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)

Vatican, The.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

The "Vatican Field" (or district) lay outside the walls of the ancient city of Rome and was generally regarded as a dreary quarter across the river that was surrendered, until Nero built a palace and garden there, to cemeteries, criminals, and the lower types of foreigners. The Jews settled in it, and it thus became the cradle of Roman Christianity. The Mithraists also had their chief temple there. The Christians had no church or public meeting room until the year 222, when they took over a deserted wine-shop. By this time the priests had put into circulation the legend that Peter and Paul were buried there, and, although the Popes moved into the city, to the old palace of the Laterani, when Constantine gave it to them, the church on the Vatican - a low hill slopes down to the river - remained a particularly venerated centre. The Church of St. Peter was very rich, and in 850 the quarter was, to protect it from the Saracens, enclosed by Leo IV - hence the name of "the Leonine City" - within the walls. A small palace was built near St. Peter's Church, but "the Vatican" did not figure conspicuously in history until the Roman Renaissance. The present Vatican Palace, and St. Peter's, were built in the sixteenth century. For a description of the fabric and life of the palace by a non-Catholic, that is approved by Catholics, see G. Seldes, The Vatican (1927).


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