tisdag 11 oktober 2016

Heard this one? Donation of Constantine a fraud to extort the Peter's Pence, like?

I googled "donation of constantine used to exact peter's pence"

Here is one hit:

The Pope and the State. - England, Poland, Norway, and Sweden, Portugal, Aragon, Naples, Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, not to speak of portions of Central Italy, were in this period, for a longer or shorter time, fiefs of the Apostolic see. In 1299, the same claim was made over Scotland. The nations from Edessa to Scotland and from Castile to Riga were reminded that Rome was the throbbing centre of divinely bequeathed authority. The islands of the West were its to bestow. To Peter was given, so Innocent wrote, not only the universal Church, but the whole earth that he might rule it.1865 His practice, as we have seen, followed his pen. There was a time when the pope recognized the superior authority of the emperor, as did Gregory the Great in 593.1866 Peter Damiani, writing in the age of Gregory VII., recognized the distinction and coordination of the two swords and the two realms.1867 But another conception took its place, the subordination of all civil authority under the pope. To depose princes, to absolve subjects from allegiance, to actively foment rebellion as against Frederick II., to divert lands as in Southern France, to give away crowns, to extort by threat of the severest ecclesiastical penalties the payment of tribute, to punish religious dissenters with perpetual imprisonment or turn them over to the secular authorities, knowing death would be the punishment, to send and consecrate crusading armies, and to invade the realm of the civil court, usurp its authority, and annul a nation's code, as in the case of Magna Charta,—these were the high prerogatives actually exercised by the papacy. The decision rendered on the field of Roncaglia by the jurists of Bologna, asserting the independent rights of the empire, was only an episode, and popes snapped their fingers at the academic impertinence. Now and then the wearers of the tiara were defeated, but they never ceased to insist upon the divine claims of their office. In vain did emperors, like Frederick II., appeal to the Scriptures as giving no countenance to the principle that popes have the right to punish kings and deprive them of their kingdoms.

The declarations of the popes were clear and positive. The figures employed by Gregory VII., comparing the two realms to gold and lead, sun and moon, soul and body, Innocent elaborated and pressed. Gregory asserted that it rested upon him to give account for all the kingdoms of God. 1868 To him had been committed universal dominion—regimen universale.1869 Innocent III. found in Melchizedek, the priest-king, the full type of the pope combining in himself the sacerdotal and regal functions.

Men of less originality and moral power could do no more than reaffirm the claims of these two master rulers and repeat their metaphors. Of these no one had more self-assurance than Gregory IX., who, at an age when most men are decrepit, bravely opposed to Frederick II,'s plans the fiction of the Donation of Constantine. Was not the Roman sceptre committed to the Apostolic see by the first Christian emperor, and did not the Apostolic see transfer the empire from the Greeks to the Germans, Charlemagne and Frederick himself being the successors of Arcadius, Valentinian, Theodosius, and the other Christian emperors of Rome.1870 But Innocent IV., 1254, returned to the position assumed by Hildebrand, that the papacy does not depend upon Constantine for secular dominion, as Peter received it directly from God.1871

When the struggle with the Hohenstaufen had been brought to a close, and peace established by the elevation of Rudolf of Hapsburg to the imperial throne, Gregory X. wrote to Rudolf: "If the sacred chair is vacant, the empire lacks the dispenser of salvation; if the throne is empty, the Church is defenceless before her persecutors. It is the duty of the Church's ruler to maintain kings in their office, and of kings to protect the rights of the Church." This was a mild statement of the supremacy of the Apostolic see. It remained for Boniface VIII., in his famous bull, unam sanctam, 1302, to state exactly, though somewhat brusquely, what his predecessors from Hildebrand, and indeed from Nicolas I., had claimed—supreme right to both swords, the spiritual and the temporal, with the one ruling the souls of men and with the other their temporal concerns.

These claims were advocated in special treatises by Bernard and Thomas Aquinas, two of the foremost churchmen of all the Christian centuries. Bernard was the friend of popes and the ruling spirit of Europe during the pontificates of Innocent II. and Eugenius III. the mightiest moral force of his age. Thomas Aquinas wrote as a theologian and with him began the separate treatment of the papacy in systems of theology. In his Rule of Princes and against the Errors of the Greeks, Thomas unequivocally sets forth the supremacy of the Apostolic see over the State as well as in the universal Church. As for Bernard, both Ultramontane and Gallican claim his authority, but there are expressions in his work addressed to Eugenius III., De consideratione, which admit of no other fair interpretation than that the pope is supreme in both realms.


Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. The material has been carefully compared and corrected according to the Eerdmans reproduction of the 1907 edition by Charles Scribner's sons, with emendations by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

Though this has some Protestant bias, this is rather sober. It is critical, but it is not talking about extortion of enormous riches. It is also not, at least what I saw, saying anything about the Peter's Pence.

But the first hit was another one.

The Vatican Billions
Two Thousand Years of Wealth Accumulation from Caesar to Space Age
by Avro Manhattan

I haven't found the passage on which the googled phrase (googled without quotation marks) bears, but I found some which displays his method:

Pope Gregory, on the other hand (590-604), promised Queen Brunhilda remission of her sins.

"The most Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles.. will cause thee to appear pure of all stain before the judge everlasting" (2) as long as she granted him, Gregory, what he asked of her, that, money, real estates, and investitures which yielded abundant revenues to the Church: a practice which became a tradition during the oncoming centuries.

Gregory went even further and sent the nobleman Dynamius a cross containing "fillings" from St. Peter's chains, telling him to wear the cross at his throat,

"which is like as if he were wearing the chains of St. Peter himself.," and adding "these chains, which have lain across and around the neck of the most Blessed Apostle Peter, shall unloose thee for ever from thy sins".

The gift, of course, was not a free one. It cost money and gold. (3)

Not content with this, Gregory began to send out "the keys of St. Peter, wherein are found the precious filings and which by the same token also remit sins" - provided the recipients paid in cash or with costly presents. (4)

Now, let's check these notes.

  • 2. St. Gregory, Letter 65
  • 3. Willibald, Vita Bonifacii, 14; also Liber Pontificalis
  • 4. St. Gregory, Letters 12-17

Do you know that these references are worthless? There is no such thing as St. Gregory's "Letter 65" or "Letters 12-17".

Here is the collection of his letters:

Epistles of St. Gregory the Great

Here is the collection of the text on that page, not giving every link, just showing what is linkable:

BOOK I: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 39 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 52 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 66 | 67 | 72 | 74 | 75 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80

BOOK II: 3 | 6 | 7 | 9 | 10 | 12 | 15 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 22 | 23 | 26 | 27 | 29 | 30 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 36 | 37 | 41 | 42 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 51 | 52 | 54

BOOK III: 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 12 | 15 | 22 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 35 | 36 | 38 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 51 | 53 | 56 | 57 | 59 | 60 | 65 | 66 | 67

BOOK IV: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 15 | 18 | 20 | 21 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 38 | 39 | 46 | 47

BOOK V: 2 | 4 | 5 | 8 | 11 | 15 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 23 | 25 | 26 | 29 | 30 | 36 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 48 | 49 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58

BOOK VI: 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 12 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 22 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 29 | 30 | 32 | 34 | 35 | 37 | 43 | 44 | 46 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 63 | 65 | 66

BOOK VII: 2 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 15 | 17 | 19 | 20 | 23 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 42 | 43

BOOK VIII: 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 10 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 17 | 18 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 29 | 30 | 33 | 34 | 35

BOOK IX: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 23 | 24 | 26 | 27 | 33 | 36 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 49 | 55 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 65 | 67 | 68 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 91 | 93 | 94 | 98 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 125 | 127

BOOK X: 10 | 15 | 18 | 19 | 23 | 24 | 31 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 39 | 42 | 62 | 63

BOOK XI: 1 | 12 | 13 | 25 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 32 | 33 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 40 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 50 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 76 | 77 | 78

BOOK XII: 1 | 8 | 24 | 25 | 28 | 29 | 32 | 50

BOOK XIII: 1 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 12 | 18 | 22 | 26 | 27 | 31 | 34 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42

BOOK XIV: 2 | 4 | 7 | 8 | 12 | 13 | 16 | 17

And here are the SEVERAL letters 65 of each book having one:

Book III, Letter 65

To Mauricius Augustus.

Book VI, Letter 65

To Mauricius, Emperor.

Book IX, Letter 65

To Januarius, Bishop of Caralis (Cagliari).

Book XI, Letter 65

To Augustine, Bishop of the Angli .

This in its turn reminds me of my tribute to St. Gregory's mission through St. Augustine of Canterbury here:

En lengua romance en Antimodernism y de mis caminaciones : And His Word Went Marching On

Yes, I was singing of the same Gregory and Augustine as in Gregory writing epistle book XI letter 65 to Augustine, bishop of the English.

There was none of the several letters 65 which was to Brunhilda.

But let us take a closer look at book I. Letter 65 is missing. ... | 61 | 62 | 63 | 66 | 67 | 72 ...

Could it be Avro Manhattan was using Book I, letter 65?

As you see, more than 65 are missing from the book. Next book, letters 1 and 2 are missing. And so on.

Let's look at letters "12-17".

Book I, that means 3 letters:

... 12 | 16 | 17 ...

Book I, Letter 12
To John, Bishop of Urbs Vetus (Orvieto).

Book I, Letter 16
To Severus, Bishop of Aquileia.

Book I, Letter 17, from which I quote below:
To all the Bishops of Italy.

Gregory to all, etc.

Inasmuch as the abominable Autharit during this Easter solemnity which has been lately completed, forbade children of Lombards being baptized in the Catholic faith, for which sin the Divine Majesty cut him off, so that he should not see the solemnity of another Easter, it becomes your Fraternity to warn all the Lombards in your districts, seeing that grievous mortality is everywhere imminent, that they should reconcile these their children who have been baptized in Arian heresy to the Catholic faith, and so appease the wrath of the Almighty Lord which hangs over them. Warn, then, those whom you can; with all the power of persuasion you possess seize on them, and bring them to a right faith; preach to them eternal life without end; that, when you shall come into the sight of the strict judge, you may be able, in consequence of your solicitude, to show in your own persons a shepherd's gains.

Book II can't be meant, since that has only 12, 15 in the space. Same for Book III. Book IV has only letter 15. Book V letters 15, 17.

Not what Avro referred to, but since that spells out "1517" as in a year, 400 years before the coming one, I'll link anyway.

Book V, Letter 15

To John, Bishop.

Gregory to John, Bishop of Ravenna.

In the first place this makes me sad; that your Fraternity writes to me with a double heart, exhibiting one sort of blandishment in letters, but another sort with the tongue in secular intercourse. In the next place, it grieves me that my brother John even to this day retains on his tongue those gibes which notaries while still boys are wont to indulge in. He speaks bitingly, and seems to delight in such pleasantry. He flatters his friends in their presence, and maligns them in their absence. Thirdly, it is to me grievous and altogether execrable, that he imputes shameful crimes to his servants , whatever the hour may be, calling them "effeminate;" and, what is still more grievous, this is done openly. Then there is this in addition that there is no discipline for keeping guard over the life of the clergy, but that he exhibits himself only as their lord. The last thing, but first in importance as evidence of elation, is about his use of the pallium outside the church, which is a thing he never presumed to do in the times of my predecessors, and what none of his predecessors ever presumed to do, as our delegates testify (except it might be when relics were deposited, though with regard to relics one person only could be found to say that it was so); yet this in my days, in contempt of me, with extreme audacity, he not only did, but even made a habit of doing.

From all these things I find that the dignity of the Episcopacy is with him all in outside show, not in his mind. And indeed I return thanks to Almighty God that at the time when this came to my knowledge, which had never reached the ears of my predecessors, the Lombards were posted between me and the city of Ravenna. For perchance I had it in my mind to show to men how severe I can be.

Lest, however, you should suppose that I wish your church to be depressed or lessened in dignity, remember where the deacon of Ravenna used to stand in solemnization of mass at Rome, and enquire where he stands now; and you will recognize the fact that I desire to honour the church of Ravenna. But that any one whatever should snatch at anything out of pride, this I cannot tolerate.

Nevertheless I have already written on this matter to our deacon at Constantinople, that he should enquire of all who have under them even thirty or forty bishops. And if there is anywhere this custom of their walking in litanies wearing the pallium, God forbid that through me the dignity of the church of Ravenna should seem to be in any way lessened.

Reflect, therefore, dearest brother, on all that I have said above: think of the day of your call: consider what account you will render of the burden of episcopacy. Amend those manners of a notary. See what becomes a bishop in tongue and in deed. Be entirely sincere to your brethren. Do not speak one thing, and have another in your heart. Do not desire to seem more than you are, that so you may be able to be more than you seem. Believe me, when I came to my present position, I had such consideration and charity towards you that, if you had wished to keep hold of this my charity, thou still wouldest not have ever found such a brother as myself, or one so sincerely loving you, or so concurring with you in all devotion: but when I came to know of your words and your manners, I confess I started back. I beseech you, then, by Almighty God, amend all that I have spoken of, and especially the vice of duplicity. Allow me to love you; and for the present and the future life it may be of advantage to you to be loved of your brethren. Reply, however, to all this, not by words, but by behaviour.

Well, he could have written almost same things to his own successor Leo X, couldn't he?

And here is 17:

Book V, Letter 17

To Cyprian, Deacon.

Gregory to Cyprian, etc.

I received your letters of most bitter import about the death of the Lord Maximianus in the month of November. And he indeed has reached the rewards he longed for, but the unhappy people of the city of Syracuse is to be commiserated as not having been counted worthy to have such a pastor long. Accordingly let your Love take anxious heed that such a one may be chosen for ordination in the same church as may not seem to obtain undeservedly the same place of rule after the lord Maximianus. And indeed I believe that the majority would choose the presbyter Trajan, who, as is said, is of a good disposition, but, as I suspect, not fit for ruling in that place. Yet, if a better cannot be found, and if there are no charges against him, he may be condescended to under stress of very great necessity. But, if my wishes are asked with regard to this election, I inform you privately of what I do wish: for no one in this same church appears to me so worthy after the lord Maximianus as John the archdeacon of the church of Catana. And, if his election can be brought about, I believe that he will be found an exceedingly fit person. But he too must first be enquired about by you privately as to any charges against him that may stand in the way. If he should be found free from any, he may be rightly chosen. Should this be done, our brother and fellow bishop Leo will also have to give him leave to go, that he may be found free to be ordained. These things, then, I have taken care to intimate to your Love; and it will now be your concern to look round you on all sides carefully, and arrange what is pleasing to God.

Could he have been speaking about book VI? Here only 13 is lacking.

... 12 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 ...

Book VI, Letter 12

Quoting beginning:

To Montana and Thomas.

Gregory to Montana, etc.

Since our Redeemer, the Maker of every creature, vouchsafed to assume human flesh for this end, that, the chain of slavery wherewith we were held being broken by the grace of His Divinity, He might restore us to pristine liberty, it is a salutary deed if men whom nature originally produced free, and whom the law of nations has subjected to the yoke of slavery, be restored by the benefit of manumission to the liberty in which they were born. And so, moved by loving-kindness and by consideration of this case, we make you, Montana and Thomas, servants of the holy Roman Church which with the help of God we serve, free from this day, and Roman citizens, and we release to you all your private property.

Sounds more like general Robert E. Lee than like Avro Manhattan's guy from this one.

Book VI, Letter 14

To the Count Narses.

Gregory to Narses, etc.

Your Charity, being anxious to learn our opinion, has been at the pains of writing to us to ask what we think of the book against the presbyter Athanasius which was sent to us. Having thoroughly perused some parts of it, we find that he has fallen into the dogma of Manichæus. But he who has noted some places as heretical by a mark set against them slips also himself into Pelagian heresy; for he has marked certain places as heretical which are Catholicly expressed and entirely orthodox. For when this is written; that when Adam sinned his soul died, the writer shows afterwards how it is said to have died, namely that it lost the blessedness of its condition. Whosoever denies this is not a Catholic. For God had said, In the hour you eat thereof, in death you shall die Genesis 2:17. When, therefore, Adam ate of the forbidden tree, we know that he did not die in the body, seeing that after this he begot children and lived many years. If, then, he did not die in the soul, the impious conclusion follows that He himself lied who foretold that in the day that he sinned he should die. But it is to be understood that death takes place in two ways; either from ceasing to live, or with respect to the mode of living. When, then, man's soul is said to have died in the eating of the forbidden thing, it is meant, not in the sense of ceasing to live, but with regard to the mode of living;— that he should live afterwards in pain who had been created to live happily in joy. He, then, who has marked this passage in the book sent to me by my brother the bishop John as heretical is a Pelagian; for his view is evidently that of Pelagius, which the apostle Paul plainly confutes in his epistles. ...

Skipping the rest. Obviously "the presbyter Athanasius" is NOT the Saint and bishop from about 3 centuries earlier, but one having him as patron saint. Saint Justin martyr has another view on what Genesis 2:17 means, applying Psalm 90(89):4 and 2 Peter 3:8. Adam died within 1000 years and Eve did not survive him for very long.

But this is also a sense of Genesis 2:17. Some say "if one sense is true, the other is just a false conclusion", but for us Catholics, this is not how we read the Bible.

Book VI, Letter 15

To John, Bishop.

Gregory to John, Bishop of Constantinople.

As the pravity of heretics is to be repressed by the zeal of a right faith, so the integrity of a true confession is to be embraced. For, if one who declares himself sound in the faith is scorned, the faith of all is brought into doubt, and fatal errors are generated from inconsiderate strictness. And hence not only are wandering sheep not recalled to their Lord's folds, but even those that are within them are exposed to be cruelly torn by the teeth of wild beasts. Let us then fully consider this, most dear brother, and not suffer any one who truly professes the Catholic faith to be distressed under pretext of heresy, nor (which God forbid) allow heresy to grow the more under show of correcting it. ....

A principle some Catholics might do well to consider when it comes to me, perhaps. Or to Monsignor Williamson.

Book VI, Letter 16

To Mauricius, Augustus.

Gregory to Mauricius, etc.

Seeing that in you, most Christian of princes, uncorrupt soundness of faith shines as a beam sent down from heaven, and that it is known to all that your Serenity embraces fervently and loves with entire devotion of heart the pure profession in which by God's favour you are powerful, we have perceived it to be very necessary to make request for those whom one and the same faith enlightens, to the end that the Piety of our lords may protect them with its favour, and defend them from all molestation. When certain men scorn the confession of faith of such persons they are shown to contradict the true faith. For, since the Apostle declares that confession of the mouth is made unto salvation, he who will not consent to believe a right profession accuses himself in rejecting others Romans 10:10.

Now all the proceedings against John, presbyter of the church of Chalcedon, having been read in council and considered in order, we have found that he has suffered the greater injustice in that, when he declared and showed himself to be a Catholic, it was not his guilt, but an uncertain accusation of long standing, that crushed him; and this to such an extent that his accusers declared in their open reply that they did not know the heresy of the Marcionists which they referred to. ...

Defending one falsely accused of heresy ... OK, not quite what Avro Manhattan seemed to imply in his footnote. Shall we continue our search?

Book VI, Letter 17

To Theotistus.

Gregory to Theotistus, kinsman of the Emperor.

We know that the Christianity of your Excellency is always intent on good works and therefore we provide for you occasions for reaping reward, which you are certain to be glad of, so that we by so providing may have a share in your merits.

We therefore inform you that John the presbyter, the bearer of these presents, has come out free from those by whom he had been accused. ...

What about Book VII? ... 12 | 13 | 15 | 17 ...

Book VII, Letter 12

To Respecta, Abbess.

Gregory to Respecta, Abbess of Massilia (Marseilles) in Gaul.

The demand of a pious wish ought to be accomplished by a consequent result, that so the benefit demanded may be validly attained, and sincerity of devotion may laudably shine forth. Accordingly to the monastery consecrated to the honour of Saint Cassian wherein you are selected to preside— in accordance with the petition of our children Dynamius and Aureliana, who are shown, in their religious devotion, to have united it to the house in their possession by connecting the buildings— we have seen fit to allow these privileges:— We appoint that on the death of the abbess of the aforesaid monastery, not a stranger, but one whom the congregation may choose for itself from among its own members, shall be ordained; whom (provided however that she be judged worthy of this ministry) the bishops of the same place shall ordain. Further, with regard to the property and management of the same monastery, we decree that neither bishop nor any ecclesiastic shall have any power; but appoint that these things shall in all respects pertain to the charge of your Solicitude, or of her who may be abbess in the same place after you. ...

OK, a nun monastery in Marseilles, dedicated to Saint Cassian is given its privileges in the typical way.

Book VII, Letter 13

To Fortunatus, Bishop.

Gregory to Fortunatus, Bishop of Fanum.

As it is reprehensible and deserving of punishment for any one to sell consecrated vessels except in cases sanctioned by law and the sacred canons, so it is not a matter for reproach or penalty if they should be disposed of with a compassionate purpose for the redemption of captives. Since, then, we find from the information given us by your Fraternity that you have borrowed money for the redemption of captives, and have not the means of repaying it, and on this account desire, with our authority, to dispose of some consecrated vessels—in this case, seeing that the decrees of both the laws and the canons approve, we have thought fit to lend our approval, and grant you leave to dispose of the consecrated vessels. But, lest their sale should possibly lead to any ill-feeling against yourself, they ought to be disposed of, up to the amount of the debt, in the presence of John our defensor, and their price should be paid to the creditors, to the end that, the business being completed with observance of this kind, neither may the creditors feel loss from having lent the money, nor your Fraternity sustain ill-will now or at any future time.

I don't know exactly who the captives were, but redeeming captives was one occasion on which one could actually directly sell holy vessels. I presume the same applies to relics. Or perhaps even not sellable in that case?

This looks like Avro Manhattan got something rather wrong here ...

Book VII, Letter 15

To George, Presbyter.

Gregory to George, Presbyter, and to Theodore, deacon, of the Church of Constantinople.

Mindful of your goodness and charity, I greatly blame myself, that I gave you leave to return so soon: but, since I saw you pressing me importunately once and again for leave to go, I considered that it might be a serious matter for your Love to tarry with us longer. But, after I had learned that you had lingered so long on your journey owing to the winter season, I confess that I was sorry that you had been sent away so soon. For, if your Love was unable to accomplish your intended journey, it had been better that you had lingered with me than away from me. ...

OK, the priest George could get a cold when getting back to Constantinople and St Gregory had been thoughtless and is excusing himself. Adds up to extorting money from Brunhilda exactly how?

Book VII, Letter 17

To Sabinianus, Bishop.

Gregory to Sabinianus, Bishop of Jadera.

If you had been at pains to weigh with careful consideration the rule of ecclesiastical administration and the order of ancient custom, neither would any fault of unlawful presumption have crept in upon you, nor would others have incurred danger by occasion of your sin. Now there is no doubt that you were aware how that, certain things having come to our ears about Maximus which were no slight bar to his advancement to the priesthood, we had not given our assent to it, and that it was our will that he should not attain to what he strove after till there had been adequate satisfaction concerning the things that were said. But, when you ought by all means to have observed this, it came rather to pass that he, snatching at the episcopate with the greediness of a blind mind, inclined you unwarily to favour him in spite of our prohibition. But, lest even then the things that had been reported to us should remain unexamined, he was summoned to come hither by letters from us. And, when he was so perversely inclined as to defer doing so, we took care to admonish him in repeated letters, under pain of interdiction from communion, to make haste to come to us for his purification, putting aside all excuses: but he chose rather to submit to excommunication than to evince obedience. ...

I think Leo X had occasion to say similar things after Luther had refused to listen to Exsurge Domine warning ...?

STILL no indication of what Avro Manhattan was talking about!

Book VIII can not be meant, it lacks letter 12. Book IX has letters 12, 17, none in between, it would have been fault to cite that as 12-17, but here goes anyway:

Book IX, Letter 12

To John, Bishop of Syracuse.

Gregory to John, etc.

One coming from Sicily has told me that some friends of his, whether Greeks or Latins I know not, as though moved by zeal for the holy Roman Church, murmur about my arrangements [i.e. of divine service], saying, How can he be arranging so as to keep the Constantinopolitan Church in check, when in all respects he follows her usage? And, when I said to him, What usages of hers do we follow? He replied; you have caused Alleluia to be said at mass out of the season of Pentecost ; you have made appointment for the sub-deacons to proceed disrobed , and for Kyrie Eleison to be said, and for the Lord's Prayer to be said immediately after the canon. To him I replied, that in none of these things have we followed another Church.

For, as to our custom here of saying the Alleluia, it is said to be derived from the Church of Jerusalem by the tradition of the blessed Jerome in the time of pope Damasus of blessed memory; and accordingly in this matter we have rather curtailed the former usage which had been handed down to us here from the Greeks. ...

Liturgy bores you to death? Not me. I am glad I distinguished my own ditty very clearly from "liturgic Alleluia", since the Pope and Saint really cared about how liturgy was performed.

Book IX, Letter 17

To Demetrian and Valerian.

Gregory to Demetrian and Valerian, clerks of Firmum (Fermo).

Both the ordinances of the sacred canons and legal authority permit that ecclesiastical property may be lawfully expended for the redemption of captives. And so, since we are informed by you that, nearly eighteen years ago, the most reverend Fabius, late bishop of the Church of Firmum, paid to the enemy eleven pounds of the silver of that Church for your redemption, and that of your father Passivus, now our brother and fellow bishop, but then a clerk, and also that of your mother, and that you have some fear on this account, lest what was given should at any time be sought to be recovered from you—we have thought fit by the authority of this precept to remove your suspicion, ordaining that you and your heirs shall henceforth sustain no annoyance for recovery of the debt, and that no process shall be instituted against you by any one; since the rule of equity requires that what has been paid with a pious intent should not be attended with burden or distress to those who have been redeemed.

Books X, XI, XII, XIII do not have both 12 and 17, and book XII even has none of the series. So, how about book XIV?

... 12 | 13 | 16 | 17 ...

Book XIV, Letter 12

To Theodelinda, Queen of the Lombards.

Gregory to Queen Theodelinda.

The letters which you sent us a little time ago from the Genoese parts have made us partakers of your joy on account of our learning that by the favour of Almighty God a son has been given you, and, as is greatly to your Excellency's credit, has been received into the fellowship of the Catholic faith . ...

Not finished yet. Here we actually get some hint of relics, sent as ... gifts (as said, not sure they could be sold even for redemption of captives):

Further, to our son the King Adolouvald we have taken thought to send some phylacteries; that is, a cross with wood of the holy cross of the Lord, and a lection of the holy Gospel enclosed in a Persian case. Also to my daughter, his sister, I send three rings, two of them with hyacinths, and one with an albula , which I request may be given them through you, that our charity towards them may be seasoned by your Excellency.

Even a relic of the Holy Cross.

If that was all for corrupt gain, why didn't he mentions any demands to Theodelinda or Adolouvald for payment?

Book XIV, Letter 13

To Alcyson, Bishop of Corcyra .

Gregory to Alcyson, etc.

To brethren who bethink themselves and return to wholesome counsels kindness is not to be denied, lest a fault seem to weigh more in the minds of bishops than charity. We have therefore received, in the presence of your Love's responsales, Peter, reader of the Church of Euria, who came to us with letters from our brother and fellow bishop John, and, when the letters which he had brought had been read, we took care to ask him if he had anything to say against the allegation of those your responsales. And on his stating that he had been charged with nothing, and had no answer to make, beyond what the epistle of his bishop contained, we decreed without tardiness, under God, what was agreeable to the canons. After a long time, however, the above-written Peter produced a document which he asserted had been given him by his bishop; and so the case underwent delay. But inasmuch as in this document the above-mentioned bishop was found to say that he had hoped to have leave to deposit the holy and venerable body of the blessed Donatus in the church of the blessed John which is within the camp called that of Cassiopus, saying that he is prepared, on account of its being proved to be in your diocese, to give your Love a security that no prejudice to you should thence arise, we thought it right that his petition should not be left without effect, now that in a time of necessity he desires provision to be made for him in such a way as to secure his acknowledgment in all respects of the jurisdiction of your Church. Moved therefore by this reason, we exhort your Fraternity by this present letter, that, without any delay or excuse you afford opportunity for depositing the venerable body of the above-written Saint in the aforenamed Church of the blessed John; on condition only that he previously protect you by a security in writing that he will never on any plea whatever claim to himself any jurisdiction or privilege in the aforesaid Church or camp, as though he were the bishop of the place, but guard there inviolably all the right and power of your Church, the place being in your diocese. At the same time it becomes you also, as the same our brother has requested, to reply to him that whenever, peace being restored by the mercy of God, he may be at liberty to return to his own place, it shall be lawful for him to take away with him, without any objection made, the aforesaid venerable body. Herein, lest what is done should seem to be personal, and occasion should possibly be found for stirring up the contention anew, your successors also should be in all respects included in this promise to keep things as they are, to the end that through this preventional security neither may he in future presume to claim anything there in your diocese against equity and the decrees of the sacred canons, nor the rights of your Church ever in any manner sustain any prejudice from such concession.

Curious, another case of relics, and another time Avro Manhattan's purported sources give nothing about exacted payments.

Book XIV, Letter 16

From Felix Bishop of Messana to St. Gregory.

To the most blessed and honourable lord, the holy father Pope Gregory, Felix lover of your Weal and Holiness.

The claims under God of your most blessed Weal and Holiness are manifest. For, though the whole earth was filled with observance of the true faith by the preaching and doctrine of the apostles, yet the orthodox Church of Christ, having been founded by institution and most firmly established by the faithful fathers, is further built up through the teaching of divine discourses, while instructed by your hortatory admonition. To it did all the most blessed apostles, endowed with an equal participation of dignity and authority , convert hosts of peoples; and by salutary precepts and admonitions, piously and holily, brought such as were foreknown in the grace of divine predestination from darkness to light, from error to the true faith, from death to life. Following the merits of these holy apostles, and perfectly acting up to their example, your honoured Paternity adorns with them the Church of God by probity of manners and holiness of deeds; and, strong in sacred faith and Christian manners, enjoins what should be done to please God, and unceasingly follows and fulfils pontifical duties, thus observing the precepts of divine law; since (as says the Apostle) Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified

Editor then inserts the correct reference: Romans 2:13

There is however also some business in the letter, namely marriage business:

As we were meditating on these things, news was brought us by certain who came from Rome that you had written to our comrade Augustine (afterwards ordained Bishop for the nation of the Angli, and there sent by your venerable Holiness), and to the Angli (whom we have long known to have been converted to the faith through you), that persons related in the fourth degree of descent, if married, should not be separated . Now this was not formerly the custom either in those or in these parts, when I was brought up and taught together with you from infancy; nor have I read of it in any decrees of your predecessors, or in the institutes of other Fathers generally or specially, or learned that it had been allowed hitherto by any of the wise. But I have found from your holy predecessors, and from the rest of the holy Fathers, assembled as well in the Nicene synod as in other holy councils, that this [i.e. this prohibition of marriage] should be observed down to the seventh degree of descent; and I know that this is carefully seen to by men who live aright and fear the Lord. While these things were being discussed among us, other things also supervened, concerning which it seems necessary for us to consult your authority. For there came to us both Benedict, bishop of the Syracusan Church, and also others of our brethren, being bishops, weeping, and saying that they were greatly disturbed and afflicted in mind on account of the immoderate proceedings of secular and lay persons, in consequence of which some unjust things were also being said against them.

And business about what to do when in doubt:

There are also some churches in our province about the consecration of which doubt is felt; and, because both of their antiquity and of the carelessness of their custodians, it is unknown whether they have been dedicated by bishops or not. As to all these things we beg to be instructed by your Holiness, and by the authority of your holy see; and we ask to be informed by your letters whether what, as we have before said, we have heard that you had written to our aforesaid comrade Augustine and to the nation of the Angli was written specially to them or generally to all; and we desire to be fully informed both on this matter and on the others above written.

And an assurance that giving the rules is not meant as criticism:

For we do not signify to you what we have read, and what we know to be observed by the faithful, by way of finding fault (which be far from us); but we seek to know what we may reasonably and faithfully observe in this matter. And, since no slight murmuring is going on among us on this question, we seek an answer from you, as from the head, as to what we should reply to our brethren and fellow bishops; lest we should remain doubtful in the matter, and lest this murmuring should remain among us both in your times and in times to come, and your reputation, which has always been good and excellent, should be lacerated or disparaged through detractions, or your name (which God forbid) should be evil spoken of in succeeding times. For we, observing under God what is right with humble heart, being bound to you in one bond of charity, and defending your religion in all things as faithful pupils, seek knowledge of what is right from you. For we know that, as the apostles in the first place who were prelates of the holy See, and their successors afterwards, have always done, so you also take care of the universal Church, and especially of bishops, who on account of their contemplation and speculation are called the eyes of the Lord; and that you think continually about our religion and law, as it is written, Blessed is he who shall meditate in the law of the Lard day and night Psalm 1:2. Which meditation of yours is not only seen by reading, through the outward expression of letters, but, by the grace of Christ abounding in you, is known to be immoveably engrafted in your conscience; while the most holy law of Christ the Lord in no wise departs from your heart; as says the Prophet in the Psalms, The mouth of the righteous will meditate wisdom, and his tongue will be talking of judgments: the law of God is in his heart Psalm 36:30; written not with ink, but in secret by the Spirit of the living God; not therefore on tables of stone, but on the tables of the heart. Let all gloom of darkness, we pray you, be dispelled by your most wise replies and assistance, that the morning star may shine upon us through you, most holy Father, and a dogmatic definition causing joy to all everywhere, because the glorious Fathers of holy Church are known to have preached proper and most pious dogmas unto secure inheritance of eternal life.

Subscription. May the Lord keep you safe and well-pleasing to God for ever, holy father of fathers, while you pray for us.

OK, but XIV:17 must be the real source of Avro Manhattan, right?

Book XIV, Letter 17

To Felix, Bishop of Messana.

To our most reverend brother, the Bishop Felix, Gregory, servant of the servants of God .

Same guy? Yes. FF to one same subject:

For, following the examples of your predecessors, you have thought it right to consult the Apostolic See, in which you have been brought up and educated, on three points; that is on marriages of consanguinity, on vexation of bishops by subordinates, and on doubt with respect to the consecration of churches. Know then that what I wrote to Augustine, bishop of the nation of the Angli (who was, as you remember, your pupil), about marriages of consanguinity was written specially to him and to the nation of the Angli which had recently come to the faith, lest from alarm at anything too austere they should recede from their good beginning; but it was not written generally to others. Of this the whole Roman city is my witness. Nor did I thus order in those writings with the intention that, after they had been settled in the faith with a firm root, they should not be separated, if found to be below the proper degree of consanguinity, or should be united, if below the proper line of affinity, that is as far as the seventh generation. But for those who are still neophytes it is very often right in the first place to teach them, and by word and example to instruct them, to avoid unlawful things, and then afterwards, reasonably and faithfully, to shut out things that they may have done in matters of this kind. For according to the Apostle who says, I have fed you with milk, not with meat 1 Corinthians 3:2, we have allowed these indulgences for them only, and not (as has been said above) for future times, lest the good which had been planted so far with a weak root should be rooted up, but that what had been begun should rather be made firm, and guarded till it reach perfection. Certainly, if in these things we have done anything otherwise than as we ought to have done, know that it has been done, not of wantonness, but in commiseration. Wherefore, too, I invoke God as my witness, who knows the thoughts of all men, and to whom all things are naked and open. For, if I were to destroy what those who came before me established, I should be justly convicted of being not a builder but an over-thrower, as testifies the voice of the Truth, who says, Every kingdom divided against itself shall not stand Luke 11:17; and every science and law divided against itself shall be destroyed. And so it is needful for us all with one accord to hold to the appointments of our holy Fathers, doing nothing in contention, but, unanimous in every aim of good devotion, to obey, the Lord helping us, the divine and constitutions.

FF to other same subject as in previous letter:

Concerning doubt as to the dedications of churches, about which among other things you have wished to consult us, you ought duly to hold to this which we have received as handed down to us from those who have gone before us; namely, that, as often as doubt is entertained as to the baptism or confirmation of any persons, as well as the consecration of churches, and there is no certain account to be given, either from writings or witnesses, as to whether persons have been baptized or confirmed, or whether churches have been consecrated, that such persons should be baptized and confirmed, and that such churches should be canonically dedicated, lest such doubt should become ruin to the faithful; inasmuch as what does not appear by certain proofs to have been duly done is not in such case done a second time. This, divine grace supporting us, we desire so to hold; and we enjoin it on you, as you have requested, to hold and teach; and we wish not wantonly to break through, but faithfully to observe, what has been determined by holy Fathers before us. Wherefore we implore the mercy of our Redeemer to assist you with His grace, and give unto you to carry into effect what He has granted you to will, since in this matter the good gifts of retribution by so much the more accrue to us as the zeal of labour is increased. But we decree that every one of those who have been faithfully taught, and already stand ineradicably planted with a firm root, shall observe his descent even to the seventh generation. And as long as they know themselves to be related to each other by affinity, let them not presume to approach the association of this union; nor is it lawful, or shall be lawfully for any Christian to marry a woman of his own kindred whom he has lived with as a wife, or whom he has stained by any unlawful pollution; since such intercourse is incestuous and abominable to God and to all good men. But we read that it has long been determined by holy Fathers that incestuous persons are not to be reckoned under any title of wedlock. And so we desire not to be blamed by you or any other of the faithful in this matter, seeing that in our indulgence herein to the nation of the Angli we have acted, not as laying down a rule, but as taking thought lest they should leave imperfect the good which they had begun, etc.

Now, what exactly was Avro Manhattan referring to in his note 4?

4. St. Gregory, Letters 12-17

Looking up in text again ...

Not content with this, Gregory began to send out "the keys of St. Peter, wherein are found the precious filings and which by the same token also remit sins" - provided the recipients paid in cash or with costly presents. (4)

Hrrrrmmmm, could Avro Manhattan simply be somewhat inaccurate and on top of that be strewing about lots of footnotes that look impressive as long as you DON'T check?

By the way, the guys who gave me the tip about Donation of Constantine being used for extortion of Peter's Pence from all over the Roman World (as if newly Christianised nations outside the ancient limes weren't paying it, for one!), I asked if he got his information from Chick Tracts or the publications of Jack Chick. He thought I was VERY "on the defense" for doubting his info as being Church Bashing. Now look at this (each non linked link given as title, description, url):

  • The Vatican's Holocaust
    Avro Manhattan, world-renouned expert on the Vatican in politics, shows us the true face of Rome in his book "The Vatican's Holocaust."

  • 'The Inquisition' by Avro Manhattan
    by Avro Manhattan. If Hitler should return and proclaim deep love for the Jews; or Stalin appear and declare himself a Capitalist, would we not take them with a ...

  • Is the Vatican financially broke?
    BC Article - Periodically, Catholics are urged to give to 'Peter's pence,' to help defray Vatican expenses. But author Avro Manhattan shows it's just a ploy to hide ...

  • Cortinas De Humo - ¿El Hombre Mas Rico En La Tierra?
    Ahora permítame citar de LOS BILLONES DEL VATICANO, escrito por Avro Manhattan. Creo que le indignará tanto como a mí. Además, esta información se ...

  • Hitler's death camps: Holocaust or Inquisition?
    by Avro Manhattan.) The most detailed evidence available that many of these World War II executions resulted from the refusal to convert to Catholicism comes ...

  • Catholic League officials influence New York textbooks
    This involvement was carefully documented by men like Edmond Paris and Avro Manhattan long before the appearance of the play. How desperately the ...

  • Pope pushing WWII mass murderer for sainthood
    Here the entire text of Avro Manhattan's book, The Vatican's Holocaust is posted. Other information can be obtained in the Battle Cry section of the Chick web ...

  • A Woman Rides the Beast - A City on Seven Hills
    153-59; Hakluytus Posthumus (William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, London, 1625) as cited in Avro Manhattan, The Vatican Billions (Chino, CA. 1983), p. 90.

  • Answer to critics of former Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera
    Avro Manhattan factuates this truth in his book, "Vatican in World Politics." One more statement by Buckley in this same editorial is worthy of mention. He says ...

  • FAQ's Concerning Roman Catholicism
    Roman Catholic Church Information Center featuring 'freqently asked questions' about Roman Catholics. Access all online information about Roman ...

I was searching avro manhattan on chick.com - which is the home page of Chick Tracts. As you can see, chick.com is also in every one of the links.

Not only is Avro Manhattan connected to Church Bashing, he is also even connected to the most infamous one, among supposed Christians, namely Jack Chick.

And a guy who seems to have his info from Avro thinks I am "too brainwashed" not to realise he is citing facts rather than Church Bashing.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Mootherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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