Incarnating the AntiWord
Why, it's Pope Boniface, who does indeed have the insolent mouth of a maliface criminal. What did he do to get here?
Probably not much. If you're Pope, the standards should be higher, should they not? I don't want to go to a doctor who knows no more about medicine than I do.
The same goes for a doctor of the soul. But it's very tricky when you institutionalize these things. There are inevitably a few rotten apostles in the barrel. And it's no less tricky if you don't institutionalize the ordainment of hOly men, because then you end in a cult o' vultures or deepack o' jackals.
Come to think of it, it really reminds me of psychology. I am a "licensed clinical psychologist." As such, I can assure you that the title is absolutely meaningless. It means precisely nothing. It implies no skill, no talent, no gift, no special knowledge, no intellect, no expertise, no wisdom. The difference between a good and bad psychologist is more or less infinite, even though they have the same coarse crudential.
Indeed, quite often it implies just the opposite of wisdom and good sense, for there is no indoctrination like the indoctrination of the educated. Since they move in herds, it's easy to corral them.
It's not just psychology, but the social sciences in general. Again, there is more wisdom in one of Don Colacho's aphorisms than in whole university departments, which is not surprising, since these subversive little depth charges generally teach the opposite of what is taught in a typical graduate school.
Okay. The psychologist dwells in the slums of the soul, just as the sociologist dwells on the outskirts of society. (1)
The idea of “the free development of personality” seems admirable as long as one does not meet an individual whose personality has developed freely. (2)
Poverty is the only barrier to the throng of vulgarities that whinny inside souls. (3)
He who understands least is he who he stubbornly insists on understanding more than can be understood. (4)
Our maturity must re-conquer its lucidity daily. (5)
How can one claim to be a psychologist and not understand the distinction between soul and psyche (1), or the proper uses of freedom (2), or the nature of sin (3), or the limits of human knowledge (4), or the proper goal of the human maturational process (5)?
Forget any one of these, and you have fallen into a parallel looniverse of tenured nonsense. You are so far from being a nuisance Coonical Pslackologist that I can't even smell you from here.
Back to Boniface. How did he get here? I'm not sure if we can trust Dante, since he clearly has a vendetta against the man, and I certainly know nothing about him.
Says here that "Boniface, for Dante, is personal and public enemy number one.... Dante now settles his score with Boniface in the Divine Comedy by damning the pope even before his death in 1303 (the journey takes place in 1300)."
Let's let wikipedia sort it out.
This doesn't look good. There were rumors that he pressured the previous Pope -- a saintly man -- to resign, and "One of his first acts as pontiff was to imprison his predecessor in the Castle of Fumone." He "put forward some of the strongest claims to temporal, as well as spiritual, power of any Pope, and constantly involved himself with foreign affairs."
Uh oh. His chief minister denounced him as "a heretical criminal (and practitioner of sodomy)," and "There were rumors he had died of suicide from 'gnawing through his own arm' and bashing his skull into a wall."
Well, who knows? The point is that if he were guilty of such acts, Dante is showing us the appropriate punishment.
For Dante, one of the worst sins allegedly committed by Boniface was to preemptively absolve a man of sin -- in other words, to forgive him of a sin he was about to commit for his own benefit.
Today we refer to it as "teaching children self esteem" for doing both nothing and anything. No one has more self-esteem than the criminal or the leftist who boldly believes he is entitled to your stuff.
Boniface's "evil counselor," Guido da Montefeltro, is in Canto XXVII, while Boniface himself is first referred to back in Canto XIX, where we are told that he will reside in another precinct of the eighth circle for "taking by guile" and violating the "Lovely Lady," i.e., the Church.
Can't get much worse than that. If the Church is the temporal prolongation of Mary, where the eternal Word is ceaselessly conceived and given birth in the ground of the soul, then to violate Her is to poison the pneumacosmic economy at the very root. It is rape, it is incest, it is murder, and it is suicide, all rolled into one.
Which reminds us of another aphorism: What is thought against the Church, unless it is thought from within the Church, lacks interest.