Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Alexander VI (1430-1503), Pope.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

In discussing the causes of the some recent historians, largely under Catholic influence, allege that the corruption of the Papacy was exaggerated by Rationalists of the last century. In regard to the most corrupt Pope of the period, the Borgia Pope, this is the reverse of the truth. Official documents establishing the birth of six of his children were published from the archives of the Duke of Ossuna, and the Vatican then admitted that it had copies of the same documents (birth-certificates, etc.), so that even Catholic writers have yielded. The documents are published in an appendix to Thuasne's edition of Burchard's Diarium and in Vol. V, pp. 363-5, of the History of the Popes of L. Pastor (Catholic priest and professor, 29 vols., 1891-1938). Both authorities, and all others, admit that Alexander was completely licentious from youth, got the Papacy by very heavy bribery, and almost certainly had a child by a mistress, Giulia Farnese, while he was Pope. Thuasne gives contemporary evidence in support of Burchard's statement that extraordinary orgies were held in the Vatican during his pontificate. The charge against the Pope of poisoning is probably exaggerated, but seems to be true in at least two cases. It is more important that the authoritative works quoted above show that, while Alexander was exceptional in continuing his licence while on the Papal throne, owing to the longer persistence of his heavy sensuality, the Papal Court was comprehensively corrupt from (with a few short periods of reform) about 1450 to 1650; and it is to be noted that the only great period of Roman art falls in the most degraded section of this time. For a temperate Protestant account see Bishop A. H. Mathew's Life and Times of Rodrigo Borgia (1912) - Bishop Creighton's History of the Papacy is here inaccurate and too lenient - and McCabe's Crises in the History of the Papacy (1916, Ch. XII). Pastor calls Catholic apologies for Alexander "a perversion of the truth" (II, 542).
     

 

Back to Joseph McCabe extracts

Home Page

Scanning, HTML Rae West. First upload 98-02-08