The Wild Hunt just posted an article titled “Should the Catholic Church apologize to Pagans?“, which is in turn inspired by Debra Macleod’s “Should the Catholic Church Acknowledge the Destruction of Classical Pagan Culture?” The original article is interesting, even if the author seems to notice only Vesta and even links to the questionable New Vesta organisation.
I’m not terribly impressed by the articles. The original article and the non-quoted sections of the Wild Hunt article don’t seem to understand the complexities of Christianity at the time. The Orthodox Church isn’t even mentioned outside the later quotes of the Wild Hunt article. The Patriarchs of the time aren’t mentioned in the slightest. The Catholic Church is the focus because it’s the standard Big Bad™ used in such discourse.
I grasp why these people are wanting an apology, but what will it accomplish? The religions, of which only Hellenic religion is mentioned by the Wild Hunt, were crushed. Countless, irreplaceable things were destroyed. We lost centuries and millennia of development that we must start over. Any complexities were washed away. An apology will do nothing to fix these losses.
Let’s think about financial reparations. Where does the money go? Who controls disbursement? Does the money go to academics who will conduct new research, but are not part of the religions in question? Will it go to local governments for conservation efforts for which they care nothing? Or will it go to religious organisations who love to serve themselves? I don’t think that I want, for example, the Troth or the AFA to receive money to do as they please. I have enough issues with them solely in regards to their clergy programmes.
Would a new umbrella organisation control the money instead? Who would lead this? How are they chosen? Will money be given out fairly? To whom? For what? How will expenditures be tracked? What is considered a worthwhile expenditure? What if money is stolen or mishandled? How would officers of this organisation be held accountable outside of local law?
Questions are many, yet answers are startlingly few.
The one thing that I want and is simultaneously more likely to happen is to have greater research conducted in the Vatican Library, the Vatican Secret Archives, and any other archive controlled by Christianity. Countless documents reside there. Ignored and forgotten information is there for the learning. To have everything searched for the smallest scraps of information would be astounding and a boon for us, while also allowing Christian leadership to dance around the issue of culpability.
But it’s not enough to read the texts alone. The information must be public and easily available so that the knowledge isn’t controlled by a handful of historians with their own biases and faults. Every little thing must be searched, too. The bindings of books, for example, often contained older books that were recycled; bits of information can be found in that manner.
It’s not a small undertaking. It would take many, many years and willing, sympathetic historians. Never mind the major turnaround required for Christian leaders even to accept this, let alone maintain the generosity. And that’s why, even with its being one of the likeliest things, it will probably not happen any time soon.