Luigi Cascioli suing to force Church to prove Jesus existed!
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Where we started:
Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest
From Richard Owen in Rome
AN ITALIAN judge has ordered a priest to appear in court this month to prove that Jesus Christ existed.
The case against Father Enrico Righi has been brought in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, by Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist who once studied for the priesthood but later became a militant atheist.
Signor Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Signor Cascioli in the parish newsletter for questioning Christ?s historical existence.
Yesterday Gaetano Mautone, a judge in Viterbo, set a preliminary hearing for the end of this month and ordered Father Righi to appear. The judge had earlier refused to take up the case, but was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal, which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation that Father Righi was ?abusing popular credulity?.
Signor Cascioli?s contention ? echoed in numerous atheist books and internet sites ? is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims.
Signor Cascioli?s one-man campaign came to a head at a court hearing last April when he lodged his accusations of ?abuse of popular credulity? and ?impersonation?, both offences under the Italian penal code. He argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived ?after the time of the hypothetical Jesus? and were therefore not reliable witnesses.
Signor Cascioli maintains that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine. Church authorities were therefore guilty of ?substitution of persons?.
The Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius mention a ?Christus? or ?Chrestus?, but were writing ?well after the life of the purported Jesus? and were relying on hearsay.
Father Righi said there was overwhelming testimony to Christ?s existence in religious and secular texts. Millions had in any case believed in Christ as both man and Son of God for 2,000 years.
?If Cascioli does not see the sun in the sky at midday, he cannot sue me because I see it and he does not,? Father Righi said.
Signor Cascioli said that the Gospels themselves were full of inconsistencies and did not agree on the names of the 12 apostles. He said that he would withdraw his legal action if Father Righi came up with irrefutable proof of Christ?s existence by the end of the month.
The Vatican has so far declined to comment.
Luigi expected to lose that case in Italy, and he did. He now has filed an appeal to a much higher court not located in the center of Catholic (mafia style) Italy.
Listen to the show to hear what he thinks about his chances. This is the first time Luigi appears in the American media!
Where we're at now:
Listen to this audio file from our show announcing the addition of DiStefano.
Jesus At Strasbourg Court
'Saddam Hussein, Tarek Aziz, Telekom Serbia, Milosevich, Kennedy, Lady Diana, are only some of the most notorious cases in which the renowned solicitors Giovanni Di Stefano and Domenico Marinelli have taken legal action. Di Stefano and Marinelli will attend to Luigi Cascioli's case, now. He is the scholar, former seminarist, author of the book of accusation The Fable Of Christ ? Irrefutable Demonstration That Jesus Never Existed. Cascioli sustains that he has demonstrated, in an unequivocal manner, the "non historical existance of Jesus, called Christ". In september 2002 Cascioli suited don Enrico Righi, parrish priest of Bagnoregio (Viterbo), for ?abusing popular credulity? and ?change of identity?, because the priest wrote in a newspaper, that Jesus was born from Mary and Joseph and lived in flesh and blood. The Viterbo Court, after a long coming and going, filed away the case, even though the priest had not given any acceptable evidence of Christ's existance. Dissatisfied with this decision, Cascioli and his solicitors Di Stefano and Marinelli will address the Strasbourg Human Rights Court. "Law is based upon respect for National and International Legislation" Di Stefano comments, "we leave hypothesis and conjectures for the priests". If this case is reopened it will become of global importance, considering that it would question the very doctrine and foundation, on which is based Christianity and the Catholic Church. It would be a trial in which the ministers of the Church, that is the Vatican, should demonstrate what they have been sustaining for the last two thousand years: that Christ has existed, exhibiting admisible and precise evidence, instead of mere theological or philosophical arguments.