Saturday, November 05, 2005
Considering he heated debating that has taken place here today, I think Fr. Rob's comments on that Scripture passage are food for all of us to think about.
"Do You Think That I Have Come To Establish Peace...?"
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace
on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
While I don't think anyone would accuse me of being a Pollyanna regarding the human condition or what we face as Christians in today's world, this gospel is still a sobering reminder to me.
Our Lord's words should not be construed as a statement expressing his wishes, but a no - nonsense appraisal of reality: the reality of what happens when the Truth confronts Sin, when Love confronts Self. You see, we always have the choice of whether to accept and acknowledge the Truth, whether we will live for Love or for Self. And, unfortunately, some people, when confronted with the choice, will choose badly. Some sin one person wants to cling to will lead him to reject the Truth, and the One who brings it. Another person will reject Love so as to go on living with her Self enthroned in her heart.
MY RESPONSE TO COMMENTER HA
I have taken the day to consider how to respond to HA's comments and to avoid responding in the heat of anger.
HA: I have another couple of other random observations to offer. I realize I'm probably shouting in the wind -- for some people, focusing on these sinister influences is the religious equivalent of pornography, except unlike porn addicts, the religious pornographer indulging his fetishes further deludes himself by thinking that he is benefiting the church.
Religious pornography? Since that is what HA implies this blog is about, let's look at the company I'm keeping:
"The Bible as Religious Pornography".
"Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’: Religious Pornography for Christians"
The Bible and "The Passion of the Christ".--Thank you for the compliment, but I assure you I don't deserve it!
HA: A big problem with those who focus on fringe movements attacking hte Church, without bothering to back it up with hard data and specifics, is at some point the anti-Semites come in and start telling us "the Jews" are behind this. (See more on that below.) Call this a paranoid hunch on my part if you will, but I stand by it. Maybe Carrie, to her credit, won't take the ball and run with it, but sure as night follows day, others will do so.
Since I've been focusing most recently on the monks, apparently HA believes our Monastic communities are fringe movements. I do agree that when they focus on the Tarot and the magical fraternity Golden Dawn they have moved to the Catholic fringe.
You can't get any more solid data than what an organization says about itself in its own website. The commenter accuses me of bias. I think the bias is obvious. It's right there in the banner across the top of my blog. I'm Catholic. I speak from a Catholic perspective. The impliction is that I'm an anti-Semite. Would that be the conclusion the commenter has reached because I cite favorably and repeatedly the work of Gershom Scholem? That "paranoid hunch" is somewhat over the top. I am not responsible for what others do with the material I blog.
HA: Also, there is the matter of style, though I'm trivializing my point by using such a word. Here are some of Carrie's quotes over the last couple of days to give you an idea of what I mean. If you want to get the full effect of what I'm talking about, add a few exclamation points and boldface characters to each of the following quotes.
"Rome...has made multiple overtures to the Jews. Is there something Rome isn't telling us?"
"Is there something Rome doesn't want us to know?"
"I see no evidence that Benedict XVI has any intention of stifling it. In fact, .. I suspect that Pope Benedict will promote it...it is a revival of our most persistent heresy. Is this the future of the Roman Catholic Church?"
"This is where ecumenism is taking us apparently...into post-denominationalism. And it seems to have the Pope's blessing."
"Will polytheism be next? Or more realistically, will Sophia as a separate hypostasis of the Trinity [be] embraced...?"
"Is the Roman Catholic Church in the process of reinventing Herself while at the same time claiming to be based in Tradition, or is there a widespread deception such as the Great Apostasy taking place?"
If HA wanted boldface characters and exclamation points, why didn't s/he add them her/himself? Apparently asking questions is a style the commenter finds offensive. Has it become politically incorrect to ask questions now, or is it that this commenter doesn't want to entertain the possible answers to the questions I ask?
HA: I'm sorry to be blunt, but this is yellow journalism, plain and simple. It reads like headlines lifted from the National Star, and unless you think Elvis is alive and well and hanging out with Bigfoot and all their little friends from Roswell, it's not the kind of writing that inspires confidence. Moreover, since most of the questions are of the "have you stopped beating your wife" variety they're not the kind that can be sensibly answered.
News from Planet Zircon: Commenter thinks asking questions in a blog is the equivalent of yellow journalism.
Wow! I am wide-eyed with wonder. Considering the revenue earned by yellow journals, I could have an income-producing career instead of slugging away at this computer screen for no pay to cover the expenses. Who knew? (I trust, HA, that you can recognize sarcasm when you read it.)
HA: I realize it is important to be aware of all these esoteric movements out there, but there is something sinister in the way this is being done here. It's not intentional, and I'm not saying that this blog isn't doing a service at the same time, but add my voice to the chorus of those urging everyone here to be very careful. Hopefully, I'm being overly concerned. In any case, I'll admit it's just my opinion.
HA 11.05.05 - 9:34 am #
Where to begin?
What I'm doing is an important service that is sinister--but not intentionally sinister, you understand--and that's why I should stop doing it.
Perhaps it hangs upon the definition of "is".
Since you like neither my style nor my content, HA, please place your cursor over the little "X" up top and take yourself to places that are more to your liking. No one is forcing you to come in here; but if you do continue to come in here, don't complain about what you find.
I trust that we can move on to another topic now. This is the last I'm going to say on this matter, and I trust it will be the last anyone will say on it.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS CRUEL
is a claim made by women who want abortion rights in all countries in the EU and who recognize that the Church is the only obstacle. No one interviewed the babies who are alive because the cruel Church protected their human rights.
LUISA PICCARRETA (1865-1947) HAS BEEN CANONIZED
according to Spirit Daily. Her writings, however, have not yet received Church approval.
Friday, November 04, 2005
A MODERN SEMINARIAN'S DICTIONARY
This is hoot! Check it out over at Bettnet. Just a sample:
JUDGMENTAL: A person who judges the sin but not the sinner. A non?judgmental person utters not a word on the morality of the usual sexual sins, but tries to determine “where a person’s at” so that the person’s motives can be judged accordingly; a non?judgmental person judges the sinner but not the sin.
SIMPLISTIC: Having to do with common sense.
CATHOLIC FUNDAMENTALIST: A simplistic person who tries to live the Faith in a docile and pious way; also a Catholic who frequently prays the Rosary.
MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT
It's not just for Catholic Monks and Anthroposophists seeking Sophia.
The Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn, a fraternity devoted to ritual magic which includes Tarot has a webpage devoted to MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT. They call the book a "must-read for anyone who sincerely desires to have more than a surface knowledge of the sacred mysteries.
The website indicates that Valentin Tomberg was head of the Martinist Order during the 40s and 50s. The book is "strongly recommended study for Second Order Brethren of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn.
The biography of one of the founders of the Golden Dawn, S. L. MacGregor Mathers, is online at the Golden Dawn website. From this biography we can learn that high ranking Freemasonry, Kabbalah, scrying, Spirit Vision, and some sort of clairvoyant or telepathic contact with spirit realms was responsible for the construction of the rituals used in the esoteric magic of the Golden Dawn. We can learn that the Father of the French Occult revival, Eliphas Levi, influenced Mathers. We can learn that Mathers and his wife attended the Catholic Mass later in life, but there is no evidence that he converted. Mathers created "Rites of Isis" while in Paris and in charge of the Second Order. Aleister Crowley, a member of G.D., came to believe that he was the "Golden Child" and caused a schism. Another schism produced the Stella Matutina and the Alpha et. Omega.
It's interesting to note the role that ego is said to play in the dealings of the Golden Dawn:
The inflation of the ego is large enough as a person rises through the Outer Order grades, if that person isn't aged enough like a fine wine and allowed to advance too soon into Second Order work, the results can be disasterous. The ego is now completely unchecked and feeding off a current much stronger than was available in the Outer Order. Behavior such as rumor mongering, schisming and self-grandizing are the result. This is partially what would befall the Second Order of the G.D. at the turn of the century when the Order would go through a disasterous revolt by Adepts who probably should have never reached the Second Order.
Pride of this sort has one source.
The G.D. use magical rituals to contact spiritual realms.
In his book LUCIFER RISING: SIN, DEVIL WORSHIP & ROCK 'N' ROLL, Gavin Baddeley, a British journalist who specializes in the occult, says of the Golden Dawn:
In 1898[Aleister] Crowley was initiated into the Golden Dawn by its founder, the influential but eccentric occultist S. L. MacGregor Mathers. (Yeats later derided him as 'half lunatic, half knave', while the impoverished but egomaniacal Mathers' proudest boast was that, "There is no part of me that is not of the gods.') The Golden Dawn was a system of magical knowledge, welded together by Mathers from the traditions of ancient Jewish, medieval and Renaissance sorcery. It also owed much to Theosophy, as pioneered by a remarkable Russian mystic named Helena Blavatsky. In many ways a precursor to today's New Age movement, the Theosophical Society--which survives into the present day in a more pedestrian form--took a novel mixture of Eastern mystical philosophies and glued them all together with candy-floss and bulllshit.
The part of Theosophy which most appealed to Mathers was the idea of 'the Masters': benevolent supermen, or demigods, who used Blavatsky as their spokeswoman on earth. Mathers worked them into his own system as the 'Secret Chiefs'--the hidden masters of the Golden Dawn, who only communicated via him. Cynics won't be surprised to learn that these exalted entities promptly declared Mathers the 'Supreme Magus', demanding that all members exalted entities promptly declared Mathers the 'Supreme Magus', demanding that all members of the Golden Dawn sign an oath of obedience to him. The Order, whose sorcerous rituals were supposedly aimed toward gaining power and enlightenment, subsequently became a semi-bureaucratic series of ranks and grades. (p. 24)
Does this sound like the kind of atmosphere conducive to Catholic spiritual enlightenment? Obviously not. Followers of the G.D. had no interest in a Catholic Jesus Christ. The esoteric Jesus that appears in the writings of Anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner is not the Jesus Christ of the Catholics, he is a disembodied spirit with which these believers in Gnosticism make contact. Baddeley has put the name to this spirit in the title of his book.
Yet Thomas Keating has lent his seal of approval to MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT, and is busy in interreligious dialogue trying to promote a syncretistic mix of religions which level all faiths to the lowest common denominator. And yet another monk from Glenstal Abbey, Mark Patrick Hedderman, has written a book that promotes Tarot.
Lest there be any question about the Golden Dawn and Tarot connection, here is Amazon's listing for the Golden Dawn Tarot deck.
There is no way to reconcile Baddeley's account of the workings of the Golden Dawn with Hans Urs von Balthasar's promotion of Tomberg's book. The book is not Catholic, and it cannot be baptized Catholic because it promotes an activity which directly violates the First Commandment.
CCC 2138 Superstition is a departure from the worship that we give to the true God. It is manifested in idolatry, as well as in various forms of divination and magic.
The wolf is in the henhouse and giving the chickens a line of BS about the goodness of his intentions.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
A QUESTION TO EWTN ABOUT CHURCH OF CONSCIOUS HARMONY
The Church of Conscious Harmony which teaches the Enneagram and Gurdjieff practices, where Fr. Thomas Keating has delivered some lectures, and where centering prayer is one of their activities, was the subject of a querry to Richard Geraghty at EWTN on August 29 of this year. Dr. Geraghty was not helpful.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
THE CONFUSING ENGLISH LANGUAGE
A reader sent in this little experiment with English.
I'm taught p-l-o-u-g-h
S'all be pronouncé 'plow'.
"Zat's easy w'en you know," I say,
"Mon Anglais, I'll get through!"
My teacher say zat in zat case,
O-u-g-h is 'oo'.
And zen I laugh and say to him,
"Zees Anglais make me cough".
He say, "Not 'coo', but in zat word,
O-u-g-h is 'off'."
Oh, Sacre bleu! such varied sounds
Of words makes me hiccough!
He say, "Again mon frien' ees wrong;
O-u-g-h is 'up'
In hiccough." Zen I cry, "No more,
You make my t'roat feel rough."
"Non, non!" he cry, "you are not right;
O-u-g-h is 'uff'."
I say, "I try to spik your words,
I cannot spik zem though!"
"In time you'll learn, but now you're wrong
O-u-g-h is 'owe'."
"I'll try no more, I s'all go mad,
I'll drown me in ze lough!"
"But ere you drown yourself," said he,
"O-u-g-h is 'ock'."
He taught no more, I held him fast,
And killed him wiz a rough.
- Charles Battell Loomis (1861-1911)
YOU'RE INVITED TO A SLUMBER PARTY ?
A reader sent in a link to this article about a book being withdrawn in Spain.
A Spanish guide for young women that includes frank talk about sexuality was withdrawn by the Women's Institute of the central northern region of Castilla–La Mancha after a storm of controversy erupted over some of its more suggestive content, which included encouraging girls to try out mutual full-body massage, Agence France-Presse reports. For its proponents, it was supposed to be a woman's pocket guide to relaxation and discovering one's inner self. But Paloma de Castro, chairwoman of the regional Federation of the Family, called the guide a "perversion without precedent" that "incites the practice of homosexuality among girls not sufficiently mature to have any kind of sexual relations."
It occurred to me after reading that paragraph, that such activity might take place at a girls slumber party--the kind of party that takes place when young girls are just discovering what sex is all about.
When my daughter was young it became obvious that some parents allowed their children to watch movies that I would never even consider allowing her to watch. Which meant that when she was invited to a party, I had to find out if a video was being shown, and if so, what video, before I could decide to allow her to attend. Sometimes getting that information required a phone call to the parent of the girl having the party. It was somewhat embarrassing.
I'm sitting here trying to fathom how I would go about making such a phone call to find out if there would be lesbian activity at a slumber party. What on earth would you say?
WHAT DOES INTERFAITH MEAN ?
is the question asked at the beginning of an article by Rev. Ellyn Kravette, Ordained Interfaith Minister of the School of Sacred Ministries. It's an important question--perhaps one could say even a vital question--given the commitment of Benedict XVI to the movement.
I found Rev. Kravette's website while Googling Fr. John Rossner, and he is mentioned in the text. Rev. Kravette likes Rossner's belief that there is "one common denominator in most of the world's great religions."
She likes something else, C. G. Jung's idea of a "new myth," and she quotes this passage without citing the source or using quotation marks at the beginning:
A notable feature of the new myth is its capacity to unify the various current religions of the world. By seeing all functioning religions as living expressions of individuation symbolism, i.e., the process of creating consciousness, an authentic basis is laid for a true ecumenical attitude. The new myth will not be one more religious myth in competition with all the others for man's allegiance; rather, it will elucidate and verify every functioning religion by giving more conscious and comprehensive expression to its essential meaning. The new myth can be understood and lived within one of the great religious communities such as Catholic Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. or in some new community yet to be created, or by individuals without specific community connections. This universal application gives it a genuine claim to the term 'catholic'.
Sounds like a perscription for the One World Religion. It doesn't exactly gladden my heart to know that Jung's ideas are floating around interreligious dialogue circles, knowing that Jung was an occultist. An article in "St. Catherine Review" states:
Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Gustav Jung, reared a Lutheran, abandoned the Christianity of his parents for the occult. Jung’s entire life and work were motivated by his detestation of the Catholic Church, whose religious doctrines and moral teachings he considered to be the source of all the neuroses which afflicted Western man. In his 1912 book, New Paths in Psychology, Jung wrote that the only way to overthrow the neuroses inducing Judeo-Christian religion and it’s "sex-fixated ethics" was to establish a new religion—the religion of psychoanalysis.
It doesn't exactly gladden my heart to read that Tarotmonk is a member of the faculty of Jung in Ireland, as listed on the website for the New York Center for Jungian Studies. In the article about his book, TAROT: TALISMAN OR TABOO?, in the Limerick Leader we can read:
Most of us are aware by now that the twentieth century was for many people a hell on earth and that this hell was a human creation. It was a hell of cruelty and mayhem resulting from the incapacity of powerful people to decipher their unconscious motivation, whether in concentration camps, institutions, schools or families.
The fact is they were people who had no connection with who they really were - all because they hadn't connected to the unconscious."
Many of the great monsters we can now parade in public with the clarity and courage of hindsight, are no more than the rest of us writ large. Every one of us was potentially an oppressor....
Anyone who is a leader or in charge of other people, has a duty to the people under their charge to take some kind of responsibility for what is undercover.
Unless we find some way of domesticating the unconscious, we are likely to be a danger to ourselves and to other people.
A bit further into the article is his solution to this crisis he has defined: "...the Tarot, he says, is 'the idiot's guide to the unconscious."
This is the man who has been the head of the school at Glenstal Abbey and has taught both philosophy and literature. It rather looks as though he has skipped the theology courses since it is C. G. Jung's religion rather than the religion of Jesus Christ that has his recommendation.
This, I presume, is where Tarotmonk is coming from. Titled "Chaos and the Psychological Symbolism of the Tarot" by Dr. Gerald Schueler, the abstract says:
The Tarot deck contains archetypal symbols that can be related to the analytical psychology of the Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung. The Tarot deck, especially the major arcana or trump cards, can be used effectively in therapy. The client, with the assistance of the therapist, conducts a reading or uses several cards to tell a story and then discusses possible meanings of the symbols in his or her own words. The therapist then relates the symbolic meanings given by the client to the client's problem in much the same manner as in Jungian dream analysis. This therapeutic process can be explained by using a chaos model. Using a chaos model of therapy, a period of psychic instability is deliberately induced by the therapist through stimulation of the imagination via the Tarot symbols. Concentration on the Tarot symbols induces bifurcation points that the therapist then uses to direct change toward desired attractors. This is similar to the well-known techniques of paradoxical communication, paradoxical intervention, and prescribing the symptom, all of which induce a temporary condition of psychic instability that is required for a bifurcation.
If you scroll down to the bottom where the References are listed, you can see that one source is Israel Regardie, the ritual writer for the Golden Dawn. Aleister Crowley's BOOK OF THOTH, Eliphas Levi's TRANSCENDENTAL MAGIC, and A. E. Waite's THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT are there as well. Even Papus's book THE TAROT OF THE BOHEMIANS makes the Reference list.
Those are the shining stars of occultism. You can't get any further into occulture than those books. And we have monks who promote the Tarot presumably using the material found there. This is precisely what scared the heck out of prior popes. But does Tarotmonk get censored for preaching this heresy? Does his abbey toss him out? No, his abbey promotes his book on their website, and another monk in good standing named Keating, who also promotes the Tarot, has a worldwide ministry of interreligious dialogue.
Can we say prelest? Yes, I think we can. The smoke of satan that Pope Paul VI worried about has infiltrated everywhere. Aleister Crowley was quite happy with his self-designation "The Beast" and "666."
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
GNOSTICISM LEADS TO THE TAROT
Bishop Stephen Hoeller would like us to consider polytheism as a way to circumvent our "long-time afflictor" God, that "vengeful and jealous God of our fathers."
In a review of Hoeller's book, THE FOOL'S PILGRIMMAGE: KABBALISTIC MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT, we are told that Hoeller proposes we seek a union with God, though which God is not specified. This is to be "our one purpose." One way he proposes we do that is through meditation on Tarot cards. According to the review:
The Kabbalah (or Judaic Tree of Life) and the Tarot--an ancient divinatory system of symbolic cards--are two of the most powerful tools for spiritual development the Western mystery tradition has ever evolved.
For a Catholic there is a small problem. CCC 2116 tells us that "All forms of divination are to be rejected". We appear to be on a collision course with the beliefs of the Gnostics. A synthesis of Gnostic beliefs associated with the Tarot and our own Roman Catholic beliefs will violate the First Commandment as it has been defined by the Catechism. (I wonder if the new shortened version of the Catechism in which Pope Benedict has been instrumental will drop this prohibition?)
The Tarot deck consists of Minor Arcana and 22 cards that comprise the Major Arcana. Each of these have a name. The Fool is the first in the series, and thus the source of the title of Hoeller's book.
At Tarot.com Christine Payne-Towler, a "world-class Tarot scholar with an encyclopedic knowledge of Tarot's origins and evolution," according to the website, tells us that
In the remarkable history of this faith[Gnosticism], an extensive chapter could be written just on the interactions of Gnosticism and the Catholic Church. The establishment of the Church of Rome in the fourth century AD allowed for three centuries of Christian development before the regulating authority of Rome arose to assert the "party line." Initially each bishop was free to study, teach and write what he believed, and many were deeply influenced by Gnostic thought. But once the canonical standard for Christianity was set, the Church felt it necessary to posthumously excommunicate several of its most well-respected and influential early bishops for being Gnostic heretics! With an identity crisis like that defining its birth, it is no wonder the Church remained on guard and actively hostile to any traces of Gnostic thought appearing in "Christian Europe."
Needless to say, Gnostics do not have a good opinion of Roman Catholicism.
Payne-Towler associates Tarot with the Gnostic faith.
In order to be clear about the relationship betwen Gnosticism and Tarot, it should be stated at the outset that there are no specifically "Gnostic" Tarots. It would be equally true to say, however, that every Tarot is a Gnostic Tarot. This paradox exists because, as with the difference between the Gnostic reading of Genesis and the Catholic reading of Genesis, the difference lies in interpretation. Tarot artists used this ambiguity to their advantage in the early centuries of Tarot. So, for example, the High Priestess image could be seen as an allegory for "Mother Church" in the eyes of a believing Christian, while a Gnostic might see in the very same image the female pope, a truly heretical concept! In this manner, the Gnosticism of Tarot is "hidden in plain sight," like much of the esoteric content implied in the art of the earliest handmade Tarots....[emphasis mine]
Certainly since the time of Etteilla in the mid-1700s, almost every luminary in the field of Tarot has belonged to either the Rosicrucians, Masons, Martinists or some other Secret Society group....
I am convinced, and the evidence implies, that the Secret Societies participated in enabling the Hebrew/Hermetic/Gnostic synthesis to see the light of day, albeit in card form.
Not all agree; however, Payne-Towler is respected in Gnostic circles.
She associates the Tarot with the Goddess.
One of the things Gnosticism represents is a rebellion within the Old Testament-based (Mosaic) religions against those who used the myth of Genesis to stamp out the ancient Goddess-based mysteries of antiquity. Even as early as the second century BC there were those who felt Moses had distorted the ancient creation stories to eliminate the participation of the feminine side of Deity. The Goddess as co-creator had in earliest times been revered by all Semitic peoples and those memories have never been entirely wiped out despite the Hebrew focus on Jehova (JHVH) as the One True God.
As just one example of the preservation of the Goddess in Gnostic thought, let us look back to the Hebrew tradition about the "daughter of God," called the Matronit of the Kabbalah. Her roots were planted in Talmudic times in the first through fifth centuries AD. They called her by several names in their mystical literature: the Shekhina, Malkuth, the Supernal Woman and the Discarded Cornerstone, among other titles.
In this ancient conception, the FatherGod and his consort exist in such a rarified state compared to humanity that there is no way human consciousness can reach to them and experience their reality. The son and daughter of the Holy Pair, however, extend like shadows of their parents into this fallen world, linking humanity and the "fallen" creation to higher realities. (As this mythic theme came forward in time from Judaism, through Gnosticism and into Christianity, this pair would be renamed Christ and the Sophia.)
Are we looking at a strain of Judaism resurfacing today? I wouldn't assume we are based solely on Payne-Towler's claim, but it is noteworthy that the rituals of Freemasonry are based on Old Testament temple building. She makes the Jewish claim once again in the following passage:
according to the Old Testament-based religions, direct mystical or spiritual experience was not accessible to ordinary humans. The Gnostics' credo was to achieve direct experience of the Mystery whenever possible; each group was looking for intimate, personal experiences with godhead, much like those available through the traditional older Mystery Schools.
Drawing upon ancient Hermetic and Jewish gospels rejected by the canonizers of the Old and New Testaments, they challenged the official Judeo-Christian explanations of a monotheistic FatherGod, human origins, and the destiny of the soul. They felt that a straighter route could be found to reunite humanity and godhead without the interference of clergy or priestly heirarchies. In particular they worshipped and championed Sophia, the Wisdom of God (as mentioned in Genesis) who in the beginning co-created the world with the Father. In their societies, women's roles reflected this greater respect for the feminine. As Dr. Lewis Keizer and Stuart Kaplan remind us, the earliest Tarots show a woman dressed in ecclesiastical garb and named "The Popess." In the Mantegna tarocchi, this image is the person at the top of their "stations of man" series, the person who is closest to God, representative of humanity's highest development, and clearly a woman! In the mid-1400s, that is a powerful statement.
In a segment of the essay titled "Pessimist vs. Optimist Gnostics" Payne-towler cites Fr. John Rossner's book IN SEARCH OF THE PRIMORDIAL TRADITION AND THE COSMIC CHRIST. Here in this segment we can read that
Rossner writes that "during the Renaissance, Ficino and Giordano Bruno believed that this 'optimistic' variety of an earlier Egyptian 'proto-gnosticism' had found its way into original Mosaic tradition, and into the works of the New Testament, in the positive metaphysical philosophies of Jesus, John (the author of the 4th Gospel) and Paul. It also found its way into the Neo-Platonic Hermeticists of the early Christian centuries."
She neglects to mention, but I will, that the Church condemned these theories at the time. Giordane Bruno was burned at the stake, but recently Rome rehabilitated him. Rome also has made multiple overtures to the Jews. Is there something Rome isn't telling us? Is there something Rome doesn't want us to know?
Out in Los Angeles on the grounds of the new cathedral there is a rumor that the children's play area sidewalk is in the shape of a snake. I've seen pictures, but Google can't find them. Perhaps they are no longer on the web. In any case, the story in Genesis gives an evil role to the snake. However according to Payne-Towler:
Only in Gnostic thought do we find a positive interpretation of the snake in the garden. The card that substitutes for the Hanged Man in the Eteilla deck has left behind the Judeo-Christian idea of human guilt for the "fall of man" and its expiation in sacrifice. The replacement card is called Prudence, No. 12, and pictured is the Goddess again, holding a wand in the shape of a "T" with a snake at her feet. In this image, she is lifting her skirts to the snake as if in invitation, with an enigmatic smile on her lips. The "T" cross refers to the last letter of the Greek or Hebrew alphabet, assigned to the path leading to Malkuth, bottom station of the Kabbalah Tree, and another name for the Hebrew "Earthly Goddess." Manly P. Hall, in his tome The Secret Teachings, links the Tav, the Tetractys, the caduceus and the Kabbalah! We know from the history of symbolism that the snake is a longtime symbol of lifeforce, vitality or what the Chinese call "chi." It has not always been used as a symbol of evil or deception. The Gnostics held that the snake in the garden was a teacher of humanity, educating Eve and opening her eyes to the sexual mysteries. This same theme was explored in the older Mantegna Tarot image of Prudence, but in this one the snake is wrapping itself around the mirror into which Prudence gazes. The mirror is another symbol for Wisdom as are the two faces looking forward and back ward, so we are back with the Gnostic idea of Eve/Shekhina/Sophia as the initiator of humanity into the Mysteries, the Wisdom tradition, through her curiosity, mental reflection and natural magnetism.
Of course if a way can be found to redefine Eve's activities in the Garden of Eden that will avoid Original Sin, we can then redefine Jesus Christ as a prophet and no longer the Son of God and Savior of the World, because the world will no longer need to be saved. If Jesus can be redefined as a prophet, He can be no more than the equal of other prophets who have founded other religions; and all religions can be placed on an equal playing field useful for interreligious dialogue, and perhaps useful for opening the doorway to Antichrist.
There is more in her essay, and as I said, not all agree with her, but some do; and if she is correct, perhaps there is an element of Judaism in Gnosticism. You can read her biography here.
Among those who disagree with Payne-Towler is Dr. Robert O'Neill. He has an extensive probe into the history of the Tarot at the same Tarot.com website. In the conclusion to the segment on "Magic and the Early Tarot" he tells us that "Tarot was designed in the 15th century in northern Italy." According to him "We do not know what the "original" deck looked like" but since "it changed quickly into the deck we recognize today" that may not be important.
He indicates that "The early evolution of the Tarot occurred in a culture imbued with magic...many forms of magic were formally accepted by the Church.
it is clear that there are many ties between the Tarot symbols and the magic of the 15th century. As we have seen throughout this series of essays, image magic, art of memory, astrological imagery, numerology, Lullism, etc. played an integral role in the everyday lives of the Italian city states. One must fly in the face of a great body of evidence to maintain that there are no connections between the Tarot and magic. But it is important to recognize that the magic was not secret or pagan, it was Christian, public, and for the most part quite orthodox.
This series of essays is about the Tarot of the 15th century. It is clear that in subsequent centuries, the magical elements incorporated into the Tarot were recognized and further developed. The simplest hypothesis that fits the evidence is that the Tarot as a tool for divination was developed subsequent to the 15th century.
Ramon Lull wasn't a magus in his day and although never canonized as a saint, he is venerated by the Franciscans and Majorcans who have the Church's approval to refer to him as "Blessed Ramon". Ramon's art isn't magic but was so regarded within a couple of centuries. Ramon was not a Cabalist, but was so revered within a couple of centuries. Ramon was not an alchemist but was so regarded within a couple of centuries. If it could happen to Ramon, it could happen to Tarot.
In the conclusion to his essay "Catharism and the Tarot", Dr. O'Neill tells us that
Our explorations also brought to light two new possibilities that are new to the Tarot community. The first is the possibility that some of the Tarot imagery comes from the artistic tradition associated with the book of Revelation, particularly Death, Tower, Judgment, and World. The relevance of this to our current investigation is ambiguous. The imagery is perfectly orthodox, but its familiarity in 15th century Italy was stimulated by the Spiritual Franciscan commentaries on Joachim. The broader relevance of this potential source of symbolism to our understanding of the early Tarot is beyond the scope of the present studies. That subject deserves a study of its own.
The second new idea was the suggestion that the confraternities were a reasonable candidate for the originators of the Tarot. The relevance of this to the present study was that the confraternities were a special project of the Franciscans and were strongly influenced by Spiritualist ideas.
Dr. O'Neill's biography can be read here.
The evidence that all of this was rejected the first time around can be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia online.
The Franciscan Spirituals were excommunicated.
Raymond Lull's mysticism was condemned and he was not granted sainthood despite his martyrdom.
Ficino opened the door to Neoplatonism.
Today a Catholic monk, Mark Patrick Hedderman, of Glensal Abbey in Ireland, has written a book promoting the Tarot titled TAROT: TALISMAN OR TABOO?. He recommends that the Tarot be used for meditation and "argues passionately that people need to make this spiritual journey into their unconscious. Failure to do so is actually dangerous, he contends" according to the Limerick Leader.
The Sunday Times also carries a story on this monk and his cards. This article gives the opposing view from Fr. Pat Collins who says "Divination is frowned upon by the Catholic church....If people get involved [in] the occult there's a danger that they're opening themselves up to negative spiritual influences that they probably have no idea about, namely the devil."
Nevertheless, Hederman must have the approval of his Abbott since his book is featured on the Abbey website. Incidentally, this Abbey has a boys school. I wonder if Hederman teaches them Tarot?
Tarot.com offers numerous Tarot decks in pictures. There is even a Salvador Dali Tarot.
It very much appears to me that there are two opposing schools of thought--one might even say "schools of faith"--within Catholic monasticism. That seems to be reflected in the John Main Seminars, in Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, in the contemplation/centering prayer movement, and in the monks promoting Tarot. This school of thought is close to what is taking place in the Marian movement and in the Charismatic Renewal movement. None of this is Traditional Catholicism even though it wears many of the trappings of the faith prior to Vatican II. Much of it had the approval of John Paul II. I see no evidence that Benedict XVI has any intention of stifling it. In fact, since it works well with ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, I suspect that Pope Benedict will promote it. Yet it is not Traditional Catholicism. Not even close. Instead it is a revival of our most persistent heresy.
Is this the future of the Roman Catholic Church?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
FITZGERALD PROMOTES MORE CATHOLIC-MUSLIM DIALOGUE
APPRECIATING the need for "a sincere, profound and constant dialogue between believing Catholics and believing Muslims, from which there can arise a strengthened mutual knowledge and trust," the Catholic Church has pledged to follow the noble footsteps of late Pope John Paul II and improve on its relation with the faith.
In his message to Muslims at the end of the Ramadan fast, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald on behalf of the Vatican, said the words of the late pontiff are still very relevant today.
He said that the only compensation for the loss of Pope John Paul II was to follow in his footsteps and continue to encourage Christian-Muslim relations.
According to Archbishop Fitzgerald, "it is for us to strengthen our engagement in building up good relations among people of different religions, to promote cultural dialogue and to work together for greater justice and enduring peace."
WHISTLEBLOWER'S CHILD EXPELLED FROM CATHOLIC SCHOOL
Earlier this month, a Catholic school in California won praise from pro-life advocates for firing a teacher who volunteered at a Planned Parenthood abortion business. Now, the student whose mother exposed the teacher's activities has been expelled from the school.
Katelyn Sills, a sophomore at Loretto High School in southern California, says she has been expelled from the Catholic school because she and her mother exposed the pro-abortion activities of the school's drama teacher.
Sills, who is 15, says she received an express mail letter on Saturday detailing her expulsion.
"As of Saturday, October 29th, I was given official notice by express mail that I am expelled from Loretto High School," Sills said. "This was given completely without forewarning, without a meeting, and without a chance to say goodbye."
Sills and her family may be pursuing legal action against the school.
That is sure a sad commentary on the state of Catholic education. Yet it is anything but a surprise. Kill the messenger has been the the way to do business since the sexual abuse scandal was first exposed. This is just one more blow to credibility.
Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.
FATHER FINISHED HIS HOMILY WITH A LITTLE SONG THIS MORNING...
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Lord how I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in
And when the sun begins to shine
And when the sun begins to shine
Lord, how I want to be in that number
When the sun begins to shine
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Lord how I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call
Lord, how I want to be in that number
When the trumpet sounds its call
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Lord how I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Catholic News Agency reports Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona recommends that Catholics who seek contemplation should pray the rosary. Good advice.
Start praying the rosary, and I suspect you will not stop. The Blessed Mother will draw you in, and she will not let you go.
I returned to it more than 15 years ago after a couple of decades of ignoring it because I had embraced the modern Church, or so I thought. It was pushed into the Traditional closet after Vatican II by those who claimed it was a foolish repetitive prayer for simpletons, and we were more enlightened now. Some of those same people wanted us to take up the mantra, as though it were not a foolish repetitive practice, but rather a new enlightenment. Unlike the rosary, I don't find a mantra satisfying.
I continue to find it amazing that I always know what mystery I should take up on any given day. Since I've slid into the practice of saying one decade at the end of the day instead of five, it becomes necessary to know where I am in the series of mysteries. Somehow I always do. I may not remember what I wore yesterday. I may not remember what I had for lunch. I may have forgotten that dinner is supposed to be an hour late because my husband has an errand to run after work, but I always know what mystery I should say on a given evening. That's a little miracle right there.
Sometimes I choose to go out of sequence and meditate on a mystery that is exactly the opposite of my particular mood. If I'm happy, I meditate on a sorrowful mystery. If I'm discouraged I meditate on the resurrection. Then there are the days when I'm simply not creative enough to find something new in the same old mysteries. On those days I pick out another event in the life of Christ to think about. Most recently it was the wedding feast at Cana, one of the luminous mysteries.
I should explain. Because of the research I've done on the occult, I am uncomfortable with the word "luminous" and I never say the Luminous Mysteries. Just using the word brings up all the wrong associations. But the events in the life of Christ that they represent are worthy of meditation, and so sometimes I do meditate on them. Even events in the life of Christ which are not a part of the four series of mysteries are just as valid for a private recitation of the rosary as the official mysteries are. So when you pray the rosary, and if you are not in the mood for the usual meditations, pick something else out of Scripture and concentrate on that instead. There's no reason to turn the rosary into a routine prayer that loses its meaning if that is what it is becoming.
If you haven't said the rosary in a while, I challenge you to give it a try. You won't regret it.
THE HEART OF BETRAYAL
an article in "Christian Order" by James Larson comments on Pope Benedict XVI's theology in the light of the teaching of previous Popes:
Those who have read my recent three part article in Christian Order titled The War Against Being are already familiar with Cardinal Ratzinger’s negation of the Syllabus of Pius IX, the Syllabus and encyclical Pascendi of Pius X, and the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission during the reign of Pius X. They are also aware of the Cardinal’s absolutely outrageous statement that "perhaps for the first time" the Church is now stating (in the CDF document The Nature and Mission of Theology) "that there are magisterial decisions which cannot be the final word on a given matter as such but, despite the permanent value of their principles, are chiefly also a signal for pastoral prudence, a sort of provisional policy."
One can well imagine the response of a Pius X, Leo XIII, Pius IX or the many Popes before them to the assertion that their condemnations of Liberalism and Modernism were provisional. In fact, Pope St. Pius X, in his Motu Proprio Praestantia Scripturae, pronounced an ipso facto excommunication upon any one who would presume to contradict or "endeavour to destroy the force and the efficacy" of his Syllabus or of his encyclical Pascendi.
Just as preposterous, however, is the notion that the philosophy of St. Thomas is something which is a matter of personal option. Pius X states in Pascendi that "To deviate from Aquinas, in metaphysics especially, is to run grave risk", and Pius XI flatly declares that "Thomas should be called not only the Angelic, but also the Common or Universal Doctor of the Church; for the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own, as innumerable documents of every kind attest (encyclical Studiorum Ducem,#11)."
Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
PICTURE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
What on earth is this priest doing?
Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch.
SOPHIA AND GNOSTIC CHRISTIANITY
Russian theologian Sergii Bulgakov developed the concept of Sophia/wisdom "as the nature of God revealed to creation." He reinterpreted the Trinity as well according to Dr. Mikhail Sergeev's paper presented at the World Congress of Philosophy in Boston, August 1998:
Sophia, or God's nature, while remaining the same, in Bulgakov's view, discloses its different aspects in every person of the Holy Trinity. He emphasizes that, without being a hypostasis itself, Sophia, is nevertheless always hypostatized and cannot be separated from each of the hypostases as, for example, from the person of the Son or Logos. Instead, Bulgakov points out, "The Divine Sophia is not just the Son... nor only the Holy Spirit either, but a di-unity of the Son and the Holy Spirit as the one self-revelation of the Father."
Apparently he didn't get his message across because Sophia has been turned into a hypostasis by others. According to the Sophia Foundation of North America, in "the Septuagint, believed to have been completed by the second century B.C., the Hebrew word Chokmah was rendered as Sophia."
Staying with a Hebrew train of thought, the explanation of Sophia continues:
Solomon's relationship with Sophia was mystical, gnostic, and magical: he was united with Sophia; he received divine knowledge from Sophia; and he accomplished divine works through her help and guidance.
What's more, according to the Sophia Foundation
Solomon was guided and inspired by Sophia regarding the plan and design of the temple. He summoned the master builder, Hiram of Tyre, who built the temple, "an exalted house, a place for the Lord to dwell in forever" (Kings 8:13). The temple of Solomon represented a culmination of the sacred work of Sophia accomplished in pre-Christian times through her guidance of certain leading representatives revered by the people of Israel (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, Moses). "She prospered their works" (Wisdom 11:1). Seen in this light, it would appear that the pre-Christian revelation of Sophia culminated in the Wisdom of Solomon, for people came to Solomon from far and wide, including the queen of Sheba, who saw "all the wisdom of Solomon, [and] the house that he had built." (I Kings 10:4).
Sophia in pre-Christian times could not have been the Sophia of the Trinity since the Son had not yet appeared on the world scene, and the God of the Old Testament appears as a singular hypostasis. Only later understanding of the Trinity could accommodate Bulgakov's explanation of Sophia as a connector between the Three Persons. Was wisdom personified in Old Testament Hebrew concepts? We have the Scripture evidence that wisdom was considered feminine, but we also have the evidence that Judaism believed in One God.
The Sophia Foundation would like us to come to understand that the Divine Feminine can be found in many religions. As we discover this, they hope that we will be led to "a more profound comprehension of Sophia as the 'World Mother' who has the possibility of establishing peace between the different religions, denominations, and cultures as we enter into the Age of Aquarius."
Are a Pagan concept of "World Mother" and a Roman Catholic concept of the Blessed Virgin as mother of the human race find compatibility? It is hardly a foregone conclusion, though some see compatibility in the two ideas.
Turning to another source of teaching on Sophia, called "Meditations," the Ecclesia Gnostica website offers Gnostic homilies delivered by Rev. Steven Marshall, one of which is titled "A Homily for The Annunciation to our Lady". There we can learn that
1) The Jesus of the Gnostics is a post-resurrectional mystery figure, the living Jesus, and is primarily a spirit, a pneuma. The Gnostic Jesus was not a person who died and disappeared, never to be heard of again, but an ever present reality in the inner life of his Gnostic followers, the ever coming and redeeming Logos. Therefore historical descriptions or theological speculations regarding any physical phenomena of conception and birth are of little consequence to the religious experience of the Gnostics. 2) In contrast to the dominant paradigm about women in early times the Gnostics do not view maternity as the principle value of the feminine. By the importance given to Mary Magdalene in the Gnostic writings, we can see that women signify the conceivers and birth givers of a deeply spiritual process in the life of the Gnostic, a role far transcending their biological role of conceiving and bearing children. Also, the Gnostics tend to view conception and birth as more of a tragedy than a joyful event. Many Gnostic writings identify incarnation with death and ignorance, as opposed to life and consciousness.
Is this the thinking motivating the feminist movement?--But that's off-topic.
Rev. Marshall associates Sophia with the Blessed Virgin:
Mary hears the voice of her angelic and divine soul; she follows the Light which is above every power of the Father. In the story of Sophia, Sophia errs in following the false light of the Arrogant One. Leaving her consort, she brings forth the Demiurge, an imperfect god who is responsible for all of the tragedy of the human condition.
Marshall relates in his homily that "In the Pistis Sophia [a Gnostic scripture], Mary conceives spiritually through the accepting of the Redeemer as the soul of the child in her womb." Rev. Marshall indicates further that "In this fashion Mary takes on the culmination and embodiment of the redemptive role and destiny of the Holy Sophia."
Should there be any doubt about the Gnostic value of Sophia, he writes:
Sophia is very important to us. Everything we do in this Church can be viewed as a cover for her acknowledgment and recognition in a culture where in times past the right to do so was paid for with our lives. Witches were not the only ones who were burned in the inquisition. Before them the last remaining Gnostics of European culture, the Cathars, were hunted down and burned as heretics. We are the hidden Children of Sophia. We are the protectors and guardians of her secret Gnosis. We acknowledge the darkness of this world and that, even in this more enlightened age, we could be imperiled and persecuted for her sake. And yet, in this place of darkness we have known her light. As in the prophetic verse of Isaiah, "They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
These mysteries are within us. We can experience the conception of Christ within our own souls.
In Gnostic doctrine Sophia becomes a feminine being. Rev. Marshall also indicates that Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje point "to an increased activity of the divine feminine in the collective psyche."
Explaining a Gnostic interpretation of the Annunciation further, Rev. Marshall writes:
Applying the hyletic level of reality to the mystery of the Annunciation, we are dealing with a reconstructed history of earthly events. TheGospel of Philip seems to profess the position that Mary was a real woman who had sexual intercourse with a real man in the process of conceiving and giving birth to Jesus. "The Lord would not have said, 'My father in heaven,' if he had not had another father, but he would have said simply my father." (The Gospel of Philip) Although the various Gnostic sects differed in their emphasis concerning the physical versus the spiritual reality of Jesus, the virgin conception and virgin birth were viewed as spiritual rather than physical realities by most of them.
Gnosticism, based as it is on occult experiences of visions, locutions, automatic writing, clairvoyance, etc., is not a doctrine set in stone. Each Gnostic decides for himself what he will believe and what he will not believe There really is no set doctrine for everyone. In Rev. Marshall's description of the Annunciation he clarifies further:
To further point us in the direction for discovering the pneumatic reality, theGospel of Philip intimates that something is missing from the conventional creed of the mainstream Church about the conception of Christ: "Some said Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit. They are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive of a woman." Not only does this passage affirm that the Holy Spirit is a female power but it also acknowledges that a masculine polarity is necessary for the conception to occur. In the announcement of Gabriel, the angel describes two spiritual powers rather than one. "The Holy Spirit (the Mother) shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest (the Father) shall overshadow thee." Jesus had a mother and father according to matter--the hyletic reality. He also had a mother and father according to spirit--the pneumatic reality. What distinguishes this from the theological explanations of psychic [mental, that is intellectual] Christianity is that it comes from the Gnostics' direct experience of their own spiritual mother and spiritual father. Unless we also have this experience, then it remains merely another belief.
The Gnostics are not averse to acknowledging Marian apparitions. They simply give them a Gnostic interpretation:
The appearances of the Virgin at Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje in recent times points to an increased activity of the divine feminine in the collective psyche. When in 1950 the Pope proclaimed the Dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin, it was not just an exercise in ecclesiastical authority but predicated upon the personal visions and experiences of himself and others.
Stephan A. Hoeller, Bishop of the Gnostic Catholic Church, gives us a further look into the direction Gnostic Christianity is going. In an online paper titled "Goddesses, Yes Goddess No!: The Feminine and Multi-Centered God Image" he writes:
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have fixated their spiritual imaginations upon the image of God as a unitary supreme reality--an image which excludes diversity and plurality. The rising feminist consciousness of our era has identified one result of this view of God as "Patriarchy" and taken exception to it. The remedy suggested for this is the replacement of the solitary male God with a Goddess, or, as she is frequently called, "the Goddess."
The question I wish to ask here is, what if the principal fault should not so much be with the gender of our God, but with the fact that he is seen as single and solitary? One might even argue that the masculine orientation of society and religion is but a result of a much more fundamental issue, that of monotheism. It may be that the one-dimensional norm of our culture can be traced not to the fact that we think of the deity as male, but to the fact that we think of it as one.
He goes on to site Nietzsche and the theologians Richard Niebuhr, Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton as sources that dare to claim God is dead and propose polytheism. There is opposition, as Hoeller acknowledges:
The demise of the monotheistic God cannot be asserted without arousing the often violent opposition of those who are wedded to such shibboleths as "The Lord our God is One" and "There is no God but God." And even those who evaluate their traditions in terms that are chiefly mystical are rarely disposed to give up their monotheistic fixations. Thus many devotees of mystical Islam intend to elevate the image of the singular personal God to the status of a universal and all-encompassing Oneness. But monotheism, even when disguised as monism, still tends to retain its original shortcomings.
The best way to surmount such difficulties, it would seem is the way offered by psychology, which by detheologizing metaphysical concepts and by demonstrating their reality in the psyche, lifts them out of the realm of dogma.
Voila! We have moved from Roman Catholicism to Gnostic Christianity.
It takes only a moment of thought to recognize that a lot of the Gnostic concept has moved into Roman Catholicism via the Marian movement. Channeling is the next logical step once Gnosticism secures a foothold through sanctioned visionary experiences for everyone. We Roman Catholics have come much closer than we realize through Pentecostal activities and the Charismatic Renewal to embracing the Gnostic heresy. The Church was on far safer ground in the past when visionary experiences were considered to be rare and were tested by the Church before acceptance was given. Hoeller has laid out for us where this will lead--into goddess worship, and into polytheism. Before we say it could never happen, we must take into consideration the feminist movement in the Church especially as it manifests in the women's religious communities. Goddess worship has taken hold there. Will polytheism be next? Or more realistically, will Sophia as a separate hypostasis of the Trinity embraced via Soloviev and Bulgakov who are taken up by Roman Catholics as a result of John Paul II's enthusiasm for Soloviev's East-West union, gradually cause us to see the members of the Trinity as separate Gods? Unless someone puts on the brakes, I submit that is a real possibility, especially as Gnosticism grows in acceptance which it is doing presently through the words and actions of those who believe they are having heavenly visions, and through those who are unsatisfied with Catholic doctrine. As Hoeller puts it:
...if we are sick of the vengeful and jealous God of our fathers, we should also take heed of the shadow side of the solitary Goddess whom some would resurrect. Polytheism offers a way out of this dilemma.
We adopt his claim that a jealous God of our fathers is necessarily sick and vengeful when we assert that "God is love" to the exclusion of His other traits. God is indeed love, but He is more than love, and we should not forget His judgment. Balance is always essential.
Hoeller closes his argument for polytheism with this analysis:
Our attachment to the monotheistic god image has caused us to repress many splendid archetypal deities. The wholeness, not only of our souls but of the world, requires us to invite these numinous beings to take their places in our religious and cultural lives. It would be best if in doing this we could refrain from trying to evoke a monotheistic feminine deity fashioned in the image of Jehovah, our long-time afflictor. Neitzsche's Olympians exclaim inThus Spake Zarathrustra, "Is not just this godlike, that there are gods but no God?" To which we may add "and that there are goddesses, but no Goddess!"
Are we poised to travel Hoeller's path--ready to take the plunge into polytheism?
I would suggest that at least insofar as von Balthasar's, Griffith's, Kropf's Pennington's and Keating's approval of MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT, we are. Adding weight to that argument is the evidence that within the Medjugorje movement there are people who are far less critical of visionaries than is required. The Sophia Goddess Blessed Virgin Mary of Archbishop John should not find a home in Roman Catholicism, but apparently she has. No doubt the Neocathars such as James Twyman are pleased, as resurrecting occult experiences and replacing dogma and the priesthood with these experiences is very much on his agenda.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Monday, October 31, 2005
ST. JOAN OF ARC FEMINIST TANTRUM
I am so tired of them. The feminists who want power in the Church. I'd like to find a magic wand that would wave them into another denomination.
A reader sent in their latest rant.
Their spokeswoman was Delores Seahorse. Their commission was formed 25 years ago by Archbishop Roach. (I am practicing intense custody of the fingers...!)
The overriding concern of participants is that women are second-class citizens in the Church. They feel that ordination of women is an equal rights/justice issue, and that they are not being heard on this or on any other matter. One woman said, “Women are 50% of the membership but the power is 100% male.” The group clearly wants women to be able to be ordained, to be permanent deacons, and to have a proportionate role in decision-making including a loud voice in how money is spent.
What power is it exactly that they think they are lacking by not being priests? Don't they realize that the women run most of the parish organizations, and it is those organizations that set the tone of the parish? Don't they have places on the finance committee and whatever other parish committees there are that touch on the governance of parish life? What more do they think they need? Most of our pastors are henpecked already for goodness sake.
“God gave us freedom of choice. Why doesn’t the Church let us choose?” asked one woman. The group agreed that the Church needs to spend more time in learning how to deal with “gray” areas and that it is not equipped to deal with a mature faith.
I agree that the Church needs to spend a lot more time in learning how to deal with "gray" areas...about 20 more years should do the trick judging by the pictures!
They are threatening to withhold money and boycott parishes. Go ahead ladies. Make yourselves look even more foolish than you already look. Take yourselves off to--oh, say the Episcopal Church for instance. I think you'll be much happier over there. Don't they ever look around and notice that younger women have passed them by? Doesn't it ever occur to them that they sound like a broken record? The Church has answered their complaints. The Church said "No." Now go home and scrub the floor or something, and leave those of us women who want to get back to talking about God and other important stuff to get on with it.
TRICK OR TREAT
It's over for another year. We had less goblins this year than in previous years, and the annual event ended half an hour early on my street since there were no more children around, so gradually the neighbors turned out their lights and went inside.
The kids are always cute to watch, especially the littlest ones who haven't quite figured it all out yet.
My husband and I have a long-standing "date" on the front steps on Beggers Night. We sit out there and drink coffee and pass out the candy together. Several of the other neighbors sit outside as well.
The firemen were out in force with the truck, passing out candy. Some of them walked up and down the street passing out candy as well. Some of the kids ran past lighted houses to get to the firetruck. One policeman in uniform was walking with his child. I presume he was off-duty.
The kids were unusually polite this year. Several of them said "Happy Halloween" and nearly every one of them said "thank you." They even stayed on the sidewalk instead of running across the lawn. Nearly every kid had at least one parent in tow. With all the adults around, these kids were about as safe as a kid can be and still live in this 21st century world.
My mother used to tell the story of the very earliest days of kid activity on Halloween...throwing shelled corn on the front porches. Back then it was a prankster's night. That would have been around 1918. I guess some of the outhouses got tipped over. Even when I was young pranks were still being done. Soaped windows at the dark houses were common. My cousins who lived in the country come into town to go out with me. One year one of them had tucked some tomatoes into her trick or treat bag. My dad found them and threw them out before she got to use them.
I'd hate to see Beggers Night come to an end. The kids enjoy it, and I can still remember the fun I had on Beggers Night when young. Do any of you remember THE house that gave out the full-sized Hershey Bars when you were a kid? There was one house in the next block that did, and I always made it a point to get to that house. I hope those folks got time off Purgatory for being extra nice to us back then.
If I remember, next year, I think I'll get the Hershey Bars instead of the usual Trick or Treat candy, just to see how the kids react. It's not very often that you can give someone something that surprises them, and I think the giver gets more satisfaction from it than the receiver. I should make a note on the calendar so I don't forget.
STRANGE PIECE OF EMAIL
Someone named "Shawn" has emailed me complaining. He says I have misread his, "comment on stem cell research etc. all of those remarks pertained to the 'theologically naive' obviously the only one of them that referred to "children" was masturbation."
I have no idea what he is talking about since I haven't blogged anything about masturbation ever, to the best of my memory. There is certainly no current topic this could apply to.
He also seems to think I'm a dummy because I believe what the Church teaches, and concludes that I'm poorly educated theologically. And there is something about Bertram Russel's book "Religion and Science" that pertains to mystics in his email.
Well, as they say you can please some of the people some of the time...
Rest assured, Shawn, that I'm quite comfortable with you concluding that I'm a dummy and I really don't care whether you are a "lapsed Catholic" or an atheist. Whatever comment on stem cell research you made and claim I misquoted, you must have made in some other blog and have me mixed up with someone else. I haven't blogged anything on stem cell research for quite a long time. Or perhaps you are still chewing over ancient cud that I've long since forgotten? In any case, if you want to exchange comments with me, you'll have to do it here. I'm not planning to email you.
SOPHIA MARIA IS THE NAME OF VISIONARY'S CHILD
With all of the talk about the Blessed Virgin Mary being Sophia and Mary Magdalene being Sophia, I thought it was interesting that Vicka Ivankovic, Medjugorje visionary, named her only daugher Sophia Maria.
NEW BISHOP OF METROPOLITAIN COMMUNITY CHURCH
A reader sent in this story at Spero News:
The Washington National Cathedral will be the scene this Saturday of the Reverend Nancy L. Wilson being installed as Presiding Bishop of Metropolitan Community Churches, the world's largest predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Christian denomination.
During the Installation Service, Wilson will unveil "Focus on the Human Family," a 10-year international program of social and spiritual transformation for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons. Prior to beginning her MCC ministry, Wilson was active in the United Methodist Church and succeeds the Reverend Dr. Troy D. Perry.
In 1976, Wilson became the youngest person ever elected to the MCC Board of Elders and has served as an Elder since that time. She is the author of "Our Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus and the Bible" (Alamo Press), co-editor of "Amazing Grace" with Fr. Malcolm Boyd, and a contributing author to "Poems and Prayers in Race and Prayer" edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester Talton (Morehouse Press).
Wilson resides with her partner of 27 years, Dr. Paula Schoenwether. They both actively work for same-sex marriage legislation.
EMAIL FROM LEE PENN
FYI - more evidence of the Renewal of the Church and of the success of the New Evangelization.
Some Latinos convert to Islam
The story begins thus:
"Aisha Ahmed's decision to convert to Islam and give up Catholicism and her Puerto Rican birth name, Maritza Rondon, did not come impulsively or under duress.
She spent five years studying the Quran and hired a teacher to learn Arabic before she was ready for shahadah, a declaration of faith led by an imam that is essential to the conversion process.
In the end, Ahmed's decision to become a Muslim and to take a name that belonged to the Prophet Muhammad's wife, she said, was borne of years of questioning her Catholic upbringing and discovering that, for her, the answers were with Islam.
"I have lived a humble and peaceful life since I converted. Everything is so clear," said Ahmed, 45, of Tarrytown. "I didn't see in Catholicism the unity and compassion I found in Islam. I saw more kindness and willingness to give."
Ahmed's change of faith is not unique among her ethnic group today. In recent years, thousands of Hispanics nationwide have been converting to Islam, particularly since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when interest in the religion seemed to gain momentum."
"Like Reveron, many Hispanic converts say they have grown disenchanted with Catholicism and have difficulty accepting the church hierarchy, original sin, confession, the Holy Trinity and the saints. Others say they are "reverting" to a religion that is part of their ancestral history - Islam ruled Spain for several centuries."
"But Catholic leaders do not consider the conversion rate a sign of the faithful growing disillusioned with the church, said Alejandro Aguilar-Titus, associate director of the Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Of the 45 million Hispanics in this country, 32 million are Catholic, he said. Conversely, there are more than 6 million Muslims in Latin America, and it has been reported that Islamic ideologies are spreading among indigenous groups."
[ my comment: De Nial ... it's not just a river in Egypt.]
and this ...
"As far as we can see, Catholics becoming Muslim is more of an individual choice that comes through marriage, friendships or relationships," said Aguilar-Titus. He later added, "It saddens the church, but at the same time, there is respect for that person's choice."
MORE ON ARCHBISHOP JOHN
Archbishop John has written three books on the Holy Grail
- THROUGH EYES OF THE HEAVENLY GRAIL
- THE GRAIL AND ST. JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA
- RELIGION OF THE SACRED GRAIL
The books are described here on the website of the International Association of Russian Religious Authors & Philosophers (IARRAP), of which Archbishop John is the President.
The Association website also includes a segment devoted to "The Holy Grail" which is linked here. Click it and you arrive here. This is not in the same domain as the Association. If you read Russian, this might be an interesting website to fisk. Unfortunately, I don't read Russian, and the English link doesn't work.
Another page in the IARRAP website offers an interview that took place after John Paul II died but before he was buried. The interviewee is not identified, but he talks about meeting with John Paul II, and doesn't expect the next pope to be favorable to his and John Paul II's concerns. He seems to believe the pope following Benedict XVI will be the antiChrist.
The following passage comes from the interview:
The third secret was hidden for many years. But a part of this prophecy was revealed. The third prophecy predicted a crises and the end of the Catholic Church which would be the decease of the two thousand year history of Christianity. In this connection the second mystery of Fatima talked about a special mission of Russia in the salvation of the world. Namely Russia will make a greatest purifying sacrifice for the whole world and be an origin of new spiritual leaders to lead not only Christianity but the whole Humankind.
Is he talking about John Paul II's "New Springtime"?
Archbishop John was a "Special Consultant 2002-2004" to Dr. Charles Mercieca's International Association of Educators for World Peace. Certainly Dr. Mercieca is a staunch supporter of Archbishop John, of whom he says:
“Blessed John has emerged as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time. He views the martyrs of the Solovski Islands as the patron saints of his vibrant Marian Church. In his prophetic visions, he sees Russia emerging as the New Jerusalem of the third millennium. The best way to savor the deep Marian spirituality of Archbishop John is to read his books and to hear him talking. The Solovski Islands martyrs have revealed to him the mysteries of life, death, and resurrection of souls.“
Josip Terelya, another visionary, is an Honorary Consultant of the IARRAP. On Bishop Roman Danylak's website he is pictured with John Paul II, and there are links to a number of writings on him at the above link. Click the "Josyp Terelya-2" link and you will arrive here. You can read here that Josyp Terelya believes that California "sill sink into the water." Scroll to the bottom of this webpage and click "Crystalinks Main Page" to arrive here. As you scroll down this webpage, you will quickly realize that you are not in a Catholic area!!
There is a picture of Josyp with JPII here as well.
The Medjugorje Day X Day Aug 05 Marian Eucharistic Congress - Winnipeg - A mentions Terelya. It appears that he was a participant in this Congress.
The website Catholic Apparitions of Jesus and Mary shows no decision on Joseph Terelya.
In any case it would seem that another visionary associated with the Marian movement in the U.S. is also associated with Archbishop John.
One message comes through the neocathar website of James Twyman, through the Charismatic movement, and through Archbishop John's organizations. It is that the future of the Church does not lie with the priesthood but rather with visionary experience and community church. One could almost get the sense that there is some sort of effort afoot to destroy the hierarchical structure of the Church, as all of the talk about collegiality would seem to indicate. The scandal contributes to the undermining of the priesthood, and certainly the bishop's failure to defend the laity's children does as well. So does the permissiveness that we have witnessed since Vatican II where doctrine is concerned.
Is the Roman Catholic Church in the process of reinventing Herself while at the same time claiming to be based in Tradition, or is there a widespread deception such as the Great Apostasy taking place?
I confess I don't understand how to fit the churches I'm uncovering on the web into the familiar pattern of religions. They simply don't belong since they mix and match bits and pieces of Orthodoxy with Catholicism with Buddhism with Hinduism. Doctrine is no longer separated along denominational lines within the Christian arena. Very confusing. We have chaos not just within the RCC, but also within Western Christianity itself.
Lord have mercy!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
ARCHBISHOP JOHN'S BOOKS
There is a bio. of him here which says that he wrote more than 350 books and that he was born in 1946 in Moscow. It also lists the institute from which he graduated and his courses in music.
He has formed his own church and is the president of the International Association of Russian Religious Authors of Philosophy. Somehow he has managed to make contact with an Episcopal priest in Montreal who works as a medium, and with an American college professor. These activities take time.
Figure it out. If he was born in 1946, he is 59. If he wrote a book a month, or 12 books a year, it would take 29+ years to write 350 books. Most writers do well to write 2 books a year, which is a far cry from a book a month. But let's say that he began writing when he was 10. He would have had to write over 7 books a year to author 350 books in 49 years. I suspect the explanation is some sort of channeling or automatic writing. We already know that he is a visionary and that some of the theology I've quoted is odd; and it has been stated in some of his webpages that at least some of these books consist of messages given to him in visionary events.
Rudolf Steiner was prolific in this manner, authoring a large number of books. He got them through clairvoyance. Alice Bailey, likewise, wrote a large number of books, and they were dictated by the spirit Djwhal Khul.
Then there is that odd description of Mary Magdalene's pregnancy given in the news service that seems to be part of Archbishop John's empire. This is a good example why the visionary experience must be firmly grounded in doctrine or it can go seriously wrong. Also, we invite trouble when we set ourselves up as judge of our own visionary experience, which Archbishop John has done by forming his own church, presumably after the Orthodox Church excommunicated him.
This is also a good example of what is wrong with the Marian Movement that caught fire in the Roman Catholic Church since Vatican II. Their association with this visionary is telling.
There is a paper online in a pdf file by Mikhail Sergeev titled "Divine Wisdom and the Trinity: A 20th Century Controversy in Orthodox Theology". It was delivered at the World Congress of Philosophy in Boston, August 1998.
The paper presents the Soloviev/Bulgakov conception of the Trinity incorporating the concept of wisdom or Sophia as the connection between God and creation. Georgii Florovskii's objections to Sophiology are presented as well.
I found it telling that Florovsky stated "...the interpretations of the Church Fathers should still remain unsurpassed while modern philosophy [which Sophiology is considered to be] is nothing but a return to paganism of the ancient Greek thought."
Oddly enough, I've just begun THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED by H. M. Feret, O.P., published in 1958 with a Nihil obstat and Imprimatur as well as a Westmonasterii. The book begins by describing the social conditions of the Roman Empire at the time the Apocalypse was written, which comes close to describing the religious environment we have today. According to Fr. Feret, the Apocalypse was written partly to encourage the faithful in the face of pagan persecution.
Which essentially, it would seem, makes George Florovsky's objections to Sophiology correct considering that what we are seeing today is a rise in Paganism using Sophiology to suggest a new hypostasis of God in the form of the Divine Feminine.
MARY MAGDALENE'S IMMACULATE PREGNANCY
The stories coming out of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Mother of God Transfigured become more fantastic by the day. This one will blow your mind! And remember as you read it that at least two groups promoting Medjugorje are associating themselves with this visionary!!
St.-Petersburg Society of Russian Religious Authors and Philosophers has made one more discovery. They researched one of the legends about evangelic personage’s life – Maria Magdalena. It speaks about she had supposedly conceived from Jesus Christ. This version has been reflected in a film ‘The last temptation of Christ’ and also in the new sensational book by Dan Brown 'The Da Vinci Code'
Researchers have came to an interesting conclusion. Indeed, it follows from some sources that Magdalena had conceived. But not from Jesus Christ, as it was supposed at first, but by her own superhuman sorrows. The head of the researching group, blessed John Bereslavskiy, tells that when Magdalena had seen the Crucifixion and the death of the Savior, she was absorbed into the profound sorrow and it was the reason that a mysterious or so called “immaculate” conception had happened.
Scientists consider similar situations cause with stress relating them to a kind of unexplainable and supernatural phenomena. Science knows about facts like this, but they have not received any serious study yet. Traditionally the term ‘Immaculate conception’ is attributed only to the Mother of Jesus – Mary who had conceived the Christ ‘immaculately’. This doctrine was developed in the Catholicism and in Old Belief traditions where a special attitude to the ‘immaculate conception’ has been stressed in all times.