Massimo Firpo, Guillame Alonge
“Il beneficio di Cristo e l’eresia italiana del 500” [The Benefit of Christ and the Italian Heresy of the 1500s],
Laterza Publishers, 2022
As part of my studies on my foundress, Blessed Maria Lorenza Longo, I came to the publication of this essay on a book that was a best seller in the early 1500s, The Benefit of Christ. If someone was found to have read it back then, many were tried, deprived of their property and in some cases sentenced to death! To reconstruct the writing of the pamphlet and discover the impact among the leading figures of the spiritual intelligentsia of the time, means to map the religious restlessness before the split with the Protestant world. Maria Lorenza Longo’s name is not mentioned, but her Incurabili hospital in Naples became a meeting place for those who wanted the Church to shed its late medieval approaches and embrace the demands of the Renaissance. These men and women -who were interested in the problem of salvation- would like to have had a re-reading of the Scriptures in the vernacular, and a Church less concerned with political problems and more attentive to the needs of the poor. The essay does not quote the text of The Benefit of Christ, but it is easy to see how at the heart of this sweet little book is the desire that God’s mercy is greater than his wrath for our sin.
Rosa Lupoli is a Capuchin nun from Naples, the abbess of the Santa Maria in Gerusalemme monastery known as the Trentatrè, founded by Blessed Maria Lorenza Longo