Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pope Leo X "Fable" Quote Update

I like to keep up on my past ventures, and one of those I have a lot of fun with is the bogus Pope Leo X “fable” quote (see link below). I recently discovered some new attempts to validate that quote and would like to give some exposure to an answer.

Here’s three explanations that are making the rounds these days, and the replies:
It was Pope Leo X who made the most infamous and damaging statement about Christianity in the history of the Church. His declaration revealed to the world papal knowledge of the Vatican's false presentation of Jesus Christ and unashamedly exposed the puerile nature of the Christian religion. At a lavish Good Friday banquet in the Vatican in 1514, and in the company of "seven intimates" (Annales Ecclesiastici, Caesar Baronius, Folio Antwerp, 1597, tome 14), Leo made an amazing announcement that the Church has since tried hard to invalidate. Raising a chalice of wine into the air, Pope Leo toasted: "How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us and our predecessors."

Answer: This one’s not going to work, because Baronius’ text is a history of the church since New Testament times – and it stopped recording at the year 1198, because Baronius died before he could finish it. That means he didn’t get to Leo X’s time by several hundred years.

But in case some critic wants to say he mentioned the quote anyway, maybe as some sort of illustration….fine. There’s a link to the history on Google Books below. Let’s see one of the critics tell us where it is.

The second and third references:

The pope's pronouncement is recorded in the diaries and records of both Pietro Cardinal Bembo (Letters and Comments on Pope Leo X, 1842 reprint) and Paolo Cardinal Giovio (De Vita Leonis Decimi, , op. cit.), two associates who were witnesses to it.

Answer:  The Letters and Comments work by Bembo does exist… sort of. But there is no 1842 edition listed in OCLC, and the title is actually this:

Petri Bembi Epistolraum Leonis decimi Pontificis Max. nomine scriptarum libri sexdecim ad Paulum tertium Pont. Max. Romam missi

Translated, that’s  "16 books of letters written in the name of Pope Leo X, dedicated to Pope Paul III"  -- not quote the same title. So I’m betting the quote is also not in here. But, here again, this work is on Google Books (link below) so maybe some enterprising atheist can find it in there. I can’t.

As for that last item by Jovius, it turns out Roger Pearse – who also gave me some feedback for this article – has a copy of it on his website (link below). He says the quote isn’t in there. Again, maybe one of you atheists can find it for us.

Of course I’m being facetious. We have other reasons, besides not finding it, to suspect the quote isn’t in these works. The source of these claims is an article for the conspiracy/UFO magazine Nexus, and an article by Tony Bushby on the alleged criminality of the papacy. For those who may not recall, Bushby is the author of The Bible Fraud, a book that uses the Leo quote on the cover and also has a tendency to include made-up factoids. Bushby has no scruples when it comes to documentation – so it’s no surprise this one’s turning up bogus, too.


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