Difesa della Chiesa Cattolica.

“Dobbiamo imparare dalla storia”, è un mantra che risuona a martello nella testa di tutti noi.

Peccato che per molti “la storia” sia una serie di eventi mai accaduti.

E’ questa osservazione che anima il lavoro di Jonah Goldberg, almeno quello contenuto nel libero militante: The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.

Nel suo libro sui cliché dedica un capitolo alla Chiesa Cattolica.

Quando l’apologetica è praticata da un non-cattolico, chissà perché,  diventa molto più interessante.

Nel capitolo si affrontano 4 temi: la riforma protestante, le crociate, la caccia alle streghe e l’inquisizione.

1.

Con l’avvento del terrorismo islamico molti analisti guardavano alla storia lamentando come all’ Islam mancasse cio’ di cui ha beneficiato il cristianesimo: la riforma protestante. Forse costoro non sanno bene cosa fu la riforma protestante.

… Since September 11, calls for a “Muslim Martin Luther” to reform the Islamic world can be heard with metronomic regularity. In Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America, Martin Kramer’s brilliant indictment of the academic establishment, he notes that scholars of the Arab and Muslim world “were so preoccupied with ‘Muslim Martin Luthers’ that they never got around to producing a single serious analysis of bin Laden and his indictment of America” prior to 9/11….

In questo rammarico aleggia il fantasma di un Lutero progressista:

… The idea seems to be that Martin Luther was some sort of moderate, soft-spoken reformer, a champion of tolerance and open inquiry…

In realtà Lutero puntava il dito contro il “modernismo” della CC:

… He objected that the Church was too “worldly,” too corrupt, too modern, technological, rational, and intellectual. “Luther despised both intellectualism and good works,” argued Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, though that might be overstating it…

Le nuove dottrine intellettuali non gli piacevano affatto:

… “Before, man could be saved sola fide, by faith alone.”2 Luther was even skeptical of philosophical scholasticism, believing it was tainted by the paganism of the Greeks and Romans. He loathed religious innovation

Sarebbe da ingenui confondere l’idea di Lutero con i mezzi (questi sì moderni) con cui venne diffusa:

… Just because the Reformation was modernizing doesn’t mean the reformers saw themselves as modernizers. In fact, much of the Reformation simply seems modernizing because it was carried aloft by “modern” trends. For example, Luther’s revolution may not have taken root had he not opted to address his fellow Germans in their native tongue rather than in Latin. And had the printing press not existed, it’s doubtful Protestantism would have spread so rapidly…

Lutero sfruttò l’emergere di un’istituzione moderna come lo “stato”, ma anche in questo caso non confondiamo i mezzi con i fini:

… Luther and his fellow theological revolutionaries arrived—and not entirely by coincidence—as the nation-state was emerging as the primary political unit of European society…

L’iconoclastia protestante, invece, fu un fenomeno intimamente connesso con la mentalità riformista:

… In riots of puritanical iconoclasm Lutherans and Calvinists burned paintings, smashed statues, and ransacked allegedly corrupt churches…

Lutero era ossessionato dalla “purificazione”:

… Protestants sought to cleanse and purge Europe of the worldly excesses and corrupt practices (including graven images) of the Catholic Church. Theocratic regimes, morals police, executions, terror—these were all tools used by various forces of Protestantism during the early Reformation (and, in fairness, the Catholic Church often gave as good as it got)…

Se la CC combatté le eresie non pensiamo che gli eretici non si combattessero a vicenda: era un devastante tutti contro tutti.

… Catholic Church saw early reformers as heretics. But the heretics believed other dissenting reformers were heretics, too. Calvinists attacked Zwinglians, Zwinglians drowned Anabaptists, Anabaptists put saran wrap on the toilet bowls of Calvinists…

Con questo non si vuol negare il positivo che portò la riforma:

… Without Luther there is no Protestant work ethic and no Scottish Enlightenment and none of the needed reforms within the Catholic Church…

Cio’ non toglie che se ai musulmani i “Luteri” non mancano, ne hanno fin troppi:

… Those yearning for a “Muslim Martin Luther” don’t realize there are Muslim Martin Luthers all over the place, and they’ve been fomenting religious oppression and cruelty in the Middle East and terrorism abroad for generations now… The new Islamic Puritans wanted to restore Islam to its glory days, to a past that probably never existed. The Salafists seek a return to the Islam that existed during the first three generations after Muhammed… Salafists, Taliban, and Wahhabis of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are roughly—and only roughly—analogous to the Calvinists, Lutherans, and Zwinglians (not necessarily in that order) of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries…

2.

Veniamo alle crociate. Se nella storia dell’uomo c’è qualcosa di riprovevole queste sono le crociate. Almeno nei libri di storia del buon democratico. E infatti la CC non sa più come scusarsi:

… Crusades belong alongside the slaughter of the Indians, slavery, and disco in the long line of Western sins? After all, it’s been in the papers for a while. In 1999, Muslim leaders demanded that Pope John Paul II apologize for the Crusades… Even Campus Crusade for Christ opted to change its name to Cru partly because the word crusade has become too radioactive…

Ma gli storici (seri) non sembrano avvalorare questa idea. Bernard Lewis parla delle crociate come di controffensiva limitata, tardiva e inefficace:

… “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual response to the jihad—a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war,” writes Bernard Lewis…

Thomas Madden parla esplicitamente di guerra difensiva.

… Historian Thomas Madden puts it more directly, “Now put this down in your notebook, because it will be on the test: The crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.”…

Un conflitto talmente secondario (Gerusalemme era la periferia dell’impero) che il mondo islamico lo ha snobbato nel ricostruire la sua storia, il termine “crociata”, tanto per dire, era sconosciuto.

… At first the larger Muslim world didn’t much care about the Christian reclamation of Jerusalem and the Holy Land… The real fight was in the East, where caliphs were rolling up victory after victory in the old Byzantine Empire… In 1291, the Muslims expelled the last of the crusaders, and all remaining Christians and Jews in the Islamic world lived as second-class citizens (though often better than Muslims or Jews might have in many parts of Christendom)… Crusades period was several centuries in the rearview mirror, and most Muslims considered them one of their many, if minor, victories… “In the vast Arabic historiography of the Crusades period,” writes Lewis, “there is frequent reference to these invaders, who are always called ‘Franks’ or ‘infidels.’ The words ‘Crusade’ and ‘crusader’ simply do not occur.”…

Quando la parolina comincia a circolare nel mondo islamico? nell’ottocento, per bollare l’imperialismo europeo (quello vero). Non certo all’epoca delle crociate vere e proprie, che nessuno considerava un atto imperialistico quanto piuttosto un tentativo di difendere i cristiani in terra santa, un tentativo condotto per lo più da persone in buona fede con uno spirito eroico.

…  the word only starts to gain wide currency in the Middle East in the nineteenth century, when Western notions of imperialism seep into the Muslim mind. And that’s the irony. In the nineteenth century Europeans (and Americans) invoked the Crusades to justify their imperialist agenda. When imperialism fell into disrepute in the twentieth century, the Crusades fell with it. But the idea that twelfth-century Muslims—or even eighteenth-century Muslims—saw the Crusades as European imperial aggression is nonsense…

In sintesi:

… crusades had nothing to do with colonialism or unprovoked aggression. They were a desperate and largely unsuccessful attempt to defend against a powerful enemy.”… The Crusades were launched not as a war of conquest but as a war to save Christians from Muslim persecution and conquest…

La condanna per le crociate puo’ anche esserci ma appare estremamente ridimensionata rispetto a quella usuale:

… one can single out Christianity for its hypocrisy, since the crusaders at times violated their ideals of love, forgiveness, and charity, while Islam was under no such restraint…

3.

Vaniamo alla caccia alle streghe. La storia comunemente raccontata non quadra e i comuni accusatori della CC dovrebbero rivedere la loro versione dei fatti:

… what is clear beyond any doubt is that the fantasies of feminists, atheists, and Wiccan propagandists (which is not to say all Wiccans), anti-Catholic bigots, Hollywood screenwriters, and some leading theorists of the Third Reich are all staggeringly wrong…

Deprecare la caccia alle streghe era una fissa di molti capi nazisti:

… “The witch-hunting cost the German people hundreds of thousands of mothers and women, cruelly tortured and executed,” insisted Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Adolf Hitler was obsessed with the witch-hunting “atrocities” committed by the Catholic Church…

Ma le femministe non sono da meno:

… Coming from a different perspective, in her Revolution from Within Gloria Steinem laments the “killing of nine million women healers and other pagan or nonconforming women during the centuries of change-over to Christianity.”…

Recentemente, è stato  il Codice da Vinci ad incarnare bene una sensibilità diffusa intorno al fenomeno:

… The Catholic Inquisition published the book that arguably could be called the most blood-soaked publication in human history. “Malleus Maleficarum”—or The Witches’ Hammer—indoctrinated the world to “the dangers of freethinking women” and instructed the clergy how to locate, torture, and destroy them. Those deemed “witches” by the Church included all female scholars, priestesses, gypsies, mystics, nature lovers, herb gatherers, and any women “suspiciously attuned to the natural world.”

I fatti:

… For the record, the best, most scholarly estimates are that somewhere around forty-five thousand people—not five million, and not just women (in Iceland, 90 percent of the witches were men)—were killed as witches. The Malleus Maleficarum, primarily written in 1486 by Heinrich Kraimer, a Dominican inquisitor, was purported to be the essential guidebook to identifying, trying, torturing, and killing witches… the Church rejected the book instantly and censured its authors…

Alla CC le streghe interessavano ben poco. Cio’ che interessava era calmare il clima di isteria che si era creato negli ambienti laici:

… Catholic Church never much cared about witches, and for the most part intervened in the business of trying witches—and other alleged heretics—in order to halt bloodshed and hysteria by secular authorities and the laypeople of Europe…

Un’analisi di accusati e accusatori fa luce sul fenomeno. Il populismo delle autorità laiche sale sul banco degli imputati:

…  It turns out that the most irresponsible parties in the persecution of alleged witches were not Catholic officials but neighbors of the accused, followed closely by ignorant secular authorities. Women were just as likely to turn in other women for witchcraft as men, and victims were not particularly likely to be folk healers, midwives, or keepers of some ancient tradition… Most witch trials were conducted not by the Church but by the local lords and other nobles at the behest of the mob… Local officials were sometimes reluctant, other times eager to appease the people with a good witch trial… The problem was that the nobles were often just as ignorant and backward as the mob yelling “burn her!” They were reliably ill equipped to handle such cases… In this, the witch trial in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is dismayingly accurate (“If she weighs the same as a duck… she’s made of wood!”)…

In merito parecchi equivoci – oggi chiariti – hanno alimentato il pregiudizio:

… Witch trial documents often recorded a sentence “by inquisition,” which simply meant “inquiry” or “investigation,” but subsequent historians assumed it meant a capital-I Inquisition sanctioned by the Church…

la CC è intervenuta per porre ordine e moderazione in questo “casino laico”. Migliaia di vittime innocenti furono salvate.

… It was against this backdrop that the Church felt it had to intercede, to bring order, reason, and an end to such spectacles. The Church saved thousands of innocent people from horrific sentences by secular authorities… As a rule, the Church did not burn witches or heretics, contrary to popular conception. That’s something the mobs or their lords did…

Inoltre, la caccia alle streghe fu prevalentemente un fenomeno protestante. Dove la CC dominava incontrastata i processi furono minimi, così come durante l’ apogeo  della CC.

… while there were certainly witch trials throughout the Catholic Church’s history, witch hysteria was essentially a product of the Reformation… “it was those areas with the best-developed [Catholic] inquisitions that stopped the hysteria in its tracks. In Spain and Italy, trained inquisitors investigated charges of witches’ sabbaths and baby roasting and found them to be baseless. Elsewhere, particularly in Germany, secular or religious courts burned witches by the thousands.”… Where the Catholic Church’s authority was unquestioned, there were fewer—or no—witch trials…When the Church was at the height of its power (11th–14th centuries) very few witches died. Persecutions did not reach epidemic levels until after the Reformation, when the Catholic Church had lost its position as Europe’s indisputable moral authority.”…

4.

Quanti equivoci sull’Inquisizione! Partiamo col primo: 

… The first misconception is that there was a single thing called the Inquisition. In fact, there were numerous individual inquisitions in countless countries over several centuries… the Medieval Inquisition, the Portuguese Inquisition, the Roman Inquisition, etc. There was also the famous inquisition of Galileo… This too is a blanket term for a series of responses to heretical Christian movements…

Partiamo con l’inquisizione medievale.

Ci si scorda spesso che gli eretici erano puniti dalle autorità laiche. La CC fungeva da perito nel processo.

… It was the secular authorities who punished heresy with death, and it was the people themselves who did most of the rounding up of heretics… Local lords, clerks, and bureaucrats had no idea how to determine whether someone was a heretic, unless of course the heretic made things extremely easy for the official by saying something like, “Hey, I am a heretic!” or driving a mule cart with a satan is my Co-pilot! bumper sticker. That’s why the Church was called in to provide expert advice on the question, like a theological CSI team…

Le pene erano generalmente lievi. La pena di morte era un’esclusiva dell’autorità politica. D’altronde la legittimazione politica derivava dal diritto divino cosicché l’eresia si configurava come una sedizione.

… Most accusations of heresy under the Medieval Inquisition ended in either acquittal or a suspended sentence. Persons found guilty of “grave error” were for the most part permitted to confess their sins… Capital punishment for heresy was a secular sanction imposed by secular authorities… kings derived their authority by divine right, so heresy was perceived as a threat to their legitimacy…

Anche in questo caso la CC costituì un fattore di moderazione e di rigore nei processi, la sua azione salvò molte vite umane altrimenti destinate al patibolo dall’autorità secolare:

… “The simple fact,” writes Madden, “is that the medieval Inquisition saved uncounted thousands of innocent (and even not-so-innocent) people who would otherwise have been roasted by secular lords or mob rule.”…

Se è possibile tirare le somme la sintesi potrebbe essere questa:

… The Church was intolerant of heresy to be sure, as one would expect of a church, but the exoneration rate of the Inquisitions is a monument to human decency and restraint compared to the inquisitions of the Communist world, which consigned men and populations alike to miserable deaths based on the diktats of a secular faith… Catholic heretics had the right to a trial. Under communism whole populations did not…

Veniamo ora all’inquisizione spagnola e alle sue leggendarie “torture”. Comunque meno frequenti e meno atroci di quelle praticate nelle prigioni dell’autorità laica:

… There was torture in the Spanish Inquisition, though surprisingly little—indeed, considerably less torture than in secular jails. In “only” 2 percent of the cases under review of the Spanish Inquisition was torture employed… A total of 1 percent of the cases ended in execution…

La tortura è una pratica orribile. ma non dimentichiamoci che la sua introduzione costituì una forma di progresso. E poi orribile rispetto a cosa?

… “Abhorrent compared to what?” The practices of the Muslims? The monarchies of Europe? The traditions of Asia or Africa? Such barbaric practices were a staple for roughly 98 percent of human history, and the fact that we have moved beyond them today is a thing to celebrate…

Una domanda che pochi si pongono: perché mai tanti imputati facevano in modo di farsi trasferire presso le prigioni della CC?

… why did some criminals profess their own heresy just so they could be transferred from the far crueler secular prisons to those of the Church? …

E che dire dell’anti-semitismo spagnolo e del fenomeno dei conversos?

… No Jews were tortured in the Spanish Inquisition. Open Jews had nothing to fear from it whatsoever. The issue to be decided by the Inquisition was whether conversos (and Moriscos, i.e., converted Muslims) were in fact Catholics… The ancient madness of Jew hatred arrived in Spain later than in most European lands (as a generalization, Jews have always been treated better in the Latin countries of southern Europe than in the north or east), but when it did break out it was particularly virulent. Waves of anti-Jewish hysteria erupted across the country, sometimes fueled by various kings or local Church leaders, sometimes against their wishes. Jewish quarters suffered murderous pogroms. Jews were told they must convert or leave the country

La vita del conversos non era poi così penosa nella Spagna dell’epoca:

… The conversos—baptized Catholics of Jewish descent—thrived in Spain for nearly a century…

Chi erano i loro nemici?

Their success was resented both by the “Old Christians” as well as by the Jews who had refused to convert in the first place. Both groups fueled vicious conspiracy theories about conversos being “secret Jews” …

Nacquero una serie di teorie complottiste circa la falsità di queste conversioni. La verità era ben diversa:

… “The vast majority of conversos were good Catholics who simply took pride in their Jewish heritage…

Il motore della persecuzione furono la regina Isabella e il re Ferdinando, non certo il Vaticano che, anzi, fu ripetutamente accusato dalla corona per il poco vigore nella campagna inquisitoria:

… Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand persuaded the Vatican to sanction an inquisition into the status of the conversos, giving birth to the Spanish Inquisition. However, the whole enterprise was ultimately run under the authority of the crown, not the Vatican… It was not a proud or honorable moment for European Christianity or the Church—a fact the Vatican has never denied and for which it has formally apologized. Ferdinand, now utterly ensorcelled by anti-Semitic fervor, replied that the pope had been bribed with converso blood money. He and Isabella appointed Tomas de Torquemada to oversee the Inquisition…

Conclusione:

… Church’s had indelibly sunk in. Over the course of the 350-year Spanish Inquisition some four thousand souls were put to the stake. It is worth noting that as horrible as this chapter of human history is, it is not nearly so horrible as portrayed by centuries of propagandists—first aided by the invention and spread of the printing press in the Protestant North, later by philosophes, secular humanists, atheists, and various flavors of socialists…

Prima di chiudere del tutto con l’inquisizione, due parole sul rapporto scienza e fede. Innanzitutto l’eterna questione “Galileo”.

Galileo Galileo confermò che Copernico aveva ragione: la terra non stava al centro dell’universo.

John Bargh, uno scienziato di Yale, considera questa tesi scioccante per le autorità ecclesiastiche. Wikipedia, in modo un po’ meno autorevole, conferma.

Difficile però che le cose stessero in questi termini, innanzitutto per un motivo

… The Church did not consider the “center of the universe” to be a place of privilege. That is a modern conceit. Before Copernicus the consensus among Western scientists and theologians was, in accordance with Aristotle, that the Earth was either at, or was, the anal aperture of the universe, literally…

Dennis R. Danielson è uno studioso che ha ricostruito il mito per cui la Chiesa ci tenesse a collocare la terra “al centro dell’universo”, risale allo scrittore Cyrano de Bergerac

… “the insupportable arrogance of Mankinde, which fancies, [sic] that Nature was only created to serve it.”… In 1686, the French writer Bernard le Bouvier de Fontenelle hailed Copernicus for taking the Earth and throwing it “out of the center of the World.” According to de Fontenelle, Copernicus sought to “abate the Vanity of men who had thrust themselves into the chief place of the Universe.”…

Sta di fatto che la CC non adottò l’ipotesi Copernicana perché la sua scienza era debole, non per fantasie legate alla posizione privilegiata che avrebbe dovuto avere la terra. Lo stesso fu per Galileo.

In questa vicenda c’è solo un’arroganza

… The real arrogance here is on the part of those who see the past as populated with unsophisticated bumpkins, as if ignorance of scientific truth is the same thing as stupidity

E se qualcuno tra 100 anni dirà di noi: “ma guarda quegli idioti che non riconoscevano l’esistenza della vita su Marte”, come andrà giudicato? Come un idiota, naturalmente.

Sul mito della “terra piatta” la fallacia si ripete. E’ semplicemente non vero che la cristianità medievale insegnava queste cose.

Ma qui il mito da dove origina?…

… This myth, like many others discussed later in this book, stems from the biases of Protestant historians in the nineteenth century, who were eager to paint the Catholic Church as a giant wet blanket on scientific and human progress…

Mitologica anche la storiella delle torture subite da Galileo. Si, conobbe la cella (per ben 3 giorni) ma si trattava praticamente di un appartamento e non fu certo torturato.

Ma se non era affare teologico, chi spinse per colpire Galileo in modo tanto duro?

… clamored for the Church to silence and punish Galileo were his jealous, lesser, scientific colleagues…Rivalry, jealousy, and vindictiveness from other scientists and philosophers…

Se l’accanimento contro Galileo proveniva dai suoi colleghi, dobbiamo forse dire che la scienza è un ostacolo alla scienza? Assurdo.

Venendo al merito, le prove portate da Galileo a supporto della sua ipotesi erano oggettivamente debolucce. Come le avrebbe giudicate uno scienziato contemporaneo?

Dipende dalla mentalità dello scienziato in questione.

Secondo Paul Feyerabend, una mentalità conservatrice come quella di Einstein le avrebbe respinte come insufficienti; una mentalità più avventurosa come quella di Niels Bohr le avrebbe prese in considerazione.

A questo punto giova ricordare che Galileo non si limitava a presentare i suoi studi e le sue conclusioni (Copernico era già insegnato nelle università cattoliche, un Galileo umile avrebbe avuto gli stessi onori). Si presentava invece come molto confidente, chiedeva di rettificare i testi sacri e rinunciava a considerare la sua teoria una semplice “ipotesi in lizza”.

Un altro mito senza fondamenta è quello che considera Giordano Bruno il primo martire della scienza.

Giordano Bruno fece una brutta fine, ma non fu certo per la sua opera scientifica

… it was because he was an unrepentant theological heretic who denied the virgin birth and thought Jesus was a clever magician…

Possiamo ben dire che né Galileo, né Bruno furono mai puniti per le loro idee intorno all’astronomia.

Bruno era un eretico e – se proprio vogliamo fare un parallelo con la modernità – l’eresia puo’ essere assimilata semmai al terrorismo destabilizzante. link link

Quando una società si regge sulla fede, dire (senza avere prove concrete) che tutto è una “magia” significa destabilizzarla alle fondamenta. Se ripetutamente avvisati, si insiste pubblicamente e in tono provocatorio con questo atteggiamento, si possono anche scatenare certe conseguenze.

***

Possiamo tirare una conclusione più generale intorno alla CC? Jonah Goldberg ci prova:

Where the Church was strong, civilization was strengthened. Where the Church was weak or absent—at least prior to the Reformation—mankind was more likely to operate according to its more barbaric default settings…

 

 

 

 

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