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From Hell to Heaven
Chapter 222 - Migazzi’s self-dialogue. He is minded to acknowledge the Lord but fears his colleagues. Joseph steps in
1. Says Archbishop Migazzi: “Let me consider this for a moment before responding in a worthy manner!” - wherewith the Archbishop places three fingers of his right hand upon his brow, saying to himself: “By my most depraved life, this Joseph is more orthodox than I who am an Archbishop and cardinal; if it was not too embarrassing I would be obliged to accept what he told me about this Jew; had I been by myself it would already be done, but my numerous colleagues, who co-inhabit this Vatican with me, would now conjure up all devils from hell if I were to do so. If only I knew what the right thing is, as my colleagues are watching with Argus eyes and eavesdropping with Midas ears. Only the appearance of joining this company, and these fellows would attack me like hungry dogs. Oh Joseph, everything you said about Rome is true; I know only too well it is so. But belonging to their band, what can one do?
2. Officially one has to put on a show and perform actions which are boring enough for vomiting and are silly, making the people believe what one would not believe oneself for all the world. One has to put on Godlike airs even whilst one’s standing is far below that of swineherd; what does one as Archbishop and Cardinal amount to? Nothing whatever! One has no real skill and at the lofty height of Archbishop one barely learns to manage one’s finances, endowing one’s lofty ecclesiastical regimen with crushing dignity and keeping hell open perpetually, rather than heaven. This is the lofty office of an Archbishop! Surely one ought to upbraid one’s ears constantly with: ‘what you are acting out is in itself nothing’. Men certainly could not cope without shoemaker and tailor, but easily so without an Archbishop. This is indisputable truth, yet who would dare confess it publically? Verily – nice business for a man of honour!
3. ‘Joseph, you are right, but if I concede it to you they will attack and shut me up; if only I could find a way out of this corner I would joyfully do it, yet how would I fare then? I know as well as you do that I have already died physically, my dear friend Joseph, and that I find myself in the world of spirits close on sixty years or over, although I did not whilst in the world believe in this; but let me beware of hinting this to my colleagues!
4. Oh Joseph, just help me get away from my colleagues, and you shall get a different picture of your Migazzi! I always lent you a hand where possible, but it is a shame that I can’t be forthright with you. You indeed know Rome, but I know it better, for I know its foundations. Unless some Hercules makes their heads shorter there shall be no daylight upon Earth!”
5. After talking to himself like that, the Archbishop lets out a sigh, saying to Joseph: “Dear Friend, you have waited patiently for a worthy answer, but I can’t give you one, notwithstanding all my ruminations; for there are things between moon and sun of which no human wisdom has dreamt yet; I hope you get me!”
6. Says Joseph: “ Yes, I understand you, and there are numerous arch-parsons within these chambers whom you fear as vainly as for your lofty archbishop’s dignity. Behold, the Lord has opened the ear of my heart and I heard your ruminations, wherefore I already have your answer. Henceforth you are my friend and the Lord will correct what you still lack, but let go of your dim-witted colleagues; I assure you they shall do you no harm. Nor did we come here on their, but on your account, because I know you. If you are with us, then we are finished here; but turn to the Lord now and He shall heal you with one word!”
7. Says the Archbishop: “ Dear friend Joseph, you know that I agree with everything that you regard as right and good and true; but that this admittedly upright man and son of Abraham should be the godly master from Nazareth is beyond me! Jesus the Lord should surely disport some hint of the glory of His Heavenly Father, yet no more godliness transpires from this one than from any other ordinary human.
8. But let it be as it will: Christ, God’s anointed is the true high priest from eternity and is God’s love towards mankind. If He shows me, a sinner, love, then He is my Christ and Saviour, even if in the grab of a shoemaker’s apprentice! But if He shows me no love, treating me like a Roman parson would, then I care nothing for Him.
9. Unfortunately I was a Roman High Priest myself and had to preach about the only blessing church, condemning everything not bending its knees before the Tiara. But I did not take such condemnations too seriously, having never in my life believed in a purgatory or even less in a hell, not being able to equate such with divine love and wisdom. And secondly I loved mankind too much to condemn even the worst of them for eternity.
10. Even the most wicked one can be so for only a time, and probably had such disposition only from the beginning, being unable to act differently. If such villain- after trials of his nature, upbringing, motivations and life circumstances was properly punished already on Earth, or he in the spirit world, until he reformed, then his punishment is good and righteous. But an everlasting punishment for a temporal transgression surely cannot be one chosen by God’s highest wisdom and love! Such would indeed be redolent of a tyrant but never of a God of love!
11. From this you may gather that I was no parson internally, because my philanthropic principles held me back. If I find Christ the way He is rather than the way Rome preaches Him, then He is welcome to me even in the garb of a shoemaker’s apprentice. Should He be of the Roman variety, then God show us grace and mercy! Then eternally burning hell is our lot, with no escape!”
12. Says Joseph: “ I fully agree with you; with this Christ however you will find that one you are looking for; a Lord who has grown into your heart, as He has done completely with us. You shall not be able to imagine a wiser or better Christ than this only true One. From that you can deduce that I too could never imagine a vengeful God but only a mild Father full of earnest love and wisdom and my consequently mild criminal law which completely abolished the terrible death penalty, sentencing even the worst criminals to penalties through which they can become human again. And I am not conscious of ever having applied any evil or vengeful motivation throughout. From this you will gather-. . .
13. Here the Archbishop interrupts Joseph: “Indeed, I see that you were a noble regent and a true human after the will of God! And I also therewith acknowledge your friend as Christ, may I fare whichever way. My colleagues shall soon attack me like devils, but Migazzi will keep his resolve! I hear them coming!”
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