|"Just my soul? Seems like a good idea!"|
Successful writer, age 20
The very existence of a book like The Monk reminds me of a line from the prophecy of The Virgin at La Salette, where she says:
Evil books will be abundant on earth and the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening of all that concerns the service of God.I cannot help but wonder if The Monk would be considered such an "evil book." It has always seemed to me to be written with the intention of delighting the reader with the scandalous ruination of a Catholic in a religious station. The pleasures and schadenfreude that this work offered weren't exactly wholesome for the time it was written. The Monk was condemned by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as being blasphemous and obscene, but Lewis was praised by the Marquis de Sade.
It goes without saying that this sultry and sensational work was an immediate best seller. Lewis was only 20 years old.
Hear me out, and let me tell you this story.
Summary of Matthew Lewis' The Monk
The story takes place in Spain, which at that time was a land of heated, romantic, unbridled passion. There, in Madrid, the people have unquenched desire. They clamor all over one another, there at the Church of the Capuchins. They are a fomented, overzealous mob.
Do not encourage the idea that the crowd was assembled either from motives of piety or thirst of information. But very few were influenced by those reasons; and in a city where superstition reigns with such despotic sway as in Madrid, to seek for true devotion would be a fruitless attempt.
One cannot help but wonder if Lewis is painting his target audience here.
After some waiting, the man of the hour arrives. The monk himself, "The Man of Holiness," Ambrosio, Abbot of the Capuchins, steps out to give his sermon. And his sermon is a demonstration of his ability to spell-bound the crowd. And, for that matter, the crowd is not a devout collection of the faithful. The entire episode is a show.
Now, there are a few
fresh victims characters I should introduce at this point. There is the strapping young Lorenzo and the beautiful Antonia who meet during Ambrosio's sermon. There is a second couple named Raymond and Agnes (Lorenzo's sister)--and real quick, these two get separated, but are reunited at the end; Agnes, who was pregnant, was cruelly kept in a convent by a prioress at the bottom of a secret staircase in a crypt.
A couple more characters I should mention include Elvira, Antonia's mother. And then there's Matilda, a mysterious woman who comes to Ambrosio (the monk) because she's infatuated with him. Oh, and even the ghostly Wandering Jew makes a cameo appearance. I'll never forget that scene. (Let me know in the comments if you want me to provide you with that scene.)
Amid all of the scandal, demons, and ghosts, the story goes like this.
Ambrosio seems like a pious monk to the public. But then we get a scene of him where is admiring a painting of the Virgin in a highly inappropriate sexual manner:
"Oh! If such a creature existed, and existed but for me! Were I permitted to twine round my fingers those golden ringlets, and press with my lips the treasures of that snowy bosom!"
This is the interior mind of this "man of God." He is not holy, but compromised.
When he is eventually approached by Matilda, who seems to be a witch, her charm overcomes Ambrosio. This woman appears obsessed with him. As a matter of fact, at a point in the story, Matilda admits that she was the object of study in that portrait of the Virgin he admired:
"Yes, Ambrosio; In Matilda de Villanegas you see the original of your beloved Madonna. Soon after I conceived my unfortunate passion, I formed the project of conveying to you my picture...I heard you daily extol the praises of my portrait."
As expected, the monk breaks his vows and has sex with Matilda, who seems somehow more aloof to the natural order of the universe than Ambrosio realizes.
Ambrosio then becomes overcome with lust for Antonia--the innocent young girl I mentioned in the beginning. He keeps visiting her family's house. He deceives the family and says he's there to counsel Antonia's ailing mother, Elvira. But Elvira, seeing through the pretense, tells the monk to leave before he harms the girl.
|"This deal seems legit!"|
Matilda, at this point, helps Ambrosio by summoning a demon for him. The demon gives the monk a magic myrtle branch that unlocks the doors of Antonia's house. When Ambrosio the monk goes into the girl's house one night, her mother catches Ambrosio. So...the monk kills her mother and runs off.
Later, when Antonia is stricken mad with grief because she thought she saw her mother's ghost, Ambrosio the monk rushed "to her rescue" to take advantage of her. He is advised by his lover Matilda to give the girl a drink that makes her sleep. The monk then takes Antonia down to a dark crypt, rapes her, and then stabs her to death before she can escape.
Ambrosio and Matilda are turned over to the Inquisition, as they are at this point known for rape, murder, and sorcery. But then, Matilda convinces Ambrosio to sign his soul over in blood to the devil in order to avoid the execution.
At that point, a devil appears to Ambrosio and helps him escape:
"'I have triumphed! You are mine past reprieve, and I fulfill my promise.' While he spoke, the door unclosed. Instantly the demon grasped one of Ambrosio's arms, spread his broad pinions, and sprang with him into the air. The roof opened as they soared upwards, and closed again when they had quitted the dungeon."
|"Goodness, what a surprise! I|
totally didn't expect this to happen!"
The fiend reveals that that Matilda was also a demon all along, that Antonia was actually his sister, and that Elvira was his mother. Ambrosio is then carried upward, dropped onto a sharp rocky precipice, from which the monk tumbles down to a river bank, and while still barely alive, his blood is being drunken by swarms of insects, and his body is ripped apart by the crooked beaks of wild mountain eagles.
The Monk Ambrosio Compared To Today's FrancisChurch Priests
I can remember the awkward confusion I felt as I witnessed my professor get a perverse thrill from teaching us about this novel. It was downright naughty for its time, and certainly, it paints the Catholic Church in a bad light.
So, yes it is a very horrible thing when a monk involves himself with sorcery, breaks his vows of chastity with a woman, rapes his sister, and kills his mother. That's pretty bad. BUT IT IS NOTHING COMPARED TO A COCAINE-FUELED GAY ORGY IN THE VATICAN THAT'S HOSTED BY A HIGH-RANKING VATICAN MONSIGNOR.
I do not think that even the writer Matthew Lewis could have conceived of the kind of evil that now takes place in the center of what was once Christendom. In The Monk, Ambrosio is led by his passions from one trainwreck into another. His actions are not thought out. They are hasty. They are rash. He gives into temptation, but he's no warlock. He's a fool who got played by the Devil.
|For those not in the know, this homo-erotic|
picture is actually a mural in a church, commissioned by
Archbishop Paglia. That's him in the picture, with the hat.
A Vatican apartment filled with a drug-induced naked sausage party is another thing altogether. It requires premeditation, arrangements, coordination, and a thought-out schedule. "Let's all get together on this night in this place, purchase these drugs, have this kind of sex from this time to this time. Be sure to contact this guy, this guy, and that guy, and make sure they tell so and so." This is nothing like what Ambrosio did.
At least Ambrosio the monk was attracted to women. But this orgy...this vile thing that happened this year...this is planned evil. These men have engaged themselves in a long-term commitment to wickedness. This kind of diabolical depravity is a systemic groupthink with those priests, and their lives are attached to a program of sorts that enables this kind of crime.
Ambrosio was merely a lustful heterosexual idiot bumping into one demon after another. At the end of his life, cornered by the demon, he actually gave a thought to repentance shortly before the devil destroyed his hope:
"On hearing this sentence, dreadful were the feelings of the devoted wretch! He sank upon his knees, and raised his hands towards Heaven. The fiend read his intention and prevented it--
"'What?' he cried, darting at him a look of fury: 'Dare you still implore the Eternal's mercy? Would you feign penitence, and again act an hypocrite's part? Villain, resign your hopes of pardon. Thus I secure my prey!'"
The monk Ambrosio had a touch of remorse. Although out of self-preservation, he at least gave Heaven a glance with regret, and desired a last chance to correct his soul.
But the sodomite club in the Vatican is not populated by monks. It consisted of priests, which is a much higher office and greater responsibility than a monk. In fact, Monsignor Luigi Capozzi--the drug-running host of these recurrent orgies--was set to become a bishop, courtesy of his boss, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, who has often said that Catholic leaders should focus on the "positive elements" of faggotry, and emphasize the "positive realities" of such
homosexual relationships brief encounters.
Sodomites typically have no remorse. They're usually narcissists. And narcissists are unlikely to care about anything external to their own egos and pleasures. Narcissists like that scoff at religion, and they are happy to try to change the Faith if they can--as we have seen with Cardinal Cocco. Groups like the Coco Club don't bump into one accidental fling after another as the monk Ambrosio did. Instead, they flaunt their gay pride, and they look at traditional morality as a societal and temporary inconvenience.
If these men remain unrepentant, then their afterlife tortures will resemble a fate far worse than Ambrosio's death:
As He said this, darting his talons into the Monk's shaven crown, He sprang with him from the rock. The Caves and mountains rang with Ambrosio's shrieks. The Daemon continued to soar aloft, till reaching a dreadful height, He released the sufferer. Headlong fell the Monk through the airy waste; The sharp point of a rock received him; and He rolled from precipice to precipice, till bruised and mangled He rested on the river's banks. Life still existed in his miserable frame: He attempted in vain to raise himself; His broken and dislocated limbs refused to perform their office, nor was He able to quit the spot where He had first fallen. The Sun now rose above the horizon; Its scorching beams darted full upon the head of the expiring Sinner. Myriads of insects were called forth by the warmth; They drank the blood which trickled from Ambrosio's wounds; He had no power to drive them from him, and they fastened upon his sores, darted their stings into his body, covered him with their multitudes, and inflicted on him tortures the most exquisite and insupportable. The Eagles of the rock tore his flesh piecemeal, and dug out his eyeballs with their crooked beaks. A burning thirst tormented him; He heard the river's murmur as it rolled beside him, but strove in vain to drag himself towards the sound. Blind, maimed, helpless, and despairing, venting his rage in blasphemy and curses, execrating his existence, yet dreading the arrival of death destined to yield him up to greater torments, six miserable days did the Villain languish. On the Seventh a violent storm arose: The winds in fury rent up rocks and forests: The sky was now black with clouds, now sheeted with fire: The rain fell in torrents; It swelled the stream; The waves overflowed their banks; They reached the spot where Ambrosio lay, and when they abated carried with them into the river the Corse of the despairing Monk.