By Walid and Theodore Shoebat
Israel was at once under the Altar, the Ark of the Covenant, the waters that purified, the Law of Moses, only to soon breakdown in the chaos of civil war, to reject its Messiah and ending with the destruction of its Temple by Rome in a time when Jerusalem was flooded with the citizens of Sodom. Christendom was once here, overlooking a Europe under the Chalice, the Host, the waters of baptism, only to be torn apart, ravished and murdered, torn apart by war, overtaken by paganism and Sodom. In this essay we will be going through a brief of this history, showing the decay of Christendom.
The flowers blossom in the spring, and humans will still murder one another. The bees will spread pollen from flower to flower, and humans will still spread discord. The earth will grow green and abundant, the soil will be fecund and generous, and humans will glorify that which is ugly, and will call it art, because humanity is born into misery, and in accepting our condition we look for some sort of ascetic as a sort of refuge from our gloomy reality. We have moments of happiness, and yet these are fleeting, ending with sudden thoughts that this life will end; that those who we are attached to will be deceased. Our sense of happiness is disrupted by the reality of cruelty; that there are millions of people who, if the opportunity arises, will not hesitate to carry out the most sadistic actions that go beyond a normal imagination. When Ukrainian nationalists — followers of Stepan Bandera — were butchering Poles in Lviv, they sliced up a mother and father and placed the pieces of flesh in front of their daughter and said: “Live for the glory of Stepan Bandera. And this is pork for you so that you do not die of hunger.” To this we can say that this is not human, and thus we say that it is inhumane. But the fact that such sadists exist, that we can see a microcosm of such large-scale cruelty in criminals who may live next door to us, or that our very neighbors may even fantasize about inhumanity, reminds us that this life is full of evil. In the Garden of Eden, man fell because he wanted to be as a god, and such is the root of all evil: the desire to dominate. Its as old as the moment when mankind spiraled downwards. We can hear of warcrimes today, but this is nothing new. In 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, a band of Thracian mercenaries, fighting for Athens, annihilated the entire town of Mycalessus, as we read in Thucydides:
“The Thracians dashed into the town, sacked the houses and temples, and slaughtered the inhabitants. They spared neither old nor young, but cut down, one after another, all whom they met, the women and children, the very beasts of burden, and every living thing which they saw. For the Thracians, when they dare, can be as bloody as the worst barbarians. There in Mycalessus the wildest panic ensued, and destruction in every form was rife. They even fell upon a boys’ school, the largest in the place, which the children had just entered, and massacred them every one. No calamity could be worse than this, touching as it did the whole city, none was ever so sudden or so terrible.” (Thucydides, 7.29)
This was thousands of years ago. What has changed? What carnage was witnessed in 413 BC was seen in Lebanon’s civil war where the men of Etienne Saqr — leader of the militia group, “Guardians of the Cedar” — claiming to be Catholics (Maronites) would cut off the ears of their victims and tie them on their belts as trophies. (See Fisk, Pity the Nation, p. 540)
With this we are reminded of a painting called the Age of Iron. It was made by Pietro da Cortona in 1640, and depicts soldiers massacring an entire family in the face of a priest whose exhortations for mercy go unheard. *See Greengrass, Christendom Destroyed, ch. 1, p. 36* Such a painting harked back to the Thirty Years War, Europe’s worst conflict before the Two World Wars. The bloodshed did not happen in the midst of a thriving Christian civilization, but in a Europe that was decayed and fragmented, where the Christian Faith was being mixed with pagan thought and European pride. An example of this can be seen in a painting called the Rape of Europa, by Tiziano Vecelli, one of the most famous painters of the Renaissance, from 1562. The painting shows a woman (representing Europa) about to lose her clothing and virginity, but she is hanging on to the horns of a bull who is actually Zeus. The painting was inspired by Book II of the ancient Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and this reflected the fact that Ovid was one of the most read authors in the Renaissance period. Many people today will tend to associate this period with Christendom, but the reality is that by this time Christendom as a government body was dead. By 1556, the Holy Roman Empire had ceased to be one of the two pillars of Christendom (Church and State) and was reduced to being a Habsburg dynastic instrument for use in German lands. The separation from Christianity and the nearing closer towards Europe’s pagan past was demonstrated in the reign of Charles V. In the time of his emperorship, a specially minted coin showed the demigod Hercules with the words “Plus Ultra” (Yet Further’). Similarly, in 1610 Henry IV of France commissioned a painting to be made portraying him as Hercules fleeing Venus in favor of the goddess of hope and virtue. This was not the first time Henry wanted to be portrayed as Hercules. Toussaint Dubreuil completed his painting of Henry as Hercules killing the many-headed Hydra in 1592, the Hydra representing the Catholic League. There was also another painting of him as “Gallic Hercules” carrying the world on his shoulders.
Paganism in the Renaissance was rooted in the fixation on the ancient Greek philosophers that are revered today, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, and the rest of those thinkers of pagan antiquities. Initially, Greek philosophy was seen as an authority on which to explain truth. But eventually these Greek philosophers were seen almost as prophets unto themselves. Christianity in the West had lost its rustic, spiritual simplicity, and got mixed into a quagmire of sophistry, pagan philosophy, occultism and even paganism itself. One can see this even before the Renaissance, in the later Medieval period when Dante, who arose to an insurmountable popularity, wrote his Divine Comedy riddled with pagan gods. Homosexuality is mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy, but it is not entirely condemned to hell, but rather to Purgatory, where some sodomites can work to find redemption. Purgatory is for those who are not evil enough for hell, but not pure enough for Heaven. Thus, Dante places homosexuals in the middle as to the level of sin. Thus, in his Purgatorio, Dante wrote of those who
“committed the obscene
same sex-act for which Caesar won the shame
in victory of being called a Queen.” (Purgatorio xxvi)
That Dante puts homosexuality as a sin worthy of Purgatory, shows us that even as far back as his era — the 13th century — there were attempts at minimizing the evil of Sodom. Homosexuality and pedophilia were a lot more common than some of us may think. Attesting to this are the sermons of St. Bernadino of Siena. His testimony speaks for itself, in a 15th century sermon:
“I’ve heard about those [boys] who paint themselves up and go around bragging about their sodomizers and make it into a profession for profit and incite others to do likewise.”
For Bernadino, his native city of Siena was like Sodom and Gomorrah, being riddled with the evils of those cities, with pedophilia, going after strange flesh (Jude 1:7):
“As for me, I don’t want to die in this city, if I can help it… because you are all entangled in this sin [of sodomy]. … I don’t believe there’s a single spot in the city that is not contaminated and corrupted. … Oimme, what you have been reduced to, O city of Siena! In what darkness you are, that a small boy can’t be sent out on the street without being seized and corrupted.”
Sodom was also in Florence, and so horrendous was it that, according to Bernadino, there was a law banning Tuscans from working as schoolmasters.
Bernadino did not just speak solely from his own knowledge, but also from his own experience. As a youth he was preyed upon by a homosexual predator. According to Leonardo Benvoglienti, a childhood friend of Bernadino:
“It also happened at that time [of adolescence], that after another malicious and evil man — not a citizen [of Siena] however — had many times expressed with impure words and signs a filthy and unspeakable desire toward Bernardino, Bernardino, that mirror of purity, asked some of his close friends and companions — like him, young men of good reputation — to help him be freed of this annoyance. And having consulted with them, he told each of them to arm themselves with stones. Once they had done so, they sought the evil man. Finding him near the gate of the Magnificent Lord Priors of the city, Bernardino said: ‘We mustn’t cause a scene here near the town hall; let’s draw him away from the square and then we’ll chase after him with the stones.” Immediately thereafter, the man, blinded by evil lust, gazing intently at Bernardino, held out to him a handful of florins, and made signs to him as if to say: ‘All of these are yours if you say yes to me.’ The clever lad nodded to him, signaling him to leave the square. As soon as they had left the square and were on the road of Porta Salaria, Bernardino shouted out to the man: ‘O wicked immoral man, you deserve to be burned at the stake! Everyone, get him! Get him! Get him!’ And, shouting aloud he began to pelt the man with stones. His friends as well responded in unison with shouts and stones and filled the air with their noise. The wicked man fled.”
The ubiquitous presence of Sodom in Italy is not merely something spoken of by a preacher. Bernadino’s words reflected the reality, and are attested to by the records of Florence. According to Michael Rocke:
“In the small city of around only 40,000 inhabitants, every year during roughly the last four decades of the fifteenth-century an average of some 400 people were implicated and 55 to 60 condemned for homosexual relations. Throughout the entire period corresponding to the duration of the Office of the Night, it can be estimated that as many as 17,000 individuals or more were incriminated at least once for sodomy, with close to 3,000 convicted.”
Bernardino’s sermons could be taken as exaggerations, but his testimony agrees with the research of modern scholarship. Homosexuality in Florence was so common that, according to Rocke: “In the later 15th century, the majority of local males at least once during their lifetimes were officially incriminated for engaging in homosexual relations.” The anti-homosexual law in Florence was quite lax. If a man knew that he was going to be condemned, all he had to do was appear before the Office of the Night, confess and be issued a civil absolution after paying a modest fine. If he was working class and lacked money, he could simply donate a sack of flour to a convent. The first person to have been condemned by the Office of the Night was Florence’s highest public official, a 70-year-old patrician who, according to a report, sodomized a 14-year old boy. The 70-year-old confessed and paid a small fine. “Homosexual activity in Florence was widespread and deeply rooted, a tenacious social and sexual reality that the community’s disciplinary effort [the Night Office] had to acknowledge and, to a certain extent, accommodate,” Rocke writes. The famous political writer of Florence, Niccolo Machiavelli — who really established the foundation of callous, ruthless secular politics and a idol of modern thinkers — expressed his concern to his friend, Francesco Vettori, about how his son, Ludovico, was in a sexual relationship with a young man. Vettori told him in a letter not to worry, to allow his son to indulge in this evil:
“Since we are verging on old age, we might be severe and overly scrupulous, and we do not remember what we do as adolescents. So Lodovico has a boy with him, with whom he amuses himself, jests, takes walks, growls in his ear, goes to bed together. What then? Even in these things perhaps there is nothing bad.” (See Rocke, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence)
When the sculptor Baccio Bandinelli accused his rival Benvenuto Cellini of being “a dirty sodomite,” the latter replied by praising homosexuality as something practiced by the gods and the greatest kings and emperors:
“Oh, fool, you’re wrong: but would God that I knew how to practice such a noble art, since one reads that Jove used it with Ganymede in paradise, and here on earth the greatest emperors and kings in the world use it. I am a lowly and humble wretch, and neither could I nor would I know how to get involved in such an admirable thing.”
One preacher tried to purge Florence of Sodom: his name was Friar Savonarola, and his combat against this evil sparked such rage that an entire pro-sodom faction, called the Arrabbiati (“Angry Ones”), was mobilized against him.
Some very disturbing things happened in this time in Florence. For example, a man was denounced for permitting wealthy men to sodomize his three sons. His reason? “it was good for the family,” meaning that they were going to give promotions or favors.
Even in those days there were atheists. While in his twenties Savonarola wrote a poem called De Ruina Mundi (On the Ruin of the World) in which he laments to God: “there are those who say that you do not exist and there are those who say that you dream.” There is nothing new under the sun, as King Solomon, thousands of years, wrote of atheists in his day: The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. (Psalm 14:1)
In the Renaissance period lied a deep fascination for the pre-Christian gods of Europe. People wanted to return to the deities of the ancient Graeco-Roman world. There is a letter from 1434, written in the Italian town of Ferrara, which speaks of a festival in which masked dancers performed as Greek gods. “First of all came Apollo”, reads the letter, “with his blazing rays … Then came Bacchus with lurching gait … Hoary-bearded Aesculapius followed shortly behind. Then it was well worthwhile to see furious Mars with his drawn sword and flashing armor, marching along with Bellona. After these Mercury with wings on his feet. … The fair form of Venus with her golden apple was not absent; Cupid followed his mother, no otherwise than as the poets depict him, shooting both leaden and golden arrows. Quite a few people were terrified by the raging furies — Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos — who, if it is to be believed, weave the lives of men. Then there was Hercules, clad in his lionskin and grasping his club”. (See Godwin, The Pagan Dream of the Renaissance, p. 3).
It is quite surreal to find out that the gods that the earliest Christians combated, these demons for whom the ancientest Christians were martyred to appease the vicious mob of pagans, these diabolical objects of worship who the Apostles exerted every effort to wipe out in the minds of men, were revered in so-called Christendom, because of a warped fantasy. This adulation for the pagan gods of pre-Christian Europe is greatly exemplified in Dante who asks Apollo to inspire him by entering his chest and breathing:
“O good Apollo, for the final effort, make me such a vessel of your genius, as you demand for the gift of your beloved laurel. Till now, one peak of Parnassus was enough, but now inspired by both I must enter this remaining ring. Enter my chest, and breathe, as you did when you drew Marsyas out of the sheath that covered his limbs.” (Paradiso, Canto 1)
In the midst of such pagan hysteria was a fixation on the occult. One of the most famous proponents of this at at the time was Paracelsus (real name Theophrastus von Hohenheim) who believed that prophecies could be made based on eclipses and comets, and held that the Apocalypse would be predicted by signs in the sky. When Haley’s Comet appeared in 1531, Paracelsus saw it on August 21st in the sky above St. Gallen and wrote: “All destruction of monarchies … are announced by portents and signs”. For him, astral occultism was a form of revolution, and he saw movement in the sky as presaging the end of monarchy (much like how the Freemasons in the 18th century awaited a coming world revolution to topple all monarchies). The occult was also used in the hopes of Protestant utopianism. For example, the German Lutheran pastor, Johann Valentin Andreae, wrote a book in 1616 entitled the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz. The book promoted the work of Christian Rosencreutz, the legendary founder of the Rosicrucian Order which would end up being amongst the inspirations for Freemasonry. Andreae, in his work, used alchemical allegories to represent aspirations for a new Protestant golden age.
People will speak of “Christendom”, but there is no Christendom. Christendom is dead, and we killed her a long time ago, and from her grave arose Europa. Once you sever ties with Christianity, you no longer have Christendom, but Europa, and all of her internal divisions and rising empires. In the words of Mark Greengrass:
“the central issue in the history of Europe in the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries was: what was to happen to Christendom — the institutions which defined its centres of gravity and, still more, the belief-community which underlay it? If Christendom was destroyed, what, if anything, was to take its place? The process was one of a progressive eclipse of Christendom by Europe (defined as a geographical notion in a relationship of distance with other parts of the world). The two entities differed fundamentally. Christendom claimed the loyalties of those who were baptized into the belief-community and who related to the outside world accordingly. Europe’, on the other hand, claimed no unity beyond the geographical landmass that it represented and an emerging sense of the moral and civilizing superiority of the different states and peoples which occupied it.” (Greengrass, Christendom Destroyed, intro, pp. xxvii-xxix).
In the seventeenth century, the idea of Christendom had become an object of mockery. An example of this was Thomas Cockson’s engraving, The Revells of Christendome, which was made in the wake of the controversial truce between Catholic Spain and the recently born Protestant Dutch Republic. On the graving, Pope Paul V sits at a table with three kings — Henry IV of France, James I of England and Christian IV of Denmark. Next to them are three Catholic monks playing a game of backgammon, dice and cards over the fate of Europe. To further convey the point of mockery, a dog urinates on the leg of one of the monks. The message was clear: Christendom has become a joke. The breakdown of Christendom was accompanied by the beginning stages of the emphasis on native languages by their speakers. Michel de Montaigne described Gascon, the language of southwestern France, as “male” and “military”, while his fellow writer, Etienne Pasquier, insulted Italian as “soft” and “effeminate”. Both Montaigne and Paquier were part of the humanist zeitgeist of the time which elevated language as a great indicator of education. Various writers would vie with one another in elevating their own native tongues. The poet Joachim du Bellay wrote a book entitled Defense and Illustration of the French Language, condemning his compatriots for not promoting the richness of the French language. The 17th century saw the rise of “Gallicanism”, or the distancing of the French Catholic Church from Roman ecclesiastical authority.
Spanish humanists upheld the Castilian language for its Latin roots, while Martin de Viziana praised his native tongue of Valencian for its ancient origins. In 1589, Gudbrandur Thorlaksson advanced the idea of the ‘purity’ of Icelandic. Latin still remained the lingua franca for justice, administration and the Catholic Church, but nativism was beginning its advent. One clear example of this was the Edict of Villers-Cotterets of 1539 which refers to the “maternal French language” as what should be spoken in French courts.
In that same year, the Polish parliament (Sejm) decreed that all of its laws and edicts should be published in Polish. And the Act of Union between England and Wales in 1536 mandated that oaths be taken “in the English tongue”. In 1561, the Spanish Inquisition made Castilian the required language in Catalonia, and this caused ethnic tensions between the two (and to this day, the tensions between Spain and Catalonia linger). In the 17th century, the Swedes tried to restrict the use of Danish and Finnish in their new empire. The Hapsburgs sought to impose the German language in Czech lands after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 (the battle that would mark the beginning of the Thirty Years War, the most devastating conflict in Europe’s history before the Two World Wars).
National pride went along with claims on territories that one kingdom once owned. Even though the One Hundred Years War between the English and French ended in 1453, the war left wounds that never healed and a climate of tension that continued to be present. When Henry VIII was crowned in 1509, he spoke of his ancestor Henry V and expressed his dream to retake Guyenee (which the English once had dominion over). To do this, Henry VIII joined the Holy League of Pope Julius II, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Venice to drive the French out of Italy. His expedition to retake Guyenee was a failure, and the fighting went to a halt with a mutual non-aggression pact (Treaty of London) in October of 1518. This was just a typical ceasefire between rival nations that eventually gets broken. For in 1522 a large English army led by Charles Brandon invaded France and wreaked havoc, reaching within fifty miles of Paris. What was gained in this attack was small and the costs were great. The English Parliament refused to mandate any additional taxes to support the war effort, so Cardinal Thomas Wolsey came up with a tax of 1/3 of the estimated revenues of the clergy and 1/6 on the lay population. This tax was, expectedly, hated, and it failed to get the necessary funds for the war. The English conflict with the French over Italy would be a part of a long series of wars known as the Italian Wars, which would eventually become a wider war between the Hapsburgs and the French (specifically the Valois). In 1508 Francesco Guicciardini described the Italian Wars as “a flame, a pestilence which has entered Italy”.
The Italian Wars consisted of the War of the League of Cambrai (1511-16), and then the Four Years War (1521-6) and the War of the League of Cognac (1526-30). The Church was heavily involved in the conflict. In 1511, Pope Julius formed the Holy League with the Spanish and Venetians against the French. The King of France, Louis XII, responded with a propaganda scheme against the Pope, spreading satirical pamphlets to smear his name. These pamphlets called Julius “serf of the serfs” — a mockery of the pontifical title of “servant of the servants of God” (servus servorum Dei) — and “prince of idiots”. French propaganda also described the papacy as the reason for schism in Christendom. According to the rhetoric, only temporal kings, led by France, could lead Christendom. On November of 1511, Louis XII summoned a council with Church officials in Pisa as his troops invaded the Romagna and Ravenna. Pope Julius declared the council to be schismatic and, as a response, conveyed his own council. This was a time of growing animosity towards the Church. As the general of the Dominican Order recorded in 1521: “All Germany is in open revolt. Nine-tenths cry out ‘Luther!’ And the remaining tenth… cry ‘Death to the Roman Curia!’” Luther’s cause was not just one of theology, but a national movement in which Germany endured a struggle of liberation from Rome.
In 1521 the French made an attack on the Hapsburg Empire in Luxembourg and Navarre. The Hapsburg Emperor Charles, being in an alliance with the Church, promised Pope Leo X Parma and Piacenza for his support, and invaded Milan. A large body of French forces tried to overtake the Hapsburg power, but were defeated at La Bicocca in April of 1522. Thirty thousand French soldiers surrounded Milan in 1524, but nothing was gained. Emperor Charles decided to amplify the conflict with a full on invasion of France, hitting Marseille. In Pavia, the French tried to make a stand, but imperialist forces from Germany arrived and overwhelmed the French, slaughtering thousands in the Battle of Pavia in February of 1525. Ten thousand more French were captured, including the King of France himself, Francis. He was released in the next year. Pope Clement VII, fearing Hapsburg expansion, made a pact with the recently freed French king (alongside Florence) and formed the League of Cognac. Charles V then saw the Vatican as his enemy. In August of 1527, the Emperor Charles launched the bloodiest sack of Rome in the city’s history.
With an army of 700 lancers, 800 cavalry, 3,000 Italian adventurers, 5,000 Spanish soldiers and 10,000 German mercenaries, the city was going to be overtaken by an utter nightmare. When they finally broke through Rome’s defenses, Spanish imperial soldiers rushed into the Borgo screaming “Spain! Spain! Kill! Kill!” The whole Borgo became a slaughterhouse. Some of the defenders fled only to drown in the Tiber. The Swiss Guards put up a fight right by the obelisk in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, only to be cut to pieces. The imperial soldiers, seeing that there was no one to oppose them, went through the Borgo killing all who they came across. They took the commander of the Swiss Guards, Roust (who was heavily wounded) and murdered him in front of his wife. Not even a hospital was spared as almost all of the patients were butchered. As a monk from the monastery of San Salvatore recounted: “Everyone in the Santo Spirito hospital was killed apart from from the few who managed to flee.”
The same monk also recorded that imperial fighters charged into an orphanage in La Pieta and killed everyone inside, and many of the children “were thrown from the windows into the street.” The Pope had been attending mass in St. Peter’s Basilica when the invasion began, but in the midst of the chaos he decided to flee to the Castel Sant’Angelo. While he made his way to the edifice, an immense crowd of panicking people were all seeking refuge in the same place. However, the Pope had a papal escape route that led right into the castello. Him and his entourage met the sight of Spanish troops who then opened fire on them. The huge crowd of fleeing people trembled into the castle, their horrified faces and trepidatious bodies jumbled together like a mass of chaos and hysteria, their terrifying voices chilling the air as they resounded to the ears amidst a deluge of destruction. An elderly Cardinal named Antonio Pucci was knocked down and trampled by the panicking crowd. So many people were trying to enter the castle that there was no way to even shut the gates. The Pope needed to get inside, and those who were deemed as having no use were cast out.
As Pesaro of Zara recorded: “The pope was told that there were many people in the castle, most of them of no military use, and there was little grain, so many of the useless ones were thrown out.” Cardinal Pucci managed to get inside by being carried up by rope through a window. The chaos continued. One military commander, Giuliano the Florentine, was seen “tearing at his face and sobbing bitterly” as he witnessed his wife and child being raped. The invaders, as one observer wrote, “threw the bodies of little children out of doorways into the street. And women were dragged out and outraged on the ground … crying and wailing so loudly that all the city could hear.” In the midst of the wailing and the ravishing, the blood splatter and the incessant gore, a multitude of priests were seen completely naked, left in a state of humiliation. A witness wrote of how “large numbers of the priests are naked and that it is a terrible thing to see the great number of dead, and most of all the little children younger than ten years old”. He also spoke of how the invaders “are exhausted from lack of sleep, drunk on blood, killing everything”. Francesco Guicciardini, an historian who lived in the time of the sacking, gives us an idea of the horror:
“In the streets there were many corpses. Many nobles lay there cut to pieces, covered with mud and their own blood, and many people only half dead lay miserably on the ground. Sometimes in that ghastly scene a child or man would be seen jumping from a window, forced to jump or jumping voluntarily to escape becoming the living prey of these monsters and finally ending their lives horribly in the street.”
The sacking of Rome was done mainly by Lutheran fighters who esteemed themselves as sacking the Harlot of Babylon. They carved the name Martin Luther onto the walls of the rooms in the Vatican Palace. It is not a surprise that the chancellor of the Hapsburg Empire at the time, the humanist Alfonso de Valdes, had been privately corresponding with both Luther and Melanchthon and expressed his contempt for the papacy in his defence of the sacking of Rome.
The Landsknecht took a donkey and dressed it with priestly vestments. They then ordered a priest to feed the Eucharist to the mule, and when he refused they murdered him. They took priests and monks and shed their blood right on top of the altars and raped young nuns. The altar in St. Peter’s Basilica was piled with the slaughtered bodies of those who fled into the infamous church thinking that they would be protected from the invaders. As they butchered these people on the altar, one after the other, the Landsknecht cried out: “Long live Pope Luther!”, unleashing their Protestant frenzy at the Church that they saw as the Harlot of Babylon. “If anyone had been walking through the streets of Rome by day or night,” wrote Guicciardini, “he would have heard not sighs and tearful laments, but pitiful cries and screams of hapless prisoners coming from every house and building.” (See Foster & Marcovitz, Rome, p. 100). In the end, around 45,000 people were slaughtered, wounded or exiled.
Peace would, eventually, be made between the Church and Crown, In June of 1529, when Pope Clement and the Hapsburg emperor agreed to the Treaty of Barcelona. But the damage had already been done. The carnage that struck Rome was one of many things that reflected the devastation of Christendom. Was not Jerusalem destroyed for its crimes and evils? Rome, which held a headquarters for the Church established by Christ, was not exempt.
Guicciardini described the miserable state of the clergymen under the Landsknecht’s reign of terror, and he mentions something that indicates the spirit of Sodom in the Vatican:
“many of these men wore torn and disgraceful habits, others were without shoes. Some in ripped and bloody shirts had cuts and bruises all over their bodies from the indiscriminate whippings and beatings they had received. Some had thick and greasy beards. Some had their faces branded, and some were missing teeth; others were without noses or ears. Some were castrated and so depressed and terrified that they failed to show in any way the vain and effeminate delicacy and lasciviousness that they had put on with such excessive energy for so many years in their earlier, happier days.”
Guicciardini describes the clergy as living an effeminate lifestyle prior to being devastated by the Landsknecht and imperial forces, indicating that homosexuality was prevalent within the Vatican, and these German fanatics, seeing themselves as the scourge of God against the Harlot of Babylon, rained down fury upon them. With this, it is not far-fetched to see how such destruction could come upon the Vatican again. Right before the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews of that city “indulged themselves in feminine wantonness” (Josephus, Wars, 4.9.10). Before the sack of Rome in 1527, the clergy indulged themselves in “effeminate delicacy”. And today, the whole of the Vatican has been overtaken by Sodom. What fate awaits for Rome when God Himself did not spare Jerusalem? When Rome was at war with Jerusalem, Josephus tells us, the Zealots among the Jews “decked their hair, and put on women’s garments, and were besmeared over with ointments; and that they might appear very comely, they had paints under their eyes, and imitated not only the ornaments, but also the lusts of women, and were guilty of such intolerable uncleanness, that they invented unlawful pleasures of that sort.” (Wars, 4.9.10)
Rome destroyed Jerusalem and took the mantel, and now Rome has become like Jerusalem. When St. Paul wrote to the Church of Rome, he warned them of homosexuality, writing of “men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly” (Romans 1:27). There is a vicious circle that revolves in the movement of humanity, one that continues on a path of violence. Paradise was on earth, and man, full of discontent, wanted to elevate himself in his position within the Garden of Eden and become gods. The gardens still grow, the flowers sill bloom, the bees collect their pollen, the fruits still form, and yet man still sheds blood. There is a 17th century painting by Sebastian Vrancx portraying the slaughter of a village in the Thirty Years war: a woman is dragged from her hair as her child weeps, a man is on his knees begging for mercy as a marauder on his horse overlooks him and another pillager stands behind him, sword in hand, pulling the victim back as if he is about to slaughter him; a naked corpse lies on the ground, amidst numerous lifeless bodies. There is another piece of art from the 17th century, a little sculpture by Leonard Kern, showing a naked woman, her hands tied behind her back, being led by a soldier. The garden grows, but man still murders, man still rapes ravishes, man still destroys, man still seeks to impose himself on others, determining who lives and who dies, uplifting Sodom, uplifting earthly Jerusalem, uplifting Rome, uplifting cities that are skeletons.