First the bad news. Besides squandering the money of honest, hard-working, mainly Western taxpayers with its own apparatus, that scrounger monster called “United Nations” also has – apparently – external “human rights organisations” as “consultants”. Some part of me wants to hope these people are not paid or remunerated in any way, but you can judge for yourself how probable this is.
In order – and this is when the fun part begins – to understand how these organisations work, you can read here that one of those “human rights” organisations (name already forgotten; thank God) decided Dante should be removed from school curricula because racist, homophobic and, of course, offensive to Muslims.
The Divina Commedia is a mainstay of the Italian curriculum. In certian types of school (“Liceo Classico”) you’ll have to get through the entire work word for word, and I mean seriously, during a three-year cycle. I did it, and my father before me. We both do not regret a minute of the time.
The more affectionate readers of this little effort will perhaps remember a blog post I wrote some time ago about when Dante met Mohammed. Il Divino Poeta was not really known for mincing his words, and if you click the link you’ll see what he thought of heretics and, in particular, fraudulent and blasphemous child rapists (Yes. I am talking of Mohammed. If you are scandalised, though. You may console yourself clicking here and I hope you’ll enjoy at least the image). On Mohammed and Dante (and Christianity in general) I have written my own considerations in the above mentioned blog post and will therefore not repeat myself here.
What I find notable in the matter is the following:
1) Dante was undoubtedly a devout Christian and proper Catholic. He would be recognised as such in every age. Depressingly, the head of the Italian teachers’ association says Dante must not be judged with the standards of today. Well in a very general sense this is obvious, but what the man misses is that Christian standards do not change and Dante was, without doubt, much fitter in his knowledge of the latter than most inhabitants of the earth today.
2) The already forgotten UN-maintained organisation got a bit of popularity, or at least notoriety. But they squandered it immediately. To complain that Dante defines homosexuality against nature is a masterpiece of stupidity. It is like complaining that one calls the water wet.
Decidedly, thinking is becoming an optional.
3) In an unprecedented show of common sense, even some (name never really read) Italian faggot organisation decided there’s too much political correctness in this. They do it, I suspect, because in Italy Dante is not very far below the Blessed Virgin, and to touch him is like playing with high voltage cables whilst drenched. Still, I feel “good” today (must be the mention of the UN. I always feel so good when I read about their initiatives to improve humanity) and want to attribute this intervention to real common sense rather than to the obvious impossibility of hysterically bitching against Dante in a country like Italy.
So, that was that. I hope this glimpse of PC-madness was instructive. I certainly think it was entertaining.
The cause for the beatification of Fulton Sheen, a great man of God this blog has written about on several occasions (try here and here, or perhaps here), is now to be started again after a strange interruption due, in its essence, to a controversy about where his mortal spoils should rest (with New York having allegedly verbally promised to allow the tomb to be transferred to Peoria,then allegedly not delivering on the promise and so endangering the shrine project therein conceived, with the result that Peoria’s diocese stopped the procedure altogether).
It is a pleasure to read that a man who was almost forgotten when he died, and considered a part of an old church not worth wasting time about, is now not only safely marching toward beatification, but even the object of a tomb controversy like we have in Italy for our Divino Poeta, Dante Alighieri. This clearly shows not only that his message is now – after the dust of the Vatican II madness has clearly settled – properly read and listened to again (just make a google video search, or go on youtube, and stun; or visit Amazon for vast choice of re-printed books) but that it is clearly anticipated that his remains will become a mass attraction and source of great prestige; a prestige that evidently both Peoria and New York claim as their own.
Personally, I am unlikely to ever land in Peoria, whilst I will (God pleasing) probably have further occasions to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Having said that, the idea of a national shrine attracting people from all the country – and, surely, from abroad – to kneel and say a prayer in front of the tomb of this great man is sweet even from the distance.
I allow myself to see in this a further sign of the times, and ask myself the rhetorical question whether, say, twenty-five years ago a shrine to his memory – and attendant tomb controversy – would have been very likely. How was that? Oh yeah….
The times they are a’ changing…
To please all of you Italophiles, today a bit of healthy Italian literature that is also a useful plunge into the Christian view of the world when the world was able to think – and act – Christian.
In Dante’s Inferno, Canto XXVIII deals with fraudulent people of various kind, like thieves, fraud specialists, people who used rhetorical ability to deceive others and people who spread discord and divisions. They are all placed in the eight Circle – further divided according to their particular sin – and are all punished (according to the contrappasso or contrapasso dear to medieval times) in a manner which has either a strong analogy to their sin or is, as it were, the contrary of it.
Now let us please remember that Dante didn’t know anything of “political correctness”. He would have probably been very amused at knowing what it is and would have considered the entire exercise in political correctness not only uncharitable, but outright unchristian in so far as it helps the spreading of error and heresy. In addition, please consider that “hate crime” as it is seen today did not have any big relevance in the Italian society of the beginning of the XIV century (nor of the XXI’s, Deo Gratias) and that the culture of self-victimhood, semi-permanent complaint and professional claim of being “discriminated against” wouldn’t have made any impression other than of amusement.
Basically, Dante lived in a Christian society and was, like many others, sincerely interested in its preservation and in the defence of its values.
This is why our probably most beloved poet of all times did something which, if made today, would make every politician’s, diplomatician’s, writer’s or poet’s hair stand on end. Which is the more remarkable because he was all four of these at one time or another and never was his work seen as being detrimental to, say, his diplomatic activity. Still, what he did would, today, attract accusations of hate crime, calls for boycott of his poetry, (obviously) calls for his execution and most certainly no invitation to afternoon tea from “call me Dave” Cameron. What did he do, then? He did something that should be a rather easy call (without falling into the sin of presumption of course; but an easy call nevertheless) in a Christian society.
He put Mohammed in Hell.
Mohammed is seen as a divisive figure, sowing strife and discord among the people (among his own, I infer, as well as among Christians and Infidels). Accordingly, he is condemned to being constantly torn open, “divided” in his own limbs. Dante and Virgilio behold his open chest, in Dante’s typical process of eternal repetition of the same punishment. The same destiny is reserved to his relative Ali whose punishment consists, perhaps even more impressively, in having his face completely open from end to end. All considered, rather strong stuff.
It is amusing to think, today, the astonishment of the Divino Poeta (as he is affectionately called in Italy) at being told that he is “uncharitable”, “judgmental”, or “divisive” himself. In Dante’s society and personal Weltanschauung – both solidly rooted in Christianity – charity could never have been confused with convenient lies, silence in front of scandal would have been considered being accessory to another’s sin and defence of Truth would never have been considered divisive, or spreading “hate”.
The simple fact is that he would have been right on all accounts then; and that – as the Truth doesn’t change – he would be right on all accounts now.
Therefore, we must seriously ask ourselves what is wrong with us, and when are we going to wake up.