The Vatican has dismissed as a heretic a mystical medieval monk apparently cited by Barack Obama as a moral authority and visionary.
According to Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household, the US President referred in campaign speeches to Gioacchino da Fiore, or Joachim of Fiore, as a ''master of contemporary civilisation'' who had sought to create a better world. Drawing on the Book of Revelation, Gioacchino envisaged a "new age of the Holy Spirit" in which the Church hierarchy would cease to exist and Christians would unite with infidels in an "Order of the Just".
Dante refers to Gioacchino da Fiore, who lived from 1130 to 1202, as a ''gifted prophet'' in The Divine Comedy, and claimed that miracles occurred to those who prayed at his tomb. His followers have applied to the Vatican for him to be officially beatified, the step before sainthood.
However, Father Cantalamessa said: ''Few of those who expound on Gioacchino da Fiore on the internet know, or go to the trouble of finding out, what this character really said." In the latest of a series of Lenten lectures for Pope Benedict XVI and the papal household, he said that, according to ''vogueish'' interpretations, the monk had proposed a "liberal and spiritual Church" able to move beyond dogmas and hierarchies. However, Gioacchino's views were ''false and heretical'', Father Cantalamessa said, since Christian believers were guided not only by the spirit but also by the laws of the Church. "It can be fatal to do without one or the other of these guides.''
After all, do not forget, as the Mass'keteers' friend, Gil Bailie, says:
re-enacts the event that reveals it.