Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Let the Dead Bury the Dead: Con Mortuis in Lingua Mortua

Giordano Bruno is dead, dead as a door-nail; so is any Catholic apologetic that seeks to spin his death at the hands of the Church as anything but the result of the sinfulness and ignorance of its sons' actions.

How many Cardinals does it take to burn a heretic? Regardless, Bruno was burned at the stake for his arrogance and narcissism, and, I suppose for the heresies of apocastasis-ism, pantheism, neo-Platonism, Arianism as well. He was probably not executed for his Copernican-ism. Just a terminal case of other "-isms."

Because the Church did not send too many heretics to the secular power for execution does not really put any exonerating perspective on it beyond what might be placed on the secular authorities that carried out the sentence of the tribunal. Bruno is dead; he would have been dead by now anyway. Still, the Church holds itself to a different standard. It does not like finding itself in historical constraints. It sometimes wants to be infallible where even Pio Nono could not anticipate such infallibility. Did Bruno sin? Yes. Was the penance just? No.

I find John Paul II of happy memory to have hit the mark regarding human foibles masquerading as Catholic truths: regret and sorrow, seeking forgiveness. The sorrow and regrets are sincere, and it is highly unlikely the Church, in its human, wayfaring dimensions, is likely to perpetrate such poor judgements again.

We are sorry. Our apology is either adequate or inadequate for those whose sensibilities are offended. Our regrets and apologies are sincere, real, authentic. In hope and humility we pray they are accepted.

Nonetheless, there are cynics among the offended who, in the absence of any new critique, revert to Bruno. The charges are disingenuous, and the responses do not dissolve their venom.

I think we should call it a draw and move on.

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