Monday, September 18, 2006

Sins (and Benefits) of Omission

Because the Roman Catholic Church for so long kept the Mass in Latin and effectively discouraged the laity from reading the Bible, native forms in Europe were able to re-emerge during the early Medieval period and afterward. This is in contrast to the other monotheistic religions that have leaked from the Middle East: Judaism, Islam and Christian Protestantism.

Instead, by emphasizing post-Biblical revelation (Saints, Popes, the sacrament of the Mass in the here-and-now) the Roman Catholic Church stood by to allow the flowering of native European cultural forms, first with Medieval Gothic and later with the Renaissance and the revival of pagan art and thought in Florence, Venice, Rome and Antwerp.

Congratulations for a change to Pope Benedict XVI for telling it how it is in relation to the menace of Islam. The Pope recognizes the need for a monocultural Europe (albeit a Catholic culture) as part of a multicultural planet. If the Catholic Church were to drop the Bible completely then it could become a beacon for the future.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Cloudberry said...

In that vein it's interesting that the Pope carries one of the titles of the Roman Emperor: Pontifex Maximus.

However you're right that the Church would do better to "drop the Bible" (and, I assume, the other Mid-Eastern imports of Christianity). Theoretically, it's not at the moment a European cultural institution at all.

Also, while Europe might be of one civilisation, it shouldn't really be "monocultural." There are a lot of interesting cultures in Europe which should be maintained in their diversity.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Alisdair Clarke said...

Hi kmg

You're right that Pontifex Maximus was originally a title for the Roman Emperors (meaning a bridge between us mortals and Olympus) which was later stolen by the bishops of Rome. The leader of the pagan Arktion Federation also designates himself Pontifex Maximus.

I also agree that Europe should take pride in its diversity, as that diversity is a manifestation of the unique creative spirit of Europeans. So long as that diversity is consistent with our over-arching Indo-European heritage and identity.

10:37 AM  

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