Saturday, January 21, 2006


WASHINGTON — Just like human boys and girls, male monkeys like to play with toy cars while female monkeys prefer dolls, a research project has shown.

This intriguing discovery is one of many signs of deep-rooted behavioral differences between the sexes that scientists are exploring with the latest tools of genetics and neuroscience.

Researchers report significant differences in the structure and functioning of male and female brains — in humans and in animals — that show up in different behaviors.

The differences apparently date far back in evolutionary history to the time before humans and monkeys separated from their common ancestor some 25 million years ago, according to Gerianne Alexander, a psychologist at Texas A&M University in College Station, who led the monkey experiment.

Continue reading...

It's interesting, but I'm having a hard time understanding why a monkey would prefer a doll to a stuffed dog, given the smooth surface of a doll compared to the furry surface of the dog. If the object the female monkeys took to was a stuffed monkey, that would be different. But mostly what I get from this is that there must have been some sort of bias on the part of the researchers, or they completely missed some other important manifestation. Either that, or we had better avoid the money cages when we take our daughters to the zoo.

Thanks to a reader for the article.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Lawyers for a small-town parish priest have been ordered to appear in court next week after the Roman Catholic cleric was accused of unlawfully asserting what many people take for granted: that Jesus Christ existed.

The Rev. Enrico Righi was named in a 2002 complaint filed by Luigi Cascioli after Righi wrote in a parish bulletin that Jesus did indeed exist, and that he was born of a couple named Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth.

Cascioli, a lifelong atheist, claims that Righi violated two Italian laws by making the assertion: so-called "abuse of popular belief" in which someone fraudulently deceives people; and "impersonation" in which someone gains by attributing a false name to someone.

Cascioli says that for 2,000 years the Roman Catholic Church has been deceiving people by furthering the fable that Christ existed, and says the church has been gaining financially by impersonating as Christ someone by the name of John of Gamala, the son of Judas from Gamala.

He also asserts that the Gospels - the most frequently cited testimony of Jesus' existence - are inconsistent, full of errors and biased, and that other written evidence from the time is scant and doesn't hold up to scholarly analysis.

Continue reading...

I've blogged the story in the past. It must be appearing again because the court appearance is getting closer. In this version of it, the following adds some additional light:

Cascioli says he is merely going through the necessary legal steps in Italy so he can ultimately take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, where he intends to pursue the case against the church for "religious racism."


"A peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." That is the way that Masonic writers describe their Craft. Masonic allegory takes the shape of ritual dramas or a sort of mystery play in which the candidate being initiated takes part. Each degree has its own drama. The presentation of the drama is what a Mason means by "working" a degree. These rituals are precise, are recorded in books, and are peculiar to the Grand Lodge to which the local lodge belongs. English rituals and American rituals sometimes differ in minor points, though the story line essentially does not change.

Masonry has three degrees in what is commonly termed the "Craft" or "blue lodge"...Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason. This constitutes what is called "regular" Masonry, affiliated with the Grand Lodge of England (GLE) which was founded in 1717, as opposed to esoteric Masonry (Memphis-Misraim, Martinism, Egyptian Rite, etc.) which is often called "irregular" Masonry.

There is a fourth degree, Royal Arch. In his book THE MEANING OF MASONRY, W. L. Wilmshurst describes the Royal Arch this way:

Freemasonry, under the English Constitution, reaches its climax and conclusion in the Order of the Holy Royal Arch. There exists a variety of other degrees ramifying from the main stem of the Masonic system which either elaborate side-points of its doctrine or re-express its teachings in alternative symbolism. These, while of greater or less merit and interest, are...superfluities tending rather to diffuse the student's attention than to deeper his insight into the central purpose of the Craft. ...

It was...a sound instinct that prompted those who settled the present constitution of the Order to exclude these supplementary refinements
[degrees] and to declare that "Masonry consists of the three Craft Degrees and the Holy Royal Arch and no more," for within that compass is exhibited, or at least outlined, the entire process of human regeneration; so that after the Royal Arch there really remains nothing more to be said, although what has been said is of course capable of elaboration." (p. 138-139)

Wilmshurst goes on to explain that the Royal Arch had once been part of the Third Degree, but was detached from it for several reasons.


Meetings of the Royal Arch are called Chapters and the ultimate authority is a Grand Chapter. The members address each other not as Brothers but as Companions. In English Royal Arch Masonry, and in those other Grand Chapters which have adopted the English Ritual, the Chapter is presided over by three Principals who rule co-equally. They represent, Zerubabel, prince of Jerusalem, Haggai the Prophet, and Joshua the High Priest. They are assisted by two Scribes, Ezra (who acts as Secretary of the Chapter) and Nehemiah; a Principal and two Assistant Sojourners; a Treasurer; and a Janitor who stands guard outside the door of the Chapter. The drama of the ritual is set in Jerusalem immediately after the return from Babylonian Captivity when Zerubabel is preparing to rebuild the City and Temple. The Chapter represents the Grand Sanhedrim...

As in the Craft, the Royal Arch ritual is an allegory. The three Principals and two Scribes are biblical characters but historically could not have been in Jerusalem at the same time....The intent of the ritual is the same ...to lead the Companion to a contemplation of the nature of and his relationship with his God, whatever his religion may be.
(p. 99)

The ritual for the Royal Arch is given in detail in three lectures presented at the Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry website. Pietre-Stones describes itself as "A veritable free Encyclopeida of Freemasonry and a comprehensive tool for Freemasons looking for more light."

Lecture One of the "Royal Arch History in Three Lectures by Albert G. Mackey" presents "The Destruction of the Temple". There you can read the opening of the lecture which states:

There is no part of sacred history, except perhaps the account of the construction of the temple, which should be more interesting to the advanced mason than that which relates to the destruction of Jerusalem, the captivity of the Jews at Babylon, and the subsequent restoration under Cyrus for the purpose of rebuilding "the house of the Lord". Intimately connected, as the events which are commemorated in this period are, with the organization of the Royal Arch degree, it is impossible that any mason who has been exalted to that degree, can thoroughly understand the nature and bearing of the secrets with which he has been entrusted, unless he shall have devoted some portion of time to the study of the historical incidents to which these secrets refer.

The setting is the Babylonian captivity, "the seat of the captivity, and of the history of the Chaldee nation, whose leader was the conqueror of Judah." Zedekiah, "a monarch who is characterized by Josephus as "a dispiser of justice and his duty" is in charge.

It was in the reign of this ungodly sovereign that the incidents took place which are commemorated in the first part of the Royal Arch degree. Having repeatedly rebelled against the authority of the Babylonian King, to whose appointment he was indebted for his throne, Nebuchadnezzar repaired with an army to Judea, and laying siege to Jerusalem, after a severe struggle of eighteen months' duration, reduced it. He then caused the city to be levelled with the ground, the royal palace to be burned, the temple to be pillaged, and the captives to be carried to Babylon.

These events are symbolically detailed in the Royal Arch, and in allusion to them, the passage of the Book of Chronicles which records them, is appropriately read during the ceremonies of this part of the degree. ...

The very house of the Lord itself--that sacred building which had been erected on the "threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite" and which constituted the third Grand Offering of Masonry on the same sacred place, was to be burned to its foundations; the city led into a long and painful captivity. Hence the tale of devastation proceeds...

This, Mackey concludes, "may be called the first section of the Royal Arch degree."

Moving on to the second lecture Mackey explains:

Between that portion of the ritual of the Royal Arch which refers to the destruction of the first temple, and that subsequent part which symbolises the building of the second, there is an interregnum...in the ceremonial of the degree, which must be considered as a long interval in history, the filling up of which, like the interval between the acts of a play, must be left to the imagination of the spectator. This interval represents the time passed in the captivity of the Jews at Babylon.

According to Mackey's account, captive Judean artisans were employed by Nebuchadnezzar for the finishing of Babylonian buildings. They worked with the Chaldean Masons. The Jews were permitted to own property and establish a civil and religious government. They kept their priests and kings.

Their prophets of state, Daniel and Ezekiel, with their associates, preserved among their countrymen the pure doctrines of their religion, and taught that belief in the Divine Being which constituted the most important principle in Primitive Freemasonry, in opposition to the spurious system practised by their idolatrous conquerors. "The people," says Oliver, "who adhered to the worship of God, and they were neither few nor insignificant, continued to meet in their schools, or lodges, for the undisturbed practice of their system of ethical Freemasonry, which they did not fail to propagate for their mutual consolation during this calamitous reverse of fortune and for the benefits of their descendants.

The rabbinical writers inform us that during the captivity a fraternity was established for the preservation of traditional knowledge, which was transmitted to a few initiates, and that on the restoration, Zerubbabel, Joshua and Esdras carried all this secret instruction to Jerusalem, and there established a similar fraternity.

It was during this time, Mackey tells us, that Pythagoras visited Babylon where he interviewed Ezekiel and derived from the prophet's instruction the esoteric system of philosophy that he taught to his disciples.

In the third lecture

We have now arrived at that portion of history of the Babylonish captivity which is allegorised in the concluding ceremonies of the Royal Arch degree. And here we may incidentally observe, that the same analogy which exists in the Master's degree to the ancient mysteries, is also to be found in the Royal Arch. The Masonic scholar, who is familiar with the construction of these mysteries of the Pagan priests and philosopher, is well aware that they inculcate by symbolic and allegoric instruction, the great lessons in the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul. ...

There is a resurrection of that which has been buried--a discovery of that which had been lost--an exchange of that which, like the soul, is intended to be permanent.

This third part of the degree is concerned with rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem. This would be the beginning of the second temple period in the history of Judaism. The lecture closes:

This ends the connection of the history of the restoration with that of the Royal Arch. The works were soon after suspended in consequence of difficulties thrown in the way by the Samaritans, and other circumstances occurred to prevent the final completion of the temple for many years subsequent to the important discovery to which we have just alluded. But these details go beyond the Royal Arch, and are to be found in the higher degrees of masonry, such as the Red Cross Knight and the Prince of Jerusalem.

The Royal Arch degree is a continuation of the story of the Jews begun in the First Degree. If we are to believe Wilmshurst that the Royal Arch is the conclusion of the first three degrees, we can conclude that Freemasonry is about the history of the Jews.

Consider that Royal Arch Masons place the Ark of the Covenant on their websites. Nowhere do you find a cross. Jesus has no part in the rituals of the blue lodge or the Royal Arch Chapters. It is undeniable that these degrees are about the history of Judaism.

One company even sells replicas of the Ark to Royal Arch Masons.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


This website offers a virtual tour of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Nice Ark of the Covenant on their website.

There is a picture of an Ark of the Covenant at this website of Cryptic Masons as well.


by Fr. Thomas Dubay. A reader recommended it. Has anyone else found it helpful?


is the subject of an article by Sandro Magister. Specifically there are three areas of opposition:

1. It appears that NC-Way has decided to ignore the Pope's requirements that they clean up their liturgy.

2. The anonymous stories about the mechanics of the conclave that elected Cdl. Ratzinger to the papacy which seem to undermine his authority.

3. Translation difficulties, most obviously reflected in the delay of the publication of his first encyclical.

Blogger credit to Papa Ratzi Post at NOR.


Segments from a Zenit article are quoted over at Papa Razi Post under the headline "Pope tells rabbi of Church's love for Jews":

Pope Benedict XVI talked of the Church's love for the Jewish people when he received the chief rabbi of Rome in audience.

Zenit reports that "Shalom!" was the greeting the Pope expressed on Monday when welcoming Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni and a Jewish delegation, on the eve of Italy's national day to further Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

"The Catholic Church is close to you and is your friend," the Holy Father told the rabbi. "Yes, we love you and cannot but love you, 'through the Fathers.'"

Continue reading...

I suppose it wouldn't be politically correct to point out that Christ taught us to love our enemies, and that the history of Catholic-Jewish relations is fraught with discord, would it? These days in order to be Catholic it would seem that one needs to also be illiterate. It would certainly help to be illiterate when this claim is made!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


EDMONTON -- Canadian children are about to see one of their greatest fantasies come true: the opening of a real-life Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But in a cruel twist of fate, they'll have to wait until high-school graduation to attend.

Advertised as an "adult version of Hogwarts," the Northern Star College of Mystical Studies is now taking applications for its inaugural certification program. Just like Harry Potter's fictional alma mater, the unique Edmonton-based school will teach herbology, potions, astrology and divination, among other magical subjects.

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.


according to a story in the Washington Examiner:

Over two days, representatives from nearly 30 emergent Jewish and Christian worship groups talked about abandoning traditional worship in search of a more personal connection with God that they said they can't find in temple or church. They also shared their vision with more traditional Jewish leaders who hope this new "emergent Judaism" might help bring young Jews back at least to some style of worship.

"We've got to learn from what our Christian colleagues are doing," said Shawn Landres, a rabbi with Synagogue 3000, a progressive Jewish think tank that set up the meeting at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute about 45 miles north of Los Angeles.

"We told them, 'You guys are maybe five to 10 years ahead of us, and we want to know what you did right and what you did wrong,' " she said.

Speakers at the conference said both faiths are struggling to stay relevant -- particularly to young people -- in a culture that is increasingly fast-paced and global.

In reading the entire article I got a picture of one of the "renewal" programs within the RCC that caught fire in my former liberal parish. It, too, met in homes. It did not "renew" my faith--nor my faith in the Church. After the initial blaze, the fire died out even there in the heart of liberalism. Who ever thought, though, that the Jews would turn to the Christians to seek ways to survive?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Mark linked this website which outlines the source of the Noachide Laws and asks why it matters where they came from.

Every time I've read through a website describing these laws, they are spelled out differently. One site claimed that they expand into 66 laws when fully explored. There is no uniform text for them as there is with the Ten Commandments.

Are these Noachide Laws the basis of our so-called "Natural Law" which is used in the courts and figures so prominently in confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court? Justin, or any other lawyers who happen to be lurking here?

If they are, that means that they are replacing the Ten Commandments in our legal system. The interpretation of the Noachide Laws would be more important if the laws of the nation are at stake.

Specifically the law prohibiting idolatry could become a problem for Christians. Jewish interpretation of the Noachide Laws requires worship of one--and only one--God. Not a Trinitarian God. Imagine how this would affect Catholics if it became the law of the land!

Interpretation of the prohibition against eating the limb of a living animal is sometimes given that one may not eat flesh and must eat only plant material. Vegetarianism, of course, is the word for observance of this law, and it is growing in adherence. We can survive on plant material if that would become the law of the land. I'd miss eating a good steak, but it wouldn't be earth shattering. But consider how eating the Body and Blood of Christ would appear under such a system. While it might not be illegal, it would certainly provoke revulsion in the thinking of a lot of people. Catholicism could be viewed as immoral under such a system.

What kind of power lies behind the recent formation of the Sanhedrin in Israel? It is the Sanhedrin that will enforce the Noachide Laws. Could this spread to other countries? The Jewish population in the world is small. What is the Jewish influence? One indication might come from the Masonic Thomas Smith Webb Chapter of Research. This is an upper degree of regular Freemasonry (GLE), so it does have some influence apart from the influence Jews might have. In that research lodge website is the paper, written by Robert Ambelain (a Martinist, Order of the Elus Cohen, and founder of the Eglise Gnostique Apostolique), on the Ark of the Covenant where you can read:

*** "...the Ark of the Covenant of Israel, under its true name of the "Ark of Testimony", has often given birth among those Occultists who are fascinated by this historical enigma, to the idea of the possible "condensation" within the sides of the Ark - a sinple box of gold-plated wood - of a formidable and intelligent Unknown Force."

*** "Moses returned and descended from Mount Sinai, the two Tablets of Testimony in his hands. The two tablets were written on both sides, they were written on one and on the other side...

A significant error spread abroad suggests that they carried the commandments of God. This is false, since all the descriptions which carried the message of the Eternal One at Sinai were written in Moses' hand, and in a separate book..."

*** "So we may conclude that, as in all Theurgic operations, where the Power which is evoked, registers its 'seal', its mark upon a metal plaque or on the virgin parchment of the Grimoire, as a sign of agreement, the God of Israel finally gave him his signature, his agreement, by a 'Testimony', mysteriously engraved upon these Tablets of stone...

The ultimate question still remains: what was engraved on those Tablets? The agreement, the 'pact' between the invoked Intelligence and the Magician is manifest by the former communicating its magical 'seal', and the revelation of its 'name'. These are the two principal elements of the ritual of evocation. And this revelation is the 'testimony' of trust which is afforded to the aforementioned Magician. The magical possession of the Name and Sigil is, for the Magician, the key ingredient of his success. All universal traditions agree on this fact."

There is more in the article. It is clear that Ambelain was proposing a magical formula for the Ark of the Covenant, and this masonic research lodge had placed this paper of the gnostic Ambelain into its website.

Is this "spirituality" integral to the Royal Arch Degree in Freemasonry? One tends to get that impression from this website. If it is, the Lodge has here admitted that what has been shuttled off to the side as "irregular" Freemasonry is now being reclaimed by Grand Lodge of England. That would also be reflected in the activities of the Canonbury Masonic Research Center in London, where Michael Baigent, author of HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL, is active.

To close the loop, then, one merely has to read Paul A. Fisher's book BEHIND THE LODGE DOOR, and learn how Freemasonry has influenced our Supreme Court. It is hardly a secret that the Court has turned against Christianity.

Has the lodge and the Jewish movement to reconstruct the Third Temple joined forces? Were they always joined covertly? Do they represent the resurgence of the Cathar religion? If they do, will this new emerging spirituality seek to rule the world and in so doing make Christianity illegal?

So you see, Mark, it does matter what the source of the Noahide Laws are, because we might have to decide whether we can live with them at some point in the future.


It doesn’t take much poking around conspiracy websites to find the claims that Freemasonry and Jews are in league to establish the One World Order. While I tend to stay out of those sites, the charge is made so often that I've sometimes wondered whether there is any substance to it.

Until just recently, what I found while researching Freemasonry was that Jews were excluded from the Lodge until some time around the mid-point of the last century. Apparently, though, that is not the case, as recently accessed Masonic websites indicate that Jews were in fact members of the lodge. At the website of "California Freemason" Paul Bessel has an exploration of "Judaism and Freemasonry" online which indicates that there have been periods of anti-Semitism in the lodges, particularly in Germany. That perhaps explains in part why I had concluded that Jews were not accepted in the lodge. Germany and France were the two main sources of the occultism of the 1800s.

Along with the charge made by the conspiracy theorists of Jewish-Masonic plotting comes the claim that B’nai B’rith is Masonic. That was another charge I tended to set aside until the other night while surfing the Mill Valley (California) Lodge, I came across the history of B’nai B’rith.

It can be found in the extensive paper titled “Marin County Fraternal History” linked on the home page. There you can read:

B'nai B'rith was founded in the lower East Side of New York City on October 13, 1843 by twelve founders, all German émigrés in their twenties or thirties. They were Henry Jones (who originated the idea), Isaac Rosenbourg, William Renau, Reuben Rodacher, Henry Kling, Henry Anspacher, Isaac Dittenhoefer, Jonas Hecht, Michael Schwab, Hirsch Heineman, Valentine Koon and Samuel Schaefer. The founders were primarily shopkeepers who had been unacquainted before 1843, but apparently met through mutual membership as Freemasons, Odd Fellows, or other secret benevolent societies. Their purpose for organizing yet another fraternal group was to end, or at least reduce, the chaos and anarchy in Jewish life-or, as one of the founders put it, of "uniting and elevating the Sons of Abraham." (B'nai B'rith - The Story of a Covenant, by Edward E. Grusd, Appleton-Century, New York 1966, pp. 12-15, hereinafter cited as "Grusd".)

There is a persistent legend that B'nai B'rith was founded because Jews were barred from membership in the Masonic orders and the Odd Fellows. As the memoirs of Jones, Rosenbourg, and Renau attest, that was not the case, since several of the Order's founders were themselves members of those organizations. (Id.) Additionally, the nascent fraternity of B'nai B'rith found its first home in Masonic quarters. The Masonic Hall, at the corner of Oliver and Henry Streets, was rented for two dollars a night, and on November 12, at 8 P.M., the first meeting of the first B'nai B'rith lodge was called to order by Henry Jones as temporary chairman. It was named New York Lodge No. 1 and from it the order rapidly grew, spreading across the country and eventually overseas.

The article goes on to give the history of the organization, indicating that its structure is quite similar to the structure of Freemasonry and that officers were often members of Masonic lodges. It also indicates that B’nai B’rith established the Anti-Defamation League in 1913.

Interestingly enough, Catholic League cited the ADL's "December Dilemma", featured on their website, as one source of the anti-Christmas sentiment that was floating around our malls when we did our Christmas shopping not long ago:

Posted on the website of the Anti-Defamation League are guidelines called "December’s Dilemma." Essentially, the ADL proposes to public school administrators, teachers and parents guidelines that in essence banish virtually any mention of Christmas. These guidelines have absolutely no legal standing and turn the First Amendment on its head. "December Dilemma" is the product of ADL’s own philosophy that would ban any expression of religious belief in public schools.

Not mentioning in polite company anything associated with religion is one of the main rules of the Masonic Lodge. The ADL might not be Masonic in fact, but in philosophy they compare nicely. The Lodge, oddly enough, does not ban the use of the word "Christmas," however. Google turns up several lodges with Christmas parties, and Christmas food drives. The Lodge that claims to honor no specific religion but respect all of them seems to find that philosophy compatible with a celebration of Christmas.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


The article is sort of interesting, but the most interesting part of it is the Guardian's imposition of an "X rating", saying that only those over 18 may click to the next website to read the whole thing.

The Guardian's Middle East editor, Brian Whitaker, has written us a fascinating dispatch about sex and Islam. The topic came up as a result of a religious debate in Egypt about whether it is acceptable to take your clothes off when you have sex. One scholar, an expert on Islamic law from al-Azhar university in Cairo, warned that being completely naked during intercourse invalidates a marriage, while others countered that "anything that can bring spouses closer to each other" should be permitted. Brian writes:

Unlike Christianity, which tends to be squeamish about sex, Islam has a long tradition of talking about it openly. Up to a point, this is much more healthy. While Catholic priests are enjoined to remain celibate, Muslim clerics are expected to marry and indulge heartily with their wives in the pleasures of the flesh. In many parts of the Muslim world, especially where folk are poor and uneducated, the local imam is the person many turn to for guidance on matters relating to sex and marriage.

Over the last few years, hundreds of Islamic "fatwa" websites have also sprung up on which clerics - often with uncertain qualifications - answer all manner of questions that have been sent to them by email, including questions about sex. Some of their answers about what "good Muslims" should or shouldn't do in bed are very explicit, so readers under 18 should stop here. While some of the advice is sensible, a lot of it is completely daft, so remaining readers over the age of 18 may wish to get a second opinion before putting it into practice.

If you're over the age of 18 and have read Brian's disclaimer, you may now proceed to read his full article.

Has hell frozen over?


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court allowed Holocaust survivors on Tuesday to proceed with a lawsuit claiming that the Vatican Bank and a Franciscan religious order profited from property stolen by Croatia's pro-Nazi World War Two government.

The justices declined to review a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that reinstated the suit, which claimed the Order of Friars Minor conspired with the Vatican Bank to facilitate the transfer of gold and other looted valuable assets.

The Holocaust survivors filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco in 1999 accusing the defendants of receiving property stolen from victims of Croatia's brutal Ustasha regime from 1941 to 1945. As many as 700,000 people, mostly Serbs, were killed at death camps run by the regime.

The lawsuit claimed that the stolen property was used after the war to help Nazi war criminals escape from Europe to South America. The class-action lawsuit seeks compensation for the monetary losses suffered by Holocaust survivors.

E. Michael Jones begins his book on Medjugorje with the activities of the Ustasha in the area during WW II. There is a whole lot we haven't been told about this area of the world, IMHO.


will cease at a Fort Mitchell, Kentucky parish.

The Rev. Dan Vogelpohl, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church, made that decision at the end of last year, and imposed the ban effective Jan. 1.

Roman Catholic teaching allows the deceased's friends or family members to speak some words of remembrance about their loved one's faith at the end of a funeral Mass.

Such messages are supposed to be brief - just a few minutes at most, Vogelpohl said. But often, speakers go on for 15 to 30 minutes, and the remembrance becomes more like a eulogy, which is forbidden by the Vatican.

Is this a common practice? I've never seen it done anywhere. According to the article sometimes these eulogies become heretical when pantheistic poems are recited.

Vogelpohl said that the focus of a Catholic funeral is on the future life with Christ, not on the life that has ended. True of the funeral Mass, certainly. But I don't think that is true of the funeral itself. Perhaps he is separating the "wake" from the funeral Mass. Certainly the funeral is also about the family of the deceased who must now go on without them. One of the important parts of that transition is remembering the life shared with the deceased. A funeral without these memories is a sad affair.


without knowing that it is a Catholic Church, would you think you were in the wrong place?


at St. Thomas More parish in Austin. Scroll down to the last question. Talk about not answering it...!


NOACHITE or PRUSSIAN KNIGHT, sometimes called The Very Ancient Order of Noachites. The 21st degree of the Ancient and Accepted rite. The traditional history of the degree is carried back to an early period; for it commemorates the destruction of the Tower of Babel. It is founded upon the immutable principles of Justice. The meeting is called Grand Chapter, and must be held in a retired place, on the night of the full moon, in each month. The place is lighted by a large window or opening, so arranged as to admit the light of themoon, the only light allowed. The presiding officer sits facing the moonlight; he is styled Lieutenant Commander; the other officers are Warden, Knight of Eloquence, Knight of the Chancery, Knight of the Finances, Master of Ceremonies, Warder, and Standard-Bearer. The sash, worn from right to left, is a broad black ribbon; the jewel is a golden triangle traversed by an arrow, point downward; on the jewel is an arm upraised, holding a naked sword, and around it the motto "Fiat Justitia, Ruat Coelum."

NOAH, PRECEPTS OF. Certain commandments transmitted to the present time, in documents of the ancient stonemasons, bear this name. They require: 1. The renunciation of all idols; 2. The worship of the true God; 3. The commission of no murder; 4. Freedom from the crime of incest; 5. The avoidance of theft; 6. The practice of justice; 7. The abstaining from flesh with blood in it.*

*The Rabbins affirm that God gave Noah and his sons certain precepts, which contain the natural duty common to all men; the observance of which, alone, will be sufficient to save them. The Hebrews would not suffer any stranger to dwell in their country unless he would conform to them. Maimonides says that the first six of these precepts were given by Adam; the seventh was added by Noah. What inclines us to doubt of their antiquity is that no mention is made of these precepts in Scripture, in Onkelos, in Josephus, or in Philo; nor in any ancient father. -Calmet.
(p. 268)

The book contains a second dictionary called _A DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLICAL MASONRY_. In that section is this entry:

NOACHIDAE. Sons of Noah; the first name of Freemasons; whence we may observe that believing the world was framed by one supreme God, and is governed by him; and loving and worshipping him; and honouring our parents; and loving our neighbour as ourselves; and being merciful even to brute beasts, is the oldest of all religions. (p. 600)


Do they check their brains at the entrance to the school parking lot, or something?

According to this AP story sent in by a reader, a teacher of freshmen at a high school in the Cleveland suburbs wanted his class to discuss the harmful effects of pornography. In order to facilitate this, he assigned pornography on the web as a research topic. He wanted the students to come up with 8 facts about pornography, to write their own views, and to share any experience they had with it. 14 and 15 year-olds. Lord have mercy!

Monday, January 16, 2006


The Bishop of Motherwell in Scotland asked Catholics to stop "cowering" before the government:

The Rt Rev Joseph Devine warned Christians against the "creeping political correctness" that was stifling religious expression.
In an address to a Motherwell audience, the bishop said: "The Church needs to rediscover a political voice and stop cowering before the apparatus of government and its politically approved doctrines. The situation is that there are people in authority in this country who are determined to stamp out all Christian influence.
"They regard the Church as a social nuisance."


In my blog on Jan. 9, "AWAKE!" the last link went to a page in the website of The Church of Conscious Harmony which displayed a picture of the Tetragrammaton above the word "Regeneration."

This was the link:


Today when I clicked the link, I found a cross and the words "A Life In Christ" had replaced the Tetragrammaton on the website. The original picture is still there, however. If you click the link for "Regeneration": under "2005 - A Year of Regeneration" you will find it.


The Answers.org website discussion of the Primitive Apostolic Church seems to be saying that the division between Pauline and Petrine Christianity was also the division between the Mosaic Law and the Noahide Law, indicating that those following Paul would have followed the Noahide Law.

Obviously if worship of the Trinity conflicts with the Noahide Law requiring worship of the One God, that isn't possible.

1738 AFFECTING 2006 ?

Anyone who has researched Freemasonry knows that it is not popssible to track the Craft any further back into history than 1717. That is the foundation year, the year when four lodges came together to form the first Grand Lodge. 1717 was the beginning of what we know today as English Freemasonry. Just as 1717 is the foundation year, the foundation documents of Freemasonry are Anderson's Constitution--the first in 1723 and the second in 1738. They are frequently referred to as the "Old Charges."

John Hamill, Librarian and Curator of the United Grand Lodge of England, in his book THE CRAFT: A HISTORY OF ENGLISH FREEMASONRY, writes:

The first history of the Craft appeared, with official sanction, as part of the first Constitutions, compiled and published on behalf of the premier Grand Lodge by the Revd Dr. James Anderson in 1723. Anderson's work is largely a legendary history of the builder's craft from Adam in the Garden of Eden down to the formation of the premier Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Anderson makes no distinction between operative and speculative Masonry, implying that the one was a continuation of the other. ...He did not even claim to have written an original work but, as he explained in the second edition (1738) of the Constitutions, had simply digested the old Gothic Constitutions. It was from these that he derived the traditions of Freemasons' lodges having existed from ancient times; of various biblical, historical, and purely legendary personalities having been patrons, promoters, or Grand Masters of the Craft; and of a Prince Edwin having called a great assembly of masons at York in AD 926 at which he granted them a Constitution and ordered them to meet in Quarterly Communication to regulate their lodges. ...

For the 1738 edition Anderson appears, unfortunately, to have given full reign to his imagination, constructing a detailed 'history' of English Masonry from the supposed Assembly at York down to the revival of the Grand Lodge in 1717 and continuing it from thence to 1738. ...

Because Anderson's history was published with the sanction of the Grand Lodge it took on the guise of holy writ, the more so as its contents were not challenged by those who had taken part in the events of 1717. So acceptable did his work prove that it continued to be reprinted without alteration, simply being brought up to date, in all subsequent editions of the premier Grand Lodge's
Constitutions down to the final edition of 1784. (pp 16-17)

Given the importance of Anderson's Constitutions, what is written in them is significant. At the Thomas Smith Webb Chapter of Research, No. 1798 there is a paper online titled "Masonic References to Noah As the Master Builder," where you can read:

The story of Noah (or Nauch), of the Flood and of the two pillars upon which the entire knowledge of Man is to be found, appears in a majority of the old Manuscript Constitutions. Even the term "Noachida," alluding to Noah, is a frequent reference in eighteenth century Masonic literature to the name for Freemasons. (p. 3)

The website for the Grande Lodge De France, in a statement titled "Getting to know the Grand Lodge of France", confirms this:

The Chevalier Ramsay used to declare: "Freemasonry is indeed the resurrection of the noachide religion, that of the Patriarch Noah, that religion prior to any dogma, which allows us to go beyond the differences and oppositions of the various faiths." Thus could always be found in Masonic Lodges men who call each other "brother" even though often dissimilar in their origins, denominations, faiths, convictions and customs, but convinced of Freemasonry's fundamental principles, the law of Brotherly love.

THE DOUBLE EAGLE, a publication of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Indianapolis, Volume 51, Number 5, Nov. 2001 adds additional evidence in an article titled "What's a 'Noachite'?":

The earliest known reference is in a 1735 letter from the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England to the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Calcutta. It is the fourth paragraph of the letter that is pertinent to this discussion. "Providence has fixed your Lodge near the learn'd Indians that affect to be called Noachidae..."

The earliest wide usage of Noachite, or in this case Noachida, is found in the first charge of the second or 1738 edition of the
Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England written by the Rev. James Anderson.

"A Mason is obliged by his Tenure to observe the Moral Law, as a true Noachida..." The second paragraph has the following sentence, "...For they all agree in the 3 great
Articles of Noah, enough to preserve the Cement of the Lodge."...

But, there are seven Noachide Laws and Anderson alludes to only three. Which three did he mean? The good Reverend did not elaborate, but several Masonic scholars have speculated what he meant. One theory is Anderson meant the Masonic triad of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth."
(p. 4)

1738 is important for another reason. It is the year of the first papal denouncement of Freemasonry.

In Eminenti On Freemasonry, the Papal Bull of Pope Clement XII, issued April 28, 1738:

We therefore, having taken counsel of some of Our Venerable Brothers among the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and also of Our own accord and with certain knowledge and mature deliberations, with the plenitude of the Apostolic power do hereby determine and have decreed that these same Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations, or Conventicles of Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons, or whatever other name they may go by, are to be condemned and prohibited, and by Our present Constitution, valid for ever, We do condemn and prohibit them.

Those are strong words, and the following paragraph in the Encyclical is even stronger. At the very time when the Lodge was casting Anderson's Constitutions in stone, the Shepherd of the Roman Catholic Church was condemning the Lodge. The statement is Ex Cathedra, and thus infallible according to CCC 891. It was the first of many condemnations.

Those Noachide Laws that are part of the Masonic Old Charges are the laws that were the subject of disagreement between St. Paul and St. Peter as is recounted in Scripture. There is one specific aspect of Jewish law that caused the controversy--circumcision. Specifically, St. Peter and St. Paul disagreed about the need for circumcision among the Gentile converts. The controversy is described in detail in the old Catholic Encyclopedia under the heading "Judaizers:"

This incident has been made much of...showing the existence of two primitive forms of Christianity, Petrinism and Paulinism, at war with each other. But anyone, who will look at the facts without preconceived theory, must see that between Peter and Paul there was no difference in principles, but merely a difference as to the practical conduct to be followed under the circumstances....That Peter's principles were the same as those of Paul, is shown by his conduct at the time of Cornelius's conversion, by the position he took at the council of Jerusalem, and by his manner of living prior to the arrival of the Judaizers. Paul, on the other hand, not only did not object to the observance of the Mosaic Law, as long as it did not interfere with the liberty of the Gentiles, but he conformed to its prescriptions when occasion required (1 Corinthians 9:20).

These Laws, were the subject of the council of Jerusalem (AD 50), and the reason the council was called...the first council of the Catholic Church. St. Paul believed that Gentile converts to Christianity were not required to observe the Jewish Law of circumcision. St. Peter and his followers believed they were because there was a need not to cause scandal among the Jewish Christians. St. Peter lost the argument and the Church continued through the Gentiles.

Roman Catholicism is built on the teachings of St. Paul to a very large degree. The followers of St. Peter, who were mainly Jews who had converted to Christianity, but who continued to follow Jewish law, objected to this new direction that Christianity took. They wanted converts to Christianity to observe the Noachide Laws while they believed they were required to observe the entire Mosaic Law.

Once the Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed (AD 67-70), those Jewish Christians who subscribed to Gentile observance of the Noachide Laws were scattered and presumed to be lost. According to the article in the Encyclopedia:

With the disappearance of the Jewish-Christian community of Jerusalem at the time of the rebellion (A.D. 67-70), the question about circumcision and the observance of the Law ceased to be of any importance in the Church, and soon became a dead issue. At the beginning of the second century St. Ignatius of Antioch, it is true, still warns against Judaizers (Magnes., x, 3; viii, 1; Philad., vi, 1), but the danger was probably more a memory than a reality. During the rebellion the mass of the Jewish Christians of Palestine retired beyond the Jordan, where they gradually lost touch with the Gentiles and in the course of time split up into several sects. St. Justin (about 140) distinguishes two kinds of Jewish Christians: those who observe the Law of Moses, but do not require its observance of others -- with these he would hold communion, though in this all his contemporaries did not agree with him -- and those who believe the Mosaic Law to be obligatory on all, whom he considers heretics (Dial. Cum Tryph., 47). If Justin is describing the Jewish Christians of his day, as he appears to do, they had changed little since Apostolic times. The accounts of later Fathers show them divided into three main sects: (a) the Nazarenes, who, while observing the Mosaic Law, seem to have been orthodox. They admitted the Divinity of Christ and the virginal birth; (b) the Ebionites, who denied the Divinity of Christ and virginal birth, and considered St. Paul as an apostate. It should be noted, however, that though the Fathers restrict the name Ebionite to the heretical Jewish Christians, the name was common to all; (c) an offshoot of the last infected with Gnosticism (cf. art. EBIONITES). After the middle of the fifth century the Jewish Christians disappear from history.

Did they in fact disappear, or were they present in the Cathar religion? Were they present in the formation of the Masonic Lodge when Anderson's Constitution cited the Noachide Laws in the foundation documents of Freemasonry? Are they present today in the Gnostic revival and in Martinism? Is the controversy still with us?

It would seem that it is, lodged in Grail Christianity according to grailchurch.org:

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.

Is this controversy behind the push at Vatican II to reconcile our relationship with Judaism? Was it a factor in the creation of "Reflection on Covenant and Mission," written by the USCCB, which contained a reference to the Noahide Laws? Is the controversy behind the softening of opposition to Freemasonry in the 1983 Code of Canon Law--a softening that was revoked by Cardinal Ratzinger in a letter of correction after the Code was promulgated?

The controversy seems to be behind the activities of Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh in their book HOLY BLOOD HOLY GRAIL, and Dan Brown's subsequent DA VINCI CODE. Have the Jewish Christians converted enough disciples that today they believe it is possible to bring their doctrine out into the open? To create a New World Order subject to the Noachide Laws? A New Order that will deny the worship of Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? The Noachide Laws permit worship of only one God. This is not expanded to permit the worship of the Trinity according to Answers.com:

Within Judaism it is a matter of debate whether or not all Christians should be considered Noahides. The strict view is that Christian theology is considered avodah zarah (loosely translated as "idolatry") for all people, both Jew and gentile, as it subscribes to the Trinity. Therefore most Christians could not be considered Noahides. However, Unitarian Christians and other followers of Jesus who do not believe that Jesus is God would still be considered Noahides.

The liberal orthodox view is that Christian theology is only considered avodah zarah for Jews, but it is permissible for gentiles. The Tosafist (early Talmud commentators) Rabbi Jacob Tam (Rashi's grandson), in Bekhorot 2b and Sanhedrin 63b, ruled that trinitarianism could be permitted to gentiles as a form of shittuf ("association"). This view was echoed by Rabbi Isaac ben Sheshet (Rivash, responsa 119) and accepted by Rabbi Moses Isserles (Rema, Orah Hayyim 156:1.). However, no Jewish source allows the worship through any form of shittuf; rather, all worship must be directed to the one and only Creator.

The view of Maimonides is difficult to ascertain due to text alterations in different editions of his Mishneh Torah (code of Jewish law), Ma'akhalot Asurot 11:7. In any case, in this view Christian theology is not forbidden to gentiles, and all Christians are Noahides. Today most of Reform and Conservative Judaism view all Christians as Noahides.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mark Hinson, a Methodist writing for the Tallahassee Democrat, discovered devotion to St. Roch in a New Orleans cemetary in the 1990s, and has been fascinated with saints dedicated to specific causes ever since. After describing the New Orleans cemetary chapel dedicated to St. Roch, with it's evidence of afflictions healed; with tongue in cheek he proposes some new ones:

Still, there should be a new crew of saints drafted to cover the woes of the 21st century. They should be minor saints in charge of daily annoyances and contemporary problems. Here are a few examples:

St. Juicy the Obtuse: Patron saint of cheap eyewear. Buy a pair of $150 Ray-Bans and you'll lose them in one weekend. Yet, a $10 pair of sunglasses from the Circle K is impossible to discard, crush or misplace. Throw the cheapos in the chimp cage at the zoo, and the monkeys will toss 'em back unscratched. Thank St. Juicy.

St. Shirley the Surly: Patron saint of obnoxious phone callers. Ever wonder why people who yap on cell phones at the movies aren't more frequently subjected to public stonings? It's the work of Shirley.

St. Ignatz of Opp: Patron saint of parking tickets, overdue library books and paper cuts. Not one of your more attentive saints. Bit of a slacker, actually.

St. Elsewhere: Patron saint of checkout. St. E always makes sure if you change lines, the new one will move slower than the old one. It's just the way E. likes it.

St. Squeaky: Patron saint of karaoke and lousy rappers. Kevin Federline - aka as K-Fed or Mr. Britney Spears - should have a plastic statue of St. Squeaky on the dashboard of his Mercedes as he prepares to "drop" his first rap album this year. For a sample of his genius, visit www.kevinfederline.com.

St. Tiffany: Patron saint of uneven pavement and bad drivers. Someone has to look out for the clueless clod who's driving 45 mph in the fast lane with his left-turn signal on and a cell phone in his ear.

St. Roch the II: Patron saint of building stronger levees.

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