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Leonardo da Vinci: Part 5 – His Final Years


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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The red-chalk drawing in Turin, claimed to be a self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci (1510-1515). In April 2009, the American art historian, Louis A. Waldman, specializing in the Italian Renaissance made pathetic headlines when he publicly presented documentary evidence revealing that some time before July 1505 Leonardo da Vinci painted a portrait of his beloved uncle, Francesco da Vinci. Waldman argued that this red-chalk drawing — one of the most famous drawings in the history of art due to its frequent misidentification as a self-portrait — is likely to be a preparatory study for the lost painting of Leonardo's uncle.
The red-chalk drawing in Turin, claimed to be a self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci (1510-1515). In April 2009, the American art historian, Louis A. Waldman, specializing in the Italian Renaissance made pathetic headlines when he publicly presented documentary evidence revealing that some time before July 1505 Leonardo da Vinci painted a portrait of his beloved uncle, Francesco da Vinci. Waldman argued that this red-chalk drawing — one of the most famous drawings in the history of art due to its frequent misidentification as a self-portrait — is likely to be a preparatory study for the lost painting of Leonardo’s uncle.

Due to the political instability in Milan, Leonardo left for Rome accompanied by Melzi and Salai on September 24, 1513.

Giuliano di Lorenzo de’ Medici, was an Italian nobleman, the third son of Lorenzo the Magnificent. One of his elder brothers Giovanni de‘ Medici was now Pope Leo X. Appointed Gonfaloniere of the Holy Church, Giuliano had heard much of Leonardo. Meeting Leonardo for the first time, Giuliano welcomed him with open arms like two friends meeting after years of separation. He gave Leonardo lodgings in Fort Belvedere, with a studio and several rooms for his companions.

An anonymous copy of the lost portrait of Giuliano de' Medici by Raphael.
An anonymous copy of the lost portrait of Giuliano de’ Medici by Raphael.

Giuliano and Leonardo became close friends. They discovered in each other the same interests – love of mathematics, mechanics, and nature, and they shared similar thoughts and feelings. Guiliano’s protection gave security to Leonardo and new impetus to carry on with his interests.

Like his father, Giuliano too was a friend and protector of many artists in Florence and Rome. He immediately commissioned two paintings, a Leda and a portrait of a Florentine woman.

In the Vatican Leonardo enjoyed a period of tranquility with a decent salary and no major obligations. He drew maps, studied ancient Roman monuments, started a project for a large residence for the Medici in Florence. He conducted experiments in human flight. From big models Leonardo went on to create tiny ones. He experimented with gliding flights and the curvature of the wings by modelling miniature birds in thin wax.

In Rome, Leonardo found an old acquaintance, Donato Bramante, the Italian architect, who introduced Renaissance architecture to Milan and the High Renaissance style to Rome. He also found the Pope’s favourite, Raphael, the Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance holding court like a prince.

There was no formal scientific research in the Middle Ages. Unable to suppress the writings of the ancient Greeks, the Roman Catholic Church allowed the teaching of ancient Greek science as long as it did not conflict with the Holy Bible and its own teachings. The scholars had to accept the observations of nature passed down from Aristotle and other ancient Greeks. The Church would not permit free inquiry. It imprisoned, tortured, and executed truth-seekers. Leonardo was a truth-seeker, and this fact would not endear him to the Roman Catholic Church.  In fact, Pope Leo X prohibited Leonardo from performing dissections and autopsies. Thus, ended Leonardo’s study of the human body.

Giuliano de‘ Medici died prematurely on March 17, 1516 (aged 37), and Leonardo felt that he had no friends in Rome to protect him, not even the Pope.

King Francis I of France by Jean Clouet.
King Francis I of France by Jean Clouet.

King Francis I of France, a patron of the arts, had earlier invited Leonardo to Amboise. So, Leonardo left Italy to spend the last three years of his life in France accompanied by Melzi and Salai. King Francis provided him the Château du Clos Lucé, then called Château de Cloux, as a place to stay and work.

The king treated Leonardo as a member of the nobility and not as an employee of the royal house. He arranged an annuity of 700 gold scudi to be paid to the elderly artist, to relieve him of any shadow of worry about money. In exchange the young King asked only friendship. The King often went to Cloux to visit Leonardo or sent a carriage to bring the aged artist to his castle.

In the autumn of 1516, Leonardo was not yet 65, but looked much older like an ancient prophet. From 1517, onwards Leonardo’s health started deteriorating. Even when his right arm was paralyzed,  he still worked with his left hand. He made ​​sketches for urban projects, drainage of rivers and even decorated for the holiday palace. He even conceived the idea of prefabricated houses.

The French greeted Melzi as an “Italian gentleman living with master Leonardo,” but accepted the 36-years-old Salaì, only as a “servant”. A dejected Salaì parted from Leonardo and left France in 1518. In reality, he understood that the young Melzi had taken his place in the heart of the Maestro.

The Death of Leonardo da Vinci by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1818.
The Death of Leonardo da Vinci by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1818.

Melzi remained in France with his master until Leonardo’s death at the Château du Clos Lucé on May 2, 1519.  According to a legend, King Francis I was at his side when he died, cradling Leonardo’s head in his arms

Upon Leonardo’s death, Melzi inherited the artistic and scientific works, manuscripts, and collections of Leonardo. Melzi then wrote a letter to inform Leonardo’s brothers. In this letter he described Leonardo’s love for him. He described his master’s feeling towards him as “sviscerato e ardentissimo amore” meaning “passionate and ardent love”.

Returning to Italy, Melzi played the role of a guardian of Leonardo’s notebooks. He prepared Leonardo’s writings for publication in the manner directed by his erstwhile master.

Melzi married, and fathered a son, Orazio. When Orazio died on his estate in Vaprio d’Adda, his heirs sold the collection of Leonardo’s works.

It is commonly believed that Leonardo bequeathed to Salaì several paintings including the Mona Lisa. Salaì owned Mona Lisa until his death in 1525. In his will the Mona Lisa was assessed at 505 lire, an exceptionally high valuation for a small panel portrait at that time. Through his estate, many works, including the Mona Lisa, passed into the possession of Francis I of France.

Salaì returned to Milan to work on Leonardo’s vineyard, where his father worked before, and which his erstwhile master had passed on to him through his will.

On June 14, 1523, at the age of 43, Salaì married Bianca Coldiroli d’Annono.

Salaì died in 1524 as a result of a wound received from a crossbow in a duel. He was buried in Milan on March 10, 1524.

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Next → Leonardo da Vinci: Part 6 – Did He Believe in God?

← Previous – Leonardo da Vinci: Part 4 – His Two Favourite Pupils 

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“The Light of Faith tour” – Vatican’s St. Peter’s Cricket Club in England


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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The Vatican cricket team poses with the dome of St. Peter's basilica in the background. The newly-formed team will play against the Church of England first XI and the Royal household team. (Photo: Chris Warde-Jones)
The Vatican cricket team poses with the dome of St. Peter’s basilica in the background. The newly-formed team will play against the Church of England first XI and the Royal household team. (Photo: Chris Warde-Jones)

Father Tony Currer (41) leads Vatican’s first-ever cricket team. According to a released team list, seven Indians dominate the team and Father Curer is its only Englishman. Also, in the team are two Sri Lankans and one Pakistani. All members of Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Cricket Club are young seminarians training for the priesthood, many of them aged between 24 and 41.

Preparations for the cricket club began around a year ago due to the enthusiasm of Australia’s ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy, who said the initiative was an example of “sporting diplomacy”.

Pope Francis with the members of Vatican's Saint Peter's Cricket Club (Photo: St. Peter's Cricket Club - Vatican Facebook page)
Pope Francis with the members of Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Cricket Club (Photo: St. Peter’s Cricket Club – Vatican Facebook page)

Pope Francis, born in Argentina is an avid football fan, but knows little about cricket. He blessed the Vatican’s “underdog” cricket team that will be facing a formidable Church of England XI during their maiden foreign tour to England dubbed “The Light of Faith tour“. The Holy Father signed a cricket bat, which the team will take with them to England.

Members of the St Peter's cricket team, from left, Deepak Anto, captain Anthony Currer, Ajeesh George, Davidson Jestus, and Pratheesh Thomas (PA)
Members of the St Peter’s cricket team, from left, Deepak Anto, captain Anthony Currer, Ajeesh George, Davidson Jestus, and Pratheesh Thomas (PA)

The papal XI will play matches against chaplains of the British armed forces at Aldershot and the Royal Household Cricket Club at Windsor Castle, as well as two other games. The climax of the tour will be a showdown with a Church of England team in Canterbury on September 19, 2014.

The manager of Papal XI Father Eamonn O’Higgins, and “spiritual director” of the team, said:

“Realistically, we are the rank underdogs with a very outside chance, but that’s OK. None of us has played first class cricket. The boys have not had a lot of time to practice. What we hope for, above all, is a good match.”

The Vatican cricketers will be praying and playing during the eight-day tour of England organized by the Anglican weekly newspaper The Church Times and Kent County Cricket Club. They will be visiting several holy sites and raising money for the Global Freedom Network, which fights against modern slavery and human trafficking.

Father Jery Njaliath (36), a priest from Kerala said:

“We’re going over there to beat them, to play to the maximum. But we’ll certainly play in the spirit of the game.”

Father Tony Currer, the captain of Saint Peter’s Cricket Club said:

“Win or lose, the first cricket match in history between the Vatican and the Church of England will be an event  to remember and to build on.”

St. Peter's team in London before moving on to Aldershot (Photo: St. Peter's Cricket Club - Vatican Facebook page
St. Peter’s team in London before moving on to Aldershot (Photo: St. Peter’s Cricket Club – Vatican Facebook page

On September 13, 2014, St. Peter’s XI (Vatican) won the first match of The Light of Faith Tour against the Chaplains of the armed forces played at Aldershot Army Cricket Ground. St. Peter’s XI (Vatican) won the match by 81 runs.

Scoreboard:
St. Peter’s XI (Vatican) 152/2 (20 overs)
Chaplains XI 71/4 (20 overs).

St. Peter's XI in Brighton (Photo: St. Peter's Cricket Club - Vatican Facebook page)
St. Peter’s XI in Brighton (Photo: St. Peter’s Cricket Club – Vatican Facebook page)

On September 14, 2014, in the 2nd match played between St. Peter’s XI (Vatican) Vs. St. Peter’s CC (Brighton), the Vatican team won the toss and chose to bowl first. St. Peter’s Vatican lost the T20 game to St. Peter’s Brighton.

Scoreboard:
St. Peter’s Brighton 168/6 (20 overs)
St. Peter’s Vatican 114/9 (20 overs)

St. Peter's XI at Ascott House (Photo: St. Peter's Cricket Club - Vatican Facebook page)
St. Peter’s XI at Ascott House (Photo: St. Peter’s Cricket Club – Vatican Facebook page)

In the third match of The Light of Faith tour played yesterday, September 14, 2014, St. Peter’s XI (Vatican) faced the Authors XI at Ascott House. It was a 30 overs match. The Authors XI won the toss and chose to bowl first. St. Peter’s XI (Vatican) won the match by 4 runs.

Scoreboard:
St. Peter’s 151 (29 overs)
Authors XI 147/4 (30 overs)

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Pope Francis I: The Humble Pope Given to Us by God


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Myself .

By T.V. Antony Raj

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In the Catholic Church to choose a new pope, it is mandatory for every cardinal under the age of 80 to travel to Rome to take part in the secret conclave election process which begins with a mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica followed by a procession to the Sistine Chapel.

Before the cardinals arrive, the Sistine Chapel goes through a comprehensive check or unauthorized microphones, recording or other communication devices. The phones of the cardinals are also blocked to prevent them from communicating with anyone about the election.

At the outset, the 115 cardinals participating in the election process this year took an oath of secrecy. After that the first voting process began. Each cardinal could cast one vote, except for himself. A candidate for the papacy must receive two-third of the total votes. This voting process continues with four voting sessions – two in the morning and two in the afternoon – for five consecutive days, or until the pope is chosen.

At the end of each voting session the smoke from the burned ballots billowing out of the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel reveals to the public the outcome of that voting session: black smoke to mean no consensus reached, and white smoke to announce the successful choice of a new Pope.

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White smoke - Habemus Papam! / We have a Pope!
White smoke – Habemus Papam! / We have a Pope!

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On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, white smoke appeared out of the Sistine Chapel chimney shortly after 7 pm Rome time. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal in the order of the deacons, appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and announced in Latin: “Habemus Papam!” (English: “We have a pope!”). Cardinal Tauran then revealed the pontiff’s birth name and the name he has chosen for himself as pope.

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His Holiness, Pope Francis I
His Holiness, Pope Francis I

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Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Jesuit, is the new pope of the Catholic Church. He has taken the name of Francis.

Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica said the new pontiff had chosen the name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, and had done so because the he was a lover of the poor. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a participant in the proceedings of the Conclave, confirmed that the new pope said, “I choose the name, Francis, in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi”.

This is the first time in papal history the name “Francis” used by a Pope, and the first time a serving Pope held a name unused by a predecessor since the brief reign of Pope Lando (also known as Landus) from July or August 913 until his death in February or March 914.

His Holiness, Pope Francis I, (though technically he can’t be called the first until there is a second pope Francis) is the first pope from the Americas. South America’s Catholics make up an estimated 40%, the largest regional following, of the 1.2 billion strong Catholic Church worldwide. He is a non-European.

“Non-European” can have two different meanings: ethnicity, and nationality. As in the U.S., many citizens of Argentina are descendants of immigrants, and most of them are of European descent. Pope Francis I, former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is an Argentine citizen. He was born in Buenos Aires to Italian immigrants of Piedmontese origin and hence is ethnically Italian. He grew up in the Argentine capital. His father, Mario José Bergoglio was a railway worker, and his mother Regina María Sivori, a housewife.

The Pope’s decision to pick the name “Francis” shows his simplicity and humility. His personal style is the antithesis of Vatican splendor. He believes in social justice and living a simple lifestyle. Though he was the Cardinal of the Catholic Church in Argentina, he passed on the right to have a chauffeured limousine and instead used public transport. He lived in a small apartment eschewing a formal bishop’s palace and reportedly cooked his own meals.

Here are some points to ponder:

  • He graduated from a technical secondary school as a chemical technician.
  • He decided to become a priest at the age of 21.
  • He speaks Italian fluently, as well as Latin, Spanish, German, French, and English.
  • He is the first Jesuit Pope.
  • He has lived for more than 50 years with one functioning lung. His other lung was removed as a young man due to infection.
  • He washed and kissed the feet of Aids patients in a hospice in 2001.
  • He has opposed the legislation that allows same-sex marriage introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government.
  • He has served on the Congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life, the Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Commission on Latin American and the Family Council.
  • He requested Argentinians not to spend money on travel to Rome to celebrate if he was appointed. He asked them to give that amount to the poor instead.
  • He is a conservative on Church doctrine. However, he has criticized priests who refuse to baptize children born to single mothers.
  • He opposes vulgar ideas such as gay marriage unlike some other heads of states.
  • He believes that condoms “can be permitted” to prevent sex-transmitted infection.
  • He once called abortion a “death sentence” for unborn children, during a speech on October 2, 2007. He said: “we are not in agreement with the death penalty, but in Argentina we have the death penalty.  A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.”
The shoes of Pope Francis
The shoes of Pope Francis
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My One Mass with Pope Benedict – It Brought Me into the Catholic Church!


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Dr. Taylor Marshall

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By Dr. Taylor Marshall

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A photo from the Mass attended by Dr. Taylor Marshall with Pope Benedict
A photo from the Mass I attend with Pope Benedict

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In 2006, when I was still an Episcopalian priest, Joy and I visited Rome. Intellectually we were coming to recognize that the Catholic Church was the true Church, but we needed the emotional push to bring the decision to fulfillment.

In Rome, we were able to take the Scavi tour underneath Saint Peter’s Basilica. At the end of the tour, we saw the bones of Saint Peter. I prayed earnestly that I would soon enter into full communion with Saint Peter and his successor on earth, Pope Benedict XVI.

After the tour, the Belgian priest, who had been our tour guide, stayed behind and struck up a conversation with us. We had been so excited and impressed by the tour. When I told him that we were not Catholics, but that I was an Episcopalian priest, his face lit up. He was writing his dissertation in Rome on some ecumenical matter.

Then he surprised us with a question: “Would you like to attend Holy Mass with the Pope this evening?” The answer to that question was obvious. The Belgian priest was pleased to make arrangements. We walked from the Scavi entrance on the south side of Saint Peter’s, across Saint Peter’s Square, and then up a staircase to the north. At the top were two Swiss Guards with pikes. The Belgian priest told us to wait there. He mumbled some Italian to the guards and disappeared.

A few minutes later he returned with two orange tickets, which were marked with that evening’s date and were issued by the Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano. The Belgian priest told us to return to Saint Peter’s an hour before the Mass with those tickets. We had a nice chat, and the priest went about his business. To my shame, I don’t know his name. (Father, if you’re out there, let me know!)

That evening, my wife and I attended the Holy Mass of the Purification with Pope Benedict. At this particular Holy Mass the Holy Father recognized the various religious orders of the world. We were in line with hundreds of nuns, friars, and monks. We were clearly out of place—a married Episcopalian priest in a cassock with a pregnant wife. My dear! I hope we did not scandalize all those nuns.

The Holy Mass was glorious. It began in total darkness.Pope Benedict XVI entered the back doors with only a candle. From this candle was lit all the candles of the nuns, monks, and friars. For the whole Mass, we were near the bronze statue of Saint Peter. I could see the Holy Father clearly. I knew that His Holiness was the true successor of the Fisherman, and recalling that just that morning I had been deep underneath that altar at the bones of Saint Peter, the connection between the ministry of Saint Peter the First Pope and that of Benedict XVI the present Pope was made manifest right before my eyes.

When it came time for Holy Communion, I knew that I could not go forward to receive. Although the Basilica was now lit with glorious light and joy, my soul remained in the darkness.

I was not a Catholic. I was not in communion with the Holy Father. I was in schism. It was a sickening feeling. I was out of communion with the Vicar of Christ, and I knew in that moment that my relationship with Christ was impaired. I also knew what I had to do. I had to resign the Episcopalian priesthood and become a Catholic.

That Mass was one of the most important events in my life. When we got back from Rome, the process began. When I think of Pope Benedict, I’ll always recall that Holy Mass on February 2, 2006 – a Holy Mass that changed my life forever. Viva Papa!

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The post above is an excerpt from my new book: The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholicism. Please take a quick look at the new book by clicking here.

Question: What was your favorite moment during the reign of Pope Benedict XVI? Please leave a comment below.

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Re-posted from canterbury tales
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Pope Benedict XVI Steps Down Leaving the Catholic Church in Crisis


. Myself By T.V. Antony Raj .

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“I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April, 2005”  – Pope Benedict XVI

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Pope Benedict XVI ..

On Monday February 11, 2013, during a routine morning meeting of Cardinals in the Vatican Pope Benedict XVI dropped a bombshell by announcing his resignation in Latin thus becoming the first pontiff to step down after 600 years. Even his close associates had no advance knowledge about his decision to resign.

Pope Benedict XVI, formerly German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s chief orthodoxy watchdog had plans to retire and spend his final years in his native Bavaria.

In recent years, the Pope has visibly slowed down. He reduced foreign travel and placed a limit on his audiences. Now, a moving platform carries him to and from the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica, and on some occasions, he uses a cane.

As early as 2010, the Pope began to look tired and worn out. He lost weight and did not seem fully engaged when visiting bishops briefed him on their dioceses. He then had made it clear that he would step down if he became too old or infirm to do the job. However, the Cardinals were surprised and remained shocked when the Pope said that he could not carry on as “both strength of mind and body are necessary – strengths which in the last few months, have deteriorated in me.” He added that he would resign effective 8 p.m. local time on February 28, 2013.

The Vatican declared that no particular medical problem prompted the Pope to make the decision and stressed that he remains fully lucid and made the decision himself.

On April 19, 2005, at age 78, he was the oldest Pope elected in nearly 300 years. It was a time when anger at clerical child-sex-abuse shook the faith of many Catholics in Europe, North America, and many other countries of the world. In 2008, he expressed the abuse as “shame” and met the victims. Nevertheless, he endured criticism for not recognizing the extent of the issue during his 24-year vocation as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the primary doctrinal body of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church with its 1.2 billion followers is now scurrying to replace its leader by Easter.

The next Pope, whoever it be, will take the reins of a church in turmoil because Pope Benedict steps down from the supreme office leaving behind a Church struggling to find its place in an increasingly secular world where many believe that they do not need a God in their lives. The child sex abuse scandals involving priests have prompted thousands of Catholics to forsake the church. Rival Protestant churches, particularly the evangelical Pentecostal groups pose new competition to the Catholic Church in the developing nations. Confrontation from radical anti-Christian groups has surfaced in many Islamic countries. Though Pope Benedict distanced himself from the intrigues of the Curia, in 2012 it caught up with him in the form of “Vatileaks” scandal in which his once loyal butler Paolo Gabriele leaked to the press hundreds of confidential papal memos that revealed tensions prevailing in the Vatican.

Sources in the Vatican said that Pope Benedict would live in an uncharted territory inside the Vatican, but free to go in and out.

After the election of the new Pope how would one address the present Holy Father? Would it be “Pope Emeritus”?

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Benedict XVI (2005-present, Episcopal form of ....

The letter of resignation of Pope Benedict xvi

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Lightning strikes St Peter’s Basilica as Pope resigns

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Opiate of Fear and Ignorance by My Heathen Heart


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It’s not a new story, but I’ll briefly touch upon it anyway (although it leads one to wonder why we keep preaching to the converted).

There’s no need to quote fictional bible passages that have no place in a world of reasoning and logic.

My Aunt and Uncle were obliged to turn their backs on their firstborn (they had 8 children) in order to appease nasty, psychologically-questionable individual(s) at the head of an evil organization. Their son, my cousin, was a wonderful young man whose only crime was an inquiring mind and a thirst for knowledge, who excelled scholastically because he had a passion for learning. He was academically gifted.

“What did he do wrong?”, you might well ask. He wanted to graduate from high school and go on to college.  A full education is Satan’s influence, apparently.  Indeed, I was reefed out of school at 15 for the same reason; Armageddon’s coming, education beyond legal requirements is turning your back on God, and scholastic education is always unimportant.

But he stuck to his guns. I admired him; I was anything but academically-oriented (not surprising when your parents move so frequently, you’re forced to attend 33 schools in 15 years from two different sides of the globe). And I thought he was kind of cute, too, even if he was blind as a bat without his black-rimmed glasses.

Well, they had to turn their backs on him, really; after all, he’d been baptised as one of them and once you do that, they own your sorry ass, so they’re (apparently) entitled to throw their entire Arsenal of Ignorance at you.

My Aunt and Uncle lost so much love they never knew because of religious stupidity and pride. They never met their new daughter-in-law, nor their beautiful little granddaughter. Aunt and Uncle both died with stubborn, stupid, religious fear and ignorance governing their hearts, minds and lives.

It happened to me, too, but not for long, because it was only a few years later that my mother came to her senses. She told them where to shove it – preferably sideways.

So how do they do it? How do the JWits manage to control so many minds with sheer, bullying ignorance, and twist it into a controlling mechanism?

It’s pretty easy, really. You repeatedly brainwash people by expounding your own fictional writings 3 times a week, forbid them from associating socially with anyone outside of their ‘fold’, and encourage your fictional works to be ‘light’ conversation at all your religious social gatherings.

Then, when someone breaks the rules you created, you make an example of them by telling the congregation that the ‘criminal’ is going to be murdered by their god for daring to be human, and that they must all now turn their backs on said ‘criminal’ forthwith, until the ‘elders’ decide when – and if – they might be returned to the fold.

No one likes being left out in the cold. No one likes being shunned by an entire group – especially when the ‘entire group’ has been all you’ve been permitted to associate with; without them, you’ve got no one.

It’s basic schoolyard behaviour that the JWits have crafted into an art form. The vATiCaN had an amazing control mechanism with their ‘hell’ invention; fear works wonderfully well when blended with fiction (lies) and ignorance.

How, in this 21st century, are bullying tactics still legally allowed to flourish? I mean, we don’t allow that kind ofbehaviour in schools, so why is it acceptable in an adult world? Isn’t all of life a school, after all?

In parting, I’m going to ‘dabble’ in my own ‘prophesying’ talents; let’s see how the fear mongers ‘like them apples’, as my mum would say:

MyHeathenHeart’s Prophesy – 21st January, 2013:

Religion shall create its own doom.  The day approaches when Science, Archaeology, and the Laws of Physics have thoroughly debunked the lies of men, and humanity is set free of religious tyranny. In fear and confusion, the men of cloth seek to hide from their crimes, and they shall find no succour; their way is blocked by Truth.

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Re-posted from My Heathen Heart