I had to call on [Rev] Don Angelo Girasole this afternoon,” Pietro said. “He gave me the impression of being a very decent man, a good clerk in an administrative office.”
Your quite right,” [Rev] Don Benedetto said ,”but Christianity is not an administration.”
“The others, those who believe they have historical vision, are worse,” said Pietro. “They believe, or pretend to believe, in a Man of Providence.”
“If they allow themselves to be deceived it is their own fault,” Don Benedetto interrupted, livening up. “They were warned about two thousand years ago. They were told that many would come in the name of Providence and seduce the people, that there would be talk of wars and rumors of wars. They were told that all this would come to pass, but that the end was not yet. They were told that nation would rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom; that there would be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places; but that all these things would not be the end, but the beginning. Christians were warned. We were told that many would be horrified and many would betray, and that is someone, whoever it might be, should say here is a man of Providence, there is a man of Providence, we must not believe him. We have been warned. False prophets and false saviours shall arise and shall show great signs and wonders and deceive many. We could not have asked for plainer warning. If many have forgotten it, it will not change anything of what will come to pass. The destiny of the Man of Providence has already been written. Intrabit ut vulpis, regnabit ut leo, morietur ut canis.” (“He will come in like a fox, reign like a lion, die like a dog).
“What a fine language Latin is,” said Pietro. “And what a difference there is between that honest old church Latin and the modern sibylline Latin of the encyclicals.”
“What is lacking in our country, as you know, is not the critical spirit,” Don Benedetto said. “What is lacking is faith. The critics are grumblers, violent men, dissatisfied men, in certain circumstances they may sometimes even be heroes. But they are not believers.
Iganazio Silone, Bread and Wine, 224-225.