How did Erasmus use “Folly” to criticize the Catholic Church of his Day?
It may seem odd or different to admire and acclaim Folly, but there is a definite benefit to foolishness: the freedom to tell only factual information. In Praise of Folly, Erasmus put this independence to good use in repeating to the readers, a civilization significantly besmirched by mature worries, that a person is unable to serve both God and Mammon. He leveled over his irony by promising us that "there is merit in being attacked by Folly" (7), and closed with the recap that "it's Folly and a woman who's been speaking" (134), a renunciation that permitted him to be as brutal as he desired to be in his condemnation. He definitely found necessity for severity, for the standards he saw at the center of Christianity, the sympathy and detriment of the Scriptures, were everywhere stunned by gluttony, drive, and fallacy. Having the disguise of Folly, Erasmus critiqued the developing middle-class financial values, policies of hierarchy, and even Catholicism itself, and in the course he safeguarded the traditional Christian ethic, which appears as Folly to the world. Obviously, the affection of Christ was distant from the princes of Christendom, having been substituted by egotism and exploitation. While Erasmus remained faithful to the Catholic Church, Erasmus observed many exploitations among her ministry, theologians, and untrained persons, and he dedicated a huge apportion of the Praise of Folly to disapproval of the sleaze in the Church. The sleaze of the clergy was similar to that of the princes, and like the princes their existences made ridicule of the "linen vestment, snow-white in colour to indicate a pure and spotless life" (107) and other symbols of the ideal Erasmus envisioned for the cardinals, bishops, and popes. Their greatest care was "netting their revenues into the bag" (107). The popes were biased by the fraud of "their wealth and honours, their...
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