Pope Alexander VI Complains About Girolamo Savonarola

Pope Alexander VI Complains About Girolamo Savonarola

Girolamo Savonarola
Source: Wikipedia

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Pope Alexander VI writes a letter to the Brothers of the Franciscan convent of Santa Croce (Florence) about the problems being created by Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican friar.

Girolamo Savonarola was famous — or infamous — for his regular bonfires of vanities: the burning of books, mirrors, paintings, cosmetics, and other items which either appeal to people's vanity or tempt people to sin.

The world loses many pieces of Florentine Renaissance art to Savonarola's bonfires, including paintings by Sandro Botticelli which he is believed to have thrown into the flames personally.

Girolamo Savonarola is more a preacher than a theologian, and his fiery sermons combine attacks on moral corruption with apocalyptic visions of the future. It is the latter which Pope Alexander VI focuses on in his letter:

"Girolamo Savonarola from Ferrara, of the Order of Preachers, is delighted with the novelty of a perverse dogma and in this same insanity of mind is misled by the shift in affairs in Italy, so that without any canonical authority he attests among the people that he has been sent by God and speaks with God, against the canonical decrees. (It does not suffice for anyone barely to assert so much, that he himself has been sent by God, since any heretic can assert this, but he must add to that invisible commission by the working of a miracle, or by special testimony of Scripture.)

Moreover, [he asserts] that Christ Jesus crucified and God lie if he lies (indeed, a horrifying and execrable kind of abjuration), that anyone not believing his vain assertions puts himself outside the state of salvation. ..."

In less than two years Girolamo Savonarola will excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI, arrested for heresy, and executed.

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