Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Aquinas’

The Inquisition Once Again….and there is a poem in this pile.

January 13, 2012

“Nobody expects the Inquisition”….. Monty Python

But what is it we do expect with the Inquisition?

When I speak of the Inquisition, I am not speaking of the rack, torture (sort of….) or autos de fe (originally “articles of faith” but that meaning fell by the wayside, and autos de fe became the burning of ‘heretics’.)  I am thinking of intolerance and some other nasty stuff that goes along with the behavior of fundamentalists, or maybe their world view.

I have an extreme dislike of fundamentalism, be it Christian, Jew or Muslim.  Actually, I fear them.  Perhaps because I have had dealings (too many years) with a political cult that allowed no room for deviation from the ‘plan and politics.’ Perhaps because there was a definite stratification of peons and princes.  I was not a prince. This cult functioned in the real world much like fundamentalists:  there was no room to breathe.

Lock step applied.

Recently I have been reading Matthew Fox, the former Dominican priest who became an Episcopalian priest.  Funny, to think he stepped into this pile of manure rotating through the Episcopal Church over the issue of ordination of gay priests.  But as a gay Episcopal priest told me very recently when I asked about the exodus of Episcopalian members:  “If it wasn’t about gays, it would be about the ordination of women.”  And it probably was, too.

Matthew Fox is an interesting theologian.  He is very much involved in Creation Spirituality, a broad ecumenical movement that starts with Original Blessing, rather than Original Sin.  Original Blessing regains the understanding that our original and true nature, the original and true nature of all things, is “very good.” That’s encouraging. Although stuff happens, we do bad and sometimes terrible things in life–  it is still our authentic self.  It’s very much the opposite of the fall/redemption thing.  With that we are born rotten.

Creation Spirituality is nothing if not ancient: it harkens back to the great mystical traditions of Hasidic Judaism, Sufism, Buddhism, Taoism, mystics  like  Hildegarde of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, etc.

There is much out there about Creation Spirituality, and I’m not going into a blow by blow here. I’m learning myself.  People can read where they are interested and intrigued.  I know I was and it was a theological/spiritual answer to many decades of dismay as to what I saw in the Christian theology of the fundamentalists.

But for some reason, and probably a good one, I will forever think of the Inquisition when I think of fundamentalists:  the same issues of power and control, the same patriarchal behavior, the lock down on expanded theological thoughts and ideas,  ‘evolutionary’ ones, because for fundamentalists, if it ain’t in the Bible, it doesn’t belong in your head.

Let the rest of us get on with building a less mean humanity.

Lady Nyo

(Some readers have asked me to write about our Christmas: Perhaps it is best to relate our Christmas dinner, something that was a ‘first’ for us, and now I realize how really extraordinary.  Seven guests around the table: a Hindu, a lasped Catholic, ex-Jevohah’s Witness, a Mormon, a child raised (ours) in the Quaker faith and then the Episcopal Church, and two going towards Creation Spirituality. Two guests gay.  An unexpected blending of religions that made our Christmas dinner a joyful one.)

The Rites of Spain 

Canto 1

Sharp azure skies

Rusty brown earth,

Black women’s shawls,

Goat dung flung by boys

At passing soldiers,

The Inquisition churns onward

Like the great mandala

Crushing bodies under wheels

Burning witches in great pyres

Ignited by ignorance

Of blessed padres.


Time of terror,

overtime superstition.

Of hidden manuscripts

under floor boards,

and investigations

Seeded by the envy of neighbors.


Goya colors flung in

the black of night,

Red of Blood

White of Death

Green of decay

Duller grays of corruption

Shiny blues of greed

Exchanging favors,

Cardinal to Cardinal–

Madrid to Rome,

And back again.

These are the colors

Of the Inquisition.

Holy-Terror-of- God in

Man’s hands

where nothing is safe,

Humanity defiled.


Soldiers force Rabbis

to spit on the Torah,

A diversion,

for the net holds much room,

All ‘thought’ is open to this furor,

For terror reigns.

The banality of evil,

Which words belie the results

Fashions such existence.


Dark shawls drawn

Over frightened faces,

only the

Whites of eyes

gleam outward like hooded lanterns,

faces cast downward

when the Cardinals pass.

No one wants to be noticed,

There is Death in the

Very air,

A pox of hopelessness.


Gossip is gone

From the full rose lips

Of  women.

They huddle


Though no safety

In numbers.

Wearing an early shroud

To cover their


A slight sway of

Curvaceous hips

Could draw the Holy Terror

Upon their innocence

Condemned by black lipped priests-

Whores worthy of fire.


Cruelty and censure is the mantra of the day.


Breathe in the

Moisture of the drowned

Catch the blood

Flayed from bodies

Hear the sharp screams from

Those tortured,

And the

Sharper silence to follow.


Hope is gone

From the heart

Of Spain.


Now fear is the mantra of the day.


The disdainful eye

Of the Church


Circling the

Spanish masses,

Like herding goats

From a horse,

Whip held easy

In the hand,

Ready to strike,

And strikes when not.


How many died

Who could give


To Enlightment?

Fear replacing

The Intellectual future of Spain.

How many aborted

By this

Scourge of Mankind?

Compassion forgotten

Humility distorted.

Lies the particular coin of the day.


The Inquisition

Rolls onward,

Tearing up

Soil watered by

Clotted blood.

Black tentacles

Of Power


The heart

Of Spain



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012, revised

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