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)

Gregory VII (ruled 1073-85), Pope.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

Another example of the deep injury done to civilization by good Popes. He is more frequently quoted by his pre-Papal name, Hildebrand, a stern ascetic who fought fiercely for imposing celibacy [see also Patarenes] upon the clergy and monks. He wore a monastic dress, but whether he ever was a monk is disputed (Dr. W. Martens, War Gregor VII Moensch? 1891). To purify the Papacy, which had been debased for a century and a half [see Iron Age and Popes], he induced the Lateran Synod of 1059 to deprive the Roman people and clergy of the right to elect a Pope and confine this to the cardinals, but he himself accepted election, in 1073, by popular tumult" (Letters of his friend Abbot Didier I, I). This was the keynote of his stormy career: the good (power) of the Church overrode all scruples. Doellinger (Das Papstthum, 1892, ch. II, § 2) shows that he and his saintly lieutenants freely used forgeries, and Gregory tampered with the text of decrees he quoted. He started or encouraged wars - "Cursed be he that refraineth his sword from blood," he would quote - in most countries to make princes feudatories of the Church (in the literal sense), and there was not a country in which he was generally respected. A German synod of bishops and abbots declared him deposed, and in his last year even the Romans, infuriated by the brutality of his Norman hirelings, drove him into exile. For his one supposed spiritual triumph, over Henry IV, see Canossa. It is mythical. Catholics smiled in those days at his dying lament, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, and therefore I die in exile." He was piously unscrupulous, very ignorant, and a man of fiery temper; and the end of his life opened the most licentious period in the life of Europe [see Age of Chivalry] and the terrible corruption of the monks and priests whom he had forbidden to marry. See Bishop A. H. Matthew, The Life and Times of Hildebrand (1910). For a summary study, with contemporary evidence, see Ch. VIII of McCabe's Crises (1916).


Back to Joseph McCabe extracts

Home Page

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