Saturday, January 14, 2006


You wouldn't believe me if I told you it was there, so you'll have to go see for yourself.

First this webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the website and look at the last two links on the left.

This is one of the links.

This is the other one.

You might want to read through this page in the website as well. This Jewish movement wants not only to make it illegal to celebrate Christmas, they also want to make it illegal to celebrate other holidays as well:

Noachides may not observe any religious holidays outside the rabbinical traditions of Torah -- most especially including such Christian holidays as X-mas, Easter, Halloween, All Saint's Day, Good Friday, Ash Wednesday, and probably even the "new year" (January 1st). Alien religious holidays are forbidden even under the minimum of the Noachide code; these are violations of the commandment against idolatry.

The seven Noahide Laws turn into 66 laws when they are explained:

The Law contains two parallel (but separate) paths for the world: 613 commandments for the Jews, and 66 commandments (contained in the 7 Noachide Laws) for gentiles. Once a Noachide is committed to keeping the 66 mitzvos, he may (and really should) take on the responsibility for additional mitzvos, with certain clear exceptions: Non-Jews may not observe Shabbos (or holidays) in the manner of Jews (by avoiding the 39 categories of work), nor may non-Jews put on tefillin or tzitzis, put up a mezuzah, or be called up for a public Torah reading in a synagogue. There are other restrictions as well, including certain limitations on Torah study (depending partly on individual circumstances).

And they intend to enforce the laws via their own courts:

To prepare the way for establishing proper Noachide courts of law, Noachides must make a special effort--beyond all other Torah studies--to learn, in detail, the exact requirements of every part of the Noachide code.

How large is this movement?

Why would the USCCB be lending the Noahide Laws their approval?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


The Root and Branch Association, Ltd. offers an answer to a question on the Noachide Laws and the Catholic Church. The following is a part of that answer:

The Chief Rabbi of Rome was disconcerted when the Pope turned round from his embraces and met with and physically embraced the murderer and arch-terrorist Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Hussein ("Yasser Arafat"). This act gave el-Husseini an unwonted legitimacy in sovereignty terms while his terrorist P.L.O. organization was still at war with Israel. The Rome Jewish community suspended relations with the Catholic Church at that point. The Jewish community only agreed to a resumption of relations if the Pope would come to Shabbat services (he did: by car) and sit in the congregation in honor of them.

Even after this relations are still poor. What else is to be expected? The Chief Rabbi of Rome is an exponent of the Noachide Law, as are all his predecessors and colleagues everywhere in the world. Nothing can change this knowledge or its source in Mosaic prophecy.

Shana Tova from Jerusalem,
Rabbi Yirmiyahu Bindman

P.S. I am not an "enemy of peace", nor illiberal. The Pope, for example, says that the death penalty is cruel, but this is a false mercy. The A-mighty says different, through Moses, for all humanity, and what more can anyone want?

The website describes the Noah Institute this way:

The Noah Institute of the Root & Branch Association promotes the study and practice of the Noahide Covenant and Laws.
Mr. Yehoshua Friedman is the Founder of the Noah Institute, and one of the co-founders of Kochav HaShachar, a Jewish community located in the foothills overlooking Jericho in Liberated Samaria.

Don't overlook that rainbow on the website behind the words "Noah Institute."

Would Mr. Friedman's organization be part of the West Bank group that desires to secede from Israel according to this WorldNewDaily article?

If they proceed with their plans, severing their ties with Israel, and thus with the protection of the Israeli army, won't the PLO smash them like a bug on the windshield?


The USCCB document that had Catholics stirred up a few years ago mentions the Noahide Laws:

Judaism assumes that all people are obligated to observe a universal law. That law, spoken of as the Seven Noahide Commandments, is applicable to all human beings. These laws are: (1) the establishment of courts of justice so that law will rule in society, and the prohibitions of (2) blasphemy, (3) idolatry, (4) incest, (5) bloodshed, (6) robbery, and (7) eating the flesh of a living animal.49

The fact of the covenant notwithstanding, Maimonides and subsequent decisors all make it clear that "the pious of all the nations of the world have a place in the world to come."50

Therefore, in Judaism, the absolute value of human beings, their creation in the divine image, as well as God’s overriding concern for justice and mercy is at the basis of a universal joint community of the created, a community called to respond to the love of God by loving other human beings, by setting up the structures of society that maximize the practice of justice and mercy and by engaging unendingly in the religious quest to bring healing to the broken world.

One of the central prayers of Judaism puts it this way: “We hope in you, Lord our God, to quickly see the beauty of Your might, to cause the idols to pass away from the earth and the false gods cut down, to perfect the world into the Kingdom of the Almighty, where all flesh will call upon your name, where all the wicked of the earth will be turned to you.”

L’taken olam b’malkhut Shaddai, to perfect the world into the Kingdom of the Almighty. Tikun ha- olam, perfection or repairing of the world, is a joint task of the Jews and all humanity. Though Jews see themselves as living in a world that is as yet unredeemed, God wills His creatures to participate in the world’s repair.


Sanhedrin Moves to Establish Council for Noahides". The article explains a little more about the plans of this Jewish movement. It appeared last September.


at Noahide.org This is the Chabad Lubavitch world Jewish movement. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson believes that when the Noahide Laws are observed by all of creation a universal peace and Messianic Redemption will be brought about.

In the website at the "News and Notes" link you can read about "Dreaming of the Great Awakening". At the Kabbalah and Telepathy webpage you can read about "The Hidden Meaning of Telepathy", "Telepathy in the Keter", "A meditation for Experiencing Self-Nullification", "The Task of the Angels", and the "Spiritual Powers of the Non-Righteous".

I didn't find any reference to Martinism here, but The website is large, and it would take more time than I have tonight to go through it. It also tends to be very slow to load.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Since the rainbow has become the symbol of homosexuality that keeps turning up in Catholic homosexual websites even in Catholic diocesan websites, the rainbow always catches my attention.

It seems to be the symbol of the Noahide Laws as well. Here are two books devoted to the Laws, and both of them use the rainbow on the cover.


The following link appears on an auburn.edu website:

Bridging the Judeo-Christian Gap. IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN and would like to join a discussion group with other Christians, Howard M. Rollin has established a new list specifically designed for you. At this time, the most important aspect of this discussion group will be your understanding and hopefully your support and promotion of the "NOACHIDE" (the Sons of Noah, B'nai Noach) movement. Throughout history, Orthodox Judaism has controlled this movement, as if it were a part of Judaism. However, on March 26, 1991, U.S. President George Bush signed into law a congressional resolution on the Seven Laws of the Noachide Movement (House Joint Resolution 104, Public Law 102-14). Since Rabbinic Judaism has determined that Christianity is idolatry because of the Christian deification of Jesus, Christians are not allowed to become Noachides. Is this appropriate and/or fair? Christians certainly don't view themselves as idolators. Since there are a growing number of Christian Zionists who do not proselytize Jews because they respect all of the valid covenants of the Hebrew Scriptures, should there be a separate Christian Noachide sect for them? That will be the main thrust of information communicated through this "Yahoo" discussion group. If you would like to join, please click on the following link: Click to subscribe to Christian Noachides


G-d gave Noah and all his descendants (B'nei Noach or "children of Noah") seven commandments that we are to obey. These Seven Universal Laws (also known as the "Seven Noahide Laws") were reaffirmed with Moses and the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai, so that modern observance of these laws is done according to the specifics provided in the Oral Torah (the revelation at Sinai). These Seven Commandments (mitzvos) are not arbitrary laws, but rather G-d's plan for mankind. (To the Jewish people G-d gave the entire Torah [teaching] as their Law. They therefore have a special responsibility—with special commandments—to be the priesthood of the world, a "light unto the nations.")

Non-Jews who (1) reject all idolatrous ideas and accept the kingship of the One G-d, (2) accept the priesthood of the Jewish people as the guardians and teachers of Torah, and (3) commit to following the Seven Universal Laws as revealed in the Oral Torah revealed at Mt. Sinai are often called "Hasidic gentiles" or "Noahides."

Israel National News reports:

A group of non-Jewish delegates have come to Jerusalem to pledge their loyalty to the Laws of Noah. They appeared before the nascent Sanhedrin, which established a High Council for B'nai Noach.

The ten delegates appeared before a special session of the Jewish High Court of 71 Rabbis led by its Nassi (President) Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz. B'nai Noach, literally "Children of Noah," also known as Noahides, are non-Jews who take upon themselves the Torah's obligations for all members of the human race. The seven such laws were passed on via Noah following the Flood, as documented in Genesis (see below).

The gathering took place under a banner quoting the Biblical passage in Tzefania 3:9which refers to "all the nations... speak[ing] a pure language... proclaim[ing] the name of G-d."

The Noahide delegates stood before the nascent Sanhedrin, which was reestablished over a year ago in Tiberias, following the renewal of Biblical ordination, and has met regularly since then. "Each one [of the B'nai Noach] comes with a name he has made in the world, as a teacher and example in his community of observance of the seven laws of Noah," said Rabbi Michael Bar-Ron, the Sanhedrin's emissary who facilitated the council's organization, introducing the delegates. "At great physical and financial expense, they have flown across the world to Jerusalem, the holy city, to pledge before the court and all mankind, their allegiance to the Seven Laws of Noah, the laws of the Creator."

In another article reported by the same source:

In a dramatic speech at a special session of the developing Sanhedrin to appoint a B'nai Noah Council, Rabbi Dov Levanoni publicly revealed the steps leading up to reinstitution of Semikha – Biblical ordination, renewed through a consensus among the rabbis of a generation living in the Land of Israel.

Levanoni explained that Rabbi Moshe Halberstam, a senior rabbi on Jerusalem's Eda Hareidis, became the first samukh [ordained one] after none of the hundreds of rabbis consulted via written letters expressed objections and after receiving approval by the leading rabbis followed by most of Israel's religious Jews. These rabbis, Levanoni said, included Hareidi-Religious Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv and former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

There have not been Jewish priests since the first century AD.

Or have there?

Grail Christianity


The Grail Religion can be described as a composite religion of Christianity, Judaism, and Paganism (paganism in its most positive form).

The Grail Church is Christian in the sense that it uses Christian symbols to express its doctrines and uses the Bible as its guide to faith and life. It teaches that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that everlasting life is imparted to all who believe in His sacrificial death. We stand with traditional Christian doctrine and embrace the Ecumenical Creeds of the Church: namely, the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. These Creeds teach the basic tenets of Christianity: Christ's Incarnation, His Virgin Birth, the Holy Trinity, the Resurrection, and so on. We believe in the miraculous origins of Christianity.

The Grail Church is Jewish in the sense that it believes Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel. He rules from Heaven in His resurrected body. The mediators of His Messianic Kingdom are not the leaders of Christianity but rather His kinsmen according to the flesh - called the Desposyni - and all those in fellowship with them. We accept the validity of the Mosaic Law as it was interpreted and applied by the New Testament Church which was led by James, the brother of Jesus. There are no longer any ritual or ceremonial laws from that law system which are still binding upon Israel, except for the Noahide laws as enunciated by James in Acts 15.

You can read the teachings of the Grail Church at the website.

Where does one find this Grail Christianity? It's the very organizations that I've been blogging about for the past couple of years.

The Order of the Grail - Esoteric Christian Chivalry

It should be explained that our Order is the fraternal section of the International College of Esoteric Studies (ICES), which was formerly known as the International College of Martinist Studies (ICOMS). The ICES curriculum is the basic educational substance of our work. Beyond this, each Commandery may draw from the vast wealth of material disseminated through what has become known as the western mystery tradition, although the majority of our members concentrate their studies in the areas of Gnosticism, Martinism, Rosicrucianism, the Grail and General Hermetica.

If you want to learn more about the Desposyni, read William H. Kennedy's book LUCIFER'S LODGE, where you can learn more about the ritual abuse of the laity's children by Catholic priests.

You can gain further knowledge about the Grail Christians from Tracy Twyman's website and her Ordo Lapsit Exillis. Twyman wrote the Introduction to Kennedy's book.

You can also learn more about esotericists and the political activities they are engaged in from Lee Penn's book FALSE DAWN.

And lastly, you can learn about Martinism and other esoteric groups at the Thomas Smith Webb Chapter of Research, No. 1798, the first Masonic research lodge of Royal Arch Masonry. (There is a nice labyrinth and ouroboros at this link.) This is the upper degree(s) system of English Masonry discussed in the books of W. L. Wilmshurst and John Hammill, both acknowledged Masonic experts. The officers link indicates that the top officer is called the "Excellent High Priest."

There you can read about the symbolism of "The Holy Royal Ark", a paper written by Piers Vaughn, which tells you about the Jewish mystical numbers used by the Hebrew Kabbalists, the Book of Thoth and the Tarot, the Golden Dawn, the Tetragrammaton, reintegration, and the third covenant. You can read about Martinism, and their symbolic number 8 which implies the Cosmic Christ, and the number 5 which is "a number of evil omen to Martinists."

There's another paper in the website titled "Notes on the 'Ark of Testimony' also Called the 'Ark of the Covenant'", written by Robert Ambelain in 1946. He describes the force inside the Ark, and the reason why Moses had two tablets instead of one. You can read about theurgy and magical equilibrium. You can read about a psychomanteum, although they call it "Gadania" and indicate it was a magical tradition of old Russia, which includes a demon that inhabits the mirrors. Ambelain applies the Gadania to the Ark. It's a fascinating paper on this upper Masonic degree.

I doubt this website will remain active for long. The webmaster has indicated that it may be only temporary.

When you're finished, give some thought to the activities of our leaders in Rome, and to the popularity of Dan Brown's novel and Harry Potter.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


in pictures.


St. Sebastians in Akron experiments with liturgical dance around the altar.

The same website that brings you the sanctuary ballet also introduces the cool dude Fr. Punk, linked over at Novus Ordo Watch, where it's always possible to find a laugh. And if you want more of the same, they've found his website as well. I think the parish finance committee needs to check the vintner's bill. Or maybe Fr. Punk knows Fr. Greenhouse. What was it that Benedict-16 was saying about maturity? You'd think that if a priest is going to act like a fool, he'd at least have the wisdom to keep it off the web!


According to this article from ABC News, the desire for reconciliation with the SSPX is stronger in Rome than it is in the SSPX:

"One feels a desire in Rome to solve the problem as soon as possible," said Fellay, 48, successor to SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. "That is certainly the Pope's wish.

"We're stepping on the brakes. We're not opposed to that, but we don't want to take shortcuts that could lead to problems later," said Fellay...

Fellay is asking the right questions.

But the SSPX still disagrees on other issues, notably the opening the Second Vatican Council made toward other religions. The ultra-traditionalists say this meant the Catholic Church no longer saw itself as the only true church.

Fellay said the SSPX also rejected a key Council document on religious freedom, because it meant the Vatican accepted that states would be secular. Asked if he wanted to see a return to "Catholic states" in Europe, he replied: "Why not?"

He also disagreed with Pope John Paul's apology to the Jews, saying the Jewish people had certainly suffered during history but Roman Catholicism had no need to apologize to Judaism.

Asked about Benedict's visit to a synagogue in his native Germany last August, Fellay said: "I wonder why he did it. This has to be explained to be understood."


I haven't for a while, and every week I say I'm going to blog it; and every week other things take precedence. But not today. The news has been slow for the past few days, and we're gearing up for the first encyclical, so I'll do it now while the opportunity presents itself.

Are you curious yet?

Catholic begging.

The gimme letters.

A lot of which come from religious orders, but not all of them.

I used to be a lot more charitable of heart. Over the last several years there have been soooooooooooooooooooooooooo many of these mailings. I'm on two mailing lists that must circulate around Catholic charitables like water swirling down a drain. How I can tell is that one list has my name coupled with my mother's name from the days when I was helping her manage her checkbook before she died. Back in the last century and the very earliest part of this one. She died early in 2001. I'm not overjoyed at being reminded of the days when she was suffering with Alzheimers and her quality of life was deteriorating rapidly. Or the last days of her life when she didn't even know me. That's what receiving this mail brings to mind.

I had hoped that by refusing to respond, I would eventually fall off the lists. It's not working. Most of the time I get two mailings for whatever organization is in the mailbox on any given day. The mother and daughter one, and the daughter only one.

One particular gross offender is American Life League. I think Judie Brown does good work. I used to contribute whenever possible. Somehow that put me on the frequent-flyer list. Both me's. I no longer contribute to American Life League. Now if only the mail would stop! But it doesn't. It just keeps coming, and coming, and coming. And I just keep getting angrier and angrier.

Last Christmas I contributed exactly $0 through the mail to a Catholic organization. Oh, I gave to a couple Christian favorites, and I gave to the St. Vincent DePaul Society at my church. They don't send me junk in the mail, and I have never been placed on anyone else's mailing list by the non-Catholic Christian organizations I support. Unlike the Catholic ones.

Do the orders think those little "gifts" they send are going to persuade me to change my mind? You know, the tin cross that cuts the lining of your pocket if you put it in there. The ugly junky plastic statues of St. Joseph, 3 inches high. The pictures of the Blessed Virgin on heavy cardboard. (What could the BVM be thinking?) The rosary beads. Green. White. Blue. Crystal. You can't just dump this stuff in the waste basket. You have to worry that it will be desecrated if you do. I've been making a collection. When it gets big enough, I think I'll take a picture of it and send it to some of these organizations along with some pointed comments about wasting of contributions.

I do get one small satisfaction, though. Sometimes they send me return address labels. These I put in the stamp drawer, and gleefully use them in the spirit of revenge. They were "gifts" afterall, and I didn't ask for them, so I sure don't intend to pay for them!

All you fundraisers for Catholic organizations out there, pay attention. I'm not the only disgusted former contributor. You can beat a good horse to death. You're doing it!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


From the website of kingsgarden.org, a Martinist website, comes another indication that the majority of the French Martinists were Catholic:

After working closely with the French Martinist Order, it became apparent that the Dutch members objected to the close relationship of the French Organization with the "Gnostic Apostolic Church" and of the Roman Catholic Church, most of them being of Protestant origin. They were strongly attracted by the Martinist teachings, but wanted to keep complete freedom of religion and worship. Philippe Encausse understood very well the religious traditions of the Netherlands and he suggested for a second time to create a separate branch of the Martinist tree, namely the "Ordre Martiniste des Pays-Bas".

Additionally the website reveals that "The first Dutch Martinist Group was called "Jacob Boehme, No. 65, College d'Amsterdam", and that today there are "more than forty Martinist Order of the Netherlands Chapters in five countries and three continents." The website indicates that the Netherlands Martinists separated from the French Martinist Order in 1975.


If the PTB in Rome are set on inventing a new faith, they should have the honesty to be up front about it. This trickle of shockers is undermining all of our doctrine. The obvious question after reading the following article is, "Ok, what next are you going to dump?"

JUDAS ISCARIOT, the disciple who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, is to be given a makeover by Vatican scholars.
The proposed “rehabilitation” of the man who was paid 30 pieces of silver to identify Jesus to Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane, comes on the ground that he was not deliberately evil, but was just “fulfilling his part in God’s plan”.

Christians have traditionally blamed Judas for aiding and abetting the Crucifixion, and his name is synonymous with treachery. According to St Luke, Judas was “possessed by Satan”.

Now, a campaign led by Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science, is aimed at persuading believers to look kindly at a man reviled for 2,000 years.

Mgr Brandmuller told fellow scholars it was time for a “re-reading” of the Judas story. He is supported by Vittorio Messori, a prominent Catholic writer close to both Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II.

Continue reading...

There is one telling passage:

Father Allen Morris, Christian Life and Worship secretary for the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, said: “If Christ died for all — is it possible that Judas too was redeemed through the Master he betrayed?” The “rehabilitation” of Judas could help the Pope’s drive to improve Christian-Jewish relations, which he has made a priority of his pontificate.

Where is the impetus coming from to placate Judaism at every possible turn? Christ, Himself, afterall, is a contradiction to the Jews. Will we ultimately have to abandon Him to satisfy the need for better human relationships with the Jewish religion?

If not even Judas could escape this "redemption," there is no hope that free will could be part of our doctrine. We are all headed for heaven and hell is empty. Where the devil is hanging out is anybody's guess.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.


The London Times offers the logical course opened by this revision in another article about the rehabilitation of Judas:

Still, any improvement in his status could provide some hope to others in the Good Book who were not treated sympathetically. Cain’s unusual family history might be cited in his favour. The discrimination that Goliath faced as a man who attracted unwanted attention for his exceptional height has to be considered. Herod’s fear of being usurped is the material with which popular psychologists are too familiar. The Devil might try to use the “a necessary evil” clause to his advantage. At that point, belated forgiveness and hip rebranding must really meet its limits.


The motivation for this reinvention appears to be coming from yet another dug up document:

By next spring, a Coptic-language Gospel of Judas is scheduled to be published by Rodolphe Kasser of the University of Geneva, in cooperation with the National Geographic Society.

According to The Christian Century, the text has been authenticated as having been written in Greek in the second century AD. No one is saying much about what's in the text, but one scholar who saw part of it said the story appears to justify what Judas did as carrying out God's preordained plan for salvation.

Without Judas, another scholar said, you'd have Jesus dying of old age. Not nearly as dramatic an ending to the story.

Continue reading...


(BOGOTA, Colombia) - A western Colombian city councilman wants to require everyone in town 14 or older to carry a condom to prevent pregnancy and disease, outraging local priests.

William Pena, a councilman in Tulua, said Wednesday he will present a formal proposal to force all men and women even those just visiting to always carry at least one condom. Those caught empty-pocketed could pay a fine of $180 or take a safe sex course, he said.

"Sexual relations are going on constantly," Pena told The Associated Press by telephone. "If you carry a condom, chances are you'll use it during the day. It's not going to be there forever."

Tulua has one of the highest rates of AIDS in Colombia, he said. The proposal will be debated by other town leaders and could go into effect by March, he said.

Continue reading...


How did we go from "Oklahoma" and "South Pacific" to this?

How did we go from "Dracula" to this?

Eli Roth's Hostel is being described by some critics as "horror porn." That means it is exists to encourage and excite our baser appetites by serving up killings, mutilations, and torture—not to mention explicit scenes of sexual misbehavior—for our "entertainment." It's all designed to shock and to horrify audiences.

Guess what? Hostel is also the No. 1 film in America, tops at the box office. That means we're bound to see a lot more of this kind of thing over the next few years, in which other movies try to outdo Hostel—and the two Saw movies—with increasingly intense and explicit violence.

If this is what you consider to be entertainment, there is something inherently sick about your personality!

A nation that applauds this sort of sickness is headed for demolition.

Grow up, America!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


who writes Catholic Satire. Her sock puppet priest in this issue of "Crisis" is a gem!

Here in Ohio puppet priests use mokeys until they get placed on administrative leave.

(Don't ask.)


A British airline banned its staff from taking Bibles and wearing crucifixes or St. Christopher medals on flights to Saudi Arabia to avoid offending the country's Muslims.

British Midland International also has told female flight attendants they must walk two paces behind male colleagues and cover themselves from head to foot in a headscarf and robe known as an abaya, the Mirror newspaper of London reported.

Teddy bears or other cuddly toys also are not allowed.

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.


Assisi has attracted media attention since Nov. 9, when Benedict XVI published a letter entrusting the pastoral activity of the city's basilicas to the bishop of the local diocese.

The Holy Father's letter, issued on his own initiative, also streamlined the autonomy that both the Friars Minor and Conventuals had had since 1969 when Pope Paul VI published a similar document.

In the editorial in Fraternus Nuntius, Father Giermek observed that some observers regarded Benedict XVI's decision as a way of "punishing the Franciscans," years after the 1986 interreligious meeting for peace convoked in Assisi by Pope John Paul II. According to some media sources, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had been opposed the 1986 event.


Father Giermek wrote: "Authentic lies have been published by some individuals who, despite the fact they knew the truth, have however reproached (to give an example) the friars for having authorized or allowed ritual abuses during the religious ceremonies of some delegations."

Ok. But Benedict--Cardinal Ratzinger--refused to attend the 1986 Assisi event. So if we take Father Giermek at his word, what does that say about Benedict?


Mehmet Ali Agca, who served 17 years in Italian prisons for the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II (bio - news), has credited the Vatican with helping to secure his release.

Agca will be set free on parole by Turkish prison officials on Thursday, January 12. He has been serving out an earlier jail sentence in Turkey since being pardoned by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in 2000.

In a letter sent to the Italian daily La Repubblica, Agca offers his "deepest gratitude and respect to the Pope for helping to secure my release."

Continue reading...


Phoenix Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted in a recent series of articles wrote "the use of contraceptives is always morally evil" and might result in "harmful side effects," adding that people should attend courses on natural family planning before getting married, the AP/Fargo Forum reports. According to the AP/Forum, Olmsted is one of three bishops in the country to require a set of classes on natural family planning for those who wish to marry in the church


From an article at Christianity Today about the recent papal teaching on homosexuality in the seminary comes this analysis from within the Evangelical community:

Despite the differences, though, evangelicals see in the Vatican directive lessons for the spiritual formation of church leaders. "We have much to gain by bringing along a more intentional side of spiritual development," Kaiser told CT. "We can't train the mind without also training the person."


The Masons are just a service organization--a brotherhood of fraternal comaraderie out to do good--not a religion. Right? Not necessarily at the Thomas Smith Webb Chapter of Research, No. 1798 where meditation is on the agenda for learning the meaning of the cabletow used in the first degree Masonic ritual:

And now the exercise. Meditation is a long lost art in this time of speed and stress. It is not a weird New Age practice, nor do you have to dress in saffron robes and shave your head in order to participate. It is merely a way for gaining new insights into old questions, or finding a new way to look at a familiar object. There are many ways to gain insight into the teachings of Freemasonry, and alongside the ritual and the books and the conversations and the debates, there are older techniques which have been used with equal success.

I therefore challenge you, as an experiment, to find a quiet, darkened place, light a candle, burn some incense if you have any - earth's natural stress-remover! - and close your eyes, breathing deeply for a few moments. Either take a length of cord in your hands or imagine one, and just meditate on the symbol of the cabletow for five minutes. Believe me, the experience improves with practice. To quote from a seventeenth century European ritual: "Other meanings will be revealed if you
[sic] heart knows how to desire them."

The "heart" doctrine again. As the paper on Martinism from the ASE conference that I blogged about yesterday indicated, Freemasonry in France was the "new faith to replace the one they had abandoned" when Catholicism was rejected during the French Revolution.


From NewsNet5.com

Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, of Detroit, arguing for more time for sex abuse victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church, said he was abused by a priest 60 years ago.

Gumbleton, 75, told The Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday that he was "inappropriately touched" by a priest in 1945 when he was a ninth grader at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.

He is believed to be the first U.S. bishop to disclose that he was a victim of clergy sexual abuse and also the first to endorse proposals in several states, including Ohio, to remove time limits that have prevented many victims of sex abuse from suing the church.

"I don't want to exaggerate that I was terribly damaged," Gumbleton told the Post in a telephone interview. "It was not the kind of sexual abuse that many of the victims experience."


The other day in a combox the subject of who is a "cult", who is a "sect" and who is a "religion" came up. I said that the Amish, who I admire for their dedication to family life, can still be called a "sect" and maybe even a "cult". I've just found this reference to the Catholics being a "sect" in the Philippines:

Miguk: "The Philippines is still a de facto theocracy. And God forbid if you happen to belong to other than the approved Roman Catholic sect."

I guess that when you are the state religion, your numbers are too large to be called a "cult"; but Catholicism is edging toward the "sect" categorization. If the culture keeps moving toward atheism and anomalous spirituality, "cult" is probably not far down the road, either in the Philippines or the U.S., or anywhere else.

Of course, we can say that the commenter is simply wrong, unless the definitions of religion itself are morphing. I'm inclined to go with the morphing, myself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Officers for The Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE), a 501(c)3 non-profit:

President Arthur Versluis (Michigan State University)
Vice President Lee Irwin (College of Charleston)
Director Allison Coudert (UC Davis)
Secretary Melinda Weinstein (Lawrence Technological University)
Treasurer John Richards (West Virginia State College)

On the Advisory Committee:

Christopher Celenza (Johns Hopkins University)
Claire Fanger (Societas Magica)
Lee Irwin (College of Charleston)
Geoffrey McVey (Miami University of Ohio)
Marsha Keith Schuchard (Emory University)
Nicholas Watson (Harvard University)
Melinda Weinstein (Lawrence Technical University)

I trust those academic credentials are sufficient to take these people seriously.

According to their webpage ASE is associated with the discipline of esoteric studies at Michigan State University. The university hosts the journal "Esoterica," and sponsored the first ASE conference in June, 2004. Papers from the Conference are online, among them one by Massimo Introvigne, well-known Catholic researcher on cults. His organization is named CESNUR.

There is another paper online at their website: "The Martinist Legacy" by Siobhán Houston.

Some quotes from the paper:

*** What is Martinism? Serge Caillet summarizes the word as denoting the doctrine and theurgical practices of Martinez de Pasqually,[1] as well as the theosophy[2] of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin. It also may refer to Jean-Baptiste Willermozís Rectified Scottish Rite, a Masonic system that he established after the death of his teacher, Pasqually. Additionally the term is used to refer to the Martinist Order that Dr. GËrard Encausse founded in the late 1800s and its filial descendents, as well as to those who follow Louis-Claude Saint-Martinís teachings, whether or not they belong to an established Martinist order. ìTo be a Martinist means, above all . . . the adhesion to a tradition which, in its modern formulation, comes from Martinez de Pasqually and from Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin, but which is, in fact, much older, since it involves nothing less than the primitive Judeo-Christianity. Every Martinist is a Judeo-Christian, and a theosophistî (Martinism Today).

*** A practicing Catholic, Pasqually had his son baptized in the Roman Church and required that members of the Šlus Cohen be Catholic, although a very few exceptions were made for Protestant members (Martinism Today). During his life, however, Pasqually was thought by many to have Jewish Portuguese ancestry and modern scholars have acknowledged that he possessed Marrano roots (Wassterstrom 39).

*** There is speculation that he may have been trying to establish a more pure form of Judaism, based on his understanding of Kabbalah; hence the name of his order, the Šlus Cohen, a French appropriation of the Hebrew word, "cohanim" the temple high priests in the Aaronic lineage of ancient Judaism. John Cole, Grand Master Emeritus of the Ancient Martinist Order, notes that the concept of tikkun is comparable to Pasqually's doctrine of the Repairer (Jesus Christ) and reintegration with the divine plan. He posits a possible link of Pasqually with Jewish kabbalistic schools that may have survived underground after the Spanish Jews were exiled from Spain in 1492 (Cole).

Kabbalistic elements, including number mysticism, figure prominently in Pasqually's complex cosmology. He outlined his tenets in his only book, Treatise on the Reintegration of Beings into their own virtues, powers and qualities, a volume considered a modern theosophical tour de force. (Faivre, Access 73). The mythos underlying Pasqually's concepts is based
[on] a kabbalistic interpretation of portions of the Bible, primarily Genesis. Briefly outlined, humans are essentially divine in nature and potentiality and ranked above the angelic order in the original scheme of creation; God charged them to administer a peaceful, orderly universe and restrict the wicked. The angelic order, on the other hand, was created to praise Him and to relish a divine life; they did not have the elevated administrative responsibilities conferred upon humankind.

Then the plan went awry. The disobedient angels or "perverse beings," as Pasqually calls them, rebelled, resolving to exist in opposition to God. Subsequently, these insubordinate angels seduced humans into their nefarious design.

*** According to one Martinist, Pasqually considered one of the consequences of the Fall to have been a cessation of communication between humans and the Divine. Theurgic
[magical invocation] operations were needed, therefore, in order to contact intermediaries who would connect the ritualist with Christ (Doctrines of Martinez de Pasqually).

*** Regaining the Adamic legacy that was abandoned in the Fall, they can resume their rightful cosmological standing. Once this is achieved, humans become dedicated to the reintegration of all beings, including the natural world, helping them return to their divinely ordained roles and conditions. This final state of restoration is similar to the doctrine championed by Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, among others, known as "apokatastasis panton."

*** Restivo also describes a secret grade within the Šlus Cohen, that of RÈau-Croix (not related to Rose-Croix). "In this degree of RÈau-Croix, the Initiate is put in touch with the spiritual planes beyond the physical, through Magical Invocation or Theurgy. He draws the Celestial powers into his and the earth's aura. Auditory and visual manifestations, called "signs", enables the RÈau-Croix to evaluate his own evolution and that of other "operators" and to determine thereby whether he or they have been re-integrated into Their original powers. The grand object of the Order was to obtain the Beatific Vision of the Repairer, Jesus Christ, in response to Magical Evocations (Martinez).

*** On the surface, there seems to be a discrepancy in the fact that
[the] Catholic Church prohibited its congregants from Mason involvement and the vast majority of Šlus Cohen, including Pasqually himself, and later Saint-Martin, were Catholic. McIntosh clarified the curious situation; although Clement XII had issued a papal bull opposing Freemasonry in 1738, it was for the most part disregarded in France. Catholic laity and even Catholic priests were active in the French freemasonry movement (18-19).

Freemasonry enjoyed a huge degree of popularity in predominately Catholic France during the latter eighteenth century. The incredible growth of Masonic lodges may be traced in part to "the intellectuals who had initiated the revolt against the Christian Church, were, by the middle of the eighteenth century, already becoming tired of their own skepticism and were looking around for a new faith to replace the one they had abandoned" (McIntosh 18-19).
(emphasis mine)

*** For Saint-Martin, following Pasqually's philosophy, human beings were of supreme importance in the divine plan. They possess godlike abilities and are Christs in potentio, but most people fritter away their lives as sleepwalkers, unaware of the latent powers within. Occasionally glints of these faculties may flare up and be glimpsed during times of great stress or great joy but most ignore these episodes (Wilson 320). Saint-Martin cites cowardice as the reason humans refuse to take up their responsibility to work for the restoration of God's plan.
[Gurdjieff would also tell them to wake up. So, apparently, would the program "Awakenings" that is being offered to college students in the Austin diocese. - ct]

*** Greatly inspired by B–hme's theosophy, Saint-Martin learned German in the latter part of his life and was the first to translate the theosopher from G–rlitz into French. In 1800 he published the translation of Boehme's Aurora and two years later came out with the translation of Boehme's Three Principles.

*** The occult craze manifested in the formation of esoteric sects as well as an explosion of books on magic, sorcery, mysticism, Kabbalah, alchemy and Satanism. The leading occult writer of the time, Eliphas LÈvi, whose given name was Alphonse Charles
[sic] Constant, had great success with his renowned occult tomes, Histoire de la magie ("History of Magic") and Dogma et ritual de la haute magie ("Dogma and Ritual of High Magic"). Formerly a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, he came in contact with Martinism and became an avid supporter of Saint-Martinís philosophy, though LÈvi remained a devoted Catholic throughout his life (Smoley 36).

*** LíOrdre Martiniste ("The Martinist Order") whose official name was LíOrdre des SupËrieurs Inconnus ("Order of the Unknown Superiors"), consisted initially of a twelve-member "Supreme Council" with Papus as Grand Master and President (Laurant 285). The infamous occultists Josephin PÈladan and de Guaita were also original members of the tribunal. As the order grew, it attracted numerous occultists and visionaries, including RenÈ GuÈnon, who was affiliated with the Martinist Order between 1906 and 1912 (Wasserstrom 44).

*** In his correspondence, Saint-Martin alludes to the value that a physically transmitted initiation might be valuable; ultimately his position on initiation was specific:

"The only initiation which I preach and seek with all the ardour of my soul is that by which we may enter into the heart of God and make God's heart enter into us, there to form an indissoluble marriage, which will make us the friend, brother, and spouse of our Divine Redeemer. There is no other mystery to arrive at this holy initiation than to go more and more down into the depth of our being . . ." (Waite, Unknown 254).

*** Saint-Martin may have given them an informal initiation, possibly involving a transmission through laying on of hands...

*** Ralph Lewis, who was the Grandmaster of the Traditional Martinist Order in the United States, amalgamated this group within the Ancient Mystical Order of the Rosy Cross (AMORC) organization, where it continues to this day.

*** Restivo trains RCMO students in Stoic and Neoplatonic philosophy and encourages them to employ spiritual and meditation practices that resonant
[sic] with them as individuals rather than following a set program. Group work is important in that it is a forum for sharing experiences, socialization, and interacting with teaching exemplars. Initiation by laying on of hands, the traditional Martinism rite de passage, is awarded in person at the end of the formal curriculum (Restivo, Introduction).

*** "[C]an one link an initiatic path together with a religious--not to say an ecclesiastical--practice? Martines de Pasqually prescribed and recommended the Mass to his disciples. There was even an oath which required that the Elus CoÎns belong to the Roman Catholic Church . . . Today, I think that we must still ask ourselves whether initiatic paths, all by themselves, are enough for the seekers, or whether it is necessary to belong to the Church, whatever form it may take--or to a Church, let's say. That is another question, but it must at least be asked."


*** CCC 2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others -- even if this were for the sake of restoring their health -- are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.


From the Douay Rheims:

*** You shall not eat with blood. You shall not divine nor observe dreams Leviticus 19:26

*** Go not aside after wizards, neither ask any thing of soothsayers, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:31

*** When thou art come into the land, which the Lord thy God shall give thee, beware lest thou have a mind to imitate the abominations of those nations. Neither let there be found among you any one that shall expiate his son or daughter, making them to pass through the fire: or that consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens, neither let there be any wizard, nor charmer, nor any one that consulteth pythonic spirits, or fortune-tellers, or that seeketh the truth from the dead. For the Lord abhorreth all these things, and for these abominations he will destroy them at thy coming. Deuteronomy 18:9-12

*** And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain girl, possessed with a pythonical spirit, met us, who brought her masters much gain by divining. The same, following Paul and us, cried out, saying: These men are the servants of the most high God, who announce to you the way to salvation. And this she did many days. But Paul being grieved, turned, and said to the spirit: I command the, in the name of Jesus Christ, to go out of her. And he went out the same hour. Acts 16:16-18


Catholic Community in Buffalo, NY.

First, the Window of Prophecy. (Yes, it really is Martin Luther King, Caesar Chavez and Mahatma Gandhi.

Next, the Window of Christian Ecumenism with the seal of Martin Luther at the bottom. Or is it really a rosy cross? (scroll down)

Finally, the Window of Non-Christians. Just what we want to see at Mass on Sunday--a window dedicated to Horus, the son of Isis. If this isn't heresy, the word can't be defined.

Roman Catholicism is disintegrating right before our eyes.

But I guess it's springtime.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


at Emmaus Catholic Church--the one that has been placed in the sanctuary.

There is a picture of it standing outside on this webpage (Click the "furnishings" link and scroll down.) It gives a closer view.

In the previous blog I linked the gnostic interpretation of the crucifixion. Last night I found a similar interpretation in _Against the Heresies Book 1_ of St. Irenaeus of Lyons:

He thereupon appeared as a man on earth to the nations of these powers and worked wonders. And so he did not suffer, but a certain Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry the cross for him. Through ignorance and error this Simon was crucified, having been transformed by Christ so that he was believed to be Jesus while Jesus himself assumed the form of Simon and, standing by, ridiculed them. ...

Those, then, who know these things are freed from the Princes who made the world. They are not obliged to acknowledge him who was crucified, but the one who came in the form of man, and was thought to have been crucified, was called Jesus, and was sent by Father in order to destroy through this Economy the works of those who made the world. Therefore, he asserts, if anyone acknowledges him who was crucified, he is still a slave and is under the power of those who made the bodies. He, however, who denies him is freed from them and has knowledge of the Economy of the ingenerate Father.
(Chapter 24, "The Errors of Saturninus and Basilides")

The gnostics believe that Jesus tricked His executioners and avoided the crucifixion.

There are resurrection crosses that appear especially at Easter time. They are symbolic of Christ overcoming the death of the cross through his resurrection from the grave. They are not pictures of Jesus coming down from the cross under his own power. This cross in the Texas church, though, is not showing a victory over the grave, but rather a victory over the cross itself. If Christ came down from the cross and did not die in the crucifixion, he did not rise from the dead, and according to Scripture, we are then still in our sins.

That image of Christ coming off of the cross is problematic, and especially with it in the sanctuary where the Sacrifice of the Mass is being celebrated. The symbolism is terribly wrong.


Compassion can lead to heterodoxy if we're not careful. Original sin is dogma. I doubt that Father wanted us to read his homily this way, though. It would be interesting to hear him address this complaint.

Monday, January 09, 2006


According to Fr. Fessio:

Now, just a little footnote on the Gregorian Chant. In reflecting on these things about Church music, I began to think about the Psalms a few years back. And a very obvious idea suddenly struck me. Why it didn’t come earlier I don’t know, but the fact is that the Psalms are songs. Every one of the 150 Psalms is meant to be sung; and was sung by the Jews. When this thought came to me, I immediately called a friend, a rabbi in San Francisco who runs the Hebrew School, and I asked, “Do you sing the Psalms at your synagogue?” “Well, no, we recite them,” he said. “Do you know what they sounded like when they were sung in the Old Testament times and the time of Jesus and the Apostles?” I asked. He said, “No, but why don’t you call this company in Upstate New York. They publish Hebrew music, and they may know.”

So, I called the company and they said, “We don’t know; call 1-800-JUDAISM.” So I did. And I got an information center for Jewish traditions, and they didn’t know either. But they said, “You call this music teacher in Manhattan. He will know.” So, I called this wonderful rabbi in Manhattan and we had a long conversation. At the end, I said, “I want to bring some focus to this, can you give me any idea what it sounded like when Jesus and his Apostles sang the Psalms?” He said, “Of course, Father. It sounded like Gregorian Chant. You got it from us.”

I was amazed. I called Professor William Mart, a Professor of Music at Stanford University and a friend. I said, “Bill, is this true?” He said, “Yes. The Psalm tones have their roots in ancient Jewish hymnody and psalmody.” So, you know something? If you sing the Psalms at Mass with the Gregorian tones, you are as close as you can get to praying with Jesus and Mary. They sang the Psalms in tones that have come down to us today in Gregorian Chant.


I see that Fr. Fessio wrote his dissertation on Hans Urs von Balthasar. Interesting.


Fr. Fessio helped Cdl. Ratzinger, Cdl. Schonbrunn, and Cdl. Ouellet establish Casa Balthasar, a Rome residence for those considering a vocation to the priesthood, according to an interview with Business Week.


Secrets of the Cathars From the website:

Cathar watermark with serpent spitting blue apples

This bas-relief from Sion, Switzerland illustrates the medieval belief in the concordance of the theft of the blue apples from the Anunnaki and the Crucifixion of Jesus. Old Testament scenes are grouped together with the Passion of Jesus as if they happened at the same time. When put together with depictions of Jesus (E.A.?) as a serpent on the Cross the message is clear: the Gnostic Crucifixion was a stargate or wormhole event.



It's not SSPX. It's not SSPV. It's not Liberal Catholic Church. It's not Novus Ordo. It's not Old Catholic. It's not Polish National Church. It's not Anglican Catholic or Orthodox Catholic.

St. Raphael of the Angels Catholic Chapel.

I guess it's Jason Spadafora Christopher Catholic. It lives in Ohio. Sigh.


If a man dies without having awakened he cannot be born. If a man is born without having died he may become an 'immortal thing.' Thus the fact that he has not 'died' prevents a man from being 'born'; the fact of his not having awakened prevents him from 'dying'; and should he be born without having died he is prevented from 'being.' (p. 217-218 _In Serch of the Miraculous: The Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff_ by P. D. Ouspensky, with a Foreword by Marianne Williamson)

Citing Brother Wayne Teasdale, of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, an article about awakening titled "An Awakening Church: A Catholic Papacy" appears on the website of the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict, a non-denominational order. There we can read that:

With organizations such as the Parliament of the World's Religions, the World Conference on Religion and Peace, the Temple of Understanding, and the World Congress of Faiths, the human race is awakening to bonds of community and commonality. This awakening grounds in spirituality, an interspirituality that is "a willingness and determination to taste the depth of mystical life in other traditions."

It's difficult to say what Russian occultist Gurdjieff had in mind with his juxtaposition of death and awakening. He talks a lot about awakening to oneself. Most of his spirituality is of the experiential nature. You have to take a course to get the message. Whatever it is, "awakening" is central to the Gurdjieffian Fourth Way. The White Robed Monks are a little more specific:

Idealism and pessimism and/or realism and optimism aside, the awakening Church as matrix occurs only within the heart/mind of each individual awakening to his or her own divinity in one's own humanity and one's own humanity in one's own divinity. We are all Children of God — by whatever name or no-name. To what is it that we awaken: that we each are the creator of our own experience, we each are the perceiver who creates the perception, we each are the believer who creates the belief, we each are the story teller who creates our story.

No wonder the monks of the Interreligious Dialogue Institute are working with the Gurdjieffian Church. They are teaching the spirituality of Gurdjieff in the form of "awakening", and it is not Roman Catholic, it is Gnostic Catholic. Occult expert James Webb has written a thick tome on Gurdjieff.

Yesterday I blogged some comments about the design of the church at Emmaus Catholic Parish. In looking at their calendar, I happened to notice the "Longhorn Awakening Peace Staff" scheduled for 8 a.m. on January 28.

Longhorn Awakening. It's a program for college students. There is something unusual in the website. On this webpage, notice the three dots preceding each link. I've never seen that symbol used in a Catholic website until now. I have seen the symbol, however. Thousands of times. It's all over occult websites. Just coincidental, I suppose someone is going to tell me.


There are some pictures of an Awakening weekend, or retreat, or whatever the newest fad calls itself. You can see them here. It actually looks about as harmless as any of the other teen programs...and about as lacking in substance. There are the usual pictures of girls with their arms draped over each other, and boys with their arms draped over each other, and boy-girl combinations of same. There is the usual clowning for the camera. There is the arts and crafts project, or at least what looks like one, and the group gathered around the food. There is a peace sign in the background. There is a picture of "Jodi enjoying death." (I'm not kidding! Gurdjieff would be proud.) There is a picture of hands on what is implied to be a bottle of something alcoholic. That one is labeled "good times." There is a picture of Will when he "was taken down." (He looks like he survived it.) There is the inevitable guitar picture. And there is the naked male chest labeled "This is awakening." (Oh really! Tell me about it. That's supposed to occur on your wedding night!) There are the group photos, and more of them, and more of them; standing upright, pushing each other over, falling to the ground. A good time was had by all. Lots of comradiere. Not a hint of God or Jesus or a saint or anything else of a spiritual nature. Not one. Not in any of those pictures. There is not a hint of maturity there either. This is high school at the college level.

It's something else. It's duplication of the sort of pictures that appear at Novus Ordo Watch and other websites that have been chronicaling the degeneration of the European Catholic churches. Pictures of airheaded youth engaging in foolishness that passes for spirituality in the contemporary Church. The plague of European Catholicism has crossed the pond.

I think it is not terribly wise for a parent to turn their offspring over to the care of the Catholic Church.

In any case, the Longhorn Awakening takes place in the Austin Diocese, where the Emmaus Catholic Parish is located, where the Heart of Texas Contemplative Outreach is located, and where the Gurdjieffian Church of Conscious Harmony is located as well.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


The Dominion gas bill arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. Guess how much it costs to heat a 1,000 sq. ft. ranch to 63 degrees for a month in Northeast Ohio...$269 plus change. Unfortunately this robbery can't be prosecuted.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Over at Bettnet Dom has posted pictures of a church he visited while vacationing in Texas, and invited comments.

The website for the church is here, where more pictures of the church can be seen.

It was completed in 2001, and is certainly a curious combination of architectural styles. The interior is gothic, or perhaps some kind of neo-gothic revival would be closer to a description of it, since a look at the aerial view certainly does not give a gothic impression at all. That roofline immediately brings to mind the Temple of Understanding in New York, where all faiths are equal; but there doesn't seem to be a picture of the NY building online anymore that I can use for a comparison.

In any case, architecture is symbolic. It intends to speak to us in images rather than words. It conveys a message, or perhaps I should say messages, since more than one interpretation is always possible, just like Vatican II.

Churches, for example, have been cruciform because the cross is our salvation. The Columbus cathedral shows how the gothic arches can draw our eyes up as though we were looking toward heaven. Notice that there are windows up there at the ceiling level. Those windows bring in the light so there is no darkness in the upper region of the church.

Gothic cathedrals were constructed in stone. Stone is permanent and unchanging. The Texas church uses gothic arches but they are constructed in wood. Wood is organic, growing, changing. It does not imply permanence like stone does.

Take a look at the picture of the centeral nave of this new Texas church. What is the symbolism there? We believe Christ is the Light of the World. There is light at the lower level. But what's up above? The high gothic arches that draw our focus up are unmistakable in this church. But to be effective--to speak to us of the Light of Christ--there must be light up there. What I see in this picture of the nave is an interwoven web of semi-darkness. Can one penetrate that web of darkness in thought, or is it a barrier between us here on earth and heaven where God dwells? Is that interwoven wood symbolic of a net keeping us down? That, in any case, is what I see there. Perhaps others interpret it differently.

There are other confusing symbols in this church where the Catholic images seem to fight with the architecture.

Look at the sanctuary in that picture of the central nave. That cross displays an image of Jesus rising above it, or coming down from it--rejecting it, in any case. The sanctuary is where the sacrifice of Christ takes place. If there is no crucifixion--if Christ rejects it, or comes down off of the cross--our salvation is in question. If the crucifixion does not proceed to the death of Christ, the Eucharist is just bread. Christ rose from the grave, not from the cross.

Instead, that is a Gnostic Jesus rising from the sanctuary cross.

When on the cross, Christos and Sophia left his body, and returned to their own sphere. Upon his death, the two took the man Jesus," and abandoned his material body to the earth; for the Gnostics held that the true Jesus did not (and could not) physically suffer on the cross, and die...

There is another message. Here is the floorplan from the church's website. Look where the tabernacle has been placed. It's an afterthought, resting up against the wall of the restroom. It has no place in the sanctuary because in the sanctuary is where the gnostic Jesus rises.

Dom has a picture of the tabernacle. Back there against the restroom wall is the dying Jesus suffering on the cross for our salvation. The message seems to me to be that the dying Jesus theology is outmoded, is essentially "dead," and the gnostic Jesus who rejects the cross is what we celebrate now. Notice that the dying Jesus is even walled off from the rest of the church. As the explanation of that Gnostic Jesus linked above tells us, when Jesus left the cross and left his body, he returned to our own sphere. He resides in the earth now, and so in the church that celebrates his advent there is light on the earth, but there is no longer any light in the heavens. The faith in the gnostic Jesus is earthbound. The gothic arches in this church tell us to look up and see that the heavens are empty and darkness is all we will find there. Then our eyes come back to the sanctuary dominated by light and by that Jesus who is rejecting the cross.

There is more of interest in the Texas church website. The parish website indicates they have a "Christ Renews His Parish" program. The link for it seems to be broken. Anyone who has been around the Catholic web for any length of time knows that the renewal programs belong to the liberal Call to Action people where Sr. Joan Chittister finds herself at home. Sr. Joan has been the principal speaker at a John Main Seminar, which is an interreligious activity of the monks at Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.

Those are the same monks who promote centering prayer activity. Another monk from Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, Fr. Thomas Keating, has given centering prayer retreats at another church within the Austin Diocese, the Church of Conscious Harmony, which isn't Catholic, but rather is interfaith.

On the website of the Emmaus Catholic Parish is a calendar that indicates the parish has a meditation group which meets every week. Is this the meditation of the sort promoted by the monks of Interreligious Dialogue/centering prayer? There is no way to tell.

All things considered...

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for the parishioners at Emmaus Catholic Parish that they will be able to hold on to faith in the salvation won for us by Jesus Christ. And...

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

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