I begin by recounting a magnificently horrible tale from the Church’s past: the exploits of the iniquitous Pope Stephen VI. It speaks to corruption, power, and the extent one is willing to go to “undertake” macabre vengeance.
Briefly, the notorious Stephen VI, soon after his election in 896 A.D., had the rotting corpse of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, exhumed in order to face (with what was left of his face) a trial. The body of Formosus was dressed in papal garb, and Stephen VI ranted against it with a litany of canonical, or rather personal, accusations. Formosus, unable to speak for himself, was then condemned, his three fingers of benediction cut off from his right hand, before being dressed in layman’s clothing and buried once again. However, vengeance is mine, sayeth Stephen VI, and Formosus was again exhumed and tossed into the Tiber River like a Pachamama idol. For his efforts, Stephen VI was later imprisoned and strangled to death by unhappy Romans.
I relate Stephen VI’s deed with a mind toward the current events in Rome involving another ominous figure in white. I do not speak directly of Pope Francis, however. Notwithstanding references to Pachamama idols and condemnable papal actions, it is not for this lowly layman to levy an anathema on Francis, despite my internal indignation. I do trust though that Christ will uphold the integrity of His Church, somehow, some way. Rather, I speak of Benedict, formerly titled the vicar of Christ.