Les Crimes des Papes
The main part of this work consists of extracts of the writings of several Popes beginning with Peter and ending with Pius VI, and preceded by an introduction on the theme of liberty. It is full of revolutionary and republican principles and calls to moral rearmament. There are frequent references to the Roman Republic. The whole manuscript is not just anti-Papal but also anti-Christian; the history of the Church is equated with Catholicism, and is generally described as 1800 years of fanaticism and inhumanity. The vitriol can almost be smelled rising from the page.
The author of the manuscript is given as ‘Simon Barjone’, but this is probably a pseudonym and may also be an anagram. Countless ‘voices of the people’ were writing at this time, so it is unlikely that authorship will ever be ascertained. The date of the completion of the manuscript is Revolutionary: the last but one paragraph (facing f. 70) refers to Louis XVI’s flight to Varenne (in June 1791) and to his return, both welcomed by Pope Pius VI, but not his imprisonment in August 1792.