Farinelli – 2

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy of rhsrebellion.com

“Castration for music” was practiced primarily by the Italians.  Under the Roman Catholic Church’s Canon Law castration was prohibited; it was considered to be mutilation and its practice resulted in ex-communication.  Unofficially, however, the Church supported “castration for music.”  For one simple reason:  it made their choirs better, especially since women were banned from choirs.

The choirs were important, for they sang the music that praised and glorified God. 

So the practice continued, with as many as 4000 to 5000 boys per year undergoing the bloody ministrations of the knife.  Most of these were from destitute families, and were sold by their parents to a singing master.  In most cases, they were not asked if they desired to be castrated.  There was no choice.  They just were.

At the end of the eighteenth century, castrati lost their appeal to the masses.  Musical tastes were changing, and mutilation by castration came to be considered obscene as well as cruel.  In 1870 the Italian government outlawed deliberate mutilation of another human being.  And Pope Leo the XIII banned the use of castrati in church choirs.   

Farinelli, aka Carlo Boschi, the exception to the rule in many ways, was not poor.  He was born into a musical Italian family; his father was the governor of Maratea and Cisternino.  His father decided the boy’s voice was too pure and precious to suffer the stain of hormones, so a plan was concocted.  Supposedly Carlo fell while riding his horse.  His testicles were crushed in the fall, and castration had to be performed for medical reasons.

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Bad Boys and Their Toys

By Jesus Angel Garcia

Reviewd by Christopher Zoukis

According to the Bible, prior to his fall from grace, the Devil went by the tag of Lucifer, Son of the Morning Star.  Not much is known about who Lucifer was or what he did all day long, except he was the epitome of virtue and sinlessness.  In other words, he was probably pretty boring.  After his famous crash and burn, the Devil’s tag was changed to Satan, which means ‘adversary.’  Plenty is known about Satan.  He’s the original bad boy, the Ur-bad boy.  Variously portrayed as exaggerated, quaint, and absurd, he is anything but boring.Image courtesy goodreads.com

Enter Jesus.  No, not that Jesus.  Jesus Angel Garcia, who is the author of badbadbad, a kick-ass novel, whose protagonist goes by the same moniker.  The storyline goes like this:  Jesus Angel Garcia is left in the lurch by his wife, who takes Jesus’ baby son with her.  Through chance or by the hand of God – who knows? – Jesus metamorphoses from janitor to webmaster.  In his new career, Jesus builds and maintains websites for churches.  This is his day job.

Jesus is introduced to his night job by the son of a preacher, the pastor of the First Church of the Church Before Church.  Cyrus, who is the son of the preacher, leads Jesus down the primrose path to another kind of job, which is more of a calling than a job.  Jesus’ calling involves – for lack of a better term – a kind of sexual therapy.  He finds his patients at fallenangels.com, an online social network for heretics, weirdoes, fetishists, and erotomaniacs.

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LORD ACTON

By Christopher Zoukis

I recently had occasion to watch the movie Absolute Power, starring Clint Eastwood.  The imaginative and provocative title of the flick was borrowed from one of the most famous aphorisms ever written:  “All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  An aphorism, of course, is ‘a short, concise statement of a principle; a maxim.’  The term comes from the Greek aphorismos, which referred to a definition or a short pithy statement.

The aphorism under discussion – “absolute power” – was composed by Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, who was born in 1834 and died in 1902.  Lord Action was an erudite historian, and a bit of a rabble-rouser, for he was the leader of a liberal Roman Catholic minority that refused to accept the doctrine of papal infallibility.  The concept of papal infallibility for those who don’t know asserts that the Pope, as the supreme pontiff, is protected from the human capacity for error, when speaking about faith and morals.  This protection is provided by God Himself.  In other words, when the Pope speaks ex cathedra, he is non posse peccare, infallible.  The doctrine, sanctioned and published by the Vatican Council in July, 1870, is not a trifling matter.  The Holy Office firmly believes the doctrine to be true.  Anyone who disagrees is branded with the identifying mark of heresy. 

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