Convert or Die (Convertir o Morir)

Bullfight in Bilbao 2006, photo by Paul Dodd
Bullfight in Bilbao 2006, photo by Paul Dodd

I was raised Catholic and like they say,”Once a Catholic, always a Catholic”. I can’t help that. And I love Spain. I love the food, the scenery, the Golden Age of Spanish art. I cheer for Spain in the Copa Del Mundo. I even like the pageantry of bullfighting.

So we watched part of PBS’s “Secret Files of the Inquisition” last night and they were profiling Jacque Fournier who left detailed records of his efforts to purify the Pyrenees. He was a bishop in the early 1300’s in what is now part of France and he was determined to eliminate the Cathars who believed the material world was evil and consequently could not accept Jesus in human form. This documentary depicted the Cathars as about as dangerous as aging hippies. Fournier was rewarded for his efforts by being anointed Pope Benedict XII and the Vatican kept his records secret for 700 years. Of course Ferdinand and Isabel (los Reyes Católicos) finished the job in Columbus’ day and Spain was left with very few Jews or Muslims.

I was falling asleep when they talked about Fournier as Pope so I googled his name this morning and found this entry in the “Catholic Encyclopedia“.

“His natural obesity, too, stimulated caricature and undeserved criticism. But history offers a vindication and testifies that, though he failed to cope successfully with the political difficulties to which he fell heir, his piety, virtue, and pacific spirit, his justice, rectitude, and firmness in ruling, his zeal for doctrinal and moral reform, and his integrity of character were above reproach.”

This is probably similar to how history will rewrite Bush’s legacy.

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