Saturday, July 23, 2005



There is an article on the rosary by Fr. Burresi here.

You can read an article about his biographer Fr. Fox at this website, which contains this passage:

It was during that same Holy Year tour in 1975 that Fr. Fox met a man who was to have an important influence on his more recent activities. Gino Burresi of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary -- possessor of the miraculous charism of the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) -- greeted Fr. Fox and some of his pilgrims at San Vittorino, Italy. The two men found a deep spiritual rapport. Fr. Fox visited then-Brother Gino several times over the next few years. He was inspired by Br. Gino's intensity of life, his singular dedication to the Gospel, and the dramatic physical character of his witness of suffering. As this inspiration developed, Fr. Fox conceived the notion of writing a book on Br. Gino's life in order to communicate his witness and charism to a wider audience. Call of Heaven, now in its second edition (which includes the ordination of Gino Burresi to the priesthood), has strengthened the faith of many who have read it, and has drawn some of these into the religious life.

The book on Fr. Gino, as well as the constant work with youth, brought about for Fr. Fox an increasing involvement with vocations. Many young men looked up to him as a strong defender of truth as well as a man of evangelical compassion and zeal. His preaching and writing had placed the desire for the priesthood within the hearts of many of these young men, who often sought him out for guidance.

Amy Welborn has blogged the story.

Diogenes covers it as well.

Sad. Really sad.

Friday, July 22, 2005


This is a portion of Peter Koenig's website on the Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon.

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

You will find a link for that webpage on this webpage in Koenig's site, which is not written in English.

Another interesting page in Koenig's website. This one lists the various Gnostic groups and their wandering bishops--part of the French occult revival. Take note of this comment:

Chevalier Le Clement de St.-Marcq: "L'Euchariste" (About the Sacred Spermatophagy. Reuss said that this book of 1906 contained the ultimate secret of the OTO: the more sperm you eat, the more the manifestation of the Christ takes place within you: no women necessary for that)


I discovered this priests' group here:

Helping Catholic Priests with Problems - Opus Bono Sacerdotii

Their stated mission is this:

About Us - Opus Bono Sacerdotii


"Opus Bono Sacerdotii (work for the good of the priesthood) was founded in response to many sensitive situations with priests and religious around the world requesting unique assistance to confidential problems. These problems may encompass a whole spectrum of circumstances, however, the success in finding solutions is understanding the uniqueness of each individual and their particular needs, abilities and desires especially as it effects the extraordinary relationship between the natural and supernatural aspect of the person of the priest.

In this context, Opus Bono Sacerdotii works quickly and confidentially to assist priests and religious in crisis through a network of confidential experts in various fields that can provide the most appropriate care and handling of crisis affecting priests and religious. Always at the forefront of the mission is Divine Mercy which constrains judgment and prescribes unconditional love and forgiveness."

They drape themselves in "holiness" and the Magisterium.

And the Apologists at the Catholic Culture site love them. Here is their rating:

Catholic Culture : Site Review : Opus Bono Sacerdotii

The "Catholic Culture" people give "Opus Bono" a "fidelity: excellent" rating, just as they do to Opus Dei. (By contrast, they give a "yellow" rating to the ODAN, a group of Opus Dei survivors and critics.)

As a reminder, "Opus Bono" appeared in the recent SF Weekly story about Levada:



"At about the time Ingels was arraigned on criminal charges, Jenkins and other members of the review panel learned that he was living with former San Francisco Archbishop John R. Quinn at Quinn's residence on the campus of St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park. Quinn moved to the century-old mansion on the seminary grounds after his unexpected retirement as archbishop in 1995. Ingels has been living with him in the elegant mission-style home, built as a summer residence for the late Archbishop Patrick William Riordan, since then, say persons who know the men. Neither Ingels nor Quinn responded to requests for comment for this article.

Jenkins says that he and others of the six-member panel were especially disturbed by reports that a "support group" for priests accused of sex abuse had held meetings at the residence. (The founder of one such group, Detroit-based Opus Bono Sacerdotii, confirmed recently that Ingels is an "adviser" to it. "Father Ingels may be the best canon lawyer in the United States, and we're grateful to have him," said Joe Maher. "He's an excellent priest, a very holy man, and he's a great help to us.")

Jenkins says he and other panel members "didn't believe that a former archbishop had any business keeping house with someone who had acknowledged on a wiretap that he had sodomized a 15-year-old boy," and he and his colleagues saw the living arrangement as a source of scandal should it become publicly known. He says panel members conveyed those sentiments to Levada face to face, recommending that the archbishop order Ingels be moved elsewhere. "We looked at the archbishop and told him in no uncertain terms that there needed to be daylight between Ingels and Quinn," Jenkins says.

Levada responded that he would consult with Quinn, Jenkins says. A week or so later, Jenkins says, Levada reported back that he had spoken with Quinn, and the former archbishop "had seen no reason" for Ingels to move out."

There you have it ... Ingels, an abuser-priest, is an adviser to "Opus Bono," and that group's founder calls Ingels a "very holy man."

And here's a September 2002 news story about "Opus Bono":

Group raises funds to help some priests accused in sex cases

(This story is from the Detroit Free Press, not the "Free Republic" discussion site, whose inhabitants call themselves "freepers').

Story quotes:

"The phone calls have rolled in from a dozen states, most beginning with the same question: "Are you the guy who helps priests?"

Joe Maher, surprised by the national reach of work he started in Detroit, finds himself answering, "Yep, I guess I am."

Three weeks ago, a visiting priest at Maher's parish, Assumption Grotto Catholic Church in Detroit, was acquitted of raping a choir member. Maher raised $100,000 for the priest's expenses. Word spread and the calls began.

Now Maher, 42, has quit his job as a financial systems analyst to start Opus Bono Sacerdotii -- Latin for Work for the Good of the Priesthood -- a financial and spiritual support group for priests who say they are innocent of alleged misconduct or who are repentant and reformed."


"Twelve people sit on an advisory board that will consult on each potential client, Maher said. He declined to name the members but said one is a bishop. The group also has decided that, in addition to helping priests with expenses, it will support abuse treatment facilities and research on sexuality."

It's business as usual for the Corporation and its defenders.



Opus Bono Sacerdotii turned up some time ago when Reverend Donald Weeks and his St. Patrick Abbey were in the news in relation to sexual abuse charges. I blogged about him a few times. You can read the blogs here


There are also stories at this link


When you get to the link, type "Weeks" in your web browser's search window to find the stories.


Thursday, July 21, 2005


Amy has this story linked.

CLEVELAND -- An attorney representing the family the defamation lawsuit against the Cleveland Catholic Diocese is asking that Bishop Anthony Pilla be taken in front of a grand jury.

Bill Crosby, who represents the Kodger family, sent letters Wednesday to Cuyahoga County prosecutor Bill Mason which he says show that Pilla perjured himself during his testimony Tuesday.


LONDON - Explosions struck three London Underground stations and a bus at midday Thursday in a chilling but less deadly replay of the suicide bombings that killed 56 people two weeks ago.

Only one person was reported wounded, but the lunch-hour explosions caused major shock and disruption in the capital and were hauntingly similar to the July 7 bombings by four attackers.

The London police commissioner confirmed Thursday that four explosions took place in what he described as "a very serious incident."


EVERY WEDNESDAY, the sanctuary of Ebenezer is open from 7:00 - 8:00 PM. Goddess Rosary Beads will be available for use during that time. Prayers and meditations will be on hand as well as incense, candles and bells. Community spoken Goddess Rosary will be conducted at twenty minute intervals: 7:10, 7:30 and 7:50 PM. You may come and go as you wish, and use the prayer stations at any time. In an attempt to use Biblical, century old images and developing connections with the Holy Other this Goddess rosary is grounded in traditions of the Christian Church and the proclamation of the gospel which is a vision of release from bondage for a new creation. Midweek is a good time for you to re-center your hectic paced week and allow the sacred to surround and embrace you!

Come share this spiritual and awe-filled experience.

If you wish to order a Goddess Rosary, please request our order forms which include photographs of Rosaries with semi-prescious stone bead:

It's in San Francisco. Where else...!


From a link received in email:

IT is clear skies for witches and other followers of the occult in Victoria with the repeal of an antiquated law making witchcraft, sorcery and fortune-telling criminal pursuits.

Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls has introduced legislation repealing the Vagrancy Act, saying many of the offences had no place in today's multicultural and tolerant society.
"It is almost 200 years old and is steeped in the language and attitudes of Dickensian England," Mr Hulls said.

"Under the Vagrancy Act it is an offence to profess or pretend to tell fortunes or practise witchcraft.

"But the times have long since passed when witchcraft and fortune-telling represented a danger to law and order, or a focus for criminal activity."


It seems clear that Adam Mickiewicz influenced John Paul II. How much of Mickiewicz's occultism was part of that influence could only be determined by comparing the ideology of the two.

Another favorite philosopher of our former Pontiff was also influenced by Adam Mickiewicz. Elizabeth Meyendorff's translation of D. Stremooukhoff's VLADIMIR SOLOVIEV AND HIS MESSIANIC WORK, Nordland Publishing Company, Inc., 1980, in a chapter titled "The Mystical Experience and Influences" explains:

In the spring of 1875, Soloviev asks the University to grant him a year-long commission abroad. He wants to study the Hindu, gnostic and medieval philosophies....The nephew of the philosopher, who is also one of his biographers terms this voyace "theosophic."...

On the trip to Warsaw, he reads the work of Mickiewicz which seems to have captivated him. It is likely that this trip marks the origin for his Polish sympathies, which will play a certain role in the later development of his thought. Yet this must not be exaggerated, and it seems to be problematic that Polish messianism had a significant influence on the development of his thought.
(p. 47)

Soloviev is convinced, and it is from the Slavophiles that he gains this conviction, that Russia has a mission, that it must devote itself to a holy task....Yet the politics which rule over the contemporary life of the people, the politics of public interest, are pagan. Here Soloviev shares ideas with A. Mickiewicz, who also said that "the Gospel received by individuals has not entered the political life of the people." (p. 191)

In 1888...Soloviev will say that twice the Church received a social body--in the empire of Constantine the Great and in that of Charlemagne. After these two temporary incarnations, it awaits its third and final incarnation. An entire world full of powers and desires, but without a clear consciousness of its destiny, knocks on the door of universal history. What is your answer? people of the Word, Soloviev cries out, thus synthesizing Mickiewicz and Dostoevskii. And he answers in an enthusiastic response: "Your answer, O people of the word, is free and universal theocracy....

The role of the Slavs, as Soloviev sees it, is not only that of the development of the messianic seed of Russian Slavophilism, it is also to continue, at least idealistically, the Polish messianism which had blossomed in the beginning of the nineteenth century under the influence of German philosophy and mysticism.
(p. 195)

In THE OCCULT ESTABLISHMENT, James Webb has much to say about Soloviev's visionary experiences, the second of which took place in London at the British Museum, while Soloviev was studying the classics of Western occultism, particularly the Kabbalah. In this vision of a beautiful woman who revealed herself as "Sophia" appeared to Soloviev. Webb writes:

In response to the vision, Soloviev abandoned his Jacob Boehme and his Eliphas Levi, and rushed off to Egypt where he received a mysterious order to go to Thebes. (p. 152)

He went out into the desert looking for a tribe of Bedouins which were thought to have preserved certain Cabalistic secrets, certain Masonic traditions inherited from King Solomon. The Bedouins thought he was the devil and abandoned him in the desert for the night according to Webb. The next morning

the Russian awoke surrounded by the smell of roses, and Sophia appeared to him again. At this point Soloviev was completely absorbed by occult tradition. He appears to have believed that the legendary Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus did in fact contain all secrets, and that he could discover its custodians....

Basing his ideas upon those of the occult traditions he had so diligently studied, Soloviev next began to elaborate a philosophy of an "integral life," which must first be accepted by a small brotherhood, then by all Russia....His obsession with the name "Sophia" and with various women of that name, whom he saw as partial embodiments of his divine conception, is interesting and not a little erotic. The poet Andrei Bely saw many of Soloviev's manuscripts covered with curious writing signed with the letter "S," which seemed to Bely to read like love letters.
(p. 152-153)

Antinomianism arises in Soloviev's work as well:

...after 1881 he began to regard the Orthodox clergy as tainted by their ancient perscution of the Old Believers. He made several attempts to approach Rome, but all were failures. His followers were to continue Soloviev's concern with the ecumenical role of Orthodoxy. For a large number of the intelligentsia this meant subscribing, for a time, to the doctrine of "Slavophilism"--the vision of Russia's messianic mission in Europe--a belief owing not a little to the mysticism of the Polish Messianists. (p. 153)

Webb also indicates that the religious philosophers were influenced by Soloviev. He writes:

Even the religious philosophers proper--although they naturally did not go so far in heterodoxy as the Symbolist poets and the mystics of the New Religious Consciousness--could not escape an exoticism in which a few saw some artificiality. The group of which the center was Pavel Alexandrovic Florensky (1882-1952)--Rozanov thought him a saint--was composed of Orthodox priests drawn from the ranks of the intelligentsia. Heavily influenced by Soloviev, they tried to see the world as the organic whole. Florensky himself is described as having a taste for folklore and occultism. He praised the "integral" life of the people and believed that everything was related by mysterious bonds. Such assertions that nature is an organic being are common in the traditions of Western occultism. And if Russia had produced similar conclusions out of her inherited philosophy, the example of Soloviev, and the mysticism of the Symbolists, it is only natural to find that occultism of a Western pattern also penetrated both intelligentsia and fashionable society. (p. 159)

That description of the world as an "organic whole" or "organic being" sounds strikingly like the ideas of those who worship Gaia.

George Weigel indicates that Florensky was another writer who interested Karol Wojtyla, (WITNESS TO HOPE, p. 568-69) as was Nicholas Berdyaev, of whom Webb writes "Nicholas Berdyaev used to frequent a Tolstoyan colony in Kharkov...where all sorts of progressive thinkers gather...(ibid. and THE OCCULT ESTABLISHMENT, p. 158)

The man whom John Paul cited on several occasions was steeped in occultism. He was also a promoter of unity between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. It may be that this was the only aspect of Soloviev's philosophy that captivated John Paul II. Or perhaps not. Some of the Pope's references to Soloviev:

From Zenit: "John Paul II presented Vladimir Soloviev, one of the greatest 19th-century Russian philosophers, as a pioneer and example of dialogue between Eastern and Western Christians.

The Pope referred to the philosopher in a message addressed to Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, archbishop major of Lviv of the Ukrainians, so that he could read it at a congress being held in that city on the subject "Vladimir Soloviev, Russia and the Universal Church."

In a book review by James Likoudis: "In his fine Preface, Dr. Scott Hahn notes that Pope John Paul II has introduced Soloviev to contemporaries in his encyclical "Fides et Ratio" ('Faith and Reason') as an illustrious Christian thinker and declaring his work 'prophetic'."

In CROSSING THE THRESHHOLD OF HOPE: "The theology of the Fathers, especially in the East, broke away more and more from Plato and from philosophers in general. Philosophy itself, in the Fathers, ends up in theology (as in the case, for example, in modern times, of Vladimir Soloviev)."

Another Zenit article: "Soloviev failed to unite the two in his lifetime (1853-1900), but his efforts did not go unnoticed. John Paul II recently hailed him as «a pioneer and example of dialogue between Eastern and Western Christians."


A couple readers have sent in a link to this website. Spirit Daily has it linked as well.

I confess to not following the story on the Supreme Court Nomination, but this appears to be a good thing unless her involvement with a pro-life organization will nix her confirmation.


A link from the mailbox:

Canadian businessman Maurice Strong has lost his job as top UN envoy for North Korea amid investigations into his link to a suspect in the UN oil-for-food scandal.

Strong has not been accused of any wrongdoing but was questioned by investigators about his links to South Korean lobbyist Tongsun Park, who has been accused by federal prosecutors of bribing UN officials with Iraqi funds.

"His contract expired last Thursday and was not renewed," UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe said Monday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


A reader sent in this quote from a Catholic bloggers website (scroll down to "Soloviev and O'connor":

Hans Urs von Balthasar ranked Soloviev second only to Thomas Aquinas as "the greatest artist of order and organization in the history of thought." I'd really like to get my hands on a copy of Soloviev's unabridged tome.


Why does all of this matter? Who cares what a Polish poet, long dead and buried, thought and wrote?

CCC 676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatalogical judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the names of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.

In other words, the activities of Mickiewicz have been proscribed. Mickiewicz's ideology and activities were political and eschatalogical. He saw his nation as the vehicle for the salvation of the Jews and the world, and he formed secret societies to promote that vision, specifically in the occult underground in Paris of the mid-1800s. That underground was built on visionary experiences through the efforts of Eliphas Levi who used magical formulas to evoke spirits. He learned his techniques, according to Webb, from a Polish source:

It was from Polish sources that Alphonse Louis Constant, the famous "Eliphas Levi," derived his knowledge of the Cabala; and Constant himself is responsible for almost single-handedly turning the Secret Traditions into a romantic mixture suitable for popular consumption. His initiator was the third member of the Messianic trio, [of Mickiewicz, Towianski, and] Joseph Maria Hoene-Wronski.

Wronski was born in Wolsztyn in Poland in 1776, the son of the court architect, Antoine Hoene--the "Wronski" was a later addition. In the Polish rebellion of 1794 he distinguished himself during the defense of Warsaw but was later captured by the Russians, with whom he took the opportunity to enlist. In 1797 he left the Russian army with the rank of major, to spend the next three years studying philosophy in Germany, chiefly the system of Kant. In 1800 his dormant sense of patriotism revived and he set off to join the Polish Legions
[which Mickiewicz was instrumental in forming] then gathering in Italy under Dombrowski to free their homeland. But the patriot succumbed to the man of science and Wronski...returned to scientific researches in Marseilles where he worked at the Observatory.... (James Webb, THE OCCULT UNDERGROUND p. 257-28)

Wronski developed a "Law of Creation", a mathematical formula comprehensible only to a mathematician. Webb indicates:

Wronski's supporters derive his theories from his mathematical studies and the influence of Kant. But it is just as likely that they came from mystical experience and a knowledge of the Cabala. That Wronski was knowledgeable in Cabalistic matters was obvious to early commentators on his work. He also knew Boehme and was familiar with Gnostic teachings. Like more mystical Traditionalists, Wronski maintained that the goal of man was to become God-like; like other occultists, he veiled his meaning with an impenetrable curtain of jargon. His teachings were not for the vulgar but only for those who would make the effort to penetrate his mathematics. Such indications would be sufficient to place Wronski among the Traditionalists even had Eliphas Levi not been more specific. Wronski, he wrote, wished no one to know that he was a Cabalist and studied magic. (pp. 258-59)

We have another word today for the activities of the Paris occultists. We call it "channeling", and it is forbiden by CCC 2116.

Polish Catholicism, or at least some expressions of it, ventured into forbidden territory. Perhaps this was the result of the impact the large Jewish presence had on Poland of the 1700s and 1800s. The Jewish Virtual Library explains that

There were three partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793 and in 1795. Poland was divided among Russia, Prussia and Austria; Poland-Lithuania no longer existed. The majority of Poland’s one-million Jews became part of the Russian empire. Poland became a mere client state of the Russian empire. In 1772, Catherine II, empress of Russia; discriminated against the Jews by forcing them to stay in their shtetls and barring their return to the towns they occupied before the partition. This area was called the Pale of Settlement. By 1885, more than four million Jews lived in the Pale.

LNT Poland claims

Poland became host over time to the largest concentration of Jews in Europe and the most potent hub for Jewish culture as well. Poland became home to primarily the Ashkenazi (Jews from Central and Eastern Europe), and the Sephardi (Southern European Jews including refugees from 15th century Spain and Portugal). There existed a diversity of various religious and cultural currents, from Chassidim ( a movement for religious renewal in Poland as Podolia (now the Ukraine) under the leadership of the legendary Baal-szem-tov (born 1700) all the way through progressive movements of the Enlightenment - the Maskilim (proponents of assimilation).

With a large and welcome Jewish population--welcome because of their particular talents needed in a developing hub of humanity-- it seems likely that Jewish beliefs would influence Catholicism, and that seems to be what research is turning up with regard to the Paris occult revival. It was fueled by a Polish mixture of mystical doctrine taken from Sabbatianism/Frankism/Hassidim, and combined with Catholicism.

Which brings me to the election of a Polish pope.

According to George Weigel, John Paul II was influenced by the writings of Adam Mickiewicz, and by the poets Norwid and Slowacki who are buried in Wawel Cathedral beside Mickiewicz:

Karol Wojtyla's first exposure to Polish Romanticism probably came when his father read him the famous trilogy of Henryk Sienkiewicz, in which bold knights charge back and forth across the steppes of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in violent pursuit of glory and defense of faith and fatherland...(WITNESS TO HOPE p. 33)

A great popularizer, Sienkiewicz conveyed to a mass audience several key ideas in Polish Romanticism's distinctive view of Polish history: history had a spiritual core; the deterioration of its traditional national virtues had caused Poland's political collapse; reestablishing Polish independence required recovering those virtues as the foundation of a new Polish state. Karol Wojtyla deepened his understanding of this singular way of reading history in his adolescent encounter with the great poet/dramatists of Polish Romanticism including Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, and Cyprian Kamil Norwid....

Adam Mickiewicz insisted that history had a deep spiritual dimension in which suffering prepared the soul for glory. It was a familiar Christian theme--redemptive suffering as a personal spiritual discipline. For Mickiewicz, though, redemptive suffering as also the national destiny. Partitioned Poland was a Messiah among nations, a suffering servant whose time on Calvary would redeem the world and show it the path beyond Western materialism into a new, more spiritual form of freedom.
(WITNESS, p. 34)

Like other Polish Romantics, he [Slowacki] was convinced that partitioned, suffering Poland played a unique role in the drama of world history. In Slowacki's case, this meant that the "Spirit" which had created the world and shaped each succeeding phase of history now resided in Poland....It was during his last, mystical period in his career that Slowacki wrote a poem about a "Slav Pope" who would be a "brother" to all humanity....

Karol Wojtyla memorized
Pan Tadeusz [Mickiewicz's epic] and acted in Kordian [Slowacki's play], but the most influential of the Polish Romantic poets on his thought was Cyprian Kamil Norwid (1821-1883). (WITNESS, p. 35)

This enthusiasm of his youth seems to have permeated the thinking of John Paul II until his death. A travel website discussing Krakow mentions the Pope's interest in Mickiewicz:

The title gives it away. Pope John Paul II, the city's most prominent son, and Pan Tadeusz, protagonist of Adam Mickiewicz's novel by the same title, are omnipresent in Krakow.

Zenit mentions Mickiewicz in their report on the "Concert of Reconciliation".

In his "Letter to Artists", 1999, John Paul mentions Mickiewicz:

“From chaos there rises the world of the spirit”. These words of Adam Mickiewicz, written at a time of great hardship for his Polish homeland, prompt my hope for you: may your art help to affirm that true beauty which, as a glimmer of the Spirit of God, will transfigure matter, opening the human soul to the sense of the eternal.

An article from the Globe and Mail, by Michael Valpy, makes some insightful comments. Titled "The pope we never knew", Valpy writes:

He has written of "my special spiritual bond with the history of Poland." He believes that culture - far more than political ideology or economics - shapes humanity's path through history. Romantic symbols obsess him, such as the start of a new millennium, "a key to my pontificate."...

The pious Pole. He was raised by a deeply religious father ("a man of constant prayers," his son recalls) in a society where piety was, and is, normal. Poland has been described as the most intensely Catholic country in the world, and the messianic leitmotif to its literature is almost overwhelming. Its greatest Romantic poet, Adam Mickiewicz, called Poland the "Christ of all nations," ordained to suffer and to be persecuted but ultimately protected by the Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland.

Another 19th-century Romantic poet, Juliusz Slowacki, foretold of a Slavic pope who would not shrink from battle, but mount the battlements and face the sword.

John Paul II, the first Slavic pope, has made startling statements about being chosen by God for suffering ("The Pope has to be attacked, the Pope has to suffer," he said after breaking his hip in 1994) and Mary's interventions to protect him from death (after the 1981 assassination attempt against him, he said: "One hand fired and another guided the bullet" - meaning Mary's hand stopped the bullet from being fatal)....

He himself engages in meditative prayer - frequently prostrate on the floor with his arms at right angles in the shape of the cross - for as much as seven hours a day, entering into what he calls his "audience with God," a world beyond language. His staff say it is his meditative powers that keep his broken body moving.

After the election of Albino Luciani, Karol Wojtyla wrote his last poem which Valpy recounts:

He went to Rome in August, 1978, to elect Albino Luciani as pope - John Paul I. Thirty-three days later, John Paul I was dead, and Karol Wojtyla sat down and wrote his last poem.

It was called Stanislaw. He wrote it, he said later, to pay "my debt to Krakow." It was about martyrdom as the source of Polish nationhood and unity and a model of the Christian vocation. George Weigel implies strongly that Karol Wojtyla knew what would happen when the cardinals next met in Rome....

This has been no accidental man, no accidental Pope. All his actions as leader of the world's one billion Catholics flow from ideas and beliefs he held before his papacy began....

He has developed a theological teaching on the separate but equal "Marian Church" of faith and disciples that makes possible the "Petrine Church" of office.

Perhaps most disturbing of all, if the author is accurate, is the account of the young Wojtyla who gathered up the Polish youth, taking them into the mountains to hike, ski and kayak. Valpy writes:

He was a lamp in the intellectual Communist gloom. He became intensely involved with their lives; he engaged them in discourse on spirituality and the innate nature of being human, on love and family life, on sex as the icon of the interior life of God.

And last but not least, Valpy points out the obvious:

He presides over a church in which the Western bloc is almost in revolt against his papacy. He was indecipherably slow to respond to the American scandal of molesting priests.

Considering the deterioration of mystical Judaism into the Sabbatian heresy, and considering the deterioration of the Mariavites, who attempted to reform the Polish church, into a sexually immoral cult, the current sexual abuse crisis is not entirely a surprise.

There is an interesting essay by Lea Sestieri on the Vatican website dedicated to "The Year of the Holy Spirit" and titled "The Jewish Roots of the Holy Spirit." In that essay you can read:

...in Jewish scripture the Holy Spirit is never presented as a person but rather as a divine power capable of transforming the human being and the world, the fact remains that Christian pneumatological terminology is rooted in that of the Jewish religion....

There will come a day when every human being will be possessed by the spirit and this day will coincide with the day of the

The outpouring of the Spirit by the Risen Lord coincides with the Hebrew feast of Pentecost, which celebrates the gift to Israel of the Covenant and the Torah. The Spirit of the Risen Lord is not the cancellation but the renewal of the Mount Sinai covenant: responsibility before man producing fruits of justice and holiness in the world....

Rabbinical thought starts with the Spirit as Spirit of Prophecy which ceases as such with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi...and it is then recognized as charismatic inspiration and is promised to scholars. The Mishnah speaks of the spirit as something which can be attained by man though (sic) different spiritual stages...Never in rabbinical texts is the Spirit considered as an entity separate from God, even though at times it is used as synonymous with God and inter-changeable with Shekinah (majesty of God present among men and in nature; immanence.

Hebrew philosophy likens the Spirit to the rabbinical Shekinah...to the Glory of God...

The Mysticism of Rhenish Hassidism (12th - 13th century) refers again to the Glory (it is the great splendour called Shekinah and therefore identical to the Spirit of Holiness from which come the voice and the word of God). The
Zohar...shows that it is thanks to the Spirit that the world was created, in as much as it is the emanation of this light, splendid and primordial point as it had already been described by the philosopher Saadia (9th century).

The Zohar. The Shekinah. These are terms from mystical Judaism. The Zohar is the source of the Jewish Kabbalah. The Zohar comes from an historical period when the Jews had already rejected Christ. It is a short step from this paper to the Pentecostal/charismatic movement.

What is this so-called "Marian Church" mentioned in the Globe and Mail article? Is it similar to the church of the Rosicrucians, and the promoters of Sophia such as Robert Powell and MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT?

This amounts to another Gospel. The gospel of occultism, of visionary experience, of disembodied spirits. What discernment is being used? Who decides if the spirit contacted is from God? This new gospel moves away from Christ and toward the Holy Spirit as savior in the way that it is being implemented in the various websites I've linked from time to time. That may not have been JPII's intention, but we cannot overlook the fruits.

The occultism of the Paris occult revival was very much a heretical theology. How then did we come to elect a pope who was captivated by the thought of one of the major promoters of this occult theology?

Does this explain why the Masonic Lodge was not specifically mentioned in the revision of Canon Law in 1983, making it possible for the Masons to claim that Catholics are now permitted to join the Lodge? James Webb writes:

Presumably in the hope of making a good Muscovite of the refractory Pole the Russians deported Mickiewicz to St. Petersburg. This had no more effect than his imprisonment in keeping the young poet from the dangerous fruit of illuminism. When the students had been in prison (1823-4), Thomas Zan had undergone ecstatic visionary states which greatly impressed Mickiewicz. In St. Petersburg he fell under the influence of his fellow Pole, the artist, poet, and prophet Joseph Olesciewicz, who was during this period Grand Master of the Martinist Order in Russia, and from whom Mickiewicz learned the Cabala. Thus, when he left Russia, Mickiewicz carried with him a body of Traditional knowledge, acquired through his membership of an underground where rejected knowledge and rejected politics were one.

Mickiewicz learned the Cabala from a Martinist.

Jules Dionel, founder of the Gnostic Church of France, describes Martinism:

In 1895, Jules Doinel suddenly abdicated as Patriarch of the Gnostic Church, resigned from his Masonic Lodge, and converted to Roman Catholicism. Under the pseudonym "Jean Kostka," he attacked the Gnostic Church, Masonry and Martinism in a book called LUCIFER UNMASKED.

The article describes Dionel's beliefs and practices this way:

Dionel became fascinated by the drama of the Cathars and their heroic and tragic resistance against the forces of the Pope. He began to study their doctrines and those of their predecessors, the Bogomils, the Paulicians, the Manichaeans and the Gnostics. As his studies progressed, he became increasingly convinced that Gnosticism was the true religion behind Freemasonry.

One night in 1888, the "Eon Jesus" appeared to Doinel in a vision and charged him with the work of establishing a new church. He spiritually consecrated Dionel as "Bishop of Montségur and Primate of the Albigenses." After his vision of the Eon Jesus, Doinel began attempting to contact Cathar and Gnostic spirits in seances in the salon of Maria de Mariategui, Lady Caithness, Duchesse de Medina Pomar.

Doinel had long been associated with Lady Caithness, who was a prominent figure in the French Spiritist circles of the time, a disciple of Anna Kingsford, and leader of the French branch of the Theosophical Society. She considered herself a reincarnation of Mary Stuart; and interestingly, a Spiritist communication in 1881 had foreshadowed to her a revolution in religion which would result in a "New Age of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit." Doinel's Gnostic seances were attended by other notable occultists of various sects; including the Abbé Roca, an Ex-Catholic Priest and close associate of Stanislas de Guaita and Oswald Wirth. Communications from the spirits were generally received by means of a pendulum suspended by Lady Caithness over a board of letters.

At one seance, Doinel received the following communication:

"I address myself to you because you are my friend, my servant and the prelate of my Albigensian Church. I am exiled from the Pleroma, and it is I whom Valentinus named Sophia-Achamôth. It is I whom Simon Magus called Helene-Ennoia; for I am the Eternal Androgyne. Jesus is the Word of God; I am the Thought of God. One day I shall remount to my Father, but I require aid in this; it requires the supplication of my Brother Jesus to intercede for me. Only the Infinite is able to redeem the Infinite, and only God is able to redeem God. Listen well: The One has brought forth One, then One. And the Three are but One: the Father, the Word and the Thought. Establish my Gnostic Church. The Demiurge will be powerless against it. Receive the Paraclete."

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be in prison? If you have read Lee Penn's book, you probably have. How would you cope, going from being self-directed to having your every action prescribed by others? It's a sobering meditation.

In my mailbox this morning is a portion of a chapter of Fr. Seraphim Rose's book that speaks to this very thing.

"Today in Russia, Tomorrow in America"

“Our abnormal life today can be characterized as spoiled, pampered. From infancy today’s child is treated, as a general rule, like al little god or goddess in the family; his whims are catered to, his desires fulfilled; he is surrounded by toys, amusements, comforts; he is not trained and brought up according to the strict principles of Christian behavior, but left to develop whichever way his desire incline. It is usually enough for him to say, ‘I want it!’ or ‘I won’t do it!’ for his obliging parents to bow down before him and let him have his way…. It happens often enough to be the rule of contemporary child-rearing and even the best-intentioned parents do not entirely escape its influence.”

“When such a child becomes an adult, he naturally surrounds himself with the same things he was used to in his childhood: comforts, amusements, and grown-up toys. Life becomes a constant search for ‘fun’—which, by the way, is a word totally unheard of in any other vocabulary; in nineteenth-century Russia or in any serious civilization, they wouldn’t have understood what this word meant. Life is a constant search for ‘fun’ which is so empty of any serious meaning that a visitor from any nineteenth-century country, looking at our popular television programs, amusement parks, advertisements, movies, music—at almost any aspect of our popular culture—would think he had stumbled across a land of imbeciles who have lost all contact with normal reality. We don’t often take that into consideration, because we are living in this society and we take it for granted.”

“It is important for us to realize, as we try ourselves to lead a Christian life today, that the world which has been formed by our pampered times makes demands on the soul, whether in religion or in secular life, which are what one has to call totalitarian. This is easy enough to see in the mind-bending cults that have received so much publicity in recent years, and which demand total allegiance to a self-made ‘holy man’; but it is just as evident in secular life, where one is confronted not just by an individual temptation here or there, but by a constant state of temptation that attacks one—whether in the background music heard everywhere in markets and businesses; in the home itself, where television often becomes the secret ruler of the household, dictating modern values, opinions, and tastes.”

“Do we have any image that explains our situation as well as [the Soviet] Gulag does that of Russia? I am afraid there is an image, most unflattering to us, which is almost our equivalent of Gulag. It is ‘Disneyland’—an image which exemplifies our carefree love of ‘fun’ (a most un-Christian word!), our lack of seriousness…unaware or barely aware of the real meaning and seriousness of life.”

“The message of this universal temptation that attacks men today—quite openly in its secular forms, but usually more hidden in its religious forms—is: Live for the present, enjoy yourself, relax, be comfortable. Behind this message is another, more sinister undertone which is openly expressed only in the officially atheist countries which are one step ahead of the free world in this respect … In the Communist countries which have an official doctrine of atheism, they tell you quite openly that you are to forget about God and any other life but the present one; remove from your life the fear of God and reverence for holy things; regard those who still believe in God in the ‘old-fashioned’ way as enemies who must be exterminated. One might take, as a symbol of our carefree, fun-loving, self-worshipping times, our American ‘Disneyland’; if so, we should not neglect to see behind it the more sinister symbol that shows where the ‘me generation’ is really heading: the Soviet Gulag.”

“Have you ever asked yourself, for example, the question how you will survive if you are placed in prison or concentration camp, and especially in the punishment cells of solitary confinement? How are you going to survive? You will go crazy in a very short time if your mind has nothing to occupy itself with. What will you have in your mind? If you are filled with worldly impressions and have nothing spiritual in your mind; if you are just living from day to day without thinking seriously about Christianity and the Church, without becoming aware of what Orthodoxy is, and you are placed in a situation like solitary confinement where there is nothing to do, nowhere to go, no movies to see, just staying in one spot facing four walls—you will scarcely survive.”

“The Rumanian Protestant pastor, Richard Wurmbrand, has a tape devoted to this subject which is very interesting. In a crisis situation like that, when all our books and outward props are taken away, we can depend on nothing except what we've acquired within ourselves. He says that all the Bible verses he knew didn't help him much; abstract knowledge of dogmas didn't help much—what is important is what you have in your soul. You must have Christ in your soul. If He is there, then we Orthodox Christians have a whole program which we could use in prison. We can remember the Orthodox Calendar—which saints and feasts are commemorated when. We don't have to know the whole Calendar, but from our daily life in the Church we will remember the milestones of the Church year; whatever we have stored up in our hearts and minds will come back to us. Whatever prayers and hymns we know by heart will help us, we will have to sing them every day. You will have to have people to pray for. The world-wide dispersion of our Russian Church Abroad is ideal for this. You can go over the whole globe in your mind, one country or continent at a time, and pray for those you know, even if you can't think of their names—bishops and abbesses, parishes and priests both Russian and missionary, the monasteries in the Holy Land, prisoners in Russia and Rumania and other lands under the atheist yoke, the missions in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa where it is very difficult, the monks of Mt. Athos…. The more of these you are aware of and praying for now, the better it will be for you when you have to suffer yourself, the more you will have to take with you into prison.”

--Hieromonk Damascene, Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, Ch. 94

Here in the West we are not so tuned to the Christian feasts and fasts to be able to recall them in such a setting, but we have one weapon against madness, we have the crucifix, and another--we have the rosary. One more weapon could be available but most of us would not be able to use it. The lives of the saints are filled with privation and how they overcame it. If we knew the stories, they too would sustain us in a gulag. Russia attempted to wipe out the faith and failed. There is little reason to hope another attempt will not be made.

The words from Fatima remind us that it may come here--"Russia will spread her errors around the world." What good will our Disneyland life, our self-actualization, and our lavendar mafia do us then? In such an evantuality, only the words of a holy man would have meaning.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


gives a history of tarot cards. It would be interesting to see what he had to say about von Balthasar's afterword to MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT.


A reader who lives near the parish sent in this link. CBS Reports:

"Right now, I'm getting ready to be ordained a priest next year and this July, to be ordained a deacon," Nicolosi explained.

Some women have already been ordained priests and bishops in Europe. For that, they were excommunicated, but continue to practice Catholicism, they said, with support from other clergy who have chosen to remain anonymous.

Next week, those women will fly to Canada to ordain seven other women deacons and priests. One of the women will be Regina Nicolosi.

What does a deacon do when his wife decides to be ordained? And if he approves of his wife's actions, what does his pastor do?

Her leap of faith could leave the lifelong Catholic on the outside of a church in which she believes. Regina Nicolosi fully expects to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church, but said that will not keep her from practicing her faith.

She expects to hold mass in her house and to keep attending services at her church in Red Wing, Minn.

Will her husband give her communion after her ordination?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Thanks to a reader for the link.


From a link sent in by a reader to a story in the Christian Post:

One of six Episcopal priests who had opposed the Connecticut Anglican bishop’s support for the ordination of a gay bishop was temporary banned from his church Wednesday.

If it happens in the RCC, chances are it will not be the same trigger given that we already have homosexual priests and bishops. Nevertheless, the bold step taken by the Anglicans to essentially take the church away from the faithful and its priest looks somewhat similar to what is taking place in Boston in regard to closed parishes.

Imagine your own reaction if the bishop demanded a program be implemented that worshiped the EarthSpirit the Wiccan nuns worship, and defrocked the pastor who refused to go along.

Ok, we aren't there yet, but the Catholic parish St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis is very close given that they are promoting spiritual teachers who are teaching another gospel. The potential is there, given a bad bishop. And we already know some of our bishops have been interested in anything but the promotion of the faith, as Stephen Brady has uncovered.


sent in by a reader. New Age Seen Penetrating Catholic Circles.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


James Webb in THE OCCULT UNDERGROUND links Adam Mickiewicz in the line of Sabbatai Zevi and Jacob Frank. He writes:

...in addition to the presence of large numbers of converted Frankists, Polish mysticism was augmented by a popular Cabalistic revival, which may well have rendered the often abstruse doctrines of the Jewish mystical philosophers more intelligible to a Gentile. Judaeo-Christian sects sprang up throughout Poland and Russia, with rituals based on esoteric doctrine--and, most significantly, worshipping a Napoleon-Messiah. There can be no doubt that this turn in the affairs of Polish Jewry was to a large extent responsible for the theories of Polish Messianism.

The impetus given to the comparison of the Polish nation with the Jews which formed the backbone of Messianic theory is confirmed by the continued emphasis placed by the Poles upon Israel itself. The radical group among the Polish exiles in 1832 addressed an appeal to the Jews containing a promise to help them found their own nation in Palestine. The careers of Mickiewicz and Towianski add further weight to this point. The national poet of Poland, ran the rumor among the exiles, had a Jewish mother who was converted just before her marriage. It seems that Mickiewicz's maternal grandparents may actually have been followers of Jacob Frank; and it is fairly certain that his wife, Celina, whom he met in Moscow while in exile, was the daughter of converted Frankist parents. Towianski had several Jewish friends while at Wilno University, and at least one of his circle was involved in the Bible Society of Wilno, which exerted itself to convert the Polish Jews. Among the mystical group established by himself and Mickiewicz in Paris, one of the most active members was the Jewish Xaviere Deybel, whom Towianski called "the Jewish Princess." Mickiewicz and Towianski exerted themselves in the cause of the Jewish national home: an undertaking which, in view of the equally hopeless situation of the Poles, might seem to indicate a curious order of priorities....Examples from the teaching of Mickiewicz and Towianski could be multiplied to show their exaltation of the role of Israel even above that of Poland...
(pp. 253-254)

Adam Mickiewicz was Poland's national poet and an exiled revolutionary. He was so much the national hero that he is buried near Juliusz Slowacki and Cyprian Kamil Norwid in Wawel Cathedral.

Not only was Mickiewicz a revolutionary, according to "The Warsaw Voice", he was something of a philanderer. According to that source his wife Celina, who gave him six children, "suffered...not only from the strain of poverty, but also Mickiewicz's extramarital activities--a taste for the occult and an insatiable passion for other women."

Can strains of a Frankist maternal inheritance be seen here? In any case Abraham G. Duker, in an essay published in the book ADAM MICKIEWICZ - POET OF POLAND, edited by Manfred Kridl, Columbia University Press, 1951, in an essay titled "Mickiewicz and the Jewish Problem", indicates that Mickiewicz wrote poems about Jan Czynski and Tadeusz Krepowiecki, "radicals of Frankist descent." (p. 114) He also indicates that

In the Towianist period Mickiewicz accepted Towianski's teachings concerning the position of the "Israel nations" chosen for historical greatness: the Jews, the French, and the Slavs, especially the Poles. According to this scheme Israel, the Jew, was destined for greatness, following his choice of the Towianist path to Christianity. Whether or not the theory of the poet's partial Jewish descent is accepted, his marriage to the Frankist Celina Szymanowska served to stimulate his interest in the question of Polish-Jewish coexistence. Towianski's view of the solution of the Jewish problem in Poland through baptism and participation in the Towianist "Cause" added to his concern with the Jews, as testified by his contemporaries....Mickiewicz viewed the conversions of Jews to Catholicism as proof of the arrival of the new epoch. (pp. 115-116)

Mickiewicz took his interest so far as to attend services in the synagogue. Duker writes:

On the Sabbath (September 5, 1855), Mickiewicz and Levy attended the services at the Smyrna synagogue. The poet was greatly impressed with the mood of the worshipers, just as he had been ten years earlier when he brought his Towianist circle to the Tisha Bafav rites in the Paris synagogue....Following the services in Smyrna Mickiewicz told Levy that "God will eventually hearken to the prayers of this nation, whose sons know how to pray with such religious fervor and strong faith." (p. 109)

Who was Towianski? In short, a mystic who captivates Mickiewicz by curing his wife of mental illness. Harvard University's Wiktor Weintraub describes him in THE POETRY OF ADAM MICKIEWICZ, Mouton & Co., 1954:

In the summer of 1841, there came another turning point in Mickiewicz's life, his meeting with a strange mystic from Lithuania, Andrzej Towianski. This short, stocky, bespectacled man hid behind the countenance of a provincial notary an immense self-confidence, a firm belief in his mission, and a diabolical craving for power, for 'the government of souls.' At the time of the meeting, Mickiewicz was afflicted because his wife had suffered a relapse. During one short session the Magus from Lithuania cured the poet's wife and took the poet's soul into his avid possession.

Under the immediate impression of this meeting, Mickiewicz, full of burning enthusiasm and proselytic faith, sent a short poetic missive to his friend, the poet J. B. Zaleski, urging him to join the group of the followers of 'the Master,' an ecstatic poem which announced the coming of 'the Miracle.'

'Since the voice has been heard, and destiny has been settled, and the occult burden of the womb of years has brought forth fruit, and the Miracle has come, and will fill the world with joy.'...

The short poem is the only poetic fruit of the infusion of enthusiasm which Mickiewicz owed to Towianski. The poet found outlet for his enthusiasm elsewhere. He changed his chair of Slavic studies into a pulpit from which he preached Towianski's ideas (which led eventually, in 1844, to his dismissal from the College de France disguised politely as a leave of absence).
(pp. 278-279)

James Webb also documents Towianski's cure of Celina in THE OCCULT UNDERGROUND:

...Towianski seems to have arrested the mental illness of Celina Mickiewwicz with a form of mesmerism; and, either by the effect of this cure or by the impact of his personality, converted the great Polish poet with remarkable suddenness to a belief in his divine mission. In September, Towianski was introduced to the [Polish] exiles at a service in Notre Dame where his preaching so alarmed the Archbishop of Paris that he informed the Prefect of Police and alerted his clergy against the Polish prophet. (p. 254)

While the wheels of government were set in motion against Towianski, he and Mickiewicz organized the circle of the Oeuvre de Dieu which at one point included another famous Polish poet named Slowacki. Ultimately Towianski was expelled from France and Mickiewicz took over the running of the organization on Towianski's behalf. This organization had close connections with the Oeuvre de Misericorde of Eugene Vintras, an heretical offshoot of the Catholic Church. Webb writes:

While the wheels of officialdom turned slowly to effect the expulsion of Towianski, he organized with Mickiewicz the circle of the Oeuvre de Dieu, which met daily and for some time included the poet Julius Slowacki. But in July, 1842, the Master of the Oeuvre de Dieu was finally expelled from France, and Towianski had subsequently to content himself with directing the circle through Mickiewicz from afar. The prophet led a troubled life after his departure from France. He was expelled from Rome by the papal police, expelled from Lausanne and Spoletto, and eventually he made his home in Zurich. His sole attempt to re-enter France was during the revolution of 1848, when he was denounced as a public agitator after scarcely a week in Paris and was sentenced to be deported to Cayenne. From this terrible fate the influence of Mickiewicz saved him and he was allowed to return to Switzerland where he resumed his function of a director of souls.

It was through the
Oeuvre de Dieu, directed by Mickiewicz, and through the personal influence of the poet while occupying the Chair of Slavonic Literature in Paris, that Towianski's brand of Messiansim became known in the West. It comes as something of a shock after this journey into Central Europe to discover the close connection which established itself between the Oeuvre de Dieu and the Oeuvre de Misericorde, between the Poles and the Normans, between Towianski and Vintras. At the period of the prophet's expulsion from France, a dual approach was made to the Poles by the Oeuvre de Misericorde. The Abbe Charvoz came to Mickiewicz in Paris, and three Vintrasians tracked Towianski down in Brussels which he had made his first stopping-place in exile. Mickiewicz wrote to Towianski expressing qualified approval of what he had been told of Eugene Vintras, and advising his Master that a union might be fruitful. Towianski so impressed his Vintrasian deputation that their report caused the Norman prophet to hail the Pole as the Messiah. Towianski certified the French sect as of good provenance and accepted Vintras as a "brother." The followers of the two cults exchanged visits, Poles journeying to Tilly and the Vintrasian Charvoz spreading the doctrines of Towianski. From the Oeuvre de Misericorde Mickiewicz borrowed the idea of establishing his own group in sections of seven. The two cults had by coincidence adopted the same white cross without the figure of Christ Crucified....

But the connection between the Poles and the
Ouevre de Misericorde did not end with Vintras's death. The Abbe Boullan, Vintras's self-proclaimed successor, numbered among his small following some Polish believers. After his death...in 1893, these followers returned to Poland where they were influential in the early days of the successful Mariavite Church....the Mariavite Order preached a Polish Messianism very like that of Mickiewicz and Towianski; but it was condemned for practicing sexual rites in the manner of Boullan.... (Webb, p. 254-56)

Were these sexual rites in any way associated with the earlier Sabbatian/Frankist activities? I have not yet found confirmation, but the possibility seems logical.

In any case, Messianism seems to be the common link in the chain of all of these various heretical groups, and Messianism relies on a visionary who becomes the center of the cult's movement. Webb speaks of Mickiewicz's and Towianski's ideas as they affected the underground Paris occult revivalists:

...its impact on the Underground was very noticeable. It was from Polish sources that Alphonse Louis Constant, the famous "Eliphas Levi," derived his knowledge of the Cabala; and Constant himself is responsible for almost single-handedly turning the Secret Traditions into a romantic mixture suitable for popular consumption. (Webb, p. 257)

Levi was the source of Aleister Crowley's and, to a lesser extent, H. P. Blavatsky's doctrines. Did Crowley preach the heretical Sabbatian beliefs based on Kabbalah? I think it is a distinct possibility.


LifeSite reports:

LARGO, FL, July 18, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Pontifical Academy for Life under the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued an "approved" study regarding vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines. The study was undertaken in response to a US group called Children of God for Life, which has for years fought for the creation of ethical vaccines which are not 'tainted' by abortion.

In the document published in Medicina e Morale by the Center for Bioethics of Catholic University in Rome and titled, Moral Reflections On Vaccines Prepared From Cells Derived From Aborted Human Foetuses, Vatican officials put the burden of guilt 100% on the pharmaceutical industry, comparing their moral complicity to that of the abortionists themselves.

The 8-page document, which has been anxiously awaited for several years by pro-life parents and physicians nationwide states that, doctors and families "have a duty to take recourse to alternatives, putting pressure on political authorities and health systems...They should use conscientious objection and oppose by all means " in writing, through various associations, mass media, etc, - the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus..."

I haven't been following the controversy. Are alternatives available now for at least some of the vaccines, and can they be identified when the time for immunization arrives, or must parents compromise?

The article links the actual document.

Monday, July 18, 2005


This story linked by New Oxford Review tells the tale of a Scottish priest who was abused, and who wrote a book to tell about it. He has decided to leave the priesthood and the Church even though his heart is still Catholic. He has simply given up trying. I can sympathize...


A reader sent in a link to this editorial at Catholic Truth. It presents a less sympathetic picture of this priest:

Public dissenter, Fr Gilhooley, miffed that, under pressure from the Vatican he had to give up his media work, took a sabbatical. He has not remained in the middle of the road. No, he is somewhere on top of an Irish mountain shouting that he is leaving the priesthood now that the Conclave Cardinals ("Shame on them") have elected Pope Benedict XVI. (Irish Times, 9 May 2005).

Seems like only yesterday we reported on Fr Gilhooley's press conference to announce his membership of Tommy Sheriden's Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) which supports abortion and terrorist groups in Northern Ireland (Sunday Herald, SSP slammed over link with Irish terrorists, 29 May 2005).

We mention this here because Fr Gilhooley revealed that other Scots priests are members/vote for the SSP. Scandalous.

None of our "middle of the road" bishops have publicly corrected these dissident priests. Nor has any bishop or priest come out to contradict the dissenters mentioned in the Sunday Times "survey" demanding an end to celibacy, the "ban" on contraception and male only ordination. (Sunday Times, 40% of Scots priests want end to celibacy" 10 April 2005).

Pope Benedict must address this kind of scandalous clerical behaviour as did the truly great Popes who defended the faith prior to Vatican II.

Seems like they have the word over there on Archbishop Levada as well.

Unfortunately, the appointment of Archbishop Levada to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith does not inspire confidence.

He believes that the right place for a bishop is "in the middle of the road". Whereas the right place for any bishop is obviously in defence of the truth. It is the only reason we have bishops in the first place.


Yee hah


NCR reports on hints of a shift back to a more authoritarian stance on the part of the bishops.

All well and good if they plan to adhere to the traditional teaching of the Church, but a disaster if they plan to enforce the novelties.

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.


Joseph Weiss, in the book Studies in East European Jewish Mysticism, Oxford University Press, 1985, makes a case for Hasidism being a development of Sabbatianism. He writes:

In an attempt at a historical understanding of the origins of Hasidism, research has had recourse to an accusation that was repeated again and again in anti-Hasidic polemics. This asserted that the followers of the new movement were in some undefined way akin to the Sabbatians, the heretical Jewish sectarians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This last major Jewish heresy had become, after a short period of spectacular success, a kind of religious underground movement and produced the most intricate theological doctrines in order to justify its continued existence.

Sabbatianism, it will be remembered, was a messianic movement that took its name from Shabbethai Sevi, who was proclaimed Messiah by his followers, not without some ready cooperation on his own part. After a sudden eclipse of the general excitement following the apostasy of the Messiah, isolated and often rival groups of Sabbatian heretics continued to exist for some 150 years. There remained many a secret cell dispersed throughout Europe.

Scholarly examination of the Hasidic movement's sources of inspiration has shown that the accusations made by anti-Hasidic polemists were not altogether without foundation. It has been convincingly argued that indeed there existed significant contacts between the nascent Hasidic movement and the declining Sabbatian heresy. Personal lines of contact between them as well as ideological affinities, the latter possibly unnoticed by the Hasidim themselves, have recently been discovered. There were some Sabbatian sympathies on the part of the first Hasidic leaders. It has been established that secretly copied manuscripts of Sabbatian theology, though never printed, remained in the possession of Hasidic circles for many generations right up to World War II.

Certain aspects of early hasidic teaching appear to have been derived from Sabbatian tenets. It has been suggested that the Hasidic doctrine of the descensus of the
Saddik could well be a mitigated formulation of the Sabbatian thesis of the descent of the Messiahs into the "realm of impurity." Similarly, one of the central admonitions might have been modeled on the same Sabbatian doctrine. Naturally in both cases the originally Sabbatian ideas underwent a solid process of re-Judaization, since the positive role of actual sin central in Sabbatian theology was replaced in Hasidism by the positive role of sinful fantasy. All this gave an unexpectedly wide diffusion to religious ideas of a Sabbatian structure, though in a much-mitigated and hence more acceptable form. Nevertheless, the unconventional tone of some Hasidic teaching on the service of God in "wayward thoughts," i.e., in the fantasies of sin, is unmistakable, and was noticed as such by contemporary critics of the Hasidic camp. (p. 10-11)

A strain developed in the Jewish community between appointed rabbis and freelance preachers that consisted of professional rivalry and social and economic differences. The rabbi was schooled. The Hasidic preacher was a mystic. Weiss explains:

The awareness in early Hasidism of a tension between the two types of leadership is evident here and there in the collection of legends. The fame of Israel Baalshem [who founded the Hasidic movement] aroused the interest of the rabbis, who could not understand how...one "unlearned in the Torah," could possess Divine Spirit. Israel Baalshem was invited to the Great Synod of the four Eastern European countries to account for his activities. There he was reproached as follows: "By your whole behaviour one would think that the Holy Spirit is upon you, and yet there is the report that you are an ignoramus." (p. 14-15)

He was then questioned on a point of the law, and gave a response that evaded the question according to Weiss.

Gershom Scholem indicates that Zevi exhibited some characteristics of Hasidism 100 years before it became a full-fledged movement.

At the same time his behavior exhibited some of the traits usually associated with that of eighteenth- or nineteenth-century Hasidic rabbis: he would present his believers with a scarf, a morsel of food, or some other object which, by his very touch, had become a kind of holy relic. We know that Sabbatai continued this practice long after his apostasy, for example, when called to cure a sick believer in Adrianople. The narrative shows that the "Hasidic" style so often said to be specifically characteristic of Russian and Polish Jewry was perfectly possible a hundred years earlier in a completely different environment. (Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah 1626-1676, Princeton University Press, p. 626)

(Note to Joseph and to Mark if he checks in here--I have not read either book in its entirety.)

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Two elements of the article stand out:

An article this week in the liberal Protestant magazine The Christian Century calls Osteen an “easy theological target” who turns the language of the Scriptures “into a vague religiosity, or into more digestible categories of self-help and self-improvement.”

Self-salvation. In other words, we can save ourselves by improving our human nature. The same message peddled by the Masonic Lodge. The same message peddled by the Theosophists. And look how easily it catches on!

The facility has the same TV screens that can be found at Matthew Fox's rave masses. This is an "entertainment" church. Is the visual image used as a substitute for preaching because "a picture is worth a thoudand words" and is much more difficult to refute? Have some of our large cathedrals been remodeled to accommodate this sort of church? Edward Sovik, the inspiration of Fr. Joseph Vosko, was very much in favor of "meeting spaces" to replace churches, places where activities other than religious services can be held.

Absent, however, is a cross, an image of God or Jesus Christ or any other traditional religious symbols. Osteen said his father never displayed such symbols and he simply continued the tradition. Instead, the new location will feature a larger version of the church’s trademark globe, rotating slowly behind Osteen as he preaches.

The church of the world. The church of the anti-Christ? Who, after all, is the prince of this world?

There is this comment which sounds all too familiar: "In response to critics of Osteen’s motivational, easygoing approach, his mother, Dodie Osteen said: 'We don’t preach the gospel sad, we preach it glad.'" So does the Catholic Church in recent years, though She had not always done so.


The headline is imflammatory, but the text at this link sent in by a reader calls into question the same sort of doctrinal flip-flop that there seems to be rather a lot of these days. I would like to see Benedict directly address such questions since they are legitimate.


"Two teams of American and Japanese corporations have a boat race. On the big day the Japanese win by a mile and the discouraged Americans hire a consulting firm to investigate the problem.

The findings are that the Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering while the American team had one rower and eight people steering. Based on these results, the American team is completely reorganized to include four steering managers, four steering area managers and a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide work incentive.

The following year the Japanese win again, so the Americans lay off the rower for poor performance and give the manager a bonus for discovering the problem."


From the pen of Sandro Magister:

As for Moscow, which was at daggers drawn with the previous pope, Benedict XVI sent Cardinal Walter Kasper there to check out the situation ahead of time. However, he was not able even to meet with Patriarch Alexei II. The most critical point here is Ukraine. With more than five million faithful, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church wants to transfer its headquarters from Lviv to the capital, Kiev, before the end of the year. The plan is to consecrate a new metropolitan cathedral there in October, which would have jurisdiction over almost the entire country. The Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow – most of whose faithful, vocations, and money are in Ukraine – sees this as an intolerable affront and is demanding that Benedict XVI block the move.

If unity can be brought about, wouldn't the Ukraine problem go away since both Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic would then be sort of in the same Church?

It seems to me that the Orthodox argument here depends upon an assumption that the churches will continue a rivalry even after unity has been accomplished. I guess that assumption would be based on the relationship between the various Patriarchates, but isn't that difficulty expected to be resolved once unity is accomplished? Do I detect here an Orthodox assumption of business as usual even after official documents have been signed, meaning that a de facto schism will still be maintained?

But hey...I'm a babe in the woods where politics are concerned, as I've admitted on several occasions.


A reader thought this article would provoke an interesting discussion.

IMHO, collegiality at a time when we already have sharp divisions between bishops so that it is becoming evermore difficult to know what the Church teaches, is a very bad idea.

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