In this decayed hole among the mountains,
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home.
It has no windows, and the door swings,
Dry bones can harm no one.
Only a cock stood on the rooftree
Co co rico co co rico
In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
Bringing rain ( T.S. Eliot. The Wasteland )

"How ironic, that our Lord Jesus is the greatest rebel of all time, a rebel against the 1400 religious laws such as this and strove to replace them with the single, pure, quintessential LOVE. And now the Church established in His name, has reverted back to what he rebelled against."

Heliocentric or Self-centric or nonsense-tric. Would you baptise , hear confession or give absolution to an extra-terrestrial? Giordano Bruno and the making of a heretic.A gnostic heretic, the heresy of pantheism  and so on.  Heresy is a big word: A catch all for all manner of crimes and misdemeanors both explicit and implied.  For eight years Church authorities searched for a reason not to burn this quarrelsome, opinionated, and altogether brilliant troublemaker. In the end he left them no choice. Though; mysteriously the Church accidentally misplaced his file, and though the rumour was death for “speculative heresy” there can be no definitive answer. The system of Bruno is part of a complex theoretical expression of Humanism, and his thought was to have a great influence on modern philosophy.

Peter Wilberg:Their spiritual heresy consisted in challenging the identification of God with a cosmic creator being – or ‘cosmocrat’. They recognised in the creator God of the Old Testament – and its ‘divinely’ appointed political or religious rulers or archons – a reflection of an infantile human ego – an ego which sought to rule over man’s ‘unruly’ body and soul in the same way as this God ruled man and commanded man to rule nature.

…”Much of the ‘hysteria’ surrounding gnostic ‘heresy’ was a quintessentially male hysteria, expressing the need of an exaggeratedly masculine ego to distance itself from its fleshly psychical womb – the inwardly sensed body. The ‘Fear of the Lord’ was his fear of this womb. This male hysteria found its modern expression in Freud studies of female hysteria – the birth of psychoanalysis. Yet psychoanalysis and psychologism are but the last-ditch defences of a dying agnosticism. For, what all psychoanalytic and ‘psychodynamic’ interpretations of gnostic mythology fail to recognise is that the latter was not merely an expression of the ‘depth psychology’ of the human soul. Instead what the gnostics sought was a veritable Psychology of The Depth – sensing in the human soul the echo of a divine ‘psychodynamics’ with its source in the unfathomable womb of creation itself.”… ( Peter Wilberg )

"Abbé Georges Lemaitre, astrophysicist and a monsignor in the Catholic church, with Einstein in 1933. The medieval church of science now has its own miraculous version of creation, partly because the astronomer who first proposed the Big Bang, Georges Lemaitre, wanted to reconcile the creation of the universe to Genesis. It is reported that after the Belgian detailed his theory, Einstein stood up, applauded, and said, “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.” But the great surrealist artist, Salvador Dali, has effectively parodied Einstein’s appreciation of aesthetics. Einstein also said, "When I examined myself and my methods of thought, I came to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." Is it any wonder that big bang cosmology is a fantasy? Modern astronomers have never understood what the ancients meant when they talked about "creation." It is clear from comparative religion that creation stories are NOT about the origin of the universe. In fact, our modern view of the concept of "creation" would be incomprehensible to the authors of the religious texts. What they were memorializing was the “re-creation” of a new cosmic order in the skies following apocalyptic chaos. "

Bruno was born five years after Copernicus died. He had bequeathed an intoxicating idea to the generation that was to follow him. We hear a lot in our own day about the expanding universe. We have learned to accept it as something big. The thought of the Infinity of the Universe was one of the great stimulating ideas of the Renaissance. It was no longer a 15th Century God’s backyard. And it suddenly became too vast to be ruled over by a 15th Century God. Bruno tried to imagine a god whose majesty should dignify the majesty of the stars.And all of this refinement went through the refiners’ fire — that the world might be made safe from the despotism of the ecclesiastic 16th Century Savage. He suffered a cruel death and achieved a unique martyr’s fame. He has become the Church’s most difficult alibi. She can explain away the case of Galileo with suave condescension. Bruno sticks in her throat.

"But this kinetic view of the world presented a challenge to those who held power. How would authority, secular and sacred, deal with this aspiring man of science? In the center of the exhibition we come to a horrific painting by Peter Paul Rubens from the year 1636, shortly after the trial and recantation of Galileo. “Saturn Devours Its Young” has the power of the still more famous painting by Goya that also usually hangs in Madrid’s Prado Museum, but it is still more gripping. Rubens’s Saturn is cold and calculating, not crazed like Goya’s. And in the background, Rubens paints Saturn as a constellation of three stars. A contemporary would have understood the significance of that gesture immediately: it is Galileo’s discovery that “the star of Saturn is not a single star, but is a composite of three, which almost touch each other, never change or move relative to each other, and are arranged in a row along the zodiac, the middle one being three times larger than the lateral ones, and they are situated in this form: oOo.” (Galileo to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, letter of July 30, 1610). Rubens, of course, was a convert to Catholicism, but his attitude towards the church was rather complicated. Was this painting a graphic portrayal of his concerns about the church’s treatment of Galileo? The images could not be better chosen. "

“The general opinion is not always the perfect truth…” Giordano Bruno is still quoted. Such remarks produced expensive, bitter consequences: On 17th of February 1600 he publicly was burnt at the stake after eight years of torture and dungeon detention. Today the Piazza Campo dei Fiori where this statue stands has become a monument to free thinking; adjacent to the statue, is the “Fahrenheit 451″ As the Spanish physicist Beatriz Gato-Rivera wrote, Bruno “claimed that the sun was only one star among the many thousands, and therrefore, like the sun, many other stars also have planets around them and living beings inhabiting them.” Gato-Rivera goes on to note that to “appreciate the genius of Bruno one has to take into account that he lived at a time when more than 99% of the intellectuals believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe, and a few others, like Copernicus and Galileo, believed that it was the Sun, instead, at the center of the Universe, and the stars being some bright heavenly bodies of an unknown nature.”

Matteo D'Amico novel:"This is your last chance to save your soul, Bruno. Unless you recant all your evil teachings right now, tomorrow will be the day when your soul shall descend straight into Hell." I say nothing. "And, by the way, save your body too. I myself cannot imagine the agony of death by fire. Recant, and we will relent." "It will be sweet release." "Very well, have it your way. Let me cover every point, just for the record. Are you ready?" "As always." The slender one sat at a desk behind the tall one, preparing to inscribe every word. "Point #1: In the name of Christ. The Church teaches that the Earth is fixed at the center of the Universe, and has been steadfastly unmoving since the Creation. True of false?" "False." "So, it moves?" "Yes."

It is easy to get an impression of the reputation which Bruno had created by the year 1582 in the minds of the clerical authorities of southern Europe. He had written of an infinite universe which had left no room for that greater infinite conception which is called God. He could not conceive that God and nature could be separate and distinct entities as taught by Genesis, as taught by the Church and as even taught by Aristotle. He preached a philosophy which made the mysteries of the virginity of Mary, of the crucifixion and the mass, meaningless. He was so naive that he could not think of his own mental pictures as being really heresies. He thought of the Bible as a book which only the ignorant could take literally. The Church’s methods were, to say

least, unfortunate, and it encouraged ignorance from the instinct of self-preservation.

Annual UFO Encounter Festival. Roswell. ----Now according to pope astronomer Guy Consolmagno "Extraterrestrial might have souls and could choose to be baptised if humans ever met them", said yesterday. Speaking ahead of a talk at the British Science Festival in Birmingham tomorrow, he said that the traditional definition of a soul was to have intelligence, free will, freedom to love and freedom to make decisions. "Any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul." Would he baptise an alien? "Only if they asked."----

After an initial thirty-six charges of heresy against him, he began his tour on the vagabond and pariah lecture circuit. The lecture, like the many books he wrote during those years, were amalgams of wildly disparate elements. On the one hand there was a poetic fervor, a sense of mission, a desire to share his own exultation with his audience. On the other there was an unbridled penchant for verbal abuse, a frantic contempt for the supporters of Aristotle. He seldom knew when to stop. Once, in a fit of pique he told an audience that Aristotle had probably been reincarnated as a pig.

---The pope's astronomer said the Vatican was keen on science and admitted that the church had got it "spectacularly wrong" over its treatment of the 17th century astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo confirmed that the Earth went around the sun – and not the other way around – and was charged with heresy in 1633. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest in Tuscany. Only in 1992 did Pope John Paul admit that the church's treatment of Galileo had been a mistake.Consolmagno said it was a "complete coincidence" that he was speaking at the British Science Festival at the same time as the papal visit.---

His belief in the existence of UFO’s and aliens may have also contributed to the case against him.The Church has always had an unusual attitude towards the phenomenon, one that generally relies on the fire and brimstone approach of “mending our ways” to avoid a destructive encounter. ” The other, less known aspect, is the doctrinal crisis of the Church. Three years ago, I was interviewed by Canadian TV. I said: “Yes, the Madonna of the Third Secret of Fatima says this, but no-one has noticed that she first says that it will happen if mankind doesn’t mend its ways.”. So its all conditioned by this previous remark. But I am optimistic. We, as people, can influence the realization of a prophecy, change the date and the intensity of the prophesied events and mitigate them. The renewal of spirituality in the young is a good omen. I mean to say, spirituality based on the rules of the Church.”

"It is often maintained that Bruno was executed because of his Copernicanism and his belief in the infinity of inhabited worlds. In fact, we do not know the exact grounds on which he was declared a heretic because his file is missing from the records. Scientists such as Galileo and Johannes Kepler were not sympathetic to Bruno in their writings."

The most obvious charge against Bruno was his assertion of an immanent God, a “soul of the universe” ; a concept of the deity which made the trinity seem superfluous. Also, humankind no longer needed elaborate rituals, the intervention of priests and the structure of organized religion. In his concept of an inner God, Bruno saw the basis for a universal non-dogmatic faith that would replace the outmoded creeds and solve the pointless quarrels that were decimating Europe.

-----Adso asks: “In Paris do they always have the true answer?” “Never,” William said, “but they are always very sure of their errors.” “And you,” I said with childish impertinence, “never commit errors?” “Often,” he answered. “But instead of conceiving only one, I imagine many, so I become the slave of none.” William is a lucid interpreter of signs, but his method is based on an anti-dogmatic pluralism. He assumes not that there is a unique order to the world, but that there are various connections from which some provisory conclusions may be drawn. In his Theory of Semiotics Eco has written that “the interpreter of a text is at the same time obliged both to challenge the existing codes and to advance interpretive hypotheses that work as a more comprehensive, tentative and prospective form of codification.” The notion that the interpretation which is more comprehensive is also more tentative lies at the heart of William’s method—and the novel’s higher meaning.----

…”Much of my compassion is given to women, those innocent women who are accused of being witches. I’ve come to know the system inside out by now. It targets spinsters and widows, especially those with estate. Their neighbors are encouraged to report them as witches – some doctrine of “Love thy neighbors” in the name of Christ. They would be arrested, hideously tortured until they confess to be witches, burnt alive at the stake, and their estates confiscated. How do you think the church has become to filthy rich? With what money do you think a dungeon like this is built, and the salaries of the entire Inquisition industry is paid? Yes, it is an entire industry unto itself, one developed through the more than two centuries of this most evil institution since it began in the 14th Century, comprising the full time inquisitors, the transcript scribes, the moral police, the professional torturers, the torture instrument designers and makers, the builders of torture chambers, the bribers of neighbors… Hundreds of thousands of women have been burnt at the stake thus far; some estimates go into the millions. One has to access the vault of the Vatican to obtain the accurate figures – the number of people tortured and burnt, the amount of monetary and real estate intake, the amount paid out. The only certainty is that the Church pays no taxes, but enriches itself further with tithe.” ( Matteo D’Amico )

Augustine’s Vision of Hell The burning stakes and bruloirs (ovens for burning persons accused of witchcraft) were justified by their proponents who reasoned that since the hell is a cruel place, cruelty that lasts less than an hour is preferable to cruelty that stretches over eternity. In most texts on philosophy and theology, Saint Augustine receives acclamation. His self-reflection is extolled, as is the ornate language of his psalms, and the depth of his faith. Let us look at one of the less well-known of Augustine’s narratives, which was accessible only in Latin: the description of Hell in his 69th address to his fellow hermits ''Ad Fratres in Eremitate Sermo LXIX.'' There St. Augustine describes how Satan seized the damned female and commanded his fellow devils to “pierce her eyes with forks as she enjoyed looking at unclean things, pierce her mouth as she used them for blasphemy, pierce her heart..."

….”Men burnt at the stake are far fewer, but their fate is no less horrid, though their causes of arrest – the beginning of the end – is not monetary. They are the heretics, who somehow challenge the authority of the Church in some way. Theirs is a public display of the Church’s absolute power over all forms and manners of dissent, open expression of doubt in its dogma and doctrine, question, disagreement, argument, challenge, innovative thought, quest for change. These men, myself included, are to serve as the medium through which the Church exercises its reign of terror over the masses, especially the intelligentia. My spiritual mentor, Nicholas Copernicus, author of De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), which propounds the Helio-Centric model of the Solar System (versus the Earth-centered model as upheld by the Church), upon which some of my own teaching is based, would not even dare to have his book published until his death in 1543 – five years prior to my birth.”… ( Matteo D’Amico )

A woman's prolonged scream through a corridor, piercing the night, followed by sobs, and moans, and indescribable sounds of sorrow and despair. "Answer me." "Let her go, and add her torture on to me." "You want to die a saint? No such luck, Bruno. There will never be a St. Giordano. Your soul is damned." The scream comes again, nor painful to my ears, and my heart, than the rack is to my body. "Answer the question." He nods to the swarthy one, who eagerly touches the red hot poker on my thigh, and let it linger. "Save you pain for tomorrow, Bruno." "The light of the stars is drowned out by the light of the sun."

After eight long years in prison, Bruno’s final refusal to recant was duly reported to the pope and the decree , a death warrant ,was signed and duly submitted. In the excitement of the jubilee year the execution was soon forgotten. As always, the Holy Father tried to do what was right, confident that history would one day include him among the great vicars of his Church. How could he know that the ideas of that miserable heretic who had burned to death in the Campo dei Fiori, and of his mentor Copernicus, would destroy the world in whaich all that piety, all that kissing of pilgrims’ feet , was taken seriously. How could he know that when future generations remembered the reign of Clement VIII it would be for what he had done to a wicked, blaspheming friar whose name he would perhaps have been hard put to remember.

" The civil war between philosophy and the human sciences can only find its peace treaty outside itself and in a different conception of man. Non-philosophy is a rigorous heresy: it makes of man a being-Inseparate (from) self, and thus Separated-without-separation from the World. In other words, for one of the first times it has become possible to definer man in a “formal” way without formalism; to constitute him as an axiomatic rather than philosophical object. Man is precisely the Real foreclosed to philosophy. The latter can only imagine what is alone the “existent” and “non-existent” which can be set into axioms and which only tolerates—so great is its autonomy—axioms. Where there is man, the thesis and principle are excluded. Where there is the human, thought must be axiomatized and renounce its sufficiency."

ADDENDUM: ( Barry S. Schwabsky review of Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose )

…At the moral and political level William’s methodological openness and pluralism correspond to a spirit of tolerance and skepticism which is nevertheless pessimistic about the possibility of achieving a just social order. Any ordered social entity, William reasons, has a center and a periphery, and this produces an antagonism which is mutually corrupting.

Saint Francis realized this, and his first decision was to go out and live among the lepers. The people of God cannot be changed until the outcasts are restored to its body Francis didn’t succeed, and I say it with great bitterness. To recover the outcasts he had to act within the church, to act within the church he had to obtain the recognition of his rule, from which an order would emerge, and this order, as it emerged, would recompose the image of a circle, at whose margin the outcasts would remain.

Picasso. ---As noted earlier, it had been the historic accomplishment of Maximus Confessor to purge Dionysian spirituality of the interpretations that would have connected it to one or another heresy. The special status of Maximus as a saint and hero of the faith for both West and East lent his aura also to the Dionysian writings. The medieval Western use of Dionysius carried this process still further. Thus, to cite one example among literally thousands, Thomas Aquinas, commenting on a passage from The Divine Names, quoted the authority of Dionysius for the thesis that "from creatures we arrive at God in three ways, namely, by way of causality, by way of removal, and by way of eminence."---

The outcasts, the “lepers,” are always ripe for heretical movements. But what matters in their heresies is not the doctrinal content for which the Church condemns them; the marginal are ready to hear any doctrine as long as it promises that those at the center, the privileged, the powerful, will be punished. Therefore, “every battle against heresy wants only this: to keep the leper as he is.” William denies that the heresies have any progressive impetus; they merely exacerbate the division they seek to overcome, but at the same time he affirms the reactionary and hypocritical nature of the effort to put them down. He has no solution of his own to offer, but he does possess a lucid awareness of the problem and of the fact that no solution offers itself yet. Certainly he is aware that his own vague faith in science and democracy does not suffice. William’s attitude is a compound of pessimism and hope, skepticism and perseverance. It is the kind of attitude that makes it possible to survive historic disappointments without cynicism.


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