Posted by Censor Librorum on Aug 24, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Savonarola has reappeared on the Catholic stage. He’s being pushed for sainthood. He is also a role model for all the “reformers” who swear to their orthodoxy and commitment to the Gospel, and vow to clean up the church starting with homosexuals.

More than 500 years after being burned at the stake as a heretic, Dominican Friar Girolamo Savonarola can still stir deep passions.

A public tiff in Italy between members of the Dominicans and the Jesuits over the campaign to canonize Savonarola is the latest proof of his enduring power to divide.

Last year Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli of Florence convened a historical commission in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of Savonarola’s death. Italian media accounts suggest the commission is likely to issue a positive report, which could clear the way for an investigation by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

This past summer L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, paid tribute to Savonarola. The paper called him “a tireless preacher for moral reform of civil society.”

Girolamo Savonarola’s rise began at age 20 when he wrote the poem De Ruina Mundi (On the Downfall of the World), followed by De Ruina Ecclesiae (On the Downfall of the Church), in which he severely criticized the Catholic Church. He hated Pope Alexander VI.

Savonarola was an intense Dominican preacher whose sermons focused on the Last Days, the sinfulness of the times, the lax morals. He encouraged the repression of homosexuals. He believed the republic of Florence should be a Christian Commonwealth. He had visions and made prophetic pronouncements of his direct communication with God.

After the French invaded Florence and the ruling Medici family was overthrown, Savonarola became a leader of the city. He set up a “Christian and religious Republic.” One of his first acts was to make sodomy into a capital offense.

During the carnival of 1497 he organized the famous “Bonfires of the Vanities.” Savonarola organized troops of his followers to go house to house collecting immoral items-mirrors, cosmetics, “pagan” books and paintings where female bodies were displayed unclothed. Botticelli, a very sensitive soul, was so impressed (or so terrified) by Savonarola that he threw many of his paintings on the bonfires.

As Savonarola grew more extreme in his views Florence grew tired of him. After getting trashed up and down, having every overture of reconciliation rejected, the Pope finally had it, too, and excommunicated him. He was arrested, and charged with heresy, sedition and religious error.

In a cruel twist of irony, he was burned at the same spot where the bonfires of the vanities took place. It was written that his executioner lit the flame exclaiming: “The one who wanted to burn me is now himself put to the flames.”

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