Vatican chides Obama for his praise of a medieval heretic

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The Vatican on Friday rapped the teachings of a medieval Christian mystic cited three times by Barack Obama as someone who wanted a better world.

''Few of those who expound on Gioacchino da Fiore (Joachim of Fiore, 1130-1202 AD) on the Internet know, or go to the trouble of finding out, what this character really said,'' said Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household.

According to the most ''vogueish'' interpretations, Cantalmessa said, the utopian mystic proposed a new liberal and spiritual Church able to move beyond dogmas and hierarchies.

This was a ''false and heretical'' view, Cantalamessa said, because believers must be guided not only by the spirit but also by the laws of the Church.

''It can be fatal to do without one or the other of these guides''. Gioacchino da Fiore, whose theories were confuted by St Thomas Aquinas, inspired several heretical and esoteric theologists and thinkers including Francis Bacon.

In his campaign speeches, Obama referred to Gioacchino da Fiore as a ''master of contemporary civilisation'' and someone who wanted to create a fairer world. Italy's most famous literary figure, Dante Alighieri, referred to Gioacchino da Fiore as a ''gifted prophet'' in his famous work The Divine Comedy.

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