Monday 18 December 2017

Church makes rules

Sir -- Pope Formosus, the ninth century Pope who was dug up nine months after his death and put on trial by his successor, Pope Stephen the Sixth, was the recipient of the application of canon law.

For those who cannot believe their eyes, yes, he was dug up and prosecuted for offending against his rival Stephen, when he was alive and sitting Pope. The new Pope, Stephen, in fairness, complied with due process and appointed legal counsel to defend Formosus' corpse.

I cannot help thinking of the trial of Formosus, surely one of the most absurd episodes in the history of the development of canon law, whenever I hear or read about Irish Catholics expressing upset about the decisions of the powers that be in Rome. Can someone please explain to me why it is that so many feel so unable to shake themselves free of the self-appointed successors of Stephen, and all the other despots that laid down the medieval set of regulations that continue to dominate the administration of the absurd institution that is the Vatican State?

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