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Pierce writes: "I'd like to highlight a bit of Olivia Nuzzi's story about the downfall of Steve Bannon within the upper echelons of Camp Runamuck in D.C. (Nuzzi's hiring by New York is the best personnel move of the past few years not made by Danny Ainge.)"

Steve Bannon. (photo: Getty Images)
Steve Bannon. (photo: Getty Images)


What Steve Bannon and Mel Gibson Have in Common

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

18 April 17

 

They're both big fans of a bonkers 19th century nun.

'd like to highlight a bit of Olivia Nuzzi's story about the downfall of Steve Bannon within the upper echelons of Camp Runamuck in D.C. (Nuzzi's hiring by New York is the best personnel move of the past few years not made by Danny Ainge.) All the stuff about the West Wing knife-fighting is interesting but, as a career RC with something of a sweet-tooth for the eccentrics in the history of Holy Mother Church, I was stopped in my tracks by this passage.

The embattled chief strategist to President Donald Trump is a student of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, a 19th-century nun and German mystic whose visions, documented in The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, served as inspiration for The Passion of the Christ, the 2003 film by Mel Gibson (who, incidentally, Bannon once reportedly tried to work with on a movie about, among other things, Adolf Hitler and eugenics). In that book, in a chapter favored by Bannon, this is how Emmerich describes hell: "All in this dreary abode tends to fill the mind with horror; not a word of comfort is heard or a consoling idea admitted; the one tremendous thought, that the justice of an all-powerful God inflicts on the damned nothing but what they have fully deserved, is the absorbing tremendous conviction which weighs down each heart." Those poor souls in hell are notable not for their misfortune, but for their deservedness."

Oh, dear Jesus, you should pardon the expression, not her again.

As noted above, Blessed Emmerich, an altogether splendid 19th century nutball, was one of the sources for Mel Gibson's sacred snuff film, in which, among other acts of cinematic embroidery, Jesus gets thrown off a bridge wearing what appears to be an anchor chain. Emmerich claimed to have had religious visions from childhood on, but she really went to town after entering a convent in Westphalia. There, having become ill and taken to bed, Emmerich began to have visions of the past and of the future. This enabled her to fill in some of the gaps in the gospel accounts of Jesus' life and, especially, the accounts of his death. For example, Emmerich asserted that the couple at whose wedding Jesus turned water into wine were so moved that they immediately took vows of perpetual chastity, which must have been a considerable drag.

Emmerich is primarily known for The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ After the Meditation of Anne Catherine Emmerich. This purports to be an account of Emmerich's visions, and it was written by a poet named Clemens Brentano, who did not take dictation or anything like it, but, rather, went back to his rooms and wrote down what he said were Emmerich's words. Later, various people published more of Brentano's ghostwriting, including a four-volume life of Christ. Unfortunately for devotees, and for modern readers, Brentano's account of Emmerich's visions included passages about Jews drinking the blood of Christian babies and about how Ham, the son of Noah, was the father of the world's "black, idolatrous, and stupid nations."

(All of this and more can be found in Paula Fredrikson's seminal treatment of Gibson's movie, which set off holy hell when it was published in The New Republic.)

Moreover, HMC never has known what to make of Emmerich. When the cause for her beatification was advanced, a huge dispute erupted over the material Brentano had published.(Were the writings merely meditations or authentic visions? Both? Neither?) In 1928, the Vatican stopped the process entirely. It did not resume until 1973 and, when it did, the writings were specifically excluded from it. Without them, of course, Emmerich simply was another sickly nun of the 1800s. And, in any case, the idea that an adherent of this crackpottery ascended to the highest councils of this government is just another truly weird development in what appears to be an ongoing parade of them.

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+34 # Wise woman 2017-04-19 03:00
There's just too much involvement with religion in this crazy administration. Truly spiritual people hold up the ideals of Jesus and the Buddha. Peace on earth, good will to all - all that nice stuff. They're really not too much into dogma and living their lives thru the lens of bigotry, racism, misogyny, etc. All that stuff is made up by very insecure people and their so-called religion. Sadly, there's way too much of that among white Christians.
 
 
+27 # backwards_cinderella 2017-04-19 03:43
"All in this dreary abode tends to fill the mind with horror; not a word of comfort is heard or a consoling idea admitted; the one tremendous thought, that the justice of an all-powerful God inflicts on the damned nothing but what they have fully deserved, is the absorbing tremendous conviction which weighs down each heart." Those poor souls in hell are notable not for their misfortune, but for their deservedness."

Sounds like the current administration.
 
 
+4 # Cassandra2012 2017-04-19 12:25
Socio-religious Darwinism at work ...

with more than a touch of blatant unsubstantiated 'reasoning' touting anti-Semitism for dessert!
 
 
+2 # Sandor 2017-04-20 17:44
[quote name="backwards _cinderella"]"A ll in this dreary abode tends to fill the mind with horror; not a word of comfort is heard or a consoling idea admitted; the one tremendous thought, that the justice of an all-powerful God inflicts on the damned nothing but what they have fully deserved, is the absorbing tremendous conviction which weighs down each heart." Those poor souls in hell are notable not for their misfortune, but for their deservedness."

What this really sounds like is Dante's INFERNO, lacking any trace of Dante's own sympathy and pity for so many of the damned. It is essential also that the idea that "an all all-powerful God inflicts" such punishments is Emmerich's, NOT Dante's.
 
 
+26 # ericlipps 2017-04-19 04:39
Well, what else can one expect? As the saying goes, a fish rots from the head. The Trump administration is in an advanced state of decomposition.
 
 
+19 # vt143 2017-04-19 05:51
One could posit that one who could render such a detailed account of hell might be none other than the devil...(Or, beware of devils in nun's clothing).
 
 
+18 # jussayin 2017-04-19 07:27
The mentally unstable, easily confused and scientifically illiterate seem to have an affinity for others like them. When in a position of power they like to display that power as a way, in their minds, to impress others or legitimize themselves. They might think it disguises their incompetence or distracts from the disasters and scandals of their making, but it doesn't for any with critical thinking skills.

Hence their attempts to continually defund, sabotage and cripple our educational system.
 
 
+1 # elkingo 2017-04-20 02:00
The fact that these dudes are followers of an outright delusional whack job - is even more menacing than the "ideas" of the original madwoman. Like "good Germans" signing on with Hitler. Only worse because Anne-Kathy has the venerable patina of the historical past. And to think Gibby Steve Baal were going in fact to do a film about Hitler... well...
 
 
+1 # Skyelav 2017-04-20 18:33
I am interested in Bannon's interest in eugenics (Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood was also as are and were others.) This extremist philosophy won a man the presidency even though, IMHO, the other plutocrats are firmly in charge, not the Koch Brothers and the Mercers.
 

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