PM7005: Giordano Bruno: Murdered by the Roman Catholic Church

Apology for murder: true to form, Catholic apologists defend killing people for their beliefs. Let us turn once again to “Catholic Answers”, and in particular this article: How Fact Becomes (Anti-Catholic) Fiction, by Robert P. Lockwood.

The most important question: how are these people different from the Taliban? The Taliban also advocates killing people because they believe the wrong thing. The answer? Not much difference at all.

Let’s cut to the chase, the most important part of the article: “He was executed on February 17, 1600.” So, a man was put to death – for what? For raping children? (Something at which many Catholic priests are adept.) For covering up the rape of children? (A fine art at which many a Catholic Bishop has mastered.) What did he do? “He died… because he had rejected the fundamental truths of the [Catholic] faith… the divinity of Christ, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Trinity.” So, he was killed for disagreeing with the religious opinions of the Catholic Church! Which no doubt is a far more serious wrongdoing than raping a few altar boys could ever be – how many people has the Catholic Church put to death for that, dare I ask?

Now, in case anyone accuse me of quoting this author dishonestly, let me add back to the above quote the qualifying clauses I omitted in my quotation above. Firstly, “He died not as a scientist or for scientific beliefs”. In response to that, it is abhorrent for the Catholic Church to execute a person for their beliefs, whether those beliefs be scientific in nature or not. The author spends many paragraphs ridiculing the beliefs of Giordano Bruno; but whether they were sensible or senseless, scientific or superstitious, it was an evil deed for the Catholic Church to execute him, and it is an evil deed for Robert P. Lockwood and others to defend its so doing.

Secondly, Lockwood references “the fundamental truths of the faith he had promised to uphold at his ordination”. That is an irrelevancy. It is evil for anyone, including the Catholic Church, to execute a person for their beliefs. That the person might have earlier made some religious commitment to hold and advance a different set of religious beliefs is an irrelevancy. Whether or not any of the religious beliefs in question are true is also an irrelevancy. It is wrong to execute a person for their religious beliefs, regardless of whether those religious beliefs be right or wrong. It is murder, and nothing other than that.

I don’t claim that Giordano Bruno was a perfect man – that he was without flaws, or that he was right in all of his beliefs. Very many of his beliefs may well be wrong. But let there be no doubt – he was murdered by the Roman Catholic Church, and absolutely nothing that he did or said justified what the Roman Catholic Church did to him. Yet Lockwood’s article is an orgy of victim blaming – trying to paint a murder victim as responsible for his own murder. How utterly reprehensible! How utterly immoral is Lockwood as a person – and yet, this is the kind of person that the Catholic Church produces – a person willing to defend anything, even murder, so long as the Catholic Church is perpetrating it.

Some more victim blaming: “He refused to retract his heresies” – when someone demands that you recant your beliefs or else they will kill you, what are you obliged to do? You might be wise to do what they ask – just as it is wise, when a robber points a gun to your head, to hand over whatever of your possessions they desire. But the robber has no right to your possessions, just as the Catholic Church has no right, and has never had any right, to demand that people, by threat of torture and death, agree with its beliefs. Yet Lockwood’s very choice of words expresses the idea that the Catholic Church somehow had some right to demand that Bruno change his beliefs to match those which he espoused, and even that it was right for them to threaten him with death to try to bring about such a change – what an utterly reprehensible view. And whether or not Bruno’s beliefs were correct or foolish is utterly irrelevant.

Yet more victim blaming: “and maintained that the judges had no authority over him”. They certainly did not, by moral right, have the authority over him which they claimed – the Catholic Church and its officials have never had by moral right any power to demand by threat of death that people accept its beliefs – so his contention on this point was completely correct.

Yet more victim blaming – “The judges had no choice but to condemn him based on his own admissions and turned him over to the secular authorities in Rome”; “His fate was sealed when he refused to recant”.

Was Bruno a martyr? Yes he was. He was a martyr for the freedom of belief – a person who refused to recant their beliefs even when the Catholic Church threatened to kill them if they did not. He is a martyr for the freedom of belief – a concept that the Catholic Church has long opposed – even if the particular beliefs he espoused were wrong or even silly. And he is a martyr for scientific thought even if his own thoughts are far from what we think of as scientific – for what would science be without freedom of belief?

Two final comments about Robert Lockwood. He is the director of communications for the Diocese of Pittsburgh – and at the time of writing (July 2013), it appears he remains in that position. That fact shows that the Catholic Church endorses his reprehensible views – the very fact that he has not been removed or rebuked for what he has said is a sign that the Catholic Church does not disapprove of it. Thus the evil that the Catholic Church did to Giordano Bruno continues to this day, through the Catholic Church’s continuing defence of it.

Secondly, let us note his final comment “Within a generation, Italy would be a Fascist state”, as if the proper recognition of Giordano Bruno as a martyr, an innocent victim of Catholic evil, somehow contributed to the rise of fascism in Italy – an incredible proposition. In their hatred of dissent and thirst for innocent blood, Fascism and Catholicism prove themselves to be kindred spirits.