About Erasmus of Rotterdam
- XVth century: Rotterdam,
between 1446 and 1469; and Basel,
reading a precedent note, a notice about Erasmus of Rotterdam: historian,
theologian, humanist, clergyman; friend of Thomas More, Chancellor of the
United Kingdom executed in the Tower of London … … I allowed me to speak about
his work, his trajectory and his great human conscience in a century, the XVth, in which to
think, and the worst, to dissent from the established systems and that from the
first steps of the Christian Era, was like to pay an early tribute to death
always interested and moved by the courage of a man whose Christian way of
thinking, must inexorably collide against the system of values inherited from
an adulterous hierarchy, with the excuse of a religious faith, in that case the
Christian one, or any other with spiritual base.
of Rotterdam, known this way, was Gerhardus Gerhardi, which name he changed for Desiderius
Erasmus: Latin words meaning “desired and amiable”, respectively. He was
disciple of Pope Adrian VI.
In Great Britain
and in Thomas Moro’s house, he wrote his famous Work: “The Praise of Folie”.
not a bastard
of the faith
he professed, the catholic one; instead the study of the
Holy Scriptures established him as legitimate son of that religion, in the
extent that the intellect and
good conscience assumes the
purity of his
teaching, that was not only oral, but written, based on Greek and Latin
always been interested by his life and his teachings; about all because he
loved the free thought and because he advocated a return to the simple pure
ethics of a religion,
whose main maxim was to love God and our fellow men.
men’s volubility; including clerical ones, whom he admonished for their
corrupted life, earned him big enemies. Spain
wanted to have him in her University
of Alcalá de Henares. It did not prosper.
Europe was convulsed. It was the Renaissance
epoch: an appropriate phrase for a society who parted from the Middle-Ages with
a new knowledge and a determined apostasy of the obscure times, where the
religious piety alternated with good habits’ depravation..
diatribes and his intent to return to the purity of the gospel, was greatly
promoted through the world of that time; a sad paradox of faith, confronted
with the ostentatious lifestyle of the clerical hierarchy, which did not suit
at all with the divine simplicity of the Gospel.
was, in some manner, the precursor of the Reformation, but he was not bearing
Martin Luther’s preaching.
had with him,
some theological affinity about Rome and
He was a pure honest man.
The person that
is writing this, thinks as Erasmus of Rotterdam in many
aspects of the life of today, which seams more addicted to an exultant
materialism than to spiritual cannons.
no doubt, men have the use of reason. Sometimes the reason of the insane,
sometimes the one of egoism without pity; when many profess the authentic faith,
perhaps with proper will, perhaps for conviction, colliding with that maxim of
Jesus: “Through their works, you will know them”.
of today has Christianity in the conscience, but also paganism. We have
liberty, but it is not clear enough. Into what does not matter, we are free;
but, yes, we accuse: liberty is restricted.
told: “Verity will make you free”. Who is using the truth, not for the liberty,
but for the honour and dignity? Free, we are : in the
mind. But free to communicate our thoughts to the others, I have my doubts. And
the intimate thought is not enough for man. To have a great knowledge without
sharing it, is to have a pseudo-null knowledge.
Confidence is an unavoidable part of life. To keep just for oneself secrets and
ideas, is an anomaly of the soul. A man cannot make
his life a sad soliloquy. He needs to throw out the happiness and tortures of
his soul, and when not directly from his soul, from its sensitive manifestations.
Is like water running out of the recipient capacity. The intimate part of a man needs a
confessor, not necessarily to forgive (which may be right), but to throw out
what the soul and the heart are no more able to keep inside. It occurs the same with the ideas. What can I and you do with them
if they remain closed in the mind. They may stay there for moments, for
days, for years perhaps; but at the end, they would constitute an essays or
work, in which we would confess our own convictions. “¿The evil is what goes
out of the mouth, or perhaps what belongs to the heart? I am asking myself,
thinking about Jesus. Both things, I guess. Because we are human, not divine. Because we are beasts, not angels. Liberty is a gift. Against this gift they
used violence, and the ecclesiastics also made brutal executions. And the worst
of all is that they did it in the name of the same God who proclaimed: “I am
of Rotterdam was keen of liberty, and all persons in love with freedom were his
disciples. They feared many anonymous, but were not afraid to other visible
things. Most of the time, they put their lives in danger. The relative freedom
we have today was not a philanthropic gift, neither from the Church nor from
the laymen. It is the product of centuries and, unfortunately, with the consent
of the God of Love. I remember that … “A tree’s leave shall not move without
the agreement of God”. Then, for me, foolish disciple of Erasmus, the Holy
Scriptures conduce me to faith, or to the same free
selfdetermination that caused disagreements between Luther and Erasmus.
and believe that we need a lot of “Erasmus of Rotterdam” in the word we are
living in. Because the word is full of trickeries and harangues ornamented with
fanaticism and ecclesiastic swindles, against which Erasmus was fighting. And
the most perverse of all is the fact that they were cheating innocents. This is
the tremendous, impossible to
forgive, offence of the hypocrisy of the
faith. And what is urging now is more modesty and austerity than splendour and
was the child of an ecclesiastic man. Was he the unique priest father? An
extra-human imposition, the one of obliging priests to remain celibate! Saint
Peter was married and many of his disciples new about that. Wedding is a
sacrament and “Grow and multiply” a divine request. If we do not obey, a human
desert will grow upon the green garden of the Earth.
We do not
love more when we are celibate than when we are together with a woman; and, if
we do love more, it would be a gift out of reach for men. Later, in the same
Church, the corruption and the outgoing sexual moral limits were a constant.
And also was the support to wars, in the name of who commanded: “You shall not
world of religions, in any of them, unmentionable crimes were committed by
Catholic, Reformer, Orthodox and pagan priests. The evil dwell into us and from
time to time, he finds opposition from the Good. Man is born for liberty and he
is responsible of his acts. Nevertheless, man’s acts are an imperious consequence
of his instincts; and not always a strong will is able to restrain them,
because the instincts are part of the creation. Virtue is a power that comes
from the Heights. Great saints before being exemplar were moral transgressors-
through sexual desires.
was a clergyman’s child; but, from what kind of clergyman he was the child?
From one who did not deserve priesthood? Was Peter a transgressor? Who read history,
not only part of history, but also what occurs in the world of today, would
understand that to obey is convenient for the reproductive organs.
transcription of the Holy Scriptures was modified in many occasions. Luther and
other Reformists fought against barbarian abuses, power and wealth: “Your soul
shall perish with you, who believe that the gift of God can be bought with gold
or argent”. Neither silver nor gold are able to buy God; because the Creation
itself worth more than metals; and the Christian salvation has been given as a
present, and its price was not metal, but blood. To make a life of splendour,
lawfully or not, when hunger kills so many people, who are thought to have a
soul, I do not believe it is a divine will. But religious people kill; and it
is also true that they assist wounded and poor people. What I mean is that
Erasmus deep interest for the Holy Scriptures was a profitable thing; and more,
the interest he had for the prohibited ones; prohibited against Jesus will, who
said: “Go meticulously through the Scriptures, because you believe they are the
truth and because they give testimony of me”. Then, who chained them,
disobeyed. They sent people to be hang and expropriated their wealth. These historical crimes
could only be fought by a free society and by the suppression of the faith
temporal power, which used to proclaim : “My kingdom
is not from this world”.
epoch must have been very complicated and dangerous ; like
the one of Saint John of
The Cross, Brother Luis of Leon,
Saint Teresa of Avila,
accused of apostasy in the Christian faith of centuries.
Christ cannot be against
science; because he,
himself, told that of: “Do you not know that you are gods?” And what are
gods doing, but create and command? Investigate to save lives means, not to
kill; and “YOU SHALL NOT KILL”, IS AN ORDER; a commandment for who professes a
faith like ours. What would Erasmus say, judging with his kin knowledge, about
the outrages of the present times.
opinion, men like Erasmus do not proliferate in our days, and just when we need
them so much! We can find some, but not so exemplary, in this world of great
progress and disorder.
ERASMUS IS ALIVE. I sense it in my soul, even though, I do not know what is the
soul and where it is located.
Author: Ricardo Rubio
version by Mariette Cirerol
– The thinker
By José de Ribera, el
Españolito (the Spagniard)
An illustration of Erasmus is to be seen in the Spanish version.