NOW READING: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
It's kind of weird (but fun, interesting) to contemplate the history of the Catholic church in Europe. I suppose I should say "Europe, etc." The powers that were had this way of taking over more and more of everything and subjecting everyone to their will. They "converted," indoctrinated, tortured, and otherwise brought people into the fold. Sure, there were battles along the way and some people put up quite a fight, but they just seemed to get more and more power. Even when the popes and the emperors fought among themselves, the common people could never seem to get the upper hand. There was a lot of greedy storing of treasures acquired from the Middle East and other distant lands, all to make the rich richer and more powerful. And don't forget the total disregard for the truth if it flew in the face of the church-state's agenda.
When you consider that this went on for centuries, it kind of seems like we've got it easy with only eight years of the Bush Administation.
"He explained to me that all his life preachers had told him the Jews were the enemies of Christianity and accumulated possessions that had been denied the Christian poor. I asked him, however, whether it was not also true that lords and bishops accumulated possessions through tithes, so that the Shepherds were not fighting their true enemies. He replied that when your true enemies are too strong, you have to choose weaker enemies. I reflected that this is why the simple are so called. Only the powerful always know with great clarity who their true enemies are." - p. 192