Dezembro 2008

Distributismo – A solução para Portugal, Brasil, e outros países.

A Solução para a Crise Financeira, e para um Renascimento em Portugal – em vez da perda da Independência

Belíssimo retrato por Hervest Villans

Observe como as previsões e visões de Chesterton são correctas. Como o capitalismo e liberalismo se transforma de facto no Proletarianismo – processo que se está a consolidar hoje em dia, levando sucessivamente mais parcelas inteiras da humanidade à escravatura. Até que sobrem uns poucos de multi-multi-multi milionários e poderosos, e proletários pelo outro, assalariados escravos, sem poder e sem qualquer liberdade. Já há massas da população mundial que vivem em escravatura – embora seja um facto silenciado pela média – já que sustentam as multinacionais, e trabalham para elas e seus colaboradores. O dinheiro deixará de ter qualquer valor ou poder para nos comprar aquilo que estamos habituados a ver como um mínimo de liberdade.

The theory of Distributism, as presented by Gilbert Keith Chesterton, especially in his book The Outline of Sanity, highlights the importance of widely distributed private property to a flourishing and happy society. It also shows the necessity of a system that will protect private property and ensure that as many people as possible are able to possess capital, or the means of production. This paper will analyze the reasons Chesterton gives for this necessity, and for the capacity of Distributism to fulfill it, by firstly defining the terms necessary for the discussion and then setting forth and analyzing the arguments one by one. Granted the theory that private property is essential for happiness and happiness is more important than the wealth of a nation, Distributism becomes a very attractive and practical system. It would greatly improve the quality of all primary and secondary goods, because the people who made them would be working for themselves and would consequently be encouraged to do their best work on every item. Also, work would be more interesting, since people would usually do many things one after the other instead of the same thing over and over in an assembly line. There would be fewer things produced at a time, but if every village provided its own that would not matter. Finally, Distributism would protect private property for all the people, and through it their happiness and liberty.

Distributism is an economic system that attempts to secure financial freedom for the mass of the people by means of the wide distribution of small property. It was first proposed in the years just before and after World War I by a small group of English writers, chief among them Chesterton, who, although at first more interested in literary, philosophical, and theological questions than in historic and political ones, became the best-known spokesman for the new theory. McCarthy, the author of a book about Hilaire Belloc (a friend of Chesterton’s who was also a writer), says that these ideas actually came from Belloc, who was more interested in history and economics, but he agrees that Chesterton “should be regarded more as the articulate disciple on these matters” (McCarthy 95). The basic tenets of Distributism are

– That as many people as possible should own capital, defined as the means necessary for the function of their trade (tools and the price of wood for a carpenter, land and farm implements for a farmer, etc.)

– That, as a corollary to this, most people should be self-employed, and small businesses should abound (other reasons for this will be explained later).

Chesterton’s definitions of the two main existing economic systems to which Distributism is in opposition are particularly clear and precise: he defines Capitalism as “that economic condition in which there is a class of capitalists, roughly recognizable and relatively small, in whose possession so much of the capital is concentrated as to necessitate a very large proportion of the citizens serving those capitalists for a wage,” and Socialism as “a system which makes the corporate unity of society responsible for all its economic processes, or all those affecting life and essential living” (Chesterton, The Outline of Sanity 2-3).

Chesterton’s arguments for Distributism are based most importantly on the idea of the goodness of private property, its necessity for a naturally happy life. Property is necessary because it is the art of the poor man; giving him a field for expressing his creativity. He can choose what to do with his own property and how to administer it; it becomes a reflection of his own personality. In speaking of peasants—people who are poor but own the land they live and work on—Chesterton says that what makes them, ordinarily, a contented group is the satisfaction of their creative instinct (Chesterton, The Outline of Sanity 48). Besides, property confers a certain amount of independence; a person who owns the tools of his trade, or land to farm, or the capital to run a small shop need not fear losing his job, and he can change the way he works as he sees fit. His independence gives his life a flexibility and potential variety unknown to those who are employed by others. Finally, man likes to work within the limits of private property. Art must be limited, it must involve choice, and the only way the ordinary person can express his creativity is through and in his own private property.

This fundamental human need of private property automatically excludes Socialism as a desirable system. However, judged on the same criteria, Capitalism is just as bad. It tries to defend private property by giving it to a few people, who concentrate it more and more, while the rest have to work for wages, deprived of all the benefits of ownership. While Socialism tries to affirm men’s independence from each other by making them all property-less and dependent on the state, Capitalism keeps property, but only for a few people and at the expense of the others’ freedom. Chesterton also argues that Capitalism should really be called Proletarianism, since it actually denies capital to the majority, who are forced to be employees dependent on wages.

Although Hilaire Belloc was an important influence on Chesterton in his ideas on Distributism, they disagreed on the end towards which Capitalism tended. Belloc, in The Servile State, contends that because so many people in the Capitalist system are dependent on wages, it will eventually evolve into a servile state, in which the many poor are compelled by law to work for the few rich in return for a minimum wage—in effect legal slavery (Belloc 39-40). He believed this because, although at that time labor unions existed and could (and did) organize strikes, he thought that the necessity to keep England’s industrial system going and the poverty of the workers themselves would soon lead to their becoming useless and to the implementation of laws requiring laborers to work if offered a certain minimum wage [1].

Chesterton’s view of Capitalism is just as negative, but he thought that it would either lead to Socialism or to its own destruction. As evidence for the first possibility, which Belloc agreed was possible (and even superficially probable) but not likely, he said that Capitalism tended by nature to a greater concentration of property in the hands of a few individuals, and that this would make a step to its concentration in the hands of the state seem natural to most people, and even preferable since one of the stated aims of socialism is defending the poor from oppression. As for the second, Chesterton contended that the perfection of Capitalism is its own destruction; that when an entire state became capitalist the system would automatically fail. It depends on competition between the few capitalists and the many wage earners. However, when the system is complete, all those who are not one are the other, and thus the wage-earners are also the consumers. The capitalists wish to increase profits by paying the employees as little as possible and/or making their goods as expensive as possible. Their employees, naturally, can only spend what they earn, so the capitalists will only earn as much money as they spend in paying wages. Thus, the moment Capitalism becomes most successful will be the moment of its destruction as a system. This deduction is perfectly logical and valid; so much so that (in a paradox Chesterton himself might have made) it is likely that Belloc’s theory will come true first. It seems improbable that the capitalists (or proletarians to use Chesterton’s phrase) would not foresee this end rather before its happening and enact laws bringing on the “Servile State”. In fact, it begins to seem that Chesterton’s ideas were the same as Belloc’s, but being a philosopher rather than a historian (as Belloc was) he took Capitalism to its logical, and Belloc to its probable historical, conclusion. Moreover, the validity Chesterton’s theory is being proved even today: already the most successful capitalists are employing people in third world countries in preference to local workers in an attempt to lower the cost of production. However, this expedient can only prostpone the crisis until everyone, not only in one country but in the whole world, is either a capitalist or a wage earner.

Having explained “What is Wrong” with the existing systems, Chesterton proceeds to explain his ideal. In What’s Wrong with the World, he says that the ideal is a home with land for every family, “three acres and a cow” as a popular phrase of his time went (Canovan 88). Although he does not intend all the citizens of a distributist state to be farmers, the phrase expresses well enough what he wanted: the minimum of property necessary for economic independence. Herbert Shove was co-author of a booklet on the Catholic Land Movement, which had Distributist ideals with the additional motives of following Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical on the conditions of labor, and removing from the many temptations of the modern city. In the booklet, he says that the farmer must be free form dependence on the rise and fall of a market and system of exchange over which he has no control, but on the other hand neither an individual nor a family can be really self-sufficient without experiencing as many difficulties as Robinson Crusoe, but with no necessity. Therefore, there should be local markets where people can exchange their surplus of one product for someone else’s handiwork or surplus of some other product. Because the markets would be local, they would depend on the local conditions and be more suited to the needs and circumstances of the people trading in it than those controlled by a separate group of businessmen (McNabb and Shove 24). In her book G. K. Chesterton: Radical Populist, Margaret Canovan expresses Chesterton’s Distributist ideal, “a free family in a safe home” (p. 51).

In capitalist societies, declares Chesterton, the means—work and property—are often mistaken for the end[2]. This results in the idea that the more work that is done, the better, whereas in reality work is only necessary and good in so far as it contributes to the true end of happiness for someone, whether the worker or someone else. This disorientation of capitalism is shown by the fact that the countryside and small farms are considered an appendage or dependency of the industrial cities, although naturally industry exists to make life easier for people who work for their food. It might be objected that people in cities are also working for their food, which is true, but the basic jobs are those that provide basic necessities; the others are secondary, though of course they make life much more comfortable. The trouble, simply stated, is that too often the primary industries (if they can be called so) are considered to be servants to the secondary ones, existing only to provide the necessities of life for the secondary workers. In a distributist economy, most people would provide most of their own primary goods, and a few secondary workers would provide secondary goods to make life easier for everyone, receiving in return the primary goods they needed. In this way, once everyone had all the goods that they needed, there would be leisure, time to enjoy what they had produced, instead of the ceaseless and pointless production of more and more secondary goods that results in an industrially centered society. To quote Fr. McNabb, “a return to land work and hand work would give all men the chance, and unselfish men the inducement, to the ideal—Poverty [economy] of Work in Production—Poverty of Thrift in Consumption.”

Many people accused the Distributists of being opposed to the advance of technology. These people said, to put it baldly, that a distributist society would inhibit the development of better and better machines and that therefore, the idea must be given up. In The Outline of Sanity, Chesterton answered that machines were invented to make things easier for man and not harder, and that if keeping them interfered with an otherwise good thing, then they and not the good thing would have to go. At any rate, some machines, especially those invented to make many unnecessary consumer goods quickly, would no longer be needed if the ideal of poverty or economy was followed. Chesterton, however, had no quarrel with industrial machines as such. He was perfectly willing to have them in a distributist society, as long as they could be owned by the people who operated them either individually or cooperatively, by a system of shares, and if they helped to make people happier.

In his own books, Chesterton makes his points so wittily and entertainingly that even the most hostile reader cannot put the books down. Additionally, his arguments are logically structured and valid, as can be seen from the summaries given above. However, it is important to realize that many of them, for example the main argument toward property, are not really economic arguments. He is not trying to prove that Distributism will make people rich, but that it will make them happy. If anyone reads them from a standpoint of economic gain, it will be obvious that the very poor, at least, will be better off if they have their own land, but the country as a whole may perhaps be poorer. This did not worry Chesterton, though, for as he himself once said,

“Men talked as if there could be one essential economic good, not only more practical, but even more primary, than the good that is recognized by the soul…A man hoards in his pocket; he digests with his stomach; but he is happy with his soul. And the cheap materialism of the small economists may be turned upside-down by saying, “Would you like to be well paid, to be well fed and to be unhappy?[3]

Chesterton gave more than theories on Distributism in his books. He also gave certain practical measures for implementing it. He suggested buying from small, independent shops and farmers when possible, and called for laws to be passed favoring them. He also suggested that groups of families buy small plots of land close together and begin to found self-sufficient Distributist villages. Since this is rather more difficult nowadays than it was in his day, a more recent magazine article suggested that the land be bought near a town or city, so that the Distributists can also have part-time or full-time jobs to supply what cannot be grown or made (Two Pigs and a Cow). Chesterton also suggested funds or subsidies from various sources to help interested poor people to buy property in the country. Thus, although in the second chapter of What’s Wrong with the World, “Wanted, an Unpractical Man”, he defends theory and acting logically on first principles, he does not neglect to give some ideas for putting his theories into practice, this indeed being what ideas are for.

Bernard Shaw was one of the foremost opponents of the theory of Distributism, claiming that it was impossible because all small property is bound sooner or later to trickle towards large concentrations of it. Chesterton answered that this generalization was founded on situations in which a large amount of property had already been concentrated in the hands of a few individuals. He agreed that small property tends to go towards large concentrations of it, but denied that, if all property was divided into small (not necessarily equal) parcels, a pull must necessarily exist. A man with one acre might be forced to sell to a man with one hundred, but there is no reason why someone with thirty acres should sell to someone with forty. Another argument he used was that, even as Shaw condemned small property as ephemeral, he disparaged it for being old-fashioned. Evidently these are contradictory criticisms; a thing that “will never last” cannot live long enough to become antiquated! Shaw’s very argument that Distributism is backward proves that it must have existed for some time[4]. In fact, Chesterton pointed out that it still existed in his time, in parts of France and Germany, for instance.

In summary, Chesterton believed three things about Distributism: that it was truly needed, that it would work, and that it was a good thing both for individuals and for society as a whole. It seems that now, eighty years after his time, it is needed more than ever before. All sorts of people, not only philosophers, are now complaining about the wastefulness of industrial society, with the added reason of the harm done to the environment and the waste of natural resources; all men, not only “unpractical” ones, are concerned with the growing amount of unemployment; everyone, rich and poor, complains about the stressfulness of life in this capitalist society. No one doubts that property and leisure to enjoy it (and leaving it enjoyable for our descendants) are good things, or that a system that could truly make it easy for all to have them would be an excellent one. Enough arguments have been given already in support of Distributism’s ability to provide these things; there remains only the question of possibility. Chesterton’s reply to this is unanswerable: a Distributist society has been founded and has lasted. Not, certainly, in an industrialized and thoroughly capitalist society like this one, but by perfectly ordinary people no different from those of today. Thus Distrubutism is evidently both worth while and possible, and should be considered at least an important alternative to better known systems, and hopefully, a solution to the problems of wastefulness, unemployment, and confusion of our present society.

[1] All information about Belloc’s ideas on Capitalism is from The Servile State.

[2] From Chesterton’s introduction to The Catholic Land Movement.

[3] From Chesterton’s introduction to The Catholic Land Movement.

[4] This is a summary of Chesterton’s argument in The Outline of Sanity 5.


Procurando inspirações e soluções: Chesterton e Distributismo

A man cannot be wise enough to be a great artist without being wise enough to wish to be a great philosopher. A man cannot have the energy to produce good art without having the energy to pass beyond it. A small artist is content with art; a great artist is content with nothing except everything. Chesterton

Falando de Chesterton: (criticando também o seu estilo, etc.)

Chesterton’s distributism and happiness

Sem Título

A propósito da Inquisição: ver as 5 entradas anteriores sobre a Inquisição

Torture aux USA : waterboarding

Le débat politique sur la torture

Inquisição em Lisboa

Este postal está relacionada com o anterior.

Graças à enorme neutralidade que existe hoje em dia, graças à verdade, à eficácia que impera nos meios de comunicação, nos meios científicos e nas equipas de pesquisa. Graças ao facto de vivermos uma época política rica em justiça, paz, isenção, aplicação de justiça crítica, e de respeito para com os sofrimentos dos povos do mundo. Graças a termos passado aquele tempo em que uns dois grandes grupos de poderosos da humanidade se reunira deturpando tudo o que não era de seu interesse e defesa, obcecados apenas consigo e seu poder, branqueando toda a sua história e existência….

Bem, graças a tudo isto, não vejo qualquer motivo para preocupação com este projecto, neste momento da História Portuguesa…

Cinco milhões de imagens
19.01.2008 – 14h49 Inês Santinhos Gonçalves

Cinco milhões de imagens do arquivo da Inquisição de Lisboa vão estar disponíveis on-line. O processo de recuperação e digitalização integral dos 17.980 processos, referentes ao período entre 1536 e 1821, ainda vai demorar cerca de três anos a estar completo, mas constitui, sem dúvida, uma boa notícia para os investigadores.
O anúncio foi feito pelo director do Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Silvestre Lacerda. “Consideramos que a disponibilização destes processos é uma prioridade, já que são os mais consultados e os mais procurados por investigadores nacionais e estrangeiros.” O custo do projecto foi avaliado em um milhão de euros, mais de metade financiados pela REN (Rede Eléctrica Nacional), o mecenas desta iniciativa.

A Inquisição, como tribunal eclesiástico, perseguiu e condenou aqueles cujas acções e convicções diferiam das leis da Igreja católica. …

…”Para quando uma oliveira nas praças portuguesas, em Lisboa, Évora, Coimbra, onde mais de 2000 pessoas foram queimadas por expressarem opi-niões diferentes?”.

E vale a pena ler os comentários, sempre muito ajudados por brasileiros, nesta temática….

Bem eu por mim, gosto de oliveiras na Praça sempre. Para bem da Humanidade. Para a vinda do Espírito Santo… Agora que seja por essas 2000 almas de há quinhentos anos…. é curioso. Parece que todas estas pessoas só andam ocupadas em esconder a cabeça na areia!!! Em negar, em ignorar o que se passa em volta delas.

Isto é: relevante seria e será que se exija que não se façam as torturas pelas quais eles se indignam, AGORA, aos seres humanos agora torturados. Mas não. É como se se considerem humanos só a eles. Talvez sobre-humanos? Merecendo um tratamento muito superior a todos os outros. Não é?

Eu explico a seguir.

Inquisição – Mito e Realidade

Library Documents on the Inquisition

Press Conference Interventions on L’Inquisizione: 15 June – Various
On the publication of L’Inquisizione, 15 June 2004, interventions were made to the Press by Cardinals Etchegaray, Tauran, and Cottier, and Professor Borromeo, providing information on the work of the Symposium in separating history from myth in regard to the Inquisition.

The Inquisition – Fr. William Most
Fr. William Most gives a summary of the information on the Inquisition found in Dr. Warren Carroll’s book The Glory of Christendom, available from Christendom Press.

Inquisitive About the Inquisition – Father William Saunders
Every now and then, I have heard people bring up the Inquisition and use it to slam against the Church. What are the facts about the Inquisition?

Questions Concerning the Spanish Inquisition – Terry W. Specht
Significant facts about the Inquisition in Spain, set in historical context.

Inquisition – Catholic Encyclopedia
The special court or tribunal appointed by the Catholic Church to discover and suppress heresy and to punish heretics. This file treats the subject as follows: I. The Suppression of Heresy during the first twelve Christian centuries; II. The Suppression of Heresy by the Institution known as the Inquisition under its several forms: (A) The Inquisition of the Middle Ages; (B) The Inquisition in Spain; (C) The Holy Office at Rome.

A New Look At the Spanish Inquisition – Edward O’Brien
New and startling information is beginning to blow away the dark cobwebs of lies and myths-that racist distortion of the Spanish national character and and Hispanic culture. On June 9th, 1995, the BBC documentary, The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition was aired on Ancient Mysteries. TV often trashes the Church, but not this time.

Beyond the Myth of The Inquisition: Ours Is the Golden Age – Brian Van Hove, S.J.
Enlightening article about the Inquistion which debunks the prevailing belief that the Catholic Church used it as a tool to crush its enemies. This article was taken from the Winter 1992 issue of “Faith & Reason”.

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Um novo olhar sobre a Inquisição by Edward O’Brien

A New Look At the Spanish Inquisition

by   Edward O’Brien

We’re all familiar with the popular idea of the Spanish Inquisition, which for centuries has been depicted as a monstrous tyranny imposed upon Spain by sinister Church and state officials. Bent on wiping out heresy, the Inquisition, we were told, arbitrarily arrested innocent Spaniards accused of heresy and browbeat them during endless and unjust interrogations, often torturing the accused to secure meaningless confessions. The condemned were then sent to vile prisons, there to await death by burning at the stake. Some fundamentalists have claimed that millions died in this fashion.

Bigoted, ignorant, and fanatical Dominican friars are shown zealously directing this cruel and dark page of Spanish history. What Protestant or Catholic child has not heard of the fearful, macabre horrors of the dungeons of the Inquisition? Men of great imaginative genius such as Edgar Poe have written of inquisitorial terrors as though they were worse than the Gestapo’s. I remember being appalled by the powerful prose of Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

Historians have known for some time that the popular view of the Spanish Inquisition is only part of the “Black Legend”that body of writings which, since the 16th century, has vilified both Spain and its Catholic faith. In the 16th century, Catholic Spain was the great continental power. Her Protestant enemies were jealous of Spain and many resorted to lies to help bring down Spanish power and control. Spaniards were described by Northern Europeans as dark, cruel, greedy, treacherous, ignorant, and narrow. The Inquisition was fiercely attacked with gross exaggeration. Thus, a combination of political rivalry, contempt for the Catholic faith, and anti-Spanish racism created a distorted image of the Inquisition.

Now, however, new and startling information is beginning to blow away the dark cobwebs of lies and mythsthat racist distortion of the Spanish national character and and Hispanic culture. On June 9th, 1995, the BBC documentary, The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition was aired on Ancient Mysteries. TV often trashes the Church, but not this time. Spanish scholars using computerized searches through the actual records left by the officers of the Inquisition are showing that the Inquisition had neither the power nor the desire to put Spain under its control.

Historians interviewed on the program claimed that four out of five Spaniards in the 16th century lived in the countryside, far from the cities where the Inquisition operated. Transportation was primitive by our standards. The inquisitors had to journey to the country to question people about heresy. But the roads were bad in winter, while the summers were fearfully hot. The inquisitors, citified university lawyers, were often reluctant to make the journey. Furthermore, the Spanish countryman was unversed in matters of sophisticated theology: He was concerned with physical survival. Heresy was not likely to arise. And the parish priest of a village, informed that inquisitors were finally making a visitation, would tell his flock not to make any accusations against anyone, to say as little as possible, and the inquisitors would go away. Such details are not the stuff of macabre legends, but they ring true. In fact, the whole tone of the BBC presentation was cool, crisp, factual, low-key, and convincingly modern.

A most important point made by the Spanish scholars is that the inquisitional courts of the Church were both more just and more lenient than civil courts and religious courts elsewhere in Europe at the time. Prisoners in Spanish secular courts, knowing this would sometimes blaspheme in order to be sent to the courts of the Inquisition where conditions were better.

Modern Spanish scholars point out that other nations have worse records than Spain in dealing with heretics. English Catholics suffered horribly under Protestant regimes. American historian William T. Walsh writes: “In Britain, 30,000 went to the stake for witchcraft; in Protestant Germany, the figure was 100,000″ (Isabella of Spain, p. 275). In Scotland, too, alleged witches were cruelly put to death. Karl Keating quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia: “It is well-known that belief in the justice of punishing heresy with death was so common among the 16th-century ReformersLuther, Zwingli, Calvin, and their adherentsthat we may say their toleration began where their power ended” (C.E., s.v., “Inquisition,” 8:35). Such facts are embarrassing to lovers of the Black Legend.

Two books useful for Catholics who want to learn about the real Inquisition of history are Characters of the Inquisition by William T. Walsh, and Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating. Both authors are Catholic but neither whitewashes the Spanish Inquisition. There were abuses: instances of cruelty, persecution, and personal vengeance. It would be strange if there were no abuses in a human institution that lasted so long. The BBC documentary says torture was used, but it could not last more than 15 minutes and could never be used twice on the same person. Walsh says that for torture to be used, a doctor had to be present, and at his command it had to be stopped. And there were other safeguards.

In any case, no Catholic should ever whitewash the Inquisition. We must honestly acknowledge that three PopesSixtus IV, Innocent VIII, and Alexander VItried to moderate the undue severity of the early Spanish Inquisition. We must also face this question: Why should anyone ever be put in prison or put to death for believing heresy? That is not the way of the Gospel, nor the path of reason. Walsh pointedly says that no Catholic today wants a return to the Inquisition. Nor do we want cover-ups of the past, for as Leo XIII said, “The Church has no need of any man’s lie.”

We do serve God in truth and so we should know the full truth about the Inquisition and refute the preposterous myths made up by enemies of the Church.

For example, Fray Tomas de Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor whose very name is now a symbol of ruthless cruelty, actually checked the excessive zeal of the earlier inquisitors in many ways, including the limiting and mitigating of torture. Walsh thinks that torture under Torquemada was no worse than that used by American police in the 1930s. Also, under Torquemada’s entire tenure as Grand Inquisitor (1483-1498), 100,000 prisoners passed before his various tribunals throughout Spain. Of this number, less than 2% were executed. In Barcelona, from 1488 to 1498, “one prisoner out of 20 was put to death” (23 executions). Torquemada is not the monster of the Black Legend; still, he was responsible for, as an estimation, between 1,000 and 1,500 deaths. And by burning, the common method for those times.

For those who want to be able to defend the Church on this matter, there is much additional information. For example, Keating points out that there were three Inquisitions: the medieval, begun in 1184, which died out as the Catharist heresy waned; the Roman, begun in 1542, which was “the least active and the most benign.” And the Spanish, which he says had “the worst record.” The Roman tribunal tried Galileo, who was not tortured but put under house arrest and later died in his own bed, after enjoying a papal pension!

The Inquisition never operated in England, Scandinavia, northern Europe, or eastern Europe. l have never heard of it being in Ireland or Scotland. This is significant, for though the medieval Catholic Church flourished in these areas, the Inquisition didn’t exist there. Catholic medievalism is not synonymous with courts of orthodoxy. Finally, Keating reminds us that the Inquisition does not prove the Church to be false, but only that there are some misguided people within her courtyards.

The relationship of the Inquisition to art is now a troubling matter, after the new research which the BBC revealed. For example, in Dostoyevski’s famous novel The Brothers Karamazov, his imaginary Grand Inquisitor is a sinister horror who is master of Spain and who intends to put Christ to death after He returns to 16th-century Spain. Dostoyevski’s Grand Inquisitor is a phantom, a creature of delusion, spawned in ignorance. How can one believe in the Russian novelist’s scenario? Can great art be built on lies? Torquemada was not master of Spain and would not murder Christ. And what of Poe’s tale of the condemned man in The Pit and the Pendulum? Since the setting and the plot are wildly false, what is left? But because of the power of art, these writings will continue to haunt the imagination and work against the truth. They will remain as literary thorns in the side of the Church. l doubt if people will discard so handy a weapon as the Inquisition with which to beat Catholics over the head.

Taken from:
The Wanderer © 1996
15 February 1996

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Pequenos contratempos e um futuro sítio

Contratempos típicos da…pelo menos para quem é pintor e um blogue tem também que ser uma maneira de pintar – e enfim, um fenómeno estética (Deus meu, esta palavra virá a ter um significado totalmente diferente daquele que lhe é dado hoje em dia).

Encontrei uma configuração da qual não desgostei. Mas qual… se das outras vezes era porque me cortava as fotografias, ou coisa do género, agora são os widjets que não funcionam. Os  links desapareceram da página principal, assim como alguns outros dados importantes, devido a isto. Voltarão quando eles arranjarem o estrago, o que parece ir demorar. Desde já desculpa pelo incómodo e mudança de configurações.

Tudo isto indica o quão bom poderá ser quando eu tiver o meu sítio. E é para tal que vou orientar os meus esforços. Será até mais do que um…

“Pequeno detalhe” sobre a Globalização

…é esta: quando coloco uma tag “religion”, ou outra qualquer em inglês, pensam que a WordPress me deixa entrar em contacto com todas as pessoas que colocaram postais com a mesma etiqueta? NÃO!!! Só tenho direito a entrar em contacto com as pessoas portuguesas. A etiqueta só faz ligação com os blogues portugueses. Porquê, se o meu artigo é até em inglês?

hahaha. Eis o que vai ser a globalização. Ora pensem nisso.

Vaticaan publiceert boek over Inquisitie

Registo aqui este artigo fascinante, porque, referindo-se aos acontecimentos referidos nos anteriores artigos, perverte completamente a informação que neles  é dada, assim como as investigações que eles referem. Revelando um pouco de algo que nenhum português realiza: em 500 anos de luta protestante, e em 300 anos de poder mundial protestante, a luta por eles iniciada, pouco ou nada mudou. As vestimentas mudaram, claro. A guerra é mais secreta, mas é a mesma. Sendo muito mais secreta, será mais perigosa ainda.

Vaticaan publiceert boek over Inquisitie

Hilversum (Van onze redactie/ANP) 15 juni 2004 – Het Vaticaan heeft vandaag een boek gepubliceerd dat de titel De Inquisitie draagt. Volgens paus Johannes Paulus II geeft deze publicatie inzicht in de zonden van de Inquisitie, het vroegere instituut dat ketterij en hekserij bestreed.

Alvorens de wereld nogmaals voor deze zonden vergeving te vragen, zegt de paus, moeten de feiten duidelijk op een rij worden gezet. Hij schreef dat in een brief die tijdens de persconferentie vandaag door kardinaal Roger Etchegaray werd voorgelezen.

De Inquisitie bevat de resultaten van een internationaal wetenschappelijk symposium dat in oktober 1998 in het Vaticaan werd gehouden. Het symposium werd georganiseerd door de historisch-theologische commissie van het Comité Jubeljaar 2000. Het voldeed aan de wens van de paus om kennis te verwerven in de omstandigheden waarin katholieken afweken van de weg van het Evangelie. Deze afwijking noemt Johannes Paulus “een tegengetuigenis en een schandaal”.

De Inquisitie, in de 13e eeuw opgericht, was een soort rechtbank die belast was met de opsporing, het onderzoek en het straffen van ketters en andere lieden die van de katholieke leer afweken. Ze stond rechtstreeks onder het gezag van de paus. In katholieke landen als Spanje en Portugal werd de Inquisitie pas in de 19e eeuw opgeheven.

Tegen het duivels imago
De Nijmeegse historicus prof. dr. P. Raedts sprak zich in 1998, toen de paus een diepgaand historisch onderzoek naar de inquisitie had aangekondigd, uit tegen het duivelse beeld dat van de organisatie bestaat. In de Middeleeuwen heeft er volgens hem nooit een grote rk-organisatie met vertakkingen in alle Europese landen bestaan die bedoeld was om ketterij uit te roeien.

Volkswoede beteugelen
De pausen stelden wel commissies samen die in een bepaald gebied of ten aanzien van een bepaalde groep onderzoek naar ketterse opvattingen moesten doen. Die inquisitiecommissies hebben volkswoede tegen ketters vaak eerder beteugeld dan bevorderd “om een vorm van recht te scheppen waar tot dan toen wetteloosheid geheerst had”, aldus Raedts.

Spaanse Inquisitie
Tenslotte bracht de inquisitie geen mensen ter dood. De meeste beschuldigden kwamen er met een berisping of boete van af. Alleen in extreme gevallen droeg de inquisitie een veroordeelde aan de wereldlijke overheid over. Die paste dan wel de doodstraf toe. De inquisitie kon volgens Raedts alleen goed functioneren als de overheid meewerkte. Bij de Spaanse inquisitie was dat duidelijk het geval. De koningen gebruikten de inquisitie om eenheid te scheppen. Die kon daardoor uitgroeien tot een alom gevreesde organisatie die goed vergeleken kan worden met de geheime politie in totalitaire landen. De Spaanse variant heeft echter ten onrechte het hedendaagse beeld van de inquisitie gevormd, meent Raedts.


A Inquisição, por Thomas F. Madden

The Real Inquisition

Investigating the popular myth.

June 18, 2004, 10:26 a.m.

By Thomas F. Madden

When the sins of the Catholic Church are recited (as they so often are) the Inquisition figures prominently. People with no interest in European history know full well that it was led by brutal and fanatical churchmen who tortured, maimed, and killed those who dared question the authority of the Church. The word “Inquisition” is part of our modern vocabulary, describing both an institution and a period of time. Having one of your hearings referred to as an “Inquisition” is not a compliment for most senators.

But in recent years the Inquisition has been subject to greater investigation. In preparation for the Jubilee in 2000, Pope John Paul II wanted to find out just what happened during the time of the Inquisition’s (the institution’s) existence. In 1998 the Vatican opened the archives of the Holy Office (the modern successor to the Inquisition) to a team of 30 scholars from around the world. Now at last the scholars have made their report, an 800-page tome that was unveiled at a press conference in Rome on Tuesday. Its most startling conclusion is that the Inquisition was not so bad after all. Torture was rare and only about 1 percent of those brought before the Spanish Inquisition were actually executed. As one headline read “Vatican Downsizes Inquisition.”

The amazed gasps and cynical sneers that have greeted this report are just further evidence of the lamentable gulf that exists between professional historians and the general public. The truth is that, although this report makes use of previously unavailable material, it merely echoes what numerous scholars have previously learned from other European archives. Among the best recent books on the subject are Edward Peters’s Inquisition (1988) and Henry Kamen’s The Spanish Inquisition (1997), but there are others. Simply put, historians have long known that the popular view of the Inquisition is a myth. So what is the truth?

To understand the Inquisition we have to remember that the Middle Ages were, well, medieval. We should not expect people in the past to view the world and their place in it the way we do today. (You try living through the Black Death and see how it changes your attitude.) For people who lived during those times, religion was not something one did just at church. It was science, philosophy, politics, identity, and hope for salvation. It was not a personal preference but an abiding and universal truth. Heresy, then, struck at the heart of that truth. It doomed the heretic, endangered those near him, and tore apart the fabric of community.

The Inquisition was not born out of desire to crush diversity or oppress people; it was rather an attempt to stop unjust executions. Yes, you read that correctly. Heresy was a crime against the state. Roman law in the Code of Justinian made it a capital offense. Rulers, whose authority was believed to come from God, had no patience for heretics. Neither did common people, who saw them as dangerous outsiders who would bring down divine wrath. When someone was accused of heresy in the early Middle Ages, they were brought to the local lord for judgment, just as if they had stolen a pig or damaged shrubbery (really, it was a serious crime in England). Yet in contrast to those crimes, it was not so easy to discern whether the accused was really a heretic. For starters, one needed some basic theological training — something most medieval lords sorely lacked. The result is that uncounted thousands across Europe were executed by secular authorities without fair trials or a competent assessment of the validity of the charge.

The Catholic Church’s response to this problem was the Inquisition, first instituted by Pope Lucius III in 1184. It was born out of a need to provide fair trials for accused heretics using laws of evidence and presided over by knowledgeable judges. From the perspective of secular authorities, heretics were traitors to God and the king and therefore deserved death. From the perspective of the Church, however, heretics were lost sheep who had strayed from the flock. As shepherds, the pope and bishops had a duty to bring them back into the fold, just as the Good Shepherd had commanded them. So, while medieval secular leaders were trying to safeguard their kingdoms, the Church was trying to save souls. The Inquisition provided a means for heretics to escape death and return to the community.

As this new report confirms, most people accused of heresy by the Inquisition were either acquitted or their sentences suspended. Those found guilty of grave error were allowed to confess their sin, do penance, and be restored to the Body of Christ. The underlying assumption of the Inquisition was that, like lost sheep, heretics had simply strayed. If, however, an inquisitor determined that a particular sheep had purposely left the flock, there was nothing more that could be done. Unrepentant or obstinate heretics were excommunicated and given over to secular authorities. Despite popular myth, the Inquisition did not burn heretics. It was the secular authorities that held heresy to be a capital offense, not the Church. The simple fact 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.

During the 13th century the Inquisition became much more formalized in its methods and practices. Highly trained Dominicans answerable to the Pope took over the institution, creating courts that represented the best legal practices in Europe. As royal authority grew during the 14th century and beyond, control over the Inquisition slipped out of papal hands and into those of kings. Instead of one Inquisition there were now many. Despite the prospect of abuse, monarchs like those in Spain and France generally did their best to make certain that their inquisitions remained both efficient and merciful. During the 16th century, when the witch craze swept Europe, it was those areas with the best-developed 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.

Compared to other medieval secular courts, the Inquisition was positively enlightened. Why then are people in general and the press in particular so surprised to discover that the Inquisition did not barbecue people by the millions? First of all, when most people think of the Inquisition today what they are really thinking of is the Spanish Inquisition. No, not even that is correct. They are thinking of the myth of the Spanish Inquisition. Amazingly, before 1530 the Spanish Inquisition was widely hailed as the best run, most humane court in Europe. There are actually records of convicts in Spain purposely blaspheming so that they could be transferred to the prisons of the Spanish Inquisition. After 1530, however, the Spanish Inquisition began to turn its attention to the new heresy of Lutheranism. It was the Protestant Reformation and the rivalries it spawned that would give birth to the myth.

By the mid 16th century, Spain was the wealthiest and most powerful country in Europe. Europe’s Protestant areas, including the Netherlands, northern Germany, and England, may not have been as militarily mighty, but they did have a potent new weapon: the printing press. Although the Spanish defeated Protestants on the battlefield, they would lose the propaganda war. These were the years when the famous “Black Legend” of Spain was forged. Innumerable books and pamphlets poured from northern presses accusing the Spanish Empire of inhuman depravity and horrible atrocities in the New World. Opulent Spain was cast as a place of darkness, ignorance, and evil.

Protestant propaganda that took aim at the Spanish Inquisition drew liberally from the Black Legend. But it had other sources as well. From the beginning of the Reformation, Protestants had difficulty explaining the 15-century gap between Christ’s institution of His Church and the founding of the Protestant churches. Catholics naturally pointed out this problem, accusing Protestants of having created a new church separate from that of Christ. Protestants countered that their church was the one created by Christ, but that it had been forced underground by the Catholic Church. Thus, just as the Roman Empire had persecuted Christians, so its successor, the Roman Catholic Church, continued to persecute them throughout the Middle Ages. Inconveniently, there were no Protestants in the Middle Ages, yet Protestant authors found them there anyway in the guise of various medieval heretics. In this light, the medieval Inquisition was nothing more than an attempt to crush the hidden, true church. The Spanish Inquisition, still active and extremely efficient at keeping Protestants out of Spain, was for Protestant writers merely the latest version of this persecution. Mix liberally with the Black Legend and you have everything you need to produce tract after tract about the hideous and cruel Spanish Inquisition. And so they did.

In time, Spain’s empire would fade away. Wealth and power shifted to the north, in particular to France and England. By the late 17th century new ideas of religious tolerance were bubbling across the coffeehouses and salons of Europe. Inquisitions, both Catholic and Protestant, withered. The Spanish stubbornly held on to theirs, and for that they were ridiculed. French philosophes like Voltaire saw in Spain a model of the Middle Ages: weak, barbaric, superstitious. The Spanish Inquisition, already established as a bloodthirsty tool of religious persecution, was derided by Enlightenment thinkers as a brutal weapon of intolerance and ignorance. A new, fictional Spanish Inquisition had been constructed, designed by the enemies of Spain and the Catholic Church.

Now a bit more of the real Inquisition has come back into view. The question remains, will anyone take notice?

— Thomas F. Madden is professor and chair of the department of history at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author most recently of Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice and editor of the forthcoming Crusades: The Illustrated History.

Natal é … quando nasce uma vida a amanhecer – Ary do Santos

Só Ary, por favor. Só os poemas. Só as letras das canções, e logo se vê a alma do poeta. Agarrada a coisas pequenas (música de terceira), exactamente por ser grande; por querer dar, por querer ajudar, por querer ser irmão de quem sofre.

Quando um Homem quiser – Ary dos Santos

Tu que dormes à noite na calçada do relento
Numa cama de chuva com lençóis feitos de vento
Tu que tens o Natal da solidão, do sofrimento
És meu irmão amigo
És meu irmão

E tu que dormes só no pesadelo do ciúme
Numa cama de raiva com lençóis feitros de lume
E sofres o Natal da solidão sem um queixume
És meu irmão amigo
És meu irmão

Natal é em Dezembro
Mas em Maio pode ser
Natal é em Setembro
É quando um homem quiser
Natal é quando nasce uma vida a amanhecer
Natal é sempre o fruto que há no ventre da Mulher

Tu que inventas ternura e brinquedos para dar
Tu que inventas bonecas e combóios de luar
E mentes ao teu filho por não os poderes comprar
És meu irmão amigo
És meu irmão

E tu que vês na montra a tua fome que eu não sei
Fatias de tristeza em cada alegre bolo-rei
Pões um sabor amargo em cada doce que eu comprei
És meu irmão amigo
És meu irmão

Natal é em Dezembro
Mas em Maio pode ser
Natal é em Setembro
É quando um homem quiser
Natal é quando nasce uma vida a amanhecer
Natal é sempre o fruto que há no ventre da Mulher


Obrigada a

Por Outras Palavras…


Mensagem de Natal: A Meditação das Estrelas

Esta mensagem é dedicada a minha filha bem-amada

Sobre a Arte de nos tornarmos filhos de Deus:


e Ver

Dizer devagar,

Ouvir, e escutar

Saborear, As Palavras:    (retirar preconceitos, falar como  pela primeira vez, como um primeiro homem, fora seu coração um cálice de vinho rubro, e Virgem toda a Terra)

No princípio era a Palavra e a Palavra estava junto de Deus e a Palavra era Deus. Ela estava no princípio junto de Deus. Todas as coisas foram feitas por ela, e sem ela nada se fez do que foi feito. Nela estava a vida e a vida era a luz dos homens; e a luz resplandece nas trevas e as trevas não a compreenderam.

Paro agora. A Palavra é Deus?

É isso que lá está. Deus, Palavra……

E todas as coisas foram feitas por ela? Coisas feitas por uma Palavra? Mas então Deus não é aquele velho…? Palavra. É o que lá está.

– Vai gozar com outro. Desde quando é que uma Palavra cria alguma coisa… quanto mais o Mundo… quanto mais todas as coisas! Os homens é que criaram as palavras…..

– Sim, mas continua, ouve, saboreia (retirar preconceitos, falar como  pela primeira vez, como um primeiro homem, fora seu coração um cálice de vinho rubro, e Virgem toda a Terra)

[A Palavra] – devagar – era a verdadeira luz, – devagar – que ilumina todo o homem, – devagar – vindo ao mundo.

Ouves as estrelas?

Sentes um pássaro a cantar no coração? No teu cálice de vinho rubro?

Estava no mundo e o mundo foi feito por ela e o mundo não a conheceu. Veio para o que era seu, e os seus não a receberam.

Mas, a todos quantos a receberam, deu-lhes o poder de se tornarem filhos de Deus, aos que acreditam no seu nome; os quais não nasceram do sangue, nem da vontade da carne, nem da vontade do varão, mas de Deus.

– É misterioso, eu sei. E a Luz das estrelas, não o é? E o silêncio do Céu Profundo? Quanta Paz, Quanto Infinito aguardando, aguardando o nosso olhar atento, o nosso Amor em acção crescendo…

O Infinito aguardando o nosso Silêncio

onde toda a Luz surge

e se encontra

o Sorriso Original.

ps – esse Sorriso é aquele que Leonardo buscou e pintou. e os Gregos… e os escultores de Buda:

o Sorriso do Silêncio.



Por nós.

Prólogo de S. João

PS – E garanto que não é preciso aprender Hebraico! Nem Sânscrito, nem Tibetano tão pouco.

A melhor meditação para preparação do Natal

Ou a Bela e a Besta, o Bem e o Mal

por Simone Weill

We experience good only by doing it.

We experience evil only by refusing to allow ourselves to do it, or, if we do it, by repenting of it.

When we do evil we do not know it, because evil flies from the light.

We experience good only by doing it.

We experience evil only by refusing to allow ourselves to do it, or, if we do it, by repenting of it.

When we do evil we do not know it, because evil flies from the light.

We experience good only by doing it.

We experience evil only by refusing to allow ourselves to do it, or, if we do it, by repenting of it.

When we do evil we do not know it, because evil flies from the light.

We experience good only by doing it.

We experience evil only by refusing to allow ourselves to do it, or, if we do it, by repenting of it.

When we do evil we do not know it, because evil flies from the light.

We experience good only by doing it.

We experience evil only by refusing to allow ourselves to do it, or, if we do it, by repenting of it.

When we do evil we do not know it, because evil flies from the light.

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