My Photo
Location: California, United States

Monday, January 14, 2013

St. Francis and Umberto Eco

- Eberbach Abbey where they filmed The Name of the Rose

There's a post at the Episcopal Cafe about Francis of Assisi and it reminded me of a past post of mine on the Spirituals (Fraticelli) and Umberto Eco's book, The Name of the Rose. Here's part of what I wrote ...

[A]fter Florence had been put under inderdict in 1376 by Gregory XI, the Fraticelli, who had previously been deemed heretics, re-emerged in Florence ....

The Fraticelli ("Little Brethren") were extreme proponents of the rule of Saint Francis of Assisi, especially with regard to poverty, and regarded the wealth of the Church as scandalous, and that of individual churchmen as invalidating their status. They were thus forced into open revolt against the whole authority of the Church .... Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose is set against the persecution of Fraticelli.

But anyway, the Episcopal Cafe post quotes a review in The New Yorker of a couple of books on Francis and how his movement was in a way co-opted by the church. Here's a bit of that quote ...

The schism that opened between Francis and the centrist members of the order has never healed. The minute he died, the Church redoubled its campaign of annexing this revered man .... Some of Francis’s companions survived him for many years and remained true to his code, as did other, later recruits who joined the order because of the code. From these loyalists came the so-called Spirituals, who loudly opposed any abandonment of Francis’s rules. The Church eventually disciplined them. In 1323, the Pope declared that anyone who claimed that Jesus and his disciples lived in absolute poverty (part of the inspiration for Francis’s rule) was guilty of heresy. Some of the Spirituals were put to death.

This makes me think of that scene from the movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon ...

The Barefoot Prince from Travels in Transmedia on Vimeo.


Blogger Daniel Imburgia said...

I am an ardent admirer of Saint Francis, thanks for the link to the book reviews. I have been to Assisi and I love Francis' little chapel, but I like the cathedral that they built over it too. As an artist I really like the fading Giotto's too. I am not overly discouraged by the Church's unscrupulous actions. I guess I have just come to see it as something to be both borne with grace and resisted with humility. Much obliged.

9:19 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Daniel,

I like Francis and Giotto too :) Wealth does = a lot of beautiful art and architecture being financed. But at the end of the day, I guess I'd rather have the church spend its money on people not on things, even things of beauty.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

Both movies--I love them both.

4:26 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Dina,

I haven't actually seen The Name of the Rose - must watch that sometime :)

8:39 AM  
Blogger Daniel Imburgia said...

I reckon you have read and/or seen The Shoes of the Fisherman Crystal? I rewatched it recently, and really was inspired by it. I'm in favor of radical dis-possession of wealth for the church/Churc and I agree that the real needs of people are more important than art (and I say that as an artist). We can have both, but we should first attend to the physical needs. Much obliged

8:22 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


No, I haven't read or watched it, though the title is familiar. Maybe I can find it at the library. Thanks :)

In a way this reminds me of my post about Aaron Swartz ... how to balance private property with the sharing of everything.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

I was so impressed by the Archbishop of Greece, offering to share church land for people to farm as things get tougher in Greece.

4:30 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Dina, thanks for the link :)

1:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home