Thursday, September 22, 2011

Todd Palin 'will file for divorce'

Sarah Palin could be set to lose both her marriage and her political career after the release of the explosive biography on the Tea Party darling.

The National Enquirer claims that friends close to the politician and her husband Todd say he is 'fed up' with the constant scandals that have plagued their marriage ever since she ran for vice president and is ready to file for a divorce.

As well as kissing goodbye to her marriage, it has also been alleged that her advisers have told her to kiss goodbye to the White House fearing a bid would be 'political suicide'.

In The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, the 47-year-old is accused of having a night of passion with a basketball star, snorting cocaine and having an affair with her husband's business partner - all allegations which are thought to have shattered Palin's White House dream.

Girolamo Aleandro

Aleandro, Girolamo (1480–1542), Italian humanist, papal diplomat, and cardinal. Born of reportedly noble lineage at Motta di Livenza in the Venetian Republic, he was trained in the humanities at Motta, Venice, Pordenone, and Padua and demonstrated a great facility with languages, eventually learning Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, and Chaldean. He taught Latin and Hebrew in Venice, where he briefly served in 1501 as secretary to the papal nuncio and joined the academy of Aldo Manuzio. At the academy in 1508 he became a friend of Erasmus of Rotterdam, who urged him to seek his academic fortunes in France. His public lectures in Greek (1509–1513) drew large numbers of students in Paris, where he was elected principal of Lombard College (1511) and eventually rector of the university (1513). Unhappy with his income as a teacher, he decided to pursue an ecclesiastical career.

Aleandro advanced his career by serving important churchmen. In 1513–1514 he was secretary to Etienne Poncher, bishop of Paris. He then transferred his services to Erard de le Marck, prince-bishop of Li├Ęge, who in 1516 sent him to Rome to secure for Erard promotion to the cardinalate, which he obtained in 1520. In Rome Aleandro became in 1517 secretary to cardinal Giulio dei Medici (later Clement VII) and two years later papal librarian, a post he held under both Leo X and Adrian VI. In 1524 Gian Pietro Carafa (later Paul IV) resigned to him his archbishopric of Brindisi, in which Aleandro resided only from 1527 to 1529. Paul III named him a cardinal in pectore in 1536 and published the appointment in 1538 with the title cardinal-priest of S. Ciriaco. He owed this promotion to his many years of service—next to Lorenzo Campeggio, he was considered the most important papal diplomat of his generation.

Aleandro was entrusted with a number of important nunciatures. In 1520 Leo X charged him with publishing and enforcing the bull Exsurge Domine against Luther and his followers in the Rhineland and Low Countries. He won Charles V's support for the condemnation, helped to write the Edict of Worms, and secured its approbation and finally its publication on 26 May 1521. He suspected Erasmus of supporting Luther, and their relationship became one of guarded suspicion and hostility. In 1524–1525 Clement VII appointed him as nuncio to Francis I, and he was captured with the French king at the Battle of Pavia on 24 February 1525. The same pope sent him in 1531–1532 to Charles V to assist the sickly papal legate Lorenzo Campeggio in urging the emperor to be vigorous in his opposition to the Lutherans and Turks. As nuncio in Venice (1533–1535) Aleandro also worked to combat Protestant influences. In 1538 Paul III dispatched him to Vienna to watch over the negotiations between the emperor, supporting the Catholic party, and the Protestants. Rome considered Aleandro knowledgeable on Protestant affairs because of his contacts in the north and his large library of Protestant writings. Aleandro's opposition to Protestantism was apparently based on his conviction that it was a threat to traditional church order and that its political leaders were eager to confiscate church property. He was unsympathetic to its particular piety and sought to combat it by a combination of repressive measures, support of Catholic rulers, ecclesiastical politics (including a council), and the elimination of scandalous abuses in the church.

Under Paul III, Aleandro often sat on commissions to reform the church. He was a member of the group of reforminded prelates that drew up the famous Consilium de emendanda ecclesia (1537). He then worked on a reform of the datary (1537) and of the chancellery (1539) and was part of the planning for the abortive council called to meet in Vicenza. Never enjoying robust health, he died in Rome on 1 February 1542, having resigned his diocese of Brindisi to his nephew Francesco and having provided in his will for his only surviving, illegitimate son, Claudio.


That alchemy reached its apogee during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries raises interesting questions. How could an occult science predicated on the belief that both matter and the alchemist could be made perfect coexist with the Protestant notion of human depravity or withstand the Counter-Reformation assault on magic? Furthermore, how could an occult and vitalist philosophy gain adherents such as Newton and Leibniz in an age supposedly characterized by Cartesian rationalism and a “mechanical philosophy”?

Alchemy flourished because no other scientific theory explained physical transformations with such plausibility. In addition, it flourished because of the very ideal of perfectionism that led to the censure and execution of some of its practitioners. In an age of bitter sectarian warfare, alchemy provided a refuge for those who clung to the Renaissance concept of a universal philosophy, or prisca theologia, which would unite people in a common quest to restore the world to its prelapsarian perfection. Alchemists were essentially a fifth column within the various denominations; they carried forward the optimistic ideals of Renaissance humanists into the age of the Enlightenment. As a largely educated fifth column, they escaped the worst forms of persecution directed at healers, magicians, and witches. The popularity of alchemy during the scientific revolution supports the increasingly accepted view that one cannot separate science and the occult during this period.

Alchemical theory developed from a mixture of Aristotelian, Neoplatonic, and gnostic philosophy. According to Aristotle every substance consisted of prime matter and a “form.” The form determined the characteristics of the substance, including the proportion of the four elements (earth, air, fire, water), the basic building blocks of matter. Thus an alchemist had only to vary the proportions of the elements or find the “form” of gold to transmute base metal. Alchemists accepted Aristotle's belief that everything in nature has an end (telos). This concept was reinforced by Neoplatonic and gnostic ideas that led many alchemists to envision themselves as saviors of an imperfect world. These “spiritual” alchemists modeled themselves on Hermes Trismegistus, the legendary founder of Western alchemy (hence alchemists were called “hermeticists”). The most famous document supposedly written by Hermes Trismegistus was the Emerald Tablet. The basic message of this enigmatic text is that all things come from one divine nature and will return to it. This idea was enshrined in the alchemical commonplace “All in One” and symbolized by the tail-eating serpent (ouroboros).

European alchemists had little difficulty adopting gnostic ideas because of their apparent compatibility with Christianity. Both are concerned with salvation and describe the experience in terms of death and rebirth. The basic color sequence in alchemy therefore went from black (death) to white (regeneration) to red, the final stage marking the creation of the “royal” stone, which could give perfect life (hence the color of blood) to imperfect substances.

Paracelsus (1493–1541) was the most famous alchemist in the period. While his supporters dubbed him the “Luther of the sciences,” his detractors condemned him as a black magician and gnostic heretic. The mixture of mysticism and practical chemistry in Paracelsus's writings reveals both the heretical nature of alchemy and its importance in the development of modern chemistry. Such a mixture scandalized orthodox Christians. For all their differences, Catholics and Protestants agreed that humans were innately depraved as a result of original sin. The idea that they could redeem themselves and the world was simply heresy.

On a theoretical level, orthodox Christians rejected alchemy and all magic. On a practical level, however, it was not always easy to differentiate black magic from legitimate “natural” magic, or science. The Catholic Church had especial difficulty because some Catholic rituals (exorcism, the blessing of fields, etc.) seemed so close to magic. While the situation should have been easier for Protestants, who considered all forms of magic diabolical attempts to appropriate superhuman powers, they too exempted good, “natural” magic.

For good reasons many Christians ignored the real incompatibility between Christian and alchemical thought. Catholic alchemists identified their transmutations with that of the Eucharist. Lutherans relied on the doctrine of justification by faith to legitimize their role as alchemical saviors. The Calvinist doctrine of election allowed Calvinists to do the same.

Thus the gnostic conviction that humans were sparks of divinity with the power to regenerate themselves and the world led Christian alchemists well beyond the borders of heresy. But it was an idea that could not be eradicated. The gnostic belief in innate human goodness and power, a belief nurtured by alchemists, reached its full development during the Enlightenment and has provided the rationale for liberal and progressive thinking ever since.