There are many things that surround the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church generally that sound strange to the ears of protestants 500 years removed from the reformation.

Among the most famous are the claims that the Papal Tiara contains inscriptions that can be interpreted as the number of the beast, that a woman was once elected pope, or that current pope, Benedict XVI, will be the final Pope.

This is a rough treatment of some of it offered here for no apparent reason, producing it has proved to be too much of a distraction so it will remain under construction for al long time.

 Legend  In Brief
Vicarius Filii Dei  An inscription on the papal crown when decoded is the Mark of the Beast, 666.
Pope Joan Pope John VIII was actually a woman named Joan, when her gender was discovered all memory of her was erased from history.
Prophecy of the Popes Some hold that the current pope, Benedict XVI, will be the penultimate Pope, based on the Prophecy of the Popes.
Documents of Jesus Christ A collection of document that contain among other things the execution order for Jesus signed by Pontius Pilate, documents personally written by Jesus explaining to his followers how to conduct the formation of the Catholic Church after his death.
Hitler's Pope Hitler's Pope is a book published in 1999 by the British journalist and author John Cornwell that examines the actions of Eugenio Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII, before and during the Nazi era, and explores the charge that he assisted in the legitimization of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany, through the pursuit of a Reichskonkordat in 1933. (Wikipedia)


Vicarius Filii Dei

One misconception surrounding the Papal Tiara suggests that the words Vicarius Filii Dei (Latin for "Vicar of the Son of God") exist on the side of one of the tiaras.

The story centers on the widely made claim that, when numerised (i.e., when those letters in the 'title' that have roman numeral value are added together), they produce the number 666, described in the Book of Revelation as the number of the Beast which wears multiple crowns identified by some as the triple tiara). This claim has been made by some Protestant sects who believe that the Pope, as head of the Roman Catholic Church is the Beast or the False Prophet mentioned in the Book of Revelation. However, a detailed examination of the existing tiaras shows no such decoration.

Further, Vicarius Filii Dei is not among the titles of the Pope; the closest match is Vicarius Christi ("Vicar of Christ", also rendered in English as "Vicar of Jesus Christ"), the numerical values of which do not add up to 666, but to 214. There is also a dispute on the numerology of "Vicarius Filii Dei" and "Vicarius Christi". Latin does not have the letter 'U' but instead uses 'V'; only if one uses the correct Latin spelling VICARIVS·FILII·DEI is the total produced (VICIVILIIDI = 5 + 1 + 100 + 1 + 5 + 1 + 50 + 1 + 1 + 500 + 1 = 666) (Vicarivs Christi, the real title, comes up to 214). Otherwise, the numbers add up to 661 and 209. It is also important to note that when written out in proper Roman numerals, 666 is actually written as DCLXVI.


Pope Joan

The claim that a woman, often called Pope Joan, became pope first appeared in a Dominican chronicle in 1250. It soon spread Europe-wide through preaching Friars. The story grew in embellishment but centered on a set of claims.

The time period for this claim is traditionally given as AD 855–858, between the reigns of Leo IV and Benedict III; however, this possibility is unlikely, because Leo IV died on 17 July 855, and Benedict III was elected as his successor on 29 September of the same year.

Jean de Mailly, a French Dominican at Metz, places the story in the year 1099, in his Chronica Universalis Mettensis, which dates from approximately 1250 and gives what is almost certainly the earliest authentic account of the woman who became known as Pope Joan. His compatriot Stephen of Bourbon acknowledges this by placing her rule at approximately 1100. Also, Rosemary and Darrell Pardoe, authors of The Female Pope: The Mystery of Pope Joan. The First Complete Documentation of the Facts behind the Legend, are assuming that a more plausible time-frame would be 1086–1108, when there were a lot of antipopes, and the reign of the legitimate popes Victor III, Urban II and Paschal II was not always established in Rome, since this city was occupied by Emperor Henry IV, and later sacked by the Normans.

Generally, there are two versions of the legend.

In the first, an English woman, called Joan, went to Athens with her lover, and studied there.
In the second, a German woman called Giliberta was born in Mainz.
"Joan" disguises herself as a monk, called Joannes Anglicus. In time, she rose to the highest office of the church, becoming a pope.

After two or five years of reign, 'Pope Joan' became pregnant, and during an Easter procession, she gave birth to the child on the streets when she fell off a horse. She was publicly stoned to death by the astonished crowd, and according to the legend, removed from the Vatican archives.

In a seventeenth-century study, Protestant historian David Blondel argued that 'Pope Joan' is a fictitious story. The story may well be a satire that came to be believed as reality. This view is generally accepted among historians.


Prophecy of the Popes

Some hold that the current pope, Benedict XVI, will be the penultimate Pope, based on the Prophecy of the Popes.

Documents of Jesus Christ

It is sometimes claimed that there exists a collection of documents that directly refer to Jesus, such as the execution order for Jesus signed by Pontius Pilate, or were personally written by Jesus, explaining to his followers how to conduct the formation of the Catholic Church after his death, or even the exact date of his return to judge mankind. These documents are said to be a closely guarded secret of the Catholic Church, and supposedly are hidden in the Vatican Secret Archives, or at past times in an underground vault in the event that Nazi Germany would invade the Vatican.

However there is no solid evidence for any of these claims; in history, there has been only one document that was attributed to Jesus himself, the Letter of Christ and Abgarus. Scholars generally believe that those letters were fabricated, probably in the 3rd century AD. Even in ancient times, Augustine and Jerome contended that Jesus wrote nothing at all during his life. The correspondence was rejected as apocryphal by Pope Gelasius I and a Roman synod (c. 495).  8/23/11