Friday, 22 April 2011

Was Pope Innocent really innocent?

When Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti – Italian husband-and-wife writers - wrote their novel Imprimatur they expected it would ruffle some feathers. It did, after all, claim that a Pope had bankrolled a Protestant King against a Catholic King. What they didn’t expect was for their book to become unavailable in their home country of Italy and a widespread media blackout on coverage.

Whilst the Vatican denied any involvement, it now looks as if it’s not just Rita and Francesco who have fallen out of favour. The Pope in question, Blessed Innocent XI, has been dug up so another Pope can be buried in this tomb.
Imprimatur by Monaldi and Sorti

Speaking to the Irish newspaper, The Herald, Francesco said "Because of our book Innocent XI has lost his reputation of sanctity. He betrayed the Catholic Church. It has never happened before that the body of a Pope has been removed to make way for another Pope, especially when both have been beatified. He was supposed to be celebrated, not removed. And especially because this year is the 400th centenary of his birth."

Pope Innocent has been taken out of the Chapel of St Sebastian, near the entrance to St Peter's basilica in Rome and adjoining one of its most popular attractions, Michelangelo's statue of the Pieta. The Vatican has denied that it is giving John Paul II preferential treatment. Blessed Innocent XI had actually been considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church following the 9/11 terrorists attacks as he had been celebrated for his role in defending Europe against Islamic invasion in the 1680s.