Christianity’s Criminal History, 135

For the context of these translations click here

 
Left, Mass of St. Gregory, c. 1490, attributed to Diego de la Cruz, oil and gold on panel (Philadelphia Museum of Art).

From Gregory I, the humble servant of servants, until the 20th century it is well known that the popes had their feet kissed. The peculiarities were regulated by the ceremonial books. But, as we also know, the one who was actually being kissed was not his foot, but God’s. That is why all the emperors, including Charles V, also regularly performed this ugly rite on the portico of St. Peter’s basilica.

It is understood that Gregory’s personal conscience was marked by the origin, career and status of his character. He always made himself respected by both the clergy and the laity. In modern parlance it could be said that he was a Law-and-order type, a person of order, a former prefect of police, a judge of the criminal who strongly insisted on obedience and discipline, especially by monks and nuns, taking a special interest in their morality—or immorality—as well as in the observance of their vow of poverty.

Gregory used to call his clerics and officials, whose influence was decisive in the Roman municipal administration, ‘soldiers of Peter’ and also ‘soldiers of the Roman Church’ (milites beati Petri, milites Ecclesiae romanae). The first monk elevated to the pontifical throne administered the Lateran almost in the manner of a monastery, populating it in any case with monks, whom he elected to high offices. But he, who adopted the humble monastic catchphrase of ‘servant of the servants of God’—which after his death became an official title of the popes—naturally wanted to be ‘the first servant in the Church of God’ (Altendorf).

Gregory never used the name of St. Peter without the tag ‘prince of the apostles’. He strictly forbade subjects (subditi) to dare to pass judgment on the life of prelates or superiors (praepositi). Even if they were unworthy and justly deserved to be censured, they should not be reproached. Rather, one had to voluntarily embrace the yoke of reverence.

 
The man of double standards

Where he had power, Gregory exercised it without regard, very proud of his justice in front of his subordinates. Archdeacon Lorenzo, who for his sake was preferred in the papal succession and who could not hide his disappointment, lost his post. A year later, Gregory burned him in a solemn ceremony and in the presence of all the clergy ‘for his pride and other crimes’.

Yet more significant is the following event. The monk Justus, a doctor at the Monastery of Saint Andrew, who cared for the increasingly ill pope, confessed to brother Copious that he had hidden three gold coins. When Gregory found out, he rigorously forbade anyone to treat Justus, that no one from the monastery should visit him on his deathbed or assist him. And after his death his corpse had to be thrown with the three coins into a dunghill while the assembly shouted: ‘To hell with you and your money!’

With such severity Gregory understood the monastic vow although, personally, everything that he hadn’t given to his monasteries he sold, distributing the money among the poor. As a monk he was so wealthy that in 587 he was able to make another donation to the Monastery of Saint Andrew (to which with the expression of owner he called ‘my monastery’). Furthermore, at least thirteen years after becoming a Benedictine monk, he still possessed many rustic goods.

Undoubtedly, the pope was also a man of compromise and double standards. As hard as he was always with the defrocked monks and nuns, forcing them to return to the monastery, in the case of nobles he could make exceptions.

Venantius, a patrician of Syracuse and probably a friend of Gregory, left his monastery in contempt of the ecclesiastical precept. He took home the beautiful and dominant lady Italica who made him the father of two girls, also becoming the epicentre of a circle of anti-monastic literati. But Gregory didn’t force him to return to the monastery. He only tried with great effort to convince him to do it voluntarily, although in vain. What is more, he aided the children born of that anti-canonical marriage, proving once more—as Jeffrey Richards, his modern and often benevolent biographer says—‘that in Gregory’s image of the world was a law for the rich, and another for the poor’…

One last example about Gregory’s double standards: When Bishop Andrew beat a poor woman who lived off ecclesiastical charity so barbarically that she died shortly after, the pope simply forbade him to celebrate Mass for two months—perhaps to the satisfaction of the bishop himself. On the contrary, Gregory had ‘all carnal sinners’ locked up in the prisons of the monasteries, so that a modern researcher (Grupp) writes that this ‘evokes the old slaveholders’, taking such crowds into those monastic houses of repression that according to the monk John Climacus—a contemporary of Gregory, somewhat younger than him—they ‘could hardly take a step’.

______________

Editor’s note. ‘But, as we also know, the one who was actually being kissed was not his foot, but God’s’.

This means that even proud kings had to symbolically kiss the feet of the god of the Jews, since the god of the New Testament is the same as the god of the Old Testament.

When will American white nationalists see something so obvious? Or is it that they don’t realise that the Christian religion of our parents is somehow connected with the empowerment of Jewry?

Published in: on February 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 135  

Christianity’s Criminal History, 134

For the context of these translations click here

 

CHAPTER 7

Pope Gregory I (590-604)

A 1627 interpretation of Gregorio
Magno by Francisco de Zurbarán

‘Just and loving was Gregory, both with the poor and the economically weak, as with the slaves, the heretics and the Jews.’ —F.M. Stratmann, Catholic theologian

‘The history of the Church has not produced many characters who have rightfully carried the nickname of The Great’. —Heinrich Kraft

‘Nor was it the worst that he advised proceeding against the recalcitrant with whipping, torture and jail, but with naive cynicism he recommended the increase in taxes as a means of conversion: those who converted had to be relieved of the established taxes, and those who were reluctant had to be softened with tax pressure’. —Johannes Haller
 

The flight from the world and the desire to make a career

Of the more than 260 popes, only Leo I and St. Gregory I (590-604) are the pontiffs who, in addition to the title of Doctors of the Church, bear the appellation of ‘The Great’ (San Gregorio Magno). He came from the ‘big world’. The first monk who reached the supposed chair of Peter was of the senatorial lineage of the Anicius; that is to say, of the high and rich Roman nobility, de senatoribus primis. All ecclesiastical writers emphasise the ‘noble’ or rich origin of their heroes. Even in the purely external aspect of him it was the ‘miracle of his time’ for being a man of average height, with small, yellowish eyes, a discreet aquiline nose, and four miserable little curls, and a powerful, almost bald skull: a miracle in himself, and not only in his time. Well, that truly extraordinary head multiplied and, like a holy relic, it could be in many cities at the same time: Constance, for example, possessed the head of Gregory, as did Prague, Lisbon and Sens.

By 573 Gregory was praefectus urbis, the highest civil office in Rome. Decked out in precious stones and flanked by an armed personal guard, he resided in a sumptuous palace because, although he was ‘already driven by the yearning for heaven’, as he confesses, he was interested in beautiful appearances, in their ‘external standard of living’ and without excessive disgust he served ‘the earthly world’.

The family was wealthy with possessions in and around Rome, and especially in Sicily. He even had contacts in Constantinople, and also apparently was intensely religious. Wealth and religion are not excluded in any way. Quite the contrary: whoever God loves makes him rich, and despite the camels and the needle eyes, he gets to heaven. The powerful bloodline of Gregory had already given the world two popes: Agapetus I and Felix III, whom he himself calls his ancestor (atavus). And the Church also canonised his mother Silvia…

Already between his election and consecration on September 3, 590, Gregory, who because of his weakness almost always lay in bed, had called to fight the bubonic plague from Egypt, to which even his predecessor Pelagius II had succumbed on February 8, 590.

Of course, Gregory declared the plague as punishment from God, as revenge for the sins of the Lombards, the ‘pagans’, the ‘heretics’ and demanded their conversion ‘to the true and upright Catholic faith’ through repentance, penance, prayers and songs of Psalms for three days, ‘while it is still time for tears’.

He also set in motion among the ruins of the destroyed city a spectacular seven-round procession—with it Ferdinand Gregorovius begins History of Rome in the Middle Ages—with pitiful choral songs and tedious invocations to all possible martyrs, including those who never had existed but were invented in the bloody comedy of the doctor of the Church, St. Ambrose of Milan. The success was tremendous but an eyewitness told St. Gregory of Tours that then ‘in the space of an hour, while the people raised their voices in prayer to the Lord, eighty men collapsed and fell dead’. In any case, in Constantinople, by God’s inscrutable design, between 542 and 544 the plague had claimed the lives of 300,000 people.

Amid such gloomy feelings, visions and realities of worldly decay—not only was the plague raging: ancient temples were also being razed, and even the papal granaries and churches—, Gregory, who has been called ‘the last Roman’ and ‘the first medieval pope’, surprisingly started his career knowing exactly what he wanted…

In 590 Gregory ascended the pontifical throne despite his ailments and, naturally, supposedly against his will. This was part of the etiquette and until the 20th century it has been part of clerical hypocrisy. In his time, however, even the humblest ecclesiastical offices were so coveted that in 592 or 593 Emperor Maurice forbade soldiers from entering monasteries and civil servants from embracing the clerical state. And Gregory knew very well that ‘someone who strips off his worldly garments to immediately occupy an ecclesiastical office only changes places, but doesn’t leave the world’.

Published in: on January 28, 2021 at 11:55 am  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 134  

Christianity’s Criminal History, 133

Christianity does not belong to the church! It might have once, but certainly not since the American and French Revolutions. Secularisation rarely opened doors to atheism—more often, it made the Jewish creed reborn in fierce anti-Aryan liberalism where the empty idea of money trumps the sacred matter of blood and soil. Only in Germany did Jesus die—and yet, he resurrected in 1945, in the unholy spirit of anti-racism, anti-discrimination, of egalitarian idealism that draws no distinction between the Aryan and the Negro, dead and alive, living and a rock. A faith so crudely nihilistic nobody dares to believe its malice—and yet, it permeates the entire sick body of Europe!—cf. the essay ‘The Red Giant’.

—Adûnâi

Editor’s note: This recent comment by Adûnâi on The Unz Review doesn’t mean that he has earned the privilege of commenting here. It only means that what drives me to continue with these instalments of Karlheinz Deschner’s Christianity’s Criminal History is the red giant, a nova that’s engulfing the West: Christianity in its secular form.

For the context of Deschner’s work see: here.

The Conversion of Reccared I as recreated by
Antonio Muñoz Degrain, Senate Palace, Madrid.

 

CHAPTER 6

The Conversion of the Visigoths to Catholicism

No other country in the Western world experienced such a profound and lasting transformation by Christianity as Spain. —Willliam Culican

After the defeat of Poitiers (507) at the hands of Clovis, the great Toulouse kingdom collapsed completely and the Visigoths, almost entirely expelled from southern France, concentrated in Spain, where they had conquered one province after another. From 473 they were owners of the entire peninsula, except for the small Swabian kingdom in the northwest and the Basque territories of the Bay of Biscay. Its new capital was Toledo, which supplanted Toulouse…

Liuvigild, the last Arian king of the Visigoths, certainly reinforced the power of the crown. He improved the monetary system, and revised the laws, filling in deficiencies and eliminating superfluous aspects. He was the first German prince who founded cities, the most important of which he called Reccopolis, after his son Reccared (in the upper reaches of the Tagus). During his eighteen-year reign he re-unified the Visigothic kingdom, which was crumbling. Even St. Isidore of Seville, who attributes Liuvigild’s successes to the favour of fate and the bravery of his army, admits that the Goths, until then reduced to a small corner in Spain, came to occupy most of the territory. ‘Only the error of heresy obscured the reputation of his bravery’. That was naturally the decisive point: ‘the pernicious poison of that doctrine’, the ‘deadly plague of’ heresy’.

Full of the fury of Arian infidelity, he persecuted the Catholics and exiled most of the bishops. Liuvigild deprived the churches of their income and privileges and through terror he drove many into the Arian pestilence and won many more without persecution with gold and gifts. In addition to other heretical depravities, he even dared to re-baptise Catholics, and not only lay people but also members of the priestly state.

In reality, and in the face of radically intolerant Catholicism, since it had already established itself in the Visigothic kingdom, Liuvigild carried out a proven policy of detente. During his reign many Arian monasteries were founded and many churches were built. The king personally endowed Abbot Nanctus and his monks from Africa with real estate. Moreover, he theologically compromised with the Catholics through certain concessions in Trinitarian doctrine…

Editor’s Note: After five pages of describing fights, Deschner writes about how the tide turned from Arianism to Catholicism, and he concludes:

Finally, the Goths who—Bishop Isidore writes— had drunk so thirsty and so long retained the ‘pernicious poison of heresy’, ‘thought of the salvation of their souls, freed themselves from the deeply ingrained and by the grace of Christ reached the only beatifying faith, which is the Catholic faith. Hallelujah!’

At the III Council of Toledo, held in May 589 (see painting above), and whose worthy preparation was preceded by a three-day fast, ordered by the king, part of the Arians went to the victor’s field. The king declared Catholicism the official state religion and began by uprooting Arianism quickly and completely: destroying its ecclesial organisation, excluding the Arians from all public office, and burning their sacred books…

At the same time that Reccared, together with the bishops, put an end to Arianism in Spain, he also turned the Church into an instrument of oppression as had never happened before in the history of the Goths. All Christian opposition disappeared, the Arians were forbidden from any public office, all Arian ecclesiastical property passed to the Catholic bishoprics and celibacy was imposed on the converted clergy.

Conversions were also reached by force. Some within the Arian episcopate, such as the obstinate prelate of Mérida, Sunna, met their death in exile. Catholicus nunquam ero, it seems that Sunna responded to Reccared’s demands for conversion. ‘I will never become a Catholic, but in the faith in which I have lived I want to live also in the future, and I will gladly die for the faith that I have maintained since my youth!’

Many Arian bishops embraced Catholicism just as in Liuvigild’s time many Catholic clergymen had joined the Arian national Church. Then began the alliance of the State with the Catholic Church, what Bishop John of Biclaro* calls the renovario, the attitude of the christianissimus imperator. According to the old Catholic tradition, Reccared ordered the immediate burning of all Arian Bibles and doctrinal writings in Toledo, in the public square. ‘Not even a single Gothic text was left in Spain’ (Thompson).

___________

(*) John of Biclaro attended council of Toledo where Reccared converted to the Catholic faith, represented in the painting above.

Published in: on January 5, 2021 at 11:00 pm  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 133  

Christianity’s criminal history, 132

For the context of these translations click here

 

CHAPTER 5

The last Merovingians

‘No one rules more than the bishops, our glory no longer exists…’ —Chilperic I

While the difference between Franks and Gallo-Romans disappeared little by little, although not the different legislation, the external borders of the Merovingian kingdom remained until the end of the Merovingian period. There were indeed political complications, as well as some attacks by the misers against Thuringia and by the Visigoths against southern France, as well as some outright riots and raids of prey beyond the borders. But the main objective was no longer expansion outwards, nor the expansion of the kingdom as a whole, nor the subjugation and exploitation of strange and distant neighbours.

It was the kings, once again four, and their numerous successors who sought to enlarge their possessions and territories at the expense of the territories of others, and in an almost uninterrupted way to harm and weaken them in this way. In a word, each was seeking supremacy.

This caused that at the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century almost all the Merovingian princes died a premature and violent death, that brutalities and large-scale outrages continued to occur in the kingdom, that civil wars and looting would incessantly break out, that many places were reduced to ashes, entire areas were devastated and innumerable looting, mutilations and murders were committed, to which were added plagues and famines.

The peasants hid in the woods and robbed for their own account. Amid this debauchery and impasse, all means were good for the combatants…

Published in: on December 13, 2020 at 1:08 pm  Comments (4)  

Christianity’s criminal history, 131

For the context of these translations click here

 

Odin and Frigg looking out of a window in the heavens…


…and spotting the Lombard women with their long hair tied as to appear as beards.
 

CHAPTER 4

The Invasion of the Lombards

The Lombards (the men with long, ‘long’ beards, according to the traditional interpretation of the name) belonged to the East Germans more than to the Westerners. They were a demographically small town and probably hailed from Scandinavia, perhaps Gotland. They became sedentary around the time that is indicated as the passage from the Ancient Ages to the Middle Ages, and thus related to the Saxons, in the lower Elbe, where part of their people remained constantly and where still in the 20th century names as Bardengau and Bardewick remember them.

For centuries the Lombards are hardly mentioned in history. Their presence is proven in the manner of geological strata, the emigrants first followed the course of the Elbe to spread from the 4th century, and for two hundred years, through Bohemia, Moravia and a part of present-day Lower Austria, ‘Rugiland’, which they occupied around 488, after the withdrawal of the Rugian: another Germanic people, also a native of Scandinavia and who left the name of their island there, Rugen. Through Hungary they advanced south, creating in the Danube basin a kingdom that extended as far as Belgrade.

Auxiliary Lombards troops had supported Justinian’s wars against the Persians, as well as in 552 under the command of Narses, in the decisive battle against the Ostrogoths. Disillusioned by Byzantium, its leader Alboin allied himself with the misers, in union with whom he annihilated in another decisive battle (567) the kingdom of the Gepids, another East Germanic people. The carnage on both sides was such—there were 60,000 deaths—‘that out of such a large crowd hardly a messenger to announce the destruction survived’ (Paul the Deacon).

Alboin took Rosamund, daughter of Cunimund, the defeated Gepid king, as his wife. The Gepids no longer continued their settlement between the Lombards and the Avars, who broke in immediately. In the spring of 568—according to a contemporary Burgundian chronicler—‘the entire Lombard army, having set fire to their settlement, left Pannonia, followed by the women and the rest of the population’. Under the pressure of greedy expansion and attracted by the south, at the orders of their boss Alboin they stormed through Emona and the gorges of the Julius Alps, entering the generally unprotected north of Italy. It was the same path that Alaric and Theodoric had already travelled.

This was the last great advance of the invasion of the Nordic peoples.

With the Lombards, who together may have formed a people of 130,000 souls, came other tribal groups, populations from Pannonia, the Noricum, numerous Saxons, remnants of Gepids, Thuringians, Swabians, and Slavs. And just as the Lombards were open to the integration of other peoples, they were also open to religious tolerance. Converted to Christianity in good part from about the year 500, the majority of the population was made up of Arians. But among them there were also Catholics—Alboin was first married to Chothsind, daughter of Chlothar I—and there were above all pagans, who for a long time continued their sacrifices and sacrificial banquets, without apparently the change of beliefs of the different kings playing any role.

Published in: on November 23, 2020 at 12:48 pm  Comments Off on Christianity’s criminal history, 131  

Christianity’s criminal history, 130

For the context of these translations click here

 

CHAPTER 3

THE SONS OF CLOVIS

‘The successors of the first great Frankish king also protected the Church and the worship; monasticism developed… The remnants of paganism were fought with increasing energy’. —H. H. Anton

 

The division of the kingdom

The kingdom of Clovis was divided almost aequa lance, almost equally, passing in principle to his four sons: all ‘kings of the Franks’; all heirs with the same rights, according to the German rule of succession; all Catholics, except for Theuderic I, with a saint for his mother. And they all also led a life full of hideous cruelties, wars and military campaigns. In the proven tradition of the father they systematically expanded the kingdom and conquered Thuringia (531), Burgundy (533-534) and Provence (537). The aforementioned annexations were joined by numerous raids in search of loot in an extraordinarily troubled time, one of the darkest and bloodiest times in history, brimming with disorder and brutality, fratricides, wars between brothers and betrayals: a race unleashed ‘for power and wealth’ (Buchner), a ‘foolish desire for loot and slaughter’ (Schulze).

But even critical historians bend the knee before the ‘founding of the kingdom’ of the Merovingians, before the bridge they built ‘between Antiquity and the Middle Ages’, before their contribution to the triumph ‘of Catholic Christianity’ to the alliance ‘between throne and altar’. As if all this had not made the story much more gruesome!

The boundaries of the four partitions of the kingdom are not stated with sufficient precision. The one we know best is the inheritance of Theuderic I (reign 511-533). The presumed Hugdietrich of the saga received the lion’s share with the capital, Reims: a territory which would include what later became Austria with its predominantly Germanic population: the entire east, from Burgundy to the Rhineland, and perhaps even as far as the Fritziar and Kassel region, as well as large territories that had belonged to the Alemanni, which was the case in eastern Aquitaine. But each of the sons obtained a part of the Aquitaine lands south of the Loire, which the father had taken over; three of them were exclaves.

Chlothar I (reign 511-561), the youngest of Clovis’ sons, and perhaps not yet twelve years old, the Salic age to reach legal age, obtained mainly the territory of the Salian Franks with the royal cities of Tournai and Cambrai. For the same reason, it included the old Frankish territory between the coast of the English Channel, the Somme and the Carboniferous Forest, with approximately the same borders that it had before the predatory incursions of his progenitor. As the seat of government Chlothar chose Soissons, in the extreme south. Southern and western France corresponded to Chlodomer and Childebert respectively.

Chlodomer (reign 511-524) was around fifteen when his father died and ruled as king of western Aquitaine, the northernmost territory of the middle Loire, at Orleans. And Childebert I (reign 511-558) controlled the coastal lands from the Somme to Brittany; he resided in Paris, the undisputed capital.
 

A saint and murderer

Shortly after the Auvergne rebellion, the Catholic Frankish kings attacked the Catholic kingdom of Burgundy.

Sigismund (reign 516-523), son of the Burgundian king Gundobad, still ruled there. Since 501 Sigismund was viceroy in Geneva. And what the jealous Avitus had not achieved with the father, he obtained with the son. Around the year 500 Sigismund converted from Arianism to Catholicism. Sigismund later introduced Catholicism throughout Burgundy. He was the first German king to make a pilgrimage to Rome…

Sigismund, the murderer of his own son, makes his way as a saint of the Catholic Church! They ended up thanking him for the conversion of the Burgundians to Catholicism. Soon his cult began in the monastery of St. Moritz founded by him. Those with fever had masses celebrated in honour of Sigismund (who allegedly helped against malaria and tertian fever). In the 7th century he also appears as a saint in the so-called Martyrologium Hieronymianum. At the end of the Middle Ages he will be one of the patron saints of Bohemia and even become a fashionable saint. The Archbishop of Prague declared the feast of Sigismund a feast of the archdiocese.

His statue appears on French and German altars as well as in the Freiburg Cathedral; there are churches dedicated to Sigismund and a brotherhood named after him. His relics were requested, which initially rested at St. Moritz. The head was taken to the church of St. Sigismund, although a fragment of it is found in Plozk of the Vistula; in the 14th century a part of the body was deposited in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, and another was taken around the same time to Freising, which eventually became the centre of its veneration in Germany.
 

______ 卐 ______

 
Editor’s interpolated note: Regardless of the repulsiveness of relic worship—pieces of decomposed corpses —, what is currently happening in France and Germany has very dark and old historical roots that no one in white nationalism sees for the simple reason that none lives under the weirwood but in the inane present.

It should be obvious that, if these Germanics hadn’t been infected with a cult of Semitic origin, they would have regarded Hermann as a hero who fought against the Romans when the latter were already mongrelising.

Instead, after the Christian takeover these Germanics were forced to worship Catholic monsters. Tell me whom you worship and I’ll tell you who you’ll become. Read pages 23-32 of The Fair Race’s Darkest Hour: the only article by a Jew in that compilation. Even the Nazis translated it to German in the Czernowitzer Allgemeine Zeitung of September 2, 1933.

Now let’s go back to Deschner’s account of how a female ‘saint’ gives orders to murder her grandchildren:
 

______ 卐 ______

 
On the death of Chlodomer, his three brothers, ‘warriors above all and simple gang leaders’ (Fontal) shared the inheritance, ignoring all the rights of the three minor children of the deceased king and without allowing any regime of tutelary government from their mother.

The pious Childebert got, it seems, the lion’s share. He was a true father of the nation, who promoted ecclesiastical institutions, enjoyed dealing with bishops granting them real estate, war spoils and large sums of money while being in constant communication with the ‘Holy See’. And as Childebert and Chlothar, who had married Guntheuc, the widow of Chlodomer, certainly feared that the hereditary rights of Theuderic and Gunthar, Chlodomer’s minor children, would be asserted, Childebert didn’t doubt in encouraging their murder, of which Chlothar ‘was very glad’.

After all, both sovereigns had a saint for their mother, Saint Clotilde, and furthermore, being already a Catholic princess, she had imposed baptism on the children of Clovis, had ‘raised them with love’ and had certainly given them a good Catholic upbringing. And since Clotilde also took care of the education of the minor children of the late Chlodomer, the kings Childebert and Chlothar, who had taken over her nephews, asked Clotilde if she wanted her grandchildren to ‘continue living with their hair cut off [like monks] or if they had to kill them both’. And ‘the ideal figure of the desire for feminine holiness’, the francorum apostle who felt for the two children ‘a singular affection’ (Fredegar), replied: ‘Rather dead than tonsured, if they are not going to reign’…

Chlothar put the knife to the neck first to one and then to the other of his brother’s sons, who cried out in anguish. ‘After they had also dispatched the boys’ servants and educators’ Chlothar mounted his horse ‘and left there’. One of them was ten years old and the youngest seven… Queen Clotilde led such a life that she was venerated by the whole world… ‘Her conduct was always of the utmost purity and honesty: she granted goods to churches, monasteries everywhere to holy places, willingly and supplying them with whatever they needed…’

The third son of Chlodomer, the youngest, named Clodoald, was saved from the carnage and entered the clergy, after allegedly shearing himself. ‘He renounced the earthly kingdom and dedicated himself to the Lord’, Gregory writes beautifully. And Fredegar adds: ‘And he led a dignified life; the Lord deigns to perform miracles on his grave’. Clodoald was the founder of the monastery of Saint-Cloud in Paris, which bears his name, and died around the year 560… Clotaire, the uncle-murderer and the executioner, obtained Tours and Poitiers, with the sanctuaries of the patron saints of France, Martin and Hilary, together with the treasure.
 

Theudebert I, and killer kings

Theudebert [editor’s note: the son of Theuderic I and the father of Theudebald] was the first Frank to call himself Augustus and who felt he was the successor of the Roman Caesars and liked to adopt imperial attitudes like minting gold coins with his image that could be described as illegal. He ordered circus games to be held in Arles in the manner of the emperors and must have even thought of the conquest of Constantinople, cherishing the hope of seizing imperial dignity and world domination through an incursion against Byzantium, something planned jointly with the Gepids and Lombards. Such a man naturally had to be on good terms with the Church…

King Theudebert was a benefactor of the Church, which he ‘exempted from tax obligations and deliberately favoured’ (Zollner) while he did nothing more than bleed his Frankish subjects with taxes in the Roman manner… Very significant is the fact that his finance minister, Parthenius (grandson of Bishop Ruricius de Limoges, the murderer of his wife and her lover), on the death of Theudebert and despite the episcopal protection, was removed in Trier from a church, spat on, beaten and stoned by the enraged people.

Even more criminal and even more devoted to the Church was the family clan, which outlived Theudebert. Chlothar I also fought almost continuously during the last years of his life, without this fact bothering at all and not even attracting the attention of those who preached peace and love of neighbour and enemy. The king, undoubtedly the weakest of the Frankish princes until after the death of Theudebert I (558), took over the entire kingdom. He had nevertheless criticised the growing ecclesiastical wealth, but per his brother’s constitution of 554, he also tried to uproot whatever was left of the indigenous religions of his subjects.

It is true that in a winter campaign (555) against the Saxons he bore the worst of it, but the following year he imposed himself on the association of Saxons and Thuringians and even sent troops against the Ostrogoths of Italy. In 557 he fought again against the Saxons, apparently reluctantly, but ‘he was beaten with such enormous bloodshed, and with such a great multitude of casualties on both sides that no one can calculate or evaluate’ (Gregory). But he managed to beat the Danes and Eutenians…

A year later Clotaire also died, and with him the last of Clovis’ four sons, all of whom—like their father—had lived for robbery, murder and war. Everywhere they had gone in search of relics of martyrs, had taken care of relocating them and had promoted the veneration of the saints. They founded many monasteries and endowed them generously. They awarded large real estate to the clergy and made donations to them. The old annals abound in their praises…

Clotaire I, in whose territory the Church was poorly organised and the victim of special relaxation, perhaps didn’t care about Christianity at all. Anyway, he too became a Christian and a faithful Catholic, who waged war after war and had his closest relatives murdered, including young children, maidens, and even his own son, while personally bankrupting himself with countless concubines and at least six marriages ‘and not always successive’ (Schultze). Despite this, the ecclesiastical author of the 7th century compares this king with a priest, showering him with praise. And it is that, indeed, he worried about the transfer of the remains of martyrs, promoted the veneration of Medard, the patron saint of the royal house and supported the founding of churches and monasteries…

Childebert I showed a very special fervour and devotion to the clergy. The usurper and incestuous erected the Holy Cross and the Spanish proto-martyr Vicente de Zaragoza—whose martyrdom was adorned with great propagandistic displays—a basilica in Paris, which would later become the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. He made a pilgrimage to the cell of Saint Euspicius, in whose honour he also built a church. He made donations of land and large sums of money, including the spoils of his wars for Catholic churches and monasteries, in which he ordered to pray for the salvation of his soul and the prosperity of the Frankish kingdom.

Thus he distributed among the Frankish churches dozens of chalices and numerous patens and gospels, all made of gold and precious stones, and all material that he had stolen in his Spanish war. Childebert made Orleans the ecclesiastical capital of his kingdom. There four national synods met (in the years 533, 538, 541 and 549). All Frankish kings sent their bishops to them (exception made for the one celebrated in 538). In 552 Childebert summoned another national council in Paris. He promulgated a decree against ‘paganism’ that was still alive, mostly in northern and eastern France. He harshly persecuted anyone who erected ‘idols’ in the fields or prevented their destruction by the priests. He forbade even pagan banquets, songs, and dances, though certainly without demanding conversion by force…

Vigil, the murderous pope, described Childebert in 546, as ‘our most glorious son’ and praised his ‘Christian will, pleasing to God’… Pope Pelagius died in 561, the same year that Clotaire I, the last son of Clovis, did. In that same decade, and together with the Franks and the Visigoths, another Germanic people began to play an increasingly important role: the Lombards.

Christianity’s criminal history, 129

For the context of these translations click: here

 

CHAPTER 2

CLOVIS, FOUNDER OF THE GREAT FRANKISH EMPIRE

‘One of the most outstanding figures in universal history’. —Wilhelm von Glesebrecht, historian

‘And it is certain that he knew himself to be a Christian, and a Catholic Christian, something that is manifested over and over again in the various performances of his reign’. —Kurt Aland, theologian

 
The Rise of the Merovingians

The original land of the Franks, whose name was associated at the beginning of the Middle Ages with the concepts of ‘brave’, ‘audacious’ and ‘daring’, was in the Lower Rhine. These people, which lacked a unitary leadership, arose probably from the coalition of numerous small tribes throughout the 1st and 2nd centuries c.e., between the rivers Weser and Rhine. They are mentioned for the first time just after the first half of the 3rd century, when they fought fierce struggles against the Romans that would continue throughout the 4th and 5th centuries. The Franks settled on the right bank of the river and then breached the Roman line of defence of the Rhine, which some had probably already overcome before by infiltrating the border region. They advanced on Xanten, that the Roman population had evacuated towards 450, having occupied it later by the small Frankish tribe of Chatuarii. They then entered the territory between the Rhine and the Moselle; the Franks took Mainz and Cologne, a city that, on occupying it definitively around 460, became the centre of an independent Frankish state, immediately on the left bank of the great river. Little by little they annexed more territory. During the first half of the 5th century they conquered the city of Trier four times and the Romans recovered it as many times, until in 480 it became definitively owned by the Franks. The number of its inhabitants, from about 60,000 in the 4th century, dropped to a few thousand in the 6th century.

The invaders founded small Frankish principalities in Belgium and northern France, each subject to a kinglet or little king. As early as 480 the entire Rhenish region between Nijmegen and Mainz, the Maas territory around Maastricht, as well as the Moselle valley from Toul to Koblenz, belonged to the Frankish territory. The Romans allowed the Franks to settle on the condition that they rendered certain military services as foederati (allies) and they became their most loyal comrades in arms of all Germans, although they were generally torn apart amid fierce tribal strife. But in the end it was the Merovingians who bid for all of Roman Gaul…

King Childeric died in 482. Almost twelve hundred years later, in 1653, a doctor from Antwerp discovered his tomb at Tournai, endowed with such wealth and sumptuousness that it far surpassed the more than 40,000 tombs of the Merovingian period uncovered by archaeologists. At the death of Childeric in 482 he was succeeded by Clovis I (466-511), aged sixteen and apparently an only child. Allied with different sister tribes, Clovis expanded the Salic territory around Tournai, which was insignificant and reduced to a small part of northern Gaul in Belgium Secunda, though he continued the plunder, assassinations and wars, increasingly widespread over the regions from the Roman province to the left bank of the Rhine.

Such attacks reached first as far as the Seine, then as far as the Loire and finally as far as the Garonne, bringing the Gallo-Romans under the rule of the Franks. Even then, that was called ‘having the Franc as a friend, and not as a neighbour’.

Such a bellicose people, over which the reputation of disloyalty also floated, was attractive to the Christian clergy from the beginning. The Arians, and even more so the Catholics, sought to win over their leader. In fact all the notable princes of that time in the West were Arian or heathen. Thus, as soon as Clovis was appointed King of Tournai, he was addressed by the Bishop of Reims, St. Remigius, a man of ‘eminent science’ and resurrector of the dead, according to the praise of Bishop Gregory who simultaneously highlights both traits…
 

A great bloodbath and the first date in the history of the German Church

Clovis soon passed from Soissons to Paris, which became the most important city and, at least since the 7th century, the true epicentre of the Frankish kingdom, in which almost all the Merovingian kings are also buried…

The Alemanni (or Suebi), first named in 213, had emigrated from the Elbe region and probably by the end of the 2nd century had made themselves strong in the Main region through various incorporations of German emigrants and soldiers. The name ‘Alemanni’ would mean what anyone who knows some German can still understand today: all males (alie Manner). The Alamanni, who were pressing on the Rhine and the line of fortifications on the frontier of the Roman Empire, broke in 406, accompanied in part by Vandals and Alans, dispersing through Gaul and Hispania.

When they tried to advance north-west from there, they clashed with the Franks, and in particular with the Francorans, who dominated the Moselle region. They had already allied with the Burgundians in 475 against the Alemanni, without clearly prevailing around 490 in a battle near Cologne, where the local kinglet Sigobert was wounded in one knee. Reason enough for Clovis to attack: in around 496-497 the Alaman king of unknown name died on the battlefield of Toibiacum. Clovis advanced into the German territory of the right bank of the Rhine and annihilated a good part of its still pagan inhabitants.

It is true that a decade later, around 506, they rose again; but again they suffered a bloody defeat, probably near Strasbourg, the Alaman king dying in battle again. Pursued by the Franks, they fled south to the pre-Alpine regions: Raetia Prima (province of Chur) and Raetia Secunda (province of Augsburg): territories under the influence of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric, who restrained his brother-in-law Clovis and who settled to the fugitives in Retia, Pannonia and northern Italy. But in the southern part of the Rhenish Hessen, in the Palatinate and the basins of the Main and Neckar the Alemanni were victims of the direct arrogance of Clovis. And from there the Franks later spread eastward to the Saale, the Upper Main and almost to the Bavarian Forest…

King Clovis had himself baptised in Reims with great pomp and with the assistance of numerous bishops. According to some, it ran annus 496-497, according to others 498-499; while according to some researchers, who put the war against the Alemanni in 506, we should think of the years 506-508. ‘It is the first date in the history of the German Church’ (Kawerau). Curiously, the event is linked to a great bloodbath and constitutes one of the most important events of the early Middle Ages.

The baptism of Clovis was a great feast. Streets and churches sparkled with their ornamentation. The baptismal church was filled with a ‘heavenly fragrance’, to the point that the attendees believed they were transferred ‘to the pleasant perfumes of paradise’.

Clovis was venerated as a saint in France.

Gregory of Tours refers that the king ‘advanced to the baptismal bath like a new Constantine’, and the comparison is terribly accurate, ‘to purify himself in the clean water of old leprosy and the dirty stains, which he had from ancient [pagan] times’. And Remigius, ‘the saint of God’, spoke to him with eloquent words: ‘Sigambrer, meekly bend your neck and worship what you burned and burn what you worshiped (adora quod incendisu, incende quod adorasli)’.

Who was this saint, who so arrogantly incited persecution, as did his colleague Avitus in his time? St. Remigius, like most of the prelates of that time (and not only of then), was of ‘illustrious’ lineage, and already at the age of twenty-two promoted to bishop of Reims. His older brother, Principius, was also bishop (of Soissons) and a saint too (their relics were to be burned by the Calvinists in 1567). Remigius, the apostle to the Franks, preached Catholicism to pagans and Arians with fervent zeal, something that clearly developed a ‘radical war’ (Schuitze), in which, according to a council of Lyon, ‘smashed the altars of idols everywhere and vigorously spread the true faith with many signs and miracles’…

Catholic Clovis made his own converts, pagans or Arians, so that the entire house of the Franks ended up being Catholic. Henceforth, a close ‘alliance between monarchy and episcopate’ (Fleckenstein) was created. The princes of the Church occupy the position of honour in the surroundings of Clovis and exert the maximum influence over him, especially Avitus and Remigius. And naturally the clergy are generously rewarded with the war spoils of the Merovingian. He rewards the prelates with largesse and splendour through foundations and donations of land… Since then ‘monarchy and church acted together for the further spread of Christianity’ (Schultze)…

From the research that we have today, it can well be argued that in reality the conversion of Clovis was a political, as that of Constantine had been before. Unlike the other Germanic peoples, the king and his people accepted Catholicism because it provided in advance a link between the conqueror and the Gallo-Romans who were subjected or who were to submit; linkage that did not occur in the rest of the Germanic kingdoms. Clovis, a sympathiser of the Church from an early age, became a Catholic to subdue the Arian Germanic tribes and win over neighbouring Gaul more easily with his strong majority of Roman Catholics…
 

Are we to free ourselves from a moralistic assessment of history?

After Clovis had won the war against the Visigoths with the help of the Francorans, between 509 and 511, the last years of his life, he achieved royal dignity over them. In any case, it forced the fusion of the Francorenan tribes with the Salian Franks.

He first instigated Chlodoric, son of King Sigobert of Cologne, to get rid of his father. ‘Look, your father has grown old and is limping with a crippled leg’. Sigobert ‘the Lame’, a former companion of Clovis, had limped since the battle of Toibiacum against the Alemanni, in which he had been wounded. At the hands of a hired assassin the prince eliminated his father in the beech forest. Through a delegation, Clovis congratulated the parricide and through it, he crushed his skull. The German historian Ewig describes all this with an elegant expression, too elegant we would say, of ‘diplomacy of intrigues’. After the double act, Clovis went to Cologne, the residential city of Sigobert, solemnly proclaimed his innocence in both crimes and, joyfully welcomed by the people, seized the ‘kingdom and the treasures of Sigobert’ (Gregory).

Then he fell on the Salian kings, with whom he was related. Such was the case, for example, of a Frankish king, Chararic, who had not once fought against Syagrius. With tricks Clovis seized him and his son. Later he locked them up in a monastery, had their hair cut off (the tonsure was a sign of the loss of royal dignity), forced Chararic to be ordained a priest and his son a deacon, and after having them beheaded he took over their treasures and kingdom.

Another relative, King Regnacar of Cambrai, his first cousin, was defeated by Clovis after having won over his entourage with a great amount of gold, which later turned out to be fake. After the battle, he mocked Regnacar, who was led into his presence in chains and who in 486 had helped him in the war against Syagrius: ‘Why have you humiliated our blood to that point and allowed yourself to be put in chains? You’d be better off dead!’ And he smashed his head off with an ax. They had also arrested Richar, the king’s brother: ‘If you had helped your brother, we would not have taken him prisoner’, Clovis rebuked him and killed him with another blow. ‘The named kings were close blood relatives of Clovis’ (Gregory of Tours). He also had their brother, Rignomer, liquidated in the vicinity of Le Mans. ‘Clovis thus strengthened his position throughout the Frankish territory’, to quote again the historian Ewig, thus summarising the existing situation.

The victims of Clovis’ consolidation of power throughout the Frankish territory were, it seems, several dozen Frankish cantonal princes. The tyrant had them murdered, seized their land and wealth, without ceasing to complain that he was alone:

‘Woe to me, now I find myself as a stranger among strangers and none of my relatives could help me, if calamity befalls me!’ But this was not meant because he was sorry for their death, but by cunning, in case perhaps there was still someone he could kill.

Such is the comment of St. Gregory, for whom Clovis was a ‘new Constantine’, and who embodied ‘his ideal of the ruler’ (Bodmer) and to whom he frequently appeared ‘almost like a saint’ (Fischer). Without shame the famous bishop adds:

But day after day God brought down his enemies before him and he increased his kingdom, because he walked with a right heart in His presence and did what was pleasing to His divine eyes.

This, as the context shows, also applies to Clovis’ murders of relatives. All is holy in the extreme, even the extreme crimes!

Such, then, was the primus rex francorum (Salic law), the king who ruled following to the letter the words of St. Remigius at his baptism: ‘Worship what you burned and burn what you worshiped’. Such was the Catholic king, that no longer tolerated any pagan vestige, although he commanded almost like an absolute tyrant and was bursting with hypertrophic brutality and rapacity, showing himself cautious and cowardly in front of the strongest and mercilessly crushing the weakest; the king who did not back down from any treachery and cruelty, who waged all his wars in the name of the Christian and Catholic God; the king who, with a sovereign power like few others and at the same time as a good Catholic, combined war, murder and religious piety, who ‘began his Christian reign with all premeditation on December 25’, who with his booty built churches everywhere, then he splendidly endowed and prayed in them, who was a great devotee of St. Martin, who carried out his ‘wars of the heretics’ against the Arians of Gaul ‘under the sign of an intense veneration of St. Peter’ (K. Hauck), and whom the bishops at the National Council of Orleans (511) exalted as ‘a truly priestly soul’ (Daniel-Rops).

That was Clovis. A man who, hearing the passion of Jesus, seems to have said that had he been there with his Franks, no such injustice would have been committed against the Lord. In the words of the old chronicler, he was as ‘an authentic Christian’ (christianum se verum esse adfirmat—Fredegar). And as the current theologian Aland also says: ‘And it is certain, and again and again he manifests it in the different performances of his reign, that he felt of himself as a Christian, and certainly a Catholic Christian’. In a word, that man who made his way ‘with the ax’ to climb the absolute rule of the Franks—as Angenendt graphically puts it—was no longer simply a military king, but thanks precisely to his alliance with the Catholic Church became the ‘representative of God on earth’ (Wolf). A man who, in the company of his wife St. Clotilde, finally found his last resting place in the Parisian Church of the Apostles, which was later called Sainte Geneviéve, when he died in the year 511, just turning forty: a great criminal, devious and ruthless, who established himself on the throne and, according to the historian Bosi, ‘a barbarian, who civilised and cultivated’.

The theologian Aland qualifies Clovis as akin to Constantine and euphemistically says that both were men of power, violent sovereigns and believes that justifiably: ‘Such rough times could only be controlled by such men’. But is it tough times that make tough men? Or is it not rather the other way around? One and the other are intimately united. And already St. Augustine had corrected the stupid accusation of the times: ‘We are the times; which are we, that’s the way the times are’. Aland wants to leave open the question of whether Constantine and Clovis were Christians:

Because both the sons of Constantine and Theodosius were rulers, of whose Christian confession there can be no doubt, and yet committed perfectly comparable acts of blood. If we want to understand them, we must free ourselves from such a moral assessment of history. Well, who among us whose people have a history of 1,500 years behind under the sign of Christianity, can say that he is Christian? Luther speaks of Christianity, which is always being made and which is never finished.

The Merovingian chroniclers glorify Clovis mainly for two reasons: for his baptism and his many wars. He became a Catholic demolishing and depredating everything around him he could destroy or prey. And thus, from an insignificant territorial principality, he created a powerful German-Catholic imperium, sealed in France the alliance between the throne and the altar, and became the chosen instrument of God who day after day struck down his enemies before him— :

because before God he walked with an upright heart, doing what was pleasing to His eyes.

—according to the enthusiastic praise of the bishop, St. Gregory.

As long as history is viewed in this way, as long as it remains outside of its ‘moral’ valuation and the vast majority of historians continue to crawl before such hypertrophic beasts of universal history with respect, reverence and admiration… history will continue to unfold as it does.

Christianity’s criminal history, 128

For the context of these translations see here

 

VOLUME IV, CHAPTER 1

THE CHRISTIANISATION OF THE GERMANS

‘The introduction of Christianity among the Germans was the most precious gift from heaven’. —Pastoral letter from the German episcopate, June 7, 1934

 

The spread of Christianity in the West

At the end of Antiquity and during the succeeding centuries, Christianity conquered the Germanic world. By armies and merchants it had spread beyond northern Gaul to the Rhine. In the old Rhineland provinces probably there were Christian communities as early as the end of the 3rd century; churches were erected from Constantinian times in Bonn, Xanten, Cologne and, especially, in Trier: the official residence of Caesar since 293. At the end of the 4th century, Christianity was already the dominant religion in some Rhineland areas because ‘the laws of Theodosius, Gratian and Valentinian II imposed its entry into those lands…’

In the late 5th century evangelisation of the Franks began; at the end of the 6th century that of the Anglo-Saxons and the Lombards; in the 9th century the Christianisation of northern Europe was undertaken and, at the end of the millennium, that of the Czechs, Poles, and Hungarians. Since Christianity was no longer a despised religion as it had been in pre-Constantinian times, but the official religion of an empire, the popes no longer trapped some individuals but entire peoples in their net. They also annihilated entire towns ‘leaving neither green nor withered’, as the father of the Church, Isidore, boasts. Such was the case, for example, with the Ostrogoths and the Vandals, of whom the Marseillaise monk Prosperus Tironis provided an insightful picture of the Middle Ages, and who were often the subject of ‘cruel propaganda’ (Diesner).

Conversion methods

The Christianisation of the Germanic peoples—designated in the sources as nationes, gentes, populi, civitates, etc.—not only took place at very different times but also in very different ways. Two typical Christian activities converged in the Germanic mission: preaching and destruction. In Merovingian times, preaching was not the primary instrument of mission. There was a more eloquent method to demonstrate to the pagans the impotence of their Gods and the supreme power of the Christian god: the destruction of the Gentile sanctuaries… Of course it was not only destroyed; often, the so-called Christianisations were ‘simply’ arrived at. In other words, Gentile temples were transformed into Christian churches, expelling evil spirits through rites of exorcism and re-consecrating the buildings. The church transformed and incorporated everything that seemed useful, destroying everything else as a nefarious work of the devil.

An important motive in the conversion of the pagans, and also in the mentoring of those already converted, was without a doubt the constant infiltration of scruples and fears in an alarmist attitude that sowed fear for centuries. Fear, in effect, was ‘the characteristic state of the common man in the Middle Ages: fear of the plague, fear of invasion by foreign armies, fear of the tax collector, fear of witchcraft and magic and, above all, fear of the unknown’ (Richards). The priests of many religions feed on the fear of those whom they lead, and especially Christian priests. It is very significant that St. Caesarius of Arles (died in 542), an archbishop absolutely faithful to Rome, in almost all his propaganda interventions, which number more than two hundred, scares the readers with ‘the final judgment’. Whatever the occasion of his homiletical effusions, he rarely fails to insistently evoke the ‘court of Christ’, the ‘eternal judge’, his ‘harsh and irrevocable sentence’, etc.

The conversions of pagan Germans to Christianity were frequently due to purely material motives, already acting for ‘reasons of prestige’, especially when they came under the tutelage of Christian neighbours. Illustrious Gentiles could be chased ‘like dogs’ from the banquets of their princely courts, because Christians were forbidden to sit at the same table with pagans. It is symptomatic that also among Bavarians, Thuringians and Saxons, the nobility was the first to immediately prostrate themselves before the cross…

Jesus becomes the Germanic broadsword

With its acceptance by the Germans, Christianity was also nationalised and Germanised from the beginning. And not only in epic poems did Christ appear to German eyes as a kind of popular and cantonal king. The Franks were immediately seen as his special courtship, his chosen and preferred people. Warriors clustered around him, just as they clustered around princes. The saint is also now felt as the herald of Christ and god. Traditional Christian concepts are filled ‘with totally new content: Germanic, aristocratic and warrior content’ (Zwolfer). ‘From the religion of patience and suffering, from the flight and denial of the world, the medieval Germans made a warlike religion; and of the Man of Sorrows a Germanic king of the armies, who with his heroes travels and conquers the lands and who must be served through struggle. The German Christian fights for his Lord Christ, as he fights for the landlord he follows; even the monk in his cell feels like a member of the militia Christi’ (Dannenbauer). And naturally the clergy knew how to make the Germans proud of having converted to the Roman cross. In the prologue to the Salic law, the oldest hereditary right of the Franks, the fact of conversion is thus exalted:

Unclean people of the Franks, created by God himself, brave with arms, firm in the covenant of peace, profound in counsel, of great corporal nobility, of uncontaminated purity and superior complexion, bold, prompt and fiery—become to the Catholic faith, free from heresy.

Indeed, according to Christian doctrine, all peoples have been created by god; but flattery is always greatest where it is most needed. In this way the Franks appear here occupying the place of the chosen people of the Bible, of the people of Israel. And in a more recent prologue to the aforementioned Salic law, Christ also appears as the legitimate sovereign of the gens Francorum. He appears ‘personally before the Franks’. He loves those who are far superior to the old world power, ‘the chosen people of a new alliance’. ‘They have defeated the Romans and they have broken the Roman yoke’…

Undoubtedly, many German princes converted for purely political reasons. They worshiped in Christ the ‘strong God’, and especially the superior captain, to whom he granted victory. Thus the Frankish Clovis, Edwin of Northumbria and the Vikings converted—all of whom were baptised after having cast a vow and carried out a slaughter. And just as old Odin was considered a ‘God and lord of victory’ and Wotan (Odin’s name in the south) was considered a warrior God, so Christ is now seen as the same. He occupies the place of the ancient Gods of battle, he is politicised and mythologised, presenting him ‘almost as a national God’ (Heinsius). And from now on it will be a matter of honour for each Christian king to fight ‘the barbarians, who by their very condition as pagans are out of the order of the world’.

The Franks, educated in believing fanaticism, considered it their duty and right to ‘fight for Christ’ (Zollner). And still in the 7th and 8th centuries the Frankish Christians had themselves buried with their weapons, under the old pagan belief of survival after death. On a tombstone found in the Frankish cemetery of Niederdollendorf, near Bonn there is even a risen Christ holding in his right hand the spear, the Germanic sign of sovereignty, instead of the staff of the cross.

It is understandable that the Old Testament, often so bloody, was in tune with the men of the Middle Ages better than the partly pacifist New Testament; and it is understood that the Old Testament kings were exalted by proposing them as models of the Frankish princes, who liked to compare themselves with them. For the historian Ewig, this constitutes a new stage ‘in the Christianisation of the idea of the king’…

Among the Carolingians, decisive victories were frequently attributed to the attendance of St. Peter. ‘But now rest assured’, declares Pepin to the papal legate Serge in the battle against the Bavarians, ‘because due to the intervention of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, by divine decree Bavaria and the Bavarians belong to the sovereignty of the Franks’. Even minor achievements, such as the conquest of a fortress or even the discovery of a fountain during the war against the Saxons in 772 are presented as great divine miracles. But when misfortune befell—and it happened so often!—the priests were never troubled. Then the misfortune, the catastrophe, was a punishment from god for little faith and the overflow of vices. With this theology the Church has been deceiving itself until today through vicissitudes of all kinds…
The weed of the past

As a rule the Germans did not convert individually, but rather in a cooperative and tribal way. And that because, unlike the Greeks and educated Romans, the ‘barbarians’ easily accepted the Church’s tutoring without the cultural and historical-religious depth with which their Christian ‘converters’ presented the stories… In a not excessively laborious way, a great many ‘barbarians’ were subdued, who soon revered respectfully all the ‘holy’ priests and monks and were deeply impressed by exorcisms, ceremonies and miracles. With faith they welcomed such strange mysteries, dogmas and with fearful devotion put themselves at the service of that arrogant southern shamanism, seemingly animated only by the desire to make the Church rich and powerful, for the salvation of their souls, out of the horror of fire from hell and longing for paradise.

______ 卐 ______

Editor’s interpolated note: For a clip within a movie
depicting the baptism of an ancient Germanic see: here.

______ 卐 ______

Evangelism took place unevenly, outside the cities at a slower pace, for although the pagan Franks did not usually put up much resistance, from time to time, and especially in the countryside, they stubbornly indulged in the destruction of their town idols. In the religious field, man is especially conservative. And just as the peasants still do today—the inhabitants of the towns remain more firmly in Christianity—, so also at the end of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages it was the peasants who persisted the longest in paganism. The Germans were mostly peasants, and in Austria the pagan Franks and Germans were more numerous than the native Christians. This religion was an urban religion and since it became a state religion it was also the religion of the feudal and ruling circles, who sought above all their own benefit. For a long time the peasants persisted in their traditional beliefs, in their divinities, and above all in their Gallic triad: the cult of Jupiter, Mercury and Apollo. And even after they had ‘converted’ they returned again and again to the veneration—undoubtedly much more beautiful and coherent—of trees, stones and fountains.

For centuries synods lashed out at pagan customs, from the Council of Valence (374) until well into the 9th century. Only between the synod of Orleans (511) and that of Paris (829) did the canons of at least nineteen episcopal assemblies launched diatribes against the beliefs and practices of peasant paganism, which preserved the tradition with much greater tenacity than the accommodative nobility. The Germans had a natural piety, so to speak, not camouflaged or imposed, but identical to their lifestyle. They had a natural religion with clearly pantheistic features, marked by the worship of the Gods of the forest, the mountain, the fountains, the rivers and the sea, the veneration of the Sun, light, water, trees and springs; deep down, as it has been known today, a thousand times more coherent veneration than the Christian faith in spirits, at whose dictates a technocratic and hypertrophic civilisation has brought nature almost to ruin…
‘Demonstrative destruction’

During the Merovingian period certain problems of the power of the Christian god often came to the fore in evangelisation: on the one hand, ‘miracles’; on the other, the destruction of pagan places of worship. The images of the Gods—through unpunished annihilation—were easily demonstrated as the powerless work of man, while the ‘spiritual’ Christian god reigned untouchable over the clouds of heaven. Besides, the pagan Franks were generally tolerant and did not have a priestly caste as they faced a fanatical ecclesiastical organisation, which did not back down from forced baptisms, although it is true that at least in the beginning it was fair enough for the church that a formal condemnation of the old beliefs was uttered with a confession from the lips of the new faithful. R. W. Southern accurately describes medieval Europe as a coercive society, in which each person triumphed by baptism. But that was not all; soon the demolition of pagan temples and altars began as well…

St. Gal, an uncle of Saint Gregory of Tours and later Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand, being a priest and ‘companion’ of Theuderic I, the eldest son of Clovis, reduced to ashes in Cologne a pagan temple with all the ‘idols’, and only with great difficulty could the king save him from the fury of the peasants… Around 550 Deacon Wulflaicus induced the peasants of the city of Trier to demolish an imposing statue of Diana (originally no doubt of Ar-duinna, the Celtic Goddess), whom the people adored. As he was too weak the peasants did it for him, after he had ceaselessly weakened the will of ordinary people. ‘Well, the other images, which were smaller, he had already smashed them personally’. Without a doubt, miracles also happened there.

Some of the Christian saints known in the fight against paganism became arsonists and robbers. In Tyrol St. Vigilius, Bishop of Trent, worked ‘with fervent zeal for the spread of Christianity’ (Sparber) until one day he destroyed in Rendenatal a highly revered one, which stood on a steep rock, a statue of Saturn. About four-hundred irritated peasants, ‘heathen, stubborn and ferocious’ stoned him. In Italy many dozen churches are dedicated to him. In Monte Cassino St. Benedict (died 543), the ‘father of the western monasticism’, and whose severity caused several assassination attempts against him by his first monks and a Florentine priest, went on rage against the ancient temple of Apollo, the last temple of that God that history remembers. Benedict still found pagans there, cut down their sacred groves and destroyed the sculpture and the altar; but still in 1964 Pope Paul VI named him patron of Europe…

One of the fiercest fighters against paganism in Western Europe was Martin of Tours (died 397). Despite the stubborn resistance sometimes manifested by the peasants, with the help of his henchmen of his monastic horde he razed the temples, tore down the stones of the Druids and cut down sacred oaks, often viciously defended. ‘He trampled on altars and idols’ according to Sulpicius Severus. And yet the saint was ‘a man of admirable meekness and patience; from his eyes radiated a gentle serenity and an imperturbable peace…’ (Walterscheid, with imprimatur). This champion of faith undoubtedly had the best requirements for the annihilation of paganism. He had crowned a storming career in the Roman army (Julian being the emperor) and had started his Christian career as an ejector of demons. Significantly, he believed he saw the devil in the figure of Jupiter, Mercury and even Venus and Minerva, having otherwise the firm conviction that Satan was hiding in the ‘idols’.

Due to his ‘resurrections of the dead’ Martin of Tours became a bishop, later becoming the saint of the Merovingian kings and Carolingian emperors, to end up being the patron saint of the French. Even today 425 villages in France bear his name. The name of an arsonist, a thief, who ruined what was holiest and destroyed all the temples, became the ‘symbol of the Frankish imperial church’ and, even more, ‘an integral part of the imperial culture of the Franks’ (Bosi).

His international fame was owed to the murderous king Clovis, who had enormous veneration for Martin; for his cause he beat a soldier of his own to death, who had caught some hay in the fields of the man of god: ‘Where are our prospects of victory if we offend Saint Martin?’ On their military expeditions the Merovingian princes wore this man’s legendary cloak as a holy relic. Oaths were formulated on it and alliances were made. The place in which the cloak was kept was called capella (diminutive of cape), and the clerical who watched over it capellanus. Such is the origin of the words ‘chapel’ and ‘chaplain’, that with small variations have entered all modern languages… And, as in all the places where Martin of Tours had razed pagan centres of worship he immediately had Christian buildings built on the ruins, including the first Gallic monastery (Ligugé), still considered today as ‘the precursor of Western monasticism’ (Viller Rahner). The destruction of Gentile temples is certified by many ecclesiastical sources.

The monasteries were preferably built on the ruins of destroyed pagan temples. Thus arose, for example, Saint Bavo Church in Ghent, Saint Médard in Cambrai, the monastery of Wulfilaic in Eposium or Fleury-sur-Loire, which occupied the place of an ancient Druid sanctuary of the Gauls. The Martyrium of St. Vincent de Agen, erected as early as the 4th century, evidently stood on a pagan plot of consecrated ground. In Cologne, where perhaps Irenaeus of Lyons preached Christianity, a vast pagan necropolis has been found under the church of Saint Ursula.

Although in the West many temples and many altars were simply removed, among Franks, Saxons and Friesians the Church burned or completely destroyed the pagan sanctuaries, turned the places of sacrifice into cattle gullies and cut down sacred trees… Together, State and Church promoted the spread of the new faith and the annihilation of the old beliefs. Thus King Childebert I states, in a constitution of the year 554 ‘in agreement, no doubt, with the bishops’ (A. Hauck): ‘The pagan idols of the fields and the images dedicated to the demons must be removed immediately, and no one can prevent bishops from destroying them’.

In the following century Pope Boniface V (619-625) spread Christianity throughout England and wrote to Edwin, King of the Angles, in these terms: ‘You should destroy those whom you have hitherto considered Gods, being made of earthly material, with all zeal they must be smashed and shattered to pieces’. And so, shortly thereafter, in 627, Coifi, converted archpriest of Northumbria, broke a spear in a temple.

(Left, the high priest Coifi profanes ‘the Temple of the Idols’, from James William Edmund Doyle’s A Chronicle of England.)

The Concilium Germanicum, the first council convened in 742-743 in the Germanic territory of the Frankish empire, also provided that ‘the people of God should not promote anything pagan, but reject and abhor all filthiness of the Gentiles’.

Christianity’s criminal history, 127

 

INDEX TO THE FOURTH VOLUME

 

Panoramic view

Chapter 1. The Christianisation of the Germans

Chapter 2. Clovis, founder of the great Frankish empire

Chapter 3. The sons of Clovis

Chapter 4. The invasion of the Lombards

Chapter 5. The last Merovingians

Chapter 6. The conversion of the Visigoths to Catholicism

Chapter 7. Pope Gregory I (590-604)

Chapter 8. Brunichilde, Clotaire II and Dagobert I

Chapter 9. The Church in the Merovingian period

Chapter 10. The rise of the Carolingians

Chapter 11. Saint Boniface, ‘apostle of the Germans’

Chapter 12. Papacy insurrection and iconoclastic struggles

Chapter 13. The formation of the Church-State through war

Chapter 14. The ‘Donation of Constantine’

Chapter 15. Charles I, called Charlemagne

Chapter 16. Charlemagne and his wars

Published in: on September 22, 2020 at 8:03 pm  Comments Off on Christianity’s criminal history, 127  

Christianity’s Criminal History, 126

For the context of this translation see
the previous instalment of this series.

Volume 4. Early Middle Ages

From King Clovis (ca. 500) to the
death of Charles ‘the Great’ (814)

‘For a long time Christ had already taken a look at the Germanic peoples… A new spring dawned on the sky of the Church’. —Leo Rüger, Catholic theologian

‘The life of medieval Christianity is impregnated, and even completely saturated, in its relations by religious conceptions. There is no thing or action that is not constantly related to Christ and the faith. Everything is built on a religious conception of reality, and we find ourselves before an incredible development of inner faith’. —Johan Huizinga

 

PANORAMIC VIEW

The divisions in historical times are not fixed in advance. They were not decreed in a ‘higher’ place, to be carried out later by humanity. Rather, the history of man is an unheard-of chaos of stories, and later he tries to put a certain order in the zigzagging course of events and the bewildering diversity of tendencies, reducing everything to perfectly clear schemes. It introduces structures and caesuras, and thus the whole appears as an expression of forces that act coherently, and in this way everything is presented as if it had to be that way and could not have been otherwise; as if, for example, the Roman Empire would only have occurred so that Europe could inherit it. That is a vision that favours our taste for periodisation, and that can undoubtedly also encourage it. In reality, all this delimitation and temporal ordering, all these supposed fixed points, indicative data and evolution lines are nothing more than the result of certain—or, better to say, very uncertain—points of view, of precarious attempts at orientation: pure constructions to which people have accommodated, either by giving them meaning or not.

The ‘High Middle Ages’, a period that runs from approximately the 6th to the 10th centuries, is a period of violent change and transformation. But it is also a time of compromises or, to put it more elegantly, of assimilation, of continuity, a period of decadence and transition, of old heritage and a new beginning: in it the constitution of the West, of Europe, takes place, and of Germany, the intertwining of ancient Christian and Germanic traditions, the separation of Byzantium, the Eastern Church, and the arrival of Islam. And it is an age in which politics and religion are inseparable.

The alliances of the popes with the states also change. But, as always when they turn and change direction with time, Rome continually seeks to cling to the strongest power: Byzantium, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, the Franks, and it takes advantage of them…
 
From convinced subjects to convinced lords

In Rome the temples collapsed, the imperial palace collapsed, in the theatres and the gigantic baths the ruins piled up and the weeds and ivy grew. And the priests took advantage. The old bath chairs became Episcopal chairs, the sumptuous alabaster and porphyry bathtubs became baptismal fonts and dubious urns of martyrs. Marble wall coverings, precious mosaic floors, beautiful columns, and stones were removed from ancient villas to enrich Christian temples. The pagan temples became Christian churches and the Rome of the Caesars became a clerical city, in which the religious (or what was considered as such) prevailed; and in which all civil festivals disappeared in favour of ecclesiastical festivities. The belief in the imminent end of the world was generalised to such an extent, and such proportions acquired the privileges of the priests, that Emperor Maurice forbade in 592 the entry of soldiers into monasteries and civil servants into the clerical state.

The civil power of the popes—which was the basis of the future pontifical state or the Church—sprouted from ruins: from the rubble of the Western Roman Empire, thanks to the impotence of Byzantium and an ever-growing curial ambition for dominance. Already in the 5th century the bishops of Rome, supposed successors of Jesus who did not want any kingdom of this world or that his disciples carry money in the bag, were the largest landowners of the Roman Empire. And the collapse of that empire only accelerated the rise of the bishops of Rome inheriting entirely the decadent imperial structure.

Under the Merovingians, in the early days of the Byzantine Empire, bishops gained power and influence also in ‘worldly’ or civil affairs, throughout the communal sphere. They control state jobs and trades, urban fortifications, the supply of troops; moreover, they intervene in the appointment of provincial governors.

All disgrace and decay are transformed by the Roman bishops into their prosperity, each failure is turned into a personal advantage, whether it is a disaster in the kingdom of Caesar or the kingdom of God. And even from the misery of the Longobard invasion they know how to make a fortune. First they distance themselves from Byzantium with the help of the Longobard swords—and Byzantium was weakened by the multiple pressure of the ‘barbarians’—; later they will destroy the Lombards thanks to the Franks… always on the side of the robbers, with a parasitic strategy, such as the world had never known.

It is true that even up to 787 the popes date their letters by the years of the reign of the Byzantine emperors, but already under Gregory II (715-731) the Byzantine governor was expelled from Rome on the occasion of the ‘Roman revolution’, just as the Byzantine army of Benevento and Spoleto was expelled with the help of course of the Lombard troops. After the Lombards had contributed to the excessive power of the popes, they used the Franks to annihilate them. From then on they collaborated and prospered with the Frankish emperors. And when they felt strong enough, they wanted to be the lords of the empire too.

Until 753 the Roman pope was a devoted subject (to a greater or lesser degree) of Constantinople. But soon in Rome time is no longer counted for the emperor’s years, imperial coins are no longer minted, imperial images are removed from churches, and the emperor’s name is no longer mentioned in liturgical service. The pope, on the contrary, allies himself with the Germanic king against those who had hitherto been his sovereigns. And to the Germanic king the pope confers imperial privileges, among which there are some completely new ones, and even offers him the imperial crown. It is a policy that benefits the pope above all, since it almost makes him the ‘father of the ruling family’.

The imperial coronation of Charles in 800 in Rome by Pope Leo III was an unlawful act, a provocation to the Byzantine emperor, until then the only legal supreme head of the Christian world, and in Constantinople it could only be interpreted as a rebellion. In fact, the turn of the popes towards the Franks caused the definitive break with Byzantium.

And although in 812 Emperor Michael I Rhangabe recognised Charles ‘the Great’ as imperator of the West and as a peer sovereign, deep down Byzantium always considered the Western empire as a usurpation. At Lothair’s coronation in 823, the pope gave him the sword for the defence and protection of the Church: and gradually Rome brought the Roman-Germanic kings under his influence. Indeed, after the fall of the western Roman monarchs, new symbioses were introduced with the new rulers, with Theodoric, Clovis, Pepin, and Charles. But also the future great Germanic empires of Alfred (871-899), Otto I (936- 973) and Olaf the Saint (1015-1028), who promoted the spread of Christianity with barbaric methods, could only be established on a Christian basis, not to mention the medieval Germanic empire.

That Holy Roman Empire certainly had hardly anything Roman and absolutely nothing sacred and holy, unless (with good reason) like Helvétius, Nietzsche and others the compendium of the criminal is seen in the sacred. Be that as it may, by liquidating the relative achievements of Arians and pagans and by obtaining a state of its own, the papacy achieved the constant enlargement of both its power and its possessions.

Especially at the beginning of the Middle Ages the chaining of State and Church was very close. Not only did civil and canon law have the same basis, but clerical wishes and demands also found expression in civil law. The decrees of the ‘mixed council’ were valid for the State and the Church alike.

The bishops also came from the aristocracy and were related to it as brothers, nephews and children of the civic nobility. And with it they shared the same political and economic interests. Consequently, throughout the Middle Ages they were also drawn into the struggle of the lords, they fought with the kings against the emperor and with the emperor against the pope, and with one pope against the other for 171 years. They fought with the diocesan clergy against the monks and also against their colleagues, giving them battle in the field, in the streets and the churches with the dagger and with the poison and in every imaginable way. High treason and rebellion were for the clergy, according to the Catholic theologian Kober, ‘a completely common phenomenon’.

Faced with the States and the so-called authorities, the great Christian Church had in practice no other principle than this: it always pacts with the most profitable power. In all its state contacts the Church was only guided by taking advantage of the situation (in her language, guided by ‘God’). Opportunism was always the supreme principle. Only when that Church achieved what it wanted was it also willing to give something and naturally as little as possible, even if it promised a lot. ‘You annihilate the heretics with me, and I will annihilate the Persians with you’, the patriarch Nestorius invited the emperor in his inauguration speech in 428 without imagining that he himself would soon be condemned as a ‘heretic’…

And with their sights set on their own power, the fought Catholic emperors and princes also kept Church and State closely united, despite tensions, conflicts and confrontations of all kinds, from the end of the Old Age to the time of the Protestant Reformation. Throughout more than a millennium the history of the two institutions could not be separated. Furthermore, ‘At the epicentre of all interests, whether they were spiritual or political, was the Church; to her belonged the action and omission, politics and legislative power, all the driving forces of the world were at her service and from her they derived their prerogatives. The culture and history of the Middle Ages are confused with the Church’.

With its powerful material protection, its organisational strength and participation in the legal and political-state life, its influence grew continuously. The pre-Constantinian Catholic Church strictly forbade clergymen to accept public office; but already in late antiquity a bishop of Gaul was entrusted with certain military options, such as building a fortress. And what was lost in the south to the Arabs, the ‘infidels’, was offset by the spread of Christianity northward.

Under the Merovingians, Christianity became the ideological deciding power. There were almost formal dynasties of bishops, to the point that Chilperic I famously uttered the phrase: ‘No one governs more than the bishops; that is our glory’.

Also among the Arian Ostrogoths the episcopate assumed state functions. In early Middle Ages England, ecclesiastical prelates are members of the diets, statesmen, and field marshals. Together with the regent they define the law, they are his first advisers; they elect the kings, overthrow them and raise them. Also in Italy bishops and abbots acted, along with the counts, as administration officials and, together with the lords of the civil aristocracy, acted as legislators. It is evident that from the middle of the 6th century to the end of the 7th century, public life there was totally marked and dominated by the Church.

Also later, if we look beyond the period to which we are referring, the Church survived its allies and overcame all the collapses. One power was sinking, and she was already rising with the next; or at least she was prepared for it. It was indeed only a state together with other states, but her ‘metaphysics’ was ahead of all of them. And while she always pretended the religious, the spiritual visions while proclaiming to the whole world, she aspired to the political dominion of the world.

Relatively early, popes and bishops had already tried to make the state their bailiff, submitting it to themselves. Some Church Fathers, such as Ambrose or John Chrysostom make it clear that way. But it is Pope Gelasius I (492-496) who only a few generations later proclaims with the greatest arrogance his ‘doctrine of the two powers’, which was to have such relevance in world history. Shortly after, the royal power will have to ‘piously submit the neck’ to the sacred authority of the bishops.

Augustine, however, does not yet know the doctrine of subordination of the State. At a time when the Church lived in harmony with it, the saint was able to assure—heaven knows how many times—that the Christian faith reinforced the loyalty of citizens to the state and that it created obedient and willing subjects. It was totally indifferent about who the ruler was. ‘What does it matter which government man lives under, who must die anyway? The only thing that matters is that the rulers do not induce him to impiety and injustice!’ It is true that if ‘justice’ was lacking, and that means here the Church, the bishop, for Augustine governments were hardly anything other than ‘great gangs of robbers’.

But in the Middle Ages the ambition of the clergy to dominate grew along with their power… If at the beginning the papacy defended the doctrine of the two powers or authorities, the auctoritas sacra pontificum and the regalis potestas which complemented each other, then the doctrine of the ‘two swords’ was later introduced (duo gladii). According to the Roman affirmation, Christ would have granted to the papacy the two swords, the spiritual and civil power; in a word, it would have given her hegemony. For when the Roman pontiffs seized power and became sovereigns of a State, they no longer needed a strong hereditary Germanic monarchy, nor did they need the monarchical unity of Italy, which for the same reason they fought with all means to its scope, even by force of arms.

The objective of the papacy was then the political domination of the world under spiritual slogans. While it exercised a spiritual guardianship over the masses and while it referred the whole of life to a future kingdom of God and the obtaining of eternal happiness, it did not stop pursuing more and more material interests. The papacy emancipated itself from the western empire and in a secular struggle it made the Hohenstaufen bite the dust to become sovereign of everyone and everything. A true parasite, who after having drunk the blood of others, after having perched on high with lies and falsehoods and after having been eliciting more and more rights and powers, stripped them and even took up arms, and with celestial speeches continued to worry about its earthly power in an extremely brutal way.

In theory, the Pauline doctrine of the divine institution of authority and the duty of general submission became fundamental for relations with the State. The obedience that is preached there, the absolute docility of the subjects, contrasts openly with the hatred against the State so widespread among the first Christians, but it has continued to be decisive to this day. In this way the Church wins over the respective rulers, with whom it has to collaborate to keep itself in power.

With Gregory VII (author of the Dictatus papae), who in 1076 began the fight against the emperor, who claimed rights over Corsica and Sardinia, over the Norman kingdom of southern Italy, over France, Hungary, Dalmatia, Denmark and Russia, there are already perceived certain resonances of a theory, according to which the pope has all power, including the right to dispose of the States. Gregory and his successors claim at least one indirect potestas indirecta in temporalice that the bull Unam sanctam (1302) of Boniface VIII raises to a potestas directa in temporalia on which the Lateran Council of 1517 still insists, and from which only in 1885 will Leo XIII officially distance himself.

According to Gregory VII and his successors in the late Middle Ages, and always in connection with Augustine’s thought, imperial power has its origin in the devil. It is a ‘carnal’ power as are generally all worldly principalities. But the diabolical power can be turned into blessing through the forgiving, healing and saving power of the papacy, through subordination to the Priest-King. Furthermore, the founding of every new state in this world tyrannised by the devil is only legitimised by papal recognition. The pope appears there as the sole supporter of truth and justice, as the sovereign lord and judge of the world. Everything must render obedience to the successor of Peter. This is how the pope wrote:

Whoever is separated from Peter cannot obtain any victory in the struggle or any happiness in the world, for with rigour as hard as the steel he destroys and smashes everything that comes his way. Nobody and nothing escapes its power.