Caesar, Biggus Dickus, And The Fratres Immaculatae.
And it came to pass a Roman Centurion, called Biggus Dickus Vulpius, went against a community of Roman Christians, a small group of pious people calling themselves Fratres (vel Sorores) Mariae immaculatae Servi (vel Servae), in short: Fratres (Sorores) Immaculatae. Eight Hundred of them in all, between men and women, and not counting the many catechumens.
The poor wretches were put in a rather unhealthy dungeon, and their leader put in isolation in a single cell, chained to the wall as then the custom required.
The Christian population of Rome was appalled. How could Biggus Dickus Vulpius have done something so appalling? Caesar must be informed! Caesar is so good and so merciful, he would never ever allow this to happen!
The community was, therefore, very angry at Vulpius. He was, they were persuaded, clearly the bad guy, and was obviously acting without Caesar’s knowledge. The Imperial corridors are so long, and the salons one must walk through so many, that the poor Emperor cannot be in any way informed about what is happening! And he so good, so merciful, so full of tender love!
But then some people noticed that when Biggus Dickus had first put in place his big wave of arrests, he had insistently said he was doing it by order of Caesar. Would Vulpius – they reasoned – a mere Centurion, dare to go ultra vires and abuse his power in such a way as to claim a direct order from Caesar that was simply non-existent? Would not this be the end of the career, and more probably the life, of such a deluded, megalomaniac Centurion? And why would Caesar – they also said – have lied to everyone about Biggus Dickus being responsible for the small Christian community of the arrested? No, this couldn’t be. Actually, that Vulpius was legitimately in charge, no one dared to question. They all knew Caesar himself had put him there! They also knew how angry Caesar became any time someone dared to mock, or even criticise, Biggus Dickus… But that Vulpius would act with Caesar’s consent in a way that is so much in contrast to the Wise and Peaceful Caesar, this could not, most certainly not be believed!
Frantic days of uncertainty and fear were lived in and around the dungeon. The poor prisoners were left with bread and water. They were told that their leader, Pius Manellus Conditor, was a very bad man. Once, it was said, he had not answered a letter from Vulpius; or a question, that is; or Vulpius had not liked the answer, perhaps; or something like that. They also started rumours he was an enemy of the Empire, or at least he had sympathies for the Pii Galli Helvetici, a small but tough community of mountain people who, whilst very faithful to Caesar, said that Caesar is not God and persisted in their position. The Conditor was, Vulpius also said, probably corrupt, but no one ever knew anything more precise. Certainly, he was Proto-Gallican; though no one had ever noticed it, either. What they knew, is that Manellus must have been very bad; at some point; in something.
Vulpius was not to be persuaded: Manellus had to remain in chains. A dangerous man, he said; given to domineering, never able to listen. Six of his men, Biggus Dickus reported, tought him not cooperative. Perhaps even more, though this was very unclear. Still: six over only eight hundred? How can such a man, said Vulpius, lead a community of Christians? This community is utterly divided, and Manellus is the divisive one!
The prisoners continued to wail, Manellus continued to be kept in chains, and all the dearest habits of the poor men and women were now forbidden. Vulpius was keeping faith to his name, though calling him Biggus Dickus could have attracted the ire of Caesar; so no one inside the dungeon called him that way.
Until, one day, Caesar came to visit.
He was very nice, very affable, extremely gentle, and utterly Imperial. He listened to a couple of them with great attention. Then he said to them: ” Don’t worry, my dear little Christian community. Do as my trusted Vulpius says. He knows what is best for you. Have confidence. Don’t complain about the dungeon. It’s for your own good. Everything will be fine. Trust me. Am I not known all over the vast Empire as The Humble Caesar of Mercy and Tenderness?”
At this point, the poor wretched in the dungeon did not have any doubt that Caesar himself was behind the action. But outside the dungeon, others were of different opinion. Caesar must have visited the building, but clearly no one had informed him that that was a dungeon! They must have said to him it was a wellness centre! Manellus was certainly unchained in an isolated cell, but obviously Caesar had not been informed of that! It was all Biggus Dickus’ fault, you see! Such a shame cannot be permitted!
So the loyal subjects of Caesar, the man whose mercy and tenderness were sung all over the Roman Empire, continued to believe that Caesar was being duped. He was clearly not told what a dungeon is for; he was clearly kept fully in the dark as to all that was happening; he was clearly not told exactly where to look, and exactly what to think; and how could he, the poor lamb, make the right decision when the wolves around him do not even tell him dungeons are pretty cold, and rather damp? If Vulpius had only refrained from telling him the cold was there to help the wretches lose weight…
Therefore, they went around Rome, full of sacred zeal, saying to everyone: “Help us let Caesar know what is happening to that poor community in the dungeon! He must, he must be informed! We will always obey to everything he says, because for Caesar one must fall on his sword without questioning the order; but if he knew, if he only knew, all this would not be happening, surely? Help us, help us, help us!”.
At one point, the poor men and women were transferred to another building. It was clear there were lions not very far from then, trained every day. But they couldn’t see much, because the place was very dark. The lions were loud, though, and rather angry; possibly they were hungry, too.
The good men and women inside the dungeon were, at this point, much afraid.
But those outside, they kept accusing Biggus Dickus, and said Caesar could not have anything to do with it.
Posted on January 8, 2014, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged Father Volpi, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate FFI, Pope Francis. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.