The Third Way, 31: The Allure of Rome, Part 10 – Reform Longings

Perhaps the most salient critique of the absurdity of the situation came from Erasmus of Rotterdam, the most reputable Christian humanist of the day. His The Praise of Folly (1509) was a scathing exposé of all the clichés of superficial Medieval spirituality—pilgrimages, relics, physical self-punishment (such as auto-flagellation), fasts, the corruption of so many monasteries and convents, and the flagrant wealth and exploitation of the laity by the church hierarchy. He wrote the book as a satire in order to avoid censure and condemnation as a heretic for his exposition, and he got away with it.

The Third Way, 30: The Allure of Rome, Part 9 – Renaissance

To retain an image of relevance among the new cultural (g)literati, the Popes of those decades adopted the trappings and aspirations of being Renaissance connoisseurs while lip-serving the role of spiritual guides. They hired the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael to embellish their monumental edifices. Some of the Renaissance Popes were so little concerned with spiritual matters that they allowed a corrupt Curia to run affairs like a Mafia while they used the huge Papal wealth to satisfy their appetites for art and less savoury things. They showed up for official functions and gave audiences to the select of the upper crust, but did little else as ‘Holy Fathers’.

The Third Way, 25: The Allure of Rome, Part 6: Francis & Thomas

When all of this is married to the growing dissatisfaction with the imperial, established Church system and the increasingly obvious distortion of holiness
into formal sacramentalism and the suppression or cooption of all attempts to return to a spirit of simplicity in seeking God, the makings of a great upheaval
were at hand.

Ironically,
the Renaissance of ancient humanism rooted in pagan Imperial Rome would play a significant
role in fracturing the unity and supremacy of the imperialist Roman Church.  The 13th Century saintly giants, Francis
and Thomas, stood as precocious signposts to the roads that would diverge from
the main highway in the 14th  and
15th Centuries and generate revolutionary events in the 16th
Century.

The Third Way, 17: The Galileo Conundrum

The abundantly evident result of science’s procedural denial and dogmatically closed practice is that we have created a famine for real soul-food. Masses of people worldwide are attempting to fill the hunger with psychological, emotional, and spiritual junk-food—candy and fast-food for the mind, heart, and soul. After all, that is what the adulation and demi-godhood of sports and entertainment celebrities is. That is what the elevation of billionaire ‘success-gurus’ and political idols to super-hero status is. Yet at every step we see that, as persons and in their personal lives, many, if not most, of our Herculean demi-gods are really quite unworthy of the elevation and esteem they are given. That is why so many with empty lives seek reprieve in pleasure and the short-term pain-relief and long-term suicide of addictions of every kind, from substance abuse to pornography, to food and drink, to extreme thrill-seeking, to virtual-reality and fantasy.