- Wayne Howard
Papal Rome - Part IV
We've spent a lot of time talking about Germany and England lately, and while I'm sure there was a lot going on all over Europe during this time, we're going to turn our attention to France. You'll remember that Clovis I converted all of France (the Franks at that time) to Catholicism when he was baptized on Christmas Day in 496 AD. Charlemagne followed that up in 785 by issuing a decree that any Saxon refusing to be baptized or indulging in any behavior insulting to the church should be executed. He was then crowned as Emperor on Christmas Day in 800 AD, the first Western Roman emperor since 476 AD.
Starting in 751 with Pepin, when a new French (Capetian at that time) king was crowned, he was first anointed with holy oil so that he could rule not only “by the grace of God,” but also be God's anointed in the supposed same way Saul and David were in the Bible. (Read 1 Samuel to learn the stories of Saul and David).
In 1095, the call went up for the First Crusade. This appealed particularly to the French. They had developed codes of chivalry and a caste of knights who were chomping at the bit for action. They tended to pick fights with one another, which led to the Truce of God movement after 1027. This called for rests from fighting during Lent and Advent, as well as on Sundays and other holy days. The church did not seek to end the violence, only channel it for its own purposes. It was no good for Christians to be fighting other Christians, but when dealing with another religious faction, they were more than happy to use the violence to further their aims and win back Jerusalem from the Muslims. No other nation took as large a part in the Crusades as the French over the next two centuries.
While Latin remained the language of the Church, law courts, and universities, it ceased to be a spoken language. Paris became a major center for learning, and the dialect of the region, which came to be known as French, became the language of the elites throughout much of Europe. In 1163, work started on building the cathedral of Notre Dame. Around this time, the University of Paris was founded. It was originally meant to be a kind of guild of masters and scholars. Eventually, students could choose from study in the Arts, Medicine, Law, and Theology, but the university was strongest in theology and philosophy. Teachers attempted to reconcile the wisdom of the ancient world with the beliefs of Christianity. There were a number of famous people who attended school there, among them were Jean Calvin, who attended in the 16th century, around the same time as Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, otherwise known as the Jesuits.
Ignatius Loyola and The Society of Jesus
Ignatius was a Basque, and was born with the name Iñigo López de Oñaz y Loyola. Basque is a region in northeastern Spain and southwestern France, located in the Pyrenees mountains. Most likely due to the fact that the region is very isolated, when the mass migration took place invading Europe and Italy, the Basque area was not invaded, and the people there have their own unique language and culture. The language is called Euskara and is not related to French, Spanish, or any other European language.
According to the book The Jesuits: History and Legend of the Society of Jesus, by Manfred Barthel, before having a religious conversion, Iñigo was a soldier and a bit of a womanizer and frequently got into trouble. His leg was shattered in a battle and it soon became clear that he would never be able to walk properly again. As he was recovering in his sister's home, the only thing he had to do was read about the lives of various saints, and that touched his heart. Soon, rather than wanting to fight physical battles, he wanted to fight to win souls for Christ. In 1523, on a quest to take on a one-man Christian crusade and win over all the unbelievers to Christ, he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He was more than a little bit zealous, scourging himself at least three times a day to beat the temptations of the flesh out of himself, starving himself, and relying on God and the goodness of others to see to his needs. He wanted to know and see every detail of where Jesus had been in the city. He drove the Franciscans there, who take care of all of the Latin holy places in Jerusalem, a little crazy and they quickly put him on a ship back home.
He was not allowed to teach unless he first became a priest, which would require study. He started in his home country of Spain, but even in Spain, his fanaticism stood out. He gathered a following of young, idealistic admirers, and women of all classes found him interesting. They weren't the only ones. He caught the attention of the Inquisitors as well, brought to the question a number of times, and denounced as a heretic no less than ten times. It was soon decided he would be better off outside the jurisidiction of the Inquisition. He would need to complete his studies elsewhere.
In 1527, he set off to enroll in the most prestigious university of the day, in Paris, France. The Sorbonne consisted of 50 colleges, and was home to over 40,000 students. It was a place of advanced learning, in theology and other subjects, and was ripe with revolutionary ideas. Loyola entered the university in Paris in 1527 under his new chosen name, Ignatius, which was the Latinized version of Iñigo. During his time at the university, he gathered together a small group of close-knit friends. He had written Spiritual Exercises between 1522 and 1524. These were a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices he had developed to help people deepen their relationship with God. He put his little group of closest friends through the rigorous regimen of the Spiritual Exercises he had developed. Each of those men came out of the weeks of training with their hearts turned toward spiritual warfare, united in purpose, with Ignatius as their leader. In 1534, they headed to the crypt of St. Denis on Montmarte, and made vows of poverty and chastity, and declared that they would do everything they could to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and if they could not complete that last vow within a year, they would present themselves to the Pope and ask him to send them on a mission of his choosing.
He and his six companions completed their studies qualifying for the Master of Arts in 1535 (this would be more like a Ph.D. according to today's educational standards), and true to their word to one another, headed to Venice together to wait for a ship that would take them to Jerusalem. As they waited, they practiced preaching in the streets. A year passed, and the war between Venice and the Turkish Empire made it too dangerous to travel to Jerusalem. They would have to fall back on their second plan, to present themselves to the Pope. By this time, they had gathered a number of other recruits, and they decided that they needed to found an order so that they could keep their community alive, even if they were separated for assignments. He and most of his companions were ordained on June 24, 1537 before they left Venice, then spent the next 18 months in the field, preaching and acquiring experience in ministry.
They arrived in Rome in November 1537. It wasn't going to be easy to get in to see the pope. They were going to have to make some strong connections. They spent time in various anterooms, pulling as many strings as possible, and Ignatius made friends with Pope Paul III's illegitimate daughter, asking her to intercede on their behalf to gain an audience with him. Loyola had drafted his original statutes of the Order on June 24, 1539, and they were approved orally by the pope on September 3. It wasn't until September 27, 1540 that the Society of Jesus was established officially as an Order by a papal bull.
Ignatius wanted his Order to be active and out among the people, assisting people, bringing the Gospel to the world, not cloistered in a monastery in quiet solitude. They would live as servants, utterly obedient to the Pope. In the mind of Ignatius, due to Catholic indoctrination, Christ had transferred his supernatural powers and grace to the Pope, his living personal representative on Earth, and that the closer the bond he held with the Pope, the closer his bond would be to Christ himself, and therefore the more effective his own actions would be in accordance with God's will.
Ignatius knew that there was the possibility that this small group would grow into a large organization, possibly numbering into the hundreds (there were around 1,000 by the time he died), and he needed to make sure that they would all stay united in like mind and purpose, and that one of the only ways to do this would be to make the presiding Pope their figurehead to keep them on task as Christ's footmen and soldiers fighting for the souls of each man, woman, and child on the planet.
I'm just going to interject for a moment. In Part I of this Papal Rome series, we discussed how Peter could not possibly be the first Pope, and that Christ does not have a personal representative on the planet. He desires a close relationship with each of us individually, not through a middle man. If you truly believe that the Pope is Christ on Earth, then Loyola's reasoning is sound to be absolutely obedient to whatever pope holds office. However, the character of God never changes, and we have seen that each subsequent pope was extremely different from the last, some enjoying artwork, others deploring it, some with their propensity toward young boys, others with mistresses and children who they shamelessly put in office, very few of them actually displaying the character of Christ.
The problem lies in choosing anyone other than Christ himself to be your figurehead. All humans, including the pope, fall short of the glory of God. It's ok to admire a fellow human for putting their life into God's hands, and it's ok to use that as inspiration for your own life, to put yourself in God's hands as well. How you do that is between you and God. Many groups have formed over time based on the ideas of one human or another that seemed like they had a good idea of who God is, but every one of these organizations has eventually become something far different than the person who initially inspired the founding of that organization.
In Matthew 19:16-24, it tells the story of a man who went to Jesus and asked what it would take for him to receive eternal life. Jesus told him to follow the 10 commandments, and when the man was unsatisfied with this answer, Jesus told him to sell all of his possessions and distribute the money among the poor, and then come and follow Him. Here is the story:
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
The thing I want to mention about this story is that this man went directly to Jesus and asked what good thing he needed to do. Jesus' answer was designed specifically for this man, not necessarily for every wealthy person on the planet. This particular man would benefit and grow spiritually by letting go of his attachment to his possessions, and in turn giving assistance to the poor in the process. Some wealthy people already do this. This is why it's best to develop your own relationship with God, spend time in prayer and contemplation, asking God what His will is for your life.
In early April 1541, the Order came together to elect its first General. All votes except his own went to Ignatius, but he declined the nomination. When they held the second vote, they got the same result. Finally, he gave in on the third vote after a Franciscan friar, his confessor, appealed to his sense of duty. It is quite possible he had declined, not out of false humility, but because he was already 50 years old by this time, and did not feel physically capable of the monumental task of running the Order. It is also possible that because the office would essentially be a desk job, he had declined because he had wanted to be out in the field, doing the mission work he had envisioned for the Order. In any case, once he made the decision to take office, he ran the Order with efficiency and a great deal of energy, despite some major health challenges with gallstones and chronic heart issues.
He was just as meticulous in his expectations of other as he was in himself. He did not treat the Order the way he had treated himself as he was going through his conversion early on. While in the past, he sought to bring himself closer to God through self-flagellation, for his Order he emphasized self-discipline. He strongly discouraged practices that would sap a person's strength, like scourging themselves or giving themselves excessive and self-imposed penances like wearing itchy hair shirts. In the past, he used to practically starve himself, eating only as much as was necessary to survive, but in the Order, he encouraged the brothers to keep their dining tables clean and have good and plentiful food, as would be seen in the homes of gentlefolk. He also used to believe that monks held the ideal life, completely merging themselves with God, living the life of a hermit, but he made it clear in the first statutes that the Order was not to live this way. They would not retreat into the monasteries to spend their lives in prayer and quiet contemplation. They would go all over the world, preaching the Gospel, and building up the Roman Catholic Church.
All of the founders of the Order had gone to the University of Paris, and Ignatius hadn't intended to set up their own Jesuit colleges, but soon saw great apostolic promise of doing so, and he decided he'd like to open as many colleges as possible. In 1548, they founded their first college in Messina, Sicily. In 1551, the Collegio Romano in Rome. This was Ignatius' favorite. It became a university in 1553 with the ability to award doctoral degrees in philosophy and theology, and it became the model for the founding of approximately 625 Jesuit colleges and universities founded in Europe before the Society's suppression in 1773 by a papal bull. It was not reinstated until 1814.
By 1550, Ignatius was already thought to be dying, however, he continued on putting all of his energy into running the Order. By 1556, he was dangerously weak, and someone was posted near his bedside just in case. A few days before his death, he was still dictating letters and even took Communion, despite being in the throes of a serious gall bladder attack. A couple days after this, Ignatius asked for the Pope to be sent for to give him his final blessing, but his secretary asked to push off that visit for one more day because they still had so much correspondence to go through. Overnight, near dawn on July 31, 1556, Ignatius de Loyola passed away quietly in the night, never having received his last rites.
It seems Jesuits have always had people who loved them and people who hated them. Pope Gregory XIII, who reigned from 1572-1585 during the Counter-Reformation, wanted every tactical advantage, and he insisted that all of his papal legates retain a Jesuit on their staff. Yet, it is interesting to note that the name Society of Jesus, or Societas Jesu, really bothered a lot of people. Many clerics regarded it as the height of presumption, seeming to imply that other Christians were not in the company of Jesus. Ignatius took no notice of their complaints, replying only that they acknowledge no other leader besides the Lord Jesus Christ, so it is only fitting that their name should reflect that. Nevertheless, in 1590, several years after the death of Ignatius, Pope Sixtus V decided that the offensive name should be changed to the Ignatine Order. The new General of the Order at the time, Claudio Aquaviva, wrote to the Pope, saying that he did not feel like his own conscience and the respect he bore the memory of Ignatius Loyola would allow him to make such a change on his own, but if the Pope insisted, then he would have to go along with it. The Pope ordered the decree to be drawn up. In the meantime, Aquaviva pulled his novices together to do a nine-day cycle of prayer, called a novena, to pray for God's will to be done in this matter. The Pope died on the ninth day of their prayers, without having signed the decree, and his successor, Urban VII, decided to leave the name as it was.
However, in 1620, 30 years later, the archbishop of Paris was complaining to Henry IV that this “overweening and provocative name” should no longer be tolerated within the borders of Henry's kingdom. Henry, previously known as Henry of Navarre, had been raised Protestant and only converted to Catholicism in order to be allowed to take the throne of France. As such, he was more willing to tolerate diversity within religion and defended them, saying, “Some of my worthy peers are Knights of the Holy Ghost. There is also an Order of the Holy Trinity, and in Paris we have a congregation of nuns who call themselves the Daughters of God. Since we have all of these among us already, how could we possibly object to a Society of Jesus as well?”
There is very little question that the Jesuits have been looked down on, even thought to be evil. There are reasons people believe this, but we are not going to go into those things here. I would simply like to wrap things up by talking about some of their achievements of note. There is no question that monks and scribes cloistered away in monasteries have done us a great service in keeping the Scriptures and many other texts intact. Without them, so much more information and literature would be lost to history. At the same time, the Jesuits' style of missionary work has done so much for the world as well. The very method of becoming a Jesuit included a great deal of education, and these men were some of the top minds of the time. They may had finished their studies on an academic level, but as they went out into the world on the business of the pope and the hope of converting heathens and introducing them to Jesus, they found there were many more things they would need to learn, and knowledge they would need to pass back to the church.
Some took an interest in medicinal herbs. Quinine, the main ingredient in hydroxychloroquine, which we heard a lot about in 2020, comes from the bark of the cinchona-succimba tree, and was originally discovered as an effective remedy for malaria by Peruvian Indians in the forests of the Andes mountains. It was brought back to Europe by Jesuit missionaries in 1649. Those who traveled to the Indies also brought back new varieties of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, as well as yerba mate, rhubarb, and vanilla. They didn't just bring back herbs and spices. They also brought back human innovation that made life better and easier for everyone, like the umbrella, the seed drill, formulas for making porcelain, as well as recipes for making pigments and dyes.
Others took up cartography. They mapped out the New World. Marquette and Joliette, a Jesuit seminary dropout, charted the upper Mississippi River, from Wisconsin to the mouth of the Arkansas river. A second expedition, led by another Jesuit, managed to get to the Gulf of Mexico. Another Jesuit discovered the mouth of the Rio Grande, and also corrected the misconception at the time that California was an island. Still another crossed the Andes entirely on his own and set out to map the Amazon basin. He was stuck for three months in an Indian village, racked with fever, unable to go anywhere while the Amazon River had overflowed its banks. Thanks to the maps he drew up, others were able to go back later completely prepared. Another was the first European to cross the Himalayas into Tibet, and he left a remarkably detailed account of his travels in that inhospitable country. The list goes on and on of early Jesuit cartographers who made it possible for later missionaries and others to successfully make their way into these areas.
The Jesuits also became experts in the field of linguistics. Collectively, they mastered over ninety-five languages and drew up word lists for them. They were the first to make a Chinese grammar in a language outside of Chinese. They were also the first Europeans to study Sanskrit. In Brazil, they developed a dictionary of words common in various Indian languages, which became the basis for the common language that the tribes still use to communicate between themselves today. The Church relaxed its policy of discouraging (burning) vernacular translations of the Bible, and the Jesuits were authorized to prepare new translations of the Bible in regions like Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, Ethiopia, Persia, and Japan.
According to the book Galileo, by J.L. Heilbron, there are some who say that Galileo was born the day that the famous painter Michelangelo died. This isn't completely accurate. Michelangelo died on February 9, 1564 in Rome. Galileo was born one week later, on February 16, in Pisa, Italy. He was the firstborn of Vincenzo and Giulia Galilei. He had five siblings, only three of whom survived past infancy. His father was a musician and musical theorist. He was an accomplished lute player, and played the instrument almost obsessively, everywhere he went, even as he rode along on horseback. He was counted among the nobility of Florence. He taught Galileo to play from a very young age, and Galileo himself also became an accomplished player, although he was not as good as his younger brother, who had been named after Michelangelo the painter.
When Galileo was 11 years old, he went to study at the monastery in Vallombrosa, which was a beautiful place near Florence. The monks there were distinguished for their learning. The abbot was said to be well versed in theology, astrology, mathematics, rhetoric, cosmology, and “all the other sound arts and sciences.” During his stay there, the abbey hosted a number of artists and painters who were commissioned to do various works. One was working on sketches of the Seven Deadly Sins that would later appear on frescoes in the cupola. Young Galileo was very enamored with the place, and decided he had a religious calling and would become a monk himself, but his father abruptly removed him from the abbey before he could complete his novitiate. Vincenzo had praised the solitary life of monks, but had no intention of letting his heir be buried in a monastery. His father tried to get him into the Collegio di Sapienza in Pisa, but Galileo was 4 years too young, so he remained at home for a couple years until he could be enrolled in the University of Pisa at the age of 16, to begin the study of medicine. This didn't suit Galileo well, but when the Medici court moved to Pisa for a period of time around Easter, he was able to listen to a couple of lectures by the court mathematician, Ostilio Ricci, and from there was able to master Euclid's Elements almost on his own and showed such promise that his teacher advocated for his release from medicine. Vincenzo reluctantly agreed. He also enjoyed math, as he used it readily with his musical theorizing, but he knew that mathematicians were no more prosperous that lutanists, and he hoped for more for his son. Galileo left the University of Pisa without a degree, but he continued with his reading. Ricci had introduced him to Archimedes, who was a great inspiration to Galileo, the exemplar of mathematicians.
With Ricci's encouragement and Vincenzo's agreement, Galileo spent the next few years preparing to become a mathematics professor. This wasn't ideal. In those days, the ranking of the sciences put philosophers and physicians at the top of the academic ladder, and mathematicians and grammarians at the bottom. However, Galileo had no intention of staying at the bottom of the ladder. There were other mathematicians arguing that their work deserved greater respect than philosophers accorded it. One of these was Christoph Clavius, professor of mathematics at the main Jesuit university, the Collegio Romano. He fought for a conspicuous place for mathematics on the Jesuit curriculum. He would later become one of those who supported Galileo's career...up to a point.
Galileo was one of those people who liked to hang out with the literary crowd, rather than other mathematicians. He preferred the classics to the more modern poets of his time. He wrote some of his own poetry, but also criticized modern poets. In some of his earliest known lectures, he taught the traditional geography of Dante's Inferno. Pretty soon, he and a group of friends found themselves in a debate about the actual dimensions of the Hell that Dante described in the Divine Comedy, regarding how large the pit was, did it go to the center of the Earth, or only 1/6 of the way there? What material was it made from, and could that material actually support the pit? No one had been able to successfully create a model of it to scale, and for awhile, this became a project for the friends.
Around 1600, Galileo was living in Padua. His father had died in 1591, and he had taken on the responsibility for his siblings' and his mother's major expenses and needed more money than he was making as a professor. He bought a large house with a vineyard and a garden where he could rent rooms out to his students, started a private academy, and also kept a coppersmith to make instruments like the military compass, which was his own invention. He was also well-known as an astrologer and wrote horoscopes and birth charts for people for additional money to supplement his income. While he was there, he started a family. He had three children with Marina Gamba, but never married her, nor did he live with her. That would have been frowned upon very seriously in that time. She did not have the connections or any title to make her a worthy bride in the eyes of Italian noble society, of which Galileo was a part due to his own father, and even if he wanted to, he did not feel he had the money to do this, since he had already paid the dowries to marry off both of his sisters, and had paid for his brother to go to Poland in search of work. His children were Virginia, born in 1600, Livia, born 1601, and Vincenzo, born in 1606. His daughters were named for his two sisters, and his son was named after his father.
He stayed busy forming important friendships. Despite being sick with a recurrent fever, and with the help of his friends, over his first 8 years in Padua, he was able to bring his study of motion to maturity. One of the ways he studied motion was through his teachings of gunnery to the military. He calculated the trajectory of cannonballs by looking at the process backward, from the point of impact back to the gun itself. He studied velocity by running metal balls along an inclined plane, then looked at the arc of the trajectory of the balls by shooting them off into space with the use of something like a scaled down ski jump, and seeing where the balls hit a board set at various distances from the jump. He would coat the balls in ink as they rolled so he could see what kind of line they drew along the inclined planes and where they hit the boards after they'd been launched into the air. He noticed things mathematically, like that the distance straight down from the launch point was always the square of the distance horizontally that the ball had reached on the board.
He was required to teach the Ptolemaic system of the Universe, which meant that Earth sat still as the sun and each of the planets orbited around it. They watched the movement of the planets and the stars across the sky and calculated how close they were to Earth based on how quickly they moved in reference to other heavenly bodies. They came up with this version of the solar system: Earth stood at the center, of course, with everything revolving around it. The moon was next to orbit the earth, then Mercury, Venus, THEN the sun, and after that came Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. They were unaware of any planets beyond Saturn. This system agreed best with the Church's interpretation of scripture, particularly the passage in Joshua 10:12-13 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. Galileo had come into contact with the Copernican theory that the Earth and other planets actually revolved around the sun, and likely began to question whether it might actually be more correct during his time in Padua. In 1597, Johannes Kepler, a Lutheran from Germany, had sent Galileo a copy of his book, Mysterium Cosmographicum, which indicated that he, Kepler, had done the math and believed fully in the Copernican theory and wanted Galileo and other mathematicians to come out and declare that Copernicus was correct. He felt if enough mathematicians came together, the Church would not be able to argue against their logic. Galileo may have been questioning his beliefs about Copernicus, but he wasn't anywhere close to ready to come out and say so publicly.
The Dutch invented a telescope that magnified things 2-3 times. The Dutch telescope found its way into Italy and into the hands of Galileo's friend Sarpi, who felt that Galileo could improve it. By the end of 1609, Galileo had created a scope with with magnification of 9x. This earned him tenure and a raise to 1,000 scudi a year, which he decided to accept, and remain in Padua, rather than returning to his home in Florence, which he had been seriously considering up to that point. By December 1, 1609, he had created a scope with 20x magnification, which he used to study the moon. He began drawing portraits of the moon in its various phases, noticing that the moon was not flat and smooth, as had been supposed, but covered in what he thought was mountains, rather than craters. He also became very excited about studying the rest of the night sky. It had always been thought that the Milky Way was a terrestrial “exhalation” or wind, but he could now see that it was made up of a “congeries” of individual stars. Sometime before January 7, 1610, he began to notice a grouping of tiny “starlets” that seemed to hover around Jupiter. Night after night, he noticed that these “starlets” would show up in various formations. At first he thought there were three, but sometimes only two would appear, and every now and then he would even see four. He began to realize that they were not stars at all, as they did not twinkle like real stars do. He began to think that they were moons of Jupiter. Until this time, Earth was thought to be completely unique, that it had the only moon. In an effort to kiss up to a powerful family, Galileo named these satellites the Medici starlets, and he eventually was able to calculate their individual orbits with an accuracy of about 5 minutes, which is astonishing to modern astronomers. Eventually, the moons would be officially re-named by Simon Mayr, who gave them the names they are known by today: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Galileo did not live long enough to see this happen, which is probably for the best. Galileo had accused Mayr of plagiarism, though there was plenty of evidence that Mayr had discovered things on his own, and more than he ever could have gotten from Galileo, like correcting Galileo's calculations of their orbits, and saying that their orbits were on a plane parallel to the ecliptical.
Soon after this, Galileo accepted an offer to become the Grand Duke of Tuscany's Mathematician and Philosopher. The Grand Duke of Tuscany at the time was Cosimo II de Medici. Galileo had to give up his tenure to accept this offer, but he had his reasons for doing this. For one, he would no longer be required to teach, and he could be free from the demands of his various patrons. For another, he wanted Italy to abandon Aristotle's cosmology, the Ptolemaic model, and to do that he needed to convince the Jesuits. Padua was very near Venice, and Venetian citizens were not allowed to correspond with the Society of Jesus directly. From his new location in Florence, the door to that correspondence would be wide open. This, however, meant leaving Marina and his three children. It was decided that Vincenzo, who was not quite 5 years old, would remain with his mother in Padua, and he would pay for their upkeep there, but Livia would travel with her father to Florence to join her sister Virginia. They would both be placed in a nunnery where they would be able to learn the things they needed to know.
Galileo was frequently compared to Columbus. Both of them had come from Italy. Columbus discovered a whole new part of the world, and Galileo uncovered a new world of stars. He continued to study the night sky. In the summer of 1610, Jupiter's moons were not visible, so he looked to other heavenly bodies. He soon became intrigued with Saturn. He noticed that it was not round, that it had a bulge on either side, and thought that maybe those bulges were moons, or perhaps that Saturn must be made of three lobes, but occasionally those bulges would disappear, and Saturn would once again appear to be one round ball. He never did strengthen a telescope enough to discover that the bulges were actually rings around Saturn.
He also looked at Venus and noticed that it had phases, just like the moon, and so did Mercury. This told him that these planets shone by reflected light from the sun, just like the moon did, and therefore did not have light of their own, and it verified to him that these planets revolved around the sun, convincing him more and more that the earth did too. He began looking at the daytime sky. In 1611, using a special darkening filter over the lenses, he began studying the sun. He noticed that the sun had dark spots on it, and that these spots would seem to move around the sun and theorized that those spots might be kind of like clouds on Earth, and the movement of the spots seemed to imply that the sun revolved on an axis, much the way he was now certain that Earth also revolved on an axis, and he had become much more vocal and public about his beliefs. He made the claim that, in the case of the passage in Joshua 10:12, when it said that the sun stood still in the sky, it was perfectly ok to recognize that it was actually the earth that had stopped turning on its axis for a brief time. The Church did not appreciate this re-interpretation of scripture and they called Galileo a drunken madman. Thomas Caccini preached a virulent sermon about mathematicians and Galileists, saying that no one should be allowed to interpret scripture in a way that goes against the sense on which all the Holy Fathers agreed.
In 1612, Marina Gamba died, and Galileo decided to board both of his daughters at a convent, as they were underage to become nuns. Three years later, at the age of 16, Virginia took her vows and changed her name to Maria Celeste, and a year later, Livia did the same, changing her name to Suor Arcangela. His decision to do this wasn't due to misogyny. He felt that women were extremely intelligent and capable, but because his daughters were technically illegitimate, the cost of marrying them to suitable partners was beyond his means. Vincenzo was placed in the care of another woman named Marina. He would eventually become a man of science and letters, and a respectable Florentine citizen, and was a comfort to Galileo in his later years.
By February 1616, arguments about the contradiction between Galileo's teachings about Earth's movement around the sun, and the literal words of scripture had come to such a head that Galileo was being threatened with jail time if he did not abandon defending or teaching that position, whether orally or in writing. Galileo was faced with no good alternatives and agreed to their request. Copernican ideas were still taught at the universities. They got around the injunction of the Church by saying that these ideas are common to or popular among most astronomers, rather than presenting them as facts.
In 1624, Galileo was back in Rome. Another Dutch invention using lenses had ended up in his hands, and he had once again improved on it, and created a microscope. He was quite fascinated with looking at tiny animals close up, especially insects. He felt that the flea was the most horrible, but mosquitoes and moths were quite beautiful. He was also able to see how tiny animals like ants could walk up mirrors.
In 1630, Galileo's brother Michelangelo died. He had reached out frequently through the years for aid to feed, clothe, and educate his children, and it is very likely that Galileo continued to send aid to his widow. He also sent aid to his daughters in the convent, which was not a comfortable place to live. It was quite cold and there was very little food. His oldest daughter, Maria Celeste, wrote to him often, and asked aid, not just for herself and her sister, but for other nuns there as well. His son Vincenzo had gotten married to a well-educated woman and had a son himself. On the encouragement of Maria Celeste, Galileo purchased a small home adjacent to his son's home where he was able to gather with his children and eat, as long as he provided the food since no one else could afford any.
For 30 years, Galileo had been laboring away at a book talking about the movement of the tides, which he called “On Tides.” It was written in the form of a dialog between three characters: Salviati, who was clearly the smartest of the three, and served as the voice of Galileo; Sagredo, an honest inquirer, who is open to hearing the best arguments of the other two; and Simplicio, as indicated by his name, a bit of a simpleton, who is a proponent of Ptolemaic and Aristotelian dynamics. Most of the dialog consists of Salviati devastating the pro-Ptolemaic arguments of Simplicio, and putting forward strong arguments of a Copernican world view. In 1630, Galileo was finally ready to publish this book. Pope Urban VIII had been his friend before becoming pope, and was interested in this project, but he was concerned how it may contradict scripture. At that time, it was believed that only the stars moved, so if Earth moved, that would mean it must be also be a star, which they felt did not fit with scripture. Galileo assured him that it would be quite easy to prove that Earth was not a star in the same way he could prove that it wasn't the moon or the sun. Urban decided to let him go ahead with the book, provided he give in to a list of demands: first, the work must be given to a couple of his own hand-picked people to review the material and make sure there weren't any major conflicts; second, one of those people would write a preface to be included in the book, and Urban himself would give him the basis for a postlude that would contain key information that explained the view of the Church. Galileo was to re-write that information in his own words so it would fit into the style of the book; and third, the book title could not contain the word “tides.”
Galileo agreed to all of these demands, changed the title of the book to simply Dialogue. Unfortunately, in 1633, as Galileo was wrapping things up, plague struck Florence. This put a wrench in Galileo's plans, because he needed to get the document to the two chosen men in Rome to review, and travel was now kept to a bare minimum. If you traveled to Rome from Florence, you were required to quarantine outside the city for two weeks before you would be allowed in. Documents needed to be fumigated before they could be delivered. Galileo did not feel he had that kind of time. He had followed the pope's demands, so he went ahead and made eight copies of the manuscript, had them delivered to the pope's hand-picked people, the pope himself, and a few others from whom he was looking for feedback. Unfortunately, Galileo, not knowing what to do with the pope's postlude, decided it would best fit into the style of the book if it was read as though it were the words of Simplicio. When Urban read this, he was incensed. He could not just let this slide. He ordered that all printing cease on the book, and that any copies that had already been sold be immediately recalled. A trial would need to be held, and despite his ongoing poor health, Galileo was forced to return to Rome and sit through the two-week quarantine outside the city before the trial could be held. During the trial, it came to Urban's attention that Galileo had already been told in 1616 by the Inquisitors that he was forbidden to teach Copernican theories, either orally or in writing. He was angry that Galileo had not bothered to mention this to him when presenting his ideas on the project. For Galileo's part, he had no memory that he'd been told he couldn't teach it, only that he was not supposed to defend it or believe it as truth, as contrary to scripture. Urban felt he had no choice but to punish Galileo. It was decided that Galileo would first be required to make a public statement that he did not subscribe to Copernican ideas. After that, he would be imprisoned, and Dialogue would be banned. Having no good choices, and afraid he would be subjected to torture, he acquiesced. On June 21, 1633, he knelt down before the judges and read out loud the required statement, and after was returned to the Medici palace, to the residence of the Ambassador Niccolini under house arrest, now a humiliated and broken man. He was convicted under the charge of “vehement suspicion of heresy” and his view of the world was branded as “contra scriptura,” meaning contrary to scripture, but not necessarily a heretic.
Things might not have gone so badly for him if he hadn't shown so much arrogance. At some point, he had potential allies among the Jesuit mathematicians. One in particular was Christoph Scheiner, an Austrian Jesuit mathematician who had joined the Order in 1595. He had admired Galileo greatly and considered him a comrade in arms, as he also studied the sun and sun spots. He even had a few discoveries of his own, which Galileo did not like. Because of language discrepancies, it took awhile for Scheiner to realize that Galileo was disparaging him, and had even accused him of plagiarism. When Scheiner finally caught on, he wasn't happy. He wrote a book taking credit for his own discoveries, and also detailed Galileo's errors, which were around two dozen.
His stay with Niccolini was fairly pleasant. He had normal rooms and was able to have decent conversations with his host and a few other guests, but he longed to return to Florence. On June 30, 1633, he received permission to move to the palace of Ascanio Piccolomini, the archbishop of Siena, bringing him much closer to Florence, in the hopes of his soon return. He spent the next six months there, which lightened his mood considerably, as Piccolomini was also a fellow mathematician and they had many good conversations. Piccolomini was very curious about Galileo's former work with astrology. He had a friend who would dearly love a birth chart for a certain individual, but Galileo was no longer interested in astrology. Having seen for himself the way the heavens moved, he no longer felt that had any bearing on our physical bearings. Also, when he had done the birth charts for his two daughters, Livia's personality matched better with Virginia's chart, and vice versa. Piccolomini's friend would have to keep searching for someone else to write up that chart. In addition to the great conversations, Galileo found himself excited to begin a new work on mechanics during his stay. There were still some restrictions living at this new residence. He was absolutely not allowed to hold any gatherings or invite guests who wanted to discuss world systems.
A few months into his stay with Piccolomini, his oldest daughter Maria Celeste (Virginia) died. Up to that point, she had diligently sent him weekly letters, attempting to keep his spirits up and recommending ways he could help family, like enlarging his son's home, so that they would have a place to gather, and sending assistance to his mother's family. Her death was devastating to him. He had loved her very much.
The timing of her passing coincided with an order from the Inquisition telling him to stop requesting to go back to Florence or he would be shut up in a real prison. So, he did the only thing he could, and went back to work on mechanics, updating a book he had started long ago entitled “On Floating Bodies,” as well as a newer work called, “Dialogues on Motion,” which he was very excited to publish. However, when he made that attempt, he was informed that there was a general ban on printing any of his past, present, or future works in Italy. His friends could see its brilliance, and they helped him get around the ban, first by translating it into Latin, and then seeing that it made its way into the hands of a French ambassador to Rome, who had once been one of Galileo's students in Padua. Urban couldn't very well turn down a reasonable request by an important ambassador who wanted to go visit his old friend and teacher, so he was allowed to go meet with him on his way back to Paris and smuggled the manuscript back to France with him in his luggage.
Banning Galileo's works only had the opposite effect than intended. His works were much more sought after and mathematicians everywhere were turning to Copernicanism. When told about this news, it did not make Galileo as happy as you would expect. He was very concerned that it would stir things up with the Inquisitors and make things worse for him. As it was, he was still not allowed back into Florence. He could have visitors, they could stay a long time, and they could even be heretics, as long as they weren't mathematicians. His friend Viviani stayed with him for three years.
In 1637, Galileo began to go blind. He sent a request to the pope to be allowed to go live with his son for medical care. The pope sent an inquisitor to make sure this wasn't just another of Galileo's ploys. Galileo had suffered from chronic pain and illness for most of his life, and people thought he was a bit of a hypochondriac, but when the inquisitor brought in a doctor to look at him, the doctor reported that Galileo was quite definitely blind, and also suffering severe pain from a hernia, and overall just looked like a cadaver. His request was granted and he moved into his son's expanded house that was in a small village just outside Florence. The same restrictions all still applied. Galileo was not allowed to go into Florence, he was not allowed any unapproved visitors, and he was not to discuss the movements of the planets with anyone. In 1638, the Dutch were looking for help with navigation at sea. Galileo had invented an instrument he called a Jovilab, which could help with determining longitude at sea based on the orbits of Jupiter's satellites. He also had far better mathematical tables of navigation than he used to. He decided to gift these things to the Dutch government, in addition to his own telescope. Being blind, he had no more use for it. They planned to send a man named Hortensius to meet with him, and they planned to gift him with a valuable gold chain. Unfortunately, the Inquisitor of Florence caught wind of this visit and he sent for advice from Cardinal Barberini about whether it should be allowed. The Cardinal's response was that it would be ok, as long as the visitor was Catholic and from a Catholic country. Galileo called the visit off, knowing that Hortensius was a heretic because he was a Copernican.
In the years leading up to Galileo's death, he discussed many ideas for inventions that he had, although he developed no prototypes. One of those ideas was for a pendulum clock. This in itself was not a new idea, but he was able to show how to calculate the necessary length of the pendulum in order for it to be able to tick off every second. His son eventually made the first prototype for this. Galileo also published another Dialogue to go with the previous ones. This new Dialogue was about percussion, and discussed ideas like why a nail could be driven through wood by something as small and light as a hammer, but not by a great and unmoving weight.
He finally died on January 8, 1642. Many of his friends wanted to erect a monument in his honor. He himself wanted his remains to be placed in the family mausoleum. Neither of these things were allowed to come to pass. He was still buried in Santa Croce, where his family were all interred, but he was not placed in with them in their tomb. He was deposited instead in an obscure chamber under the bell tower of the church. His friend Viviani did have a bust made from his death mask, and he ended up mounting that above the door of his home, with a monument addressing the passerby which spoke of Galileo's accomplishments and exaggerated his better qualities.
With all the trouble Galileo got into, it couldn't help but call to question the role of Copernicus, and whether he should be branded a heretic after all of this time. It also left the question open about whether Galileo was the only person who wasn't allowed to teach Copernican theories, or if it could continue to be taught at the university as long as it was understood that it was a theory only. The Church decided to also ban the works of Copernicus and put them on the Index along with Galileo's works, which had been added in 1616. It wasn't until 1744 that the censorship allowed the printing of some of Galileo's works after correcting some of the slip-ups where Galileo had mentioned that the earth actually moves. They also allowed the printing of his banned Dialogue because by then, Catholic astronomers had customarily included the Copernican system in their teachings. Pope Benedict XIV had already taken Copernicus' works off the Index, but had left Galileo's Dialogue there, because he really didn't want to fight about the matter, but things came to a head in 1820, when a man named Giuseppe Settele wanted to publish a book about modern heliocentric astronomy and presented his work to the Roman censorship, but the Master of the Sacred Palace, Filippo Anfossi, believed that the concept was heretical and refused to give him a license to print, so Settele appealed to Pope Pius VII, who in turn referred the complaint to the Congregation of the Index. The Congregation decided that when the old inquisitors had said, “contrary to scripture” in referring to Galileo's beliefs, they had not meant “contrary to faith,” but “opposed to the traditional reading and interpretation of scripture.” Anfossi, the Master of the Palace, was concerned for his own soul and did not want to do anything heretical, so he still refused to accept the findings of the Congregation of the Index and continued to refuse the license to print until finally Pius ordered him to grant it. This settled the question that the heresy that Galileo was suspected of was Copernicanism and the Church silently removed all books from the Index which had been placed there simply because they advocated Copernican theory, which included all of Galileo's works. This occurred in 1835. Nearly 200 years after his death, Galileo was finally cleared of the suspicion of heresy.
Before you tell yourself that we should stop listening to religious leaders and turn to science instead, I want to remind you that science also doesn't have all the answers and doesn't get everything right. In the 18th century, scientists believed in a substance called phlogiston, which they felt that all combustible substances contained. The more flammable something was, the more phlogiston it was said to contain, and when something burned, the phlogiston was said to be released. This was because charcoal lost weight when it was burned. Never heard of phlogiston? That's because between 1770 and 1790, a French man named Antoine Lavoisier, one of the fathers of modern chemistry, discovered oxygen. He studied the gain or loss of weight when tin, lead, phosphorus, and sulfur underwent when they were burned. He noticed that sometimes when he burned things exposed to air, they would actually gain weight rather than lose it, and this was not consistent with the phlogiston theory. Through much trial and error, he discovered that oxygen was present in all burning reactions, and that water was a byproduct of burning, which meant that water was a combination of oxygen and other elements, not just a single element.
This was in an era when it was believed that there were only four elements in the world: fire, air, water, and earth. Now we know there are many elements, and that all matter in the world is composed of those many elements in the form of atoms that bond together to become molecules, which combine to become proteins, which combine to become cells, which combine in so many different ways to become organs, organisms, plants, animals, planets, stars, galaxies, and larger and larger, and also that the atoms are composed of smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons, and that those are composed of even smaller particles called quarks and leptons, and smaller than those are preons and neutrinos, and we haven't found out yet how small things can get, and we're getting a sense of infinity as we look smaller and smaller or larger and larger. That sense of the infinite brings us back to God. Science is ever changing, and religious thought is also ever changing. I see on the internet that there are more than 45,000 denominations of Christianity worldwide. That's just Christianity. Christians are not the only people who worship God. You might think that your particular denomination is “right” and all of the others are “wrong,” but I need to point out that Jesus tells us that God wants NONE to perish. Take yourself back to the infinity of God, and recognize that God wants a relationship with each one of us. How that looks is going to be unique to each individual. A denomination is nothing more than a group of like thinkers, but I can tell you that each one of the people who worship within a particular denomination has different thoughts and different beliefs, and that any two people within the same denomination will not agree 100% on all theological areas of interest, and that's ok. Each individual has a unique insight to Scripture, based on their own life and their own experience. When we come together and share our insights, we tend to gain even more, and that's a beautiful thing.
Let's look back for a moment at Henry of Navarre, the Protestant who converted to Catholicism before he was allowed to take the crown and become king Henry IV of France. He had issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which ended the French Wars of Religion by officially granting tolerance to Protestantism. Henry was the grandfather of Louis XIV, named Louis Dieudonné, meaning Louis the God-given. His parents were Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, who was actually a Spanish princess, but got her name because she held the title of archduchess of Austria, not because she lived there. His parents were married for 23 years before he was born on September 5, 1638. She had four stillbirths before him, and with her advancing age, he was considered a miracle baby and a divine gift from God. Anne had another baby boy shortly after Louis was born, but he was never given the attention or acclaim that Louis received. Their father died in the spring of 1643, when Louis was still only 4 years old. His mother became regent to rule in his stead until he was old enough. They had a very uncommon mother-son bond for that day and age. She would spend all her time with him and she taught him an interest in food and theater, and gave him his belief in the absolute and divine power of his monarchical rule. He came of age when he turned 13, but did not start to run the country himself until 10 years later, when Cardinal Mazarin, his chief minister and personal advisor, died.
When Louis was still just 10 years old, the Parlement of Paris rebelled against Mazarin. In an attempt to overthrow the crown, they waged a civil war, called the Fronde, against Mazarin's supporters. Slings were used to smash the windows of those who supported Mazarin. The French word for sling is fronde, which is where the war got its name. Throughout this long war, Louis suffered poverty and starvation, but Mazarin was able to achieve victory in 1653 and began to build an elaborate administration. In 1660, Louis married the daughter of the king of Spain, Marie-Thérèse, to cement a peace treaty that Mazarin had been trying to establish with Hapsburg Spain.
Mazarin held the true power in the country until his death in 1661, when Louis took control over the government and created a series of reforms designed to make the French government more stable, orderly, and centralized by forcing the provincial nobles to give up their former political influence. He also created a number of programs to bring more arts into the French culture, helping to found the Academy of Inscriptions and Belle-Lettres in 1663, followed by the Royal Academy of Music in 1666, and asked his First Minister of State, Colbert, to oversee the construction of the Paris Observatory in 1667.
The Catholic church had never agreed with the Edict of Nantes, and they started a campaign to talk Louis into changing it. So, in 1655, an assembly of the clergy called for a stricter interpretation of the Edict. In 1660, the assembly asked the king to close all Huguenot Colleges and hospitals and exclude Huguenots from public office. In 1670, the assembly recommended that children over 7 years old should have the legal right to renounce the Huguenot heresy and, if they did, they should be removed from their parents. In 1675, the assembly demanded mixed (religious) marriages should be declared null and void and any children of these marriages be deemed illegitimate. They claimed that the stability of the government rested on social order, which rested on morality, and that would all collapse without the support of the the state religion, Catholicism, of course.
Little by little, Louis gave into their campaign. There were other factors that contributed to this decision. For example, he'd already been encouraging (bribing) Charles II to turn England to Catholicism, so he was being a bit of a hypocrite by allowing Protestantism to exist in France. There is also the fact that, in the Peace of Augsburg (1555), the Protestants in places like Germany and the United Provinces had agreed to the principle of cuius regio eius religio, which means that the religion of the ruler would be the religion of his subjects. In those places, the rulers were banishing people in their realm who refused the religion of their prince.
In 1661, Louis outlawed Protestant worship in most of the province of Gex, near the Swiss border. The problem there was that there were over 17,000 Protestants in Gex, and only 400 Catholics, so this had a huge impact on the economy there. In 1664, advancement in the guilds became very difficult for any but Catholics. In 1665, boys as young as 14, and girls as young as 12 were authorized to convert to Catholicism and leave their parents, and those parents were required to pay their children an annuity to support them. In 1666, the Huguenots were no longer allowed to set up new colleges or to maintain academies for the education of young nobility. In 1669, the Huguenots were no longer allowed to leave the country. If caught, they would be arrested and their goods would be confiscated. Anyone caught aiding the Huguenots were to be condemned to work on galleys for the rest of their lives. The galleys were low flat ships used for warfare, trade, and piracy. This was a very undesirable form of labor. In 1677, Louis permitted an endowment of 6 livres to each person who accepted conversion to Catholicism. In 1679, all relapsed converters were banned and their property was confiscated. In 1682, Louis threatens even worse punishments than had been given before to all Huguenots. This order is given to all Protestant ministers to read to their congregations.
Within 3 years, 570 of the 815 Protestant churches were closed, and some were even torn down. If anyone attempted to worship at the site of their ruined temples, they were punished as rebels of the state. Dragoons (mounted soldiers) were now being housed among the remaining Huguenots, and the soldiers were told by their leader, Marechal de Marillac, that some “apostolic zeal” among their hosts would not be frowned upon. Soldiers were soon robbing, beating, and raping the Huguenots. This was supposed to be another way to force them to convert. Louis did not like hearing about this and he dismissed Marillac. He then suspended this method of conversion, of forcing civilians to lodge soldiers in their homes, and condemned the acts of violence against the Reformers. However, the secretary of state for war notified the ministers in the provinces that they could continue the dragonnades, but warned them to keep all knowledge of it from the king. The dragonnades spread through a large part of France and brought in thousands of converts. Understandably, the majority of the Huguenots were terrified and only pretended conversion to get the violence to stop, but thousands of others defied the laws and fled across the frontiers or overseas, abandoning their homes and their property.
I need to stop here again and make that point that worship cannot be forced. I have heard it said many times that we need a believer in office, or that if we could just make people go to church, it would change the world for the better. I disagree. People need to be able to choose to go to church. God does not force us to love Him. If He did, it would not truly be love. You might think that if you could just make a person go to church, that they would hear the message you so badly want them to hear and they would change their ways and they would welcome God into their hearts and the world would be a better place. But if you force a person to walk into a church, I can guarantee you that they will not hear the message of love you want them to hear. They will feel coerced and manipulated, and they will hear the opposite of what you want them to hear. It will drive them further from God and will not have the effect that you so strongly desire. If you believe that forcing someone into a church is the way to get them to become a Christian, it's very possible that you yourself have missed the real message of God's love.
In Luke 8:26-38, we are told about Jesus and the disciples sailing into the region of Gerasenes, where they come across a demon-possessed man. Mark 5:1-20 tells the same story, and Matthew 8:28-32 tells a similar story, except there are two demon-possessed men, rather than one. In the story, the man is living in a graveyard where he had been chained but tore his chains apart because he was possessed by many demons, who call themselves Legion. The man would scream and howl all night and was very violent, including to himself, cutting himself with rocks. The demons knew Jesus was there to get rid of them, but they did not wish to be sent to the Abyss, so they begged Him to send them into a nearby herd of pigs instead, which He allowed, and the pigs, now possessed by the demons, hurled themselves off the cliff and into the water below, where they died. This isn't the part of the story that I want you to pay attention to, however. The person who owned the pigs went running into town, and all of the villagers came out to see what was going on. Rather than being happy at seeing the man sitting calmly at Jesus' feet, clothed and in his right mind, the villagers are filled with fear toward Jesus and they ask Him to leave. The man, however, wants to stay close to Jesus and begs Jesus to let him come with Him. Jesus knows He is not wanted in that region and gets in the boat to leave, but asks the man to stay and go back to his own home so he could tell the people of his experience with Jesus.
This is what I want you to pay attention to: Jesus did not stay where He was not wanted! He does not force Himself on ANYONE! He knew the demon-possessed man would be a better witness for Him than He Himself could be in this instance. Forcing people into church will not bring about the changes you wish to see in the world. You must instead be a witness through your own life, which means you need to take a look at the stories of Jesus in the Bible, how He behaved, the words He spoke, the love and compassion He revealed to everyone, and then take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if people can see Jesus in you. If you boast about what a good Christian you are, but you don't feel love and compassion for the poor and the destitute, the sick, the addicts, those in prison, the most lowly members of society, then it might be time to stop bragging about what a good Christian you are and ask God to come into your heart for real. The reason those people were afraid of Jesus was because Jesus brings about change that is not always comfortable. For the pig herder, that man lost his source of income. Yet, pigs are considered unclean meat and we're not supposed to be eating them. Leviticus 11 details how to tell the difference between clean and unclean meats. There are strong health reasons why we shouldn't eat these animals. That hasn't changed. These animals can make us very sick! I'm not here to go into the health message right now, though. I'm talking about the change that Jesus brings to the lives of those who accept Him and why those people were afraid and didn't want Him around. Jesus sticking around and forcing Himself on them would have had the same effect as forcing people into church. He wouldn't win them over.
Now that there were so few Huguenots remaining and almost all of France was Catholic, Louis was told that the Edict of Nantes was meaningless and they petitioned the king to completely annul it, which he did on October 17, 1685. All Huguenot worship and schooling were now forbidden. All Huguenot places of worship would either be destroyed or converted to Catholic churches or Catholic buildings. Around 400,000 Huguenots escaped France and were welcomed into other countries like Switzerland, England, Germany, and Holland.
I need to stop here. I have worked a lot of hours researching and putting this information together, but I feel my focus is on the wrong place, so I am going to summarize the rest. Louis XIV gave rise to a massive amount of persecution against the Protestants. This is true, and it's important. What I want you to pay attention to here is that he is using religion, he is using Christianity, he is using CHRIST as his platform to cause harm to people. No, I don't mean Catholicism. Yes, that's the title he was defending, but Catholicism IS a form of Christianity, like it or not.
I would have loved to spend some time here talking about Isaac Newton. Did you know that he lived at the time of Louis XIV? Not only was he a genius in physics. He wrote the basic laws of physics that we still use today, and he figured out the role that gravity plays in the movement of the heavenly bodies, but he was also a man who knew his Bible backward and forward. He took copious notes about his thoughts regarding Scripture. He was a fascinating figure in history, and I wish I had more time to devote to him.
Louis XIV died. His son became Louis XV. I never got around to researching Louis XV's life. All I know is that he died of smallpox and that no one mourned his death. He was incredibly unpopular. His children had all died before him, and so his grandson became the new heir and king as Louis XVI, and his wife Marie Antoinette the new queen.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
Those names probably sound pretty familiar if you know anything about history. I'm going to make a brief nod to the fact that smallpox innoculations became popular under their reign. The reason is because they had to be isolated from Louis' grandfather at his death in order to prevent them from being exposed to the virus. It could kill them and France would be left without a king. There was an experimental process that some of the Protestant nations had tried and had quite a bit of success with, cutting open the skin and adding bits of the scabs of cowpox to the wound to expose the body to a similar but less deadly virus. The new king was warned by his doctors and his religious advisors (yes, I mean Catholics, but that's not important) to stay away from this treatment. They did not trust it. Louis made the decision to try it anyway. He and Marie both used the treatment, they both got sick, and they both recovered. It was not as deadly as the smallpox, and did not leave them hideously scarred. Success! We have them to thank for many of the life-saving vaccines that are out there today. I don't care what you think about vaccines. There are some that have been truly life-saving, and we have Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to thank for this. They did not create the process, but they made it popular.
Brief nod over. We need to get back to the topic at hand. Louis XVI inherited some of his grandfather's unpopularity. He was not in tune with the needs of his people. People were starving and he was making it worse. His advisors told him to create a free market with grain prices, and to sell grain at a profit to neighboring countries instead of continuing to cap the price of grain so his people at home wouldn't starve. His policies made things worse and worse. Starving people are weak people, but they are unhappy people, and unhappy starving people eventually rise up against their oppressors. France was in and out of war with its neighbors, particularly England. Louis paid people to have big families so he could create more soldiers for his armies, but this only created more outlets for starvation, and eventually it ushered in the French Revolution, which lasted from 1789-1799. You might notice those dates are not too much past the American Revolution of 1776. Yes, America influenced the French to revolt against their oppressors, against their king. I'm not saying this was wrong. It's just what happened and it was gruesome. I was researching this era at the same time my beloved country was going through a violent insurrection at our nation's capitol, and it all suddenly became very real to me. Not just a story I was reading in a book. These were ordinary people doing horrible things! It scared me. It broke my heart. To read of people being brought out of a makeshift jail and coldly shot on the stairs of the building, that some man volunteered for this position, to do this job, to shoot people in cold blood who did things contrary to what he, or they as a group, had decided was acceptable... It was chilling.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded at separate times, but not at the beginning of the Revolution. There were those who felt they might be needed for awhile, or that they might be able to turn the king's position around and talk him into supporting the people's needs. Unfortunately for Louis, he'd been raised to be selfish and spoiled and could not understand what they were asking and did not care. He was killed first. Marie's reputation was dragged through the mud. She wrote some things, looking for support outside her prison, and she too was killed. For a time, the government was led by a group of people, but arguments broke out among that group as well. They did not all see eye to eye, and instead of the sort of democracy they were trying to create, they developed a very authoritarian government, which made it possible for a popular young general to take the reigns.
I did a lot of research on Napoleon. I would have loved to go into how he was actually from the island of Corsica and how he grew up HATING France because France had bought Corsica, which had belonged to Italy, just before he was born. Everyone around him spoke of hating the French. They spoke a harsh form of Italian in Corsica. Eventually Napoleon's father sent Napoleon and his brother(s?) to a boarding school in France. Napoleon's father worked for the French government and wasn't home much. Napoleon was not a popular kid. He was sullen and kept to himself. He had a huge number of interests and studied very hard. He didn't like the other kids and they didn't like him, so he turned to books to keep his mind occupied. He never learned to speak French properly, but he was interested in books about economics in various countries, books about Egypt, books about military tactics. He was accepted at a military school when he graduated from his boarding school, and he studied hard. He may have had one friend there, but they were not close.
Eventually, Napoleon was chosen to go into the French Army. He defected to go home and attempt to lead Corsica in a revolt against France. He failed in that endeavor. Somehow, he ended up back in the French army. He was chosen to be in artillery. This was not a popular field. If I remember correctly, most people thought it was boring. They were kept out of battles where the excitement was. They worked with the cannons from a great distance. Yet, Napoleon excelled in this field. He was given charge of several armories, all of which were severely under-stocked with both men who could fire the cannons, the cannons themselves, and ammunition. There were bits and pieces of things, but very little was fully functional, and Napoleon found the things he needed to get those armories back in working order. Because of his time studying, he understood about gun angles, about the mechanism of how the cannons worked, the physics of firing at great distances, and he trained his men. They became a very efficient unit. He was promoted again and again. He was very good at military strategy.
At some point, he ended up with charge of the military, and eventually, charge of the country. He began sending the military out to take over other countries. He pushed out further and further. He even went to Egypt and attempted to overtake them, but I believe he was unprepared for the lack of supplies available in the desert. He had been feeding his soldiers off the land and Egypt had nothing to offer. I know he made it to the pyramids, but none of that is important. What is central to what we're talking about centers on a man named Berthier, one of Napoleon's leading generals. Berthier had been sent south into Italy. He ended up taking Pope Pius VII prisoner and parading him around in captivity to show how little power the pope held. This was the year 1798. It had been 1,260 years since Pope Vigilius had been given charge of Rome, when Belisarius had refused to be the new Western Roman Emperor and had left the city otherwise unmanned.
When Pius VI died in captivity, a new pope was chosen, but Napoleon took him captive as well. The French Revolution and Napoleon ushered in a wave of atheism in France. I'm not going to go into the details of their new 10-day (metric) week calendar and ways of measuring time. It didn't stick and it really doesn't matter. I'm only going to point out that this was a form of left-wing extremism. Taking religion completely out of government, forcing it out, and having authoritarian rule that is supposedly in the interest of the people. It wasn't in the interest of the people. Authoritarian rule does not care for its people. It never has. It only cares for its own power.
I'll go back really quickly to the 1,260 years I mentioned. Many historians who have studied their Bibles have looked at the Pope being taken captive as being the deadly wound given to the beast in Revelation. And I'm going to come out and tell you that I completely agree with this analysis. The papacy never really regained power during those years after being taken captive. However, that deadly wound was healed in 1920 when Benito Mussolini gave power back to the Pope by creating the Vatican to be the Pope's own country. Since then, the Pope is once again a world leader. There are many who say the papacy is the anti-Christ. We've always believed that “anti” means against, but in reality, it means “in place of,” or “instead of.” If you look at the signs written in the Bible, it is easy to point to the papacy as the biblical Antichrist. The papacy. Not one person. The system. And they're right. But in saying this, it's putting the focus, once again, in the wrong place! I am not here to point fingers at the pope or at Catholicism. There is a very real problem taking place today, and we're here focusing on Catholicism and the Pope, and it's actually NOT ABOUT THE POPE!!! The papacy is an example, so that we can see the real problem. The real problem is about the image to the beast that is being set up, that we are in the process of making. WE. US. WE are the problem! That means we are also the solution. Please stay tuned for the next installment, Making an Image to the Beast.