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Is the Pope Catholic?

I saw this posted at Birther Report:

Catholic Exorcist Warns: Pope Francis is NOT the Legitimate Pope & Satan Has Taken Over the Throne … Your local priest may NOT be legitimate either. Human Immortal Souls are in Danger!!"

I suppose there is some sort of progression here—Obama is not President and the Pope is not Catholic. There’s a video that mentions this website.

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24 Responses to Is the Pope Catholic?

  1. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) June 3, 2015 at 4:19 am #

    The world is full of people who think they’re the legitimate Pope. 😉
    I know a German crank who believes the “real Catholic church” consists of exactly two people, himself and his mother (ever since the Second Vatican Council accepted non-Catholic Christians as such). Though he hasn’t crowned himself Pope yet.

    The difference to birtherism is that birthers usually don’t think they’re the legitimate President. 😉 (Again, different from German right-wing cranks who often elect themselves “Chancellor of the Reich” or something.)

    I wonder if there are Christians who believe the “real” God is not the one who “wrote” the Bible because the latter was actually penned by Satan.

  2. avatar
    Pastor Charmley June 3, 2015 at 6:27 am #

    There are many and various folk who think that either their splinter group has the real Pope, or that there is no Pope (the technical term for the latter is Sedevacantism). Quite a lot blame Vatican II for the apostasy, with its institutionalising of a more liberal approach. You can also find folk who think that someone else ought to be monarch of the UK.

    I am also reminded of the situation after World War II, when Japanese Emperor Hirohito renounced his divine status, when all of a sudden various people came forward claiming to represent an alternative but more legitimate Imperial line. The one who really took the biscuit was the woman who claimed to be descended from the elder brother of the goddess Amaterasu (the deity the Japanese Imperial family claim descent from), and therefore to have a superior claim!

  3. avatar
    Smirk 4 Food June 3, 2015 at 7:22 am #

    Great. I bet now you’re going to tell me that bears don’t crap in the woods!

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 3, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    There was one, Susan Herbert. She said:

    “I happen to be the very first American citizen to successfully claim ownership of all of the knowledge found within the Declaration and the Constitution and then I became the first American to overcome all fear and so act upon that truth.”

    The Magic M (not logged in): The difference to birtherism is that birthers usually don’t think they’re the legitimate President.

  5. avatar
    Keith June 3, 2015 at 8:06 am #

    The Magic M (not logged in): I wonder if there are Christians who believe the “real” God is not the one who “wrote” the Bible because the latter was actually penned by Satan.

    You should read up on the early Christians, the Gnostics. That is actually their creation myth. You could start at gnosis.org.

    Some lines of thought identify the Gnostic demiurgos with Satan, and the serpent in the garden with the transcendent ‘real’ God first attempt at sending Christ to ‘recover’ the sparks of pleroma trapped in the physical bodies of the flawed creation.

    I enjoy this myth because it positions the Judeo Christian mythology (as seen through Gnosticism) in the same tradition as virtually all other religions with respect to mankind having to ‘steal’ knowledge from jealous gods.

  6. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) June 3, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: There was one, Susan Herbert.

    Now I remember Cody Robert Judy also claimed he was the legitimate President because Obama was ineligible and Romney “forfeited” (or “conceded defeat”), leaving only Judy as “legitimate” candidate.

    Keith: You should read up on the early Christians, the Gnostics.

    Thanks. Though I wouldn’t consider these people nutjobs, one creation myth is as good/bad as the other. 😉

  7. avatar
    Lupin June 3, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    It seems to me that what was once the Unabomber’s and Tim McVeigh’s eccentric extreme views have increasingly become the ordinary views of the Republican base.

  8. avatar
    donna June 3, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    Lupin:

    Timothy McVeigh’s anti-government views have moved from the extremist fringe into the GOP mainstream

    “Then, with the election of Obama, you get a whole new wave of Patriot activity and a new variant of conspiracy-ism, including the birther stuff and the idea that Obama is an agent of powerful elites.”

    The surge in fringe activism was so dramatic after Obama’s election that the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning in 2009 predicting that right-wing extremists would multiply and “the consequences of their violence [could be] more severe.” The report was withdrawn after a conservative outcry.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/timothy-mcveighs-anti-government-views-have-moved-from-the-extremist-fringe-into-the-gop-mainstream/

  9. avatar
    Benji Franklin June 3, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Lupin: It seems to me that what was once the Unabomber’s and Tim McVeigh’s eccentric extreme views have increasingly become the ordinary views of the Republican base.

    When Birther Report posts such things as:

    “Catholic Exorcist Warns: Pope Francis is NOT the Legitimate Pope & Satan Has Taken Over the Throne …”

    their believing adherents find the credibility of such a bizarre premise PROFOUNDLY supported by personally apprehended discoveries like, THAT Miracle Whip salad dressing IS NOT real Miracle Whip, and THAT Pizza Hut pizza, is NOT REAL Pizza Hut pizza!

    Troubled persons too eager to quickly make sense out of existence are generally not going to make much sense at all, besides nonsense.

  10. avatar
    Suranis June 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    The Gnostic were not the early Christians though they might try and claim so today. They were an entirely separate sect, though there were Christian Gnostic sects who blended the ideas of both religions, but there were Gnostic Sects who blended the Roman religion as well as there were an awful lot of competing gnostic sects. Despite what you might read in the Da Vinci Code, most of the gnostic sects treated women worse than the Christians did as they were very suspicions of Women sucking the “good” side of creation out of them.

    They were very big in St. Augustines time and St. Augustine spent a lot of time writing about them and demolishing their ideas.

    I like to look at modern advertising and the health food industry and comparing it with Gnostic Ideas in them and the Gnostic phraseology. Dividing food into “good” food and “bad” food, making yourself more pure by eating “good” food, “detoxing” yourself with really “good” food, etc. Some of the fraudulent medicine industry uses Gnostic Ideas as well.

    Keith: You should read up on the early Christians, the Gnostics. That is actually their creation myth. You could start at gnosis.org.

  11. avatar
    Keith June 3, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

    Nothing to do with da Vinci code.

    As the Jesus cults matured and separated their ideas from mainstream Judaism, the Gnostic Christians were the earliest identifiable ‘Christians’. Predating Pauline Christianity. And yes, they did borrow from many of the religions around them, as did Paul.

  12. avatar
    Suranis June 3, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

    Nope

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Gnosticism

    “Although some scholars hypothesize that gnosticism developed before or contemporaneous with Christianity, no gnostic texts have been discovered that pre-date Christianity.[1] James M. Robinson, a noted proponent of pre-Christian Gnosticism, has admitted “pre-Christian Gnosticism as such is hardly attested in a way to settle the debate once and for all.”[2] Since pre-Christian Gnosticism, as such, is strictly hypothetical, any influence of Gnosticism upon Christianity is speculative. Therefore, gnosticism as a unique and recognizable belief system is typically considered to be a second century (or later) development.[3]”

    Now some people push the idea of Gnosticism as the religion of early Christianity to promote the idea that Jesus never existed and therefore was an fact a parable of a transcendently pure Gnostic Idea of perfection, and who therefore would not have had a body. But as the article points out there were even then really big differences between orthodox Christians and Christian Gnostics. But the fact is that Gnosticism generally rose in the Second century and was really influenced by people who drew from the work of Plato and who rejected the Old testament, that should be a pretty big clue that the Gnostics were not in any way shape or form from any kind of Jewish tradition as a Jewish one would have had a reverence for the old testament. St Paul as a Pharisee would certainly have been pushing the old law and Testaments.

    Anyway, We can agree to disagree on it 🙂

  13. avatar
    Suranis June 3, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    Anyway if you are interested in the ideas of the Gnostics you really should check out Plato and especially his Theory of Forms, as that was really the basis for a lot of Gnostic concepts. I really enjoyed studying him in college.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 3, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    I’ve read Robinson’s “Pagan Christs” that argues that Jesus is a repackaged Mithra.

    Suranis: “Although some scholars hypothesize that gnosticism developed before or contemporaneous with Christianity, no gnostic texts have been discovered that pre-date Christianity.[1] James M. Robinson,

  15. avatar
    Krosis June 4, 2015 at 12:47 am #

    As an informed Quora poster notes, unlikely:

    http://www.quora.com/Is-Christian-mythology-an-adaptation-of-Mithraism

  16. avatar
    Keith June 4, 2015 at 12:52 am #

    Suranis: “Although some scholars hypothesize that gnosticism developed before or contemporaneous with Christianity, no gnostic texts have been discovered that pre-date Christianity.[1] James M. Robinson, a noted proponent of pre-Christian Gnosticism, has admitted “pre-Christian Gnosticism as such is hardly attested in a way to settle the debate once and for all.”[2] Since pre-Christian Gnosticism, as such, is strictly hypothetical, any influence of Gnosticism upon Christianity is speculative. Therefore, gnosticism as a unique and recognizable belief system is typically considered to be a second century (or later) development.[3]”

    This from Elaine Pagels introduction to James Robinson’s “The Nag Hammadi Library”:

    About the dating of the manuscripts themselves there is little debate. Examination of the datable papyrus used to thicken the leather bindings, and of the Coptic script, place them c. A.D. 350-400. But scholars sharply disagree about the dating of the original texts. Some of them can hardly be later than c. A.D. 120-150, since Irenaeus, the orthodox Bishop of Lyons, writing C. 180, declares that heretics “boast that they possess more gospels than there really are,” and complains that in his time such writings already have won wide circulation–from Gaul through Rome, Greece, and Asia Minor.

    Quispel and his collaborators, who first published the Gospel of Thomas, suggested the date of c.A.D. 140 for the original. Some reasoned that since these gospels were heretical, they must have been written later than the gospels of the New Testament,which are dated c. 60-l l0. But recently Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University has suggested that the collection of sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, although compiled c. 140, may include some traditions even older than the gospels of the New Testament, “possibly as early as the second half of the first century” (50-100)–
    as early as, or earlier, than Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.

    I’m not trying to say that the Gnostics were THE early Christians, only that they WERE early Christians. I was merely responding to Magic M’s cry of disbelief to show that at least SOME Christians were not only capable of believing that Satan was the ‘actual’ creator, but indeed that that was a central tenet of their creation myth.

    As Elaine Pagels also says: “History is written by the victors”. Just because Pauline Christianity became the orthodox Christian tradition (after hundreds of years of bloody suppression of all opposition) doesn’t mean that it was the only tradition practiced in the ‘early days’. As the “Jesus Movement” coalesced in to “Christ Cults” there were many competing idologies. Paul’s top down organized and controlled church was much more suited to supporting the governance of an empire than the extremely individualistic Gnostic networks of like minded free thinkers. Even so it took a thousand bloody years for the Orthodox church to suppress the Gnostic movement into irrelevance.

    Some suggested readings from my own library:

    The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy (1999).
    The Heretics by Barrows Dunham (1963)
    The Gnostics by Tobias Churlton (1987)
    A History of Gnosticism by Giovanni Filoramo (1992)
    The Tree of Gnosis by Ioan P. Couliano (1992)

  17. avatar
    Krosis June 4, 2015 at 3:32 am #

    Gnostic cults weren’t, to my knowledge, particularly prone to free-thinking any more than the proto-Orthodox cults did.

  18. avatar
    Keith June 4, 2015 at 7:29 am #

    Perhaps my terminology is a bit informal there. Certainly not ‘free-thinkers’ in the 17th century mode of doubting religion or the 1960’s mode of doubting political authority, but free-thinking never-the-less.

    Since Gnosis is a personal enlightenment and there is no dogma or defined path to such enlightenment, I would most certainly classify Gnostics as free-thinkers. This lack of a given ideology and control structure made them vulnerable to the recognized Roman cult.

  19. avatar
    Suranis June 4, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I’ve read Robinson’s “Pagan Christs” that argues that Jesus is a repackaged Mithra.

    It’s completely wrong. Firstly, the Mithra cults only began acquiring the Christ like bits and pieces that Mythisist point at in the second and third century AD. In other words they were repackaging Mithras with Christian ideas and not the other way around

    Second if people wanted to join the Cult of Mithras that could have just joined the cult of Mithras. It only began to decline in the 4th century and and was a large rival cult for the first 3 centuries of Christianity.

    Third Mythisists love to claim that Mithras as an example of a Virgin birth but in fact the real legends claim were that he was born from a rock. I don’t think rocks have sexual status.

    They also claim Horus was the source of the virgin birth of the mixed up myth of Jesus, but that’s not true either, Isis was already married to Osiris, and in fact Horus was born when Isis dragged together 12 of the 13 pieces of Osiris’s corpse and substituted a golden magic Dildo for the missing piece, resulting in the Pregnancy of Horus. I don’t think that counts as virginity, somehow.

    They also claim Osiris rose from the dead and was the source of the “Jesus rose from the dead” part of the Jesus myth. In fact Osiris was not said to have risen risen from the dead either. He remained in the land of the dead as the ruler of the Underworld.

    Real scholars have been debunking these ideas for years but they have been spreading on the internet like a rash because they make people feel somehow smart and enlightened, I would postulate.

    https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/11-silly-things-some-atheists-say/

    “1) That Jesus never existed.

    The evidence for Jesus’ existence as a 1st century person is very convincing, if you are willing to view this evidence I have detailed it here, and here. I also outline 41 reasons why scholars know for certain that Jesus existed (here). In fact, we can know quite a lot about Jesus, and in this article I establish 23 historically certain things we can know about him. As Paul Maier, former Professor of Ancient History, remarks: “The total evidence is so overpowering, so absolute that only the shallowest of intellects would dare to deny Jesus’ existence.”

    Are these atheists being the “shallowest of intellects”? They seem to be. Bart Ehrman, perhaps the leading sceptical scholar of our time compares those who deny Jesus ever existing to six-day creationists:

    “These views are so extreme (that Jesus did not exist) and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.”

    The most direct opinion comes from the non-Christian scholar Maurice Casey, a former prominent New Testament historian before his recent death. He hits the nail on the head when he says:

    “This view [that Jesus didn’t exist] is demonstrably false. It is fuelled by a regrettable form of atheist prejudice, which holds all the main primary sources, and Christian people, in contempt. …. Most of its proponents are also extraordinarily incompetent.”

    Yes, indeed these atheists are “prejudice(ed)”, the “shallowest of intellects”, “unconvincing”, and “extraordinary incompetent.” In fact I will end this point on a quote from an atheist historian:

    “After 30+ years of observing and taking part in debates about history with many of my fellow atheists I can safely claim that most atheists are historically illiterate. This is not particular to atheists: they tend to be about as historically illiterate as most people, since historical illiteracy is pretty much the norm. But it does not mean that when most (not all) atheists comment about history or, worse, try to use history in debates about religion, they are usually doing so with a grasp of the subject that is stunted at about high school level.”

    Tim O’Neill goes on to say: “All too often many atheists can be polemicists when dealing with the past, only crediting information or analysis that fits an argument against religion they are trying to make while downplaying, dismissing or ignoring evidence or analysis that does not fit their agenda””

    As cracked said on this subject, you don’t fight Bullshit by making up more bullshit.

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 4, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    A principle we try to follow on this blog.

    Suranis: As cracked said on this subject, you don’t fight Bullshit by making up more bullshit.

  21. avatar
    Suranis June 4, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    As principles go, its not a bad one to follow.

  22. avatar
    Keith June 4, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Suranis: Third Mythisists love to claim that Mithras as an example of a Virgin birth but in fact the real legends claim were that he was born from a rock. I don’t think rocks have sexual status.

    Myths do not purport to expose reality. Myths teach.

    My personal go-to ‘authority’, Joseph Campbell wrote in “Hero with a Thousand Faces”:

    In mythologies emphasizing the maternal rather than the paternal aspect of the creator, this original female fills the world stage in the beginning,… And she is virgin, because her spouse is the Invisible Unknown.

    I agree it is stretching a metaphor beyond reasonable limits to describe Mithras ‘birth’ as a virgin birth. That does not mean that other traditions, older than Christianity do not describe virgin births; nor does it mean that the virgin birth of Jesus is a copy of an earlier myth – myths don’t just get copied – they morph like the code phrase in a game of Chinese Whispers.

    Many of the so-called similarities between Mithras and Jesus stories may well be indefensible exaggerations, however other Roman myths are full of couplings between Gods and humans, and the issue therefrom, as are Hindu, and African, and American, and Chinese and Pacific Islanders. I suspect, as do others, that the Christian archetype is more likely an adaption of the Assyrian/Babylonian story of Marduk than the story of Mithras.

    There are other Egyptian prototypes as well, perhaps more likely than Isis/Horus. Mut-em-ua, the virgin Queen of Egypt, was said to have given birth to the Pharaoh Amenkept (or Amenophis) III, who built the temple of Luxor two thousand years before Christianity.

    In Greece, Dionysos was the son of the virgin Persephone in one tale and the miraculously conceived son of the mortal Semele in another. Dionysos’ myth,

    which was current long before the Christian era, is a remarkable example of the kind of story which could be, and was, invented about a man-god. He was said to have been persecuted by Pentheus, King of Thebes (the home of his mother); to have been rejected in his own country; and, when bound, to have asserted that his father, God, would set him free whenever he chose to appeal to him. He disappears from earth, but re-appears as a light shining more brightly than the sun, and speaks to his trembling disciples; and he subsequently visits Hades. The story of his birth is alluded to, and the story of his persecution related, in The Bacchae, which Euripides wrote about 410 B.C. when the myth was already very old and very well known.

    Jason was another son of virgin Persephone and was slain by Zeus. Perseus was another virgin birth; so similar to the Christ story that Justin Martyr attacked it as a “preemptive” copy (shades of the Birthers time-machine!).

    Mithras does however fall into a rather larger classification of ‘miraculous births’. Just because some over enthusiastic writers mistake the Roman Mithras with the Vedic Mitra or the Iranian Mithra or even the Buddhist Maitreya, does not negate the point of the miraculous birth.

    The details of the miraculous birth don’t actually matter, a virgin birth is the same as a birth from a rock is the same as half a term in a womb and the rest of the term in Zeus thigh. The miraculous birth, in whatever form, represents the creative spirit at the beginning of time.

  23. avatar
    Suranis June 4, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    Oh brother. Look dude I don’t know where you are getting all that stuff but you had better think seriously about what websites you are reading. Lets just take Jason, chosen at random

    Jason was another son of virgin Persephone and was slain by Zeus. Perseus was another virgin birth; so similar to the Christ story that Justin Martyr attacked it as a “preemptive” copy (shades of the Birthers time-machine!).

    Er no

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason

    Jason’s father is invariably Aeson, but there is great variation as to his mother’s name. According to various authors, she could be:

    Alcimede, daughter of Phylacus[1][2][3]
    Polymede,[4][5] or Polymele,[6][7] or Polypheme,[8] a daughter of Autolycus
    Amphinome[9]
    Theognete, daughter of Laodicus[8]
    Rhoeo[6]
    Arne or Scarphe[10]

    Jason was also said to have had a younger brother Promachus[9] and a sister Hippolyte, who married Acastus[11] (see Astydameia).

    Perseus, who you called so like the Christian Myth that it could have been the basis for it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus

    Origin at Argos

    Perseus was the son of Zeus and Danaë, the daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos. Disappointed by his lack of luck in having a son, Acrisius consulted the oracle at Delphi, who warned him that he would one day be killed by his daughter’s son with Zeus. In order to keep Danaë childless, Acrisius imprisoned her in a bronze chamber, open to the sky, in the courtyard of his palace:[5] This mytheme is also connected to Ares, Oenopion, Eurystheus, etc. Zeus came to her in the form of a shower of gold, and impregnated her.[6] Soon after, their child was born; Perseus

    And Persephone a virgin? You must be joking. Yes, part of the story is that Demeter tried to keep her away from the other gods to protect her maidenhood, but her virginity ended when Hades came and kidnapped her in what classicists called the Rape of Persephone. Also she had no kids before that.

    As For Dyonisis is in no way associated with Persephone aside from shared roles as harvest and fertility gods

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus

    Dionysus had a strange birth that evokes the difficulty in fitting him into the Olympian pantheon. His mother was a mortal woman, Semele, the daughter of king Cadmus of Thebes, and his father was Zeus, the king of the gods. Zeus’ wife, Hera, discovered the affair while Semele was pregnant. Appearing as an old crone (in other stories a nurse), Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that Zeus was the actual father of the baby in her womb. Hera pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele’s mind. Curious, Semele demanded of Zeus that he reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood.

    Though Zeus begged her not to ask this, she persisted and he agreed. Therefore he came to her wreathed in bolts of lightning; mortals, however, could not look upon an undisguised god without dying, and she perished in the ensuing blaze. Zeus rescued the unborn Dionysus by sewing him into his thigh. A few months later, Dionysus was born on Mount Pramnos in the island of Ikaria, where Zeus went to release the now-fully-grown baby from his thigh. In this version, Dionysus is born by two “mothers” (Semele and Zeus) before his birth, hence the epithet dimētōr (of two mothers) associated with his being “twice-born”.

    I hope that is enough to convince you that wherever you have been reading this stuff is about as accurate as Infowars. I’m not going to comment on the other deities as I never studied those cultures (flaunts my degree in Classics) but I think its probably fair to say that the accounts you relayed are as full of incorrect gibberish as these ones.

    I’m done boring everyone with this. You need to look at some real sites on Classical Myth, because you are unfortunately just wrong with what you said here. The real stuff is a lot more fascinating than the misleading stuff.

  24. avatar
    Keith June 5, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

    Yeah. OK. Maybe I got suckered by a crap site when I was looking for support in too much haste. I’ll check my sources better next time.

    That does not negate the fact that the idea of virgin birth preceded the Christian myth in many cultures world wide.

    Quetzalcoatl has several myths surrounding his birth, the most prominate involve the virgin Chimalman. Of course this could not influence Christianity nor vice versa.

    The old testament borrows a lot from Babylon, why should we be surprised that the virgin birth is borrowed as well.