Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the Vatican Wall...

Have you ever wondered about those civilizations that suddenly vanished?  Those ruins that show up in the middle of a jungle maybe.  Whole cities with temples and buildings and roads.  All covered with vines and monkeys, maybe some parrots.  And no people!  A whole civilization gone.  A whole population vanished.  Culture, religion, civil institutions... all gone.

And you wonder... how did that come about?  What factors were behind the decline of this civilization?  Did it happen all of a sudden?  Or did they have warning signs?

Have there ever been people who actually wanted a decline?  Could a desire like that get out of hand?

"Smaller.... purer...."    Where have I heard that before? 

It's this latter desire, I think, that is a warning sign.  Could even be a sign of coming decline

Here's my fantasy:
You know that childhood fairytale.  The one where the witch has a magic mirror.  And she looks into it... wanting to be assured that she is the fairest of them all.  But, unfortunately the mirror tells her the truth.  Which puts her on the warpath.  
Well, my image is of the bishops and cardinals and pope.  Each of them, so full of ... something, that they need to wear these really fancy outfits.  Ones that are getting more and more fancy all the time.  Strange, weird costumes.  Very costly ones, I might add!  
So I picture all these people... needing to look into a mirror...  Often
If only there were a magic mirror - that would tell these people the Truth!
But, you have to ask yourself, at this point in the story:  What is the Question?  Do they ask if they're the "fairest"?  I doubt it.  Do they ask if they look like a candidate for "next pope"?  Maybe.

Here's what I picture:
"Mirror, mirror on the wall.... Who's the purest of us all?"
Each one of the pure hands, fancy dress club, especially the ones special enough to ordain others (to pure hands).   Especially those who get to vote the next White-Garbed Pope.  Each one clothed so weirdly... looking into the mirror,  all hoping to become the one.
I call it the purity trapCuz, one by one, they don't get the answer they're looking for.  Instead, the mirror shows them nothing but tarnish or else pure nothingness shining brightly... So they all begin to vie with each other.
Do you have any idea what happens when a big bunch of people have a lot of status and power and you gather them all together?  I've seen it in colleges and universities.  All chiefs and no Indians.
So, each of them, tries to become more and more pure.  Indeed most pure.  They vie for being the most doctrinaire.  Or maybe for sporting the purest gold or the purest silk.  Saying the purest Latin.  Giving the purest dictates for more and more control of the faithful.
And little by little they exclude one another - indeed everyone they deem less pure.  
There's no end to it!  There's no end to the purity trap.  No end.  
The supposed search for purity of orthodoxy or could be orthodoxy of purity just trails off, I think, like the ending of Psalm 1.
One of those lost civilizations...

No comments: