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If you are a Abraham Lincoln devotee (as I am) you will know the pivotal significance of these debates which revolved around the crucial issue of slavery. Wow. What would Lincoln think of what is happening in the U.S. today?
The first debate was in Ottawa, Illinois — NOT Canada. I marked it on the ‘map’ above.
Think. Reflect. Give thanks. Now THAT was A PRESIDENT.
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I did NOT bother to get a special eclipse filter. I was not that motivated. I was going to leave that to the professionals.
Reflection of the Sun in water I poured into a wheelbarrow.
I waited for the water to settle and then used an EV between -1 and -2.
This was when the water was rippling.
It was cool. We only got to see a partial, but even that was memorable. First for the kids.
I did see the Solar Eclipse of May 10, 1994 over New Hampshire.
The sedes stercoraria [the posterior chair], a heavy, wooden throne with a conspicuous hole in the seat (à la a commode), despite its incredulity-factor, is not a bawdy myth created to poke fun at the gullible. These ‘thrones,’ in early Medieval times did serve a purpose, but contrary to what most believe it was not to check for gender per se! It is said that a there was a sedes stercoraria at St. John’s Lateran during the first part of the second millennium and there are persistent claims that at least two originals have been preserved within the Vatican (at one of the many museums) and in the famed Musée du Louvre in Paris [France]. Pope Joan, on the other hand, is an unmitigated, bold-faced fabrication.
Bluntly stated, there could not have been a ‘Pope Joan’ because there are no unaccountable gaps in papal history, between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, into which she could be slotted into. J.N.D. Kelly, in his bible-like ‘Oxford Dictionary of Popes,’ confirms this, uncategorically, and even states that this myth was demolished by a French protestant in the seventeenth century. On the whole Professor Kelly didn’t make too many errors and if he says that there was no female pope, it really should be taken as gospel. But, if you want additional affirmation please look her up, under ‘Popess Joan,’ in the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia – another, in the main, oracle-like source. They don’t mince any words or leave anything to doubt, when they say: ‘This alleged popess is a pure figment of the imagination.’ The Wikipedia entry for ‘Pope Joan’ will gives you a good overview and give you access to many a useful link. If it is any consolation, I too, painstakingly, checked papacy dates and interregnums to see if there were any gaps that would provide credence for ‘Joan.’ I also double-checked the bona fides of all 24 of the ‘Johns,’ pope and antipope, to see if any of them, particularly the early ones, could have been a female. Suffice to say I did not find anything. J.N.D. Kelly and the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia are spot on.
The best I can offer is that ‘Pope Joan’ probably was an inspired and very pointed allegory to the travesty of the so called ‘pornocracy’ [i.e., Saeculum obscurum (dark ages) or even the ‘Rule of the Harlots’], between 904 to 964, when the papacy was but a puppet of the amoral, ruthless, mother-daughter duo of Theodora and Marozia. The legend of ‘Pope Joan’ may have been a feeble, medieval attempt to portray that there was a period in papal history when the pope might as well been a female.
Simple as that. So it wasn’t to check for females masquerading as males, but to make sure that males had not been subject to self- or forced castration.
Self-castration by driven, ascetics had always been a problem. Per tradition supposedly dating back to the times of the Old Testament one could not be a priest (as opposed to a monk) if not fully intact.
The First Council of Nicaea, in 325, was the first Ecumenical Council of the Church. It was convened by Emperor Constantine ‘The Great’ I, the liberator of Christianity who even personally attended some of the sessions. It had been convened to resolve the then raging ‘Arian Controversy’ [i.e., the exact nature of the relationship between the Father and the Son vis-à-vis the Trinity]. This seminal council promulgated 20 canons. The first was to prohibit self-castration!
That alone provides us with an unassailable data point as to how serious an issue self-castration was to the Church.
Extreme violence against popes, antipopes, their followers, papabili and Roman clergy, by competing camps or imperial forces was not uncommon well into the second millennium. In 768, after Stephen III (IV) (#95) was elected, antipope Constantine, who had seized the papacy a year earlier had his eyes gouged out by a mob partial to the new pope. Gelasius II (#162), 1118 to 1119, though elderly when elected pope, was twice brutally attacked during his short pontificate. Thus, it was not inconceivable that there could a pope-elect who had suffered irreparable damage during a skirmish.
If it ever came to pass that the pope was not intact it would, at a stroke, discredit the pope and undermine the papacy.
Thus, it would have made sense, in those tumultuous days to make sure that pope-elects were intact – prior to them taking office.
Hence, the Sedes Stercoraria.
Scotland’s Keith O’Brien (b: March 17, 1938, created: October 21, 2003) resigned from his Cardinalate 0n March 20, 2015, 2-years after the public disclosures of his homosexual practices with other priests. Though not precluded by the Vatican he had on his own volition decided not to attend the March 12 – 13, 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis given that his crimes and cover up lies had been widely published in U.K. newspapers just a few weeks earlier. It, however, took 2 more years before his resignation was ‘partially accepted‘ by the pope.
Pope Francis, inexplicably, allowed him to retain his ‘Cardinal’ title. So, his resignation as a cardinal was only partial. A quasi-resignation.
So, we can’t really just say that the disgraced O’Brien was the last cardinal to resign — because he continued on as a cardinal, if only in terms of title!
The last cardinal to TRULY (and fully) resign was French Cardinal Louis Billot, S. J., in late 1927 [he having tendered his resignation in September and it being made public in December].
No, this is not a typo, an oversight or a lack of diligence on my part. << smile >>
Yes, it is 1927. So, NO we haven’t had a TRULY, REALLY cardinal resign in over 90 years.
The eleven Canons in the 1983 Code, i.e., Canons 349 t0 359, does not address the resignation of a cardinalate (only dealing with the need, if they are curial, to tender their curial office resignation to the pope after their 75th birthday).
But, Cardinal Billot’s resignation, when he disagreed with Pius XI’s (#260) condemnation of French political movement [viz. Action Française], demonstrates that it is, of course, possible for a cardinal to resign — provided the pope is willing to accept the resignation. That appears to be the rub. [Though we, the public, are unlikely to ever hear, it is possible that the lack of resignations during the ‘current’ clergy scandal is because the popes did not want to ‘hurt the Church further’ by having the resignation of cardinals.]
So, contrary to what many believe Austrian Hans Hermann Groër, the disgraced and discredited ex-Archbishop of Vienna, died a cardinal — though he was forced to relinquish all posts in Austria.
The infamous Bernard Francis Law, though he appears to have taken liberties with the LAW of the land, also continues as a cardinal though he, like Groër, had to relinquish his pastoral ties. He is in exile, but as a cardinal.
Hope this helps. I know that may think that Groër resigned. He didn’t. Or at least if he did, the John Paul II (#265) didn’t accept the resignation.
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So we might still be OK. A few clouds shouldn’t be a huge damper.
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