A World Lit Only by Fire: Against the Catholic Superstructure

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Ricardo Ortega
AP Euro
Ms. Grossi
15 August 2010
A World Lit Only By Fire
Through perseverance and dedication, one can achieve the goals that they have set out to accomplish. One would say that obtaining their aspirations requires immense exertion and along the way many will face obstacles that are not simple to overcome. In "A World Lit Only By Fire," by William Manchester, Desiderius Erasmus, a daunting humanist scholar, is told to have risen up against the Catholic superstructure in an attempt to keep Christendom intact.

Erasmus' disdain for the Catholic church not only helped himself but opened the eyes of many people. The people of this time were not only naive but were followers of the church only because they believed that is what was right. The method he used most to stand up against the Catholic church was through ridicule. His first ever published book was Encomium Moriae (The Praise of Folly). Its Latinized Greek title was partly a pun on his host's name, but moros was also Greek for "fool," and moria for "folly" (Manchester 121). The very thought of this book enraged the priestly hierarchy. Erasmus, being the bold and dignified man that he was, continued his ridiculing. His next target was a pontiff, "the warrior pope," Julius II. Iulias exclusus was a sort of skit, that was full of satire, used to ridicule Julius. After Julius had died, this skit spread around quickly and was very popular and much talked about. The Curia, alarmed now, urged Erasmus to lay his pen aside and spend the rest of his life in repentant piety (Manchester 126).

European society was ruled by chaos and very disoriented. The people were very confused and half the time, they did not know what they were doing. They did things that today would be looked at as obscene and perplexing. Once Erasmus came into the picture, the populace opened their minds and had finally begun to see things for what they really were. His ridicule of the Catholic church was a contributor...
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