Friday, May 04, 2007
FROM THE EMAILBOX
Spirit & Life
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 66 | Friday, May 04, 2007
Was Cho Seung-Hui Possessed?
There were howls of laughter when Fox News published an article raising the question of whether the devil may have influenced Cho Seung-Hui to commit the Virginia Tech massacre. Fox just reported the comments of various Christian leaders on the subject and did not intend to settle the question, but the cynicism of the godless media and society was predictable and to be expected. Since the devil doesn't exist - they say - how could anyone be so irresponsible as to try to explain away Cho's deed by recourse to the spiritual?
Well, first let me say that, as a Catholic priest, I have seen and worked with my share of possessed and obsessed individuals. It's entirely possible for someone to be at once responsible for his own acts and totally under the influence of the devil in committing them. In this case, Cho pulled the trigger, but the devil was the author of the deed. Does not Jesus call him "a murderer from the beginning"? The devil is the prime mover of all evil in the world, but human beings freely cooperate with him in their evil decisions. No one gets off the hook of responsibility by blaming the devil, but we can't say that the devil is a detached observer to crimes like this.
The evil work that Cho perpetrated bears the classic marks of a possession that he cooperated in. Four clear signs of serious demonic influence were evident in his life and virtually assured that he would commit some kind of heinous crime against humanity in time. These are the devil's tactics for the destruction of body and soul: isolate, distort, excite, plot - and then kill.
First, it is not always clear how a demon enters someone, but it is sure that once a demon enters a person, that demon bends all his efforts of mind and will to overtake his host's life and make it his own. Isolation is the best technique. By all accounts, Cho was an isolated loner whose belonging to his demon was very far advanced. He had no friends to speak of, no significant associates or relationships and certainly no religious practice.
Second, with time and permission, the demon totally perverts all the person's mental processes in order to translate them into demon-think. Cho's writings leading up to the crime, and Cho's now-famous video manifesto, all exhibited signs that the process of demonic perversion of mind and values was complete. He was verbally fantasizing in front of his classmates and teachers about killing people in the most horrible ways. In the end he even blasphemously claimed to be dying like Jesus Christ for the sins of others: this is perverse thinking in the extreme.
Third, a crime of this immensity cannot be accomplished without a person's total emotional commitment. After reprogramming a person's thought patterns, the demon excites his passions to do what he wants. Others have very credibly explained how Cho's pathetic video images imitating the Korean flick, Old Boy, were evidence of his heightened emotions influenced by violent images. He even ranted in imitation of the Columbine killers Harris and Klebold in solidarity for the deed he was about to commit. In other words, it's very difficult to sustain such an emotional intensity about the evil he planned and carried out without some direct force multiplier. Graphic images provided it.
Finally, he plotted - like all demons from Satan to the perpetrators of the World Trade Center attacks. He bought guns and ammo, he planned the date and times and places of the murder, and he even went regularly at night to work out at the campus gym in order to look the part of a mass murderer. The devil must have been very happy to witness his prey blast his brains out after perpetrating the bloody murders of 32 innocents. That is the ultimate victory for the devil.
As sad as the physical deaths of innocent people are, perhaps the saddest element of the story is the likely loss of Cho Seung-Hui's immortal soul by this demonic action. The rabbis used to say that the angels weep at the loss of a soul that God created to share in His eternal blessedness; I am sure the angels are weeping now. Let us all commend the innocent victims of this crime, their families and the possessed perpetrator to the Mercy of God and then re-commit ourselves to proclaiming Christ and His victory over so that none of God's children will ever be lost.
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International
IS THIS WHAT STEINSALTZ WAS TALKING ABOUT ?
Consider the passage below, taken from a Rosicrucian story, in the light of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's assertion in THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE that man creates angels by his thoughts and actions, as the quotes I blogged yesterday from the first chapter of the book indicate.
...there are the subversive angels created by the actions of men, by the objectification of malevolence: the evil thought, the hate-inspired wish, the wicked deed. For beside its visibly destructive consequences, every act of malice or evil creates an abstract Gnostic being, who is a bad angel, an angel belonging to the plane of evil corresponding to the state of mind that brought it into being.
There is a Rosicrucian book online at the Wright American Fiction website, under the auspicies of Indiana University. There you can read THE ROSICRUCIAN'S STORY, written by Pascal Beverly Randolph. The story is about a group of men killing time while traveling on a ship. One of the men is a storyteller. He tells the story of Tom Clark and his wife who nags Tom to the point that he desires her death. His wife in turn nags because she dislikes her husband and wishes that he were dead.
The scene is their bedroom. The window is open. Both husband and wife have gone to bed with thoughts of murder in their head. They gazed at the stars through the open window and have subquently fallen into a dreamless sleep. This is what follows:
Just as Tom Clark and his wife had been magnetized into a sort of restless sleep from gazing at the star--an uneasy, disturbed, nervous, but dreamless sleep--as if a heavy, thick and murky cloud just floated off a stagnant marsh, there descended upon the roof of the house a pestilent, slimy mist, and it gathered over and about the roof; and it entered, rolling heavily, into the chamber, coming through that little window at the foot of the bed, the littler window whose upper sash was down. It was a thick, dense, iron-greyisn mist, approaching blackness, only that there was a sort of turgid redness, not a positive color, but as if it had floated over the depths of hell, and caught a portion of its infernal luminosity. And it was thick and dark, and dense and very heavy; and it swept and rolled, and poured into the room in thick, voluminous masses--into the very room, and about the couch where tossed in uneasy slumber the woman and the man. And it filled the apartment, and hung like a pall about their couch; and its fetor oppressed their senses; and it made their brath come thick, and difficult, and wheezing from their lungs. It was dreadful! And their breath mingled with the strange vapor, apparently endowing it with a kind of horrid life, a sort of semi-sentience; and gave it a very peculiar and fearful movement--orderly, systematic, gyratory, pulsing movement--the quick sharp breath of the woman, the deep and heavy breath of the man. And it had come through the window at the foot of the bed, for the upper sash was down.(p. 31-32
Slowly, and with regular, spiracular, wavy motion, with gentle undulations, like the measured roll of the calm Pacific Sea, the gentle sea on which I am sailing toward the Pyramids and my Cora--six years old, and so pretty! Pyramids six thousand years old, and so grand! Like the waves of that sea did the cloud begin to move gyrally around the chamber, hanging to the curtains, clinging to the walls, but as if dreading the moonlight, carefully avoiding the window through which it had come the little window at the foot of the bed--whose upper sash was down.....Soon, very soon, the cloud commenced to change the axis of its movements, and began to condense into a large globe of iron-hued nebulas; and it began a contrary revolution; and it floated thus, and swam like a dreadful destiny over the unconscious sleepers on the bed, after which it moved to the western side or end of the room, and became nearly stationary in an angle of the wall, where for a while it stood or floated, silent, appalling, almost motionless, changeless still. At the end of about six minutes it moved again, and in a very short time assumed the gross, but unmistakable outline of a gigantic human form--an outline horrible, black as night, frowning human form--cut not sharply from the vapor, but still distinctly human in its shapeness--but very imperfect, except the head, which was too frightfully complete to leave even a lingering doubt but that some black and hideous deviltry was at work in that little chamber; and IT had entered through the window at the foot of the bed--the little window, whose upper sash was down. And the head was infamous, horrible, gorgonic; and its glare was terrible, infernal, blasting, ghastly--perfectly withering in its expression, proportions, and its aspect.
The story goes on to explain in greater detail the form that this spectre took. There is no need for me to continue quoting. I'm sure the idea that this is a ghastly spectre is clear.
You can read the passages here.
Use the drop-down menu above the book to select pages 30-31.
Pascal Beverly Randolph was the founder of the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis in 1858 according to this website.
ELIPHAS LEVI AND ALBERT PIKE
Further evidence that Pike appears to have plagiarised Levi:
Eliphas Levi, THE HISTORY OF MAGIC:
According to the Kabalists, the true name of Satan is that of Jehovah reversed, for Satan is not a black god but the negation of Deity. He is the personification of atheism and idolatry. The devil is not a personality for initiates but a force created with a good object, though it can be applied to evil: it is really the instrument of liberty. They represented this force, which presides over physical generation, under the mythological figure of the horned god Pan, and hence comes the goat of the Sabbath, brother of the old serpent, the light-bearer or phosphorus, converted by poets into the false Lucifer of legend.(p. 161)
Albert Pike, MORALS AND DOGMA:
The true name of Satan, the Kabalists say, is that of Yahveh reversed; for Satan is not a black god, but the negation of God. The Devil is the personification of Atheism or Idolatry.(p. 102)
For the Initiates, this is not a Person, but a Force, created for good, but which may serve for evil. It is the instrument of Liberty or Free Will. They represent this Force, which presides over the physical generation, under the mythologic and horned form of the God PAN; thence came the he-goat of the Sabbat, brother of the Ancient Serpent, and the Light-bearer or Phosphor, of which the poets have made the false Lucifer of the legend.
Eliphas Levi, THE HISTORY OF MAGIC:
Lucifer--Light-bearer--how strange a name, attributed to the spirit of darkness! Is it he who carries the light and yet blinds feeble souls? The answer is yes, unquestionably; for traditions are full of divine disclosures and inspirations.(p. 36)
Albert Pike, MORALS AND DOGMA
LUCIFER, the Light-Bearer! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not! for traditions are full of Divine Revelations and Inspirations; and Inspiration is not of one Age nor of one Creed.(p. 321)
TAKING THE WEEKEND OFF
The real world is going to demand my attention over the next several days, so I'm going to take the weekend away from the blog. I'll be back on Monday or Tuesday next week. Till then, keep the faith!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
RABBI ADIN STEINSALTZ - THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE
I have saved the first chapter for last because I believe it deserves individual treatment. The first chapter of the book is entitled "Worlds". It opens with this passage:
The physical world in which we live, the objectively observed universe around us, is only a part of an inconceivably vast system of worlds. Most of these worlds are spiritual in their essence; they are of a different order from our known world. Which does not necessarily mean that they exist somewhere else, but means rather that they exist in different dimensions of being. What is more, the various worlds interpenetrate and interact in such a way that they can be considered counterparts of one another, each reflecting or projecting itself on the one below or above it, with all the modifications, changes, and even distortions that are the result of such interaction. It is the sum of this infinitely complex exchange of influence back and forth among different domains that comprises the specific world of reality we experience in our everyday life.
In speaking of higher or lower worlds, I do not mean to describe an actual physical relation; for in the realm of the spiritual there is no such division, and the words "high" and "low" refer only to the place of any particular world on the ladder of causality. To call a world higher signifies that it is more primary, more basic in terms of being close to a primal source of influence; while a lower world would be a secondary world--in a sense, a copy. Yet the copy is not just an imitation but rather a whole system, with a more or less independent life of its own, its own variety of experience, characteristics, and properties. (p. 1-2)
Rabbi Steinsaltz tells us that "The world of action"
is only one world in a general system of four fundamental dimensions of being, or four different worlds, each with its own cosmos of varying essences. These four worlds have been called, in order from the highest to the lowest, "emanation," "creation," "formation," and "action." Thus, the world directly above ours is the world of formation. To understand the difference, one must first understand certain factors common to all four worlds. These factors were traditionally known as "world," "year," and "soul"; nowadays we would call them "space," "time," and "self"... (p. 3)
The concept is so different from anything a Roman Catholic believes in that one needs to read everything he has written to understand it. I hesitate to reproduce all of it here, but I would highly recommend reading the book. It is not that long nor that expensive, and it opens a door into Judaism that every Roman Catholic should open if we are going to pray about "parallel paths" in our churches.
Steinsalts says that in the world of formation the living creatures are called "angels", a "spiritual reality with its own unique contents, qualities, and character, and distinguished one from another not by "physical quality of spatial apartness" but by "difference of level--one being above or below another". Groupings of angels may be referred to as "a camp of angels." (p. 5)
An Angel, he tells us
...is not merely a fragment of existence doing nothing more than just manifesting an emotion; it is a whole and integral being, conscious of itself and its surroundings and able to act and create and do things within the framework of the world of formation. The nature of the angel is to be, to a degree, as its name in Hebrew signifies, a messenger to constitute a permanent contact between our world of action and the higher worlds. (p. 6)
In addition to angels that have existed from the very beginning of time, angels are also continually being created we are told:
But there are also angels that are continuously being created anew, in all the worlds, and especially in the world of action where thoughts, deeds, and experiences give rise to angels of different kinds. Every mitzvah [a good act intended to help save the world - ct] that a man does is not only an act of transformation in the material world; it is also a spiritual act, sacred in itself. And this aspect of concentrated spirituality and holiness in the mitzvah is the chief component of that which becomes an angel. In other words, the emotion, the intention, the essential holiness of the act combine to become the essence of the mitzvah as an existence in itself, as something that has objective reality. And this separate existence of the mitzvah, by being unique and holy, creates the angel, a new spiritual reality that belongs to the world of formation. ...
More precisely, the person who performs a mitzvah, who prays or directs his mind toward the Divine, in so doing creates an angel, which is a sort of reaching out on the part of man to the higher worlds. Such an angel, however, connected in its essence to the man who created it, still lives, on the whole, in a different dimension of being, namely in the world of formation. And it is in this world of formation that the mitzvah acquires substance. This is the process by which the specific message or offering to God that is intrinsic in the mitzvah rises upward and introduces changes in the system of the higher worlds--foremost in the world of formation. From here, in turn, they influence the worlds above them. So we see that a supreme act is performed when what is done below becomes detached from particular physical place, time, and person and becomes an angel. ...
They may be compared with those frequencies of an electromagnetic field that are beyond the limited range ordinarily perceived by our senses....That which is ordinarily invisible is "seen" only through appropriate instruments of transmutation, or interpretation, when, in the language of the Kabbalah, they are dressed in the clothes or vessels that make it possible for us to apprehend them--as, for example, radio or television waves have to be transmitted through appropriate vessels to be revealed to our senses. (p. 7-9)
Every Roman Catholic knows that angels come in two varieties. Judaism also teaches that angels can be good or evil. Rabbi Steinsaltz writes:
It follows, then, that just as there are holy angels, built into and created by the sacred system, there are also destructive angels, called "devils" or "demons," who are the emanations of the connection of man with those aspects of reality which are the opposite of holiness. Here, too, the actions of man and his modes of existence, in all their forms, create angels, but angels of another sort, from another level and a different reality. These are hostile angels that may be part of a lower world or even of a higher, more spiritual world--this last because even though they do not belong to the realm of holiness, as in all worlds and systems of being, there is a mutual interpenetration and influence between the holy and the not-holy. (p. 12)
A bit further along in the book he again speaks of evil angels:
Those beings inhabiting the worlds of evil are also called "angels," but they are rather subversive angels, angels of destruction. And like the angels of the higher worlds, they are also spiritual beings and are limited each to a well-defined essence and each to its own purpose. Just as there is in the domain of holiness the quality (or angel) of love-in-holiness, of awe-in-holiness, and the like, so there are contrasting emanations and impulses in the domain of evil, angels of destruction expressing love-in-wickedness, fear-in-corruption, and the like.
Some of these pernicious angels are self-sufficient beings with clearly defined and specific characters, whose existence is, in a certain sense, eternal--at least until such time as evil will vanish from the face of the earth. In addition, there are the subversive angels created by the actions of men, by the objectification of malevolence: the evil thought, the hate-inspired wish, the wicked deed. For beside its visibly destructive consequences, every act of malice or evil creates an abstract Gnostic being, who is a bad angel, an angel belonging to the plane of evil corresponding to the state of mind that brought it into being. ...Whatever man does in turn creates and gives forth an abundance of life; his whole spiritual being is involved in each act, and the angel formed thereby accompanies him as his handiwork, as a part of the existence encircling him. Like the angels of holiness, the angels of destruction are, to a degree, channels to transfer the plenty that, as it is transmuted from our world, descends the stairs of corruption, level after level, to the lowest depths of the worlds of abomination. (p. 19-20)
He continues in this vein:
In short, the sinner is punished by the closing of the circle, by being brought into contact with the domain of evil he creates. The subversive angels are revealed in a variety of forms, in both material and spiritual ways, and in their revelation they punish man for his sins in this world of ours, making him suffer torment and pain, defeat and anguish, physically as well as spiritually. The subversive angels act in one sense as manifestations and messengers of evil, and yet in another sense they constitute a necessary part of the totality of existence. For although, like the worlds of evil in general, the subversive angels are not ideal beings, they nevertheless have a role in the world, enabling it to function as it does. To be sure, were the world to root out all evil completely, then as a matter of course the subversive angels would disappear, since they exist as permanent parasites living on man. But as long as man chooses evil, he supports and nurtures whole worlds and mansions of evil, all of them drawing upon the same human sickness of soul. (p. 21)
...these angels grow in strength and power, constantly reinforced by the growing evil in the world. ...as the evil flourishes and spreads over the world because of the deeds of men, these destructive angels become increasingly independent existences, making up a whole realm that feeds on and fattens on evil. Whereupon the very reason for this realm is forgotten, and it appears to have become evil for its own sake, an end in itself....
We see that man can liberate himself from the accumulating temptation of evil, by which act he compels the worlds of evil to shrink to their original mold; what is more, he is able to change these worlds completely so that they can be included in the system of the worlds of the holy, which occurs when that part of them which had become corrupt disappears completely, and that part of them which had served as a support and a deterrent assumes an entirely different character. (p. 22)
It is easy to discern the outline for occultism from this chapter in Steinsaltz's book. Was it this material from the Kabbalah that was being taught by Opus Angelorum? O.A. teaches the doctrine of angels, and was said to have gotten their material from the Kabbalah, among other sources. They used many names of angels which Cardinal Ratzinger insisted that they remove. They still cited a source of their ministry as being the seer Gabriele Bitterlich on their website the last time I visited it.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
RABBI ADIN STEINSALTZ - THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE
Some additional instances of divergence on doctrine between Roman Catholicism and the Kabbalah...
In Catholicism time is linear. It begins with the Garden of Eden and ends with the Second Coming. Man's life is linear as well. Birth, growth, maturity, death. We do not regress or repeat our lifespan. We live once and then encounter judgment.
In Judaism, however, time is circular, or perhaps spiral. Steinsaltz writes:
The concept of time in the Jewish way of thinking is not one of a linear flow. Time is a process, in which past, present, and future are bound to each other, not only by cause and effect but also as a harmonization of two motions: progress forward and a countermotion backward, encircling and returning. It is more like a spiral, or a helix, rising up from Creation. There is always a certain return to the past; and the past is never a condition that has gone by and is no more, but rather one that continually returns and begins again at some significant point whose significance changes constantly according to changing circumstances. There is thus a constant reversion to basic patterns of the past. (p. 55)
In Judaism attributes are not defined as good or bad:
As the sages have said, there is no attribute that lacks its injurious aspect, its negation and failure, just as there is no attribute--even if connected with doubt and heresy--that has not, under some circumstances, its holy aspect. From this point of view, the good and bad qualities are not set opposite one another, with love always on the side of the good and the other qualities always on the side of the bad. Rather all the attributes, all the emotions, and all the potentialities of the heart and personality are set on the same level and considered good or bad, not according to some judgment of their intrinsic worth, but according to the way they are used.(p. 77)
Contrast that with the beatitudes, with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Does it not introduce a hint of relativism? If you are not convinced that it does represent relativism, what about the following passage:
What the Jewish sages recommend is not only a middle way, it is a rejection of extremes in terms of a clear knowledge of how to keep everything, including the extreme, in its proper place. Consequently, in general, there are no preconceptions about what is the correct conduct for all situations, since the correctness of a way of being is itself only measurable in terms of a specific set of circumstances that may or may not recur. There is therefore no possibioity of fixing a single standard of behavior. If anything is clear, it is that a rigid, unchanging way is wrong.(p. 78)
Does Judaism take the Ten Commandments to be ten suggestions? What of the need to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength? Can you think of a more extreme position than that?
One further instance of what appears to be relativism:
To remain in any one condition of being, above or below, represents a cessation of effort, a dying, and therefore an evil. At times the yearning for Heaven is great enough to make one leave behind the world and everything in it; at other times the clutching at the earthly realities of action and the fulfillment of desire make one forget all else. This is not only a matter of periods in one's life; it is the very nature of life itself: in both the ascent to God and the descent to matter there is holiness. Never is any one way wholly sufficient unto itself, and it is only when they exist together that they constitute a real passage between Heaven and earth.(p. 79)
Our Pope is constantly condemning an attachment to materialism.
There is the contrast between the Catholic position on the human image and the Jewish position:
One of the things that shaped the ritual forms of Judaism is the absolute prohibition against fashioning a statue or a mask. This prohibition goes back to the Second Commandment, forbidding the making of an image. It should be emphasized that this commandment was interpreted not as prohibiting the creation of any and every kind of picture or figure, but only as prohibiting an image that could in any way be used in ritual. The prohibition, then, covered not only the fashioning of a false god or an idolatrous object of worship but also any statue or image of the true God himself or of any of His angels, or even a statue (but not a painting) of the human figure.(p. 83)
And further evidence of the rejection of images:
...there is no Jewish iconography to speak of. True, in the Holy Temple there were a few symbolic elements--not images of the Holy One, Blessed be He, but of the cherubin who bear the Chariot. Even these symbols were hidden away in the inner recesses of the Temple, so that they should not become part of the ritual--for it has often happened in history that things once having no more than a symbolic or reminiscence value have been turned into ritual objects or idolatrous worship. That is why throughout the generations Jewish tradition has stringently resisted anything like defined iconographic imagery.(p. 90)
Contrast that with the typical Roman Catholic church interior prior to the current iconoclastic period since Vatican II.
While considering those passages, give some thought to the Noachide Law forbidding idolatry under pain of death by beheading, remembering as you do so that Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz heads up the newly formed Sanhedrin.
And another thought...it is claimed by some of those promoting Rosslyn Chapel that it is a recreation of the Jewish Temple. The chapel is filled with iconography in the form of green man, for example, though there are other images. How does that square with this Jewish prohibition against iconography?
I'm still trying to decide what to make of the following:
In Judaism, sex is never looked on as something wrong or shameful; it is, on the contrary, considered to be a high level of action potentially capable of bringing out the noblest attributes, not only in the realm of individual feeling, but also in the realm of holiness.(p. 123)
Does that introduce the possibility of sex magic?
There is a practice of sharing a cup contained in the Kiddush ritual:
After the recital of the Kiddush the one who has performed the ceremony himself drinks from the cup, thereby participating in that communion of the physical with the spiritual which is the essence of all ritual. And from the same cup drink all those gathered at the table. In this way everyone participates in the meaningful act of introducing the Sabbath, represented by the flowering of the rose, which is the cup of redemption of the individual and of the nation and of the world as a whole.(p. 158)
Does this Jewish belief have anything to do with the changes in our Communion practice since Vatican II? Probably not, but it still causes me to wonder.
Steinsaltz speaks of "thesis, antithesis, and synthesis" in describing the groupings of the sephirot on the Tree of Life--the left-hand attribute representing thesis, the right-hand attribute representing antithesis, and the center attribute located just below these two as the synthesis. (p. 170-172)
I have saved the first chapter of the book for last, and will unpack it in one final blog. It deserves to be treated separately.
ELIPHAS LEVI AND ALBERT PIKE
Susanna has been sending me links to websites that claim Pike copied Levi's work without giving credit. I've read both, though admittedly I read Levi when I was just getting into occult research and didn't know much. I was skeptical. Last night I had a few minutes of free time and pulled Pike's MORALS AND DOGMA and Levi's THE HISTORY OF MAGIC off the shelf. Using the indexes--the word Kabbalah in both books--I was able to locate the following:
Eliphas Levi, THE HISTORY OF MAGIC, p. 30:
Magic was the science of Abraham and Orpheus, of Confucius and Zoroaster, and it was magical doctrines which were graven on tables of stone by Enoch and by Trismegistus. Moses purified and re-veiled them--this being the sense of the word reveal. The new disguise which he gave them was that of the Holy Kabalah--that exclusive heritage of Israel and inviolable secret of its priests. The mysteries of Eleusis and of Thebes preserved among the Gentile some of its symbols, but in a debased form, and the mystic key was lost amidst the apparatus of an ever-increasing superstition. Jerusalem, murderer of its prophets and prostituted over and over again to false Assyrian and Babylonian gods, ended by losing in its turn the Sacred Word, when a Saviour declared to the magi by the holy star of initiation, came to rend the threadbare veil of the old temple, to endow the Church with a new network of legends and symbols--ever concealing from the profane and always preserving for the elect that truth which is the same for ever.
Albert Pike, MORALS AND DOGMA, 32nd Degree, Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret, p. 839-40:
Magism was the Science of Abraham and Orpheus, of Confucius and Zoroaster. It was the dogmas of this Science that were engraven on the tables of stone by Hanoch and Trismegistus. Moses purified and re-veiled them, for that is the meaning of the word reveal. He covered them with a new veil, when he made of the Holy Kabalah the exclusive heritage of the people of Israel, and the inviolable Secret of its priests. The Mysteries of Thebes and Eleusis preserved among the nations some symbols of it, already altered, and mysterious key whereof was lost among the instruments of an ever-growing superstition. Jerusalem, the murderess of her prophets, and so often prostituted to the false gods of the Syrians and Babylonians, had at length in its turn lost the Holy Word, when a Prophet announced to the Magi by the consecrated Star of Initiation, came to rend asunder the worn veil of the old Temple, in order to give the Church a new tissue of legends and symbols, that still and ever conceals from the Profane, and ever preserves to the Elect the same truths.
Eliphas Levi, THE HISTORY OF MAGIC, p. 41-42:
The primal tradition of the one and only revelation has been preserved under the name of Kabalah by the priesthood of Israel. Kabalistic doctrine, which is that of Transcendental Magic, is contained in the Sepher Yetzirah, the Zohar and the Talmud. According to this doctrine, the absolute is Being, and therein is the Word, which expressed the reason of Being and of life.
Albert Pike, MORALS AND DOGMA, 32nd Degree, Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret, p. 841:
The primary tradition of the single revelation has been preserved under the name of the "Kabalah," by the Priesthood of Israel. The Kabalistic doctrine, which was also the dogma of the Magi and of Hermes, is contained in the Sepher Yetsairah, the Sohar, and the Talmud. According to that doctrine, the Absolute is the Being, in which The Word Is, the Word that is the utterance and expression of being and life.
THE HISTORY OF MAGIC was originally published in 1860 in French. The English translation by A. E. Waite was published in 1913.
MORALS AND DOGMA was "Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by Albert Pike, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington."
Pike does not cite Levi in the passages quoted. Levi does not appear in the index of MORALS AND DOGMA.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
SIN, SHAME, SECRETS - NEW BOOK BY DAVID YONKE
The book is reviewed at New Oxford BookMarks:
Sin, Shame, Secrets. By David Yonke.
The 1980 ritual murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl went unsolved for more than two decades, until cold case investigators arrested Father Gerald Robinson, a 66-year-old Catholic priest, at his home next door to a police station in Toledo, Ohio. Two years later, a jury convicted Fr. Robinson of the murder. Yonke, religion editor for the Toledo Blade details the bizarre circumstances surrounding the 1980 crime, the initial investigation and its rebirth in late 2003. Just as instructive as the unlikely scenario of priest-kills-nun in satanic ritual with a letter opener in a hospital chapel in the presence of the Holy Eucharist is the Toledo diocese's response to the murder investigation. Characterized as a cover-up, it was at minimum a lack of total cooperation. Nevertheless, elements of the occult -- including an inexplicable Black Mass -- pepper this narrative like no other recent titles that explore the topic of clergy sexual abuse. -- May 1, 2007
HEAD OF ITALIAN BISHOP'S CONFERENCE RECEIVES DEATH THREAT
Rome - The head of the Italian Catholic Church has been placed under police escort after being targeted by death threats for speaking out against homosexual couples.
According to reports Monday, Genoa archbishop Angelo Bagnasco received an envelope containing a bullet and a swastika drawn over a photograph of the prelate.
The envelope was delivered to his office on Friday and was immediately handed over to the police.
Read the rest...
Blogger credit to NOR.
RABBI ADIN STEINSALTZ - THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE
Yesterday I wrote about the points of contact between Judaism and Roman Catholicism as outlined in Steinsaltz's book. Today I want to look at the points of diversion contained in this same book.
Steinsaltz writes as the opening passage of the book:
What is the rose--it is Knesset Yisrael, the Community of Israel. For there is a rose (above) and a rose (below). Just as the rose, which is among the thorns has red and white, so does Knesset Yisrael have justice and mercy. Just as a rose has thirteen petals, so does Knesset Yisrael have thirteen measures of compassion encompassing it on all its sides.
...Five strong petals surround the rose, and these five, called salvations, are five gates. Concerning which secret it is written: "I will lift up the cup of salvation." (Psalms 116:13) OPENING LINES OF THE ZOHAR. (emphasis in original)
A Roman Catholic, too, could say that the rose has thirteen petals--twelve disciples and their Shepherd. We would not be talking about the same thing at all. For a Roman Catholic the Shepherd is our means of hope, our source of salvation. For the Jew salvation comes through personal efforts. Steinsaltz writes:
For everything man does has significance. An evil act will generally cause some disruption or negative reaction in the vast system of the Sefirot; and a good act, correct or raise things to a higher level. Each of the reactions extends out into all of the worlds and comes back into our own, back upon ourselves, in one form or another. (p. 30)
Man can change the manifestations of the Sefirot:
In contrast to all the automatic patterns of forces functioning in the cosmos, man alone moves independently within the system. He alone is important to the manifestations because he can change them, cause them to move from one level to another. ...man...is given the chance to rise far beyond the level of our existence and the place in which he spiritually finds himself, and to act on higher worlds without end. (p. 34)
The soul of man can create:
...the soul of man is a part of the Divine and, in this respect, is a manifestation of God in the world. To be sure, the world as a whole may be viewed as a divine manifestation, but the world remains as something else than God, while the soul of man, in its depths, may be considered to be a part of God....It is, in other words, the power to will and to create.
Man's free will thus derives its unique potential from the fact that it is a part of the divine will, without limit and without restriction. (p. 37)
Man's soul is a divine spark, one of many in the world that have resulted from the shattering of the vessel of Adam Kadmon, the first man, a creation of God that shattered into multiple fragments. Man's task is to reunite the fragments. This is what is known as Tikkun.
First, [the soul] has to perform a certain task in the process of perfecting the outer world, or at least that part of the world to which it is destined. And second, its task is to raise itself. ...For the physical world contains in itself a higher essence, higher forces, in which, even though hidden and distorted, there exist elements of the original divine formlessness. It is with these higher forces that the soul, in its work of Tikkun, or correction, is united; and in thus raising a portion of the world, it is also raised and uplifted. The relation between body and soul, and altogether between the spirit of things and their corporeality, may be expressed by the example of a rider on horseback. A rider who is in control and guides his steed can go much farther than he can go on foot. How aptly then does the image of the Messiah as a poor man riding on a donkey describe the human predicament; the divine spark borne and guiding, the physical donkey bearing up and waiting for guidance and power.
The path of Tikkun, the course plotted for the soul's sojourn in the world, is generally found in the Torah, which is supposed to be a guiding instrument. (p. 46)
Jewish cosmology/cosmogony incorporates reincarnation into the scheme:
The soul that has fulfilled its task, that has done what it has to do in terms of creating or repairing its own part of the world and realizing its own essence, can wait after death for the perfection of the world as a whole. But not all the souls are so privileged: many stray for one reason or another. ...[The soul] that has not managed to complete that portion of reality which only this particular soul can complete; and therefore, after the death of the body, the soul returns and is reincarnated in the body of another person and again must try and complete what it failed to correct or what it injured in the past. The sins of man are not eliminated so long as this soul does not complete that which it has to complete. For which it may be seen that most souls are not new, they are not in the world for the first time. Almost every person bears the legacy of previous existences. (p. 47)
It is possible within Jewish cosmogony to reincarnate in more than one body at a time:
A great soul is most usually reincarnated not in one single body but branches out, participating in a number of people, each of whom have to satisfy different aspects of existence. In spite of this incalculable complexity, the soul...will have to complete those uncompleted tasks left over from the previous cycle. Therefore the destiny of a person is connected not only with those things he himself creates and does, but also with what happens to the soul in its previous incarnations. ...
And this struggle of the souls is also the struggle and way of the world toward its redemption. As the souls return and strive to correct the world and vindicate themselves, at a certain level of this overall Tikkun or correction they reach their highest peak. Then the greatest obstacles are behind the human race, and it can go forward toward its perfection with sure steps and without the legacy of suffering inherited from previous existences and previous sins--this is the beginning of Salvation, which is the time of the Messiah. (p. 48)
This repairing of the shattered vessel of Admon Kadmon, called Tikkun, is central to Jewish cosmology and cosmogony:
One of the central pillars of Jewish thought has always been the Tikkun of society, the task of setting it right, of keeping it firmly based on cooperative effort and the harmonious functioning of its individual members. (p. 125)
Tikkun, with its self-salvation and reincarnation, is much closer to New Age philosophy than it is to Roman Catholicism.
Tikkun, self-salvation wrought throughout multiple lifetimes, essentially amounts to a parallel universe, or a parallel path of salvation that sees no necessity for a personal Savior. This, it would appear, is what was prayed for at Mass last Sunday as the "parallel paths" of Jews and Christians were included in the general intercessions in the church where I attended.
How has our faith come to such a pass that the Salvation gained by Christ on the cross is equated to self-salvation on a parallel path? In a Church where such theology is permitted by the pastor, can I be sure that the pastor is doing what the Church intends when he consecrates? Can I be sure that any of the sacraments are valid? Does this explain why there was such an emptiness in me after receiving last rights at this church a week previously?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Monday, April 30, 2007
CANCER JOURNAL - CHEMO BRAIN
The fog in my head after a dose of chemo is not all in my head afterall says an article in The New York Times sent in by a reader.
Doctors are beginning to recognize the brain fog as a legitimate side effect of chemotherapy. Sometimes it doesn't leave after the medicine has worn off. Women report no longer being able to remember where they parked the car or what they were getting from the fridge for their two-year-old. Apparently there is also some link with Alzheimers.
On the plus side, now I have an excuse when I write something Justin doesn't understand! ;-)
ADIN STEINSALTZ - THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE
In the General Intercessions at Mass yesterday, we prayed for "the Jews who are walking a parallel path". "We" is somewhat misleading. "I" did not respond to that intercession. How can there be a "parallel path"? Is Jesus Christ not the salvation of the world? "Parallel Path" suggests there is another avenue to salvation...a dual covenant.
I have just finished reading Adin Steinsaltz's book THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE: A DISCOURSE ON THE ESSENSE OF JEWISH EXISTENCE AND BELIEF. This author has the respect of the Jewish community. A translator of the Talmud, he also heads the newly formed Sanhedrin.
The book was certainly engaging! On the positive side, there are many points of contact between the Kabbalah as he describes it and the Roman Catholic faith. For example, we both believe in a soul. The fact that Steinsaltz writes "The process of the soul's conection with the body--called the 'descent of the soul into matter'--is, from a certain perspective, the soul's profound tragedy" (p. 39) would be a point of divergence, however.
There are similarities between the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple and the altar area behind the iconostasis of Orthodoxy, as described on p. 52.
Steinsaltz speaks of "The tombs of saints and sages" (p. 54) bringing to mind our altar which represents the tomb of a saint.
He speaks of the need to surrender to God's will (p. 61). Roman Catholics, too, believe there is a need for such a surrender.
He speaks of Torah being a way of life:
Torah has another, perhaps disconcerting characteristic: that it does not restrict itself to one area of life, such as religion or ethics, but spreads out and covers almost all areas of existence. By definition, the way of the Torah is not religious in the strict sense of addressing only that part of a person's life concerned only with relations between the human and the Divine. The Torah is not a narrow domain of holiness a man may enter or leave as he chooses while the domain of ordinary existence remains neutral territory, where God does not interfere much, and where in any case there is not much point in trying to relate to Him. Since the Torah is the blueprint of the world, it regulates the whole and cannot be confined to any particular part.(p. 70-71)
Surely any practicing Roman Catholic can relate to that.
It is easy for a Roman Catholic to relate to his chapter on Repentance to a large extent, though not entirely. When he writes that "For every wrong deed in his past, the penitent is required to perform certain acts that surpass what is demanded of an 'ordinary' individual, to complement and balance the picture of his life" (p. 101), he causes me to wonder if every right deed must also be balanced by a wrong deed?
His chapter on "the Search for Oneself" (pp. 103-111) discusses the need to answer the questions "Who am I", "Where do I come from?", "Where am I going?", "What for?", "Why?"...the same concerns expressed in our catechisms. Those are central questions to human existence. Answering them by seeking God is a common bond between Judaism and Roman Catholicism.
The Jewish practice of morning, noon, and evening prayer (p. 115) corresponds to the Roman Catholic custom. There is the Jewish practice of "giving a tenth of one's wealth to charity" (p. 127) that also corresponds to Roman Catholic custom, as does the need for prayer discussed in the 11th Chapter. Rituals are part of both Jewish and Roman Catholic prayer practice.
There are, however, major divergences...areas where it would not be possible to find a meeting of minds. I'll offer some quotes as evidence of this in a future post.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
FR. JAMES FARFAGLIA'S HOMILY FOR GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
One of my favorite movies is The Delta Force. American tourists are hijacked by Arab terrorists who hold the hostages in Beirut. Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris lead an elite team of U.S. Special Forces that rescue the endangered travelers.
At the beginning of the tragedy, the two Arab terrorists aboard the jetliner begin to separate the few Jewish tourists from the rest of the hostages. One of the most moving moments of the film is when Fr. William O’Malley, a priest from Chicago played by George Kennedy, gets up from his seat and walks into the First Class compartment where the Jews are being held. Kennedy courageously walks into the compartment where he is disdainfully met by the leading terrorist.
The terrorist asks what his name is and Kennedy responds that his name is William O’Malley. Perplexed by the situation, the terrorist asks what the priest wants. He responds that since he is a Catholic priest and a follower of Jesus Christ, that he too is Jewish. “If you take one, you have to take us all”, answers the priest who willingly accompanies the Jewish hostages.
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10: 28).
Read the rest...
He makes the following claim near the end of the homily:
Rather than unveiling plans for massive parish closings, our diocese is creating new parish communities and even a new Catholic High School is finishing its first year which has been a great sucess.
His diocese is Corpus Christi, Texas.