Perhaps we should label this one under a category called “world grown totally mad”. However, we don't have such a category on this blog, although I am sometimes compelled to believe that perhaps we should. Proclaiming the world totally mad would be far from accurate, as there is little to no agreement as to what “totally mad” truly is, and with each passing day, we are sure, the world has not quite achieved total madness, but, it apparently is not giving up on its own efforts to become so. Indeed, just as we are sure the world could not possibly get any crazier, something or someone comes along to prove us wrong. We have discovered that when it comes to madness, madness in and of itself is an ever evolving thing, and it would appear that there is no such thing as “total madness” after all. It would seem, in regard to madness, there is always room for a bit more...well...craziness.
That being said, let us take a look at the latest news bit from Italy. It seems that three years ago, an Italian atheist, one Luigi Cascioli, from Viterbo, Italy (just north of Rome) filed a lawsuit against a Roman Catholic priest, Reverend Enrico Righi, because the good Reverend Righi had the audacity and unmitigated gall to write in his parish bulletin that Jesus Christ did in fact exist, and that He was born to Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem, and that He lived in Nazareth. Perhaps I should have said that this apparent statement of faith as well as fact, caused the aggrieved Signor Cascioli's gall to get stirred up, and he decided that Reverend Righi violated Italian law in regard to the so-called “abuse of popular belief or credulity” in which someone fraudulently deceives people; and “impersonation” where someone gains by attributing a false name to someone, both offenses under the Italian penal code.
Signor Cascioli, who evidently once studied for the priesthood, but, became an atheist, wrote a book called “The Fable of Christ”. Among the assertions of Cascioli: is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims. He also says that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine.
It is obvious that no one is more confused than Signor Cascioli.
Apparently, Judge Gaetano Mautone of Viterbo, set a preliminary hearing for the end of this month, and ordered Father Righi to appear. Judge Mautone had earlier refused to hear the case, but, was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal, which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation of “abuse of popular belief or credulity”against Father Righi. If I didn't know better, I'd almost think there had finally been a successful “cloning” of human beings, and that the entire U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had been cloned and exported to Italy.
So, it seems that Christians are once again being persecuted. Not just persecuted, but, being persecuted once again by non-believers, just as done by their non-believing ancestors in the days of the Roman Empire. It seems somewhat ironic, that once again, a Christian, a Roman Catholic priest, is being tried for his faith in that country which was once the center of the world, and which was notorious for its mock trials, it's injustice, and it's infamous cruelty towards the early Christian faithful. Maybe things haven't changed as much as we think they have. It would seem the only thing missing in this case, is “the beasts” for the “gratification of the people”, as the lions were described in “The Martyrdom of Ignatius”.
I think I was right at the start of this piece. The world truly is going mad.
Copyright © 2006 Steve Smith. All rights reserved.