "Maddened by a disappointed
passion, Caradoc pursued her and, overtaking her on the slope above the
site of the present well, he drew his sword and at one blow severed her
head from the body. The head rolled down the incline and, where it
rested, there gushed forth a spring." St. Beuno, hearing of the tragedy,
left the altar, and accompanied by the parents came to the spot where the
head lay beside the spring. "Taking up the maiden's head be carried it to
where the body lay, covered both with his cloak, and then re-entered the
church to finish the Holy Sacrifice. When Mass was ended he knelt beside
the Saint's body, offered up a fervent prayer to God, and ordered the
cloak which covered it to be removed. Thereupon Winefride, as if
awakening from a deep slumber, rose up with no sign of the severing of
the head except a thin white circle round her neck. Seeing the murderer
leaning on his sword with an insolent and defiant air, St. Beuno invoked
the chastisement of heaven, and Caradoc fell dead on the spot, the
popular belief being that the earth opened and swallowed him.
Miraculously restored to life, Winefride seems to have lived in almost
perpetual ecstasy and to have had familiar converse with God." The place
where this signal miracle occurred was at the time called "Dry Hollow,"
but with its miraculous spring its name was changed to Holywell, and it
stands there in Wales to this day, a bubblingly vocal witness to the
verity of this holy yarn. Born in 600, beheaded and reheaded at sweet
sixteen, she died Nov. 3, 660; "her death was foreshown to her in a
vision by Christ Himself." (CE. xv, 656-657.) "For more than a thousand
years this Miraculous Well has attracted numerous pilgrims; documents
preserved in the British Museum give us its history, with the

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earliest record of the miraculous cures effected by its waters. These
ancient cures included cases of dropsy, paralysis, gout, melancholia,
sciatica, cancer, alienation of mind, blood spitting, etc. etc., also
deliverance from evil spirits." (CE. repeats the history of St. Winefride,
or Gwenfrewi, in vii, 438.)

St. Wolfgang, by a unique miracle, "forced the devil to help him build a
church." -- Et id omne genus -- ad nauseam. Such is a handful of the holy
chaff of faith, purveyed by Holy Church to all Believers to this day.
Scores of like saint-lies are here omitted to save space.

These gross and degrading impostures by forged miracles not only went
unrebuked and unchecked by the Vicars of God; many of the vice-Gods were
among the most prolific miracle-mongers of the ages of Faith. One of the
most notorious wonder-workers and wonder-forgers of Holy Church was no
less a personage than His Holiness Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604).
He has the doubtful distinction of being the author of four celebrated
volumes of Dialogi, which are a veritable thesaurus of holy wonders. From
this treasury of nature-fakery we have seen the old Pagan example,
affirmed as Christian fact by Gregory, as quoted by CE., of the man
carried off by mistake by the Angel of Death, but restored to life when
the oversight was discovered. He also relates a great flood of the Tiber
which threatened to destroy Rome, until a copy of His Holiness's
"Dialogi" was thrown into the swollen waters, which immediately subsided,
and the Holy City was thus saved. His Holiness solemnly records the case
of an awful belly-ache suffered by a holy nun, which he avers was caused
by her having swallowed a devil along with a piece of lettuce which she
was eating without having taken the due precaution of making the sign of
the cross over it to scare away any lurking imps of Satan; and this devil,
when commanded by a holy monk to come out of the nun, derisively replied:
"How am I to blame? I was sitting on the lettuce, and this woman, not
having made the sign of the cross, ate me along with it!" (Dial. lib. i,
c. 4.) When elected Pope in 590 the city of Rome was afflicted by a
dreadful pestilence; the angels of the angry God of all mercies were
relentlessly flinging fiery darts among the devout Christian populace. To
conjure away the pestilence -- due perhaps primarily to the filth of the
Holy City and its inhabitants -- His Holiness headed a monkish parade
through the stricken city, when of a sudden he saw the Archangel Michael
hovering over the great Pagan mausoleum of Hadrian, just in the act of
sheathing his flaming sword, while three angels with him chanted the
original verses of the Regina Caeli; the great Pope made the Sign of the
Cross and broke into Hallelujahs -- (that is, "Praise to Yahveh," the old
Hebrew war-god). In commemoration of the wondrous event, the pious Pope
built a Christian chapel, dedicated to St. Michael, atop the Pagan
monument, and over it erected the colossal statue of the Archangel in the
sword-sheathing act, which stands there in Rome to this day -- the Castel
Saint Angelo, in enduring proof of the miracle and of the veracity of
papal narratives. (CE. vi, 782.) The authorship of this monkish Hymn to
the Queen of Heaven being unknown, pious invention supplied its true
history: "that St. Gregory the Great heard the first three lines chanted
by angels on a certain Easter

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morning in Rome while he walked barefoot in a great religious procession,
and that the Saint thereupon added the fourth line." (C.E. xii, 719.)
Such is ecclesiastical "history."

The literary attainments of His Holiness Gregory were tempered, if not
corrupted, by his holy zeal, for "in his commentary on Job, Gregory I
warns the reader that he need not be surprised to find mistakes of Latin
Grammar, since in dealing with so holy a work as the Bible a writer should
not stop to make sure whether his cases and tenses are right." (Robinson,
The Ordeal of Civilization, p. 62.) However, his zeal for more material
things was not thus hampered: "Pope Gregory I contrived to make his real
belief in the approaching end of the world yield the papacy about 1800
square miles of land and a revenue of about $2,000,000. He used bribes,
threats and all kinds of stratagems to attain his ends." (McCabe, LBB.
1130, p. 40.)

His Holiness Gregory I was himself one of the greatest thaumatur-gists of
the Ages of Faith: "the miracles attributed to Gregory are very many."
(CE. vi, 786.) When Mohammed was forging his inspired Book of Koran, the
illuminating spirit, in the guise of a dove, would perch on his shoulder
and whisper the divine revelations into his ear, -- a miracle which none
but quite devout Mohammedans believe. But Peter the Deacon, in his Vita of
His wonder-working Holiness, records that when St. Gregory was dictating
his Homilies On Ezekiel: "A veil was drawn between his secretary and
himself. As, however, the pope remained silent for long periods at a time,
the servant made a hole in the curtain and, looking through, beheld a dove
seated on Gregory's head with his beak between his lips. When the dove
withdrew its beak the holy pontiff spoke and the secretary took down his
words; but when he became silent the secretary again applied his eye to
the hole and saw that the dove had replaced its beak between his lips."
(CE. vi, 786.) No good Christian can doubt, after this proof, that their
Holinesses are constantly and directly inspired and guided by the Holy
Ghost, as Holy Church assures. Wonderful as this bit of Gregory's history
is, to recommend him to lasting remembrance, "his great claim to remembrance
lies in the fact that he is the real father of the medieval papacy." (Ibid.)
These qualities of the Holy Father which we have noticed may to an extent
explain some of the eccentricities of the Medieval Papacy.

                     FORGED AND FAKED RELICS 

          "Making every allowance for the errors of the most extreme
     fallibility, the history of Catholicism would on this hypothesis
     represent an amount of imposture probably unequalled in the annals of
     the human race."

     Lecky, History of Rationalism, i, 164. 

As loathsome an example as is to be found in the annals of Christian
apologetics for fraud and imposture is this from CE., following a long and
revolting exposition of the Christian frauds with respect to holy Relics of
the Church:

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          "Still, it would be presumptuous in such cases to blame the action
     of the ecclesiastical authority in permitting the continuance of a cult
     which extends back into remote antiquity. [i. e. into Paganism.] ...

          "Supposing the relic to be spurious, NO DISHONOR IS DONE TO GOD by
     the continuance of an error handed down in perfect good faith for many
     centuries"! (CE. xii, 387.)

It may well be that the holy God of the Christians is immune to dishonor by
worship through lying Christian frauds; but one may question the dishonor to
the human mind wrought by the impostures of God's Vicars and his Church,
cozening men into holy faith in lies; to say nothing of the shaming dishonor
of Church and priest, who with utter want of good faith and common honesty
created and fostered all these degrading Churchly cheats.

Before viewing some of these priestly impostures, never once rebuked or
prevented by pope or priest, but, rather, industriously stimulated by them
for purposes of perpetuating ignorance and superstition, and of feeding
their own insatiate avarice, CE. will be invoked to give a graphic, though
clerically casuistic and apologetic review of the debauchery of morals and
mind which made possible these scandalous unholy practices of Holy Church.

          "Naturally it was impossible for popular enthusiasm to be roused
     to so high a pitch in a matter which easily lent itself to error, fraud,
     and greed for gain, without at least the occasional occurrence of many,
     grave abuses. ... In the Theodosian Code the sale of relics is forbidden
     (vii, ix, 17), but numerous stories, of which it would be easy to collect
     a long series, beginning with the writings of Pope St. Gregory the Great
     and St. Gregory of Tours, prove to us that many unprincipled persons
     found a means of enriching themselves by a sort of trade in these objects
     of devotion, the majority of which no doubt were fraudulent. At the
     beginning of the ninth century the exportation of the bodies of martyrs
     from Rome had assumed the proportions of a regular commerce, and a
     certain deacon, Deusdona, acquired an unenviable notoriety in these
     transactions. What was in the long run hardly less disastrous than fraud
     or avarice, was the keen rivalry between religious centers, and the eager
     credulity fostered by the desire to be known as the possessor of some
     unusually startling relic. In such an atmosphere of lawlessness doubtful
     relics came to abound. There was always disposition to regard any human
     remains accidentally discovered near a church or in the catacombs as the
     body of a martyr ... the custom of making facsimiles and imitations, a
     custom which persists to our own day in the replicas of the Vatican
     statue of St. Peter -- [itself a fraud] or of the Grotto of Lourdes -- all
     these are causes adequate to account for the multitude of unquestionably
     spurious relics with which the treasuries of great medieval churches were
     crowded. ... Join to this the large license given to the occasional
     unscrupulous rogue IN AN AGE NOT ONLY UTTERLY UNCRITICAL but often
     curiously morbid in its realism, and it becomes easy to understand the
     multiplicity and extravagance of the entries in the relics inventories of
     Rome and other countries.

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          "Such tests [to secure the Faithful against deception] were applied
     as the historical and antiquarian science of that day were capable of
     devising. Very often, however, this test took the form of an appeal to some
     miraculous sanction, as in the well known story repeated by St. Ambrose,
     according to which, when doubt arose which of the three crosses discovered
     by St. Helena was that of Christ, the healing of a sick man by one of them
     dispelled all further hesitation. Nevertheless it remains true that many of
     the more important ancient relics duly exhibited for veneration in the
     great sanctuaries of Christendom or even at Rome itself must now be
     pronounced to be either certainly spurious or open to grave suspicion. To
     take one example of the latter class, the boards of the crib (Praesaepe) a
     name which for more than a thousand years has been associated, as now, with
     the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore -- can only be considered to be of
     doubtful authenticity. ... Strangely enough, an inscription in Greek
     uncials of the eighth century is found on one of the boards, the
     inscription having nothing to do with the Crib but being apparently
     concerned with some commercial transaction. It is hard to explain its
     presence on the supposition that the relic is authentic. Similar
     difficulties might be urged against the supposed 'Column of the
     Flagellation' venerated at Rome in the church of Santa Prassede, and
     against many other famous relics. ... Neither has the church ever
     pronounced that any particular relic, not even that commonly venerated as
     the wood of the Cross, is authentic; but she approves of honor being paid
     to those relics which with reasonable probability are believed to be
     genuine, and which are invested with due ecclesiastical sanctions."
     (CE. xii, 737.) Such sophistry!

The pettifogging sophistry of the foregoing argumentation, as of that which
follows from the same clerical source, needs no comment. The Church of God,
headed by his own Vicar General on earth, divinely guided against all error in
matters of faith and morals, and which can detect the faintest taint of heresy
of belief further than the most gifted bird of rapine can scent a carcass, can
make no apology for permitting these degrading superstitions, which it not only
tolerates but actively propagates and encourages, for the rich revenues they
bring in. What a catalogue of its most sacred mummeries is branded with the
infamy of fraudulent in the following:

          "The worship of imaginary saints or relics, devotion based upon false
     revelations, apparitions, supposed miracles, or false notions generally,
     is usually excusable in the Worshipper on the ground of ignorance and good
     faith; but there is no excuse for those who use similar means to exploit
     popular credulity for their own pecuniary profit. The originators of such
     falsehoods are liars, deceivers, and not rarely thieves; but a milder
     judgment should be pronounced on those who, after discovering the
     imposture tolerate the improper cults [!] ... The Catholic devotions which
     are connected with holy places, holy shrines, holy wells, famous relics,
     etc., are commonly treated as superstitions by non- Catholics. ... It must
     be admitted that

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     these hallowed spots and things have occasioned many legends; that popular
     credulity was in some cases the principal cause of their celebrity; that
     here or there instances of fraud can be adduced; yet, for all that, the
     principles which guide the worshipper, and his good intentions, are not
     impaired by an undercurrent of error as to facts. [!] Moreover ... the
     Church is tolerant of 'pious beliefs' which have helped to further
     Christianity Thus, alleged saints and relies are suppressed as soon as
     discovered, but belief in the private revelations to which the feast of
     Corpus Christi, The Rosary, the Sacred Heart, and many other devotions owe
     their origin is neither commanded nor prohibited; here each man is his own
     judge. ... The apparent success which so often attends a superstition can
     mostly be accounted for by natural causes. When the object is to ascertain,
     or to effect in a general way, one of two possible events, the law of
     probabilities gives an equal chance to success and failure, and success
     does more to support than failure would do to destroy superstition." (CE.
     xiv, 340, 341.) All these holy cults are thus confessed frauds and
     superstitions fostered by ecclesiastic greed.

Let us remember that no True Church in Christendom can be built and consecrated
without a box of dead man's bones or other fetid human scraps and relics
deposited under the holy altar of God. The decree of the second council of Nice,
A.D. 787, reaffirmed by the Council of Trent in 1546, forbade the consecration
of any Church without a supply of relics. (CE. xii, 737.) Thus the ancient
superstition is sanctioned and its observance made mandatory; an unceasing
demand is created, and the market supply is more than equal to the pious demand.
Hence the great and valuable, and fraudulent, traffic above confessed and
clerically palliated. 

               THE "INVENTION OF THE CROSS," ET AL.

"The Legend as to the discovering of the Cross of Christ" (CE. vii, 203). The
Holy City, Jerusalem, was, twice destroyed by the Romans, in 70 A.D. by Titus,
and again as the result of the rebellion of Bar-Cochba, 132-135 A.D. The work
was peculiarly thorough,; not one stone was left upon another; the site was
plowed over as a mark of infamy, and the ground is said to have been sown with
salt so that nothing might ever grow there again: though pious myths soon
flourished exuberantly. Later a pagan city was established on the site, named
AElia Capitoline, and a great Temple of Venus was erected on a suitable spot.
Over two centuries later, about 326 A.D., a great and venerated Catholic lady
Saint made a pious pilgrimage to the Holy City, namely, St. Helena, sainted
mother of the new "Christian" Emperor Constantine. This is the St. Helena who
got her start as a Pagan barmaid in a wild country village; she fell into the
graces of the Roman Imperator Constantius as he marched through the country,
became his mistress [and gave birth to the future] Emperor Constantine. (CE.
iv, 300.) Upon the pilgrimage of the pious Dowager-mother to Jerusalem, great
pomp and ceremony attended her visit, under the auspices of

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the good Bishop Macarius. By order of the Bishop and in honor of the Christian
Saint, the Temple of Venus was torn down; it was found to have been built over
an empty rock grave therefore identically the authentic sepulchre of Jesus
Christ. It is true that this destroyed Temple of Venus and the inclosed Holy
Sepulchre were inside the walls of the City, while the Gospels inspiredly aver
that the grave was outside the walls: a trifling discrepancy for Faith.

Rummaging the ruins, a vaulted underground room or cellar was found: its
wonderful contents make to pale into triviality the lately discovered
tomb-treasures of Tut-ankh-Amen. There propped against the cellar-wall was the
whole apparatus of the Crucifiction: the three identical Crosses whereon had
hung the Christ and the two thieves; the very Nails wherewith they had been
fastened; the autograph trilingual Inscription set by Pilate over the head of
the Christ; the precise Spear which had pierced his side; the cruel Crown of
Thorns which tore his brow; the holy Seamless Coat which he had worn and for
which the Roman soldiers gambled in the hour of death (it's curious that the
winner should have left it behind); the sacred Shroud in which the dead God
was buried. The Pilatic Inscription was not in situ; it had evidently been
knocked off and lay apart, a "separate piece of wood, on which were inscribed
in white letters in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, the following words: 'Jesus of
Nazareth, the King of the Jews,'" as recorded by Sozomen, the Church historian.
(Eccles. Hist, ii, 1; N&PNF. II, p. 258.)

Due to its unfortunate separation from its original position, it was for the
moment impossible to distinguish the True Cross of Christ from those of the
thieves. A miracle was vouchsafed, however, to identify the real Cross of the
Christ: the True Cross bowed itself down before the Saintly Empress; or, a sick
woman -- or a sick man -- was cured upon touching the True Cross after having
tried the other two in vain -- according to which priestly version is the more
truthful. Sozomen (supra) says that it was "a certain lady of rank in Jerusalem
who was inflicted with a most grievous and incurable disease," whose miraculous
curing attested the True Cross; "a dead person was also restored to life" by
its thaumaturgic touch: -- "all as predicted by the prophets and by the Sibyl."
Some tinge of dubiety may be thrown upon the report of Bishop Macarius, who
made the wondrous discoveries first recorded by the Church historians Socrates,
about 439 A.D. (Eccles. Hist. I, xvii), and Sozomen, who wrote a little later
(Eccles. Hist. II, i), by the fact that the earliest Church Historian, the very
informative and fabling Bishop Eusebius (d. 340), in his Life of Constantine
(III, iii, and III, xxviii), gives a very circumstantial account of the visit
of the ex-Empress St. Helena to Jerusalem, and of the erection of a Christian
Church over the Holy Sepulchre, but he is silent as the grave about the
discovery of any Cross of Christ or any of the other holy marvels. The notable
event is known, in Church parlance, as "The Invention of the Cross" -- which
exactly it was.

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The subsequent "history" of the Cross of Christ is a tangle of typically
clerical contradictions and impossibilities. "Very soon after the discovery of
the True Cross, its wood was cut up into small relics and scattered throughout
Christendom." (CE. iv, 524.)

"We learn from St. Cyril of Jerusalem (before 350) that the wood of the Cross,
discovered about 318, [it was in 326] was already distributed throughout the
world." (CE. xii, 736.) But these assurances of St. Cyril and of CE. seem out
of harmony with the accredited history of the capture and asportation of the
reputed integral True Cross by Chosroes (Khosru) II, King of Persia, who took
Jerusalem in 614, massacring 90,000 good Christians, captured the Cross of
Christ among his booty, and carried it off whole in triumph to Persia! (CE.
iii, 105), -- with results very disastrous to the Faith: "The shock which
religious men received through this dreadful event can hardly now be realized.
The imposture of Constantine bore bitter fruit; the sacred wood which had
filled the world with its miracles was detected to be a helpless counterfeit,
borne off in triumph by deriding blasphemers. All confidence in the apostolic
powers of the Asiatic bishops was lost; not one of them could work a wonder
for his own salvation in the dire extremity." (Draper, The Intellectual
Development of Europe, i, 328; Gibbon, p. 451.) The truly miraculous nature of
this True Cross is thus described by Draper: "The wood of the Cross displayed
a property of growth, and hence furnished an abundant supply for the demands
of pilgrims and an unfailing source of pecuniary profit to its possessors. In
the course of subsequent years there was accumulated in the various churches
of Europe, from this particular relic, a sufficiency to have constructed many
hundred crosses." (Op. cit. i, 309.) On a great porphyry column before the
Church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, stood a statue of the Pagan god
Apollo; the face was altered into the features of the Emperor Constantine,
and the Nails of the True Cross, set around like rays, were used to garnish
the crown upon his head. Another of these holy Nails has for centuries
adorned and consecrated the crown of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire.
The horses of a regiment of cavalry could probably be shod with the copious
supply of these Holy Nails now venerated as sacred relies. 

"It is remarkable," says CE., "that St. Jerome, who expatiates upon the Cross,
the Title, and the Nails, discovered by St. Helena, says nothing either of the
Lance or of the Crown of Thorns, and the silence of Andreas of Crete in the
eighth century is still more surprising." But in due time this oversight was
piously repaired. Bishop Gregory of Tours, among other faithful Church
chroniclers, produces the Crown of Thorns, and, as an eyewitness to it, "avers
that the thorns in the Crown still looked green, a freshness which was
miraculously renewed every day"; which episcopal assurance, skeptically
remarks CE., "does not much strengthen the historical testimony for the
authenticity of the relic." But, "in any case, Justinian, who died in 565, is
stated to have given a thorn to St. Germanus, which was long preserved at
Saint-Germain-des-Pres, while the Empress Irene sent Charlemagne several
thorns which were deposited by him at Aachen. ... In 1238 Baldwin II, the
Latin Emperor of Constantinople,

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anxious to obtain support for his tottering empire, offered the Crown of
Thorns to St. Louis, King of France. It was then actually [in pawn] in the
hands of the Venetians as security for a heavy loan, but it was redeemed
and conveyed to Paris, where St. Louis built the Sainte Chapelle for its
reception." The further history of the holy spurious relic is traced in
detail; as late as 1896 "a magnificent new reliquary of rock crystal was
made for it"; but by that time the holy relic, like a fighting-cock with
his tail-feathers clawed out, was a sorry sight: "The Crown, thus
preserved, consists only of a circlet of rushes, without any trace of
thorns." A ray of light on Church fakery is thrown by the closing comment:
"That all the reputed holy thorns of which notice has survived cannot by
any possibility be authentic will be disputed by no one; more than 700
such relics have been enumerated"! (CE. iv, 540, 541.)

As for the Holy Lance, which pierced the side of the dying God, also
resurrected by pious diligence of "invention," its devious and dubious
history is thus traced by our modern ecclesiastical mummery-monger: "A
spear believed to be identical with that which pierced our Savior's body,
was venerated at Jerusalem at the close of the sixth century. The sacred
relics of the Passion fell into the bands of the pagans. Many centuries
afterwards (i.e. in 1241), the point of the Lance was presented by
Baldwin to St. Louis, and it was enshrined with the Crown of Thorns in
the Sainte Chapelle. Another part of the Lance is preserved under the
dome of St. Peter's in Rome. ... Rival lances are known to be preserved
at Nuremberg, Paris, etc. Another lance claiming to be that which
produced the wound in Christ's side is now preserved among the imperial
insignia at Vienna; another is preserved at Cracow. Legend assigns the
name of Longinus to the soldier who thrust the Lance into our Savior's
side; according to the same tradition, he was healed of ophtbalmia and
converted by a drop of the precious blood spurting from the wound."
(viii, 773-4.) 

There was also timely discovered, by some notable chance or miracle,
the very stairway, "consisting of twenty-eight white marble steps, ...
the stairway leading once to the Praetorium of Pilate, hence sanctified
by the footsteps of Our Lord during his Passion," as we are assured by
CE. (viii, 505.) This famous relic, the "Holy Stairs," which somehow
escaped the two destructions of Jerusalem and the ravages of time for
nearly three centuries, was "brought from Jerusalem to Rome about 326
by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. ... It is now before
the Sancta Sanctorum (Holy of Holies) of the Lateran Palace. The Sancta
Sanctorum receiving its name from the many precious relics preserved
there, also contains the celebrated image of Christ, 'not made with
hands,' which on certain occasions used to be carried through Rome in
procession. ... The Holy Stairs may only be ascended on the knees. ...
Finally Pius X, on 26 February, 1908, granted a plenary indulgence
[i.e. a permanent escape from Purgatory] -- to be gained as often as
the Stairs are devoutly ascended after confession and communion." (CE.
viii, 505.) It is related that Father Luther was performing this holy
penitential climb of the "Scala Sancta," when suddenly the vast sham
and fraud of his religion burst upon his consciousness: the

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Reformation was a consequence. In passing this famous "Mother of
Churches," St. John Lateran, we may admire the wonderful portrait of
Jesus Christ which adorns its sacred walls; the painting of it was
begun by Dr. St. Luke himself, but being left incomplete, it was
finished by an angel.

                  ANCIENT FAKES YET ACCREDITED 

Think not that these ancient frauds of the Church have been discarded
in shame by the Church now that their fraudulent origin and purpose
are exposed to public obloquy and ridicule. In full blaze of world
attention and publicity of the Twentieth Century, God's own Vicar
vouches before the world for these tawdry impostures, brought forth
before the world to lend climax of superstitious solemnity to his
crazy Crusade of prayer and incited pious hatred against the brave
efforts of the Russians to undo the fell work of the Church in that
unhappy land. Associated Press dispatches from Vatican City announce:
"To lend emphasis to the protest here, celebrated relics kept at
St. Peter's -- a portion of the true cross; St. Veronica's Veil, with
which Christ is said to have wiped His face on His way to Calvary,
and the centurion's lance which pierced His Side -- will be
displayed." (N.Y. Herald-Tribune, March 19, 1930.) "After the
ceremony those present will receive benediction with the sacred
relics." (N.Y. Sun, Mch. 13, 1930.) Nearby, "the stones of the
pavement on which the Apostles [Peter and Paul] knelt in prayer and
which are said to contain the impression of their knees, are now in
the wall of the Church of Santa Francesca Romana." (CE. xiii, 797.)
Such lying vouchers are fit setting for the crusade of unholy lies
and hate against a people which for centuries has been kept in
grossest ignorance and superstition by greedy priestcraft, now
repudiated by its victims. 

The foregoing solemn vouching for antique fakeries provoked a deal
of skeptical ridicule throughout the world, even among some of the
Faithful: so it must needs be emphasized by repetition, with some
notable other Fake Relics added for "assurance doubly sure." So,
when the Pagan Festival of Easter dawned on the Pagan "Day of the
Venerable Sun," His Royal-Holiness came forth in the full splendor
of the Pagan Pontifex Maximum to celebrate the Event, and by his
Infallible presence to vouch again for the genuineness of these
holy spurious Relics. Probably he wore and ostentated in the joy
of its recovery, the celebrated "so-called Episcopal Ring of St.
Peter, rich with sapphires and diamonds," stolen from the Vatican
treasury in 1925, and recently recaptured with the thief.
(Herald-Tribune, Dec. 3, 1929.) It is possible that he sat in
state in the very Throne or "Chair of St. Peter," which the
Fisherman Pope used, as dubiously vouched by CE. under that
caption. In any event, whatever throne he used was planted
immediately above the grave where lies the headless cadaver of
St. Peter himself, for "the skulls of Sts. Peter and Paul" were
later viewed at the Lateran, and there "shown for the adoration
of the Faithful." As announced in several Press dispatches, an
inventory of the holy Relies and ceremonials is here recorded.
In preparation for the Sacred Event in the Twentieth Century:
"The major basilicas will all have on display their most
precious relics. ... The purported Cradle of

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Bethlehem [made out of an eighth century packing case] will be
brought forth. Those attending mass at the Lateran will be able to
view the skulls of Sts. Peter and Paul, and a bit of what is
believed [by whom, not stated] to be the True Cross -- [carried
off entire in 614 by the Persians]; ... the reputed Lance of the
Roman centurion who speared the side of Christ, and the 'Holy Veil'
or napkin offered to Christ by St. Veronica," -- who is a myth
forged from "vera icon." (A.P. dispatch, Apl. 19, 1930.) Also: "A
fragment of the Cross and two Thorns from the crown of the Savior.
... The Sancta Scala (Holy Stairs), ... drew the usual Good Friday
throngs of the Faithful today. ... Processions were held inside
the ancient edifices to honor the relics, [including] what,
according to tradition, are the heads of the apostles St. Peter
and St. Paul ... shown for the adoration of the Faithful."
(Herald-Tribune, Apl. 19, 1930.) Then came the consummation and
solemn Infallible accrediting of these "most precious relics": --
"Pope Celebrates Easter Mass. ... Relics of the Passion
[surrounded him], -- a reputed fragment of the Cross, a piece of
the Spear which pierced [reputedly] the side of the Savior, and
the Veil of St. Veronica. ... were displayed from the balcony
above the Papal Altar." (Ibid, Apl. 21, 1930.) Now at last, in
Twentieth Century, "Roma locuta est -- causa finita est" -- and
these originally bogus frauds are genuine and authentic Relics
-- for the Faithful who may believe it.

Samples of the "seed of the Serpent" of Eden, the scales that fell from
the eyes of Elijah's servant, the original wicked flea, the two dwarf
mummies of Bildad the Shu-hite and Ne-hi-miah, the 200 Philistine
trophies (foreskins) brought in by David as his marriage dot (1 Sam.
xviii, 25-27), the horn of salvation, and the instruments of Cornelius's
Italian Band, are about the only honest-to-goodness authentic Biblical
relics which seem not to be preserved among the countless holy fake
treasures of Holy Church. The famous juvenile pocket-inventories of Tom
Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and the monstrous fakeries of the late
lamented Phineas Barnum, are paltry trivialities beside the countless
and priceless Relic-treasures of Holy Church, religiously guarded for
"veneration" by True Believers blessed by the privilege of paying -- "the
more you pay the more you merit" is the maxim -- to gaze in rapt awe at,
and to kiss and fondle, these ghastly and ghoulish, false and forged,
bloody scraps and baubles of perverted piosity. The foreskin of the Child
Christ miraculously preserved exists to this day; enough of his diapers
and swaddling-cloths, as of the sanitary draperies of his Ever-Virgin
Mother, are of record to stock a modern department store. During the era
of the unholy Crusades the soldiers of Christ brought from the Holy Land
countless numbers of duly certified bottles of the Milk of the Virgin
Mother of God, and drove a thrifty business selling them to churches and
superstitious dupes through Europe. 

Yet in existence are several portraits of the Mother of God, "said to have
been painted by St. Luke; they belong to the Sixth century." (CE. xv, 471.)
"There is still preserved at Messina a letter attributed to the Blessed
Virgin, which, it is claimed, was written by her to the Messenians when Our
Lady heard of their conversion by St. Paul" (x, 217; cf. list of several:
i, 613.) "The Shroud of the Blessed Virgin is preserved in the Church of

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Gethsemane." (xiv, 775.) The Holy Winding Sheet or shroud of the Christ
was formerly "exposed for veneration" at Troyes; but the Bishop "declared
after due inquiry that the relic was nothing but a painting and opposed
its exposition. Clement VI, by four Bulls (1390), approved the exposition
as lawful." After being stolen and hawked about, this sacred relic "is
now exposed and honored at Turin." (xv, 67-68.) There must be something
wrong about this, for "The Diocese of Perigueux has a remarkable The Holy
Shroud of Christ, brought back after the first crusade. An official
investigation in 1444 asserted the authenticity of the relic." (xi, 668.)
The Minster treasury of the Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, or Aachen, where
Charlemagne enshrined the Holy Thorns, "includes a large number of relics,
vessels, and vestments, the most important being those known as the four
'Great Relics,' namely, the cloak of the Blessed Virgin, the
swaddling-clothes of the infant Jesus, the loin-cloth worn by Our Lord on
the Cross, and the cloth on which lay the head of John the Baptist after
his beheading. They are exposed every seven years, and venerated by
thousands of Pilgrims (139,628 in 1874, and 158,968 in 1881")! (i, 92.) 

Without comment we let CE. record for the faith of its readers, several of
the very notable and most remunerative Relics treasured by Holy Church.
That they are all impossible, are all bogus, all crude forgeries and fakes
only possible of credit by the most credulous child-minds, needs no
comment. The sordid debasement of the human mind to the degree of
credulity here displayed, the crass dishonesty of the false pretenses
which give credit to these things for purposes of extortion from silly
dupes of religion, the vastness of the grand larceny thus perpetrated in
the name of God, -- are beyond orderly comment. 

"The possession of the seamless garment of Christ is claimed by the
Cathedral of Trier and by the parish church of Argenteuil; the former
claims that the relic was sent by the Empress St. Helena, basing their
claim on a document sent by Pope Sylvester to the Church of Trier, but
this cannot be considered genuine. ... The relic itself offers no reason
to doubt its genuineness. Plenary indulgences were granted to all pilgrims
who should visit the cathedral of Trier at the time of the exposition of
the Holy Coat, which was to take place every seven years." (vii, 400-1.)
"The Church venerates the Holy Innocents, or Martyrs, the children
massacred by Herod, estimated in various Liturgies as 14,000, 64,000,
[or] 144,000 boys. The Church of Paul's Outside the Walls is believed to
possess the bodies of several of the Holy Innocents. A portion of these
relics was transferred by Sixtus V to Santa Maria Maggiore. The Church of
St. Justina at Padua, the cathedrals of Lisbon and Milan, and other
Churches also preserve bodies which they claim to be those of some of the
Holy Innocents. It is impossible to determine the day or the year of the
death of the Holy Innocents, since the chronology of the birth of Christ
and the subsequent Biblical events is most uncertain." (CE. vii, 419.)

In the cathedral of Cologne are preserved the skulls of the Three Wise
Men who followed the Star of Bethlehem. In the neighboring Church of
St. Gereon are distributed over the walls

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the bones from a whole cemetery, dug up and displayed as those of that
mythical Saint and his Theban Band of 10,000 Martyrs; in fitting
competition are the spoils of the neighboring graveyard, yielding the
bones of St. Ursula and her 11,000 Virgin Martyrs. The miraculous
bones of Santa Rosalia in Palermo are the bones of a deceased goat!

          "The city of Tarascon has for its patron, St. Martha, who,
     according to the legend, delivered the country from a monster
     called 'Tarasque.' The Church of 'Saintes Marias de la Mer'
     contains three venerated tombs; according to a tradition which is
     attached to the legends concerning the emigration of St. Lazarus,
     St. Martha, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Maximus, these tombs
     contain the bodies of the three Marys of the Gospels."

     (CE. i, 238.)

The Abbot Martin obtained for his monastery in Alsace the following
inestimable articles: A spot of the blood of our Savior; a piece of the
True Cross; the arm of the Apostle James; part of the skeleton of John
the Baptist; a bottle of the Milk of the Mother of God. (Draper, The
Intellectual Development of Europe, ii, 57.) But perhaps none of these
impostures surpassed in audacity that offered by a monastery in
Jerusalem, which presented to the beholder ONE OF THE FINGERS OF THE
HOLY GHOST! (Draper, Conflict between Science and Religion, p. 270.)
Also there were displayed sundry choice collections of the wing and tail
feathers of the said Holy Ghost, from time to time shed off or pulled
out when, in the disguise of a Dove, It (or He or She) came down and
perched on people. In England at the time of Henry VIII (1501), Our
Lady's girdle was shown in not less than eleven places, and Our Lady's
milk, in a condensed form, in eight places. One of these girdles the
good Queen-mother procured for Catherine of Aragon, on her marriage with
Henry, to present to her when the expected time should come. During the
plague of 1531, Henry VIII, for a goodly price, bought some precious
relic waters to avert the plague from himself: a tear which Our Lord
shed over Lazarus, preserved by an angel who gave it in a phial to Mary
Magdalene; and a phial of the sweat of St. Michael when he contended
with Satan, as recorded in the Book of Enoch and vouched for in the
sacred Book of Jude. (Hackett, Henry VIII, pp. 11, 234.) The Cathedral
of Arras, in France, possesses some highly venerated and remarkable
relies, to wit, some of the Holy Manna which fell from Heaven in the year
371 during a severe famine; and the identical Holy Candle, a wax taper,
which was presented by the Blessed Virgin to Bishop Lambert, in 1105, to
stop an epidemic. (CE. i, 752.) This same waxen Holy Candle has burned
continuously from 1105 to at least 1713 without being to the slightest
degree diminished, as his view of it was then reported by Anthony
Collins, in his Discourse of Free Thinking; he expresses the doubt
whether the attendant clergy would permit a careful scrutiny to be made
of the phenomenon.

A final job lot of these holy fetishes as recorded by Dr. McCabe with
some pertinent comments, may be admired: "At Laon the chief treasures
shown to the public were some milk and hair of the Virgin Mary. This was
Laon's set-off to the rival attraction at Soissons, a neighboring town,
which had secured one of the

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milk-teeth shed by the infant Jesus. There seems to have been enough of
the milk of the Virgin -- some of it was still exhibited in Spanish
churches in the nine-teenth century -- preserved in Europe to feed a few
calves. There was hair enough to make a mattress. There were sufficient
pieces of 'the true cross' to make a boat. There were teeth of Christ
enough to outfit a dentist (one monastery, at Charroux, had the complete
set). There were so many sets of baby-linen of the infant Jesus, in Italy,
France and Spain, that one could have opened a shop with them. One of the
greatest churches in Rome had Christ's manger-cradle. Seven churches had
his authentic umbilical cord, and a number of churches had his foreskin
(removed at circumcision and kept as a souvenir by Mary). One church had
the miraculous imprint of his little bottom on a stone on which he had sat.
Mary herself had left enough wedding rings, shoes, stockings, shirts,
girdles, etc. to fill a museum; one of her shifts is still in the Chartres
cathedral. One church had Aaron's rod. Six churches had the six heads cut
off John the Baptist. ... Every one of these things was, remember, in its
origin, a cynical blasphemous swindle. Each of these objects was at first
launched upon the world with deliberate mendacity. ... One is almost
disposed to ask for an application to the clergy of the law about obtaining
money under false pretenses." (McCabe, The Story of Religious Controversy,
p. 353.) 

                HOLY OILS, WATERS, AND FETISHES 

These sacred and sanctified wonder-working objects are too numerous to more
than mention a few of the most celebrated. Miraculous "waters" were in
great profusion distilled or in some weird way extracted from numbers of
dead Saints, "blessed" for a variety of purposes, and vended under the
names of the productive Saints; as "The Water of St. Ignatius," of Sts.
Adelhaid, Vincent Ferrer, Willibrord, etc. That of St. Hubert was notably a
specific for the bite of mad dogs. The formula for these holy extracts or
emulsions, with their properties and miraculous effects, are set forth in
the official "Rituale Romanum." (CE. xv, 564.) The widely celebrated Oil
of Saints" was in immense vogue and possessed wonderful properties, as
vouched by CE. under that title. This holy unction was "an oily substance
which is said to have flowed, or still flows, from the relics or burial
places of certain saints, and water which has in some way come in contact
with their relics. These oils are or have been used by the faithful, with
the belief that they will cure bodily and spiritual ailments. The custom
prevailed of pouring oil over the relics or reliquaries of martyrs and then
gathering it in vases, sponges or pieces of cloth. This oil, oleum
martyris, was distributed among the faithful as a remedy against sickness.
... At present the most famous of the oils of saints is the oil of St.
Walburga (Walburgis oleum). It flows from the stone slab and the
surrounding metal plate on which rest the relies of St. Walburga in her
church in Eichstadt in Bavaria. The fluid is caught in a silver cup and is
distributed to the faithful for use against diseases of the body and soul.
Similarly of the Oil of St. Menas, of which thousands of little flasks have
recently been discovered, found at many Places in Europe and Africa; there
is also a like Oil of St. Nicholas of Myra, which emanates from his

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relics at Bari in Italy, whither they were brought in 1087. A certain
substance like flour, is recorded by St. Gregory of Tours, to emanate
from the sepulchre of St. John the Evangelist; also that from the
sepulchre of the Apostle St. Andrew emanated manna in the form of
flour and fragrant oil." A list half a column long is given of other
saints from whose relics or sepulchres oil is said to have flowed.
(CE. xi, 228-9.) 

                        THE AGNUS DEI

"These are discs of wax impressed with the figure of a lamb; and blessed
at stated seasons by the Pope. The rule still followed is that the great
consecration of the Agnus Dei takes place only in the first year of each
pontificate and every seventh year afterwards. It seems probable that they
had their beginning in some pagan usage of charms or amulets, from which
the ruder populace were weaned by the employment of this Christian
substitute [charm or amulet] blessed by prayer. The early history of
Catholic ceremonial affords numerous parallels for this Christianizing of
pagan rites. ... So the purpose of these consecrated medallions is to
protect those who wear or possess them from all malign influences. In the
prayers of blessing, special mention is made of the perils from storm and
pestilence, from fire and flood, and also of the dangers to which women
are exposed in childbirth. Miraculous effects have been believed to
follow the use of these objects of piety. Fires are said to have been
extinguished, and floods stayed. They were much subject to counterfeit,
the making of which has been strictly prohibited by various papal bulls,"
-- (this proving the obtaining of money by false pretenses in the papal
monopoly of peddling them to the moron Faithful). "There are also Agnus
Deis made from wax mingled with the dust which is, believed to be that of
the bones of martyrs; these are called Paste de' SS. Martiri, or Martyrs'
Paste." (CE. i, 220.) The peddling of these frauds has not yet been
forbidden by the criminal code, nor by the Vicars of God who gain by them.
Three pages of a separate article, are devoted to the potent prayers in
Liturgies, several in doggerel Latin verse, on pages 221-223. One of these
inspired Papal invocations over the sacred amulets is quoted by Dr. White:

          "O God, ... we humbly beseech thee that thou wilt bless these
     waxen forms, figured with the image of an innocent lamb, .... that,
     at the touch and sight of them, the faithful shall break forth into
     praises, and that the crash of hailstorms, the blast of hurricanes,
     the violence of tempests, the fury of winds, and the malice of
     thunderbolts may be tempered, and evil spirits flee and tremble
     before the standard of the holy cross, which is graven upon them."

     (White, Warfare between Science and Religion. i, 343.)

The recurrence in modern times of the above recited catastrophes raised
by imps of the devil, not unseldom doing damage even to the Faithful and
to their sacred edifices, must be due to the punible neglect to have a
supply of these thaumaturgic crackers on hand at the time and place of
the flagellations of the Evil One.
     

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                     FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY

              THE TRAGEDY OF THE "MYSTICAL MARRIAGE" 

What to a Rationalist may seem a very inhuman superstition -- though
often attenuated by the clerical formula "With all my worldly goods I
thee endow," pronounced to his earthly vicar by the happy "Bride of
Jesus Christ," is the unctuously so-called Mystical Marriage, the
nuptial ceremony whereby a deluded female enters into the joys of her
Lord without actually sharing them. This holy mummery is thus
described by the oft-cited Exponent of Catholic Truth:

          "Christian virginity has been considered from the earliest
     centuries as a special offering made by the soul to its spouse,
     Christ. ... In many of the lives of the Saints, the mystical
     marriage consists of a vision in which Christ tells a soul that
     He takes it for His bride, presenting it with the customary ring,
     and the apparition is accompanied by a ceremony; the Blessed
     Virgin Mary, saints and angels are present. ... Moreover, as a
     wife should share in the life of her husband, and as Christ
     suffered for the redemption of mankind, the mystical bride enters
     into a more intimate participation of His sufferings, -- [casus
     omissus being the sharing of the nuptial joys also involved in
     the notion of marriage]. Accordingly, in three cases out of four,
     the mystical marriage has been granted to stigmatics. History
     [priest-written, of course] has recorded seventy-seven mystical
     marriages, in connection with female saints, blesseds and
     venerables"; -- a number of whom are named, including,
     appropriately, St. Mary Magdalene dei Pazza -- of the Crazy
     Ones -- as were they all. (CE. ix, 703.)

                          ****     ****

     Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

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