Doctrinal mind control in Italy and Roman Catholic brainwashing (2)
Biagio Catalano interviews Domenico Pacitti
Biagio Catalano: Professor, in what way and to what extent does religion bear the brunt of the responsibility for the socio-cultural education of the individual with particular reference to Italy?
Domenico Pacitti: Let me make it clear that I oppose all religions on the grounds that they are irrational and promulgate false beliefs. Here we are talking specifically about Roman Catholicism. The examples I have just cited concern the UK in a very limited sense but they still contain some of the unmistakable hallmarks of the Italian Roman Catholic Church: the poisoning of the minds of young children through the inculcation of nonsense by indoctrination; the placing of arbitrary constraints on freedom of thought by instilling the self-censorship principle; the use of the notion of gratuitous physical and psychological violence to terrorise for given ends; lack of respect for merit; over-concern with power and hierarchies; acceptance of the philosophy of recommendations and exchanges of favours; disregard of truth and justice as the highest principles; lack of respect and even scorn for women; and hypocrisy.
The situation in Italy is clearly far worse in that these prejudices have for centuries been part of the normal course of everyday life in a much wider sense. At best, the Roman Catholic religion encourages believers to perform some morally positive acts and refrain from performing other morally negative ones – but invariably for the wrong reasons. In this very limited sense Roman Catholicism may be considered positive. On the other hand, notably in Italy, the ethic of forgiveness has led to the deep corruption of values such as truth and justice. It has also fostered weakness of the will, providing little incentive to obey laws.
I think the harm greatly outweighs the good here, so that the Roman Catholic religion must be held primarily responsible for deep-rooted, endemic corruption. Meanwhile, with the publication of his Catechism Herr Ratzinger (§43 ff.), evidently not content with his Church’s abysmal record of corruption, has taken an important step towards the legitimation of the sort of atrocious human slaughter that is caused by bombs and other weapons. Also, you will remember that on the eve of the allied invasion of Iraq the Vatican disapproved of the pacifist protests in Italy, the chief reason being that the Vatican considered itself to be the sole self-appointed protagonist on the issue. Nor did the pacifist protests receive the media coverage they deserved in Italy, which comes as no surprise.
Catalano: You have a very sound knowledge of the Italian university system, being yourself an academic. In many of your articles you speak out indefatigably, highly critically and without half measures against the abnormal state of degeneracy within Italian universities. What is this disaster due to and what problems might it cause in the long term?
Pacitti: How can you have a credible school or university within a system which not only fails to recognise the central concept of merit together with the supreme values of truth, justice and genuine freedom of thought and expression but actually holds them in cynical disregard and actively punishes insistent attempts to uphold them? A competition for a tenured post that has been decided in advance hardly deserves to be called a competition at all. An exam where everyone cheats and where professors show favouritism is hardly an exam.
An Italian university does not deserve to be called a university since many of the connotations commonly associated with bona fide universities are crucially absent. We need to reflect on the fact that in addition to teaching a particular subject a teacher is simultaneously teaching by example, probably largely unconsciously, in the same sort of way that children learn more from their parents by example than by explicit instruction. Students assimilate this latter aspect largely unconsciously. At an Italian university the teacher who is teaching you is at best guilty of passive complicity in perpetrating a corrupt system since it is not credible that he is unaware of the various corrupt processes and yet weakness of the will and fear of reprisals prevent him from speaking out.
The Italian mentality here, again due to the Roman Catholic Church, hinders perception of such behaviour for what it is. It should be fairly obvious that people who choose not to speak out when they know the truth, who opt for the wall of silence solution, automatically become the accomplices of criminals and partners in corruption. But Roman Catholic cultural conditioning systematically obscures this and other similar perceptions. At worst your teacher is playing an active part in that corruption on a regular permanent basis. What chance do the students have if those with the formative roles are themselves decadent? A careful study of the mechanisms by which knowledge is assimilated in the classroom context helps illustrate this. So education in Italy has a key role in reinforcing and perpetrating the corruption and perversion of fundamental values.
Catalano: Given the current state of political, economic and social disaster in Italy, would you advise a prospective student to embark on a lengthy (and very onerous) course of study in Italy? Or is there a danger that one might in the end equally well find oneself not only without a job but also strongly conditioned in one’s way of thinking and thus contribute to an increase in Italy of “educated ignoramuses” or prospective brain drain candidates?
Pacitti: My advice is to consider whether higher education is the only way forward and to evaluate possible alternatives. A university education tends to be overrated in a country which until fairly recently had a relatively high illiteracy rate. It would be hard to find Italian parents who would not consider it a major accomplishment for their son or daughter to take a university degree. In those cases where a university education is considered to be indispensable, my advice is to attend university with the dual aim of learning a subject and transforming the system. This means having the necessary will and ability to organise widespread, effective student action.
When Italian students protest, it is invariably about study conditions, fees and accommodation. They never protest about the corrupt processes that produce their teachers. Evidently this is not important to them, which means much of the blame for the sad state of Italian universities is due to the students themselves. Those students who wish to be judged on merit but who are unwilling to try and reform the corrupt Italian system should go abroad and join the brain drain exodus – but they should be prepared to have their foreign qualifications devalued and their chances of obtaining a tenured post reduced on returning to Italy.
Catalano: In one of your articles [Roman Catholic principles of corruption in Italy], which I recently quoted from [in L'esegesi dello "sterco di Satana"] with reference to the link between religion and economics, you elucidated the existence of a close relationship between Italian political and economic failure and the influence of Catholicism. In your view, are there any intrinsic reasons along climatic-geographic lines that might have justified the creation of Catholicism together with all its familiar characteristics and its implementation as an instrument of mass control in the specific case of Italy?
Pacitti: Any line of enquiry that can help throw light on the role of climatic or geographical criteria in helping us understand the formative processes which moulded the characteristics of our remote ancestors and ancient societies within the Italian peninsula should certainly be encouraged. I see no reason why these factors should not have played at least a contributory formative role.
For example, the fact of Italy’s being a peninsula together with the fact of its Mediterranean location obviously rendered it a prime centre of commerce in ancient times and this would certainly have fostered a mercantile mentality among the inhabitants. The question is definitely worth studying seriously along the lines you suggest.
You could use the method of concomitant variation, that is to say try to find other examples of similar geography and climate with similar cultural traits and then look for cases where climate, geography and culture are unrelated or related in different partially overlapping ways. You would obviously also have to take the historical parameter into account in order to try and get at the truth and isolate the relevant factors. The French historian Fernand Braudel, who died in 1985, did some important research in this area. I know that there is a Braudel centre in New York which is carrying on his work, but I haven’t been keeping up with developments.
END OF PART 2
* Biagio Catalano is an independent researcher who specialises in the history of Christianity. Some of his published work may be read in the Italian online journal www.alexamenos.com.
Note: The original Italian version of this interview appeared in Alexamenos on August 21 2005 titled "A tu per tu con Domenico Pacitti" and may be read here. The English version was first published by JUST Response on August 22 2005.
Also in JUST Response
Also in JUST Response