Feb. 11, 2013 (TSR) – Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the Petrine office on Monday morning, effective February 28th, 2013 at 8PM Rome Time. He said he was making the decision in ‘full freedom’ in accordance with Canon 332 §2 of the Code of Canon Law but was ‘fully aware of the gravity of this gesture’.
The Pope’s decision is unprecedented and considered as highly unusual as the vast majority of incumbents die in office. He is the first to resign since Gregory XII in 1415, but no Pontiff in history has stepped down on health reasons.
Pope Benedict was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger in Marktl, Germany, in 1927.
As a 14-year-old during World War Two, he was forced into the Hitler Youth, even though his Bavarian parents despised the Third Reich.
Known as the Roman Catholic ‘God’s rottweiler’ while he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) before becoming Pope because of his deep stern and conservative stand on theological issues, he headed up the Church’s modern-day Inquisition and has been an enforcer of Catholic orthodoxy and a cerebral disciplinarian who was unafraid to crack down on liberals and dissidents within the church. *
The only the second non-Italian Pope since 1522 and the oldest on election since the 18th century, he said after he was elected to the Papacy that he had prayed not to get the post and was hoping for a peaceful old age.
Head of the Vatican press office, Fr Federico Lombardi, stressed to journalists at his 12:30 pm briefing that followed on Monday, Joseph Ratzinger’s decision is the fruit, not of any external pressures. It’s taken us a bit by surprise. We’ve had to organise ourselves very quickly.
‘We’ve had no warning of what the Pope was about to announce. The declaration is crystal clear and we need to go through it word by word,’ as reported by Daily Mail.
Pope Benedict XVI will move to the Papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome when his resignation shall become effective. When renovation work on the monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican is complete, the Pope will move there for a period of prayer and reflection and spend the rest of his life in cloistered accommodation.
As he begins his retirement, Roman Catholic cardinals in Rome will begin the process of choosing a successor and will hold a conclave to elect a new pontiff. Pope Benedict XVI will not take part in the Conclave for the election of his successor.
Only cardinals are eligible to take part in the conclave, which will continue until a successor is chosen.
The cardinals will meet in the Vatican’s ornate Sistine Chapel and hold two voting rounds a day until they choose a new pope with a two-thirds majority.
They were traditionally locked into the Chapel, best known for the frescoed ceiling and altar wall painted by Michelangelo, and not allowed out until they chose a new pontiff.
They had to sleep in makeshift cells and share minimal sanitary facilities.
But new regulations issued by Pope John Paul II in 1996 allow them to live in a new hotel built on Vatican grounds behind St. Peter’s Basilica and even take walks in the tiny state’s peaceful gardens between their voting rounds.
Another reform lets the cardinals opt for a simple majority vote if they have not succeeded in electing a pope after about two weeks of balloting.
Most modern conclaves have lasted only a few days.
When the cardinals are in agreement, the chosen one will say ‘Accepto,’ a puff of white smoke, above, will emerge from the chimney, bells will toll and a cardinal will appear at the central window of St Peter’s Basilica to declare ‘Habemus papam’ – ‘We have a pope’.
It is important to note that though the Vatican was shocked and surprise by this announcement, the Roman Catholic Church knows how to respond in such event since the laws that govern these things have been long established in Catholic canon law. For instance, the rules regarding the conclave that is to come up have been rehearsed for nearly a millennium. Pope John Paul II in his Constitution Universi Dominici gregis re-affirmed these things that have been thought about and discussed for an exceptionally long time. The Roman Catholic Church has the resources and has the things from her history to meet these challenging situations.
Why is the Pope quitting?
With people around the world struggle to come to terms with the surprise announcement and with the Vatican in also a state of shock, many wonder for this highly secretive decision that even the Pope’s aides didn’t know about.
The statement of his resignation, read by the Pope in Latin, states clearly that his “advanced age” and his declining physical strength “are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry”, as he said here:
The full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he will resign his papal office on Feb. 28:
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.
With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
In the past, Pope Benedict also alluded to the possibility of his resignation in the book ‘Light of the World’, a series of answers to questions posed to him by German journalist Peter Seewald in 2010. Another are the early speeches and homilies he gave at the start of his pontificate in April 2005.
In his address to the college of cardinals on April 22nd just three days after his election, for instance, the Pope spoke clearly about being “aware of my personal limitations and limited abilities”. Nevertheless he described his attitude as one of inner dedication, describing the task ahead as “a service to be rendered with simplicity and willingness, imitating our Teacher and Lord who did not come to be served but to serve.”
The following day, after celebrating Mass with the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel, the Pope spoke of the enormous “weight of responsibility laid on my poor shoulders”, asking the Lord to “compensate for my limitations so that I may be a courageous and faithful Pastor of his flock.”
In his homily at Mass marking the beginning of his ministry on April 24th 2005, the Pope spoke again of himself as a “weak servant of God” assuming “this enormous task which truly exceeds all human capacity.”
And on May 7th, as he took possession as Bishop of Rome of the Basilica of St John Lateran, Pope Benedict stressed that “The one who holds the office of the Petrine ministry must be aware that he is a frail and weak human being – just as his own powers are frail and weak – constantly in need of purification and conversion. “The Pope,” he continued, “is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary, the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to the obedience of God’s word…”
The Daily Mail has additional insights,
The Pope, who has appeared increasingly frail and walking with a cane, is understood to be suffering from a degenerative joint disease.
In November 2011, Andrea Tornielli – a well-placed reporter from the Vatican Insider, a project run by La Stampa newspaper in Italy – said Pope Benedict found it agonising to walk even short distances due to ‘arthrosis’, thought to be an Italian term for osteoarthritis, in his knees, hips and ankles.
Mr Tornielli said this was why the Pope began using a moving platform to address crowds during mass in St Peter’s Basilica.
The Vatican revealed that he had suffered a mild stroke shortly after being elected Pope and there were unconfirmed reports that he had suffered an earlier one in the early 1990s when he was a Cardinal.
There have also been reports that the Pope was struggling to read texts.
Benedict has previously stated that Popes who are unable to do their job because of ill health should step down.
Benedict’s deterioration during the last few months has been particularly noticeable and, according to his brother, he has been considering stepping down for some time.
Georg Ratzinger, who still lives in the family’s native Germany, said he had been having trouble walking and his age was weighing on him.
‘At this age my brother wants more rest,’ he said adding that the doctor had warned him not to take any more transatlantic trips.
Despite Benedict being open with his family, he appears to have said little to cardinals and staff at the Vatican about his ailing health.
Virtually unprecedented: papal resignation throughout history
No pope has resigned in almost 600 years. But Pope Benedict’s surprise announcement is not entirely unprecedented. More than 260 men have reigned as Pope since Saint Peter was martyred in Rome in the third decade after the death of Christ, and at least four of them have resigned.
The last Pope to resign was almost six hundred years ago. It was Pope Gregory XII, in 1415, who, in a very sacrificial gesture offered to resign so that the council of Constance could assume his power and appoint a new Pope, and in so doing bring an end Great Western Schism when different branches of the Catholic church claimed supremacy from 1378 until 1417.
Initially there were two rival popes, each with their own following, cardinals and administrative offices, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The problem arose following the death of Gregory XI, an Avignon Pope.
When the College of Cardinals met to vote for a new pope a Roman mob broke into the voting chamber and forced the election of an Italian pope – Urban VI.
Unhappy with being cornered, some cardinals returned to Avignon where they elected Clement VII as the pope.
This forced followers in Europe to choose allegiance between Avignon and Rome.
Until 1409 there were two popes simultaneously, although the Avignon Popes (Clement VII and then Benedict XIII) were seen as antipopes.
The Roman popes were Urban VI, Boniface IX, Innocent VII and Gregory XII.
Cardinals allied to Gregory XII and Benedict XIII decided to try and resolve the situation by getting the pope and antipope to meet and make an agreement.
However, at the last minute they pulled out and it was decided at a church council in Pisa that they would elect another pope – Alexander V.
He died shortly after being elected and was succeeded by John XXIII.
To resolve the situation the Council of Constance managed to get Pope Gregory and Antipope John to resign so a new election could take place.
As he refused to step down, Avignon Pope Benedict XIII was excommunicated and his successor, Antipope Clement VIII resigned in 1429 in recognition of the Roman Pope Martin V’s legitimacy to the papal throne.
The only others to resign are Marcellinus, who abdicated or was deposed in 304 after complying with the Roman emperor’s order to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods; Benedict IX, who old the papacy to his godfather Gregory VI and resigned in 1045; and Celestine V, who stepped down after five months as pope in 1294.
When and how did the Roman Catholic Church determine that resignation was possible?
At the end of the 13th century, a very holy hermit named Peter was elected as Pope Celestine V in order to break a deadlock in the conclave that had lasted nearly three years. He was elected because of his personal holiness, sort of a unity candidate. And once he got there, being a hermit, not used to the ways of the Roman Curia, he found himself somewhat unsuited to the task, that it wasn’t just holiness but also some shrewdness and prudence that was also required. So within six months he knew that he was really unequal to the task, and so he gathered the cardinals together in a consistory, just as was recently done, today, and he announced to the cardinals his intention to resign. Because of the Pope’s position as the supreme authority in the Church, Celestine declared that the pope could freely resign, that it was permissible, and that, because, as supreme authority, it did not have to be accepted by anyone. It just had to be freely manifested, as it says today in canon 332 of the Code of Canon Law. As long as it is freely and properly manifested it is to be accepted by no one. The Pope is the supreme authority. Because of this, his successor Boniface VIII in his redaction of Canon Law called the Liber Sextus inserted this constitution of Celestine V and it became normative Catholic law.
There was no precedent for when a pope resigns. History tells us that Boniface VIII granted Pope Celestine V a hermit’s cell where he could watch over him. Some have called it an imprisonment; it was really more of a putting him under supervision. And Celestine V himself was very happy with this; he humbly acquiesced to this as it was much more like the hermit life that he had loved so much. Gregory XIII, on the other hand, was given a titular honorific and lived out his life, not as pope any more, but as a well-respected bishop, the person who had helped, who had really been instrumental in healing the Great Western Schism.
Celestine V and his advisors were aware that this was an unusual process. In order to respond effectively, they researched and went back through history. They looked at the Liber Pontificalis, and found historical evidence that went all the way back to Pope St. Pontian, in 235, one of the first bishops of Rome. According to their research, he was arrested and sent to the salt mines, and in order for a successor to be able to be elected in Rome, he resigned his office. This became a good evidentiary support for Papal resignation for the good of the Roman Catholic Church.
Celestine V got what he wanted and eventually he, the “right man at the wrong time”, was canonised.
They also found several others who were forced to resign. The Byzantines attempted to force Pope Silverius to resign, but he refused to. But that also demonstrates the possibility of resignation. Then, at a rather low point in the Church’s history, Pope Benedict IX, in the 1040s, resigned and attempted to re-acquire the papacy several times. But according to good reports, he too died in penance at the monastery of Grottaferrata outside of Rome.
The Pope Benedict XVI Papal Timeline
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was elected as the successor to Pope John Paul II on April 19th 2005.
On April 24th, he celebrated the Papal Inauguration Mass in St. Peter’s Square, during which he was invested with the Pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman.
On May 7th he took possession of his Cathedral Church, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.
During his Papacy Pope Benedict XVIth has undertaken 24 apostolic journeys abroad. The first was to Cologne in Germany in occasion of the 20th World Youth Day in August 2005. The most recent to Lebanon in September 2012. He has travelled to countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, to the USA and has been welcomed as a guest at the United Nations in New York.
He has also undertaken 30 apostolic visits within Italy.
His 1st Encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est”, was release on December 25th 2005. The 2nd, “Spe Salvi” on November 2nd 2007; and the 3rd, “Caritas in Veritate” on June 29th 2009.
As regards the publication of books by Pope Benedict XVIth, he completed his “Jesus of Nazareth” trilogy on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in November 2012. The second volume of the trilogy is the first book authored by Benedict after his ascension to the papacy, and it was published in 2007
Pope Benedict XVI has written four Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortations: “Sacramentum Caritatis”, an Exhortation on the Eucharist as the Source and Summit on the Church’s Life and Mission in February 2007; “Verbum Domini”, an Exhortation on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church in September 2010; “Africae Munus” on the Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace in November 2011; “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente” on the Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness in September 2012.
The Real Legacy*
Pope Benedict XVI labeled homosexuality a ‘more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil’ and saying rock music could be a ‘vehicle of anti-religion’.
During his annual Christmas speech, held in 2012, at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI called same-sex marriage a “manipulation of nature,” reported by the Associated Press.
Pope Benedict XVI quoted the chief rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, in saying the campaign for gay marriage was an “attack” on the traditional family of a father, mother and children.
Pope Benedict said XVI: “People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”
“The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.”
“Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his own nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will.”
Women’s Rights and Rape of Nuns in 23 Countries
The Pope has also proved himself to be strongly against the ordination of women as priests, euthanasia, abortion and the use of artificial birth control.
So stern that the Pope said pedophilia and any attempt in ordaining female priests are both sin in July 2010.
In the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, both are equally “grave delicts,” according to revisions in internal Vatican laws documents published clarifying canon (or church) law regarding trials for priests accused of child sexual abuse, mandating quicker juridical procedures rather than drawn-out ecclesiastical trials. It extends the statute of limitations for victims to lay charges, and also names as grave delicts the possession of child pornography, and the sexual abuse of mentally challenged adults.
Rebuke woman’s rights to gender equality, the decree states that both women who attempt ordination and those who preside over the ceremony will be immediately excommunicated.
One of the incriminating news that shadow the Roman Catholic in Rome through the centuries, but finally broke out on February 26, 2011 was the extraordinary admission that they were aware of priests from at least 23 countries in five continents to have been sexually abusing nuns.
According to the confidential Vatican reports, that has been in circulation for at least 8 years, obtained by the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly magazine in the USA, have revealed that members of the Catholic clergy have been exploiting their financial and spiritual authority to gain sexual favors from nuns, particularly those from the Third World countries who are more culturally conditioned to be subservient to men.
Most of the abuse occurred in Africa, where double-standard priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on and demanded sex from nuns in exchange for favors, such as certification to work in a given diocese, to avoid contracting the AIDS virus. In extreme instances, the priests had made nuns pregnant and then encouragement them to have abortions. I personally know this first hand since I was a child. The reports did not name alleged abusers, victims, or even the countries involved — except for one reference to Malawi, where a bishop dismissed the leaders of a diocesan women’s congregation in 1988 after they complained that 29 sisters had been impregnated by diocesan priests.
The NCR also reported that sexual abuse of nuns by priests, included rape which was a serious problem and not just solely in Africa. It cited five internal church reports, 1994 to 1998, several of which went to the Vatican, written by senior members of women’s religious orders and a U.S. priest.
NCR editor Tom Roberts said the paper had been working on the story since 1999, knew the reports were being discussed privately by many orders of nuns, and understood why their leaders had hoped to get Church officials to deal with the problems without press publicity. But when the Vatican and the hierarchy seemed to be doing very little, NCR decided the wider church community needed to know of this tragedy. Said Roberts, “Women who have been victims must know they are not abandoned or ignored to protect the institution.” He also hoped “airing the reports will provide some safety for women religious who may be vulnerable” and “will prevent further abuse.”
The Vatican has acknowledged the problem, but a papal spokesman said the problem is only in a limited geographical area, which he did not identify. (This is puzzling: the reports gave examples from 23 countries on five continents.) He said the Vatican was addressing the problem through bishops and through the two main international organizations of men and women religious, the Unions of Superiors General. Their counterparts in the U.S, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said they were deeply disturbed by the reports. A joint statement said, “In any culture or situation, those in power have an ethical responsibility not to exploit others for personal gains.”
Complicating the problem is mandatory celibacy, which is not accepted in African culture as having sign value. A missionary priest in Tanzania told Catholic News Service that violations of celibacy, including consensual sex between priests and nuns, were so widespread that the Vatican had trouble finding celibate local priests to nominate as bishops. But the Vatican isn’t saying much in public. Writes Tom Roberts, “This papacy, with its ban on discussion of ordaining women, optional celibacy and married priests, is not conducive to discussion of even more difficult issues.” So Vatican public credibility is further eroded.
Sexual Abuse Scandal: The Double-Standard and Cover Up
As far as the far-reaching decades-long sexual abuse scandal under his leadership, the new policies that Pope Benedict XVI signed to punishing clergy who sexually abuse children around the world, merely maintained the status quo. The policies had no provision for dealing with bishops who cover up for molesting priests, and was not clear whether or how bishops should report abusers to civil authorities. The new rules that went on effect in 1020 gathered together norms that have been in place since 2001, making it easier for the Vatican to suspend priests accused of abuse. The policies seem to modify through time, as such what happened when they slightly modified it 2003 after another wave of sexual abuse scandal that broke out in the United States.
A revealed document, reported by Press TV on January 2011, showed that the Vatican instructed Irish bishops not to report child abuse cases in the 1990s, providing more evidence of the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in a massive cover-up of the scandal.
According to the disclosed letter written by Vatican officials back in 1997, Ireland’s Catholic bishops were instructed to withhold evidence or suspicions of crimes related to any child abuse cases involving pedophile priests and to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities, the Associated Press reported.
The letter also zeroes in on the evidence that shows the Vatican ran afoul of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin assisting police officials to identify pedophile priests after the very first reports of Irish priests’ implication in child abuse scandals surfaced.
The letter, which carries the signature of the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II’s diplomat to Ireland, asserts that the abuse cases should be dealt with within the purview of the Catholic Church instead of handing them over to criminal authorities.
“Any bishops who tried to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the highly embarrassing position of having their actions overturned on appeal in Rome,” Storero asserted in the letter.
Ireland’s prime minister responded and denounced the Vatican’s approach to allegations of child abuse in the republic as absolutely disgraceful.
Enda Kenny said the new Irish laws will make it impossible for anyone – even those high up in the Roman Catholic church – to avoid their obligations regarding reports of child abuse.
“The law of the land should not be stopped by crosier, or by collar,” Kenny said.
He added that he hopes the response from the Irish government to the Cloyne report will clarify to everyone that the law of the land applies in situations where appalling actions took place.
Kenny called on the Vatican to repeat its commitment that civil law should always be followed. The Irish Catholic church and the Vatican have faced severe criticism over repeated attempts to deal with incidents of abuse behind closed doors rather than by handing over suspects to the Garda Síochána.
Another interesting sexual abuse scandal happened on March 2012, when revelations that surfaced directly implicated Pope Benedict XVI in mishandling the case of a paedophile priest in his former archdiocese of Munich.
According to the New York Times, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was copied in on a memo from his deputy in which the priest was transferred to parish duties in Bavaria that brought him into contact with children. As a result of that decision by the then vicar-general, Father Gerhard Gruber, the priest was able to continue abusing boys, for which he was later tried and convicted.
A spokesman for the archdiocese told the Guardian: “The report does not contain false information, but the interpretation – that Cardinal Ratzinger knew – is pure speculation.” The spokesman added: “I do not know if any copy [of the memo] exists. But it is a usual procedure that a decision about priests goes to the office of the archbishop. But it is not usual that he takes note of every written piece of paper; every decision of the vicar-general.”
Perhaps, Pope Benedict’s biggest scandal is when the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy want the International Criminal Court to investigate Pope Benedict and three Vatican officials, accusing them of allowing the rape and abuse of children.
The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.
Many doubt that this can be done as Vatican itself has not signed up to the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction. However, I beg to differ because they did it with Col. Muammar Gaddafi and Libyan Arab Jamahiriya who were also not signatories.
Supported Palestine Statehood
Pope Benedict XVI may have gaffes and scandals, but there are some good contributions too.
In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI has pledged his support for the creation of a Palestinian homeland and criticised the ‘tragedy’ of Israel’s separation barrier.
The Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognised borders,” the Pope said reported by the Telegraph.
“I know how much you have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades,” the Pope said.
“It is my earnest hope that the serious concerns involving security in Israel and the Palestinian territories will soon be allayed sufficiently to allow greater freedom of movement, especially with regard to contact between family members and access to the holy places.”
“Towering over us … is a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem to have reached – the wall,” the Pope said.
“In a world where more and more borders are being opened up – to trade, to travel, to movement of peoples, to cultural exchanges – it is tragic to see walls still being erected.”
Speaking after his visit, he issued a message of hope. “I have seen, adjoining the camp and overshadowing much of Bethlehem, the wall that intrudes into your territories, separating neighbors and dividing families,” he said.
“Although walls can easily be built, we all know that they do not last for ever. They can be taken down.”
As someone who has experienced Nazi Germany, this was a significant statement and gesture. Israel need to pay attention to history.
Sol Invictus and Mithraism: Jesus ‘Birth’ Date is False, Christian calendar was wrong
In my eyes and my favorite because TRUTH got unleashed is when Pope Benedict XVI, 34 days before Christmas, said the Christian calendar is based on a miscalculation and that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly believed.
Christmas’s origins has its problems. It is not found anywhere, not even in any ancient Christian writings. In fact, first and second century historical writings do not even mention of birth celebrations in the writings of early Christian founding fathers such as Irenaeus (c. 130–200) or Tertullian (c. 160–225). Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264), instead mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as “pagan” practices.
What is factual, is that Christianity was considered a cult and the prevalent religion at the time is Mithra worship, the pagan religion they patterned all the major Christian holidays we know today, the worship of the Sun. This evolved to worshipping the “Son”. The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. In 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus or Mithra (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25.
Christianity has always practiced this art of absorbing other people’s beliefs and calling them their own Easter from the pagan festival of Easter, High Mass, Sunday Sabbath, Holly and Ivy, Decorating trees, Monotheism, The Eucharist… All of it is taken from Mithra. The bread disks that the Mithra worshipers ate during their Mass to symbolize the flesh of their God was marked with a cross, hundreds of years before it became a Catholic or Christian symbol. Certainly, the Roman Catholic Church took on the wafer.
JESUS’ DIVINITY DEBATE was ‘sanctioned’ at the First Council of Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day ?znik in Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I, as first effort to attain consensus on the idea of the divinity of Christ along with the idea of Christ as a messenger from the one God (“The Father”) had long existed in various parts of the Roman empire. The divinity of Christ was already widely endorsed by the Christian community in the otherwise pagan city of Rome.
Constantine was a Mithra (Sun god) worshipper all his life. Yes, the Real First Pope of Rome, not Peter. That was propaganda.
Constantine retained the title of pontifex maximus until his death, a title emperors bore as heads of the pagan priesthood, as would his Christian successors on to Gratian (r. 375–83). According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Mithra was a Persian savior. The worship of Mithra became common throughout the Roman Empire, particularly among the Roman civil service and military. The Mithraism and Christianity were competitors until the 4th century. Constantine’s headache then was not splitting the empire between the two, therefore, he called THE COUNCIL OF NICAEA into order, just like a President of a country would do today. He organized the Council along the lines of the Roman Senate. He was present as an observer, and did not vote just like how the American Vice President in US Congress where he will only vote if needed in case of a tie.
The earliest known examples of Mithra worship date back over four thousand (4000) years ago into the Persian Empire. Mithra was the son of Ahura-Mazda, the divine God of the heavens.
Mithra and Ahura-Mazda were strong influences on early Babylonian beliefs. Along came the Zoroastrians in the 6th century BC who absorbed Mithra and Ahura-Mazda into their own culture where, – Ahura-Mazda – became the supreme holy God of goodness and – Ahriman – became the God of Evil.
Soon after this Zoroastrian or Babylonian takeover around 580-BC, the Babylonians were holding the Jews in captivity. The Jews were Henotheists at this time but became heavily influenced by the concept of one god of goodness and one god of evil.
Read carefully if these “events” below resembles what any Christian group and the bible:
1. Mithra was sent by the Father God down to Earth to confirm his contract with Man.
2. Mithra was born of a Virgin through – Immaculate Conception – He was born of Anahita, an immaculate virgin mother.
3.Mithra was born in a stable – We celebrate his birth on December 25th -.
4. Mithra was visited by wise men bearing gifts.
5. Mithra had 12 disciples – He was called the Messiah -.
6. Mithra was also the god of Darius, conqueror of Babylon, He was called – – Messiah – – or Christos by Jews during their Captivity.
7. Mithra made a (Contract) or (Covenant) with Man confirming an older contract with God – The Persian word Mithra literally means –Contract.
8. Mithra celebrated a last supper with his disciples before his death.
9. Mithra died to atone for the sins of Man.
10. Mithra was resurrected on a Sunday.
11. Mithra ascended into Heaven to rejoin his Father.
12. Mithra will return to pass judgment on Man – He was known as the judger of souls.
13. On judgment day, the dead will arise and be judged by Mithra.
14. Mithra will send sinners to HELL.
15. Mithra will send the faithful to HEAVEN.
16. On judgment day there will be a final conflict between Good and Evil – The forces of Evil will be destroyed and the saved will live in paradise forever.
17. Mithra is part of a Holy Trinity the – (Father, Son, And Holy Spirit) , that took human form.
18. Mithra is depicted as having a halo, (a circular band of light around his head).
19. Mithra followers drink wine and eat bread, which represent his blood and flesh.
20. Mithra followers are baptized.
21. Saturday and Sunday, the two (2) days of the week to rest and celebrate.
Sound awfully similar with the “Jesus narrative” and the entire New Testament that the wealthy family named Piso conjured up and had written to purposely placate the slaves?
This is just Mithra. Go research about Krishna. They are all the same. Why? Two words: Sol Invictus.
That is a whole lot of remarkable coincidences, all from thousands of years before ISSAH or Jesus was born. The Holy book of Zoroastrian was called the Avesta of Zarathustra, (Zoroaster is the Greek word for the Persian – – Zarathustra ). The Jews were well aware of this book.
Circa 200 C.E., Clement of Alexandria, a Christian teacher in Egypt makes reference to the date Jesus was born. He said that several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups. but Clement doesn’t mention December 25 at all. Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar]…And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Savior suffered. Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].” (1)
The culprit who distorted our civilization with this date was a monk from Russia called Dionysius Exiguus who was asked by Pope John to work out the dates for Easter. It was back in 527 A.D. when Dionysius formalized the date of Jesus’ birth as December 25 on the Christian calendar. He invented the now commonly used Anno Domini (A.D.) era, which counts years based on that birth of Jesus ‘pronouncement’.
This discrepancy has been known about for many centuries, in fact. In the 17th century it became quite apparent that the calculations by Dionysius Exiguus were incorrect. The dating basically rests on the New Testament.
The Pope’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth: Infancy Narratives”, which traces Christ’s early life until the age of 12, is the third and final installment of a project the 85-year-old Benedict conceived a decade ago and began writing soon after he became pope in 2005.
In this last book, Benedict blends history, theology, linguistics and even astronomy to interpret the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which describe the months just before and after Jesus’ birth.
Here is the key points of his views surrounding Jesus’ birth and various myths, which Daily Mail also confirms what I wrote above as historical facts:
NO DONKEY: No donkeys or any other animal have a place in the traditional nativity scene – they were a 7th century BC Hebrew invention, relating to the Book of Habakkuk.
Habakkuk was the eighth book of 12 minor prophets in the Old Testament. In Christian tradition, he is regarded by some as a prophet who predicted the nativity.
Scenes relating to the birth of Jesus, as described in the Gospel, do not directly refer to the presence of an ox and donkey.
But in Habakkuk 3:2, it is written: ‘In the midst of the two beasts wilt thou be known’ – and this was one of the sources which inspired the presence of the creatures at the manger.
(It is worth noting that another Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, also inspired the manger scenery, with his words from 1:3: ‘The ox knows its owner, and an ass, its master’s manger’).
NO SINGING ANGELS: Angels never sang to the shepherds to proclaim Christ’s birth – they just spoke, according to Pope Benedict. And it is from this falsehood the tradition of singing carols was born.
According to the Bible, three wise men from the east travelled a great distance on camels and followed a star to Bethlehem to visit baby Jesus in the manger – bringing with them gifts. However, hardly any of these details are actually in the holy book…
In Mathew 2:1, it is written: ‘Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem…’
HOW MANY WISE MEN? Matthew’s Gospel does not reveal the exact number. But because Matthew 2:11 mentions three gifts – ‘… they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh’ – it is widely held that there were three wise men.
WERE THEY KINGS? They were probably learned men, such as astrologers.
WHAT WERE THEY CALLED? The three often cited were supposedly called Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. But these names are said to have first been recorded in a Greek manuscript 500 years after the birth of Jesus.
CAMELS: There is also nothing in the Bible that says they travelled on camels.
BORN IN A MANGER? Again, according to Matthew 2:11: ‘And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him…’
BETHLEHEM OR NAZARETH?: Matthew has Jesus’ parents living in Bethlehem; Luke has them living in Nazareth in Galilee. (And the Gospels of Mark and John don’t actually recount the story of the nativity at all.)
MARY’S BOY CHILD JESUS CHRIST WAS BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY? Boney M sang it but it doesn’t mean it’s true. The Bible does not specify a date or a month. But December 25 is known to have become popular during the fourth century so Christians could have an alternative to a popular pagan festival at that time of year. December 25, which was around the time of the winter solstice, also marked a pagan festival for Mithraism, a Roman cult that rivalled Christianity (and celebrated the birth of their god, Mithra).
NO STAR OF BETHLEHEM: At that time, in Judea, there was no concept of astronomy. And no star can shine on just one particular town. According to Matthew 2: 9-11: ‘After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.’
SHEEP IN THE BLEAK MID-WINTER? If the shepherds had truly been watching their flocks by night, it is highly unlikely they would have done so in the bitter cold. They would have watched them night, and day, during the lambing season in spring.
But there is one part of the nativity story he is firm on – that Mary was a virgin and Christ was conceived with the Holy Spirit alone.
In the section ‘Virgin Birth – Myth or Historical Truth?’ he says: ‘The accounts of Matthew and Luke are not myths taken a stage further.
‘They are firmly rooted, in terms of their basic conception, in the biblical tradition of God the Creator and Redeemer.’
The Pope isn’t really saying anything new. The problem is the centuries upon centuries of brainwashed half-truths and fictional narratives.
1. Clement, Stromateis 1.21.145. In addition, Christians in Clement’s native Egypt seem to have known a commemoration of Jesus’ baptism—sometimes understood as the moment of his divine choice, and hence as an alternate “incarnation” story—on the same date (Stromateis 1.21.146). See further on this point Thomas J. Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year, 2nd ed. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), pp. 118–120, drawing on Roland H. Bainton, “Basilidian Chronology and New Testament Interpretation,” Journal of Biblical Literature 42 (1923), pp. 81–134; and now especially Gabriele Winkler, “The Appearance of the Light at the Baptism of Jesus and the Origins of the Feast of the Epiphany,” in Maxwell Johnson, ed., Between Memory and Hope: Readings on the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), pp. 291–347.