Saturday, August 18, 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 80 | August 17, 2007
The Victory of "Emily Rose"
When The Exorcism of Emily Rose came out in 2005 most people were not aware that the movie was based on a true story of a young German woman named Anneliese Michel who was possessed for many years and died in 1976 at the age of 23 probably of the possession itself. Her heart-wrenching story is instructive, not so much about the nature of evil, but about how good can be brought out of so much evil, especially when offered for the spiritual benefit of others. I believe that Anneliese Michel's faithful endurance of such demonic sufferings would qualify as truly heroic.
The pious young woman came from a Catholic family in the southern region of Germany and would have been the last person that anyone would have expected to be the victim of a full-fledged possession. Anneliese was the innocent target of a witch's curse when she was a child, and that was what caused her demonic problems. She lived a so-called "normal" life until her sixteenth birthday when, without warning, she began to experience the oppression of her senses through hearing voices and seeing grotesque faces. From that point on she suffered a series of deepening internal problems which grew worse as the years went on. By her twentieth birthday she was almost fully taken over by the demonic spirits which threw her into catatonic states and caused extremely violent aversions to religious objects as well as other occult phenomena such as speaking in esoteric languages. During the series of exorcisms performed on her over the period of nearly a year, it was discovered that she was possessed by six very powerful demons, one of whom was named Hitler and the strongest of which was named Judas.
Anneliese's heroism throughout this whole ordeal is truly hard to believe. She not only attempted to complete all her school assignments until she was utterly unable to do so, but she was completely accepting of her trials because she knew that there was a deeper meaning in them. In the midst of her sufferings she had visions of Jesus and Mary and learned that the Lord wanted her to offer her intense agony at the hands of demons for two primary intentions: the Catholic Church in Germany and, in particular, the German clergy. In the post-Vatican II era, Germany was rife with clerical dissent and loss of faith: this suffering child of God was praying in a most profound way that no soul would be lost to the true Faith.
Needless to say, a real possession is a destructive and desolate experience for the possessed individual, and in the end, Anneliese succumbed to the power of the demons and died just after her 23rd birthday. Some speculate that a combination of misdiagnosed medications and her inability to eat anything during most of her ordeal led to her demise, but ultimately she died, according to her spiritual director, as a victim soul out of love for her people. He called her experience an "expiatory possession," that is, a suffering for the sins of others. It is evident that God permitted her death in this dramatic way, just as He permitted the death of His only-begotten Son, for the eternal benefit of others and as a witness to the reality of evil in a faithless age.
If we look only at her death at a young age or the tragic circumstances of her possession we will not see the meaning of her life or the heroism of her suffering. We have to look beyond the particulars to the fruit of her agony which needs the eyes of faith to see: that is, less than two years after Anneliese died as a victim for the German Church and clergy, a young priest by the name of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger was named Archbishop of Munich, the very region where Anneliese lived, suffered and died.
And well, you know the rest of the story.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
Friday, August 17, 2007
DUAL COVENANT THEORY AGAIN
It is no longer possible to clarify what the Church officially believes about the Jews. Here is another article at Catholic News Service that presents the confusion. The article revolves around that controversial Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews. Quoted in the article is the Israeli ambassador to the Vatican, Oded Ben-Hur:
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, told reporters in late July that the problem of the Good Friday prayer would be studied at the Vatican and might be resolved by deciding that even those who use the 1962 missal would use the 1970 text of the prayer.
Ben-Hur said members of the Jewish community expect the Vatican to fulfill promises to correct the situation.
So apparently the Jews are now dictating how the Catholics will pray. Strange. May we then dictate how the Jews will pray, one wonders?
The change being proposed will open up the possibility of intermingling the 1970 rite with the 1962 rite. Since intermingling of various religious concepts and even some non-religious concepts with the Novus Ordo has landed us in our present predicament, this is an ominous development at this particular time.
By praying for the conversion of the Jews, the older prayer appears to contradict the Second Vatican Council's teaching that "God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their fathers; he does not repent of the gifts he makes or of the calls he issues."
That has all the ingredients for the making of a dual-covenat, one plan for the Jews and another different plan for the Catholics. It demands an answer to the question does Jesus Christ save all, or is there an alternative plan for the Jews? Dominus Iesus gives the answer that is not consistent with the ideas presented in this article.
Cardinal Kasper adds to the confusion:
Two years later, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Commission for Relations With the Jews, told a U.S. conference that Christians cannot ignore their core belief in the universality of salvation in Christ.
However, he said, "this does not mean that Jews, in order to be saved, have to become Christians; if they follow their own conscience and believe in God's promises as they understand them in their religious tradition, they are in line with God's plan, which for us comes to historical completion in Jesus Christ."
Because Jews believe in the one God, creator of all and source of salvation, "mission understood as a call to conversion from idolatry to the living and true God does not apply and cannot be applied to Jews," the cardinal said.
That is a dual covenant. Will the next move be to try to eliminate our covenant with Christ? Eventually our shepherds will have to take a stand for Christ and stick to it. That stand will include our belief in the Trinity, and that brings us right back to the Noahide Laws.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
NEW YORK OPEN CENTER CONFERENCE
The New York Open Center and Lapis Magazine Online, together with the Ibn 'Arabi Society, Centro Abierto Tomillo, and The Lumen Foundation are presenting a conference, "An Esoteric Quest for The Golden Age of Andalusia Sufis, Kabbalists and Christian Philosophers in Medieval Spain" in Granada, September 15th to 20th, 2007.
The conference will consist of a syncretistic mix of mysticism from the Jewish, Sufi, and Christian traditions. According to the brochure;
Andalusia, or Al-Andalus, developed an extraordinary culture of religious tolerance in medieval Spain that produced works of enduring spiritual and artistic genius. Today, when the world seems to teeter on the edge of major religious conflict, this enlightened period when Muslims, Jews and Christians lived in relative amity serves as a powerful reminder of the achievements of co-existence or'convivencia'.
This was the time when the Zohar, the seminal kabbalistic work, was compiled by Moses de Leon. It was also the period of Ibn 'Arabi, the Sheik of Al-Akbar, the greatest of Sufi teachers, while further north in Majorca the Christian philosopher, Ramon Llull, developed a form of wisdom that drew from the deepest esoteric teachings of all three cultures.
Join us on a quest for the beauty and spiritual philosophy of this largely forgotten age...
These are some of the workshop titles:
"The Templars and Islam"
"The Islamic and Jewish Background of Grail Christianity"
"The Elaboration of the Philosopher's Stone
"Doctor Illuminatus: Ramon Llull"
"Alchemy of Creation"
"Tarot and the Kabbalah"
The Christianity that is part of this conference is esoteric Christianity derived from the Cabala. Catholicism is briefly represented by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Otherwise alchemy, kabbalah, and tarot will be the topics of the day.
According to the Open Center's website this is the sixth esoteric conference they will present.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
INDIFFERENTISM SPREAD BY A BISHOP
A proposal by a Roman Catholic bishop in the Netherlands that people of all faiths refer to God as "Allah" is not sitting well with the Catholic community.
Tiny Muskens, an outgoing bishop who is retiring in a few weeks from the southern diocese of Breda, said God doesn't care what he is called.
"Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem," Muskens told Dutch television.
"I'm sure his intentions are good but his theology needs a little fine-tuning," said Father Jonathan Morris, a Roman Catholic priest based in Rome. Morris, a news analyst for FOX News Channel, also called the idea impractical.
"Words and names mean things," Morris said. "Referring to God as Allah means something."
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group, backs the idea as a way to help interfaith understanding.
"It reinforces the fact that Muslims, Christians and Jews all worship the same God," Hooper told FOXNews.com. "I don't think the name is as important as the belief in God and following God's moral principles. I think that's true for all faiths."
WAS THE ZOHAR CHANNELED ?
In a post yesterday, I pointed out that Vassula Ryden, a seer promoted by Athol Bloomer, of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, channeled her material through an occult technique called automatic writing. Her source was said to have been the angel Daniel according to the "Touchstone" article written by Fr. Mitch Pacwa.
Now I would ask you to turn to an article at the Jewish Heritage Online Magazine (JHOM) titled "Voice. Angel or Spirit: Maggid As Heavenly Agent or: Mystical Communication of the Supernatural". In that article is the following passage:
The 16th century kabbalists of Safed used the term maggid (lit. "one who relates") to refer to heavenly messengers that visited human beings. The maggid acted as an advisor, but sometimes provided incorrect or misguiding instruction. (In his discussion of maggidim, the Safed kabbalist Moses Cordovero actually included dybbuk-like demons and evil spirits within the category.) A maggid could present itself to a person in the shape of a vision, the well-known examples being manifestations of Elijah or Metatron. Maggidim appeared in dreams, or they communicated with individuals through automatic writing. A maggid could also manifest itself in a person's voice, a phenomenon termed "automatic speech." Maggidism was considered one of the normal forms of charismatic life.
If Maggidism is part of charismatic life, is this what Athol Bloomer has in mind when he tells us that: "Prophecies given to Aharon are received through the charismatic level of prophecies not through apparitions or inner locution."
Maggidim are associated with the Jewish heretic Sabbatai Zevi according to the JHOM article:
Later, during the 17th and 18th centuries, the Shabbetaean movement sparked the appearance of many maggidim. Among them was that of Moses Hayim Luzzatto, which spoke through his mouth in a voice that could not be heard by anyone else. A disciple of Luzzatto reports,He was visited by a maggid, a holy and awe-inspiring angel, who revealed to him marvelous mysteries . . . and this is the [unusual] procedure: this angel speaks out of his mouth, though we, his disciples, do not hear anything.
By Luzzatto's time, Hayyim Vital's intricate descriptions of maggidim had been canonized together with the teachings of Luria, and were being employed to judge the purity of maggidic manifestations. It was used to condemn Luzzatto's maggid as a heretical product of Shabbetaeanism.
Athol Bloomer is also associated with Sabbateanism via Jacob Frank, Zevi's disciple.
An interview on ABC Radio National (click the "show" button), dated February 8, 2004, between Rachael Kohn and Daniel C. Matt also mentions automatic writing.
Daniel C. Matt "is a leading authority on Kabbalah and is engaged in translating the definitive edition of the Zohar" according to the article. The Zohar is "the principle book of kabbalah" and is a "compendium of mysticism, myth and esoteric teaching which came to light in 13th Century Spain." According to the interview, Matt worked for a year as a teaching assistant to Gershom Scholem.
Here is a portion of the interview:
Rachael Kohn: Spiritual technology, it's called these days. But the text [Zohar - ct] itself, in its original, is unpunctuated, it flows on, there aren't any paragraphs. It makes one think it was a kind of stream of consciousness, a dream writing. How do you think it was composed?
Daniel Matt: Yes, it's interesting you say 'stream of consciousness', because one possibility is that parts of it may actually have been composed through a technique known as automatic writing.
We know that some of the Kabbalists would meditate on certain divine names, one name in particular was called Shem Ha Kofev, the writing name. There's a certain combination of Hebrew letters forming a divine name, and if you meditated on it, you would go into trance and actually be able to compose automatic writing.
Now this sounds very bizarre but we know for example that in the 20th century, Carl Jung, the great analyst, used techniques of automatic speech and automatic writing in order to plumb the depths of his patients' subconscious. And it may be that the author of The Zohar himself went into such a trance, and composed The Zohar, and feeling the depths of his soul.
Certainly then when he came out of that trance, I think he did some very careful conscious editing. But that may have contributed to this style. He's in a different state of mind. If you compare the writings where Moses de Leon admits that he's the author, there's a whole group of writings where Moses De Leon writes systematic books of Kabbalah, but they're not as moving, they're not as powerful, they're not as lyrical as The Zohar, it's as if he's been freed from his normal ego consciousness. He's inhabiting another realm, and is expressing a new depth.
Matt also indicates that the Zohar contains Buddhist-influenced material. He tells us as well that "the roots of that revivalist movement known as Hassidism, really lie in the Kabbalah."
One additional source claims that the Zohar is the result of automatic writing. That source is Leo Baeck College. In an article titled "Shabbat Balak" written by Dr. Moshe Lavee, dated June 28, 2007, Lavee writes:
Our Sidrah presents Balaam, a prophet who was not able to control his prophecy; a blinkered visionary who found that his words were not in his own hands, but rather in those of something or someone else. He realized he could not be rented for any cause or freelance prophecy services. He learned that his life and words were not fully in his control. Other forces also dictated his sayings.
About a decade ago, inspired by the style of the teachings (‘Torot’) of R. Nachman of Bratslav, as well as by some academic scholarship speaking about the writing practice of Tikune Zohar as ‘automatic writing’, I did some experiments writing in this manner. It is a frightening field to enter, having your pen (or clicking fingers) running faster than your thoughts, and exposing yourself to inner statements with which you are not necessarily ready to cope. I have attempted try to present here a translation of one of the products of these experiences. The tangled syntax is part of the genre, so please take a long breath before every sentence/paragraph.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Fr. Mitch Pacwa reviewed the writings of Vassula Ryden for "Touchstone" magazine. The review is online here.
He found much in her books that is authentically Catholic, but he also found problems in her theology, including a "Christological Confusion" of the three Persons of the Trinity into one Person, a sin that he labels the heresy of Patripassianism and one that was promoted by Sabellius during the Arian heresy.
Also, Pacwa says she bases her call for unity on her "heretical teachings on Jesus Christ and the Blessed Trinity", and on a kind of "indifferentism about the various denominations".
He found material that was inappropriately sexual in her books.
Lastly he believes the "most telling statement of all: "Let Me edit what I wrote. It is I, Jesus." "In fact, the notebooks are indeed edited. Words are changed and pages are blanked out, removing embarrassing, wrong doctrines. Comparing later editions with the first edition proves this."
Pacwa describes the source of Vassula's prophecy this way:
she claims that Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and angels literally write through her hand.
Vassula’s experiences began in November 1985, when she felt a “kind of supernatural vibration that was flowing through my hands . . . the pencil was too strong for me to control.” The writer identified himself as her guardian angel, Daniel, preparing her for conversion. In February 1986 “Jesus” began to write through her hand. Eventually, the “Blessed Virgin Mary” and “St. Michael” wrote through her, too.
That is a nice description of the occult practice called automatic writing, and it is certainly not limited to an Orthodox seer who claims to be receiving messages from God. Aleister Crowley engaged in it:
Crowley was asked by his wife, Rose, to perform an esoteric ritual as an experiment. During the ceremony, she entered a trance-like state and became the medium for the words of a communicator. “They are waiting for you,” she said to Crowley. “They,” she said, being Horus, the god of war and the son of Osiris, according to the beliefs of ancient Egypt. The communicator told Crowley to be at his desk in his hotel room between noon and one o’clock on three specific days. He agreed and in these periods he wrote, via automatic writing, a document called The Book of the Law. This tome spoke of a race of supermen and condemned the traditional Judeo-Christian religions, pacifism, democracy, compassion and humanitarianism.
That passage is taken from a website describing Satanism.
SNOOZING IN THE MOSQUE ?
SYDNEY'S Muslim leaders have offered to open their mosques and school halls to Catholic pilgrims for World Youth Day as the Catholic Church seeks to ease tensions between the two faiths.
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils is also considering staging mixed-faith sporting competitions and mosque open days for the largest religious gathering to be staged in Australia, which will bring Pope Benedict here for the first time.
The Catholic Church has given a commitment that it will not try to convert members of other religious denominations taking part in inter-faith forums and volunteering facilities.
Read the whole story...
THE FRENCH LIKE OCCULTISM
Searching for God in all the wrong places...according to the International Herald Tribune:
EU Commission research indicates that 52 percent of Europeans believe astrology has a scientific basis compared to a more skeptical United States and Britain, at about 31 percent each.
This weakness for pseudoscience became one of the themes in a book I was writing recently on how France fits into the modern world. The more I probed, the more I could see the two layers of the European mind at work here - strict discipline inherited from the educational system set against a taste for the unexplainable. One study indicates 81 percent of the French believe science will never answer all the big questions.
Palmistry, the crystal ball and astrology have never been so popular. Just last week I received a flyer promising success, money and true love within 21 days - for free. A closer reading revealed this was the story of a satisfied customer of "Lise and Rose, the celebrated clairvoyant sisters." It had nothing to do with me. But I could feel myself being drawn into the vortex.
Incidentally, to be labeled "irrational" in some countries is no insult. The Enlightenment may have come from here, but France in particular is a wonderfully complex society. The French seek solace in part because, according to cross-cultural studies, they are not very good at living with uncertainty.
The main French professional clairvoyance organization, INAD (Institut National des Arts Divinatoire) says some 100,000 men and women are practicing clairvoyants in France today. This is about four times the number of Roman Catholic priests. INAD estimates that about €3.2 billion are spent annually on their advice.
Read the whole story here.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The 1978 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document on apparition discernment
The CDF document was issued in French. An unofficial English translation is posted here.
From the website:
I. Criteria of judgement, concerning the probability at least, of the character of the apparitions and supposed revelations.
A) Positive criteria:
a) Moral certainty, or at least great probability, as to the existence of the fact, [revelation] acquired at the end of a serious investigation.
b) Particular circumstances relating to the existence and the nature of the fact:
1. Personal qualities of the subject—in particular mental balance, honesty and rectitude of moral life, habitual sincerity and docility towards ecclesiastical authority, ability to return to the normal manner of a life of faith, etc.
2. With regard to the revelations, their conformity with theological doctrines and their spiritual veracity, their exemption from all error.
3. A healthy devotion and spiritual fruits which endure (in particular, the spirit of prayer, conversions, signs of charity, etc).
B) Negative criteria:
a) A glaring error as to the facts.
b) Doctrinal errors that one would attribute to God himself, or to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Holy Spirit in their manifestations (taking into account, however, the possibility that the subject may add something by their own activity—even if this is done unconsciously—of some purely human elements to an authentic supernatural revelation, these having nevertheless to remain free from any error in the natural order. Cf. St Ignatius, Spiritual Exercises, n. 336).
c) An obvious pursuit of monetary gain in relation with the fact.
d) Gravely immoral acts committed by the subject, or his associates, at the time of the facts, or on the occasion of these facts.
E) Psychic disorders or psychopathic tendencies concerning the subject, which would exert an unquestionable influence on the allegedly supernatural facts, or indeed psychosis, mass hysteria, or other factors of the same kind.
It is important to consider these criteria, whether they are positive or negative, as indicative standards and not as final arguments, and to study them in their plurality and in relation with the other criteria.