It’s because of the Protestant Revolutionaries’, I mean Reformers’, reaction to the evolved totalitarian Papal position which was borrowed from pre-Constantine Roman emperors.
Were there incensed peasant revolts before the Reformation? Maybe that’s what the Huns and other barbarians were. No I think there’s a difference between incensed peasants and barbarians. In the good old days, evil totalitarian regimes ended when God took care of the situation through a painful, but natural death, well Julius Caesar’s wasn’t natural, though he wasn’t killed by incensed peasants but cool colleagues. There is a long history of usurpers, like Absolom, before peasant revolts were popular. Countries were typically taken over by a recognized, motivating leader. There was still submission to authority, however fluid that authority was.
However, the Protestant Reformation introduced anarchy. They marginalized leadership. It’s true that many despotic leaders have marginalized the people, after all absolute power corrupts absolutely. Aren’t labor unions and strikers all about peasant revolts? I just can’t think of when that was done prior to the Protestant Reformation. That’s when authority was given to whoever held their own copy of the Bible. After that, the Bible was optional but helpful. So I don’t believe the peasant French Revolution, which closely followed the peasant American Revolution is to blame for the peasant Russian Revolution. I’m thinking it’s a progression from the Protestant Revolution. They said you don’t have to have to suffer under a leader. And since then “suffering” has been vilified to an intolerable extent. When the Israelites suffered, they cried to God, and He and Moses appealed to Pharoah, but Moses didn’t lead a jihad against Pharoah. God took care of him in the Red Sea. Jihad, ah, the Muslims. My impression is that they are a curious mix between peasant revolters and despotic authoritarianism.
Anyway, the point is, incitement against people who cause suffering looks like prideful revenge seeking to me. Methinks they protest too much, which I’m sure I do too. But I calmly and lovingly believe that the Protestants, peasants, teens who drop out of an unjust high school or leave home in protest, jump from the kettle into the frying pan. Of course justice and mercy are better than tyranny, but I pray we find them peacefully.
It’s risky second guessing to try to speculate how suffering could have been relieved without brutal wars. I think that they should have looked for relief from inside when the outside was intolerable. That’s what Father Roman Braga, who spent years in a communist prison for his faith, did. Here’s what he said in this about suffering,
“I think that the Church, at least in Romania and Russia, was strengthened during the communist persecution. I dare to say that suffering matures not only the individual but the Church also.”
And from here,
Father [Dimitru] Staniloae confessed that his time in prison was the first time he could pray without ceasing, with the mind in the heart.
I cannot say that I experienced prayer as Father Staniloae, but what I do know is that we will never reach the same spiritual level of life as in Communist imprisonment. There was no pencil, no paper, no T.V., nothing; especially in solitary confinement, you could not even look through a window. There was no exterior horizon, nothing but the four walls of your cell. You had to go somewhere; you had to find an inner perspective, because otherwise you would truly go j crazy. I’m ashamed to say that I was forced to find myself in ‘ prison. I had some ideas about prayer because I came from the Burning Bush Movement, but it was mostly theory about what prayer is; but there in those difficult moments I confess that I started to recite the Jesus Prayer and practiced it intensely. Only then was I able to discover how beautiful the interior life of man is. I liked it very much. A couple of months before I discovered this, I thought that I would go crazy because the solitude was a total break from the world with which I had been so much involved. And you know that our culture is oriented outside ourselves; it is a cosmological knowledge directed toward existence outside ourselves. Now I needed a method to find myself, to liberate myself from the slavery of the books, because there were no books there. It is not an exaggeration to say that in freedom we become slaves of the books; we do not have time even to know who we are because we are made out of quotations….
What was your spiritual life there like?
I told you I did not reach the level of St. Paul, to say that Jesus is my personality, He is in the center of my heart, He is the seal of my authentic personality—I could not say that. However, I reached the level of feeling the presence of God in a vivid way; that is, since that time, I never saw or imagined God in my prayers outside of myself, and I hope I will never see him in a “vision” outside myself while I am in this world. I hope to remain with the true understanding of God, not with illusions. But I have the feeling of His presence. When God speaks to you He does not use material words but brings you joy. I experienced such joys in prison, I could not detach myself from them. I was never interested when they brought me food or water…
Another book, besides the Derrida ones, that George got me for Christmas was Father Braga’s Exploring the Inner Universe, from which the above was excerpted. I look forward to reading it.