What You Didn't Know About The Popes Of Rome
By Mark Owen
On the evening of Saturday April 2, 2005, after receiving the Rite of Extreme Unction, Pope John Paul II passed away. At this time his chamberlain would have gone to the papal hospital bed and asked the Bishop of Rome a question, "Are you dead?" There would be no reply from the Pope. The chamberlain would then pick up a silver hammer and strike the Pope on the head and repeat his question, "Are you dead?" Again there would be no reply. The chamberlain would then thrice call out the Pope's baptismal name. He would then declare the Pope to be dead.
This is the way the Church has determined papal deaths for centuries. This is the way of the world's oldest monarchy.
Since 1763 the august Almanach de Gotha has been the ultimate authority on the royal houses of Europe. Listed under 'Reigning Sovereign Houses' is the Holy See. Therein is stated, "the incumbent of the Holy See is considered by Christian sovereign families as the 'Father of the Family of Kings,' [and] his Holiness represents the OLDEST MONARCHY on earth"
Without a doubt, there was one Pope who was completely mad. In 896 Stephen VII set in motion the trial of his rival, the late Pope Formosus who had been dead for 9 months at the time. Formosus' corpse was dragged from its tomb and arrayed on a throne in the council chamber. The corpse, wrapped in a hair shirt, was provided with council, who wisely remained silent while Pope Stephen raved and screamed at it. The crime of Formosus was that he had crowned emperor one of the numerous illegitimate heirs of Charlemagne after first having performed the same office for a candidate favored by Stephen. After Stephen's rant, the corpse was stripped of its clothes and its fingers were chopped off. It was then dragged through the palace and hurled from a balcony to a howling mob below who threw it into the Tiber. The body was later rescued by people sympathetic to Formosus and given a quiet burial. Stephen was strangled to death a few years later.