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4. Secret Societies (4.5-4.5.7)

Vatican seal4.5    Catholicism

 This may probably seem a bit radical, but think of it: Isn’t Catholicism itself really a very large and possibly the most successful secret society ever? Take a deep look at its power, its leadership, its rites, its secrecy and the role of the Pope itself. Do not blame me if you come to a conclusion that makes you wonder and don’t blame me if you get the shivers when you think of what such a secret society may do today, knowing its past.

4.5.1    Wide spread

The total number of Catholics in the world is over one billion. They are found in nearly every country, though they are more concentrated in the Americas and Europe. They currently make up 63% of the population of North and South America, 40% of Europe, roughly 20% of Sub-Saharan Africa, and 3% of Asia.

4.5.2    The Vatican Concordat’s

A concordat is an agreement between the pope and a government or sovereign on religious matters. The so called “Lateran Treaties” of February 11, 1929, negotiated between Pope Pius XI, and Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader, as Prime Minister of Italy was the concordat that formally defined the Vatican City-state. Thereby a religious state in the state of Italy was created and the world’s most unique and odd state in the World was formed. The Holy See - represented in Germany by Nuncio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) - and Catholic politicians from the Centre Party, repeatedly pushed for a concordat with the new German Republic. The “Reichskonkordat” was signed on July 20, 1933, and ratified on September 10, 1933. There is general agreement that the Concordat increased substantially the prestige of Hitler's regime around the world. One can wonder about the background to the Catholic eager to establish relations with Fascist’s and Nazi’s. Was it to protect themselves from growing powers or to secure their position beside them? As Cardinal Faulhaber put it in a sermon delivered in 1937:

- "At a time when the heads of the major nations in the world faced the new Germany with cool reserve and considerable suspicion, the Catholic Church, the greatest moral power on earth, through the Concordat expressed its confidence in the new German government. This was a deed of immeasurable significance for the reputation of the new government abroad."

Critics of the Concordat claim it linked the Roman Catholic Church too closely with Nazism. While Pacelli gained influence over Germany's educational system, Hitler limited Jewish participation in the schools. Moreover, Catholic priests were subsequently involved with the Nazi racial hygiene bureaucracy which identified and officially certified the Jewish ancestry of individuals, a process which is said to have contributed directly to the Holocaust. When the Nazi government later violated the concordat, bishops and the papacy protested against these violations. The strongest condemnation of Hitler's ideology and ecclesiastical policy was the encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, issued in 1937, by Pope Piux XI. A prominent French cardinal, Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, claims that the Pope Pius XI, who died February 1939, was assassinated by poison on Mussolini’s order. Guess who succeeded him? It was Nuncio Pacelli, who signed the so called “Reichskonkordat” with Hitler in 1933.

4.5.3    Letters of indulgence

In the medieval period so called “Letters of indulgence” could be bought from representatives of the Roman Catholic Church. By doing so one could free either oneself or others from burning in hell. Of course this was a lucrative business as so many normally had done some act that was seen as a sin. And as the promoters also proclaimed: “why let your dead relative’s burn in hell for their sins, when you can free them just by buying a letter”.

The Catholics needed money to protect their interests and these letters sure helped out. Donations are one thing, but to sell these letters does really get low scores on my popularity chart. Good for them that major parts of the buyers couldn’t read anyhow. Anyhow, the well known Martin Luther identified the problem and started his protest because of these letters.

4.5.4    Apologizes or propaganda?

Pope John Paul II acknowledged publicly that the Roman Catholic Church (and its members) has sometimes been involved in questionable activities, and asked God to forgive the sins of its members, both in action and omission. Historically, the Church's responses to heresy through the Inquisition and its alleged association with witch hunts have brought criticism. Pope John Paul II apologized for certain historic excesses in May 1995. One can wonder why? Doesn’t the Vatican understand that it is quite different times now and by apologizing for certain events in history, they justify those events that aren’t apologized for? Wouldn’t it be better to just confess and say that there were different times in the past and now in modern times we use modern methods? Because that’s of course what Chatolics do.

4.5.5    Stealing traditions?

What if the Catholics are stealing traditional events? It’s a controversial idea, but also a very intelligent act if true. A prefect way to spread Christianity would be to make people think they are celebrating old Christian traditions. This is just one example: Is it really Christmas that we're celebrating in late December? If you look at the traditions regarding Christmas, then we may actually be celebrating the Winter Solstice. In the early days of Christianity it was only tradition that told about Mary who bore the child Jesus on the twenty-fifth day and no one could seem to decide on the month. Finally, in year 320, the Catholic fathers in Rome decided to make it December.  Well, the chosen date matched the winter solstice, which already was the greatest yearly traditional celebration period. In ancient Egypt, they celebrated rebirth of their Sun God Ra. The Romans celebrated their Sun God Mithraic. Traditions like gifts, tree, light and more was already there. Around year 600 pope Gregory I writes a letter to missionary St Mellitus containing: - “converting heathens is easier if they are allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional pagan practices and traditions, while recasting those traditions spiritually towards the one true God instead of to their pagan gods (whom the Pope refers to as "devils"), to the end that, whilst some gratifications are outwardly permitted them, they may the more easily consent to the inward consolations of the grace of God.”

The Romans had spread their traditions all over Europe and it seems like the Varangians who were allies with the Byzantines continued and enhanced it. It’s likely that “Yule” or “Jul”, which is the name many Europeans use for the celebration, is derived from the Varangians word “Hjul” meaning wheel. It may be related to a Varangian tradition of rolling burning wheels down a hill during the celebration. The Varangians also added much of the stuff we put on our celebration dinner tables as traditions. What about Santa Claus? Well, in many parts of Europe he still is named something related to “Yule”. However, the figure Santa is actually a mistake. His was actually the Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna (Izmir), in what is now Turkey. He lived around year 300 and became a saint after his death the 6th of December. At some part in history someone mapped him with Christmas as the one who gave gifts. So the big red dressed guy with white beard, riding a slide, does not really belong in the celebration at all.

4.5.6    Vatican Secret Archives

Vatican Secret Archives, today estimated to contain 30 miles of shelving, were moved from the ordinary Vatican archives to a separate building in the 17th century. The secret archive is the central repository of all the acts that have been promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church's Papal See, as well as diplomatic materials and correspondence of the Papal See and other documents that have accumulated over the centuries.

Rumors and speculations concerning the content of this secret archive seem to haunt the Roman Catholics. On February 20, 2002, Pope John Paul II took the extraordinary step of opening, from 2003, documents concerning Germany and relative to the period 1922 – 1939 contained in the archives of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, in order "to put an end to unjust and thoughtless speculation."

Again, why just this little part of history? And was it just selected parts, or? Why not fully open the archive for public eyes? For some reason I can’t help myself from thinking: - “How can the Papacy claim to be the largest moral power of the world, when hosting such an archive?”

4.5.7    The Vatican Swiss Guard

Swiss guardOften referred to as the papal guards or Swiss mercenaries, the so called Vatican Swiss Guard is the elite force that guards the sovereign state of the Vatican. While much of the work of the present day guards is ceremonial, they are responsible for the security at the Apostolic Palace, the papal apartment and the four main entrances to the Vatican. They are also in charge of the pontiff's physical safety when he travels outside the city state. The modern Vatican Swiss Guard does not belong to any larger force. It’s just the about 100 Guards, recruited from the Catholic cantons of central Switzerland that meet the below requirements:

  • Swiss citizen
  • Roman Catholic faithful
  • Of good moral ethical background
  • Attended at the military school in Switzerland
  • Age between 19 and 30
  • At least 174 cm tall
  • Not marriaged
  • Celibate during the period
  • High school degree or professional diploma

 The guards colorful and Renaissance-era striped uniforms are according to the legend designed by Michelangelo but the legend do not tell the truth. The uniforms were designed by guard commander Jules Respond in 1914. Main inspiration came from the painter Raphael. Many wonder if the guards, with such a funny outfit, really exist for any other reason than ceremonial purposes. The answer is: yes. They have defended a succession of popes for more than five centuries and not always without bloodshed. In fact in 1527 147 Guards and their commander died in a conflict, with troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s, during the so called “Sack of Rome”. The Vatican Swiss Guard was founded as an extraction from the original Swiss Guard, January 22 1506, when 150 soldiers, under the command of Kaspar von Silenen, entered the Vatican. It was an agreement between Pope Julius II and the rulers of the Old Swiss Confederacy (which later became today’s Switzerland), to protect the Pope primarily from the growing threat of the ruling house of Habsburg.

 

 


 
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