By Maurizio Viroli
Religion and liberty are usually regarded as mutual enemies: if faith has a traditional best friend, it's authoritarianism--not republicanism or democracy. yet during this publication, Maurizio Viroli, a number one historian of republican political inspiration, demanding situations this traditional knowledge. He argues that political emancipation and the protection of political liberty have continually required the self-sacrifice of individuals with spiritual sentiments and a non secular devotion to liberty. this is often quite the case while liberty is threatened by way of authoritarianism: the staunchest defenders of liberty are those that think a deeply non secular dedication to it.
Viroli makes his case by way of reconstructing, for the 1st time, the historical past of the Italian "religion of liberty," masking its whole span yet targeting 3 key examples of political emancipation: the unfastened republics of the overdue center a while, the Risorgimento of the 19th century, and the antifascist Resistenza of the 20 th century. In every one instance, Viroli exhibits, a spiritual spirit that looked ethical and political liberty because the maximum items of human existence used to be basic to setting up and maintaining liberty. He additionally exhibits that once this spiritual sentiment has been corrupted or suffocated, Italians have misplaced their liberty.
This booklet makes a robust and provocative contribution to latest debates concerning the compatibility of faith and republicanism.
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Additional info for As If God Existed: Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy
8 In the Middle Ages, kings always strove to appear to their subjects as men illuminated by the glory of priesthood. 9 Besides the disrobing, the anointing, and the conferral of the ring, the royal religion’s signs were—especially in France—the healing of the scrofulous, Charlemagne’s relics, and the tradition of the Crusades. The king of France was called a holy king in a holy land, as witnessed by the royal lily, the fleur-de-lis, a symbol of holiness, with the three petals representing faith, doctrine, and military power.
Inasmuch as he has not taken holy orders, the king obviously cannot be a clergyman. 5 This logical argument was little appreciated by kings, even though they were eager to expand their power so as to undertake priestly functions. 6 The concept of a royal religion (religion royal) emerges with particular clarity in the Traité du sacre, written in 1372 by the Carmelite friar Jean Golein. 7 From the point of view of a more rigorous theology, like that established at the Council of Trent, such a doctrine would have been scandalous.
On such sad occasions, the podestà must reemphasize to the citizens that man’s life on earth is composed of just conscript service (Job 7:1), and that it is men’s duty to fight against pride, vainglory, avarice, and envy. The podestà must then explain that the soldier who falls for the country emigrates from earth to God (ad Deum). In order to assuage the suffering, he must quote the Bible’s admonition that “everything goes to the same place, / everything comes from the dust, / everything returns to the dust” (Eccles.
As If God Existed: Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy by Maurizio Viroli