Morris L. West The Last Confession

ISBN 13: 9781585471317

The Last Confession

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9781585471317: The Last Confession

Investigated, tortured, and imprisoned by the Inquisition, Dominican monk Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for heresy on 17 February 1600. Now, four hundred years later, Morris West brings Bruno's story to life.

Once considered his family, the Dominican monks and Catholic Church are now Bruno's torturers. Knowing that he will soon be killed for his beliefs and desperate to leave some record of his existence behind, Bruno begins to write his story in a mosaic of thoughts, anecdotes, and memories. In it, we see a Bruno who was a flawed priest, a brilliant philosopher, and a man willing to die for the integrity of his ideas.

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About the Author:

Morris West was born in Australia in 1916 but lived for extended periods in Italy, Austria, England and the USA. West started writing novels in the 1950s. He is the author of 30 novels and has sold more than 60 million copies of his books worldwide in over 27 languages. West helped to found the Australian Society of Authors, was chairman of the National Book Council, chairman of the National Library of Australia and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. He was made member of the order of Australia (MBE) in 1985 and officer of the order of Australia (AO) in 1997. West also wrote screenplays, radio dramas, plays and was also an artist. He died in 1999.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Last Confession

Nevertheless, I am sure of today’s date because the Notary announced it when I was brought before the Congregation of the Office of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.

They make an impressive assembly: nine Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Lord Cardinals, six high and reverend clerics—religious and regular— and, of course, the Notary, meticulous recorder of the proceedings, which today are minuted under the heading: Visitation of Those Incarcerated in the Holy Roman Office. I am only one of the prisoners; but today they tell me I am the sole object of my lords’ attentions.

First I am required to identify myself. God! How many times have I done this? How many notaries have recorded it in how many documents? My family name is Bruno. I was born in 1548 in the city of Nola, in the kingdom of Naples. My father’s name was Giovanni. My mother’s name was Fraulisa. My baptismal name is Filippo. However, I am characterised in all documents by my name in religion, Giordano. I am an ordained priest, a monk in the Order of Friar Preachers, a Master in sacred theology. Each of these titles is authentic.

Each provides a separate noose to hang me. I no longer practise my ministry, therefore I am accused for my ‘loose and licentious life’. I have fled my order, therefore I am an ‘apostate monk.’ I am accused of perverting the Divine science of theology into outright heresy. For that, they can have me executed.

Today the man who addresses me on behalf of the Inquisitors is the Illustrious and Most Reverend Lord Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, a Jesuit said to stand high in favour with the Pontiff. Unlike some of his colleagues, he is mild-mannered and courteous though I am too old in prison life to trust him too far.

What he tells me is very simple. He and his colleagues have finished their enquiries into my life, my writings and my opinions. There will be no more interrogations . Immediately after Christmas the Congregation will make its decision. When next I am summoned it will be to hear the verdict.

I feel a sudden anger rising in me. What in God’s name have I been doing all these years in prison but thinking and rethinking, testing one argument against another—even when my mind was fuddled with fever, my body racked with rheumatic pains? I manage to control myself and answer firmly but with respect. I have no wish and I feel no obligation to reconsider any matter. I have answered all the questions that have been put to me over months and years. I do not understand what is now expected of me.

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