Friday, June 17, 2005
MOVING THE DISCUSSION UP HERE
Links to the two articles about von B.
Sacred Heart Auto League. It's been around for a while.
Hat tip to Dom for the link.
UNPACKING THE AFTERWORD concluded...
I'd like to quote a longer section because it seems to indicate that von B is giving the seeker permission to approach angelic and fallen angelic powers. He indicates this is possible because all have been brought to heel before Christ, and so the author of MEDITATIONS "is able to enter into all the varieties of occult science with such sovereignty, because for him they are secondary realities, which are only able to be truly known when they can be referred to the absolute mystery of divine love manifest in Christ." If that is true, the question yet remains why would he in essence give his permission to dabble in occultism and seem to indicate you can do so with impunity?
Here is the passage:
Repeated attempts have been made to accommodate the Cabbala and the Tarot to Catholic teaching. The most extensive undertaking of this kind was that of Eliphas Levi [a defrocked French priest. Aleister Crowley claimed to be the reincarnation of Levi - ct] (the pseudonym of Abbe Alphonse-Louis Constant), whose first work (Dogma et rituel de la haute magic) appeared in 1854. The author knows the work of Eliphas Levi well and in the MEDITATIONS deepens the often naive expositions of the latter. There have also been other spiritual streams--such as the "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn" [a magical fraternity. Crowley was a member and formed the HOGD's inner order, the A.'.A.'. - ct] - which have worked partly to hinder the realisation of the Christian aspect of the Tarot symbols. (Arthur Edward Waite, who published in 1910 THE PICTORIAL KEY OF THE TAROT, was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn".) Among numerous other attempts to interpret the Tarot cards, that of the Russian author P. D. Ouspensky [protege of occultist G. I. Gurdjieff, who created the Enneagram - ct] could be mentioned. Like the anonymous author [Tomberg], who refers to him critically in the MEDITATIONS, Ouspensky was a Russian emigrant, and was also an influential teacher. In his work A NEW MODEL OF THE UNIVERSE, he expounds the game of Tarot according to the general outline of his world-view, partly in the framework of Eastern religion and partly in that of depth psychology imbued with erotic elements.
Allow me to break in here for a moment. Fr. Richard Rohr promotes the Gurdjieff Enneagram. He has been on a seminary program with Fr. Ron Rollheiser, the promoter of sacramental sex. Here in von B's words we see that a student of the creator of the Enneagram attempted to interpret the Tarot, and that the Tarot has erotic elements. Is it any wonder that thoughts of clergy sexual abuse are going through my head right now?
Back to the Afterword.
It is not necessary to enumerate here the many authors--occultists, theosophists and anthroposophists--with whom the author of the MEDITATIONS enters into dialogue. There are those whom he rejects as lacking competence, and others, in contrast, from whom he borrows a thought that appears valuable to him, which he then incoprporates into his meditations--whether an interpretation of the Sephiroth (from Cabbala), or a thought from Jacob Boehme [German Protestant mystic - ct] or Rudolf Steiner, from Jung or Peladan [a Catholic occultist - ct], from Papus [Gerard Encausse, prominent member of the Paris occult revival - ct] or Maitre Philippe [contemporary of Eliphas Levi - ct], or whoever it may be. Often he refers also to the great philosophers and theologians, such as Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventura, Leibniz, Kant, Kierkegaard, Neitzsche, Bergson, Solovieff, Teilhard de Chardin, or to dramatists and poets, such as Shakespeare, Goethe, De Coster, Cervantes, Baudelaire, and many others.
The basic spiritual direction of the author is recognizable by the fact of who--in the spiritual tradition--stands close to him: Whom does he frequently refer to, often with loving reverence? Again and again the names of St. Anthony the Great, St. Albertus Magnus and St. Francis of Assisi appear; and he quotes extensively above all from the works of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.
He immerses himself lovingly and with deep earnestness in the symbols of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. They inspire him; he allows himself to be borne aloft on the wings of his imagination, to behold the depths of the world and of the soul. Thereby a memory of something known or read in the past may spontaneously occur to him; and occasionally the various lines of thought intertwine and cross threads. The formidable power of his spiritual vision lies less in the detail than in the ineluctable certainty that at the depths of existence there is an interrelationship between all things by way of analogy. This lends his vision a unifying power of surveyance, which holds the remotely scattered individual insights magnetically in place and enables them to be appropriately ordered. For him this "magical" capacity has nothing to do with the human being's despotic nature--the commonplace, magical will-to-power, which seeks by way of world forces to gain dominion in the realm of knowledge and in the sphere of destiny. Rather, it is something very different. One can only call it the "magic of grace", the magic of which issues forth from the very heart of the mysteries of the Catholic faith. Since this faith itself neither is nor aspires to be magical, the magic amounts to the content of faith: that all cosmic "mights and powers" are subject to the sole rulership of Christ. The New Testament depicts this subjugation of the cosmic powers to Christ as a process which--although achieved in principle--will continue until the end of the world. Thereby a dangerous possibility emerges: the temptation--through curiosity or the desire for power--to prematurely give oneself up to the cosmic powers instead of approaching them by way of the triumphant victory of Christ. The right approach is only possible through faith and, ultimately, through truly Christian wisdom.
Insight into this is of decisive importance for a proper assessment of the MEDITATIONS (a work that many a reader certainly find confusing). The author is able to enter into all the varieties of occult science with such sovereignty, because for him they are secondary realities, which are only able to be truly known when they can be referred to the absolute mystery of divine love manifest in Christ.
Opposed to that I would place CCC 409: "The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity."
That passage from the CCC is hardly a blessing to dabble in occult powers! Neither is it an indication that doing so is safe because Christ has conquered sin and death.
Curiosity and the lure of evil powers is a temptation that draws people in. We hardly need the sanction of a prominent theologian to go seeking out these powers. Fallen angels retain their free will and continue to temp man until the end of time, yet von B seems to disregard this fact while treating the occult powers as though they are nice tame household pets. Is this the result of his experiences with von Speyer?
What purpose did he intend his endorsement of this book to serve? How did he and Valentin Tomberg come to be on terms that would induce Tomberg to request such an endorsement?
There are multiple unanswered questions here.
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
Catholic News Service and the River Reporter posted articles today on the Vatican's decision to confirm Bishop Martino's suppression of the Society of St. John.
Both articles note that the Society of St. John has been ordered to post on its web site a prominent notice that the SSJ is no longer a recognized ecclesiastical entity in the Catholic Church. No such notice has been posted. In fact, the SSJ's web site still describes the Society of St. John as "working under the leadership of the pope and bishops of the church," with no reference to its suppression. I wonder to which "bishops" the SSJ is referring. Sodomite bishops like Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee and Daniel Ryan of Springfield, Illinois?
The SSJ web site is also soliciting funds to build a chapel on property no longer owned by the SSJ. See http://www.ssjohn.org/contribute/. In other words, it's business as usual with the SSJ.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
I just took a look at their website. You'd never know anything was wrong. How many good orthodox Catholics still don't know and are still contributing? Will any of us be able to believe the word of any priest if this sort of deceit and the deceit coming from the chanceries continues much longer?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
LORD SPARE YOUR PEOPLE
from Your just wrath for offenses against the little ones You love. Have mercy on Your church. Rescue Her from these evil inclinations.
A reader sent in a link to a This is London story:
Boys from Africa are being murdered as human sacrifices in London churches.
They are brought into the capital to be offered up in rituals by fundamentalist Christian sects, according to a shocking report by Scotland Yard.
Followers believe that powerful spells require the deaths of "unblemished" male children.
Police believe such boys are trafficked from cities such as Kinshasa where they can be bought for a little as £10.
The report, leaked ahead of its publication next month, also cites examples of
African children being tortured and killed after being identified as "witches" by church pastors.
The 10-month study was commissioned after the death of Victoria Climbié, who was starved and beaten to death after they said she was possessed by the devil.
This is so horribly wrong.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Thursday, June 16, 2005
A movie that is being re-released.
Here's the story line:
When her father, a biblical scholar, mysteriously disappears, a Christian high school student named Danielle investigates. She discovers that he had stumbled across a cover-up of Christianity's best kept secret: that Jesus Christ never existed.
Now that she possesses proof of this dangerous fact, Danielle must confront two strong forces: A band of fundamentalist Christians who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth, and her own desire for Jesus Christ to be real.
Diving into factual territory well-explored by scholars but largely hidden from the view of the public,The Beast is an epic story of innocence lost, faith in crisis, and the astonishing power of truth to survive.
The release date is 06-06-06, naturally. The filmmaker is Brian Fleming.
Thanks to a reader for the info.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
"FALSE DAWN" AT WORLD NET DAILY
Charles Upton sent the link to this article about Lee's book.
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
A priest of the Diocese of Scranton, Fr. Albert Liberatore, has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a minor over a three-year period. See the Scranton Times article at http://www.scrantontimes.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=14658138&BRD=2185&PAG=461&dept_id=415898&rfi=8.
In addition to the criminal charges against Liberatore, to which he has already pleaded guilty, there is a federal civil lawsuit filed by the victim and his family. This civil lawsuit charges former Bishop of Scranton, James Timlin, with failing to protect the victim and having prior knowledge of Liberatore's perverse behavior. Sound familiar?
The Scranton Times has also reported that the Diocese of Scranton has spent $836,652 since 1950 in costs related to claims of clerical sexual abuse. See http://www.scrantontimes.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=14678517&BRD=2185&PAG=461&dept_id=415898&rfi=8.
We believe the figure is much higher because of secret settlements made with victims prior to the Dallas Charter's forbidding such arrangements. Consider, for example, the case of Fr. Robert Caparelli, a priest of the Diocese of Scranton who was the first priest in the United States diagnosed as being HIV-positive who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing altar boys. Caparelli died of AIDS in the Lackawanna Correctional Facility in December 1994. Bishop Timlin subsequently boasted about how little the Diocese of Scranton had to pay to settle the civil lawsuits in the Caparelli case, but the actual amount paid to the victims was never made public. See our report on Caparelli and Timlin at http://www.saintjustinmartyr.org/news/BishopTimlinOpenLetter4.html.
Whatever the real figure, the total cost of sexual abuse by Scranton priests is sure to rise not only because of the federal lawsuit against Liberatore and Timlin, but also because of our lawsuits against the Society of St. John and the Diocese of Scranton. When the evil fostered and protected during Timlin's reign is finally and fully exposed, the financial and spiritual costs will astound those who have refused to face the truth. The malevolent fruits of Timlin's corruption are already ripe: heterodox and homosexual predator priests, dwindling vocations, school closings, deficits, and a diocese infected with moral rot.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
UNPACKING THE AFTERWORD continued...
Part I is online, Part II is not, so you will have to take my word for it that what I quote is actually in von B's Afterword, unless you have a copy.
From the Afterword:
It is remarkable that the MEDITATIONS take the ancient symbolic pictures of the Tarot cards as their point of departure. Naturally the author knows about the magical-divinatory application of these cards. However, although he does not feel inhibited about using the milti-meaning word "magic", in the MEDITATIONS he is not at all interested in the practice of "laying the cards" (cartomancy). For him it is only the symbols or their essential meaning which are important--individually or in their mutual reference to one another.
The symbols in "reference to one another"...That pretty much sums up the process of "laying the cards". Minus the actual laying them out on a table, that is. Once they are laying on the table, the process of reading them is noting their "mutual reference to one another" so this distinction is something of a straw man.
From the Afterword:
Since he often refers to C. G. Jung, we may tentatively designate them as "archtypes". However, we must guard against interpreting them simply as inner psychological facts of the collective unconscious--which Jung, also, does not do categorically. They can just as well be understood as principles of the objective cosmos; and here we touch upon the sphere of the "powers and mights", as they are called in the Bible.
"Powers and mights" in the Bible. There are many references to "power" which refer to Christ. The "power" is His. I don't think we could say this is the same as the "principles of the objective cosmos," however, since these "archtype" "principles" are plural. Remember Eph. 6:12, "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens."
Also consider 2 Thess. 8-10, "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned."
Why would von B choose to cite C. G. Jung, who is known to have been involved with the occult, in an effort to put a Catholic spin on MEDITATIONS?
From the Afterword:
The origin of the Tarot is obscure, as is the historical background of its symbols--representations of which, moreover, have varied markedly in the course of the centuries. The attempt to trace them back to Egyptian or Chaldean wisdom remains fantastic, whilst to explain the use and spread of the cards by way of wandering gypsies is plausible. The oldest surviving cards date from the end of the fourteenth century. Correspondences between the Tarot symbols and the Cabbala, astrology and the Hebrew alphabet were established relatively late, towards the end of the eighteenth century--supposedly first of all by the French archeologist Court de Gebelin (1728-1784).
The history of the Tarot has been researched by Robert V. O'Neill who has published a book on the subject of tarot symbolism. The tarot history website--the work of O'Neill and others--rejects the Gypsy theory:
TOPIC: THE GYPSIES AND TAROT
Inaccurate: The gypsies brought the tarot to Europe and spread its use.
Current Historical Understanding: This idea was popularized in the 19th century by several writers, notably Vaillant and Papus, without any basis in historical fact. There is no evidence that the Rom (gypsies) used tarot cards until the 20th century. Most of their fortune-telling was through palmistry and later through the use of ordinary playing cards.
Papus was a well-known Paris occultist. In fact it can be said that he was a leader in the movement. The O.T.O. looks to Papus as a Catholic looks to a saint.
De Gebelin is described this way at the "Tarot and Playing Cards" website in an explanation given by Bro. Michael John Nisbett, Christian Resource Centre:
"The tarot, however, began to take on occult associations and to be used predominantly for cartomancy, divination, or fortune-telling with cards. The person primarily responsible for the new developments in the tarot was a French Huguenot pastor, Antoine Court de Gebelin (1719-1784). In the 1 770s, de Gebelin became active in Parisian freemasonry circles and joined the Philalethes, a French Masonic occult order order [sic] derived from the teachings of Martines de Pasqually (d. 1774). He became an accomplished occult scholar. This French occult perspective came to be an essential building block in the revolutionary thought that would bring down the French government in a few years.
One thing this does seem to indicate is that von B was familiar with the writings of the Paris occultists. Does he mention them in any other examples of his theology? Or perhaps does this commentary come from the mouth of von Speyer, and von B doesn't really know what he is writing here?
Why is von B citing occultists in order to spin Tarot as acceptable to a Catholic? Why is he citing occultists in a favorable light when the occult is directly opposed to the religion he claims to embrace? This makes absolutely no sense at all. Frankly, I find it scandalous that a man who can write enthusiastically about MEDITATIONS would be the favored theologian of the man who has been pope...and the one who currently is. This is like inviting the robber into the Vatican storehouse of artistic treasures and saying "help yourself."
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
a variety of house church that is being launched in the Protestant community, has a website with a "lava lamp" "prayer lamp" gimmick. If you go to the website and click the "prayer lamp" link, you will get a window that explains how it works and some background music.
Are any of you educated in the psychological influences of music so as to be able to comment on the music that goes with this window? It has a drumbeat rhythm that sounds almost pagan, and the short musical phrase is repetitive. I found it creepy.
Thanks to a reader for the link.
"THE NINTH DAY"
I've just received email about this movie being released. Here is the synopsis:
Abbé Kremer’s release from the living hell of Dachau turns out to be something other than a reprieve. Upon returning to Luxembourg, he learns the Nazis intend to use him as a tool in their diabolical scheming. The young and ambitious Gestapo Untersturmführer Gebhardt, a former seminarian adept in theology, feels the pressure to have the Abbé succeed in creating a rift between the Luxembourg Diocese and the Vatican. Kremer (Ulrich Matthes, DOWNFALL) is forced to make the decision of a lifetime, torn between his conscience and the safety of his family and fellow brethren still at Dachau. In German with English subtitles.
According to the email, it would appear that it is not being shown in conventional theaters. Here are the locations scheduled for a showing:
Gene Siskel Film Center
160 North State Street, 60601 siskelfilmcenter.org (312) 846-2600
Minnesota Film Arts
309 Oak St SE mnfilmarts.org (612) 331-3134
Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave, 02215 mfa.org (617) 369-3306
Los Angeles 7/8
Laemmle Music Hall
9036 Wilshire Blvd, 90211 laemmle.com (310) 274-6869
Kansas City 7/15
4050 Pennsylvania Avenue, 64111 (913) 383-7756
2800 South Colorado Boulevard at Amherst
Bill Cosford Cinema
University of Miami com.miami.edu (305) 284-4861
For updates on other cities, check out www.kino.com/theninthday.
If you check out that link (you have to click "playdates" on right), you will see that it is scheduled for U. of Notre Dame. What the.....???
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
WHERE IS EVERYONE ?
Actually, I think I know. The hit counter keeps rising. You are all still here and you are silent.
The silence is really eerie after yesterday's flurry of comments. It would be very nice from my perspective to know who all of you are.
Where is the Catholic press on this matter? How is it that MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT was published in the Spring of 2002 and to date no Catholic publication has addressed it, that I'm aware of, except this obscure weblog by an Ohio housewife? Are the rest of you Catholic writers afraid to defend the faith?
This book is about occultism and trying to reconcile it with Catholicism. We are talking about a violation of the First Commandment by a Catholic writer named Tomberg, and the endorsement of that violation by a noted Catholic theologian, among others. Isn't that story just made for Catholic journalists to devour? One would expect that there would have been a race to publication on it. But no. There is a three-year silence while the faith and Jesus Christ remain undefended. And what happens when I point out this elephant in the livingroom? I get personally attacked by a Catholic writer who wants me to respect him.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for me!
UNPACKING THE AFTERWORD TO MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT - continued
From the Afterword:
It is known how Christian philosophy was widely influenced during the Middle Ages, from Arabic sources and elsewhere, by the beliefs concerning cosmic powers or "intelligences" (conceived of partly as thoughts of God, partly as Angels).
Yes, indeed, there was an attempt to reconcile Kabbalah with Catholicism in the Middle Ages. It failed. It was firmly rejected by the Church. You can read about it in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Finally, it has decidedly no right to be considered as an excellent means to induce the Jews to receive Christianity, although this has been maintained by such Christian scholars as R. Lully, Pico della Mirandola, Reuchlin, Knorr von Rosenroth, etc., and although such prominent Jewish Kabbalists as Riccio, Conrad, Otto, Rittangel, Jacob Franck, etc., have embraced the Christian Faith, and proclaimed in their works the great affinity of some doctrines of the Kabbala with those of Christianity.
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
Despite all efforts Pico was condemned, and he decided to travel, visiting France first, but he afterwards returned to Florence. He destroyed his poetical works, gave up profane science, and determined to devote his old age to a defence of Christianity against Jews, Mohammedans. and astrologers.
These principles were taken up by the followers of Raymond, known as Lullists, who for a time had so great an influence, especially in Spain, that they succeeded in founding chairs at the Universities of Barcelona and Valencia for the propagation of the doctrines of the "Illuminated Doctor". The Church authorities, however, recognized the dangerous consequences which follow from the breaking down of the distinction between natural and supernatural truth. Consequently, in spite of his praiseworthy zeal and his crown of martyrdom, Raymond has not been canonized. His rationalistic mysticism was formally condemned by Gregory XI in 1376 and the condemnation was renewed by Paul IV. Raymond's works were published in ten folio volumes at Mainz, 1721-1742. There are, besides, several editions of portions of his writings. His poems and popular treatises, written in Catalonian, had a very wide circulation, in his own day, and their style has won him a high place in the history of medieval Spanish literature. The best know edition of the works in which he describes his logical machine is the Strasburg edition of 1651.
The chief service of Reuchlin was his introduction into Germany of the study of Hebrew. His "De rudimentis hebraicis" (1506), containing both lexicon and grammar, was epoch-making. In 1512 he published as a manual for beginners an edition of the Hebrew text of the Penitential Psalms with a literal Latin translation. In his "De accentibus et orthographia linguae hebraicae" (1518), he treats in detail the word-accent, and more briefly the rhetorical accent and musical emphasis. Less important are his cabalistic writings ("De verbo mirifico", 1494; "De arte cabbalistica", 1517), in which he becomes lost in the abstruse problems of mysterious names and figures. Meanwhile his unfortunate quarrel with Johann Pfefferkorn and the Cologne Dominicans concerning the destruction of the Talmudic books had begun. (For a discussion of this, see HUMANISM.)
Returning to the Afterword:
Above all during the Renaissance, through the continuing influence of these conceptions, the best minds were occupied with accomIIK)dating the Jewish magical-mystical Cabbala into the Christian faith. As has now been observed , many of the Church Fathers had already attributed a place of honour among the heathen prophets and wise men to the mysterious Hermes Trismegistus.
The Phoenixmasonry website discusses this, to wit:
Among the fragmentary writings believed to have come from the stylus of Hermes are two famous works. The first is the Emerald Table, and the second is the Divine Pymander, or, as it is more commonly called, The Shepherd of Men, a discussion of which follows. One outstanding point in connection with Hermes is that he was one of the few philosopher-priests of pagandom upon whom the early Christians did not vent their spleen. Some Church Fathers went so far as to declare that Hermes exhibited many symptoms of intelligence, and that if he had only been born in a more enlightened age so that he might have benefited by their instructions he would have been a really great man!
In his Stromata, Clement of Alexandria, one of the few chroniclers of pagan lore whose writings have been preserved to this age, gives practically all the information that is known concerning the original forty-two books of Hermes and the importance with which these books were regarded by both the temporal and spiritual powers of Egypt. Clement describes one of their ceremonial processions as follows:
"For the Egyptians pursue a philosophy of their own. This is Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus.
Yes, Phoenixmasonry is a Masonic website. They are dedicated to “spreading the enlightenment, one web surfer at a time” according to their homepage. Isn’t it odd that a Masonic website is saying the same thing that our celebrated theologian is saying, and that it is something that Catholic theologians have not said historically?
The Catholic Encyclopedia does not discuss Hermes Trismegistus.
Back to the Afterword:
Hermetic books had already circulated in the early and high Middle Ages . Later, during the Renaissance, Hermes Trismegistus was celebrated as the great contemporary of Moses, and as the father of the wisdom of the Greeks (one may call to mind the portrayal honouring him at Siena Cathedral, inset in the cathedral floor). Poets, painters and theologians drew enthusiastically and reverently from the teachings of Hermes, and from other sources of pagan wisdom, the scattered rays of divine illumination, bringing it to a focus in the Christian faith. Yet the other source from which enlightenment was gathered, the Cabbala, was, if anything, still more important (the secret, oral tradition of the Cabbala is likewise dated back to the time of Moses).
The Kaballah is a very specific branch of Jewish Mysticism. As such it has a date or time of inception. The acknowledged expert on the Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, dates the Kabbalah this way.
The Kabbalah, literally ‘tradition,’ that is, the tradition of things divine, is the sum of Jewish mysticism. It has had a long history and for centuries has exerted a profound influence on those among the Jewish people who were eager to gain a deeper understanding of the traditional forms and conceptions of Judaism. The literary production of the Kabbalists, more intensive in certain periods than in others, has been stored up in an impressive number of books, many of them dating back to the late Middle Ages. For many centuries the chief literary work of this movement, theZohar, or ‘Book of Splendor,’ was widely revered as a sacred text of unquestionable value, and in certain Jewish communities it enjoys such esteem to this day. (Scholem, ON THE KABBALAH AND ITS SYMBOLISM, Introduction, pg. I)
The Zohar is accredited to Moses de Leon, 13th century:
According to Gershom Scholem, most of the Zohar was written in an exalted style of Aramaic that was spoken in Palestine during the second century of the modern era. The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the thirteenth century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses ben Shem-Tov de Leon. He ascribed this work to a rabbi of the second century, Simeon ben Yohai. Jewish historiography holds that during a time of Roman persecution, Rabbi Simeon hid in a cave for 13 years, studying the Torah (five books of Moses) with his son Eliezar. During this time he is said to have been inspired by God to write the Zohar.
The fact that the Zohar was found by one lone individual, Moses de Leon, taken together with the circumstance that it refers to historical events of the post-Talmudical period, caused the authenticity of the work to be questioned from the outset.
Von Balthasar is disingenuous in his attribution of the “Cabbala” to Moses. Properly he should attribute it to Moses de Leon. However, were Scholem's books on the Kabbalah published after the original von B Forward was written? The original publication of MEDITATIONS is 1985. What, then was the source to which von B turned to make his claims about the Zohar? Who else was making the claim that the Kabbalah dated back to Moses prior to Scholem? Besides Albert Pike, that is...
Albert Pike speaks of the Kabbalah in numerous instances in MORALS AND DOGMA. One example:
The sources of our knowledge of the Kabalistic doctrines, are the books of Jezirah and Sohar, the former drawn up in the second century, and the latter a little later; but containing materials much older than themselves. In their most characteristic elements, they go back to the time of the exile. In them, as in the teachings of Zoroaster, everything that exists emanated from a source of infinite LIGHT.. Before everything, existed THE ANCIENT OF DAYS, the KING OF LIGHT; a title often given to the Creator in theZend-Avesta and the code of the SABEANS With the idea so expressed is connected the pantheism of India. THE KING OF LIGHT, THE ANCIENT, is ALL THAT IS. He is not only the real cause of all Existences; he is Infinite [AINSOPH]. He is HIMSELF; THERE IS NOTHING IN Him that We can call Thou. (emphasis in original) (M&D, p. 266)
Pike does not cite sources in MORALS AND DOGMA. Was the material perhaps channeled?
Scholem makes an interesting comment on mysticism:
The most radical of the revolutionary mystics are those who not only reinterpret and transform the religious authority, but aspire to establish a new authority based on their own experience. In extreme cases, they may even claim to be above all authority, a law unto themselves. The formlessness of the original experience may even lead to a dissolution of all form, even in interpretation. It is this perspective, destructive, yet not unrelated to the original impulse of the mystic, which enables us to understand the borderline case of the nihilistic mystic as an all too natural product of inner mystical upheavals even if he was rejected with horror by all those about him. All other mystics try to find the way back to form, which is also the way to the community; he alone, because in his experience the breakdown of all form becomes a supreme value, tries to preserve this formlessness in an undialectic spirit, instead of taking it, like other mystics, as an incentive to build up new form. Here all religious authority is destroyed in the name of authority: here we have the revolutionary aspect of mysticism in its purest form.(emphasis mine) (ibid p. 11)
Scholem calls "mystical nihilism" mystical encounters that are not solidly grounded in the traditions of a religious faith.
In diametrical and irreconcilable opposition to all such attempts to relieve the tension between mysticism and religious authority stands the extreme case of mystical nihilism, in which all authority is rejected in the name of mystical experience or illumination.(ibid. p. 27)
And so he asks:
How can a mystic be a conservative, a champion and interpreter of religious authority? How is he able to do what the great mystics of Catholicism, such Sufis as Ghazzali, and most of the Jewish Kabbalists did? The answer is that these mystics seem to rediscover the sources of traditional authority. Perceiving the ancient foundations of this authority, they have no desire to change it. On the contrary, they try to preserve it in its strictest sense.(p. 7)
But what is von Balthasar proposing with this book MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT? Nothing short of a revolution in Catholic doctrine. Is it any wonder, then, that people say of von Balthasar/von Speyer, "I didn't understand what he was saying"? Is it any wonder, too, that another's theology, based on the work of von B, might also be difficult to understand?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
VON BALTHASAR’S AFTERWORD
to Meditations on the Tarot
The passage presented at the above link is section I verbatim from the book. I thought it would be interesting to unpack it.
A thinking, praying Christian of unmistakable purity reveals to us the symbols of Christian Hermeticism in its various levels of mysticism, gnosis and magic, taking in also the Cabbala and certain elements of astrology and alchemy. These symbols are summarised in the twenty-two so-called "Major Arcana" of the Tarot cards. By way of the Major Arcana the author seeks to lead meditatively into the deeper, all-embracing wisdom of the Catholic Mystery.
Firstly, it may be recalled that such an attempt is to be found nowhere in the history of philosophical, theological and Catholic thought.
Might there be a good reason for that? Might it be because he is proposing a “new philosophical, theological, Catholic thought”?
The Church Fathers understood the myths born from pagan thought and imagination in a quite general way as veiled presentiments of the Logos, Who became fully revealed in Jesus Christ (which once again Schelling undertook to show at length in his later philosophical work).
What did the Church Fathers understand about the “myths born from pagan thought and imagination”? Some of you have read more of the material from the Early Church than I have. Please chime in.
The Catholic Encyclopedia offers this:
Nature Worship generally, and Agrarian in particular, were unable to fulfil the promise they appeared to make…. Much might have been hoped from these religions with their yearly festival of the dying and rising god, and his sorrowful sister or spouse: yet it was precisely in these cults that the worst perversions existed. Ishtar, Astarte, and Cybele had their male and female prostitutes, their Galli: Josiah had to cleanse the temple of Yahweh of their booths…
Are we now to believe that the Early Church Fathers did a 180 on the beliefs of the Jews? Does this strike anyone as questionable?
Returning to the Afterword:
Origen in particular, completing this line of thought, undertook as a Christian to elucidate not only the pagan philosophical wisdom in the light of Biblical revelation, but also the "wisdom of the rulers of this world" (I Cor.ii,6), by which he meant the so-called "secret wisdom of the Egyptians" (especially the Hermetic writings supposedly written by "Hermes Trismegistus". the Egyptian god Thoth). He also had in mind the "astrology of the Chaldeans and Indians...which purports to impart knowledge concerning supersensible matters" and nothing less than the "manifold teachings of the Greeks concerning the Divine".
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Whatever exists outside of God was created by Him: the Alexandrian catechist always defended this thesis most energetically against the pagan philosophers who admitted an uncreated matter…
More to the point, however, is this passage from the entry:
Were Origen and Origenism anathematized? Many learned writers believe so; an equal number deny that they were condemned; most modern authorities are either undecided or reply with reservations.
Can we say “controversial” here? Yes, I believe we can. Yet von Balthasar seems to be giving us what he considers to be an untarnished work when he cites Origen.
Back to the Afterword:
He believed it possible that the cosmic powers ("rulers of this world") do not bring their wisdom to human beings "in order to harm them, but because they themselves hold these things to be true". . Similar ideas are to be found in the work of Eusebius (cf. Praeparation evangelica).
“Cosmic powers”? So the nuns got it from von Balthasar? Rulers of this world bring their wisdom to human beings because they hold these things to be true. Yes, they certainly do hold these things to be true. But whose truth are we talking about here? The “rulers of this world” oppose Christ.
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so tht you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.(Eph. 6:10-12)
That is the most I have time for at the moment, but I'll come back to this.
VON BALTHASAR AND TOMBERG
In a comments box a reader has posted a link to this discussion which includes a "teacher of European Studies at Cambridge." I think it is fair to say this is not without merit.
A portion of the discussion concerns Steiner's "Two-Jesus Boy" theory. From a Steiner lecture (scroll down to the lecture title "The Birth of Christ Within Us"):
"But this insight will dawn in those who understand the secret of the two Jesus boys. In the one boy there was present the power of the wisest of all men in pre-Christian times, namely Zarathustra. This boy represents the flower of the previous stages of human evolution; the aura of the other boy was illumined by the forces of the great Buddha. The body of the one boy springs from the noblest blood of the ancient Hebrew peoples; the soul of the Jesus boy described in the Gospel of St. Luke leads back to the earth's beginning. The soul of this Jesus boy was kept back, when, in the age of Lemuria, man came to the earth; this soul was guarded by the Mysteries until it was sent into the body of the Jesus whose birth is described in the Gospel of St. Luke. "...
There is a posting at the website about Karol Wojtyla's involvement with Steiner's mystery plays while a young man in Poland. Weigel documents Wojtyla's involvement in theater, but he does not mention Steiner's mystery dramas. (WITNESS TO HOPE, p. 34-35 & 62-66) Rather he talks of the work of Polish poets, including the occultist Mickewicz, a player in the Paris occult revival. In fact in this linked discussion is the first time I have specifically seen Steiner mentioned in connection with the mystery plays performed by Wojtyla, though Steiner is well-known for his mystery dramas.
This description of the Rhapsodic Theater gives the standard narrative re what Wojtyla and fellow actors were about.
Moving on to MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT...
Another example of an excessive accentuation of the knowledge of evil--and therefore of an occupation of consciousness with evil--is the preoccupation with the problem of the twofold (even threefold) evil amongst German Anthroposophists. Lucifer and Ahriman (and even Adzura), the two principles of evil, subjective and objective, the seducing principle and the hypnotising principle, have so taken possession of the consciousness of Anthroposophists that there is hardly a single thing which would not fall under the category of being Ahrimanic or Luciferic. Science is Ahrimanic in so far as it is objective; Christian mysticism is Luciferic in so far as it is subjective. The East is under the domination of Lucifer, because it denies matter; the West is under the domination of Ahriman, because it has created a material civilisation and tends to materialism. All machines--including the apparatus of radio and television--incorporate Ahrimanic demons. Laboratories are the fortresses of Ahriman; theatres--and churches, some believe--are the fortresses of Lucifer. And so on. Anthroposophists are led to classify thousands of facts from the point of view of the category of evil which is revealed through them--which suffices to occupy them for the whole day. And to so occupy oneself amounts to contact with evil and a corresponding reduction of living and inspiring contct with good. The result is a lame wisdom without wings, deprived of creative elan, which only repeats and comments to satiety what the master, Dr. Rudolf Steiner, said. And yet Rudolf Steiner has certainly said things of a nature to awaken the greatest creative elan! His series of lectures on the four Gospels,[of which I presume the quote from his lecture on the Gospel of Luke cited above is one] his lectures at Helsingfors and Dusseldorf on the celestial hierarchies--without mentioning his book on the inner work leading to initiation (KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS. HOW IT IS ACHIEVED?)--would alone suffice to inflame a deep and mature creative enthusiasm in every soul who aspires to authentic experience of the spiritual world. But it is the preoccupation with evil which has clipped the wings of the Anthroposophical Movement and which has rendered it such as it is since the death of its founder: a movement for cultural reform (art, education, medicine, agriculture) deprived of living esotericism, i.e. without mysticism, without gnosis and without magic, which have been replaced by lectures, study and intellectual work aiming at establishing a concordance between the writings and stenographed lectures of the master.(MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT, p. 402-403)
There are 670 pages in the book. Much of it discusses occultism in its various forms. The structure of the book is an explication of the arcana of the tarot--the tarot cards.
Here are excerpts from Von Balthasar's Foreward which became the Afterword in the latest printing of the book.
Here is the picture of John Paul II with the book on his desk.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
RATZINGER AND VON BALTHASAR
A review by Gary Willis at the New York Review of Books offers this comment on von Balthasar:
Ratzinger is an enthusiastic supporter of the theology of Han Urs von Balthazar, who professed that he took much of his theology from his mystical friend Adrienne von Speyer (1902–1967), who was "frequently visited by the Blessed Virgin (whom she had first seen in 1917)."And throughout the 1970s Ratzinger gave regular summer conferences to a group of Marian devotees in the Black Forest who live by the prophecies the Virgin delivered to four children in Garabandal, Spain, from 1961 to 1964.
Garabandal is an unapproved prophecy. Von Speyer is not even on the list.
Prophecy--approved prophecy--is considered "private revelation" and not part of the deposit of faith. As such, belief in it is optional. Unapproved prophecy is in limbo even so far as the option to believe. It is unsafe to place faith in the unapproved prophecies of any seer. Many of them are subsequently disapproved. There has been an outbreak of visionary events in the past century, many of them subsequently disapproved. Gnosticism relies on just such visionary events. It is the substance of Rosicrucianism. It is antinomian--it rejects established doctrine and the Church hierarchy.
If any vision in question is the work of the Arch Deceiver, it is quite reasonable to expect that it will be close enough to the truth to deceive even the elect. We have been warned that just such deceivers will arise in the last days. It is possible that we are in the last days. The only safety is to stay within Church approved prophecies.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
VON SPEYER'S BOOKS
Barnes and Noble lists 26 of them. Most appear to have been translated into English now.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
VON BALTHASAR AND SALVATION
by James T. O"Connor
at the Catholic Culture website.
The Swiss theologian defends his thesis with arguments and indications which, by necessity, are of unequal theological significance. They may be enumerated as follows:
1. The testimony of the "mystics" who indicate that "hope for all men is permitted." Among these testimonies the following are cited: a) Mechtilde of Hackeborn, b) Julianna of Norwich, c) Angela of Foligno, d) Mechtilde of Magdeburg, and e) Adrienne von Speyer, whom the author cites several times and whose writings (based on her mystical experiences) on Christ's descent into hell he strongly defends while indicating that his own thoughts on the matter at hand preceded his meeting with her.
How is one to evaluate such testimonies? At worst they can be dismissed as the illusory fruits of an over-active but pious imagination; at best they would fall under the category of what is called "private revelation," the true content of which must always be carefully separated from the subjective elements (personality, age, mode of expression, etc.) of the "seer." In addition to the general observation, it is clear that such "mystical" experiences can contradict one another.
"a) Mechtilde of Hackeborn, b) Julianna of Norwich, c) Angela of Foligno, d) Mechtilde of Magdeburg, and e) Adrienne von Speyer"
Others use Julian of Norwich as well.
This New Age books website includes the books:
The Julian Mystique: Her Life and Teachings
Autore: Frodo Okulam
Twenty-Third Publications, January 1998
The author combines the historical aspect of the life of Julian of Norwich (b.1342) with an in-depth look at her theology. Reflection questions at the end of each chapter allow the reader to bring the life and teachings of Julian into a modern context, making... (Continua)
Take a look at what source immediately follows Julian:
A Life for the Spirit: Rudolf Steiner in the Crosscurrents of Our Time
Redattore: Henry Barnes
Steiner Books, July 1997
Rudolf Steiner Created Anthroposophy -- a new way of being and thinking -- amid the drama and turmoil of the first quarter of the twentieth century. This book follows the biographical path that led Rudolf Steiner from his early student days in Vienna through Weimar... (Continua)
Julian of Norwich is a darling of the New Age. You can find her on many NA websites.
She appears on this Theosophy booklist.
She is quoted on this Anthroposophical website:
Actually that is a contradiction in terms, since the essence of the luciferic is formless expansion and dissipation. But its luciferic character would still have been apparent as it strove to find a voice in the same euphoric style as was current in the world around it. Instead of this happening anthroposophy remained largely concealed, and for this, ironically enough, we have to thank the fact that a great part of its energies were dissipated in internal battles and polemics. Once again, these were fine and necessary. To quote Julian of Norwich:- "Sin is behovely". Dark energies take people to the threshold of awareness and redemption.It would seem that Catholic theology so close to New Age theology that they both find value in the same prophecies.
Prophecy has a place. But prophecy that does not have the approval of the Church does not have a place. What did Adrienne's bishop say of her theology at the time that von Balthasar was deferring to her? Did her prophecy morph Catholic theology as it existed prior to that point in time? In how many of her writings did she speak with the "voice" of another such as the Blessed Virgin in the way she did in her published prayers?
Rosicrucian Christianity depends heavily upon visionary experiences and prophecy and rejects doctrine. It uses Christian terminology to teach Theosophy, ala Rudolf Steiner. It is significant that both von Balthasar and John Paul II's theology are cited as being difficult to understand. In reading the writings of other popes prior to John Paul II, there is no difficulty in understanding what they are saying. They are quite clear. Consider that difficulty to be a warning flag.
THE PRAYERS OF ADRIENNE VON SPEYER
begin with von Speyer speaking as a third party observing and/or praying to the Blessed Mother ("Through Mary to Christ, Prayer 1"), and move into her speaking in the first person voice of the Blessed Virgin, as though it were Mary and not von Speyer doing the talking ("Mary's Prayer in the Adult Years of the Lord").0
* * * * *
She wrote a book on the liturgy
The Holy Mass
by Adrienne Von Speyer
The structural framework of the Holy Mass is above all a work of the apostolic Church and the mystery of the Eucharist is contained within this structure. The little work remains an opus mixtum. May it be, above all else, the united and unifying Church that is encountered in the work.
VON BALTHASAR'S THEOLOGY
from an article linked below in a comments box, contains this curious statement:
"Only very much later on," he writes, "after the determination of my vocation was behind me and I had completed my philosophical studies at Pullach (under the influence of Erich Przywara) and my four years of theology at Lyon (inspired to do so by Henri de Lubac) with my fellow students Danielou, Varillon, Bouillard, and many others, did I come to realize just how great an aid, to the conception of my theology, was to become my knowledge of Goethe, Holderlin, Nietzche, Hofmannsthal, and especially the Fathers of the Church, to whom I was directed by de Lubac."
"The fundamental assumption of my work Gloria, was the ability to see a "Gestalt" (a complex form) in its coherent totality. Goethe's viewpoint was to be applied to the Jesus phenomena (sic!) and to the convergence of New Testament theologies" (Il nostro compito ? Our Task - Jaca Book, p.29).
Anyone who has read Steiner will know how heavily he relied upon Goethe for his ideas. Goethe is central to Anthroposophy. I wouldn't think Goethe had much to say to a Catholic.
Anyway, the stuff on von Speyer:
Immediately following her conversion (Adrienne's), rumors and tales of miracles began to spread about miracles, which obviously occurred during conversations, discussions and visits at her home. People whispered about (celestial) visions with which she seemed to be favored. As popular reports had it, "she had long and regular meetings with her spiritual director (von Balthasar)" (ibid.).
In order to publish Adrienne's mystical written works, von Balthasar founded a journal known as Johannes, then, together with Adrienne, he set up "Johannes," a secular institute. Following this, and still for Adrienne's sake, since his superiors evidently did not see clearly through Adrienne von Speyr's "mysticism," von Balthasar, on the very eve of his solemn profession, quit the Company of Jesus, choosing instead "direct obedience" to God.
From that moment on, von Balthasar worked in Adrienne's shadow, living in her husband's house, as he busied himself with literature, esthetic theology as well as with her (Adrienne's) "mystical" dictations, until 1960 Neo?modernist general mobilization in "feverish" preparations for Vatican II: "Radio, TV: there was just no end to the hustle and bustle as well as to the urgent requests for my writings!" (ibid.p.59)
He certainly seems to claim her visions and his writings are inseparably comingled:
"This is not the place"? we read on p.51-"to submit Adrienne's charismata to a critical and detailed theological examination."
Indeed, on the contrary, it would rather have been both the ideal time and place to do so, since von Balthasar himself declares: "Her work and mine are not at all separable: neither psychologically nor philologically. For they constitute both halves of a whole which has as its center a unique foundation" (p.60, quoted by Rechenschaft). And he begins Il nostro compito (Our Task) by writing, "The main goal of this book is simply to prevent any attempt of separating my work from that of Adrienne von Speyr, after my death" (p.130).
Also, leaving aside the strange side of her "charismata," such as (a) the "stigmata" which she is supposed to have received while still Protestant, (b) the "possibility afforded to her confessor (von Balthasar) in being able to "transfer Adrienne back" to each one of her different life periods in order to record her biography," (c) her virginity recovered, according to her, after two marriages, etc...
It is quite sufficient for us, as it should have been for von Balthasar, to apply the fundamental criteria in order to judge any so?called "revelation" in the Church: "Any revelations opposed to dogma or morals must be held to be absolutely false. With God, contradiction is impossible" Antonio Rojo Marin, O.P., Teologia della perfezione cristiana (Theology of Christian Perfection, p.1077).
"One of her different life periods" ? ? ? ? ? If she was an Anthroposophist, that statement would make very good sense. But supposedly she was a Catholic, in which case it makes no sense at all.
Von Balthasar is very much aware of the fact that the "mystical theology" of his visionary friend can in no way at all conform to Catholic doctrine. "In Adrienne's global theological works," he writes, "are to be found certain passages which, out of context, could sometimes seem to be quite strange" - and which remain thus even in their context (Il nostro compito, p.14).
Then, in the preface, he clearly admits that Adrienne's works are "at the outset, astounding and maybe even disconcerting or bewildering for some readers" (ibid.p.9). Yet, all of this was not sufficient to raise doubts in von Balthasar's mind regarding Adrienne's charismata, on the contrary... his doubts were now directed towards Catholic doctrine! "Things," he wrote, "are often such that today's theology is not (or is not yet) able to grasp or to comprehend what is indicated in Adrienne's visions or in her dictations" (ibid.p.16).
Antinomianism? Uh-huh. Well, it usually goes with signs and wonders, so why be surprised.
Going more deeply into the matter, the review Communio admits that today Urs von Balthasar stands exalted in his role of "theologian of beauty" and "is simultaneously criticized for his impenetrable and complicated style" (May-June, 1989, p.83)
Same thing people say about the theology of John Paul II. Interesting. He was a student of von Balthasar.
he preaches an ecumenism as wide ranging as possible which embraces even pagan and idolatrous religions while criticizing the post?conciliar Catholic's "tendency to liquidate" the Church.
JPII shared such an ecumenism with him, one that would embrace even idolatrous religions, as the first Assisi event demonstrated.
Whereas, in fact, Aristotelian logic is founded upon the principle of identity and non?contradiction, according to which opposites exclude one another, Hegelian logic is based exactly on this contrary principle: opposites not only do not exclude one another, but they constitute the very soul of reality, being necessary although abstract moments of reality. It is a synthesis of opposites wherein the said opposites (affirmation and negation; "thesis" and "antithesis") will break through their limitations and find their true reality.
No wonder ecumenism went crazy. We can believe in God and Satanism too according to von Balthasar. Could such a theology be stretched to accommodate the idea that "sinless" priests abused the laity's offspring? In other words that somehow this abuse that took place left the priest sinless and blameless nevertheless? If it could, it would go a long way toward explaining why the Vatican was silent when the crisis broke and has yet to adequately address the crisis.
Only out of Hegel's "philosophical delirium," could the present-day ecumenical delirium be born. The truth is that with the above-mentioned key in hand, it is now possible to discern and comprehend all of von Balthasar's enigmas as well as today's brand of ecumenism of which he is the "master" and "author."
Bishop William Swing, call your office.
the Ecumenical Super-Church, the "catholic" synthesis of all the world's religions wherein only the contradictions and oppositions will become obsolete and disappear.
YIKES! A Catholic URI.
How is the Papacy to be integrated into the Universal Church?," von Balthasar suggests precisely the manner in which to integrate "this element, which seems a burden and a nuisance, into the Catholic whole," which is most clearly and un-mistakenly not the Holy Catholic Church.
They're talking about doing it...about changing the papacy to make it acceptable to the Orthodox...and to other faiths?
This is the method that he suggests: the Church must no longer be only of Peter, but also of Paul, of Mary and of John (ibid. p.447). And thus does the primacy of jurisdiction, (dogmatically) defined by Vatican I, disappear behind some vague primacy of charity invented by von Balthasar (and by his "separated brethren"), and in favor of which John?Paul II has, for many years now, been traveling all over the world and explaining to journalists that he has not only received Peter's charisma, but also that of Paul!
Where is this "Church of Mary and of Paul and of John" going to come from? Where is the theology going to come from? Johannite Christianity? Signs and wonders? Visionary theology? In other words Rosicrucianism? So I haven't been imagining things after all!
MY DIOCESE - CLEVELAND
A reader sent in the link to this story at Free Republic about the latest Cleveland scandal. This time it's only about money. A lot of money. But not about minors being abused by priests. Sadly, that is a welcome relief.
Meanwhile, at noon Mass yesterday I happened to glance around the church and found an awful lot of the pews completely empty. That was only because it's summer and people have things to do, so they went to an early Mass, right......?
We had an interesting homily which I thought was strictly orthodox. It was not typical--more interesting than usual and based in the Scriptures. It was a surprise to look around and find an orthodox Catholic lady near me wearing the look that said "I will grit my teeth and bear it even though this is heretical from the get-go. And I will not even glance in the direction of this priest while he is saying such things." I don't know what her problem was. As I said, the homily sounded strictly orthodox to me. I did note that the church was unusually quiet while he talked.
Monday, June 13, 2005
ADRIENNE VON SPEYER
There is little available about her in English. A reader sent in a rambling essay from the Asia Times website that happens to mention her at the end:
Late in his life, von Balthasar envisioned Mozart among the saints in heaven during sessions with his spiritual muse Adrienne von Speyr. "Can you see Mozart?" von Balthasar would ask Adrienne, the co-founder of his Community of St John. "Yes, I see him," Adrienne would smile.
Yes, I see him praying. I see him praying something, maybe an Our Father. Simple words, which he learned in his childhood, and which he prays in awareness that he is speaking with God. And then he stands before God like a child, bringing his father everything: pebbles from the street and special twigs and little blades of grass, and once a ladybird as well, and with him all these are melodies, melodies which he brings the dear Lord, melodies which he suddenly knows in prayer .
That doesn't sound like the Mozart who wrote Don Giovanni , not to mention some particularly ribald canons .
How much more of von Balthasar's theology came from von Speyer's visions? And even more to the point, how much of John Paul's theology came from von Speyer via von Balthasar?
SIXTH DEGREE REIKI MASTER
is author of book "Tantra for Toddlers". He's also a master of Kosmic Kundalini Fire and Tantric Qaballah. Oh, and he is 118. Hmmmm...
I wonder if the nuns know about him? They could take lessons and offer kindergarten retreats. (I'm not serious, you know.)
Thanks to a reader for the link.
NEW OXFORD REVIEW
has a new website. Crux News and blog have moved over there. It's about time, guys. The world is moving at the speed of the web and I'm glad to see NOR got on board. When you're part of the good fight, it helps to be present as the battles take place. The role of hardcopy is changing, and there is no stopping that shift. The only thing that remains to be resolved is how journalists who get on board are going to be paid. Right now that is a serious problem for those who make their living by writing.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
A RESOLUTION TO THE DISAGREEMENT ABOUT SACRED SEX ?
In Dom's blog, Rosemarie posted a link to this passage from the Summa Theological where you will find:
This is what Augustine means by the words quoted, which do not exclude intensity of pleasure from the state of innocence, but ardor of desire and restlessness of the mind. Therefore continence would not have been praiseworthy in the state of innocence, whereas it is praiseworthy in our present state, not because it removes fecundity, but because it excludes inordinate desire. In that state fecundity would have been without lust.
Reply to Objection 4. As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 26): In that state "intercourse would have been without prejudice to virginal integrity; this would have remained intact, as it does in the menses. And just as in giving birth the mother was then relieved, not by groans of pain, but by the instigations of maturity; so in conceiving, the union was one, not of lustful desire, but of deliberate action."
If sexual relations prior to the fall were more like those in the animal kingdom, always expected to be generative and not intended to be unitive, then it would be reasonable to see them as sacred because God has a hand in the creation of new human life.
If that were true, and the fall brought about erotic interest in the sex act, which was subsequently regulated in marriage, and then called "unitive" at Vatican II, relations since the fall could no longer be considered sacred. The act would not change, but man's perception of the act and reaction to it would have changed.
This, of course, would still not make sexual relations "sacred" today. God would still be held apart from the carnal desire for the unitive act. That carnal act would be more akin to eating dessert, i.e., profane, than to that which we call sacred, its morality when engaged in within marriage notwithstanding.