Tuesday, April 19, 2005


So I was going to write a lengthy diatribe about the media's obsession over the Papal Conclave and how, ultimately, only 115 men in the Sistine Chapel actually have any idea about who's a "front runner" and who's a "dark horse."

Then they went and picked a German guy who apparently used to play Cliff on Cheers.

Y'all missed a perfectly good rant.

Anyway... Knowing that rarely does the RCC do anything that isn't symbolic, I went and took a look at the previous 15 Benedicts to see if we could see a pattern:

Benedict XV (It.) 1914-22: Organized significant humanitarian efforts during WWI, pushed international reconciliation, and quieted the capaign against the "modernists". Slightly less successful against the Cubists. ADB Rating: +

Benedict XIV (It.) 1740-58: Denounced the custom of accommodating Christian words and usages to express non-Christian ideas and practices of the native cultures, which had been extensively done by the Jesuits. Refused to even think the words "feng shui." ADB Rating: -

Benedict XIII (It.) 1724-30: A reforming pope and endeavored to put a stop to the decadent lifestyles of the Italian priesthood and of the cardinalate. Could not put a stop to the decadent frosting on Devil's Food Cake. ADB Rating: +

Benedict XII (Fr.) 1334-42: He was a reforming pope, and tried to curb the luxury of the monastic orders, but without much success. As Bishop of Pamiers, however, he pursued a rigorous inquisition for heretics amongst the Cathars of Montaillou. This inquisition, in contrast to the later Spanish Inquisition, was slightly more expected. ADB Rating: -

Benedict XI (It.) 1303-04: Supporter of the temporal and spiritual primacy of the Pope, although was unable to carry out much in 8 mos. Last Pope before the "Babylonian Captivity" in Avignon, France. Always missed the good parties and wouldn't shut up about it. ADB Rating: -

Benedict X (It.) 1058-1059: Antipope. When combined with Pope, produces pure energy. ADB Rating: N/A

Benedict IX (It.) 1047-1048: Very young, perhaps the youngest pope, possibly age 12. Possibly a fetus. "Anointed" by his father Count of Tusculum, he was the nephew of Benedict VIII and John XIX. Unsuitable. Simoniac. Resigned. Jerk. ADB Rating: - -

Benedict VIII (It.) 1012-1024: Member of the Tusculum family. Fled like a girl from Rome when opposed by Antipope. Restored to the throne by Henry II of Germany. Total Jerk. ADB Rating: -

Benedict VI: (It.) 972-974: Member of the Tusculum family (again). Under protection of Emperor Otto the Great, upon whose death the citizens of Rome rioted against the Pope. Benny was strangled to death on orders from the son of a former Pope's concubine. [Seriously!] Absolute Total Jerk. ADB Rating: -

Benedict V (It.) 964: Elected by Romans in May... Deposed by Emperor in June. Well done there. ADB Rating: -

Benedict IV (It.) 900-903: Possibly a being of super intelligence from the planet Thetas.. Probably not. ADB Rating: N/A.

Benedict III (It.) 855-858: 2nd choice after controversial election. Apparently Pious and learned. The hold of the emperors was weakened under his reign, as were the knees of his female groupies, who were known to thrown their sack cloths and ashes on stage. ADB Rating: 0

Benedict II (It.) 684-685: Under his reign, popes were no longer confirmed by the Byzantine Emperor. He is the patron saint of Europe... his name has since been changed to Pope Freedom II. ADB Rating: +

Benedict I (It.) 575-579: Plagued by famine, Lombards, and weasels, otherwise not much is known about him. ADB Rating: 0

In summary: the History of Popes named Benedict is a rich tapestry of pious Saints and utter bastards. Which is about par for the course.

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