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Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Roman Catholic popes

Christianity’s criminal history, 183

– For the context of these translations click here

Miniature in the
Grandes Chroniques de France.

John VIII (872-882), a pope in his own right

Inspired by Gregory I and Nicholas I, his models, he took the directional role of the popes to an extreme. Just as Leo IV transformed St Peter’s, the Vatican quarter, the ‘Leonine City’, into a fortification, so John VIII walled up St Paul’s Basilica and the entire annexed suburb, which he called ‘Johannipolis’. And just as his predecessor—after having generously released Louis II from an oath issued through Duke Adelchis of Benevento in 871—had urged the emperor ‘to resume the struggle’ (Regino of Prüm), so also Pope John accompanied Louis’ war against the Saracens with vigorous biblical sentences and, as did Leo IV, absolved from their sins all those who ‘fall with Catholic piety against pagans and infidels’ and promised them the peace ‘of eternal life.’

This representative of Christ also recruited soldiers, obtained a Moorish cavalry from the King of Galicia, probably founded the office of president of the shipyards and probably in a ‘fresh initiative’ (Seppelt, Catholic) founded the first papal navy: ships occupied by troops, equipped with catapult machines capable of throwing stones, spears and hooks for boarding and moved by slave oarsmen. He was the first pope-admiral to go on the hunt for Saracens, managing to kill many of those ‘wild animals’—as he called them with the language of a true saintly father—and seize eighteen ships from Cape Circe. A ‘heroic deed,’ according to the Catholic Daniel-Rops. He was also determined to prevent any serious collaborationist contagion by threatening Christians who negotiated with the Saracens with ecclesiastical ex-communication.

John VIII worked to destroy the empire and the kingdom of Italy to increase the power of his see, to dominate bishops and princes alike, and to direct Italy politically. ‘He who is to be raised by Us to the imperial dignity must first and foremost also be called and chosen by Us,’ he declared with astonishing boldness, while dazzling with the imperial crown, sometimes simultaneously, almost all possible candidates such as Boson of Vienne, the king of Provence, the sons of Louis the Germanic, Carloman and Louis III, and above all the West Frank Louis the Stammerer, son of Charles the Bald. And to each, he promised all exaltation, glory and salvation in this world and the next, all the kingdoms of the world. And to each he inculcated that he was the only candidate, claiming that in no other had he sought help and assistance! And when at last it was clear to him that he could not expect much from the Franks, he turned to Byzantium.

On 16 December 882, in a palace riot, a pious relative, who himself wanted to be pope and rich, poisoned him; but as the poison did not act quickly enough as the Annales Fuldenses report in brief but impressive words: ‘He struck him with a hammer until it stuck in his brain’ (malleolo, dum usque in cerebro constabat, percusus est, expiravit). It was the first papal assassination. And the example created a school.

While the Christians were thus attacking one another, not only in the narrow circle of the popes and not only in Italy, while their great ones were extorting money from one another, and while in the south they were robbing, killing and burning the Saracens, in the north the Normans were still present. Indeed, the Norman danger had grown worse. Even the Frankish king Carloman II asked in 884: ‘Is it any wonder that pagans and foreign peoples lord it over us and take away our temporal goods when each of us violently deprives his neighbour of the necessities of life? How can we fight with confidence against our enemies and those of the Church, when in our own house we keep the spoils stolen from the poor and when we go on a campaign to fill our bellies with stolen goods?’

Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Roman Catholic popes

Christianity’s criminal history, 182

– For the context of these translations click here


The papacy in the middle of the 9th century

The Vatican becomes a castle and a holy pope a fortification builder

When in August 846 seventy-five Saracen ships appeared at the mouth of the Tiber, around 11,000 men and 500 horses fell on the districts of Rome on the right bank of the Tiber, eleven thousand men and five hundred horses fell on the districts of Rome to the right of the Tiber, completely sacking the church of St Peter outside the wall of Aurelius as well as the basilica of St Paul and taking prisoner all those who had not fled, ‘including the inhabitants of the monasteries, men and women’ (Annales Xantenses), the contemporaries saw it as a punishment of Providence against the corruption that was invading Rome.

After the surprise attack, it was the defeat, the disgrace provoked by Saracens and pagans, which inflamed the faithful. Why had Saint Peter not been better defended? A capitulary blames the sins of Christianity and points out the remedies: to fight against one’s wickedness, against the sins of the flesh and the theft of the ecclesiastical patrimony! In addition, Lothair I ordered alms to be collected throughout the empire and imposed a special tax for the reconstruction of the church of St Peter and its protection, to which the emperor and his brothers contributed ‘not a few pounds of silver’.

In the meantime, Pope Sergius II had died. And on the very day of his death, his successor was elected: a Roman, educated from childhood in the Benedictine monastery of St Martin and an ‘exemplary religious’ (Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche). It was Leo IV (847-855), who after a six-week interpontificium was consecrated pope, and again without imperial approval, which had been necessary since 824. It seems that the crisis caused by the Arab pirates didn’t permit any delay, although the oath of allegiance to the emperor was subsequently demanded of him.

Pope Leo IV and the Fire in the Borgo. The fresco is believed
to have been designed by Raphael, but was likely painted
by Giulio Romano and others in Raphael’s workshop
between 1514 and 1517 when Pope Leo X was pontiff—Ed.

This saintly father achieved a reputation as a master builder of fortifications that can be said to have lasted until the present day. He transformed the suburbs of Rome on the right bank of the Tiber, the entire neighbourhood of the Vatican, into a castle in an undertaking that was important for centuries. It was a plan that Leo III had already been contemplating, but which only Leo IV brought to fruition. In a work of years, personally inspected by him on foot or horseback, he reinforced the old city walls, created new fortifications and thus became the creator of the civitas leonina, to which he modestly gave his name ‘city of Leon’. Between 848 and 852 he built a wall almost forty feet high and as many feet thick, reinforced with 44 towers.

The work of fortifying required abundant materials and numerous workers, who had to contribute to cities and monasteries of the Papal State, dominions and militias. But the papal stronghold also cost large sums of money, which came mainly from the Frankish Empire—something the papal biographer completely omits—on the orders of the very obliging Lothair,  with the strange effect that it was due to the pope and his position vis-à-vis the emperor!

The devastated St Peter’s was again lavishly decorated. On the high altar were placed sheets of gold enamelled with precious stones, each weighing 216 pounds; a gold cross, embossed with pearls and emeralds, weighed 1,000 pounds, and a silver ciborium or baldachin over the altar weighed 1,606 pounds. As St Paul’s and many temples, even in the provinces, were also expensively decorated, it could be seen how immensely rich the Church was, for which collections were already being made everywhere because of its ‘poverty’ (as they still are today).

It is understandable that the ‘sons of Satan’, who came from Sardinia, appeared at the mouth of the Tiber as early as 849, long before the fortification of Leon was erected. At last, they had seen what was hidden in those Christian temples and what was piled up at St Peter’s. ‘The imagination cannot comprehend the richness of the treasures piled up there’ (Gregorovius).

Carolingian dynasty Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Roman Catholic popes

Christianity’s criminal history, 177

– For the context of these translations click here

Pope Paschal, who gouges out eyes and cuts off heads, is declared a saint

Why did Leo III enter the Roman martyrology in the 17th century? Why was this monstrous murderer declared a saint?

He wasn’t canonised for his brutality, nor for his liquidations, and still less for his genuflection before Charles ‘the Great’ to whom alone he owed his survival. He was canonised because at Christmas 800 he had placed the crown on Charles’ head; because he had so impressively forced the passion for domination, the never-satiated desire for supremacy of the popes; because, with that radiant sign through the ages, with that ‘trait of genius’ (de Rosa), he had inscribed once and for all in the sad book of history the aspiration of the popes for absolute leadership. This is also the reason why Franz Xaver Seppelt, the Catholic historian of the popes, sees the name of Leo III shining in the ‘catalogue of saints,’ despite all the fatalities of his long pontificate and all the corpses that litter his path: ‘Saint, saint, saint’ (his feast day, 12 June).

His successor Stephen IV, a Roman nobleman educated from boyhood at the Lateran, elected pope after ten days without consulting the emperor, ruled only a few months; but his illustrious family provided in the century two other popes.

Paschal I (817-824), Stephen’s successor, immediately had the Pactum Hludowicianum established with his predecessor confirmed by the emperor, i.e. the full extent of the promises of donation and the actual donations made by Pippin and Charlemagne, grandfather and father respectively of Louis, as well as the autonomy of the state from the Church, the papal rights of sovereignty and above all the free election of the pope.

Two of the highest papal officials, Theodore, belonging to the high nobility (and still in 821 a pope ambassador at the Frankish court) and his son-in-law the nomenclator Leo ‘because of his loyalty to Lothar’ (Astronomus); because, according to the Imperial Annals, ‘they remained loyal to the young emperor Lothar’, were blinded and beheaded by the pope’s servants in the Lateran Palace without any legal process. Everything was attributed to the pope or ‘to his approval’, says Astronomer.

Mosaic of Paschal at Santa Prassede.

The whole affair is somewhat reminiscent of the bloody proceedings of St. Leo III in 815. But in 823 the monarch also sent his judges to Rome, retiring for the rest of the summer and in the autumn to the district of Worms to hunt in the Eifel region. Paschal, however—so beloved of the Romans that at the very burial of his corpse they provoked a riot—, refused any complicity and escaped the trial, perhaps with good reason, by publicly taking the oath of cleansing in the presence of thirty-four bishops and five priests and deacons. This was a ‘means of proof’, already used by St. Leo III in December 800, and especially frequent among ecclesiastical officials. At the same time, he anathematized the murdered men as high treason, declared their death an act of justice since they had received their due as criminals of lèse majesté, and took the assassins as servants of St. Peter (of the family Sancti Petri), granting them ‘his most resolute protection’ (Annales regni Francorum).

Emperor Louis resigned himself. And Pope Paschal I died in 824 amid the family Sancti Petri. The man was cunning while Ludwig was superior and tough. When Paschal I was alive and the monks of Fulda brought him unpleasant news, he had them imprisoned without delay and threatened their abbot Mauro with excommunication. In Rome itself, they abhorred his rigorous rule which completely disrupted the state. And since not only his planned burial but also the subsequent papal election were under the sign of serious turmoil, Paschal’s body remained unburied for a long time until his successor could give him a burial, although not in St. Peter’s.

Much later, however, at the end of the 16th century, Paschal’s name managed to enter the saints’ calendar of the Catholic Church (his feast day, 14 May) through the work of the historian Caesar Baronius, an Italian cardinal of the Catholic Church.

Dominion (book) Roman Catholic popes

Dominion, 10


How the Woke monster originated

The chapter ‘Revolution, 1076 Cambrai’ begins by explaining how the Catholic Church decided to expand the vow of celibacy, which already existed for alienated monks, to all priests.

This, from my point of view, was a step that led to the abuse of children and pubescents in the Church throughout the next millennium, as now even the clergy could not marry, burning themselves in celibacy and masturbation. Such an aberrant step has to do with the Christian view of the human soul, which assumes that lust doesn’t exist in a pure soul, but that we simply indulge in impure thoughts, concupiscence.

A millennium later such a view of the human soul would become, in secularised form, in the trans movement that assumes that we are not sexualised animals but that we can simply ‘choose’ our sexes. In the following pages, Tom Holland mentions a milestone in the mentality of Europeans regarding the increasing power of the Church:

‘The Pope is permitted to depose emperors.’ This proposition, one of a number of theses on papal authority drawn up for Gregory’s private use in March 1075, had shown him more than braced for the inevitable blow-back. No pope before had ever claimed such a licence; but neither, of course, had any pope dared to challenge imperial authority with such unapologetic directness. Gregory, by laying claim to the sole leadership of the Christian people, and trampling down long-standing royal prerogatives, was offending Henry IV grievously. Heir to a long line of emperors who had never hesitated to depose troublesome popes, the young king acted with the self-assurance of a man supremely confident that both right and tradition were on his side. Early in 1076, when he summoned a conference of imperial bishops to the German city of Worms, the assembled clerics knew exactly what was expected of them. The election of Hildebrand, so they ruled, had been invalid. No sooner had this decision been reached than Henry’s scribes were reaching for their quills. ‘Let another sit upon Saint Peter’s throne.’ The message to Gregory in Rome could not have been blunter. ‘Step down, step down!’

But Gregory also had a talent for bluntness. Brought the command to abdicate, he not only refused, but promptly raised the stakes. Speaking from the Lateran, he declared that Henry was ‘bound with the chain of anathema’ and excommunicated from the Church. His subjects were absolved of all their oaths of loyalty to him. Henry himself, as a tyrant and an enemy of God, was deposed. The impact of this pronouncement proved devastating. Henry’s authority went into meltdown. Numerous of his princely vassals, hungry for the opportunity that his excommunication had given them, set to dismembering his kingdom. By the end of the year, Henry found himself cornered. To such straits was his authority reduced that he settled on a desperate gambit. Crossing the Alps in the dead of winter, he headed for Canossa, a castle in the northern Apennines where he knew that Gregory was staying. For three days, ‘barefoot, and clad in wool’, the heir of Constantine and Charlemagne stood shivering before the gates of the castle’s innermost wall. Finally, ordering the gates unbarred, and summoning Henry into his presence, Gregory absolved the penitent with a kiss. ‘The King of Rome, rather than being honoured as a universal monarch, had been treated instead as merely a human being—a creature moulded out of clay.’

Henry IV, King of Germany from 1054 to 1105, King of Italy and Burgundy from 1056 to 1105, and Duke of Bavaria begging forgiveness of Pope Gregory VII at Canossa, the castle of the Countess Matilda, 1077.

The shock was seismic. That Henry had soon reneged on his promises, capturing Rome in 1084 and forcing his great enemy to flee the city, had done nothing to lessen the impact of Gregory’s papacy on the mass of the Christian people. For the first time, public affairs in the Latin West had an audience that spanned every region, and every social class. ‘What else is talked about even in the women’s spinning-rooms and the artisans’ workshops?’…

The humiliation of Henry IV had made visible a great and awesome prize. The dream of Gregory and his fellow reformers—of a Church rendered decisively distinct from the dimension of the earthly, from top to bottom, from palace to meanest village—no longer appeared a fantasy, but eminently realisable. A celibate clergy, once disentangled from the snares and meshes of the fallen world, would then be better fitted to serve the Christian people as a model of purity, and bring them to God…

Nevertheless, deep though the roots of Gregory’s reformatio lay in the soil of Christian teaching, the flower was indeed something new. The concept of the ‘secular’, first planted by Augustine, and tended by Columbanus, had attained a spectacular bloom. Gregory and his fellow reformers did not invent the distinction between religio and the saeculum, between the sacred and the profane; but they did render it something fundamental to the future of the West, ‘for the first time and permanently’. A decisive moment…

It was no longer enough for Gregory and his fellow reformers that individual sinners, or even great monasteries, be consecrated to the dimension of religio. The entire sweep of the Christian world required an identical consecration. That sins should be washed away; the mighty put down from their seats; the entire world reordered in obedience to a conception of purity as militant as it was demanding: here was a manifesto that had resulted in a Caesar humbling himself before a pope. ‘Any custom, no matter how venerable, no matter how commonplace, must yield utterly to truth—and, if it is contrary to truth, be abolished.’ So Gregory had written. Nova consilia, he had called his teachings—‘new counsels’.

A model of reformatio had triumphed that, reverberating down the centuries, would come to shake many a monarchy, and prompt many a visionary to dream that society might be born anew. The earthquake would reach very far, and the aftershocks be many. The Latin West had been given its primal taste of revolution. [pages 227-231]

Autobiography Charlemagne Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Roman Catholic popes

Christianity’s Criminal History, 161

– For the context of these translations click here

The Frankish king Charlemagne was a devout Catholic who maintained a close relationship with the papacy throughout his life. In 772, when Pope Adrian I was threatened by invaders, the king rushed to Rome to provide assistance. Shown here, the pope asks Charlemagne for help at a meeting near Rome.

Anti-juridical sovereignty of Charles and the beginning of the pro-pope warfare

Shortly before Pope Stephen died at the end of January 772, Carloman had died (after having made large donations to churches and monasteries, and especially to the cathedral of Rheims and the abbey of Saint-Denis) on 4 December 771, near the beautiful forests of Laon where he liked to hunt. He was only twenty years old. Such a misfortune probably triggered a fratricidal war that was already in the offing. Charles, then probably in his early thirties, became ruler of the entire Frankish kingdom in flagrant violation of the law, as he deferred the inheritance rights of Carloman’s two sons, both of whom were still children, and in a swift act of plunder, he took over his brother’s kingdom.

This was a centuries-old Christian tradition, both in the East and in the West. And it ran in the family, since Charles Martell, Charles’s grandfather and also a bastard, had already excluded the direct heirs in a very similar way. And in 754, didn’t Charles’ father Pepin tonsure the sons of his brother, the deposed Carloman, locking them up in a monastery and burying their right of inheritance there forever?

The founders of Europe!

Strangely enough, we know almost nothing about Charles’ childhood and youth.

______ 卐 ______

Editor’s note:

The autobiographical genre I want to inaugurate, analysing our abusive parents, sheds great light on these issues.

Anyone who has read my De Jesús a Hitler will know that my father was picked on in Catholic schools. The priests perpetrated a tremendous psyop on him (remember that the Jesuits say that if you give them a child at six, mentally he will be theirs forever).

In one of the sources Deschner himself quotes, Charlemagne is said to have been educated in a monastery. That is the key to understanding everything he did when he left that place.

As bizarre as it may seem, analysing the mad father who mistreated us sheds intense light on historical figures who caused the darkest hour that the white man is currently suffering from. But who’s interested in this new literary genre?

______ 卐 ______

Even the year of his birth is disputed. The new Lexicón des Mittelalters (still unfinished), however, gives per other sources that are supposedly second-rate the date 2 April 747. The specific date comes from an old calendar from the monastery of Lorsch.

For a long time Charles was also considered to have been born out of wedlock; it was believed that he was born before the marriage of his parents, Pepin and Bertrada, daughter of Count Charibert of Laon, a relationship that only years later became a real marriage. Einhard wrote his famous book, Vita Karoli Magni, fifteen or twenty years after Charles’s death; but twenty years before that date he was already living in the palace of the then fifty-year-old king. He soon became part of his innermost family circle, sitting at his table and becoming his confidant; so it is completely implausible that he had heard nothing about his hero’s childhood and youth—especially when Einhard says that Charles spoke almost continuously, that he could be considered a ‘chatterbox’.

Pope Stephen’s successor was Pope Adrian I (772-795), who reigned longer than any of the popes who preceded him.

Adrian, who belonged to the Roman nobility, was already the third pope of the house of Colonna, and at the same time a strong supporter of his relatives, who held the most important offices of state. In foreign policy Adrian broke with the pro-Bardic attitude that had been maintained by his predecessor. He soon mounted a front against Desiderius, who refused to return to the Roman Church some of the cities and territories that had been the fruit of Pepin’s wars of plunder. By papal order, as soon as Paulus Afiarta, a supporter of the Lombards, returned from their court, he was seized by Archbishop Leo of Ravenna, who had him tortured and executed.

The elimination of the leaders of the pro-Lombard faction of the curia again provoked the Lombard king’s threats and attacks on the Church-State, with the obligatory arson, plunder and robbery. And so again came the Pope’s cries for help. He openly reminded Charles of the example of Pepin. He repeatedly urged and pressed him to intervene ‘against Desiderius and the Lombards in the service of God, in favour of the rights of St Peter and for the consolation of the Church’, and to ‘complete the preservation of the holy Church of God’. In this way he prepared the way for Charles’ intervention in Italy, who would later march south five times, anticipating the numerous Italian campaigns that the Germanic emperors would carry out in the future.

Einhard says: ‘At the request of Bishop Adrian of Rome he [Charles] launched the war against the Lombards. The pope, whose enlisted troops on all sides could not even remotely cope with the military might of his enemies, was burning with impatience for Charles’ intervention…’

It seemed almost impossible to take the passes that the Lombards had closed and to cross the gorges, ‘the Gates of Italy’. Walls, fortifications and towers enclosed the gorges of the valleys between mountain and mountain. The Franks were pinned between steep walls, their cavalry still less able to manoeuvre than their foot troops. Charles, huddled and sulky in his tent, held one council of war after another with his military, parleyed with the Lombards, and softened his demands more and more; but in vain. Then a skilful deacon, sent by Archbishop Leo of Ravenna, led a scara francisca over a high, undefended ridge, which centuries later, with the ruins of such fortifications still standing would be called the ‘Path of the Franks’. Surprised to suddenly see the Franks in their rear, the Lombards thought they were surrounded and abandoned their positions in disarray. It was a ruse that Charles often used in the war against the Saxons.

The aggressor first conquered Turin and then his army, crossing the Po plain ‘like an immense tide of floating ice’ (Stormer), fell on Pavia. Charles rejoined the other army corps and at the end of September laid siege to the Lombard residential town, which was heavily fortified and well supplied with soldiers, arms and supplies.

Charles prepared for a long siege, had his sons brought from the far-off homeland and also his wife Hildegard, who was fourteen years old. And when he heard that Adalgis, son of Desiderius, had taken refuge with Carloman’s widow and children in Verona, then undoubtedly the most fortified city in Italy, he set out at once with a small troop.

Whether due to treachery or regular surrender, Verona soon capitulated. The kinsmen, Gerberga with her sons, passed at Charles’ disposal but the sources are silent about their fate. At best—as twenty years earlier with the beloved relatives of his father Pepin—they were tonsured into monasteries. In any case, they disappeared from history.

Catholic Church Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Roman Catholic popes

Christianity’s Criminal History, 160

– For the context of these translations click here

Criminal excesses at the papal court with the change of power in the Frankish kingdom

Pope Stephen II, who at the decisive moment had generously granted himself the ‘Constantinian Donation’, died on 26 April 757. At his death, he left a considerably large territory, which for the time being remained in his family. Paul I (757-767), in fact, Stephen’s successor, was also his younger brother, and the second Orsini pope to occupy the Lateran palace. Pope Paul, to whom his unofficial biographer constantly attributes a propensity for clemency, wanted a permanent war against the Longobards…

Scarcely had Paul I closed his eyes on 28 June 767, practically abandoned by all those close to him, when a violent revolt broke out in Rome, as so often before. Already the next day Toto, Duke of Nepi and head of a powerful family, stormed into Rome with his armed colonists and had his brother Constantine, a layman, elected as Paul’s successor. The foundation of the church-state, the papacy’s strengthened position of power, made it increasingly attractive to the nobility. Constantine seized the Lateran, received the relevant clerical orders and within six days was the pope. In St Peter’s Basilica, he was solemnly consecrated by the bishops of Palestrina, Albano and Porto…

Constantine II (767-768), although elected in an anti-canonical manner, occupied the discredited throne for thirteen months without particular difficulty, conducted business, ordained clergy and even presided over a synod. But then he succumbed to a conspiracy of influential people, chief among them his chancellor and provost Christophorus, head of the papal officials, and his son, the chaplain Sergius. Placed under house arrest, at Easter 768 they both preferred to move to a monastery in Spoleto, San Salvatore in Rieti. They undertook to remain there by oath but fled to take refuge with the Longobard king. With the king’s permission, they gathered reinforcements in Rieti, and at the end of July 768, these forces marched on Rome under the orders of the priest Waldipertus. There, one of the city gates was opened to them and a series of bloody street battles ensued; but a traitor, a creature of Christophorus, the ecclesiastical archivist Gratiosus, stabbed Duke Toto in the back. Pope Constantine fled from church to church, until he and his closest entourage were captured and imprisoned…

Cardinals and bishops had their eyes and tongues gouged out. Constantine, deposed and discovered by chance, was dragged through the streets of Rome in an ignominious procession, locked up in a monastic prison and tortured there under the orders of the ecclesiastical archivist Gratiosus, also the murderer of Duke Toto (and later himself a duke). No less bloody was the persecution of his closest supporters, who were mutilated and blinded. Bishop Theodore, who supported Pope Constantine to the end, had his eyes and tongue torn out and was imprisoned in the monastery of Clivus Scauri where he soon succumbed in horrible pain. Passivus, Toto’s brother was also imprisoned in the monastery of St Silvestre, and all his property was seized. Likewise, the priest Waldipertus, the agent of the Longobards who had placed Philip on the papal throne, was given a short trial. True, he sought asylum in a sacred place, the church of Santa Maria Maggiore; but he was torn from there with the image of the Madonna to which he was embraced, and thrown into a dungeon of the Lateran, where he died mutilated.

At Easter 769 a synod was held at the Lateran; in addition to twenty-four Italian bishops, it was attended for the first time by thirteen Frankish bishops. This underlined, as His Holiness said in his opening speech, the ecumenical character of the cause. Constantine, already blind, was led and interrogated on 12 and 13 April in the basilica. In the first session, he confessed to having more sins than there was sand in the sea. He prostrated himself in the dust but declared that the people had made him pope by force because they were not satisfied with the harsh regime of Paulus…

The assembled fathers threw themselves furiously upon Constantine, slapped the pope whom they had already deposed and threw him out of the church. They burned the acts of his pontificate, including those of his election, which Stephen himself had signed. But the pope then intoned a kyrie eleison and all fell to the ground and confessed themselves, sinners, for having held communion with the reprobate Constantine. He was condemned to lifelong penance and probably spent the rest of his life in a monastic prison.

Again and again, it becomes clear that Christians have a compassionate heart; not all enemies are eliminated at once. Here, too, people live and let live… The policy of pope Stephen III concentrated on preventing any understanding between the Franks and the Longobards.

Carolingian dynasty Catholic Church Christendom Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Monarchy Roman Catholic popes

Christianity’s Criminal History, 158

– For the context of these translations click here

A month after Charles Martel died, in December 741 Gregory III, the last Roman bishop to be confirmed by the Emperor of Byzantium, also died. His successor was Zacharias (741-752). Liutprand died at the beginning of 744, after thirty-twoyears of rule. Before the death of Charles Martel, Charles had divided the power of government between his sons Carloman, Pepin the Short and Grifo…

Already in the year of the change of government, bishoprics were created in Hesse and Thuringia (planned by Boniface since 732), and in the years 743 and 744 three great synods were held in Austrasia and Neustria, in which the total elimination of ‘heresy’ and paganism was decreed. Charlemagne and Pepin—both educated in monasteries, Charlemagne probably in the monastery of Echternach by Willibrord, and Pepin in the monastery of Saint-Denis—carried the war far and wide. Both were, as Pope Zacharias says of his ‘most illustrious sons’, ‘companions and assistants’ of Boniface. Moreover, both were ‘under the inspiration of God’ (inspiratione divina). Thus, the holy father was able to guarantee the two great butchers also ‘an abundant reward in heaven’ for ‘blessed is the man by whom God is blessed’…

Even Pepin the Younger (741-768), who generally resided in the palaces of Quierzy, Attigny, Verberie and Compiégne and to whom Pope Zacharias had already given the title of christianissimus in 747, was ‘a good Christian’ (Daniel-Rops), ‘inspired entirely by the Christian spirit’ (Büttner). In his fight against the Saxons he reached the Weser in 753, in a campaign in which Hildegard, bishop of Cologne, perished on 8 August. In 758 he entered the territory of Münster and promised the Westphalians, on whom he had inflicted a heavy defeat, loyalty, an annual tribute of 300 horses and the free movement of Christian missionaries.

In eight campaigns, conducted between 760 and 768, he subdued Aquitaine, where he had once, and still in the company of Charlemagne, set fire to the suburbs of Bourges and destroyed Loches. Now he destroyed the castles and ruined the country. He set fire to Bourbon-l’Archambault as well as Clermont, setting fire to countless villages. He was accompanied by the eldest son of Pepin, Charles (‘the Great’, Charlemagne): quite a school of life! Year after year, the Franks systematically plundered and destroyed the entire region from one end to the other. And the devastating effects of these wars could be traced back for generations…

The most momentous event of the Middle Ages

Theodor Mayer writes about the state conception of the Carolingian period: ‘It is clear what happened in the royal period of Pepin and Charles. It is the conception of kingship as an office, which does not derive from the divine descent of the royal lineage nor a military kingship, but which was instituted by God and conferred by the pope’. It was not until the Carolingian era at the latest when kingship was given a theocratic foundation and the sovereign became ‘king by the grace of God’ (rex Dei gratia), which is a formula of legitimation. ‘The revived idea of “by the grace of God” had elevated and sanctified the royal dignity since the anointing of Pepin’ (Tellenbach). And ever since the sons of Pepin, who were Carloman and Charles ‘the Great’, all medieval kings bore the title gratia Dei rex Francorum, king by the grace of God.

The king was thus sharply separated from the people, to whose choice he originally owed his privileged position, and placed close to God. This means that, since ‘God’, properly understood and in a political vision, is only a symbol for the high clergy and their need for power, insofar as the king is separated from the people, he is linked to the priestly hierarchy and placed at their service.

The king became an organ of it, a sharer in its ministry, its creature: an ‘ecclesiastical person’. God meant de facto the Church, which gradually made its power more and more felt, which had even assigned the office of king, and the more the theocratic character of kingship was accentuated, the greater its influence.

But this collaboration with the king led to an ever more marked weakening of the people and their total powerlessness. For it was no longer the people who were to control the king, but the high clergy. The king was consciously distanced from the people and presented as majestas far above the people. The people ceased to be subjects of rights; they had only duties, absolutely subject to the sovereign, who was no longer accountable to them. In any case, this is what the models developed by the ecclesiastical hierarchy were intended to do, although they were only imposed in the following decades and centuries.

Carolingian dynasty Catholic Church Charles Martel Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Roman Catholic popes

Christianity’s Criminal History, 157

The formation of the Church-State by wars and pillage

‘But be vigilant, my children, strive earnestly to take part in what we desire! For you know that he who is on the other side will be excluded from eternal life’. —Pope Stephen II

‘The struggle for Christ and the Church is assigned to the Franks as their historic vocation’—John Haller

Plaque marking the casket containing Liutprand’s
bones in San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro in Pavia.


Papal negotiations between Byzantium, Longobards and Franks

While the dispute over the images was raging in Byzantium and its repercussions were shaking Byzantine Italy, King Liutprand was trying to seize the opportunity to extend the Longobard kingdom throughout Italy, especially in Emilia and Romagna. He systematically annexed Byzantine territory, conquered castle after castle, and strengthened his authority over the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. In short, he continually increased his political power within and beyond his borders. And when in 732 (or 733) Liutprand first conquered Ravenna—which had been in Byzantine hands for almost two hundred years and the exarch fled to the Venetian lagoons—the ally proved too dangerous for the Papacy…

Liutprand was a pious person, a faithful Catholic, a friend of the priests and an outspoken promoter of the Church. He erected a domestic chapel in his palace and was the first Longobard king to procure private chaplains. He instituted ecclesiastics ‘to celebrate daily divine service for him’ (Paul the Deacon). One of his relatives was the bishop of Pavia. He was generous with the clergy. He founded monasteries, built many churches which he decorated and practised the superstitious cult of relics. A prologue to his laws opens with a biblical quotation. And in a later prologue he expressly presents himself as a defender of the Roman Catholic faith. Gregory II fought against the return of the nuns to civil life, and Liutprand supported him with a relevant law…

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Editor’s note: Contrary to what we were told as children, Christianity was imposed on whites through royal power. This vindicates what I said yesterday: that only a brutal iconoclasm ordered by a Fourth Reich could cure the white man from the mental virus that is Christianity.

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Transamundus II had forcibly deposed his father Farvald in 724, imposing on him the tonsure and entry into the clerical state. When Liutprand advanced against him (738-739), set fire to the Pentapolis and ravaged Spoleto, Transamundus took refuge with the pope, who put the Roman army at his disposal against Liutprand. Liutprand in turn stormed into the Roman duchy, sacking it and conquering its castles on the northern frontier. And war broke out everywhere, both in Roman territory and in the lands of Ravenna. It is true that Transamundus provisionally (in December 740) conquered its capital and killed the new duke Hilderic, instituted by Liutprand. But the pope, who also used his bishops in the Longobard kingdom against his sovereign, was wary of the king’s power and appealed to the Frankish prince Charles Martell, who was far away but strong.

The Frankish steward, who from 720 undisputedly controlled the whole kingdom and fought almost without pause—also involving the Church to a large extent and using the monasteries as bridgeheads (Schwarzach, Gengenbach, Schuttem, the abbey of Reichenau)—saw the expansion of his authority and the spread of Christianity as inextricably linked. To put it briefly, Charles had become the most powerful man in Europe, and so accustomed was he to war and conquest that, as contemporary sources expressly note, there was hardly a year without war (namely 740). And that man appeared precisely as the true patron and protector of Christ’s representative.

So Gregory III tried repeatedly in 739 and 740 to incite Charles Martell against Liutprand, although the two were personal friends. The pope dreamed of unshackling Rome from the Byzantine empire and offered Charles the collation of the Roman consulship as well as the rank of patrician. Gregory III, who persisted in his efforts until his death (‘In no age’, a Frankish chronicler comments flatteringly, ‘was such a thing ever heard of or seen’) appealed in vain to Charles. The latter, who was little devoted to the Church, who was genealogically related to the Longobards, who was allied with and a friend of Liutprand, who in 737 adopted his son Pipin, remained completely deaf to the first call for papal help and died before a second could eventually reach him.

Among the ancestors of the Carolingians, Charles is the only one whom later ecclesiastical authors condemn, casting him into hell for all eternity because of the systematic reduction of the ecclesiastical patrimony due to him (precaria verba regis). In his lifetime this was interpreted in a completely different way, even if he had one of his ecclesiastical relatives beheaded, Abbot Wido, who, according to the monastic chronicle, was more fond of hunting and war than of divine service. Of course, he didn’t have him beheaded for that, but a conspiracy against Charles. What we know for sure is that he was far from being a stubborn enemy of the Church. We know of eight donations of goods, which he made to him personally.

Charles Martel Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Lloyd deMause Roman Catholic popes So-called saints

Christianity’s Criminal History, 152

St Boniface, ‘Apostle of the Germans’ and of Rome

The Greatest Englishman. —Title of an anthology by Timothy Reuter

‘He was an utterly devoted person, one might almost say tender, not a tempestuous personality or a force of nature. A man of utterly pure and lofty idealism’. —Wilhelm Neuss

‘Moreover, any historian—including an atheist—should recognise that Boniface opened the door wide for us, that through him the frontier of Europe was opened to the east. The same is true of Charles’s wars against the Saxons’. —K. König and K. Witte

‘Boniface, who has influenced the history of Europe more profoundly than any other Englishman after him, was not just a missionary but a statesman and a genius of administration, and above all a servant of the Roman order’. —Christopher Dawson

‘The glory of the Middle Ages rests in a good part on his work’. —Joseph Lortz, Catholic theologian


Around 680, probably at the age of seven, the Anglo-Saxon boy Wynfreth (Winfrid), later called Bonifatius in Rome, was given by his father to the monastery as puer oblatas.

Editor’s Note: Anyone familiar with what we have quoted on this site from historian Lloyd deMause will know that paedophilia is not a recent phenomenon in the Catholic Church. From its earliest days parents who didn’t love their young donated them to monasteries—the institution of Oblation—where they could be sexually used by the elders. Deschner continues:

‘But the boy, who had been entrusted to the monastery without consulting his will, grew up to become a man of his own free will’, writes the German scholar Schramm today. In a monastery! A man of his own free will? As if Boniface had not been a servile slave of Rome for the rest of his life! ‘Day and night he cultivated scientific studies to procure eternal happiness’, according to the priest Willibaid in his bombastic Vita, which he wrote about his monastic hero in Mainz at the end of the 8th century.

Boniface began a propagandistic pilgrimage, but with a ‘missionary authorisation’ from Rome. Pope Gregory II (715-731) commissioned him on 15 May 719 ‘to exercise the service of the kingdom of God among all peoples imprisoned in the error of unbelief’. He was to examine—again in the poetic language of the biographer Willibald—‘whether the uncultivated fields of their hearts were to be ploughed by the plough of the gospel’.


Deliverance from ‘all uncleanness’ among the people of Hesse, Thuringia, Saxony and some bloodshed

The inhabitants of Hesse were still largely pagan, while the Thuringians—among whom the Frankish conquerors built the first churches in their feudal castles—had been partially converted to paganism by Saxon raids and pagan reactions. In any case, despite his honey-sweet doctrine, Boniface quickly failed here, partly because of the Christian bishops and priests and partly because of the lack of military support.

Still in 719 he left Thuringia and went, ‘filled with great joy’ at the death of the Frisian Duke Radbod (according to Vita Bonifatii), to Frisia until 721, where he was placed under the command of the elderly missionary Willibrord, an ‘Oblate’ like himself, i.e. already spiritually violated as a child.

With the backing of the high Frankish nobility and the force of Frankish arms, Willibrord had, since 690, spread his knowledge among the West Frisians under Pippin II and, briefly and unsuccessfully, among the Danes and Saxons. He fled from Radbod with little apparent martyr’s vocation and only returned after his death. Only the victorious campaigns of Charles Martell in 718 and 720 (repeated in 722 and 724) against the Saxons made possible the beginning of their Christianisation, their liberation from ‘demons’, ‘error’ and ‘diabolical fraud’ (Gregory II). With the invocation of the Holy Trinity, Willibrord destroyed the ‘idols’, desecrated and reduced to ruins the sanctuaries of the Frisians, killed their sacred animals and worked astonishing miracles. To put it briefly: it was in connection with the military men Pippin and Charles Martell that he weeded out ‘the tares of unbelief’ and strove to ‘renew by baptism those who had just been subdued by force of arms’ and ‘to spread without delay all the light of the gospel’ (Alcuin).

In 721 Boniface separated from Willibrord for reasons we ignore. He had refused to be consecrated bishop by Willibrord and returned to the territory of Hesse-Thuringia, where he founded a small monastery on the Amoneburg… After the first successes Gregory II called Bonifacius back and on 30 November 722 consecrated him a missionary bishop (without a fixed see). He thus became entirely bound to Rome by oath…

Boniface benefited from the campaigns of Charles Martel and his donations to the church of Utrecht and the monastery of Echternach, which soon became the basis of gigantic Catholic propaganda that extended as far as the Meuse, the Scheldt and the mouths of the Rhine.

In 722 Gregory II had also given the ‘apostle of the Germans’ a missionary commission for the Saxons. It is true that in 718 they had been driven out of the lower Rhine and defeated by Charles, but they remained almost entirely faithful to their ancient beliefs. They were one of those Germanic tribes east of the Rhine. The planned ‘conversion’ of the Saxons with mass baptisms only came about after Charles’ long and carefully prepared campaign of 738, which was carried out in close cooperation with the clergy. Gregory III (731-741), who once called the Frankish warlord who waged war almost year after year ‘St Peter’s beloved son’, declared the following in a letter to Boniface on 29 October 739:

You have given us knowledge of the peoples of Germania, whom God has delivered from the power of the pagans, by having gathered into the bosom of the holy mother Church hundreds of thousands of souls by your efforts and those of the Frankish prince Charles (tuo conamine et Caroli principis Francoruni).

The number is certainly exaggerated. But the Saxons were ‘delivered from the power of the heathen’ only by the military expedition of Charles Martell (738) ‘with dreadful bloodshed’ (Fredegarii continuationes). And in connection with this came the mass baptisms of the Saxons. Their conversion to Christianity took place ‘in close contact with the military-political organisation’ (Steinbach). This is probably even a ‘large-scale attempt at a Saxon mission before the period of Charlemagne’ (Schieffer).

It is true that Charles Martell was not very religious, but for political reasons he was ‘extremely interested’ (Buchner) in the spread of Christianity in the east. And there is no doubt that Boniface ‘owed everything to the victorious arms and personal protection of Charles Martell’ (Zwölfer).

Already in the years 718, 720, 722 and 724 Charles had fought against the Saxons, as mentioned above. He repeatedly crushed uprisings of the Frisians and Saxons, and it was only through these bloody acts of violence that the ‘conversion’ or, as Boniface puts it, the liberation of ‘all the heathen’s filth’ depended. Gregory III attributed the missionary success as much to Charles Martell as to Boniface. And Boniface personally confesses to the English bishop Daniel of Winchester: ‘Without the protection of the prince of the Franks (sine patrocinio principis Francorum) I could neither have guided the people of the Church nor defended the priests and ecclesiastics, the monks and servants of God, nor without his command and his fear could I have eliminated the pagan customs and the horrors of idolatry in Germania’.

Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Merovingian dynasty Monarchy Roman Catholic popes

Christianity’s Criminal History, 144

The fall of Brunhilda and the first peak in the Christianisation of the idea of kingship

(Left, pen drawing from the earliest manuscript of the Chronicle of Fredegar which is believed to depict Eusebius and Jerome, 715 AD.) On the death of Childebert II, he was succeeded by his two sons: Theudebert II (595-612) in Austria, and Theuderic II (595-613) in Burgundy. Brunhilda was the first to rule in the name of her grandchildren, who were still minors, and who only gradually began to intervene in the struggles with the royal house of Neustria after they had reached majority.

In Burgundy, of which she soon became the true ruler, she continued the struggle against Chlothar and, to take revenge on her Austrian enemies, instigated Theuderic against his brother Theudebert of Austria, who, she kept repeating, was not the son of a king but of a market gardener. As late as 600, the two brothers had jointly inflicted a heavy defeat on Chlothar II, who was then only sixteen years old, and had sacked his kingdom, reducing it to a narrow coastal strip around Rouen, Beauvais and Amiens. And still in 602 they had jointly fought the Basques and ‘with God’s help’ had subjected them to tribute.

But afterwards they fought each other fiercely and bloodily. The Chronicle of Fredegar recounts that

never since time immemorial had the Franks or any other people fought so fiercely. Such was the deadliness between the two armies that, where both sides began the battle, the corpses of the dead had no place to lie, but the dead were so crowded together among the other bodies that they stood upright as if they were alive. But Theuderic, with the help of God, defeated Theudebert once more; and the vassals of Theudebert during their flight from Zülpich to Cologne were put to the sword, covering the ground in stretches. On the same day Theuderic came to Cologne and seized all the treasures of Theudebert.

In Cologne, where the Franco-Burgundians entered, Theuderic had his brother tonsured and then cut off his head and annihilated his entire family. ‘Even a very young son of his was grabbed by the foot by order of Theuderic and beaten against a rock, until his brains fell out of his head’, says the Chronicle of Fredegar.

It was the end of one of the innumerable purely Catholic fratricidal wars.

The victor then attempted to seize control of the whole of Gaul and immediately advanced on Neustria. But when he was at the height of his triumph he died unexpectedly, still in his youth, in the year 613. His sons were also killed by Chlothar II of Neustria. But not his godson Merovech, whom Chlothar imprisoned in a monastery, but ‘whom he continued to love with the same affection with which he had taken him from the sacred font of baptism’ (Chronicle of Fredegar).

On the death of Theuderic in Metz, Brunhilda immediately had his eldest son and great-grandson, Sigibert II, who was about ten years old, proclaimed king of Austrasia and Burgundy. But the Austrasian grandees betrayed her. Led by the glorious ancestors of the Carolingians, the two traitors, the steward Pepin of Landen and Arnulf—the future saint and bishop of Metz—, went over to the side of Chlothar II. And after the high treason of the Austrian aristocracy, the queen was also abandoned by the feudal lords of Burgundy under the steward Warnachar. They had decided it beforehand ‘and of course both the bishops and the rest of the great lay lords, according to the contemporary chronicler… resolved not to let a single son of Theuderic escape, but to kill them all and then annihilate Brunhilda and to promote the sovereignty of Chlothar’.

This sealed the queen’s ruin, the exclusion and even the elimination of the Austro-Burgundian branch of the Merovingian dynasty, as well as the triumph of the nobility over the crown.

Brunhilda’s army deserted without resistance. She fled to the Jura and tried to sneak into Burgundy, but at Orbe (in today French Switzerland), by Lake Neuchatel, she was taken prisoner by the Frankish steward and handed over to her nephew.

Chlothar, as God-fearing as he was cruel and thoroughly ecclesiastical-minded, and who as the first Frankish king compared to David, whose ‘piety’ the Chronicle of Fredegar exalts, was a ruler who granted the clergy new rights and abundant donations, guaranteed them freedom of episcopal elections, exempted them from all the burdens of ecclesiastical property, was ‘clement and full of kindness to all’. The queen consort of Chilperic I, Fredegund, subjected her to torture for three days in the year 613. (Note of the Ed.: queen Brunhilda of Austrasia was Fredegund’s sister-in-law.) This happened when Brunhilda was already almost septuagenarian; she then had the soldiers ride her on a camel, and finally tied by her hair, one arm and one foot ‘to the tail of the wildest steed’ and dragged her to death, until ‘her limbs were torn off one after the other’ (Chronicle of Fredegar). Her bones were burned. And her offspring were also eliminated up to her great-grandchildren, with the sole exception of Prince Merovech, Chlothar’s godson.

(Left, Brunhilde is dragged to her death.) But a modern researcher writes: ‘It was precisely under this ruler that, as can be clearly demonstrated, the Christianisation of the idea of the king reached its first peak’ (Anton).

Pope Gregory had miscalculated. It was neither Brunhilda nor the Austrian branch that emerged victorious from these massive atrocities: the victor was the Neustrian Chlothar II, to whom Gregory had sent only a single letter of his 854 letters that have been preserved. In 614 the king convened a national synod in Paris which marked the beginning of the national Frankish Church, independent of Rome for a century.