Tom McMahon's magic carpet takes us sweeping back across the Atlantic today to the Aztec Civilisation of Central America. At the end of his commentary we pose the question: how much does this increasing study of other religions in society today threaten Catholic hegemony to be the only true religion?
There are brutal genetics from old time Rome still around...
Last trip we had met Julian the supposed Apostate in 342 c.e. at Rome's Trevi and threw our three lucky coins in the Fountain. I felt for Julian as he protested the cruel way his father had been murdered along with others who disagreed with the Roman bishops of the day. After he left the newly empowered catholic group as emperor he reopened the pagan temples and restored the lands confiscated from the state priests who had served the people in a large number of "non-Christian" ways for centuries. The Jewish population which was large and scattered throughout the Roman Empire was rarely challenged as the Romans had a high respect for the antiquity of the Judaic religion. Because he was a whistle blower Julian get a bad name, much like the present day roman church's treatment of forced retired Australian Bishop William Morris and the American nuns who have been accused by the Vatican for religious infidelity as they espoused the social justice issues proposed by Jesus. The present day Vatican is paranoid-schizophrenic in it's religion. Strange how when humans sense their power position is in danger they make up lies and label others with falsehoods ... and the people listen with indifference. There are brutal genetics from old time Rome still around.
The magic carpet flies off to investigate the gods of the Aztecs...
The auto pilot on the magic carpet is set for the 15th century and a visit to what is now the nation of Mexico. We are there in a flash and we happen upon a worship service of the sun god. Ah, there is the stone altar and on it there is a naked human being and the priests are ripping out his still beating heart. Someone in the clerical hierarchy has determined that the sun god demands human sacrifice to keep the sun interested in vitalizing human life. This also justifies the Aztec practice of warring on small tribes so as to capture males for religious and political purpose. Is this a base for a just war theory? Anything goes if it is for the glory of the gods. I wonder if discretely retired Cardinal Bernard Law was thinking this way?
Somewhat like the Egyptians of 2000 b.c.e. these astro-orientated priests had an elaborate chronicle of the stars and planets, their main god being the sun which dips at night into the bowels of the earth to emerge the next morning risen in full power. Aztec theology holds that the sun god will not return unless bleeding still beating hearts are offered in worship. The Christian Catholic Herman Cortez was appalled by this brutality yet he himself thought nothing of killing indigenous peoples who according to the Roman Church had no souls and thus could not go to heaven ... unless they were baptized by the good padres who came with the Spanish army.
The history of the Catholic Church in Central and South America has been a scandal up until the people and local clergy spoke out at Medellin. Liberation Theology and this peoples' movement was condemned and avoided by the Vatican as communist.
Liberation theology is a political movement in Christian theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in terms of a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described by proponents as "an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor's suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor", and by detractors as Christianized Marxism.
Although liberation theology has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as a movement within the Roman Catholic church in Latin America in the 1950s-1960s. Liberation theology arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty caused by social injustice in that region. The term was coined in 1971 by the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement's most famous books, A Theology of Liberation. Other noted exponents are Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of El Salvador, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay.
Mexico was invented many years ago by the Toltecs, Mixtecs, Med-Tecs, Hi-tecs, and Lo-Tecs. These ancient peoples were obsessed by time, and built many pyramids. They devised calendars to predict with remarkable accuracy the timing of comets, eclipses, and long holiday weekends. The next civilization to appear in Mexico was the Aztecs; they had a dark side: they invented the marimba and, they practiced blood sacrifice. First, throngs of Aztec priests would work themselves into a frenzy by playing "Cielito Lindo" over and over again on their marimbas. Then, the head priest would place a young man on a stone calendar and eat his heart out. It was a sight to curdle the blood. The priests wore black vestibules and skin shirts and had greasy locks. They dominated Aztec society in the time of its last god-king, Quacktemoc. About the same time, Herman Cortex arrived from Toledo, Spain with his mounted band called the Conquistadors., 1519 c.e. He landed on the coast and soon enough heard about Acapulco Gold which made him very greedy.
Lest one think that the sun god was the only god take a look at the list on the side. (LINK ….sent separately) Here a short list follows, less than 10% of their pantheon. Note the connection to nature. I'll bet there was an exclusive type priesthood that lived well.
Acolnahuacatl, or Acolmiztli - a god of the underworld, Mictlan
Let us stay around the ancient sites in Central America and ask if the Catholic Spain did any good for the people? Wikipedia has a good historical study. Here's a snippet.
The city was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan, and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards.
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Tom in San Jose, Ca. 19May2012
What are your thoughts on this commentary?