Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Slander of Pope Saint Damasus (John Bugay and JND Kelly)

The great Pope, Saint Damasus was a hero of the early Church. He was born around 305 and was Pope during the Arian crisis between the years of 366 to 384. He was hailed by other Saints of his time such as St. Jerome as being a man of stellar character and he was recognized as standing firm against two prominent heresies, Apollonarianism and Macedonianism. It is a well known fact that false accusations of murder were brought against him instigated by a by a man named Ursinus who sought to undermine the papal election of the time. Eventually Ursinus and some of his supporters who aligned themselves against Damasus were murdered by opponents of theirs, and some people of the time tried to implicate Damasus in the those murders. He was however exonerated of that charge by the authorities of the time. Damasus was also falsely accused of adultery, and it is also a historical fact that the emperor Gratian himself along with a synod of 44 bishops of the Church exonerated him from these false accusations. Protestant historian Henry Chadwick recognizes these accusations as probably being false in his work 'The Pelican History of the Church.' Even secular sources like the New World Encyclopedia recognize both of these accusations as possibly being false, and they at least have the decency to include these exonerations as historical facts. But let us look at how some of the opponents of the Catholic Church still slander his character today in an effort to pull people away from the one true Catholic Church.

There is a disgruntled, maniacal ex-Catholic named John Bugay over at a site called 'Beggars All.' He has written a slanderous piece attacking Pope Saint Damasus in an effort to get people to question the credibility of the Catholic Church in making Damasus a Saint. Bugay writes, "In the comments from that last thread, the discussion turned to Pope Damasus (366-384 AD). At question was my appellation “the murderer Pope Damasus,” but as I said there, I’ll stand by that appellation. J.N.D. Kelly (“Oxford Dictionary of the Popes”) notes that Damasus hired the mob [and note both the nomenclature and the location], which “savagely attacked the Ursinians”, [followers of Ursinus, a rival of Damasus’s] and killing 137 people in the process.  “Pope St. Damasus,” of course, is officially a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church. He personifies the legacy, which we see today, that any amount of lying or criminal activity can be excused if it is done in the name of Mother Rome." 

Bugay however lets his hatred for the Church cloud his judgment since he looks for one source to build his weak case on, the Protestant hack historian J.N.D. Kelly who never even mentions the fact that the authorities of Damasus' time exonerated the man of these charges! I read the book this morning on the entry on Damasus and amazingly Kelly leaves out these facts. What a surprise. Of course he is the go to man for everything slanderous against the Catholic Church concerning church history. Most other sources recognize the fact that these accusations are probably, or at least possibly false, based on a summary of historical evidence. In fact Kelly's book is one of the few that does not even mention these facts. How convenient! Yet for these types of radical Protestants and many radical atheists, there is no appeal to a summary of historical sources, it is only their biased hatred of the Catholic Church that fuels them in their search for anything that will make them feel better about rejecting Christ and His Church. Isn't it funny how a court of the Church and the court of the emperor at the time of Pope Damasus exonerated the man of these charges, and yet we still have extreme Protestant hecklers and atheists today who still go back and use the same false charges against him today? Such is the plight of those who hate the Church.

1 comment:

scotju said...

A good post Matt. I'm a convert to the Catholic faith from Lutheranism and Anglicanism, and as such, I have negative and positive feelings about my life as a Protestant. But Bugay is another story. I have noticed, in the years since my converison, that many ex-Catholics tend to become fanatical, maniacal bigots who will latch on to anything to damm the church that they grew up in. I could understand this if they were victims of abuse by an authority figure, but how do you explain it when the person was raised in a devout Catholic family like Bugay was? The only thing that make any sense to me is Bugay made a cold-blooded choice to knowningly reject the truths of the Catholic faith, and now has to vomit hatred on what he used to love to drown the voice of his conscience. I pray he will fail in his attempt to drown it and return to the faith.