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The Vatican's macabre library
To this very day, the Vatican maintains the most morbid and secretive library in the world. Called the ‘Custodia’, its purpose is to store sacks and envelopes filled with human skull fragments, ashes, bones, pieces of old blood-stained clothing and other gruesome items all pertaining to be the relics of deceased Catholic saints. An inexhaustible supply of skeletal remains is found in the catacombs, the water-torn tunnels or galleries used for burials that underlie the Roman district, and they are alleged to be collected and sent by the ‘Superintendent of the Catacombs’ to the Vatican to be baptized. It is said that then the Vatican’s Canon-Custodian produces ‘Certificates of Relics’ that are taken to the Vatican for the signature of the Cardinal Vicar (Italian: Cardinale Vicario). Cardinal Vicar is a title commonly given to the vicar general of the diocese of Rome for the portion of the diocese within Italy. The official title, as given in the ‘Annuario Pontificio (under the heading ‘Vicariate of Rome’), is ‘Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome’:
'Because churches and chapels are inaugurated every month somewhere in the world, the priest-librarian is kept busy filling envelopes with pinches of dust or fragments of bone which are then mailed in registered letters'.
('The Vatican Papers', Nino Lo Bello, New English Library (a division of Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd.), Kent, 1982)
The opening of graves and dismemberment of bodies and the traffic in human remains had its beginnings in Christianity in the Fourth Century under the papacy of Pope Damasus (d. c. 384), 'the evilest person of the Fourth Century' ('Encyclopedia Britannica', Vol., 6, 12th Ed., 'Damasus'). Little is known about his past because it was 'deleted from modern revisions of Catholic history' ('A History of the Popes', Dr. Joseph McCabe, Rector of Buckingham College; d. 1955; C. A. Watts and Co, London), but we do know that Pope Damasus opened for the Church of Rome an era of gross fraud and exploitation of the ignorant masses. He had the catacombs drained and repaired, and personally wrote false inscriptions for what he passed off as 'the tombs of the martyrs'.
Human body parts in Christian churches
The peculiar practice in Catholicism of collecting human remains gained momentum in the Ninth Century when Pope Nicholas I (858-867) decreed it unlawful for a church to be built or consecrated without a box of human bones or some other fetid scraps being deposited under the altar, and they were lodged there in grand ceremonies in which believer's contributed a donation to be in attendance. Nicholas I was supporting a decree of the second Council of Nicaea in 787, reaffirmed by the Council of Trent in 1546, that forbade the consecration of any church without a supply of human relics ('Catholic Encyclopedia', Farley Ed., Vol., xii, p. 737). Thus the ancient superstition of human remnants being placed in churches was sanctioned, and its observance was then made mandatory under Canon Law.
The bishop who sold human corpses
An unceasing demand for human body parts was created, and the market supply was more than equal to the pious demand. For example, the ancient tradition of the Vatican building up an assemblage of grisly human remains across Europe is recorded in Church records, and this is one instance:
'At the beginning of the ninth century the exportation of bodies from Rome had assumed the proportions of a regular commerce, and a certain bishop, Deusdona, acquired an unenviable notoriety in these transactions'.
('Catholic Encyclopedia', Farley Ed., Vol., xii, pp. 737-8)
The bishop and his 'unscrupulous rogues' (ibid) were selling human remains to churches throughout Europe as those of Christian martyrs, and body parts 'discovered near a church or in the catacombs' (ibid) brought the greatest price. Of this deceptive practice, British-born American author John William Draper (1811-82) said this;
'The pretence reflects the debauchery of morals and mind which made possible these scandalous practices of the Christian priesthood'.
('The Intellectual Development of Europe', J. W. Draper, i, p. 328)
In such an atmosphere of lawlessness, fake human relics came to abound, and priests induced the rabble of the day to part with what little cash they had to view the frauds in Church-arranged ceremonies.
Quote of the day:
"No rogue like to the godly rogue".