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June 1, 1999
SECTION ONE vol 10, no. 105
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO
The de Medici child prodigy is groomed to become Pope Leo X as his handlers send a boy to do a man's job
The death of Pope Julius II paved the way for the resurgence of the powerful de Medici family of Florence and their favorite son Giovanni de Medici who would become the 217th successor of Peter as Pope Leo X. But sadly rather than strengthening the Church his inexperience as a ruler and lack of spiritual leadership would prove to be his achilles heel that would bring many in the Church crumbling, unable to cope with the growing dissension that was soon to erupt in total revolt during the bloody Protestant Reformation. Today we begin the first of several installments on this pope and those dire times. For the one-hundred-fifth installment titled Pope Leo X: no match for the world, the flesh and the devil part one: Renaissance child, click on THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH.
Pope Leo X: no match for the world, the flesh and the devil part one: Renaissance child
Over the next several issues we shall deal with Pope Leo X, one of the youngest popes ever. This 217th successor of Peter was pivotal in the causes and effects of the Protestant Reformation and, sadly, contributed in a very negative way to the mass exodus of so many from the Church during his eight year papacy. From birth Giovanni de Medici was weaned for a life in the Church as one of two sons born to Lorenzo de Medici and his wife Clarice Orsini from the equally powerful Orsini clan. This was a power marriage that promised a power protege in young Giovanni. Born in Florence on December 11, 1475 at the height of the Renaissance movement there to the most influential family union in the city, one could plot the direction Lorenzo and Clarice were taking for their second son. He was tonsured at only seven years old and a year later made Abbot of Font Douce in the French Diocese of Saintes as well as Apostolic ProthoNotary by Pope Sixtus IV who sought to reconcile with the Medici family after Lorenzo narrowly escaped death in an ambush by those who had aligned with Sixtus. Lorenzo's brother Giuliano was murdered, thus provoking war between Florence and the Papal States. After several years of fruitless fighting, Sixtus sought a truce and received Lorenzo's assurance of support by granting his son the aforementioned offices in the Church. The price was worth it to Sixtus who then allied with his former Florentine foe and turned on Venice in the great Italian battles that would end with Sixtus' nephew Pope Julius II liberating Italy and solidifying the Papal States, but not after much bloodshed and a decline in Church morals and values that would lay open the path for the Protestant Revolt to slither in and strike. After granting this unusual favor to the young boy, the de Medici family convinced his successor Pope Innocent VIII to allow the Benedictine Abbot Giovanni de Medici to possess riches accrued at the Abbey of Passignano and then the more abundant Abbey of Monte Cassino when Giovanni was a ripe eleven years-old. You can just imagine the hard feelings and resentment the Benedictine monks must have felt, being forced to be obedient to a boy.
In 1489, Lorenzo cajoled Innocent VIII into bestowing the cardinalate on young Giovanni at the ridiculous age of thirteen. Innocent, to avoid ridicule by fellow cardinals, did this in peccatore, asking Lorenzo to keep it secret for at least three years during which Innocent would provide the the best humanists and scholars to educate the young Church protege. He was sent to Pisa to study Theology and Canon Law and received his doctorate there. True to his word, Innocent made it public in March 1492 by investing the sixteen-year old de Medici with the red hat during a special Consistory. Because of his training and upbringing, his maturity belied his age and the Roman populace were pleasantly surprised at his virtuousness. This could be attributed to both his training and his father's unending loyalty to the faith and what it stood for. While Popes and cardinals fell into sin, Lorenzo was a stickler for the commandments, especially the sixth and ninth for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary prompted his insistence on purity for his son's life. He instilled in young Giovanni the importance of remaining loyal to his vow of chastity. Lorenzo advised his son not to follow the poor example of his fellow cardinals who had fallen into debauchery, but to set a new standard for what a Prince of the Church should be. It was one of Lorenzo's last requests for he died in the summer of 1492 and Giovanni returned to Florence to be with the family and his mother. This mourning period was interrupted by another death - Innocent's on July 25th. Giovanni's dedication to uphold chastity and be virtuous would become even more difficult with the death of Innocent and the election of Pope Alexander VI whose immoral exploits we documented in these pages for several installments prior to this one.
To Giovanni's credit, he in no way supported the new Borgia pope, nor did he cast a vote for him. Rather, Giovanni cast a prophetic stance of Alexander's ten-year pontificate by warning his fellow cardinals of the consequences if Rodrigo de Borgia were elected. This naturally alienated him from Alexander VI and thus Giovanni returned to Florence where he was safe. In 1494 Giovanni's uncle and his mother's brother Virginio Orsini, who had been the Pope's commander of his Papal troops, resigned his post and left the employ of Alexander in total disallusionment of the pope's policies. This angered Alexander who sought to wage war on Florence and marched into the city seeking to eliminate the Orsini and expell the influential de Medici family. Giovanni escaped with his life by fleeing the city masquerading as a mendicant Franciscan, more bent on ridding the world of this terrible pope than ever before. He joined fellow conclave member Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere in calling for Alexander's ouster. The results failed and Alexander took out his revenge on other high citizens of Florence, most notably the Florentine friar and reformer Girolamo Savonarola by wrongfully excommunicating the preacher who tweaked the conscience of the people over the immoral actions and murderous ways of the pontiff. Alexander sent his hatchetman Cardinal Cesare Borgia, the evil bastard son of the pope who made life miserable for the Florentines and ended any chance for the resurgence of the de Medici family in their own city during Alexander's reign. Because Cesare had aligned with the French, a great anti-French sentiment surged throughout the city which ultimately would lead to a unification of Italy under Pope Julius II.
Before Julius would come the short-lived pontificate of Pope Pius III who Giovanni had favored over Alexander's son Cesare. In other words, Giovanni and the rest of the conclave would vote for anyone other than the vile bastard son of Alexander's. Of course, Pius' papacy lasted less than a month and that paved the way for Cardinal della Rovere's elevation as Pope Julius II and a resurgence of the Renaissance which Giovanni favored. However there was some resentment for Julius was slowly but surely transferring the center of the Renaissance movement from his beloved Florence to Rome. Yet it was inevitable that the de Medici clan were also going through a metamorphosis that would have them bloom anew in 1512 both in Florence and in Rome with Giovanni's eventual election. Julius made Giovanni Papal legate in Bologna and Romagna in late 1511 and
the de Medici balked at joining the schismatic people of Pisa even while most of Florence failed to see the faux pais in this action. This endeared Julius to the loyal de Medici family and alienated the French toward the family. The latter captured Giovanni and much of his family as well as the Papal troops and Spanish affiliates in 1512 and imprisoned them but it was their last hurrah for it rallied the rest of Italy to oust the French as Julius sounded the battle cry and the de Medici, specifically Giovanni came out as heroes, especially after succeeding in a masterful escape from his French captors. Julius was so grateful that he restored the de Medici family to their rightful place of heritage in Florence. Julius had basically paved the way for Giovanni to assume his position as Vicar of Christ and when the former died on February 21, 1513 the way had been cleared for Giovanni's coronation.
While Giovanni was a man of good morals, he was also a young man with no political savvy and even worse diplomatic skills. He had reached his level of incompetency or "peter principle" before he turned twenty and spent the rest of his life with tunnel vision toward one goal - the resurgence of the Renaissance and his family. This myopic focus would be his downfall as pope for history would show that as Leo X young Giovanni didn't have a clue how to deal with the upstart Augustinian monk Martin Luther or his followers and rather than tackling the issues head-on, he retreated to his "ivory tower" at the Vatican allowing Rome to burn in schism while he fiddled with the arts, unrealistically thinking that by hiding his head in the sands of music, theater, carnival and dance it would save the Church from the mass defections that were occurring as we shall see in the next installment.
Next issue: Pope Leo X: no match for the world, the flesh and the devil part two: the Ivory Tower
Today, the first day of June, is the Feast of Saint Justin, martyr while tomorrow the Church commemorates two more martyrs - Saint Marcellinus, priest and Saint Peter, exorcist and not to be confused with the Apostle Peter. Wednesday is also the ninth Wednesay in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on these saints, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Tuesday, June 1, 1998
First Reading: Tobit 2: 9-14
Psalms: Psalm 112: 1-2, 7-9
Gospel Reading: Mark 12:13-17
SAINT JUSTIN, APOLOGIST AND MARTYR
Born of pagan parents in 103 AD in the village of Neapolis in Samaria (today Sichem in Palestine), Saint Justin was afforded a good education and devoted his life to the study of philosophy with a growing hunger to know of this God these upstart Christians preached. Unsatisfied with the contending schools of philosophy, he relentlessly continued his search until God Himself quenched that thirst for knowledge which was Divinely inspired through an old Christian man who explained in the simplest, but most profound terms what Christianity was about. Convinced he had found what he had long been looking for, Justin enthusiastically embraced Christianity, realizing that Sacred Scripture and the zeal of the martyrs led to faith and it was in faith that one could come to know God. Once he was converted he threw himself into spreading this faith with the same zeal he had during his search for this faith. Justin carried the Gospel to Egypt, Greece and Italy, distributing his writings far and wide, eventually arriving in Rome where he established a school of Christian philosophy. In his efforts to defend the Jews against the Romans, Justin wrote the Dialogue of Trypho and, armed with the strength of the Spirit wrote two special Apologies to the Roman Senate and Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The second Apology was more than Aurelius could stand. His pride and lack of control raging out of control, Aurelius ordered Justin be put to death. Brought before the Prefect of Rome to be sentenced, Justin and the disciples with him feared no earthly death. When the Prefect provoked Justin by mocking him with the question "Do you think that by dying you will enter this heaven you talk about and be rewarded by this God of yours?" Justin replied, "I do not think; I know!" As Justin was so certain, so also the faith he embraced is a certainty - that by striving to do God's Will through all that Jesus asks within the framework of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church we can be assured of joining Justin someday in our everlasting reward.
Wednesday, June 2, 1999
Wednesday, June 2:
Ninth Wednesday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs
Green or Red vestments
First Reading: Tobit 3: 1-11, 16-17
Psalms: Psalm 25: 1-9
Gospel Reading: Mark 12: 18-27
SAINTS MARCELLINUS and PETER, Martyrs
These two saints were martyred for the faith in the early fourth century by beheading. Roman-born Saint Marcellinus died with his Egyptian-born counterpart Saint Peter who were both arrested and executed by the Emperor Maximin in Alexandria, the last to be martyred there by Roman authority. Peter was a learned scholar of the Scriptures and Catechism and fervently fought the Arians and followers of Origen who undermined the authority and teaching of Holy Mother Church. As Bishop of Alexandria Peter protected his flocks against the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian but was eventually forced into hiding where both he and Marcellinus were captured when Maximin came into power. Peter detailed how lapsed Christians could be received back into the Church and these instructions were adapted by the Eastern Church. Both saints were forced to first dig their own graves in an out-of-the-way place before they were beheaded somewhere between 303 and 311 A.D. There was an unusual account that began in the sixth century when both of their bodies miraculously appeared together with their heads intact. They were buried together in the Catacomb of St. Tiburtius. Their relics were sent to Frankfort, Germany in 827 by Pope Gregory IV as a gift to the Holy Roman Emperor Louis, son of Charlemagne.
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
In honor of the feast of Saint Justin, we present the Preface for the Mass:
In the early days of Your Church You chose Justin the martyr so that by his writings he could expound to Jews and pagans the mysteries of the prophets and the teaching of the apostles. Fearlessly he defended the gospel of Christ before the rulers. He faithfully completed his ministry, after bearing witness to You before the people, and You gave him the privilege of shedding his bollod in order to receive the crown of eternal glory in the luminous company of martyrs.
Patience is a virtue!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".
"Those who are patient under trial are those who are most capable of consoling others; those who are rebellious under crosses can never bring comfort to the afflicted."
Events Today in Church History
On this date in 1215 Pope Innocent III opened the Twelfth Ecumenical Council, better known as Lateran IV in which the Council Fathers enacted reforms, repeated the condemnation of the Albigenses heresy, issued decrees on receiving Holy Communion annually and planned the Fifth Crusade. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for June 1:
Death of Saint Justin, the first Christian layman to have written extensively on the Faith and the sacraments, specifically Baptism, educating the masses who, were for the most part, quite ignorant to the Faith. He was a great apologist and most noted for his arguements for Christianity vs. Judaism. Beheaded with six other companions by the Roman prefect Rusticus for refusing to worship the Roman gods, Justin is known as the patron saint of philosophers. For more on St. Justin, see DAILY LITURGY
Pope Innocent III announces the formation of the Fifth Crusade at the Fourth Lateran Council in Rome. It was the Church's 12th Ecumenical Council. Innocent would not live to see the crusade come to fruition, dying during the summer of the following year. It would be left to his successor Pope Honorius III to carry it out, but it ended in failure because of the inaction of Frederick Holy Roman Emperor and his son - the notorious Frederick II Hohenstaufen who basically deserted the Crusades after promising help.
Birth of Jacques Marquette in France. He would go on to become a Jesuit priest and be sent as a missionary to America and Canada where, along with explorer Louis Joliet, he journeyed south, discovering the upper Mississippi River area in Minnesota and Wisconsin and sailed south on the Mississippi all the way to the Arkansas River, carrying the faith to all he came in contact with from 1666 to 1673.
"You are in the time of chaos; chaos which seeks to rend asunder all the prayer groups, cenacles and devout, holy communities which I have asked for through My Mother."
Those words were spoken by the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Message #536 on September 1, 1994 to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart, in which Our Lord laments at how so many have succumbed to the world and given up on prayer, defeating by their refusal, His Blessed Mother's intent to unify her prayer groups and cenacles as well as other reverent groups who seek to do God's Will. In this spiritual darkness Jesus asks us to be like "a magnificent diamond which catches the light and illuminates all around it." A few days prior to her Divine Son's Message, Our Lady conveyed Message #535 in which she also decried the apathetic state many of her little ones had fallen into and the pathetic way they were treating the truths of her Son, scoffing at His Will by flaunting their own will which only hampers and delays the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart. For Messages #535 and #536, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
Messages 535 and 536
Message Five-Hundred-thirty-five, August 29, 1994
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
(Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, Martyr)
Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, I love and bless you, for your heart seeks only the will of the Most High Trinity. Do not grieve, for God's Will as made known unto you shall be accomplished in His time.
I desire to speak to all of my little ones. I desire for all of you who truly seek My Divine Son to renew your commitment to Him. Come to Mass every day if it is possible, for here are graces that sustain you and prepare you for eternal life. Come frequently to the Sacrament of Penance and receive the Holy Eucharist worthily. Be always humble, little obedient children, filled with the Holy Spirit, and trust in God to keep your feet on the sure path. Reflect upon Sacred Scripture and do not fail to offer prayers daily for yourself and all the world. I am joyful when you do as I ask, for then you are close to my Divine Son's Sacred Heart and secure in the Refuge.
But as your Heavenly Mother I sorrow greatly when you act in a contrary manner. My Immaculate Heart is wounded because I see how you speak evil of one another; you judge one another with finite minds, becoming self-righteous and stubborn. You do not seek the pure guidance of the Holy Spirit, nor do you realize you are being led by the evil one. Now is the time to be fully reconciled with God and with one another. Let no bitterness or anger remain in you, lest the Hour of Great Justice come and find your heart cold and lifeless.
I am your Mother, and I love you. I give you my Divine Son's Peace.
Pray! Pray! Pray! Thank you for responding to my Call!
Message Five-Hundred-thirty-six, September 1, 1994
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
Beloved Hidden Flower of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, I give to you and all your family My peace. Rejoice, for I give to you sufferings hidden in My Wounds that you may be more closely united to Me.
I wish to tell all of My children who wish to hear Me: Pray for wisdom of the heart. You so frequently pray and beseech Me to help you, but your prayer is not aided by wisdom which flows as a pure river of light from your heart.
You are in the time of chaos; chaos which seeks to rend asunder all the prayer groups, cenacles and devout, holy communities which I have asked for through My Mother. You do not remain steadfast, because you act and perceive all things from your weakened human state, and in this there is no wisdom.
Little children, let wisdom of the heart be for each of you as a magnificent diamond which catches the light and illuminates all around it. When you have wisdom of the heart you "see" as I see, understand as I do, and you remain a loyal, humble, obedient child of God.
These are truly dark days; days of tears and sorrows. To many My Voice is only a failing echo, and these are My children who thwart My Will at every turn and then speak in anger against My chosen messengers, deriding them as false prophets. But I solemnly tell you, it is your free will that thwarts My Will, causing My Will to be accomplished in My time, not yours.
Pray very much in this month when My True Church brings to you so many rich feasts. Pray and seek wisdom of the heart so that the light of faith may intensify in these troubled times.
I, your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ do solemnly say to all: Awake! Watch! Pray! You do not know what is yet to come, but the Scriptures are to be fulfilled in this Hour.
May 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! Also today I call you to convert and to more firmly believe in God. Children, you seek peace and pray in different ways, but you have not yet given your hearts to God for Him to fill them with His love. So, I am with you to teach you and to bring you closer to the love of God. If you love God above all else, it will be easy for you to pray and to open your hearts to Him. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
The DAILY WORD
"Render, therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
Mark 12: 17
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June 1, 1999 volume 10, no. 105 DAILY CATHOLIC