Thomas Paine footnote

I was skimming over parts of Thomas Paine’s book* The Age of Reason* a week or two ago. Its a direct attack on Christianity, but I don’t see in it a real case against our faith. I did find the below in a footnote however, and was wondering if anyone had information on this piece of history:

"I cannot discover the source of this statement concerning the ancient author whose Irish name Feirghill was Latinized into Virgilius. The British Museum possesses a copy of the work (Decalogium) which was the pretext of the charge of heresy made by Boniface, Archbishop of Mayence, against Virgilius, Abbot-bishop of Salzburg. These were leaders of the rival ‘British’ and ‘Roman’ parties, and the British champion made a countercharge against Boniface of ‘irreligious practices.’ Boniface had to express a ‘regret’, but none the less pursued his rival. The Pope, Zachary II, decided that if his alleged ‘doctrine against God and his soul, that beneath the earth there is another world, other men, or sun and moon,’ should be acknowledged by Virgilius, he should be excommunicated by a Council and condemned with canonical sanctions. What may have been the fate involved by condemnation with ‘canonicis sanctionibus’ in the middle of the eighth century, it did not fall on Virgilius. His accuser, Boniface, was martyred, 755, and it is probable that Virgilius harmonized his Antipodes with orthodoxy. The ‘gravamen’ of the heresy seems to have been the suggestion that there were men not of the progeny of Adam. Virgilius was made Bishop of Salzburg in 768. He bore until death, 789, the curious title ‘Geogeter and Solitary’ or “lone wayfarer’ (Solivagus). A suspicion of heresy clung to his memory until 1233, when he was raised by Gregory IX to sainthood besides his accuser, St. Boniface.”

That’s a lot of history. Do you refer to

*]Whether Feirghill and Virgilius were the same guy?
*]The British/Roman rivalry?
*]Virgilius avoiding charges of heresy?
*]The speculation that Virgilius thought there were humans not descended from Adam?
*]The conflict between Bonifice and Virgilius?
*]The odd titles that Virgilius was known by?
*]Something else?

I am wondering about that Pope at that time allegedly being against non-human intelligent beings. I think it was Pope Benedict that said that aliens can be believed in by Catholics

Ah. I don’t think Thomas Paine means that Virgilius believed in intelligent non-human beings. “men not of the progeny of Adam” does not automatically carry that connotation. It can mean that Adam was not the first man, and his predecessors had other descendants. That is the sense which I think Thomas Paine is trying to put into Virgilius’ head.

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