Friday, October 17, 2014

Church History is so fun... Boniface VIII

Boniface VIII
Song for this post here.

As rumors fly...

Boniface succeeded Peter Celestine - the 'Benedictine' pope-to-resign prototype, kinda, sorta.  I'm thinking and reading about these guys because of the mess in Rome now days...

We live in exciting times, I tell you!

Did you know?

Boniface was denounced by some as a heretical criminal?

He had a tumultuous papacy.

He cancelled everything his predecessor decreed - which wasn't much.

Oh!  Oh!  Pope Celestine was said to have been persuaded to resign - and Boniface was one of his advisers... I know!  He had him imprisoned - quarantined ...

14th century miniature.

And then, and then ...
On 7 September 1303, an army led by Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna surprised Boniface at his retreat in Anagni. The King and the Colonnas demanded his resignation; Boniface VIII responded that he would "sooner die". In response, Colonna allegedly slapped Boniface, a "slap" historically remembered as the schiaffo di Anagni ("Anagni slap").
Perfect for Halloween.

Oh! Oh! And then ...
Boniface was probably beaten and nearly executed, but was released from captivity after three days. He died on 11 October 1303. He had died of suicide from "gnawing through his own arm" and bashing his skull into a wall. - Wiki

What a wonderful Church we have, such a rich, fascinating history.  Who needs fiction when the truth is so captivating?!  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Not to worry!


Quote of the day:
Unam sanctam ecclesiam catholicam et ipsam apostolicam urgente fide credere cogimur et tenere, nosque hanc frmiter credimus et simpliciter confitemur, extra quam nec salus est, nec remissio peccatorum. - Boniface VIII

Disclaimer:  No harsh accusations of living or dead embedded in this post.  No hidden agenda or meaning intended.  No judgement against the living or the dead proposed.    


  1. Hilarious post, especially the disclaimer. Thanks :)

  2. I love a good murderous pope! I can see Francis smiling as he says "Eliminate them!"

  3. Anonymous9:34 PM

    There have been terrible popes in the Church's history, and Pope Francis may well rank among them, or at least some of the weakest. St. Peter was called "Satan" by Our Lord and later even denied that he knew Christ. Another pope put his predecessor's corpse on trial, cut off his fingers, and tossed him into the Tiber.

    Imagine Pope Francis doing that to Pope Benedict someday. There is actually precedence for it!

    Anyway, the Church will survive Pope Francis' blunders, but many individual souls may not. Now is the time for our test. Peter is weak and faltering...following the crowd instead of Christ. So we must pray for perseverance of our own souls. That is what I pray for now. I'm not going down with him or without a fight.

  4. How would you react if Pope Francis turned out to be a terrible Pope, do you think your faith would be shaken? Be honest...

    1. That is a great question. After the circus surrounding the Synod I said my confidence was shaken - but not my faith. My confidence was misplaced I think. I have been caught up watching the interaction and politics - which on some level is entertaining and very easy to parody. But in doing that, one easily loses sight of the supernatural. When the bishops pushed back against the manipulating forces, it helped place my confidence where it belonged - in the Holy Spirit working through the bishops and cardinals defending Catholic doctrine.

      That said - if Francis turned out to be a bad pope - after this experience with the synod confusion, I think my faith would be fine. I trust in the promises of Christ - the gates of Hell will not prevail, and so on. The Holy Spirit will not abandon the faithful.

      Besides, we've had bad popes in the past, lived through schisms, survived the reformation, and so on. All the recent popes have been considered bad popes by one faction or another - but the Church remains. Obviously there are some who think Francis is a bad pope already. I'm not among them. I love the papacy - the Chair of Peter - I also have liked the modern popes who occupied it - my favorite was John Paul I, and of course, I had a great love for Paul VI. But that is pretty much natural affection, personal preference. You know what I mean? I think contemporary culture places too much emphasis on like-ability and personality.

      What I like so much about Francis is how he seems to upset all our expectations of what a pope is supposed to be. Never a dull moment.

      Popes have flaws. Don't forget, Peter denied Christ, and later Paul had to correct him. Likewise, there are many instances in the Gospels which indicate the disciples volleyed for position, curried favor, suggested they call down fire from heaven, they even rebuked Christ, questioned how he could talk to this woman, or insisting he send that one away, and so on.

      Being a Catholic takes courage.

      These recent events are a sifting, as I said a few days ago. We all must put on the mind of Christ, thinking with the Church.

    2. Thanks for the honest answer. I agree with your sentiments. Personally, if Pope Francis turns out to be a terrible Pope, I think the reaction of various Catholics will get me down more than anything else. The outcry, the loss of faith, the different commentaries from people who should really just pray and be silent... I don't think it would cause me to lose my faith (by the grace of God), but it would be terribly demoralizing for me, if you know what I mean.


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