Thursday, January 12, 2006

Limbo Be Damned

[From our scribe in Brittany...]

The rococo tapestry of Catholic travesties must hang somewhere in the stag rooms of the Vatican underground, surely within glint of the Holy See’s tithe-begotten treasures. It is weaved from two millennia of yarn, enough for comedies divine, human and inhuman, enough to make skins crawl, Inquisitions sing and St. Francis’s snakes fly. (Forgive me Father for I have spite, a side-effect of faith’s curatives.) The tapestry must be magnificence incarnate, beauty and morals having never been a requisite pairing in Church aesthetics if chronicling the immoral could look good on a wall. Look at the tapestry closely. There but for the greens of St. Augustine’s garden go the drab grays of limbo, that cruelest of Church creations. For all those centuries many a mother has imagined her child eternally damned to the second-class bliss of limbo for having died unbaptized. For that, many a mother’s grieving soul has gone to its grave long before death’s deliverance. Never mind, the Vatican now says. It was “only a theological hypothesis,” in the 1984 words of the late Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI. What difference does it make when belief in a billion hearts is blind to theology’s hair-splits? It wasn’t even “theological hypothesis” that enabled centuries of pogroms against Jews. More like theological hypnosis. But there they were, the church mercenaries dutifully and joyfully spearing, burning, boiling, gassing Jews until another Never Mind by Benedict’s Cracovian predecessor. Limbo be damned now. What convenience. What guile. What next? Say, Nicea…

—L.D. Amabed Jr.