Answers for August 2011

ANSWERS for August 2011. Sorry late, I seem to be somewhere with 2 hours elec per day and not much web feed. WINNER, with especial merit for neat presentation and referencing every response, is

Amit Elazari

Question 1

According to Catholic doctrine, was the Virgin Mary not a virgin at any time?


Pope Paul IV in 1555 decisively ruled that Mary was “a virgin before, during & after the conception and birth of her son”.

Additional Answers

  • For the time leading up to that unfortunate incident involving a bottle of Passion Pop, the hottie from Year 12 and the back seat of an FJ.
  • Crowd “Well, if it’s not a personal question, are you a virgin?” – Mother “If it’s not a personal question, how much more personal can you get? Now P_ss off!” – Crowd “She is, yea must be…” – So there you have it, the definitive answer.
  • “In Catholic tradition, Mary is referred to as the Virgin Mary because of the doctrine of her perpetual virginity: even after giving birth to Jesus she never had sexual relations with her husband, Josephus, and never gave birth to more children. Many Protestants also believe that Mary remained a virgin, but for most it’s not a doctrine of faith. References to brothers and sisters of Jesus in the gospels suggest that Mary did not remain a virgin. This is one of many cases where traditional Christian doctrine runs into direct conflicts with text in the Bible. Given a choice, most Christians go with tradition.”
  • Even though Jesus’ brothers and sisters are mentioned several times in the bible Mary, according to dogma, was a perpetual virgin. One possible explanation: She was a guinea pig and as such had a resealing hymen.
  • No, she’s perpetually a virgin. Despite all those bloody kids. An absolute miracle!
  • No. That’s just a guess, but I must have a fifty-fifty chance.
  • Not sure if it was doctrine but pretty sure impregnation isn’t all that immaculate and there may even have been a bit of hanky panky, then don’t ask me as I studied abstinence-only sex education.
  • She had at least seven kids after JC, so she was quite the thoroughly de-virginised roisterer. According to Matthew, JC’s bros were Jim, Joe, Simon, JUDAS! and a few nameless and numberless sisters.

Question 2

Starting with St.Peter, how many Popes have there been?


About 265

Additional Answers

  • The Vatican sez 265, excluding one who hadn’t made it to his coronation and 41 anti-popes, and including two jews: Pete, plus John Paul II through his mum; one chick who gave birth during a papal procession and the reason cardinals caress the balls of future popes on a special chair; and four gays including one who died in flagrante sodoma being buggered by his pageboy, and excluding the current one. Damascus’ nickname was ‘Ladies’ Earscratcher’, ‘John XII was twenty-four when an enraged husband caught him humping his wife and gave him the last rites with one hammer blow on the back of his head’, Sixtus IV owned a brothel, the poor kissed Julius II’s syphilitic foot, and the Borgia popes had dozens of bastards and a harem. My current favourite: Sergius I was a ventriloquist, and when baptising his own bastard son, had the 8-day old appear to say, ‘The pontius Sergius is not my father’. Brilliant!
  • 265 according to my computor. The one I have been watching in The Tudors on ABC2 seems like a right bastard, not like our nice Henry VIII.
  • 265 Catholic/universal popes, 41 antipopes, numerous Coptic and Greek Orthodox popes, … they add up to ‘far too many’.
  • 266
  • According to the oracle of the web there have been 263 people in that role officially, but who knows just how many stunt-doubles were used to fill in on the balcony on cold wet days or when the fish were biting, shopping centre openings, particularly long sermons and dedication ceremonies…?
  • Far too many. There is some argument that having one pope was ok, but I’m not so sure. So far there have been 266, unless the current one has very recently been divinely appointed by a puff of white smoke, but I don’t think so.
  • How the hell could I possibly know how many washing machines have been sold ? Did St Peter have one? My Mum did.
  • Sorry but even if there is a real number, I am going to say “too many”

Question 3

Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, compiled a catalogue of his own sins. How long did it take him?


It took him three days, but then he suspected he might have omitted some instances and therefore went off and spent 8 months in a cave trying to recollect.

Additional Answers

  • Three days. Punter.
  • 30 days. The last item on his list reads: Just wasted a month of my life.
  • Not long as beautification is retroactive hence he sinned in the first time stream but the retrospective action of getting a special halo acted to go back in time, undo the sins and hence he didn’t have to catalogue said sins as they never happened. Actually I would say he never finished it as he suffered from Scrpulosity being pathological guilt over moral and or religious issues.
  • Not long enough. I’m not sure how long he took to compile the list, but it took him three days to confess it all.
  • Possibly quite a long time, considering he was THAT hottie from Year 12. A catalogue? Is that where Pete got his Pope?
  • Probably longer than it took him to commit them.
  • Three days. “…When Ignatius left Loyola … his first care was to make a general confession at the famous sanctuary of Montserrat, where, after three days of self-examination, and carefully noting his sins, he confessed, gave to the poor the rich clothes in which he had come, and put on garment of sack-cloth reaching to his feet.”
  • What, the expurgated version? I do so love catalogues, you get to pick your favourite items and fantasise about ownership of same…”don’t knock on Iggy’s door he’s reviewing page five of the catalogue again…”

Question 4

Who said “On the whole, the Inquisition [of the Middle Ages] was humanely conducted”?


The Catholic Encyclopedia, quoted for example at

Additional Answers

  • I don’t know but I am pretty sure it was unexpected, because no one expects the…………
  • Some joker named Innocent. ‘The Inquisitors, with great humanity, always showed the man (or woman) the instruments of torture first. These were, as a rule, a scourge for flogging, a rack (for dislocating limbs), a strappado (for suspension from the ceiling by the wrists tied behind the back), and a brasier of burning coals to be applied to bare feet.
  • A Jesuit (E Vacanard) who bathed in the milk of human kindness, and didn’t quite understand that you can apologise for bad stuff that may have happed in the past… But you already knew that.. so instead sing it with me (and Mel Brooks): The inquisition, let’s begin / The inquisition, look out sin / We have a mission to convert the Jews… Forget the blood and suffering and focus on the big musical numbers…much more humane.
  • Gentlemen may I introduce you to each other? Dr Bob, quizzer and skeptic (cough-heretic-cough) meet Joseph Blötzer. Never mind the red hot poker and the cat-o’-nine-tails, overall he conducts himself rather humanely.
  • Joseph Blötzer, Catholic Encyclopedia., cited in
  • Some Blotzer on the landscape. Maybe he meant “humanly” conducted. Ever since I saw “The Name of the Rose” it’s been my intention to confess straight away to everything. I don’t want to be shown no instruments.
  • St Peter, just after his Pope broke down a month after the warranty expired. Also rumoured to have been quoted by the Commandant of Gitmo.

Question 5

Pope Paul IV decided to imprison all the prostitutes of Rome. Why did he change his mind?


The prostitutes constituted 1/3 of the population, so there would have been practical problems. Also, they were sinners to whom, if left free to sin, redemption could be marketed.

Additional Answers

  • Umm nothing to do on Saturday night if he did? More likely it was breaking with a time honored tradition among the popes such as good old Paul II who ran most of the brothels in Rome and also surrounded himself with boys of commercial affection
  • He’d really wanted to imprison all protestants, but he was lysdexic. Besides, his sons begged him not to, and he had thousands of books and 40 Toulouse witches to burn.
  • They had a quick whip around and bought him a new washing machine. Actually, you sneaky bugger, this is a trick question. There are no prostitutes in Rome. It’s against the law.
  • “In Rome, towards the end of the ‘400, clandestines excluding, were available approximately 6800 prostitutes. … It was the sexual abstinence that the Church adopted as a remedy in order to avoid such disease and Pope Paul IV, around to the half of the ‘500, decreed with an edict an evicting from Rome and all the Papal State of the prostitutes. The popular rebellion forced the Church to find a center to practice prostitution across Tevere: today Trastevere.”
  • Insufficient room in prison. More interestingly though, after Paul’s death the citizens of Rome, encouraged by the municipality, celebrated in joy and set fire to the Palace of the Inquisition.
  • Probably a third of the population of Rome would have left town. Most prostitutes also lived on credit and their imprisonment or banishment would send all the farmers and merchants broke.
  • RSI.
  • There was no-one left to do the cooking and cleaning, (thinks, “That was a bit obvious, I wonder if Dr Bob will deduct points.”)

Question 6


The hand gesture is thought to be Masonic; who else has been caught out making this gesture?


Sorry about this:

Additional Answers

  • Elmo from Sesame Street playing peek a boo, about the same level of intellectual discourse can be found from both, no disrespect to Elmo as I am not suggesting he pedals moronic stuff like the picture guy does
  • George W. In Masonic sign, it means ‘help me!’; in street gang parlance, it means ‘West Side’
  • Hmmm… Do I smell a Hitler question here Dr Bob?
  • I have after image-googling “masonic gestures” and discovered that just about all possible gestures are thought to be Masonic. Facepalm!
  • I thought that stuff was meant to be a secret. Did someone spill the beans when the Inquisistion “showed him the instruments”. The only Mason I know is Dixon Line. (Oh God, that is weak even for me.)
  • Is not. But why did an image of George W suddenly come to mind?
  • Long shot, but knowing Dr Bobs taste for all things Germanic and dictatorial, I will go with a well known Nazi ruler who answered to the name Adolf.
  • Oh…so many people…including that guy from Q3…!


  • I much prefer the old method
  • As a past winner, may I retrospectively claim my prize? You know, I just read the answers for “my” month – I can’t remember which ones were mine!!
  • Hullo Doc: Don’t you dare pull the quiz! It is one of the few laugh out loud reads I get these days.
  • Please—keep up with the Quiz; don’t despair over lower participation (summer might have melted brains all around the globe…).
  • I have seen the truth, and it makes no sense.
  • Why did I have to pick this month to do the quiz? I’m not even a Mick for Christ’s sake.
  • My email hates me, I was trying to work the Scandinavian connection in this quiz, there was one wasn’t there?

Have a go!

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