Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

I., was accused of blinding and murdering two ecclesiastics in the Lateran Palace; it was necessary that imperial commissioners should investigate the matter, but the pope died, after having exculpated himself by oath before thirty bishops. John VIII., A.D. 872, unable to resist the Mohammedans, was compelled to pay them tribute; the Bishop of Naples, maintaining a secret alliance with them, received his share of the plunder they collected. Him John excoinmunicated, nor would he give him absolution unless he would betray the chief Mohammedans and assassinate others himself. There was an ecclesiastical conspiracy to murder the pope; some of the treasures of the Church were seized ; and the gate of St. Pancrazia was opened with false keys, to admit the Saracens into the city. Formosus, who had been engaged in these transactions, and excommunicated as a conspirator for the murder of John, was subsequently elected pope, A.D. 891; he was succeeded by Boniface VI., A.D. 896, who had been deposed from the diaconate, and again from the priesthood, for his immoral and lewd life. By Stephen VII., who followed, the dead body of Formosis was taken from the grave, clothed in the papal habiliments, propped up in a chair, tried before & council, and the preposterous and indecent scene completed by cutting off three of the fingers of the corpse and casting it into the Tiber; but Stephen himself was destined to exemplify how low the papacy had fallen: he was thrown into prisun and strangled. In the course of five years, from A D 896 to A.D. 900, five popes were consecrated. Leo V., who succeeded in A.D. 904, was in less than two months thrown into prison by Christopher, one of his chaplains, who usurped his place, and who, in his turn, was shortly expelled from Rome by Sergius III., who, by the aid of a military force, seized the pontificate, A.D. 905. This man, according to the testimony of the times, lived in criminal intercourse with the celebrated prostitute Theodora, who, with her daughters Marozia and Theodora, also prostitutes, exercised an extraordinary control over him. The love of Theodora was also shared by John X.: she gave him first the archbishopric of Ravenna, and then translated him to Rome, A.D. 915, as pope. John was not unsuited to the times; hc organized a confederacy which perhaps prevented Rome from being captured by the Saracens, and the world was astonished and edified by the appearance of this warlike pontiff at the head of his troops. By the love of Theodora, as was said, he had maintained himself in the papacy for fourteen years; by the intrigues and hatred of her daughter Marozia he was overthrown. She surprised him in the Lateran Palace; killed his brother Peter before his face; threw him into prison, where he soon died, smothered, as was asserted, with a pillow. After a short interval Marozia made her own son pope as John XI., A.D. 931. Many affirmed that Pope Sergius was his father, but she herself inclined to attribute him to her husband Alberic, whose brother Guido she subsequently married. Another of her sons, Alberic, so called from his supposed father, jealous of his brother John, cast him and their mother Marozia into prison. After a time Alberic's son was elected pope, A.D. 956; he assumed the title of John XII., the amorous Marozia thus having given a son and a grandson to the papacy. John was only nineteen years old when he thus became the head of Christendom. His reign was characterized by the most shocking immoralities, so that the Emperor Otho I. was compelled by the German clergy to interfere. A synod was summoned for his trial in the Church of St. Peter, before which it appeared that john had received bribes for the consecration of bishops, that he had ordained one who was but ten years old, and had performed that ceremony over another in a stable; he was charged with incest with one of his father's concubines, and with so many adulteries that the Lateran Palace had become a brothel; he put out the eyes of one ecclesiastic and castrated another, both dying in consequence of their injuries ; he was given to drunkenness, gambling, and the invocation of Jupiter and Venus. When cited to appear before the council, he sent word that she had gone out hunting;” and to the fathers who remonstrated with him, he threateningly remarked “ that Judas, as well as the other disciples, received from his master the power of binding and loosing, but that as soon as he proved a traitor to the common cause, the only power he retained was that of binding his own neck.” Hereupon he was deposed, and Leo VIII. elected in his stead, A.D. 963; but subsequently getting the upper hand, he seized his antagonists, cut off the hand of one, the nose, finger, tongue of others. His life was eventually brought to an end by the vengeance of a man whose wife he had seduced.

After such details it is almost needless to allude to the annals of succeeding popes: to relate that John XIII. was strangled in prison; that Boniface VII. imprisoned Benedict VII., and killed him by starvation; that John XIV. was secretly put to death in the dungeons of the Castle of St. Angelo; that the corpse of Boniface was dragged by the populace through the streets. The sentiment of reverence for the sovereign pontiff, nay, even of respect, had become extinct in Rome; throughout Europe the clergy were so shocked at the state of things, that, in their indignation, they began to look with approbation on the intention of the Emperor Otho to take from the Italians their privilege of appointing the successor of St. Peter, and confine it to his own family. But his kinsman, Gregory V., whom he placed on the pontifical throne, was very soon compelled by the Romans to fly; his excommunications and religious thunders were turned into derision by them; they were too well acquainted with the true nature of those terrors; they were living behind the scenes. A terrible punishment awaited the Anti-pope John XVI. Otho returned into Italy, seized him, put out his eyes, cut off his nose and tongue, and sent him through the streets mounted on an ass, with his face to the tail, and a wine-bladder on his head. It seemed impossible that things could become worse; yet Rome had still to see Benedict IX., A.D. 1033, a boy of less than twelve years, raised to the apostolic throne. Of this pontiff, one of his successors, Victor Ill., declared that his life was so shameful, so foul, so execrable, that he shuddered to describe it. He ruled like a captain of banditti rather than a prelate. The people at the padacy last, unable to bear his adulteries, homicides, bought at

auction A.D. and abominations any longer, rose against him. 1045, by In despair of maintaining his position, he put Gregory VI. up the papacy to auction. It was bought by a presbyter named John, who became Gregory VI., A.D. 1045.

More than a thousand years had elapsed since the birth of our Saviour, and such was the condition of Rome. Well may Conclusion the historian shut the annals of those times in respecting this disgust; well may the heart of the Christian biography. sink within him at such a catalogue of hideous crimes. Well may he ask, Were these the vicegerents of God upon earth-these, who had truly reached that goal beyond which the last effort of human wickedness cannot pass ? Not until several centuries after these events did public

opinion come to the true and philosophical conThe philosophical

o clusion—the total rejection of the divine claims wnclusion at of the papacy. For a time the evils were attrilast attained.

hele buted to the manner of the pontifical election, as if that could by any possibility influence the descent of a power which claimed to be supernatural and under the immediate care of God. The manner of election was this. The Roman ecclesiastics recommended a candidate The evils to the College of Cardinals; their choice had to imputed to be ratified by the populace of Rome, and, after the nature of papal elec

that, the emperor must give his approval. There tion.

were thus to be brought into agreement the machinations of the lower ecclesiastics, the intrigues of the cardinals, the clamours of the rabble of Rome, and the policy of the amperor. Such a system must inevitably break to pieces with its own incongruities. Though we may wonder that men failed to see that it was merely a human device, we cannot wonder that the emperors perceived the necessity of taking the appointments into their own hands, and that Gregory VII. was resolved to confine it to the College of Cardinals, to the exclusion of the emperor, the Roman people, and even of the rest of Christendom-an attempt in which he succeeded.

No one can study the development of the Italian ecclesi. astical power without discovering how completely it Human origin depended on human agency, too often on human of the papacy. passion and intrigues; how completely wanting it was of any mark of the Divine construction and carethe offspring of man, not of God, and therefore bearing upon it the lineaments of human passions, human virtues, and human sins.

[merged small][ocr errors]

DIGRESSION ON THE PASSAGE OF THE ARABIANS

TO THEIR AGE OF REASON.

INFLUENCE OF MEDICAL IDEAS THROUGH THE NESTORIANS AND JEWS.

The intellectual Development of the Arabians is guided by the Nestorians and the Jews, and is in the Medical Direction.The Basis of this

Alliance is theological. Antagonism of the Byzantine System to Scientific, Melicine.- Suppres

sion of the Asclepions.Their Replacement by Miracle-cure.Tho

resulting Superstition and Ignorance. Affiliation of the Arabians with the Nestorians and Jew8. 1st. The Nestorians, their Persecutions, and thc Diffusion of their Sec

tarian Ideas.They inherit the old Greek Medicine. Sub-digression on Greek Medicine.The Asclepions. Philosophical

Importance of Hippocrates, who separates Medicine from Religion.

The School of Cnidos. - Its Suppression by Constantine. Sub-digression on Egyptian Medicine.It is founiled on Anatomy and

Physiology.Dissections and Vivisections. -The Great Alexandrian

Physirians. 2nd. The Jewish Physicians. Their Emancipation from Superstition.

They found Colleges and promote Scienre und Letters. The contemporary Tendency to Magic, Necromancy, the Black Art.--The

Philosopher's Stone, Elixir of Life, etc. The Arabs originate scientific Chemistry.Discover the strong Acidx,

Phosphorus, etc.Their yevlogical ideas.- Apply Chemistry to the Practice of Medirine.- Approach of the Conflict between the Šaracenic material and the European supernatural System. The military operations of the Arabians, described in Chapter XI., overthrew the Byzantine political system, prematurely closing the Age of Faith the influence in the East; their intellectual procedure gave of the

Arabians, rise to an equally important result, being destined, in the end, to close the Age of Faith in the West.

« AnteriorContinuar »