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2005-10-19 21:10:00
Alex McKnight

I apologize if this seems rude. But I’m not here to say anything poor about Islam. In fact, I am quiet fascinated by the teachings in the Quran and Prophet Mohammad. But Abrihams article “The Fools they are” caught my eye. He mentioned the 16th century Miller, Mennochio who was eventually killed by order of Pope Clement the 8th. It’s actually a very interesting story, and I would like to contribute by telling your audience about the incident. It was 16th century France, a time of turmoil and confusion. The Church at this time was separate from Government, but all laws fell on Christian beliefs. This was the time when anyone could be accused of heresy and burned at the stake.

Mennochio was unlike the other peasants who worked on the fields, he was a wealthier peasant, a Miller. He had time and was able to read and write, while most peasants didn’t have that privilege. There wasn’t enough time to sit and learn to read or write, the peasants had to earn to make ends meat. Almost all villages had their own small church and a Priest to preach to the villagers. Mennochio was well liked among everyone. But he started to read books that were not on the Christian side. He read different theories on God and his creation, stating his metaphoric theory as the Cheese and the worm. One of those books read, was the Holy Quran; passed down to him by a Jew who converted to Islam. Soon, he began to talk to others about these new ideas. He intrigued everyone by his idea’s on religion and God.

Unfortunately for him, the Church found his jabber on religion to be a problem. Mennochio, like a good Christian, participated in ‘Confession’ (the Christian way to cleanse their sins). After that, the Clergy demanded that the Priest accuse Mennochio of heresy. The Priest reluctantly did. He felt that Mennochio was a good Christian still and was not a threat to the Church. Mennochio was held in Prison, tortured for information by the Church. They used Government inquisitors and Church inquisitors to question him, and put him on trial for a year.

Eventually, Mennochio promised not to discuss the Quran or the other books he had read. But after release, he broke that promise and continued to talk about his ideas. This time, the Church jailed him for months. They put him on trial and set out to rule him a heretic. The Inquisitors who interrogated him, found Mennochio to be talented and intelligent. During this time, people from the village willingly accused Mennochio of discussing his new religious and scientific knowledge with them. Mennochio had not given up anyone, and remained loyal to his friends, who had in the end turned on him. The only son who helped him died and soon so did his wife. His other children abandoned him, and depression fell on Mennochio. He was 67 and ailing. Frustrated by the State’s reluctance to kill Mennochio, the Pope stepped in and demanded he be burned.

Mennochio wrote a final letter to the Clergy, telling them that never meant to be evil, he always wanted to just be a good Christian; which he insisted he was. But Pope Clement the 8th demanded, and the Government burned Mennochio at the stake. He was 67.

It wasn’t just Mennochio alone. There were many others who were senselessly killed, burned alive on the stake, because the Church commanded it. Till this day, the Church has not apologized for the horrible murder of Mennochio. Nor do they recognize they had done something wrong. Hundreds were killed because they had a different out look on religion, who claimed that Mary was not a virgin; who claimed that Jesus was not the son of God. For those people, a sad ending fell on them. I leave this article with a short note though, I personally hold those people in high regard. Many had not even done anything to capture the Church’s attention. But in times of uncertainty and plague, they needed something to blame. The unseen devil was not enough, so they eliminated people calling them witches. The truth is, even today the Church will try to hide that terrible past.

I really hope that was informative to your readers. And hope that it will somehow inspire some to read up on Mennochio and the Church’s not so beautiful history.

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