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From Hell to Heaven

Chapter 219 - Archbishop Migazi’s true nature. He speaks to Joseph. A glance into deepest priestly night

1. Says Joseph: “Yes, I recognize him by his gait; it is he. Oh Lord, what an apparition – a veritable ogre! A so-called Tiara hangs over a mere skeleton, with a Bishops’ mitre rattling upon its skull.

2. This feculent figure is traipsing towards us with discernible wobble. I’m raring to know what this monster is up to!”

3. Say I: “It shall be trouble enough for you, but you must not let anything upset you, because these beings are to be regarded as more or less demented.”

4. Says Joseph: “What amazes me about this person is that upon Earth he was one of the brightest, and more in line with my own views than any in my dominion. The Archbishops of Salzburg, Prague, Olmuz, Erlau, Augram, Trieste, Venice, Trient and Mailand gave me far more trouble than myViennese one. I must actually admit that, in my reform works, he rendered me many a good service, for which reason I am at a loss about his pitiable state.”

5. Say I: “My dear brother, this Archbishop Migazzi was one who knew how to wear his coat as the wind blows. He looked the clots over to see if he can bend them over his knees; the too massive and powerful he let go but gilded him, that the sight of such would exhibit his new power, for whoever walks hand in hand with a powerful emperor on Earth is accorded almost as much respect as the emperor himself.

6. Archbishop Migazzi well recognized the derision one would incur under your reign, if perceived as sticking too closely with the Pope, who at the time was much dependent upon Austria. Hence he joined up with you and secretly became an underhand lawgiver to the Pope. For he kept up correspondence with the papal throne, telling same to keep within your favour. The Pope, needing to inform himself, therewith gave the Archbishop Migazzi a sense of triumph as a kind of Pope over the Pope.

7. Behold, that was why the Viennese Archbishop stuck to you! But you would deceive yourself thinking that that was also his inner attitude. For there he was more pope than the pope himself and far more Roman than all his colleagues. I say unto you that secretly he hated you more than death, yet your enabling him to as it were be a Pope over the Pope made him support your reform efforts and stay close to you. Does the man that walked hand in hand with you upon earth now make sense?”

8. Says Joseph: “Well, you perverse fellow! That is the last thing I would have thought of this man! Let those indeed who would excel in politics go the black, scarlet and purple-coats, and his progress will surpass anything Satan can offer. Just wait, black politician, you shall find me a hard bone to gnaw!”

9. Say I: “Mind he doesn’t turn out the much harder of you two, for I tell you he has tried all ointments and that it is no easy task even for an ever-so enlightened spirit to lead such anointed unto the right path. Hence take hold of yourself, he is nearly here and will soon notice us.”

10. Archbishop Migazzi has spotted him, rushing up to him with screeching tone: “Greetings, brother Joseph; how did you end up in this miserable hole?” Says Joseph: “to pay you a visit, brother!” Says Archbishop Migazzi: “Nice of you; should you however turn out to still be the arch-heretic you were on Earth, then you shall obtain a lousy reception over here!”

11. Says Joseph: “Not to worry, for you know that a Joseph manages to organize a good reception for himself everywhere. Say whatever you will, and I’ll always give you the answer I gave the Venetian Patriarch when shown a painting where the Pope is seen climbing upon his steed over the enfeebled emperor’s neck, to look down upon the emperor with scorn.”

12. Asks Archbishop Migazzi: “And what response might that have been?” Says Joseph ”Tempi passati” – i. e. these are times gone by! No one speaks differently! “– as I will say, should you come up with something not to my taste. Be advised that to you I have not ceased being emperor. But say unto me how you fare, and what you are doing over here.”

13. Says Archbishop Migazzi: “What foolish question; look at my face, shrunk to the bone and speaking for itself, whilst my work is indicated by my clothing! The world will have itself deceived, so let it be deceived! – That has always been and still is our business. The world does not wish to make use of its greatest wonder – divine reason and equivalent mind. It wants a miracle-based faith that it may do away with burdensome thought, making it plainly hanker after deceit. Hence let it be deceived!

14. Every bit of miracle is delusion, but this concerns foolish man little, so long as he can stare at something miracle-like, whilst the true works of God leave him unimpressed. Sun, moon and stars; glorious Earth with its wonders without number or measure is hair cream to oxish man. But throwing a ball in a seemingly empty vessel and taking out three is wonder upon wonder. And that’s how mankind now is and will be for as long as there are men upon Earth. Hence the Jesuit principle is the best that human reason has invented, for it is taken from man’s most innate nature itself.

15. The wise Egyptians have brought forth one of the best religions, based purely on mysteries and magic of every kind. Wherefore it prevails for over two thousand years. Once certain friends of the people arose and began exposing the bluff of their ‘holy’ religion, plenty of enemies of the priests and their religion arose; temples were destroyed and priests frequently either killed or driven from the land. What did the people gain? Nothing but want, misery, hopelessness and finally the complete disintegration of their national identity and their ancient, almost divine renown! Would it not be better if such social benefactors had never arisen among the Egyptian fold? The people would have remained happy in their foolishness. And the priesthood, as the only ones aware that man is nothing and can look forward to nothing, eternally, could have enjoyed their income, being untiringly engaged in maintaining faith in God and immortality, and assuring them an existence of hope as reward for therewith relieving the people of their greatest burden by taking it upon their own necks and being the only ones constantly looking towards everlasting ruin.

16. Just let the people gain the conviction that there is no life after death, and you shall soon see them lapse into all sorts of degeneration: The priestly caste takes all this upon its shoulders. It alone courageously looks towards everlasting destruction, being the only ones capable of realizing the advantages of non-existence over existence. It therefore is the ultimate ingratitude to present these greatest benefactors of mankind as the peoples’ deceivers. They indeed are so but not for the detriment but the benefit of nations!

17. Why are the Chinese and Japanese perhaps the happiest peoples upon Earth? Because they have never been disturbed in their stupidity, their wise regents seeing to it that their peoples never gain any sort of enlightenment. Those few who endeavoured to bring these nations a so-called minimal light were served up shockingly, making it unlikely for others to arise.

18. You yourself, my most esteemed friend, when regent, instead of walking hand in hand with the priesthood, opened them up a wound which shall hardly ever be healed by time. How should a true Archbishop assess you, and how indeed the more sensible part of mankind? You took away the one without giving them anything better!

19. If a man is happy in his stupidity, why awaken him to make him unhappy? All people are delinquents, subject to death; when the delinquent sleeps, he is happy in his dream. But what on awakening? Then he is gripped by the thought of death and is unspeakably sad! Say, did he who roused him from sleep render him a favour?

20. The church does not call itself mother for nothing, for it is to the nations what a mother is to her children, giving them sleeping – food and drink to prevent them seeing the world’s wretchedness. Whoever clings to the church employing its aids shall truly never feel the pangs of death; what will you say? Will you come up with one of your foolish responses again?”

21. Says Joseph, curtly and laconically: “Friend, through your shallow words you have only shown that the priesthood finds itself in crassest perpetual ignorance, and endeavours to constantly burden all nations therewith for solid money. I and thousands of like-minded people never doubted the immortality of our souls, although we were familiar with the facts of life, praise God. But our faith was not a blind but a vividly seeing one. We felt however that all mankind could gain such in sight if not held back by the blind ecclesiastical hierarchy. And this, my friend, was the reason for our resistance!”

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