~ John Dryden, Spanish Friar (act II, st. 1)
On several occasions, I have blogged about Sr. Luigi Cascioli, an Italian atheist who has filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church and one of its priests in the Italian Courts. In my second blog on the Sr. Cascioli almost three years ago, I investigated his claims in the lawsuit. The basis for his suit is the claim that the Roman Catholic Church, and his own local church priest, engaged in an "abuse of popular credulity and the substitution of person" by teaching that the Bible was true. The basis for Sr. Cascioli's assertion? According to his original complaint:
After long and deep studies consisting of (and not only) textual exegesis of the Old and New Testament and other Sacred Scriptures, the undersigned has come to the conclusion that many of the facts produced and presented as if being true and historical in the so called "Holy Scriptures", are in reality false, first of all the historicization of the figure of Jesus Christ, for the most part based on the figure of John of Gamala, son of Judas, downright descendant of the Asmoneian stock.
My fellow blogger, Layman, quickly pointed out a rather significant flaw in Sr. Cascioli's complaint in a post entitled Atheist Lawsuit Claiming Jesus Did Not Exist Thrown Out of Italian Court: John of Gamala, the son of Judas, is a fictional person. As Layman put it:
As it turns out, it appears that John of Galama [sic] is a fictional character of relatively recent vintage. In any event, this sounds absurd but it is not unlike some of the rants I have heard from skeptics about the Jesus Myth and nefarious Christian deceptions. Thankfully, according to ABC News, the Italian Court has tossed out the atheist's lawsuit as frivolous and "recommended magistrates investigate him for slandering priest Enrico Righi."
Not to be undone, Sr. Cascioli filed an appeal in the European Court of Human Rights.
Although I have watched for any news about this appeal, there has been nothing in the news that reported what became of his appeal. I was not able to find proof that the appeal had been filed on the European Court of Human Rights website. Sr. Cascioli's own book-hawking website says nothing about the outcome of the appeal. Thus, I can only assume that the case was either never filed or has now been dismissed.
One would expect that most normal people would allow the matter to die. After all, he had already had his day in court and lost. He had already had a chance to file an appeal and either failed to do so or lost. There appears little to be gained from continuing with his lawsuit -- even for publicity for his hopelessly confused book since he could always publish a new book about how his case was mishandled by a papist-favoring Italian court -- but apparently Sr. Luigi doesn't see it that way. In fact, he apparently believes that filing the same lawsuit is the best thing to do.
According to both his website and an article published on the Associazione Radicale Enzo Tortora entitled Seconda Querela Contro La Chiesa Cattolica Per Abuso Della Credulita Popolare (Second Lawsuit Against The Catholic Church for Abuse of the Popular Credulity), Sr. Cascioli is doing just that -- he is pursuing what is for almost all purposes an identical lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church that he previously lost ... badly. The article (which is in Italian, so my translation may be a bit rough) says:
Jesus Christ is not an existed personage.
After the first denunciation against the catholic Church in the person of the parish priest of Bagnoregio, don Enrico Righi, for abuse of the popular credulity and substitution of person, finished later on all recording of the Court of Viterbo and to the rejected one of the Court of Strasburgo for legal flaw, Luigi Cascioli of it has introduced a second one, always for the same crimes, against Mons. Lucio Soravito de Franceschi, bishop of Rovigo.
TO THE PROCURA OF THE REPUBLIC NEAR THE COURT OF ROVIGO The undersigned Luigi Cascioli, resident in Roccalvecce (Viterbo) via of the Province 45/B HE EXPOSES HOW MUCH FOLLOWS The undersigned, after fter long and deep studies consisting of (and not only) textual exegesis of the Old and New Testament and other Sacred Scriptures, the undersigned has come to the conclusion that many of the facts produced and presented as if being true and historical in the so called “Holy Scriptures”, are in reality false, first of all the historicization of the figure of Jesus Christ, for the most part based on the figure of John of Gamala, son of Judas, downright descendant of the Asmoneian stock.
This complaint does not wish to contest the freedom of Christians to profess their faith, sanctioned by art. 19 of the Italian Constitution, but wishes to denounce the abuse that the Catholic Church commits by availing itself of its prestige in order to inculcate – as if being real and historical – facts that are really just inventions.
A clear instance of that abuse was committed by Mons. Lucio Soravito de Franceschi, bishop of the diocese of Rovigo, when he sustained the historical figure of Jesus by asserting falsely in a pastoral message on December 2005 the 23th: <
That the figure of Jesus has been fully constructed over a certain John of Gamala , son of Judas from Gamala, known as the Galilean, is irrefutably known by such a great number of proofs as to remove whatever doubts about the falsifications carried out by the compilers of the Gospels.
In other words, Sr. Cascioli has filed the exact same lawsuit making the exact same historically incredible claims but merely naming a different Catholic preacher (Mons. Lucio Soravito de Franceschi, bishop of the diocese of Rovigo) as the defendant.
Is there any reason to believe that the lawsuit will have a different result from the first lawsuit which was dismissed with the judge suggesting that the prosecutors investigate Sr. Cascioli for slander? No, at least none that I can see. I don't know if the courts in Italy have any power to sanction plaintiffs who abuse the court by filing repetitive lawsuits, but if there is such a power the court should consider exercising it.
But as far as Sr. Cascioli is concerned, in my second post about his original lawsuit I speculated about whether Sr. Cascioli was insane or simply trying to sell his self-published book through free publicity. At the end of the post, I suggested that he was probably trying to push his book. However, since it is widely agreed that the quote at the outset of this post is a reasonable definition of insanity, I may need to change my opinion.