The Myth of Apostolic Authority

“The power of a lie when it is a thumping big one. “

by Douglas Lockhart

Two Jesuits who have used the special release clause of their Order, and set aside their vows, are Malachi Martin and Peter de Rosa. Martin withdrew from the Order in 1964, de Rosa in 1970, but for very different reasons and with very different results. During 1988, Peter de Rosa published Vicars of Christ, an historical study of the papacy’s darker side, and in the same year Malachi Martin published Hostage to the Devil, a study of demon possession and exorcism today.

Peter de Rosa left the Jesuits and the priesthood to marry and have children, have children and write his stinging attack on the papacy; Malachi Martin because he felt the Society of Jesus had betrayed the Roman Catholic Church and undermined the authority of the very papacy De Rosa describes as ‘rotten to its historical core’. This is not to inflate De Rosa’s study; it is a devastating read which reveals the papacy as never ever having had the right to exercise supreme authority at any time. The book was appreciated for its honesty and seriousness by many Catholics, and has became a best seller, attracting both admiring and damning comment from many quarters.

For instance, Professor H. J. Richards of the University of Anglia stated that Vicars of Christ was an alarming book because it ‘ . . . contained so much that I did not know and should have known.’ Having previously looked at the brighter side of the papacy, Richard’s admits to finding De Rosa’s pitiless search of its dark side ‘shattering’. From the Dublin Evening Herald came a similar reaction, De Rosa being likened to a devil’s advocate who opens the stained glass window and reveals that the Church’s teachings were too often ‘ . . . shaped by the whims of corrupt, despotic and fanatical popes.’ The Irish Times followed suit, with Father Michael Keane quoting Hilaire Belloc and suggesting that the Church had to be divine otherwise it would not have lasted a fortnight considering the knaves who ran it; and Bill Ratchford of the BBC World Service reminded us that ‘ . . . claims of infallibility mixed up with personal sexual impasses have had and could have dire consequences for millions of people.’ To The Sunday Press De Rosa’s exhaustive study of the papacy dark side was a spellbinding historical account; to The Birmingham Post it was sombre and disturbing; and to The Sunday Tribune De Rosa was a writer of unusual breadth and talent. But to ex-Jesuit Peter Hebblethwaite of The Sunday Times, the book might as well have been commissioned by the Protestant Truth Society. And to a scornful and dismissive Philip Caraman, SJ. Vicars of Christ was no more than ‘ a binful of garbage.’

So who is Peter de Rosa? Well, he turns out to have been a Professor of Metaphysics and Ethics at Westminster Seminary, and Dean of Theology at Corpus Christi College, London. A binful of garbage? Was this evaluation by fellow Jesuit Philip Caraman a carefully considered lash of the academic whip, or was it founded on some other factor? On the fact, perhaps, that De Rosa had left the priesthood altogether, married and fathered two sons? Obviously a subversive in need of correction! Professor Richard’s summation of De Rosa’s far-ranging research into pontifical naughtiness completed the picture: the author had not only left the priesthood and married, he had also written Vicars of Christ ‘ . . . in quest of a better perspective’. Being fundamentally a plea for reform, and not just an unprincipled attack on a venerable institution, De Rosa’s study echoed Pope John XXIII’s desire for change and was not written in a spirit of antagonism. Peter de Rosa confirms that this is so in a special note to the reader where he says “Though, like Dante, I stress here the dark side of the papacy, it is the work of a friend not an enemy.”

In contrast to this eye-opener of a study, Malachi Martin’s book launches the reader into an experience of what I can only describe as ‘medieval sensibility’; a sensibility held by Martin to be superior to that of the Renaissance mind, which he describes elsewhere as alienated. (1) With a degree in Semitic Languages and Oriental history, and parallel studies in Assyriology at Trinity College, this one-time Professor at the Vatican’s Pontifical Biblical Institute almost takes one’s breath away with his mixture of Stephen King-like reconstructions of demon possession in the twentieth century. With turns of phrase as chilling as any I have ever read, Martin hatches his five-pronged plot of intrinsic evil and reveals to us a world ever-teetering on the edge of diabolical infringement, the description of which novelists interested in the genre could read to their stylistic benefit. Yet I was impressed by this book, impressed by its extraordinary ability to evoke deeply ingrained fears, and was not at all surprised when I eventually discovered that Martin, like myself, was also a writer of fiction.

So on the one hand we have Peter de Rosa’s fact-laden replay of the papacy, a replay which not only questions the whole idea of papal authority from its inception, but a replay which reveals a Church darkly capable of inventing reasons to cement that authority in place for all time; and on the other we have Malachi Martin’s exposition on the diabolic which places the Church at the very heart of all things spiritually sane, and demands that we take seriously the Catholic Church’s claim to be founded on truths which cannot ultimately be questioned. So we are confronted with a dilemma, the dilemma of reconciling diametrically opposed views of the same institution, and have to ask ourselves whether it is possible that such an institution, simultaneously fraudulent and truthful, can be relied upon to speak truthfully rather than fraudulently about the serious issues which presently concern Western society.

The conventions of religion, like the conventions of politics, are essential for human happiness; at least that’s the view promoted by the writer and broadcaster Macdonald Hastings. I’m not so sure. Peter de Rosa’s study suggests that the Catholic Church, governed as it is by a single person claiming divine authority, cannot be trusted to handle the delicate questions facing all of us as this century reaches its close. Whereas Malachi Martin’s basic premise not only reinforces reliance on Church directives, it also upholds the idea of the Catholic Church as a profound source of spiritual healing, and the pope as a spiritually potent figure whose authority should not be doubted. In Martin’s estimation, Vatican II did away with much of the Church’s ancient symbolism, and as a result opened its doors to what he terms ‘a vacuum of indifference’; and this comes from someone who was a close associate of John XXIII, and apparently sympathetic to some of the changes initiated by that extraordinary pope. De Rosa, on the other hand, feels that the whole process of Vatican II did not go far enough. In De Rosa’s terms, John XXIII was not, as some conservatives believe, ‘a crypto-communist who opened a window and let in a hurricane’, he was a man of courage and insight who pushed the Church towards a necessary reassessment of its role in the world.

Apostolic Continuity

So what of the Catholic Church’s present stance? Is this Church capable of the ferocious honesty required to re-make itself, to question its own historical formation and reformulate its doctrinal position in terms of the reality we are now fast realising is much more complicated and daring than anyone ever guessed? Or do we have to look elsewhere for the answers that will either save us or damn us by their unexpected originality? Forever teased by reality, we may eventually have to admit that our most adventurous answers to the questions conceived to ultimately matter may be utterly inadequate, and that we are all of us in dire need of a new perspective, a new conceptual orientation in the face of cosmic detachment. Jesus may have hung on the cross and cried out to a God who seemed to have abandoned him, but that cry may not mean quite what we have been led to believe it meant.

If he were still alive, the Christian philosopher Etienne Gilson would take me to task for daring to question Christianity’s continuing efficacy in the twentieth century; and I have little doubt that he would interpret the result of Peter de Rosa’s efforts in much the same manner as Philip Caraman, SJ. Convinced that the Christian life offered a radical solution to all of life’s problems, Gilson, with that almost admirable capacity for faith and the kind of reasoning that accompanies it, dismissed past attacks on Christianity’s theological credibility as nothing more than a misunderstanding of the Christian mystery. This view is shared by Malachi Martin. In fact the result of the latter’s possession studies is a series of remarkable statements about life and living which, when analysed, reveal a mind utterly convinced of the existence of intrinsic evil and the Church’s divine role in combating it. Playing subtle games with both language and meaning, Martin’s fleurs du mal open out into a truly terrifying vision where demon entities play hide-and-seek with often ill-prepared priests who sometimes discover that they too are possessed. No one is safe; and one can only assume that such reasoning applies equally to the Church’s pontiffs.

Like Gilson, Martin seems to believe in a spiritual, theological and historical continuity from Jesus through the Apostles to the present age. In spite of the odd hiccup or two, this continuity is to be accepted by all Christians as divinely set in motion and perpetually sustained by divine approval. Darwinian theory and the laws of physics and the mysteries of the human brain are to be ignored in favour of a view where demonic forces wait to pounce on unsuspecting individuals. In some inexplicable fashion evil is bound closely to this world in the form of negative forces and entities whose whole raison d’etre is the blanking out of the Christian message. But when confronted with the name of Jesus such forces and entities must eventually fall back or submit, and in submitting vanish again back into the hinterland of reality from whence they came. This hinterland is ‘hell’, we are told, the now laughed at domain of the Devil, and it constitutes a domain, a mode of existence utterly devoid of the presence of God. Whether we like it or not, the name ‘Jesus’ is the only name before which such entities will bow; and that only if the name is pronounced by someone properly possessed by the spirit of Jesus.

Beyond time and history and culture, the occupants of this pitiless sphere constantly seek to enter time, history and culture through the mind’s back door. Through a tearing of the psychological and psychic fabric of individual minds who consciously reject the Christian message, the Devil, in one guise or another, eventually makes his entrance and takes up residence. Unwittingly possessed by evil in an often hidden and subtle manner (their reason for the rejection of the Christian message in the first place), such individuals live out their life mostly oblivious to the fact that they are slowly drifting away from everything wholesome. Naturally at war with Christianity, and with the better aspects of themselves, they eventually succumb to the evil within and are invisibly united with that evil at their death.

Terrifying stuff. The kind of writing that makes one’s flesh creep. The kind of thinking that makes one wonder if time has slipped and the medieval ages have been reinstated. So what of Peter de Rosa’s historical criticisms of the Church and its popes? Is he then a secretly possessed individual whose mind, torn and infiltrated by evil forces cannot help but attack God’s church through the manipulation of historical data? Is it for this reason that the Jesuit Philip Caraman refers to De Rosa’s book as ‘garbage’? I think not. If asked, I think Caraman would state that De Rosa’s historical overview is simply over the top, and that only a balanced depiction of the Church’s history can do that extraordinary edifice justice.

The Alien Dimension

So what’s my point? My point is this: Where does one draw the line? At what point does an educated man like Malachi Martin start talking possession? If demon possession is a fact of life as this ex Jesuit believes, how does he differentiate between the facts of history or science and the twisted reasoning of evil spirits driving the human mind towards abnegation, towards negative formulas and interpretations where everything concerning human beings and their world is used to undermine belief in God?

Or is it simply that the many scientific negatives we are forced to acknowledge concerning the nature of the universe, and the nature of our own natures, is simply the price we have to pay for venturing too close to the information systems intrinsic to biological life and the make-up of the cosmos? Might we not be teetering on the edge of finally comprehending, of finally admitting that we really are alone, that God and Devil and Church and everything we call ‘spiritual’ is no more than a dream, a way of handling our fear? Or is such thinking the direct result of the spiritual vacuum we consider natural, but which is actually created by the Devil’s subtle infiltration of society at all levels?

Ignatius Loyola would have agreed with Malachi Martin on this question. Martin believes that the Devil roams the world with the conscious intention of destroying the image of God wherever it might appear, and Loyola was equally convinced that ‘Lucifer’ was the main enemy. On having drawn a picture of Loyola as someone who, like St. Paul, had ascended to the ‘Third Heaven’ and participated in ‘ . . . the most hidden secrets of divinity for which human language has no words,’ (2) Martin goes on to describe how this saint perceived things, and reveals a mind convinced that demons had been scattered throughout the world to bind men with chains of sin. (3) How depressing. It is even more depressing to think that Ignatius Loyola was still in the grip of such ideas after having tasted of the secrets of the Divine. Or was this the whole point, the ultimate proof that the Church had always been right: there really was an alien dimension to this life about which the secular mind knew virtually nothing.

Tug-of-war Theology

This, basically, was the Church’s stance in relation to a theology which did not reflect the known world. We were expected to believe that it was her knowledge of this alien dimension which vindicated, say, the views of popes like Pius X; he simply had had no choice but to blast the Modernists because he knew what they did not seem to have the brains to understand, that the Church of Jesus Christ was the world’s only real bulwark against evil. This was the baseline of it all, the Church’s raison d’etre which could only be perceived only through the eyes of faith, the new eyes which opened automatically when God’s majestic blueprint was superimposed on the whole extraordinary affair of life and living.

The only problem with this view was that the Modernists too were people of the faith, good Catholics to whom the historical reality of Jesus and what he had taught was paramount, and their idea of God’s blueprint was quite different from that of their opponents. Had not Pope Benedict XV ended up on the same hit-list as those considered theologically suspect? The very fact that he had become pope suggested factions within the Vatican to whom a tug-of-war theology capable of leaning either way was normal. Some might believe that nothing could, or should. change; just as many thought the exact opposite, yet not strongly enough to really upset the applecart. Knowledge on the historical and scientific levels capable of radically changing the face of Catholic Christianity was available, but its eye-dropper distribution ensured that everything trundled on much as before.

It is Malachi Martin’s thesis that the halls of higher learning are inadvertently subverting human intelligence, that intellectual reasoning, psychological subtlety, philosophical logic and historical evidence have no relevance whatsoever in the face of direct psychic attack and the covert manipulation of our world by demonic forces. Our detailed knowledge of world and self is nothing more than accumulated trash in the face of such a reality. (4) Even theology is useless when the flames of evil advance across the threshold of being. This is strong stuff. Evil is very, very powerful, it would seem. The Devil can tear priests apart during an exorcism – some even die. Some are left partly empty inside, empty and staring, shocked so deeply by their encounter with incarnate evil that the rest of their lives is a constant vigil, a ‘watching’ for the evil one to appear. Usurped in their imagination, the world seems to close down and leave them alone with ‘an old and unrepentant evil’.

Now this is in itself rather odd, for did not Christ’s death on the cross overcome evil once and for all time? So by what mechanism, or law, or system of spiritual permission does the Devil continue to infiltrate and roam the world Christ died for? How does he get from his domain (hell) to our domain (the planet Earth) without God and his remaining angels noticing? And as there are so few cases nowadays of demon possession, of Church-authenticated appearances of the Devil as a full-blown possessing spirit, are we to assume that he and his spawn have changed tactics and, on the whole, prefer a subtler methodology, an invisible undermining of the human spirit through knowledge unsalted by faith and belief? And if this is the case, then why break out into our world every-so-often in the form of raging, cursing spirits? No, there’s something wrong here, something is not quite right in the theological mix. For why should some Catholic priests have to forfeit their own spiritual welfare (for all eternity?) on behalf of the possessed souls they help release? Is the Devil still so powerful that God must stand by helplessly and allow his servants to be plucked out of his hand at death because of some mishandling of events during an exorcism? Malachi Martin suggests as much in many a veiled passage, and one can only wonder at the kind of reasoning behind such statements.

But there’s more, much more.

An exorcist has to be officially sanctioned by the Church, for “. . . any power he has over Evil Spirit can only come from those officials who belong to the substance of Jesus’ Church”. (5) This Church can be either Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or one of the Protestant Communions. Now this seems to be a fair and equable distribution of power between the differing congregations, but we later learn that Protestant ministers generally defer to Catholic priests when it comes to exorcism because of the Catholic Church’s longer track-record: such ministers have little, or no idea on how to approach Evil Spirit. And it’s just as well that they do defer, for in such engagements there is always a victor and a vanquished, and whatever the result, the contact is always ‘. . . in part fatal for the exorcist.’ Pillaged in his deeper self by the process, something in him dies a little, and the withering of this deep something within is because he has had to face the opposite of all humanness, namely incarnate evil. Or could it be that he has simply abandoned himself to reasoning processes which he knows deep down he ought to have rejected? Could that be it? Would his deeper self not wither a little under such conditions?

It is only after allowing for mental or physical disease, and for chemical abnormalities, and only after stringent psychiatric probing that an exorcist will now define another human being as possibly possessed. Because, for reasons not given, reported cases of possession over the last hundred years have decreased, the French priest and exorcist Henri Gesland admitting in 1974 that out of 3,000 cases since 1968, only ‘four’ had been deemed truly demonic. Martin counters with a statement from someone called TK Osterreich to the effect that possession is an extremely common phenomenon, but adds incomprehensibly ‘. . . cases of which abound in the history of religion’; which is to say no more than we already know, and which Martin eventually admits are claims more often due to causes other than possession.

In Hostage to the Devil there is a section titled ‘Father Bones and Mister Natch’ which carries the reader deep into Malachi Martin’s dread vision and understanding of demon possession. But of more immediate interest are some of Martin’s statements concerning Father David “M” Bones himself (Bones was a nickname), and his educational attainments before his ordeal of attempting to exorcise a possessed priest. After being ordained in 1947, after seven years’ study, Father David was asked by his bishop to consider another two terms of study: the diocese needed a professor of anthropology and ancient history, and he was their man. But first he would need to take a doctorate in theology to offset the temptations of the scientific approach to knowledge – ‘doctrine’ would be his haven of safety.

This was because of Teilhard de Chardin, that intellectual ascetic and First World War hero who expected Christians to accept Darwinian evolution alongside their Catholic faith. Thought earlier to be a kind of twentieth- century Aquinas, de Chardin had fallen into disgrace by the 1950s because of his refusal to intellectually kowtow to the ecclesiastical mind. Silenced, exiled, and forbidden to either publish or lecture (shades of Hans Kung), de Chardin’s attempt to explain the mysteries of the Catholic faith in more comprehensible terms was rejected out-of-hand. Oddly enough, the rational fire driving de Chardin had come from none other than Ignatius Loyola, father of the Jesuits and patron of what Martin calls the ‘lone and the brave’. Captured in his imagination by Ignatius and St. John of the Cross, de Chardin becomes what Martin stingingly calls ‘ . . . the ready-made darling for the bankrupt Catholic intellectuals of his century’. (6) And he isn’t finished; he adds: ‘Teilhard was neither strong food to satisfy real hunger nor heavenly manna for a new Pentecost. He was merely a stirrup cup of heady wine.’ (7)

To explore de Chardin’s highly synthesised system of thought is not my intention here; rather, I wish to pursue Malachi Martin’s system of thought and highlight what is without doubt a unique mind clinging to an antique vision: the vision of a Jesus untouched by twentieth century scholarship. Martin wants to purge our minds of all ‘dangerous ideas’; that is, he wants to rid us of ideas capable of creating a climate of opinion within which the Church’s age-old version of Jesus is abandoned, and its offer of spiritual salvation through this Jesus disregarded. For the idea that human origins started in some remote period is too much for this old Catholic warhorse to tolerate: Jesus is not some fancy Omega Point in the evolution of man, he is the creator of it all, and as such is both Alpha and Omega. Father David Bones will have to make a journey into virtual unbelief before the truth of this matter begins to dawn, and the story of this priest’s search and confrontation with Evil Spirit is the substance of Father Bones and Mister Natch’s interaction.

The question that disturbs Father David is one which occurs as he attempts to finish a paper for a conference on de Chardin’s unearthing of the fossil Sinanthropos in China: is evolution as much a fact as the salvation of us all by Jesus? An Old School question, and foolish. And yet it keeps on bothering him, and that in spite of the fact that he is surrounded by fossils, by chipped skulls and anklebones, by fauna fossils embedded in ancient rock. There to bamboozle him further, the plaster busts of Solo Man, Rhodesian Man, Neanderthal Man and Cro-Magnon Man. He feels anger at the unfairness of it all. Why did a choice have to be made? Can he not have evolution and Jesus? So the process of doubt continues, and he passes his exams, and becomes convinced that there are no reliable records about Jesus written during Jesus’ own lifetime. There is only what men and women believed about Jesus. And the pomp and splendour of Rome cannot be superimposed on Jesus’ little life without the absurdity of it all surfacing; there is simply no relationship between the life of Jesus and the glory of papal Rome.

But Father David’s Modernist approach to life and religion is soon to be undermined; the possession of a fellow priest, and the eventual realisation that he himself is possessed, will blow all of that nonsense out of his head. Raw experience will reveal unimaginable complexities of the spirit, and the final revelation will be that evil is ‘neutral’, and because neutral, baleful. Beauty and harmony and meaning cannot exist when the senses are invaded, when all that one is begins to waste as if in an Artic wind.

In such a fashion does Malachi Martin build his case against modern knowledge, against scholarship, against research of any kind which might suggest a point of view other than that of the old and tried Catholic Church. In a truly extraordinary avalanche of language he records and evokes evil with such alacrity that one can almost taste the sulphur, and we learn that only one thing is real, the ‘autonomous will’. So the question is: How many choices had Father David made freely in his life before that night of terror and realisation? Had he ever really chosen anything without outside stimuli, without background memory, without the push from acquired tastes and persuasions, without reason, or cause, or motive? This is the question he has to answer, and the answer to that question is a resounding No. So what does he do? He chooses to ‘believe’, of course. After a long and trying period he cries out: ‘I choose . . . I will . . . I believe . . . Help my unbelief . . . Jesus . . . I believe I believe I believe.’ (8) In that moment it’s all over. He is safe. He has come home again.

A Bucketful of Deceits

Hostage to the Devil is the kind of book that could start a psychic epidemic, a return to attitudes and fears long since thought to be dead and buried, but only if writers like Peter de Rosa are not read with the seriousness they deserve. For if there is a defusing principle in all of this, a principle of sanity, it is the fact of the Church’s extraordinary centuries-old manipulation of history and theology and the human mind for political reasons. There is nothing more sobering than a bucketful of deceits pulled up out of the historical depths and dumped in one’s lap. All the pomp and splendour and apparent self-assurance of an organisation perpetually reinventing itself for purposes of control can be seen through when such deceits are laid out end to end.

Of course, this begs the question as to whether Peter de Rosa would ultimately disagree with Malachi Martin about such issues. It may well be that de Rosa believes something similar to what Martin believes, for he was afterall Dean of Theology at Corpus Christi for a time. To de Rosa, the questioning of papal authority may not undermine the theological possibility of the Devil’s existence. What then of my case for identified historical deceits having a sobering effect, a defusing effect in relation to Martin’s claim that evil has a concrete, entity-type life of its own? Does the existence of dud popes automatically disallow the existence of evil incarnate? Or might it be that another set of questions has to be asked? I suspect the latter rather than the former; and that in spite of the fact that the former must necessarily play an important role in our general perception of whether the Roman Church and its Protestant off-shoots have anything of value to say about evil. Dud popes have contributed to the Church’s present state, and a study of those popes should not be avoided, but the core problem may lie elsewhere.

As it happens, Malachi Martin has himself written critically on Church history, and has made observations not dissimilar to those of Peter de Rosa concerning the failings of the Roman Church. In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, he outlines the growth of early Christianity in Rome and throws momentary doubt on the value of the Church’s sudden and quite unexpected reversal in fortunes under the Emperor Constantine. For as a result of Constantine’s change of heart in the fourth century, Christianity was suddenly made respectable and carried triumphant into the future on the back of the Roman eagle. But the price paid for that sudden elevation to respectability and power was considerable. Martin’s own words clearly capture the situation that arose: ‘Once Constantine’s favour placed Christians in a privileged position, the Christian focus narrowed from remote eternity to passing time and measurable space.’ (9) That, I think, is perfectly put.

The Blood Relatives of Jesus

But alongside this surprising change in circumstances lay a little known meeting in 318 between Pope Sylvester and those termed, in Greek, desposyni, the blood relatives of Jesus in charge of every section of the Jewish Nazoraean Church throughout Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia – a Church which did not pass speedily into oblivion as many Church historians would like to think, (10) In fact the exact opposite was true. According to the Church historian Eusebius (a personal friend of the Emperor Constantine), the Nazoraean Church of the Apostles attracted large numbers of Jews to its ranks; however, there was certainly a chaotic period after the unsuccessful Jewish rebellion of 70 during which division and controversy reigned.

So says the Jewish scholar Dr Hugh Schonfield, and Malachi Martin concurs. The Jewish followers of Jesus, he tells us, created the Church’s first major crisis: right from the start they had split into factions. Schonfield goes further still and talks of the Nazoraeans as beset by ‘ . . . grave internal problems, false teachers, antinomianism, faction and rivalry, loss of confidence in the Second Advent, persecution and apostasy.’ (11) But what Malachi Martin does not tell us is that the Nazoraeans eventually reorganised themselves, and Eusebius confirms this when he says that after the war the family of Jesus, in conjunction with those Apostles and followers of Jesus still alive, chose Simeon (after the death of Jesus’ brother James) as titular head of the Nazoraeans, so recreating stability. Schonfield calls this family dynasty desposyni (‘heirs’), and remarks that twelve others followed in turn whose names are preserved down to AD 132. (12) The list is as follows: James, Simeon, Justus, Zaccheus, Tobias, Benjamin, John, Matthew, Philip, Seneca, Justus II, Levi, Ephraim, Joseph and Judas.

Nazoraean communities were apparently still active in north and east Palestine right up until the fifth century, and Schonfield notes that the name of Jesus was now being used by both the Jewish and Gentile Christians in the interest of policy. Further and further magnified by the Roman Christians in particular, Jesus became progressively more symbolic and representative of ecclesiastical concerns.

More accurately termed the ‘Orthodox Nazoraean Church’, this Jewish-sectarian Church of ancient lineage was virtually ignored by the fast-developing Greek-oriented Church at Rome. However, once its own house was in order, the Nazoraeans watched amazed as Rome’s Christians redeveloped and added to Paul’s teachings. And ignored again, by the Church triumphant, as Malachi Martin records. Dismissed in 318 with an acquired royal curtness, the representatives of this the original Jerusalem Church were informed that the centre of influence had long since shifted to Rome, that St Peter’s bones were not in Jerusalem, but in Rome, and that the admittedly once powerful family dynasty of Jesus was no longer considered apostolically important. Greek bishops should therefore be allowed to replace those relatives of Jesus holding to the now defunct Nazoraean dream of superiority.

Quite a slap in the face to those of Jesus’ own family who, since the time of James the Just, had faithfully carried their message of Jesus to all in sundry. And this was the point: their Jesus was not Paul’s Jesus. In his Dialogue with the Jew Trypho, Justin Martyr admits that there are two Christianities. Born in Samaria at Flavia Neapolis (modern Nablus), Justin studied philosophy before becoming a Christian. Martyred in Rome in 165, he followed Western Christianity’s doctrine of Jesus as a divine being, but did not altogether condemn the Nazoraean followers of Jesus for their very different doctrinal stance. They were entitled, he said, to observe the Mosaic Law if they so wished, but Gentiles should not be made to follow suit. In his estimation, Paulinist Christians were wrong to reject the Nazoraeans, and they were equally wrong in their belief that these original followers of Jesus would not be saved. Associating with the Nazoraeans as kinsmen and brethren, Justin revealed that the Paulinist’s were by this time denying the Nazoraeans both hospitality and recognition, and that ‘ . . . the old Faith of the Apostolic Church was now being treated as sectarian.’ (13) To the Nazoraeans, Jesus was an ordinary man anointed by election to be the Messiah, or Christ; he was not literally God in any shape or form. Despised by the Christians for not acknowledging Jesus’ deity, the Nazoraeans were shunned, and finally persecuted.

But just to complicate things, these Nazoraeans were also sometimes referred to as ‘Ebionites’ (the poor), and in her provocative book Putting Away Childish Things, Uta Ranke-Heineman (first woman professor of Catholic theology at the University of Essen) confirms that the radical Ebionites, or Nazoraeans, were led by James, Jesus’ brother, and that ‘ . . . all the way into the second century they continued to choose their bishops from Jesus’ family.’ (14) But she goes much further; she also confirms that these Ebionite-Nazoraeans rejected Paul’s Christology, particularly the notion of Jesus’ death on the cross being a bloody act of atonement. Claiming Jesus as the Messiah, and rejecting animal sacrifices, they substituted water for blood in the Eucharistic meal, believed Jesus to have been an ordinary man born of ordinary parents, and argued that he had achieved his righteous state like any other sage or prophet. Writing against the Ebionite-Nazoraeans, the Church Father Irenaeus correctly summed up their belief that Jesus was an ordinary man by saying ‘ . . . they destroy God’s tremendous plan for salvation.’ (15) Indeed they did, and that’s why Sylvester I dispersed them; he could see no way of reconciling the diametrically opposed beliefs of the two Jesus groups.

With wit and erudition, Professor Heinemann opens our eyes to what was really going on during the first and second century, and with skill reveals that Christian fairy tales have been changed into doctrines demanding absolute allegiance. But she has of course paid the price for her honesty and integrity; she has been declared ineligible to teach theology by the Catholic Church. The writer Karen Armstrong – another strong-minded woman holding similar views – says of Heinemann that she has ‘ . . . skilfully disentangled the web of contradictions and improbabilities that surround the Christian story’. (16) Yes, the Ebionite-Nazoraeans interpreted Jesus’ life and life-purpose in a quite different way from the Pauline-influenced Roman Christians, but it is perhaps somewhere between these seemingly irreconcilable points of view that the truth will be found. In literal terms, Jesus was neither the Son of God, or God himself somehow squeezed into a human body, but as an archetypal Messiah he does seem to have carried a new and expansive perception of reality which left everyone guessing.

The Jesus of the Nazoraeans was the Messiah of Israel, the archetypal man’ entitled to be called ‘light Adam’ or ‘son of God’; but basically he was flesh and blood and as ordinary as anyone else. Not so the Jesus held up by the Roman Church. Elevated to God’s right hand, he was just about to be heralded as God’s actual son, and by reasoning incomprehensible even to those who penned it, somehow God made manifest in the flesh. Such a claim, when news of it got out, must have appeared to be a form of lunacy to those of Jesus’ dynastic family.

But rejected, this flick of the pontifical wrist. The representatives of the Jewish Nazoraean Church stood their ground and demanded that the Roman Church recognise the desposynos as the Mother Church, the original church. Banned from Jerusalem since the time of Hadrian (135), and still under that ban in spite of the Roman Church’s changed position in relation to imperial Rome, they had not come to submit, but to correct a dangerous fallacy: Jerusalem was where the Church’s heart was to be found, not Rome. The Roman church, now in such a favoured position with the Roman persecutors of Jews and Nazoraean, should have had Hadrian’s ban lifted, revoked its confirmation of Greek bishops at Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus and Alexandria, and allowed desposynos bishops to take over, but it had none of these things. Converted pagans with little appreciation of things Jewish were not the right choice; the true apostolic succession was Nazoraean by right, by blood, and in relation to the Messiah had started with Jesus’ full brother James, not Peter. The Roman Church, no matter how powerful, could lay no rightful claim to being the Mother Church. And to say that Peter had broken with the Nazoraean Church in 40 along with Paul was ridiculous; Peter had been of the Nazoraean camp right from the beginning. There was no evidence whatsoever for his ever having been in Rome, never mind his having been pope for twenty-five years. And when they had sorted these issues out, and come to their senses, and stopped playing pagan-type games with the Jewish Messiah, they should immediately resume the practise of sending donations to the desposynos; for as the dynastic heirs of Jesus they had the right to expect foreign-based off-shoots of the Nazoraean Mother Church to continue what Hadrian had disrupted when he banned all Jews from entering the Holy City.

Malachi Martin tells us that this was probably the last known discussion between ‘. . . the Jewish Christians of the old mother church and the non-Jewish Christians of the new mother church.’ (17) He goes on to show that Jewish Christians had no place in this new Greek-oriented church structure, and that the Jewish Christian Churches refused to be part of it. This is correct; but what is not correct is his use of the term ‘Jewish Christians’; the Nazoraeans were certainly Jewish, but it should be remembered that they were sectarian Jewish (they carried many beliefs at odds with orthodox Judaism), and that it was Paul’s churches that eventually used the term ‘Christian’ to describe themselves. But the most important of Martin’s statements is the following: ‘By his adaptation, Sylvester, backed by Constantine, had decided that the message of Jesus was to be couched in Western terms by Western minds on an imperial model.’ (18) That, basically, is the whole bag of tricks in one statement: The Christian revelation had been adapted to suit the whims of a renegade church with imperial ambitions.

The principle question is, why had nothing been done about Roman harassment of the Nazoraean community? Why had the ban against the Nazoraeans entering Jerusalem not been lifted? The church at Rome was now in such a powerful position that a word in the Emperor’s ear could have instantly secured the right for her Jewish brothers and sisters to return to Jerusalem. So why the blind eye, and the deaf ear? Was it perhaps official policy that the Nazoraeans should be ignored and left to their fate so as to allow the new administration in Rome to flourish unchallenged? Did the word ‘Christian’ simply not register in Rome’s ear because of the word ‘Jewish’ preceding it? Or is it simply that the word ‘Christian’ was never used in relation to these Nazoraean followers of Jesus at any time, and that it was this that allowed the early Christians at Rome to ignore the plight of the Jerusalem Mother Church? Plenty of time had elapsed since Constantine’s change of heart, which rather suggests that being of the original Jewish Nazoraean Church now meant absolutely nothing to Sylvester and his Greek-minded supporters; it was not their concern that any Jew found entering Jerusalem would be instantly executed. Paul, it had to be understood, had broken with the Nazoraeans first over circumcision and the dietary laws, then over his more daring theological reinterpretations of Jesus’ importance. By the end of the first century the restored, and by then predominantly Greek-oriented, church at Rome had rescued these more daring notions about Jesus, inflated them still further and unsteadily set sail for the future. When that future came, it contained the quite unexpected change of mind by the Emperor Constantine, and resulted in a church previously doomed to persecution, obscurity and probable obliteration being made the religious model for the whole Roman Empire.

The Nazoraean representatives received by Sylvester in Rome would not have left anyone in doubt about their history, about their view of Paul, or about their right to be accepted still as the Mother Church. As far as they were concerned, the Nazoraean Church was the legitimate centre of the so-called Christian spiritual cyclone, and to not recognise this as true was to be downright dishonest; without Constantine’s favour this church, and not the Roman church, would have been Christianity’s spiritual spearhead. Anyone who knew anything about the Church’s early history knew that the Church at Jerusalem had been run by the Nazoraeans right up until 135, that they had left the Holy City only once in 102 years (due to the city’s capture by Titus), and that in 72 they had returned to Jerusalem and stayed there until Hadrian’s ban. Since then, Nazoraean churches had been set up throughout Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia, and these churches constituted the true Church of Jesus, the true succession and bloodline, the survival of which was now in Sylvester’s hands owing to continued Roman aggression towards the Jews. This surely must have been the tenor of the conversation, for why else would these Nazoraeans have demanded that Sylvester revoke the confirmation of Greek bishops in Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus and Alexandria, and replace them with desposynos bishops?

Thus, not only had the church at Rome become something other than a simple holy community, it had also been in receipt of a timely visit from representatives of the original Nazoraean church which, at the very least, ought to have created a bond between the two Jesus-based organisations. Martin’s approach to this situation is two-fold. He suggests that a church left in the catacombs of Rome would have achieved little, and that the eventual collapse of the pax romana (the ‘peace’ Rome offered to those who became her willing subjects) was only successfully replaced by the ‘peace of Christ’ because of the church’s new-found security under Constantine. Without that curious relationship, persecuted Christians bound to obscure strata of society could have done very little to change their world, and would have had to wait until Jesus reappeared from heaven to achieve their dream of a renewed world. And if Sylvester had given in to Jesus’ relatives, then ‘ . . . the appeal of Christianity as a universal way of life would have been restricted to a small number of Jews or an impotent and doomed minority in the great urban centres.’ (19) Everything would have collapsed; all ‘hope’ would have died. The Roman world would have disintegrated and European civilisation would not have arisen.

So runs the stock excuse for the creation and continuation of a church that even in Sylvester’s time had donned imperial raiment, taken on the autocratic attitudes of the Caesars and begun to systematically create and eliminate heretics. So runs the reasoning that it is this Church, this Greek hybrid of original Nazoraean Christianity that in the future will have the right to claim power over demons in the name of Jesus because of apostolic lineage. Lineage? Apostolic? If, as just about every Church historian admits, Peter’s twenty-five year episcopate in Rome is sheer fantasy, and if over the centuries the papacy was bought and sold and subject to the vicissitudes of human nature like any other organisation, then by what stretch of reasoning and imagination can the Catholic Church claim legitimate, meaningful Apostolic Succession?

The answer to this question is that she can do no such thing, and this makes null and void her many, many claims to an over-arching spiritual authority. For how can an organisation with such a track record claim authority over anything, or anyone, never mind over Satan and his demons? And to make the Apostle Peter the foundation of such claims is, as Peter de Rosa shows so effectively, to make a nonsense of both the Gospels and of the early Church Fathers’ comprehension of the Gospels. There is simply no justification whatsoever for believing that Peter was awarded the title of ‘Rock’, that he was given the ‘keys of heaven and earth’, and that by succession subsequent bishops of Rome acquired the same spiritual power. De Rosa is clear and precise on this point: there was no Petrine ‘office’, no ‘inheritance’ from Peter mentioned in early Church documents. Not one Church Council between the fourth and the fifteenth century makes anyone other than Christ the Rock of Salvation. All of the early Church Fathers were of the same opinion: Christ, not Peter, was the Rock on which the Church was founded. And there is no mention anywhere of a transference of power from Peter to any other bishop.

More telling still is a statement made in 1150 by Gratian, the Church’s greatest canon lawyer: ‘Peter’ says Gratian, confronting his Church with an uncomfortable fact, ‘compelled the Gentiles to live as Jews and to depart from Gospel truth.’ (20) Here then is the crux of the matter: Peter was not ultimately persuaded by Paul’s rejection of things Jewish, his rejection of things Nazarite and Nazoraean, he remained a Nazoraean, a Jewish-sectarian follower of Jesus and observer of the Law to whom the Greek-oriented beliefs of the Church at Rome would have been quite unacceptable. More relaxed in his behaviour than James the Just he certainly was (an openness learned from Jesus himself, no doubt), but it was to James as head of the Nazoraean Community that he would have continued to look after the crucifixion. De Rosa concurs: ‘The catholic Church had made it a point of faith that popes are successors of St Peter as Bishop of Rome. But Peter never had that title; he was only invested with it centuries after he died.’ And then on the equally important point of Peter’s Jewishness he adds: ‘Naturally, he would have had immense moral authority in the Jewish-Christian community in Rome but, unlike Paul who was a Roman citizen, he would have been a foreigner there.’ (21) De Rosa’a use of ‘Jewish-Christian community’ in this context should not be read as referring to Paul’s Christian community, but to an extension of the Jerusalem Nazoraeans. There were two Jesus communities in Rome, and after Nero’s great fire of 64. they were at doctrinal loggerheads.

The Donation of Constantine

Unlike secular historians, Church historians cannot help but slant their interpretation of history in the direction of a God with salvation in mind since the very beginning of time itself. Following Eusebius, they claim that the promise made to Abraham was fulfilled in Christ; that is, the divine plan of salvation can be detected within world history. Working from Abraham to Christ to Constantine, Eusebius argued that Jesus appeared on Earth at the time of the Roman Empire’s zenith so that news of God’s salvation could eventually reach the greatest number of people: there simply had to be a Constantine to make it all possible. The fact that there was a Constantine was certain proof that God had been at work through the Emperor. So, through a theology of history closely allied to things both political and convenient, Constantine as the first Christian Emperor of Rome came to embody the image of God on earth – an idea that curiously embodied both Emperor worship and the cult of the sun – and the union of Empire and Church became an ‘anticipation of the millennium’ to use the words of the historian Joseph Vogt.

In The Decline of Rome, Vogt draws our attention to The Donation of Constantine, a document dated 30 March 315, but actually composed during the papacy of Stephen III ( 752-757) to convince Pepin, king of the Franks, that he should defend the Church against the Lombards. A forgery through and through, The Donation claimed that Constantine, suffering from leprosy, had had a vision in which Peter and Paul had told him to contact Pope Sylvester. Healed as a result of obeying this heavenly command, Constantine had in gratitude handed over his palace to Pope Sylvester and made the entire Western Empire subservient to the Holy See. The sacred See of Blessed Peter was to be exalted above the Empire and the Emperor’s throne, and Sylvester made ruler of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Constantinople, and all the churches of the world. Heady stuff. This document was accepted without a quibble until 1440, when Lorenzo Valla, a papal aide, proved beyond all doubt that The Donation was a fraud. Valla’s book was published in 1517, the same year that Luther raised his voice against papal indulgences, and in spite of all independent scholars agreeing with Valla, the Papacy continued to deny skulduggery for the next few centuries. Professor Heinemann refers to The Donation as ‘ . . . a swindle, a handmade-homemade inside job, an ecclesiastical forgery.’ (22)

King Pepin, however, was very impressed when he read The Donation; for it appeared to prove beyond doubt that the Pope was successor to both Peter and Constantine? All power on earth indeed; and behind the scenes the power of heaven to back it up. Routing the Lombards, Pepin dutifully handed over the lands mentioned in The Donation, thus making the Holy See all-powerful at a single stroke.

In his summing up on the Constantine era, De Rosa, like Malachi Martin, refers to a ‘loss of innocence’. But then he parts with Martin, talking of Constantine’s cynical use of Christ, and of Sylvester’s equally cynical acquiescence in the falsification of the Gospel message. ‘From then on,’ he says, ‘Catholicism flourished to the detriment of Christianity and of Jesus who wanted no part in the world of power and politics’. (23) Alas, the Church had taken a different route, a route that would see forged documents being created on demand.

By 1187 the forging of documents had become a profitable business, with a whole school of forgers toiling to produce ratification of Gregory III’s ambitions; there was even a policy of making old documents say the reverse of what they actually said. Amusingly, De Rosa points out that some of these earlier documents were forgeries in their own right, and states that this school of forgers ‘ . . . treated all papers, forged or genuine, with a completely impartial dishonesty.’ (24) With the ability to invent history through the forging of imposing-looking documents complete with papal seals, and with the added ability to instantly insert such fabrications into Canon Law, the Catholic Church systematically recreated its past and ended up believing its own lies.

De Rosa is rightfully merciless when dealing with this extraordinary situation, and reveals that during the mid-II00s the Decretum, or Code of Canon Law was ‘ . . . peppered with three centuries of forgeries and conclusions drawn from them’. (25) One such conclusion was that the pope was superior to, and the ‘source’ of, all laws without qualification; a fact noted by de Rosa as suggesting that he was by definition equal to the Son of God. Here then was the Church we had to have, the institution created by God through Constantine to shed light on a darkened world.

Malachi Martin is also intrigued by the relationship of Pope Sylvester and the Jewish (Nazoraean) Christians. He interrupts his narrative to speculate that: “As he lay dying, perhaps Sylvester’s chief regret would have been having so churlishly dismissed the blood relatives of Jesus. Some of those Jewish Christian desposyni must have borne facial characteristics that Jesus himself would have had.” (26) A possibility indeed, considering that the family dynasty of the Nazoraeans had, at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, been led by Jesus’ flesh and blood brother James (not Peter), and from that point onwards predominantly by other members of the same family. Keeping to the theologically necessary line that James the Just was Jesus’ cousin, and not his actual brother as the New Testament states, Martin holds this group of Nazoraean representatives at arms length, but cannot but admit that the issue dealt with that day ‘ . . . was nothing more than the whole nature of the church.’ (27)

Indeed it was, and taken seriously enough for Sylvester to provide sea travel for the group as far as the Roman port of Ostia. It is certainly indicative of something serious that they refusal to “sit” when requested. No record of the meeting was kept, but their reason for being there was, apparently, ‘very well known to everyone’, and their attitude certainly not one of subservience. Martin further describes the desposyni as ‘ . . . that most hallowed name . . . respected by all believers in the first century and a half of Christian history.’ (28) This was certainly not so in the centuries that followed, it seems; and particularly not during the reign of Pope Sylvester I.

As shown in my previous book on Christian origins, Jesus the Heretic, ecclesiastical historians bear witness to the fact that the original apostles and elders and the relations of Jesus were originally the controlling force of the whole early Church, and that this so-called Jewish Christianity considered Pauline Christianity an heretical offshoot. Hugh Schonfield is of the same opinion, and writes that the early Nazoraean government, although the legitimate authority, could not ‘ . . . effectively exercise control of Christian affairs’ due to being marked as anti-Roman. This created a vacuum which Christianity in other parts of the Empire began to fill. So, slowly, the Roman Church took on the mantle of leadership, and eventually produced the necessary propaganda to undermine and finally replace Nazoraean dynastic authority. Schonfield adds, caustically: ‘According to the view which prevailed the Catholic Church of the new orthodoxy was the inheritor of the true tradition of the Apostles, an assertion which illustrates the power of a lie if it is a thumping big one.’ (29)

Full Circle

Macdonald Hastings pinpoints the relevant issue when he says: ‘ . . . it is surely untrue that the challenge of our age is atheism . . . What so many have ceased to have faith in is not God but the human organisations which claim, with divine authority, to instruct us how to reach Him.’ (30) This, to my way of thinking, is the core problem. The mess the Church has got herself into down the centuries has without doubt resulted in some peculiar doctrinal shifts, in anomalies of judgement and curious outbursts of bravado, but the underlying problem goes much, much deeper. For that problem has to do with the Church’s basic premise of existence, its fundamental doctrinal ground plan, its miraculously conjured into existence belief in itself as divinely appointed, as having the right to dictate the shape and content of our spiritual lives.

Malachi Martin may believe that European civilisation would have collapsed if Roman Christianity had not taken her chance with the Emperors, that Christianity as a universal way of life would ‘ . . . either have been restricted to a small number of Jews or an impotent and doomed minority in the great urban centres’, (31) but this does rather suggests a God lacking in imagination, a God incapable of having realised his ground plan in some other way. To say that another great civilisation could not have arisen in the place of the one shaped and influenced by Roman Catholicism is arrant nonsense; a civilisation of some kind would have arisen automatically, and it may well have been rather better than the one we ended up with.

The whole history of the human race is concerned with the ebb and flow of civilisations, many of which have been highly sophisticated. In any case, Martin can’t have it both ways, for it is deep secular learning that he appears to blame for our spiritually alienated natures, and that he links with diabolic purposes. If this is indeed the case, then it appears that the Roman Catholic Church is ultimately responsible for every nasty thing that has ever happened in the West, and in terms of argument that is about as silly as it is possible to get. It should be remembered that it was the Church’s bed-fellow Constantine who ‘ . . . halted the anti-intellectual trends which had set in under so many of the soldier- emperors.’ (32)

Dismissing a religious philosophy such as Buddhism as ‘disembodied’, and therefore incomplete, Martin directs us instead to Ignatius Loyola’s ardent desire to meet the risen Christ in his glorified body, to venerate that body, to kiss and adore its wounds with hands and eyes. In desiring this Loyola had discovered the secret of Christian mysticism, a secret which has eluded people such as Aldous Huxley, Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Merton. (33) Martin freely admits that such thinking is a stumbling block for the non-Christian mind, and earmarks his stance as the ‘touchstone’ by which what is authentically Christian can be identified. Amidst the welter of religions shouldering one another in the market place, Christianity ought to stand out as the religion which balances spirit with matter – the human body cannot and should not be ignored.

Speaking of another God-struck Ignatius – Bishop Ignatius of Antioch in 110 – Uta Ranke-Heinemann observes that this much-lauded martyr was in fact a religious maniac. Describing him as ‘ . . . a reckless self-destroyer, a neurotic seeker of martyrdom, and a religious masochist’, (34) she aligns him with other Catholic saints who have been morbidly addicted to the idea of an excruciating death on behalf of their beliefs. This brings us back to Ignatius Loyola and his ardent desire to kiss Jesus’ bloody wounds and adore them with his eyes. Is this the same kind of body-mysticism as Bishop Ignatius experienced as he wish-fulfilled his own bloody end? Described by Malachi Martin as ‘the secret of Christian mysticism’, this ability to emotionally identify either with Jesus’ suffering, or (I can only presume) physically suffer unbearable pain in the same fashion, is held up as a ‘secret’ to be rediscovered. This is what makes Christian mysticism different from any other, indeed superior to, any other.

Peter de Rosa is also interested in the human body, in the suffering human body; Vicars of Christ is dedicated, humbly and with penitence, to all the victims of the Jewish holocaust.

So we come full circle, for to what can we attributed such evil dealings? The Devil? The Church’s closed-lipped policy on Nazism right up until the end of the war? Human being devoid of religious faith and belief that their store of ordinary secular knowledge is insufficient to sustain their sense of the human? Or to a God who does not care, a God so far off, so distant as to be virtually non-existent? Or a God simply no where to be found at all. Should we perhaps double back to Malachi Martin’s description of Father David Bones as ‘lacking an autonomous will’? Devilish indeed the human mind bereft of a proper will, bereft of a proper centre from which to view self, world and other; but hardly in league with the Devil because of such devilish behaviour. Ultimately it does not matter to what one blindly conforms, to what one is unquestioningly obedient; it only matters that one wakes up out of such a condition and does not simply exchange one shadow-bound system of conformity for another without noticing.

In an attempt to deal with this questions, this puzzle, this nightmare, the Church has elevated Jesus the Nazoraean to astonishing heights and, as a result, her mental perambulations over almost two thousand years of history draw us into a system of reasoning so strange, so anciently connected and so psychically intuitive, that in spite of everything to the contrary we cannot altogether ignore what she has to say. Mistaken she certainly is in many of her grand theological and historical pronouncements, in her assessment of herself as an unimpeachable Apostolic succession originating in the Jewish period, but her pointing finger, weighed down with gold and silver and precious stones may not be completely without direction. In spite of herself, and not because of herself, she may yet be shown to carry the rudiments of a vision of value to us all.


1 Martin, Malachi, The Jesuits (1988), p. 158.

2 Ibid., p. 156.

3 Ibid., p. 157.

4 Martin, Malachi, Hostage to the Devil (1988), p. 160.

5 Ibid., p. 12.

6 Ibid., p. 93.

7 Ibid., p. 94.

8 Ibid., p. 163.

9 Martin, Malachi, The Decline & Fall of the Roman Church (1981), p. 47.

10 Ibid., p. 42.

11 Schonfield, High, The Passover Plot (1993), p. 243.

12 Ibid., p. 245.

13 Schonfield, Hugh, Those Incredible Christians (1985), p. 151.

14 Heinemann. Uta, Ranke- Putting Away Childish Things (1994), p. 173.

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid., quote taken from back cover.

17 Martin, Malachi, The Decline & fall of the Roman Church (1981), p. 44.

18 Ibid.

19 Ibid., p. 47.

20 Rosa, Peter de, Vicars of Christ (1988), p. 33.

21 Ibid., p. 19.

22 Heinemann, Uta Ranke- Putting Away Childish Things (1994), p. 213.

23 Rosa, Peter de, Vicars of Christ (1988), p. 60.

24 Ibid., p. 81.

25 Ibid., p. 82.

26 Martin, Malachi, The Decline & Fall of the Roman Church (1981), p. 50.

27 Ibid., p. 42.

28 Ibid.

29 Schonfield, Hugh, Those Incredible Christians (1985), p. 120.

30 Hastings, Macdonald, Jesuit Child (1972), p. 230.

31 Martin, Malachi, The Decline & Fall of the Roman Church (1981), p. 47.

32 Vogt, Joseph, The Decline of Rome (1993), p. 104.

33 Martin, Malachi, The Decline & Fall of the Roman Church (1981), p. 156.

34 Heinemann, Uta Ranke- Putting Away Childish Things (1994), p. 206.