Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History

#11
You know what CC, no one ever asks if I'm offended by the F Bomb and I'm OK with that, having heard it countless times in my lifetime.  But if I let it be known that blatantly visual displays of Biblical verses and papal epiphanies (quotes) did offend me(I'm not btw), no one would care or they'd look at me as if a screw was loose. Probably why I find the whole situation hilarious.
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#12
I was raised where the pope was supposed to be my spiritual leader.  At least that was the religion, though there wasn't a strict adherence to the practices of the faith in my family.
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#13
(Mar 15, 2018 03:19 AM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History

Isn't there a TV series with that title?

Just historically, I disagree with the premise. The Pope has never been the most powerful man in history.

Emotionally speaking he probably came closest in the early Middle Ages, but in those times he lacked the organizational muscle to enforce his will. It's just that after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, people in the western part of Europe longed for what was lost and the Pope, down there in Rome, symbolized the dying echoes of that lost ancient civilization. People wanted to belong to something bigger and grander than the sordid muddy and violent village reality that they saw around them. They wanted to believe that although learning and literacy had died out around them, that somebody at the center still understood and perceived the big picture. But in those days the church wasn't a huge and tightly organized bureaucratic entity. Communications were so poor that local bishops rarely heard from the Vatican. So local bishops improvised. Kings, many of which were recently converted former pagans, did as they pleased. If the Pope didn't like what they were doing, he had little means to discipline them.

(Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings evokes the feel of this 'dark ages' period very well. Sure it's filled with fantastic magic, but that's how people in the Early Medieval period perceived the world. It was a scary uncanny world filled with unseen powers. Gondor and its remaining civilization may represent Constantinople where the ancient Roman legacy still survived. The rising power of Mordor might represent the rise of Islam.)  

But the early Middle Ages wasn't a 'dark age' the world around: It saw the survival of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and the rise of a new Islamic civilization (an incongruous mixture of crude dark-ages Semitic tribal sensibility and East Roman sophistication that still creates problems for Islam today). Meanwhile further east in Asia, Hindu civilization was more or less at its peak. Sanskrit literature, huge universities (that the Muslims subsequently destroyed) and the Buddhist and Nyaya philosophy the universities hosted flourished. China was enjoying its Tang and Sung dynasties, perhaps the pinnacle of Chinese civilization when Chinese Buddhism reached its peak and Neoconfucianism flourished, to say nothing of Chinese art.

So I'd say that during the early Middle Ages the most powerful man on Earth was probably the Chinese emperor, simply because he was absolute monarch over the largest and best organized state on the planet at the time.

During the High Middle Ages (roughly 1000-1400 CE) the recovering Western European civilization had matched Roman civilization in many ways (Gothic architecture, the medieval universities, medieval philosophy). And the Pope's power rose along with it, as the Church became wealthier and added all kinds of organization. So the High Medieval Popes tried to exert their supremacy over the secular kings. They pronounced canon law that was supposed to take precedence over local law. (Reminds me of the European Union.) They threatened to excommunicate kings that didn't cooperate (the idea was that excommunicated kings' armies would no longer obey them). But the kings resisted, their armies generally stayed loyal, and historically it's very significant that it was the secular power that ultimately won. We have the repeated spectacle of kings and their armies conquering Rome and installing compliant Popes of their choice.

Then in the 1500's, in the Renaissance period, the Protestant reformation broke up medieval Christendom as new churches allied with the local kings replaced Roman authority even in the sphere of religion.  

And once the people had been taught to be skeptical of the teaching magisterium of the Church, skeptical of Mary and the Saints, skeptical of the Sacraments, all in the name of returning to some highly fanciful vision of early New Testament Biblicism, the inevitable happened. People started to become skeptical about the Bible too. So Christianity weakened and Deism emerged, and along with it the so-called 'Age of Reason'. In the 19th century Deism started to be replaced by flat-out Atheism.

The Popes were now well and truly on the defensive.
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#14
Don't believe intentional.....Not sure how it happens but it appears you've attributed a quote to me when I never said it. Fact is I have little or no respect for his so called power. My first response to OP indicated that. Just an FYI , no hard feelings
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#15
(Mar 25, 2018 06:03 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: Don't believe intentional.....Not sure how it happens but it appears you've attributed a quote to me when I never said it.

Sorry. I didn't mean to be arguing with you, I was arguing with the subject line of this thread: "Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History". (It's the name of a CNN TV series, isn't it?)

I just don't believe that it's accurate that the Pope was ever the most powerful man in history.
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#16
(Mar 25, 2018 04:09 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: You know what CC, no one ever asks if I'm offended by the F Bomb and I'm OK with that, having heard it countless times in my lifetime.  But if I let it be known that blatantly visual displays of Biblical verses and papal epiphanies (quotes) did offend me(I'm not btw), no one would care or they'd look at me as if a screw was loose. Probably why I find the whole situation hilarious.


OTOH, if I (likewise only hypothetically) asserted that I was offended by Muslim adages and practices in public, I would ironically be getting an earful from a secular cultural tolerance crowd that is politically selective (plays favorites with certain groups). Similar to the kind of heat which Sam Harris takes for asserting that Islam shouldn't be immune to criticism anymore than any other religion. Differences in human customs and the way they vex / persecute each other outrun the religious category.

The brutality of the League of Militant Atheists against religious adherents ended primarily only because Stalin needed more domestic and international support for the war effort. Which is to say, non-religious folk are ourselves still afflicted with loyalties to factions and a desire for engineering social utopias, exhibiting differing tribal and ideological orientations just as our opposites do. While alliances are formed at times and in some pockets of the world, they still feature their own internal frictions.

The problems and conflicts arising from the differences between people are more fundamental than those in the religious category (which includes irreligion, non-theism, etc). Humans will inevitably use those differences as part of a broader tool-set for jostling and steam-rolling over each other in either the maintenance of a majority control on their own worldview's piece of turf or in the course of pursuing both personal goals and realizing their chosen allegiance's projects / agendas.

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#17
(Mar 15, 2018 07:49 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
(Mar 15, 2018 03:19 AM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: Just a question: If the controlled are weak, then does that make the controller powerful?

Not sure on how much more stronger than a weakling one should be in order to be labelled powerful. If the Pope is powerful then so is every bully in existence. Maybe he smells bad, real bad....I can equate powerful with a strong odor. Still it's not the same as a kindergarten teacher's power over his/her students. Although to those innocent minds, the teacher represents more power than they can muster.

Nah, I can't give the Pope the distinction being powerful. He's more like a performance enhancing drug. Is this an opiate of the masses thread?

Well, he has the power to forbid by an indisputable authority and to permit by an indisputable authority.

The Vatican is not only a religious institution, and a center of political power, but also an economic institution with vast financial holdings.

Politics of Vatican City (wikipedia.org)

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven."


"Papal Supremacy is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as pastor of the entire Christian Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered: that, in brief, "the Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls."

You guys are always having ephinanies.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a true epiphany before.  I have thoughts and questions, but when I look back on them, I always think, "WTF was I thinking?"  Confused

But here’s a thought…

You might call it an "Eve" gene, if you like, i.e., ecological dominance. Animals live within their limits, but as humans reached beyond their limits to control the environment (external forces), we removed ourselves from the garden/nature where we once heard the voice of god. We left the garden to till the ground. Agriculture replaced the ways of the hunter-gatherer. Society favored Abel’s offerings, and once we mastered the hostile forces of nature, we became a force of nature ourselves, i.e., social competition.  We became like gods, knowing good and evil, and like Cain said, the lack of social acceptance can sometimes be more than we can bear.

An individual becomes powerful by surrendering his will to the whole. So, absolute moral authority over 1.2 billion people—controlling, not only their behavior, but their reproduction, as well.

Yeah, I’d say that he’s pretty damn powerful.

"We delude ourselves.  The holders of great power may be physically frail, gentle in manner, tender in sentiment, Christian by profession, may wear but a loin-cloth; but power is power, and its nature is to grab hold, to seize possession, to overwhelm. Whatever appears in human life that seems unrelated to power, or even—like love, like charity, like self-sacrifice—contrary to it, is, if it endures, but another mask of power."
—Allen Wheelis

Quote:Well, he has the power to forbid by an indisputable authority and to permit by an indisputable authority.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act
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