I like to think it was a sunny day on April 18, 850. Maybe Father Perfecto, who had been born after the establishment of the Caliphate in Cordoba, was walking along the Rio Guadalquivir, thinking about the Paschal Mass he had offered on April 6 (thanks, Quick Easter Calculator!). Maybe he was wishing that people would clean up after their dogs along the riverbank instead of leaving a mess for someone to step in. Who know...
|Death in Andalusia|
Then they asked the Big Question. What do you think of the Prophet Muhammad? Really, how do you understand who he was and what he did.
Perfecto wisely told them that it would be unwise to tell them. Not a safe subject, thanks for the chat, the crocuses are lovely, aren't they?
|Did they have crocuses in 9th century Spain?|
So according to Catholic.net via Google Translate, Perfecto says, "Muhammad is the demon man, sorcerer, adulterer, cheater, accursed of God, an instrument of Satan, come from hell to ruin and condemnation of the people."
Yeah, well, that killed the friendly conversation. I figure the other guys were bug-eyed and backed away from him, like you would a mad dog because it would probably spring at you if you turned your back on it.
They mulled over what they had heard for a week or so. By that time, they figured the promise of immunity had expired and God's law demanded that the priest's head be struck off. A quick trip to Emir Abd al-Rahman II and all the details were arranged.
Perfecto had time to run and of course he had not done so. If he had been offered a team of horses and enough money to reach Paris he would not have left. But word is bond, and if you encourage a crime, even a crime like blasphemy, with a promise to remain silent, you have to honor your word. Not for a week, not for a month, but for as long as you live.
In his novel Valis, Philip K. Dick comments that a divine judge should apply a person's own theological values to judge him or her. He imagines that his friend Kevin, a brutally sarcastic and skeptical agnostic, would be mocked by God on Judgment Day, a fitting punishment for the way he humiliated his devout companions. If that was / is / will be the nature of the final judgment, I wonder what would be in store for the folks who betrayed Perfecto's confidence.