An Early Experiment

Speaking of the Apostolic Brethren of the late medieval ages, Umberto Eco records Brother Remigio’s words:

“And we burned and looted because we had proclaimed poverty the universal law, and we had the right to appropriate the illegitimate riches of others, and we wanted to strike at the heart of the network of greed that extended from parish to parish, but we never looted in order to possess, or killed in order to loot; we killed to punish, to purify the impure through blood. Perhaps we were driven by an overweening desire for justice: a man can sin also through overweening love of God, through superabundance of perfection. We were the true spiritual congregation sent by the Lord and destined for the glory of the last days; we sought our reward in paradise, hastening the time ofyour destruction. We alone were the apostles of Christ, all others had betrayed him, and Gherardo Segarelli had been a divine plant, planta Dei pullulans in radice fidei; our Rule came to us directly from God. We had to kill the innocent as well, in order to kill all of you more quickly. We wanted a better world, of peace and sweetness and happiness for all, we wanted to kill the war that you brought on with your greed, because you reproached us when, to establish justice and happiness, we had to shed a little blood. . . . The fact is . . . the fact is that it did not take much, the hastening, and it was worth turning the waters of the Camasco red that day at Stavello, there was our own blood, too, we did not spare ourselves, our blood and your blood, much of it, at once, immediately, the times of Dolcino’s prophecy were at hand, we had to hasten the course of events….”

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