THE ceremonies marking the advent of the new US Congress and Presidency will coincide almost to the day with the 500th anniversary of the Diet of Worms. No disrespect to the German city intended, but to an English speaker the diet of worms is a perfect description of both the current American legislature and what it certainly has in store for the world. Bon appétit. The Diet of 1521, however, was – in essence – the trial of Martin Luther conducted under the auspices of the Holy Roman Empire pursuant to the bull Exsurge Domine of Pope Leo X. You know how it ended: the wilful German Augustinian was declared a “notorious heretic.” Here’s something amusing and strange in equal measure: those whose philosophy of living and thinking might, in earlier times, have led them to claim a connection to Luther’s rebellion – however fatuously – are now the ones brandishing bell, book, and candle to shoo excommunicants on an almost daily basis. Which makes sense: what the global left and their dogmatic theologians in communications media (new and old) are now seeking to establish is a new catholicum, a universal woke pseudo-religion.
Already mindful of Worms, when I read this morning that Donald Trump’s trial for heresy might be extended even beyond his departure from office, my mind turned to another famous – more aptly, infamous – January arraignment: the Synodus Horrenda or Cadaver Synod of 897 at which Pope Stephen VI presided. This was the vengeful trial of the deceased Pope Formosus whose body was exhumed, seated upon a chair, accused, cross-examined and convicted. Nobody can predict the fallout from Nancy Pelosi’s Incitement Impeachment Hoax but the House Speaker – an enthroned corpse herself – should be aware (but isn’t) of how show trials can have very nasty consequences for their ringleaders. Tossed in the Tiber, Formosus’ body washed up on its banks and was regarded as a miraculous relic by the common people. They turned on his judge in classical Roman style. Stephen was deposed and thrown in prison where he was strangled to death.