Alexander was not a neophyte when it came to papal affairs for he had been highly involved in curial responsibilities for thirty-five years prior to that, in fact, much of the debauchery and declining morals and morale that had gone on in the Roman chancery had been perpetrated by him. Because of his own vanity, he ordered a lavish papal coronation, planting many within the crowds lined along the way between St. Peter's and the Lateran to stir up the throng into a frenzy for him. Like the current U.S. President today who possesses many of the traits of Alexander, the latter was one who played to the people and might have been quite a spinmeister had he lived today. Like another former president, Alexander was one who kept a list of his enemies and that included those cardinals who voted against him. Chief on his list was Cardinal della Rovere who would become Pope Julius II. The two would be involved in bitter clashes during Alexander's pontificate. At first Alexander, thanks to the favorable reaction in Rome, seemed to the people to have "turned over a new leaf" and they were willing to accept him as he restored order to Rome and set up four districts to divide the city of Rome and place chosen magistrates over each district. To rule without fear of reprisal, Alexander gave them plenary powers, something uncommon in Church circles. Though the Inquisition had been established, Alexander used it for secular powers, dispensing judgment to keep the papal states in line. Meanwhile, rather than becoming a holy man, he fell back into his wanton ways and abused nepotism even further, appointing his illegitimate son Cesare bishop over several wealthy sees in Spain, even though he was only 18 years-old. On top of that Alexander married his bastard daughter Lucretia several times, each time after the inheritance was secured, a strange fate befalling her spouse. He also increased her powers making her a virtual regent, many coming to call her "Popess Lucretia" for Alexander placed her in charge of Church affairs when he was away from Rome. Alexander also married Cesare's brother Juan to a Spanish princess which gave him the duchy of Benevento which was actually part of a papal state and this was truly a conflict of interest for the riches were going to the family, not to the Church. Further intrigue ensued when Juan was murdered in June 1497. Many suspected Cesare since Juan was Alexander's favorite and there was jealousy on the part of Cesare who was pure evil to put it simply.
All of these machinations did not set well in Spain nor in France where King Charles VIII challenged Alexander's appointment of Alfonso II, the son of the deceased Ferdinand I as king of Naples. Cardinal della Rovere joined forces with Charles, and, we're sure, goaded the king into taking up arms against Alexander. This Charles did and when he invaded Italy in 1494, spurred on by della Rovere's hatred for the Borgia Pope, called for a council to depose Alexander. Alexander forgot loyalties and religious ties by summoning the aid of one of his enemies, the Turkish Sultan Bayezid II. Talk about strange bedfellows! But, thankfully, the Sultan, too turned his back on this rakish pontiff. Thus Charles took Naples and was ready to take Rome when Alexander, always the shrewd one, worked out an alliance with Charles' enemies to try to surround the French monarch. Realizing he would be better suited to wait and fight another day, Charles returned to France without conquering Rome. In June of 1497, Alexander sent the evil Cesare to Naples as a legate to crown Charles' choice - Frederick of Aragon. Cesare came under heavy criticism for his lustful life and the populace demanded he be defrocked. Thus, Alexander had no choice but to release his bastard son from the cardinalate, but he did send him to France in 1498 as an envoy. Charles had died and the new king Louis XII, who was Charles' son-in-law, sought an annulment from his marriage to Saint Jane of Valois who had been the daughter of King Louis XI who preceded Charles. Charles had arranged the marriage between Jane and Louis, then Duke of Orleans. The latter besmirched Jane's reputation and gave false representation that she had cruelly neglected him. Rather than counter, Jane was a loyal wife, humble and submissive and accepted whatever came her way. Louis bought off Cesare and Alexander granted the king's wish. Jane retired to Borges where she founded the Order of the Annunciation. It was another example of God allowing evil for good. In fact, in a strange twist, it was Alexander who would approve the rule in 1501. It's also interesting to note had Alexander been Pope during the King Henry VIII some thirty years later, England might still be Catholic, but it should also be noted that because of Alexander the foundation had been laid for a mass exodus from a Church which had become too worldly. In short, Alexander's laxity and preference to the king of France alienated those who were not in alliance with the French. A continent-wide schism was just around the corner. Louis lavished Cesare with many gifts, including power under the French flag and this enabled the rogue son of Alexander to conquer Romagna and become duke of the largest province in the papal state. Cesare, with Juan dead, was finally Alexander's pride and joy and Cesare manipulated the poor-excuse-for-a-Pope with every evil bone of his body. Greed was the rule of the day as Cesare set his sites on appropriating the entire papal state as well as central Italy, crushing the centuries-old generations of Roman families.
To finance this drastic, despicable deed Alexander and Cesare relied on other dastardly deeds. You might say this was the birth of the Mafia for, in something reminiscent of Mario Puzo's "The Godfather", Alexander would stage lavish liturgical celebrations while masterminding the demise of his enemies and those who stood in his or Cesare's way such as the barons and cardinals who stood up to him. Thus through the command of Cardinal Sforza, the Pope's prime minister, countless aristocrats and clergy were were executed swiftly and fiercely. With less and less opposition, the Borgias pressed on. On June 27, 1501 Alexander, trying to play both sides, replaced Federigo, his chief vassal in Naples on the charges that the latter had secretly plotted with the Turks against France. The interesting thing is that this charge was the very same thing Alexander had been guilty of less than a decade before. Alexander split Naples between France and Spain with a clandestine pact called the Treaty of Naples which pleased no one. Cardinals and barons who had not been killed were deposed by Alexander who demanded their properties. They refused, asking for a third party to take possession to assure everything would be in the hands of the Church's jurisdiction, but Alexander refused for he had no intentions of confiscating territories, properties and riches for the Church but for his own greedy ends. One of his great enemies was Cardinal Virginio Orsini who had voted for him and had been the commander of Alexander's papal troops, but abandoned the Pope because of his actions and lack of holiness. Alexander finally cornered Orsini and had him arrested, thrown into the dungeon at Castel Sant'Angelo where, less than two weeks later, the cardinal was dead. Don't believe for a minute it was a natural death.
All through Europe there were cries for Alexander's head and short of that, to break from the Church. This would have alarmed anyone who was devoted to the Church, but not Alexander who was so consumed with power and a feeling of being invulnerable that he mocked those who called for his deposition. He had eliminated all the threats in the College of Cardinals as well as those barons who opposed him. Only a few remained such as Cardinal della Rovere who wisely kept his distance waiting for his chance. That would not come for another few years after Alexander was dead. Actually, some historians hold that Alexander had held out a psuedo olive branch to della Rovere's ally Cardinal Adriano da Corneto, inviting him to the Vatican for a reconciliation dinner at which were present the Pope's evil son Cesare. They had intended to poison the cardinal's wine cup but, in what could only be called "poetic justice" or, should we say "Divine Justice," someone confused the cups and it is believed both Alexander and Cesare drank from it, but not Cardinal Corneto. There is also speculation that della Rovere had an inside man in the Holy See who warned the Cardinal Corneto and switched the poisonous cups. However these mysterious events transpired, the facts are that Alexander drank heartily of the poison and died that evening of August 18, 1503. Historians claim his body was swollen grotesquely from the toxic substance. Cesare did not die but was never the same after his devious plan backfired and his father was gone, soon any power he enjoyed would be gone as well, thanks to the vindictive nature of della Rovere once he assumed the papacy as Julius II.
During his eleven year pontificate there is very little good one could say about Alexander, but we will attempt to list some in the next installment when we note his influence on the New World in part three.
On this day I desire for all of my children to understand that satan has now emptied hell of all demons whose sole purpose is to cause doubt, confusion, fear and despair.
I solemnly tell you: Do not fear, you who have heard my words and are striving for holiness. The confusion shall wound you, even as my own Immaculate Heart was pierced. Be joyful amidst persecution, for God alone brings good fruit from all when it is given to Him in faith and trust.
Many are the signs already given you. Many are yet to come. Do not become discouraged, little children. Pray always! Pray from and with your heart. The evil one controls so many of my little ones. I need your prayers.
I desire to bring you my Son's Peace. O! If only you knew His Mercy! Heed my words. Pray! Thank you for responding to my Call!
O! Little children, do not merely hunger for my words out of curiosity. That is not from the heart, but from the mind. I ask only that you open your hearts so that the Holy Spirit may fully transform you. Yet, I speak to you and my words no longer stir your hearts. You have allowed satan to suffocate the fire of faith, the sweetness of hope and the odor of love.
But I solemnly tell all the world: Live my messages. Those which I give at Medjugorje are meant for all the world. At other places through chosen souls I speak more directly to a country or community.
Know my words are the will of the Most Blessed Trinity. Know that all I have spoken shall swiftly be fulfilled. Great peril lies ahead for my beloved son Pope John Paul II. Daily pray for him that he will fulfill his mission fully before I come to take him to eternal rest.
The evil of hell has covered the earth. I beseech all of my little ones: Do as I have asked. Heed my words. Act as I have directed you and do not fail to fulfill your mission given you as part of my army, which forms the chain which will bind satan. As you approach Pentecost, open your hearts anew and seek to be fully possessed by the Holy Spirit. Then shall you understand my words.
Time is now critically short. Those who are called to respond with love, joy, faith and total trust, do all that my Son tells you to do; He does not abandon His flock.
O! Let the Hour of Great Mercy be fulfilled, for it must come to all my children. I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Toward Mary "with faith and confidence Saint Agostina turned entrusting her the most difficult and seriously sick," the Pontiff affirmed about the Italian religious Sister. Continuing then with Saint Giovanni, he pointed out: "Love, love, love Mary, Saint Giovanni Calabria requested to his children, requesting to 'live' and to 'breathe' Mary." And, recalling the filial piety of Saint Marcelino Champagnat, the Pope concentrated his attention on the "motto" of the new saint: "Everything to Jesus through Mary, and Mary has everything through Jesus Christ."
Upon concluding his brief address, the Pope recalled the grave situation in the Balkans, requesting the intercession of the Mother of God. "May Mary, that we invoked as Queen of Peace in these days of great concern for the conflict in Yugoslavia, obtain the gift of peace mainly for that beloved land, that suffers and is martyred. May the force of peacefulness and the coexistence of dialogue," he concluded, "prevail over ethnic violation and the violence of weapons."
Great Britain's most prominent prelate wrote to the priests of his archdiocese that "I have cancer, and it is not in its early stages." However, he added, "I have received two wonderful graces. First, I have been given time to prepare for a new future. Secondly, I find myself-- uncharacteristically-- calm and at peace.
Cardinal Hume said that he planned to continue working as long as he could-- although he hinted that he did not anticipate living much longer. The 76-year-old prelate had already submitted his retirement to Pope John Paul II, as required by Church law, upon reaching his 75th birthday.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey, was among the first public figures to react to the news of the cardinal's illness. The Anglican leader said that Cardinal Hume "will be in my prayers and in the prayers of the whole nation in the months ahead." The previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Runcie, added that he was "full of sympathy for Basil Hume and eager to add my prayers to the many that will be said for him."
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had headed the coalition, called on President K. R. Narayanan and resigned the office within hours after the cliff-hanger verdict of 269-270 against the BJP-led government.
"The nightmare is over. We wholeheartedly welcome the downfall of the communal regime," said John Dayal, convenor of the United Christian Forum for Human Rights (UCFHR,) reacting to the fall of the BJP-led coalition-- during the tenure of which Christians suffered considerably. UCFHR had recorded over 150 incidents of anti- Christian violence since last March, when the coalition assumed office after a nationwide general election.
"What a relief!" exclaimed Jesuit Father Ambrose Pinto, director of Jesuit-run Indian Social Institute in New Delhi. "In all my life, I thought myself as an Indian. But during the last 13 months (when the BJP coalition was in power), I felt that I am a Christian in India," lamented Father Pinto. The worst damage the BJP did through its ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) during its tint in government, Father Pinto said, was "to define national identity in terms of religious identity, as if Christians and other minorities are second-class citizens."
"The government that has fallen failed to protect the minorities adequately and effectively, in spite of all the promises," said Archbishop Alan Basil de Lastic of Delhi, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, in his own reaction to the fall of the BJP coalition. Summing up the legacy of the coalition government, Archbishop Lastic said that "no other government has dealt with the minorities as they did." The escalation of anti-Christian violence during BJP rule, Archbishop Lastic said, showed the "ineffectiveness of those who should have prevented it."
The Hindu nationalist BJP, with 182 members, had called the shots in the coalition government, supported by 100 other members of parliament belonging to 16 small parties in the 545-member Lok Sabha-- the lower house of parliament. But the BJP leadership was plunged into crisis last week when one of the smaller parties which had allied with BJP withdrew from the ruling coalition, depriving the government of its ruling minority and forcing Prime Minister Vajpayee to schedule a vote of confidence.
After two days of heated debate on the no-confidence motion, the ruling coalition was dumbfounded Saturday noon when the amalgam of 24 opposition parties voted out the BJP coalition government by the closest of margins-- a single vote.
"People came from nowhere as soon as we first heard the cries of fire from the jhuggi (slum) and we moved the (crippled) children out" (to the nearby car repair center), Sister Rosebell, superior of the house, told CWNews. By the, the fire was close to the MC building.
Even as locals tried to keep the fire at bay by throwing water at the front side of the building, the ravaging fire from the back side of the MC home rose over 40-feet and spread to the store room on the top (third) floor directly and reduced to sooth the medicines, packed food and woolen blankets stored there.
However, the timely intervention of fire officials and locals prevented the building from being gutted.