Saturday, October 06, 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 87 | October 05, 2007
Plan A: Keep "Plan B" Out of Catholic Hospitals
On September 28th the Connecticut bishops issued an unfortunate statement allowing the Plan B abortion-causing drug to be used in cases of rape in Catholic hospitals. I have written respectfully and urgently to the Connecticut Catholic Conference (CCC) and to each bishop individually to ask them to withdraw this potentially precedent-setting statement, and I pray that they do so. I am extremely concerned that this statement will begin to have a domino effect on other Catholic hospitals and healthcare institutions, and I write to you today to ask your ongoing partnership in this concern.
First, let me be clear about our obligations as Catholics. While our bishops operate in union with the Vicar of Christ, no individual bishop or conference of bishops, however wise or holy, has the charism of infallibility. Our respect for our bishops is sometimes exercised in presenting them with the clear facts that their advisors may have missed. It is an expression of our filial cooperation in their ministry. In this case, we have no option but to humbly ask them to reverse their decision due to some extremely egregious errors contained in the statement.
Errors of fact
Error number 1: "The administration of Plan B pills in this instance cannot be judged to be the commission of an abortion because of such doubt about how Plan B pills and similar drugs work."
The truth is that there is absolutely no doubt about how the Plan B pills work. Just ask the manufacturer, Barr Pharmaceuticals, whose product insert states: "This product works mainly by preventing ovulation (egg release). It may also prevent fertilization of a released egg (joining of sperm and egg) or attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus (implantation)." (My italics.) It's that third item that makes Plan B an abortion-causing drug. The same can be said for every chemical contraceptive.
Error number 2: "...the teaching authority of the Church has not definitively resolved this matter...." Here, regretfully, Catholics are led to believe that Rome has not unambiguously addressed the issue of Plan B (a.k.a., the "morning after pill") already.
The truth of this matter is evident by a simple recourse to a statement of the Pontifical Academy for Life on the Vatican's website. The Academy stated in a document issued in October of 2001 that "from the ethical standpoint the same absolute unlawfulness of abortifacient procedures also applies to distributing, prescribing and taking the morning-after pill. All who, whether sharing the intention or not, directly co-operate with this procedure, are also morally responsible for it." The Vatican did not need to invent any new teaching on the Plan B pills because these pills fall into the category of abortifacient contraception, pure and simple. The consistent teaching of our Church on abortion applies here.
Errors of judgment
There were other errors in judgment in the bishops' statement that confuse the issue from a moral point of view. The bishops state that "to administer Plan B pills without an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act." This type of language just confuses the issue. It would indeed be a seriously irresponsible act to administer a killing drug not knowing whether or not ovulation has occurred and a new life is present. It would be like a hunter shooting at something moving in a forest if he were not really sure that what he saw was an animal or a human being. To use the language of "intrinsically evil" would make us think - legalistically - that it would be okay to take an action if it were only possibly evil. Hair-splitting language like this does not give us guidance when our moral obligation is to err on the side of life whenever there is a doubt. Furthermore, Dr. Chris Kahlenborn has shown that Plan B only works to halt ovulation half the time. Thus fertilization may occur even after the pill is administered, and a chemical abortion would result.
The core of the matter
What we are faced with here is the long arm of the culture of death reaching into our Catholic institutions and coercing us to comply with its totalitarian dictates. The Connecticut state legislature, with the complicity of the governor, passed a law that forbad the use of ovulation tests in cases of rape - why? This unwarranted government intrusion into a purely medical decision was totally unnecessary and would not likely have affected any other institutions than Catholic ones. It is, in my opinion, a law that was drafted deliberately to coerce Catholic hospitals to comply with the contraceptive dictates of the abortion providers. Remember this same state was the origin of the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court case which legalized contraception! It is no wonder that Connecticut is reaping the rotten fruit of the seeds that it sowed over forty years ago.
The bishops were forced into a "reluctant compliance" with this law, according to Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Acts of blatant coercion of Catholic consciences are already far advanced and will only continue unless the Church is willing to stand up and rebuke the arrogance of these coercive measures and carve out strict realms of conscience which are unreachable by activist courts and corrupt politicians. That will require Church leaders to be willing to fight ferocious battles against the dictators of relativism in order to assert our rights of conscience and faith. All Catholics, but especially our leaders, will have to be clear-headed and uncompromising in the face of the temptations to put our Catholic institutions in league with the liars and manipulators of the culture of death.
I envision a day in which Catholic leaders may have to resign from lucrative positions in business and shut down Catholic healthcare institutions rather than cooperate in the arrogant and coercive programs of the culture of death. Actually, I think that day has already arrived.
What we can do
Our greatest weapon in this battle against the culture of death is prayer. I ask you to pray for the bishops, above all, who are usually the target of attack by the culture of death and are often surrounded by compromisers. We need their strong moral leadership unfettered by lawyers and "ethicists" who prevent them from taking up arms in the culture wars. We are at a point in our Church's history where bishops and priests are being called to martyrdom for the sake of the Faith, and only prayer will give them that courage to embrace their vocations to the last drop of blood.
Secondly, we all need to make a firm decision to never be silent in the face of any form of chemical killing. Abortifacient contraception is a back-door plague which enters into lives, institutions and societies in the guise of the birth control "savior," but it is just one more way to kill, and with greater frequency at that.
Finally, stay tuned for more battles in more states with more Catholic healthcare institutions. One phone call I had with the legislative advisor of the Connecticut Catholic Conference gave me the impression that the domino effect is already happening in other episcopal conferences, and that concerns me deeply. The vigilance of many great pro-life forces, coupled with prayer and massive protests from people of conscience will undoubtedly give our Church leaders the courage to imitate the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for His sheep.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
Copyright 2007 - Human Life International
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required
WET CAT PICTURES
You just know somebody is gonna pay
Sort of gives new insight to Oscar the Grouch, doesn't it?
(So what do you do at 3 o'clock in the morning when you can't sleep?)
Long-haired Maine Coon cat contemplating vengence.
Are you sure it's warm enough?
I'm too busy for a bath.
Maybe I can walk on one foot...
(He's at work, and he thinks I'm cleaning the house.)
I'm too busy taking care of my children to have time for your silly bath.
Friday, October 05, 2007
THE FOURTH SECRET OF FATIMA
It's curious indeed the reports about the Third Secret. Some journalists believe it has not been released. The Vatican is putting pressure on those journalists to go away. The pressure is mounting according to an article by John Vennari. From the article:
The September 21 event at the Urbaniana seemed to be an attempt by Bertone to use the sheer weight of Vatican power and prestige, surrounded by dignitaries of the Vatican and Italy, to make the case that the entire Secret is revealed.
Yet this same Bertone runs like a scared rabbit from two journalists who want him to answer specific questions regarding inconsistencies and contradictions in the Cardinal’s public statements on the Secret.
Bertone’s flight from Socci and Paolini, his refusal to answer honest questions, and the brutal treatment these two journalists received by Vatican Security personnel cannot help but add to the conviction that Bertone has something to hide regarding the full truth about the Third Secret’s full disclosure.
As you think about that, recall that when Sr. Lucia died, her room at the convent was immediately sealed until a Vatican representative could search it.
Are they covering something up? Certainly with the sexual abuse scandal we have evidence that they can turn a blind eye when it suits them. The supposed release of the Third Secret didn't match the facts the Vatican claims it describes. That's very odd. What aren't they telling us?
DESMOND TUTU BARRED FROM SPEAKING AT UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
St. Paul's University of St. Thomas, a Catholic University dedicated to the "Pursuit of truth", according to their website, has decided that Desmond Tutu's remarks have been anti-Semitic and denied permission for him to speak. The International Solidarity Movement website reports:
Rumors have been circulating for some time that Archbishop Desmond Tutu was banned by the University of St Thomas in Minnesota because of statements he made that some consider anti-Semitic. Now it’s official: winning the Nobel Peace Prize doesn’t protect you from charges of anti-Semitism if you criticize Israeli human rights violations. Neither, apparently, does being one of the most compelling voices for social justice in the world today, or even getting an honorary degree from and giving the commencement address at Brandeis.
Minneapolis/St.Paul’s City Pages just reported that members of the St Thomas Justice and Peace Studies program were thrilled when Bishop Tutu agreed to speak at the University– but administrators did a scientific survey of the Jews of Minneapolis, which included querying exactly one spokesperson for Minnesota’s Jewish Community Relations Council and several rabbis who taught in a University program– and concluded that Tutu is bad for the Jews and should therefore be barred from campus.
“…in a move that still has faculty members shaking their heads in disbelief, St. Thomas administrators—concerned that Tutu’s appearance might offend local Jews—told organizers that a visit from the archbishop was out of the question.
“We had heard some things he said that some people judged to be anti-Semitic and against Israeli policy,” says Doug Hennes, St. Thomas’s vice president for university and government relations. “We’re not saying he’s anti-Semitic. But he’s compared the state of Israel to Hitler and our feeling was that making moral equivalencies like that are hurtful to some members of the Jewish community.”
According to the article a backlash has begun:
Marv Davidov, an adjunct professor within the Justice and Peace Studies program said:
“As a Jew who experienced real anti-Semitism as a child, I’m deeply disturbed that a man like Tutu could be labeled anti-Semitic and silenced like this,” he says. “I deeply resent the Israeli lobby trying to silence any criticism of its policy. It does a great disservice to Israel and to all Jews.”
To make matters worse, when Cris Toffolo, the chair of the Justice and Peace Studies program told Tutu what happened and warned him of a possible smear campaign, she was immediately demoted.
“This is pure bullshit,” says Davidov. “As far as fighting for civil rights, I consider Tutu to be my brother. And I consider Cris Toffolo to be my sister. They’re messing with my family here. If Columbia permits a Holocaust denier [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] to speak at their university, why are St. Thomas officials refusing to let Tutu, an apostle of nonviolence, speak at ours?”
Could the answer to that question lodge in Archbishop Tutu's position that justice must be done to both the Isarelis and to the Palestinians? According to the article one particular speech has gotten Tutu into hot water with the Israeli lobby:
The talk is notable for its philo-Semitism and its equally passionate condemnation of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and people. For anyone who has been to the Occupied Territories, let alone lived through it, his words of condemnation are impossible to argue with.
There are some things you can't say in this land of free speech.
MORE FRANCES YATES
In THE OCCULT PHILOSOPHY IN THE ELIZABETHAN AGE, Yates devotes chapters to the impact of occultism on the literature of the time. A few interesting ideas are presented from that viewpoint.
Those of you who were around when I blogged on the beliefs of Hebrew Catholic Athol Bloomer might remember that British Israelism was a part of those blogs. I was astonished to discover that Yates also mentions British Israelism in her discussion of Spenser's poem THE FAERIE QUEEN, a poem written to honor Queen Elizabeth I. She writes:
The work of Francesco Giorgi will not alone account for the inspiration of THE FAERIE QUEEN; I have been making enormous omissions. Though Giorgi has chapters on the Just Empire of the Prince, and on the rule of champions (or knights), he naturally has nothing about the sacred British-Imperial descent of the Tudors and its associations with Arthurian chivalry, so important an element in Spenser's poem. The Giorgi influence must somehow have merged with an Arthurian-British element to form a kind of "British Israel' mystique. Such a linkage would be quite possible in the highly charged atmosphere of sacred destiny, of religious mission, with which Elizabethan Englishmen maintained their morale in their dangerously isolated position. And it seems obvious that the circle whence such ideas could have emanated can only have been the circle of John Dee.
Dee was a Christian Cabalist and a British imperialist. (pp 121-122)
John Dee, author of the MONAS, is considered to be the source of Rosicrucianism, and so Yates continues with this line of thought a couple of pages later:
The label, in terms of European trends, which seems to me most applicable to THE FAERIE QUEENE is 'Rosicrucian', the movement representing the late form of Renaissance Magia and Cabala, of which Dee had been an exponent and which he had been preaching on the continent whilst Spenser was writing his poem. It is not for nothing that the poem opens with Red Cross and Una (the MONAS). German Rosicrucian writers of the early seventeenth century were aware of deep-rooted connections with Dee's MONAS... (p. 127)
Recall that it was John Dee who first proposed a language, Enochian, which could be used to speak with angels, and that his prophet Edward Kelly trance channeled what Dee believed were angels.
Yates' next chapter following that charge of Rosicrucianism in Elizabethan literature is titled "Elibethan England and the Jews." She opens with the following:
We have been thinking about a Christianised Jewish influence, about Christian Cabala which was so important an element in the Renaissance tradition descended from Ficino and Pico. We have argued that there was a strong influence of Renaissance Christian Cabala in Elizabethan England, adapted to the outlook of Elizabethan religious imperialism. Now a question arises...were there any Jews in Elizabethan England, and if there were any, what would their attitude have been to the Christian imitation of Jewish mysticism in Christian Cabala?
Attempting to answer her own question she speculates:
A fierce persecution of the Jews in Spain and Portugal gave rise to the phenomenon of the 'marrano', a term of contempt used in those countries of the crypto-Jew, who, under an exterior of pretended conformity to the ruling religion, secretly preserved his Judaism. The only form of life which made it possible for Sephardic, or Spanish, Jews to survive in what had hitherto been their homeland was to live under a mask of pretended Christianity....The extraordinary heroism of the Sephardic Jews in the face of the persecutions of the Inquisition which went on in Spain and Portugal, even into the late seventeenth century, is one of the most remarkable records in the history of human endurance. (pp 128-129)
In Elizabethan England the situation was that an influence of Christian Cabala was present at court and in learned circles in a country in which Jews were, officially, not allowed to exist. Yet we hear, unofficially, that two Jewish uncles of Michel de Montaigne, Martin and Francesco Lopez, were at one time present in the marrano colony in London.
The question arises as to whether the adoption of Christian Cabala might have been a possible compromise for the marrano in England. A good many Christian Cabalists on the continent were converted Jews. Giorgi's DE HARMONIA MUNDI, with its 'Judaising' tendency, might have provided a bridge to conversion for the English marrano. (pp 131-132)
Were there any Jews in Elizabethan England? The answer is that there certainly were, though probably not very many. If they maintained the practices of their religion, this could only have been done in the utmost secrecy. They would have to have been crypto-Jews, marranos, publicly professing the public form of Christianity in England.
What would their attitude have been to the Elizabethan form of Christian Cabala? This is, of course, impossible to answer with any degree of precision now, nor would an open answer have been possible at the time. Yet it can be pointed out that Elizabethan England was a power which resisted the persecutors, and that the Elizabethan imperial reform included Christian Cabala as an ingredient of the Elizabeth cult, perhaps making possible for a patriotic English Jew an easy transition to the religion of his adopted country. (p. 134)
It's an interesting perspective. How much Jewish influence lies behind Rosicrucianism, and how much Christian influence? Perhaps there is no way to know, but there is no doubt that John Dee and the Christian Cabalists had an impact on Dee's time.
It is easy to see how the Jewish plan of self-salvation could have morphed into the Masonic plan of self-salvation. The similarities between Kabbalah and Freemasonry are striking. It is fairly easy to trace Freemasonry back to John Dee and the Rosicrucians. The point of entry of Freemasonry onto the world stage is England and Scotland. Could Freemasonry have been the brain-child of crypto Jews--merranos--who were trying to survive in a world that rejected them wherever they turned? That question is purely speculative on my part. I have found no evidence for it so far.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
LEE PENN ON RADIO WITH CONSTANCE CUMBEY
From My Perspective -- What Constance Thinks:
LEE PENN AND BOOK "FALSE DAWN" ARE SATURDAYS RADIO FARE
Our fare Saturday with author Lee Penn: UNITED RELIGIONS, ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS, THE GROWING CASHLESS SOCIETY. DON'T MISS THIS IMPORTANT WRITER WHO HAS WRITTEN ONE OF THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT. ALL SUBSCRIBERS TO RICH OF MEDFORD'S BLOGSPOT, A TIME, TIMES AND HALF A TIME, WON'T WANT TO MISS THIS EITHER. SATURDAY, PACIFIC TIME 11 A.M. TO 2 P.M. EASTERN TIME 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tune in and stay tuned!
PRIESTLESS PARISHES - SCHISM IN THE MAKING
NOR has linked a Chiesa story about the Dutch Augustinian friars and the Holland Dominicans that is eye-popping/jaw dropping.
When Vibrant Parish Life was instituted in my diocese and I attended the parish meetings early in the process, I was stunned to learn that one of the team leaders believed that a parish could function quite nicely without a priest.
Those of you who have lurked here for a while know that I have great distrust of the Hosts which I have not seen consecrated with my own eyes, and also distrust of Hosts consecrated by a liberal priest. I'm sure most of you have concluded that I was sort of tilted on this issue. Please think again.
Sandro Magister's story is titled "In Holland, They're Inventing Their Own Mass - Copyrighted by the Dominicans". Truly the article must be read to be believed.
From the article:
** In Nijmegen, Holland, in the church of the Augustinian friars, each Sunday the Mass is concelebrated by a Protestant and a Catholic, with one presiding over the liturgy of the Word and the sermon, and the other over the liturgy of the Eucharist, in alternation. The Catholic is almost always a layperson, and is often a woman. For the Eucharistic prayer, the texts of the missal are passed over in favor of texts composed by the former Jesuit Huub Oosterhuis. The bread and wine are shared by all....(emphasis mine)
** Also in Holland, the Dominicans have gone even farther, with the consent of the provincials of the order. Two weeks before the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" went into effect, they distributed in all the 1,300 Catholic parishes a 9,500-word booklet entitled "Kerk en Ambt", "The Church and the Ministry," in which they propose to make into a general rule what is already practiced spontaneously in various places.
The proposal of the Dominican fathers is that, in the absence of a priest, a person chosen from the community should preside over the celebration of the Mass...
** In some churches, the faithful clearly understand the distinction between the Mass and the substitute rite. But in others they don't, and the two ceremonies are thought to be equal in value, entirely interchangeable. Even more, the fact that it is a group of the faithful that selects the man or woman who leads the celebration of the substitute liturgy reinforces among the faithful the idea that their selection "from below" is more important than the sending of a priest from outside of the community, and "from above." ...
** The words of consecration are often replaced during the Mass by "expressions easier to understand and more in tune with modern faith experience." In the substitute rite, it often happens that non-consecrated hosts are added among the consecrated hosts, and all of them are distributed together for communion.
There is a link over there that will take you to an English translation of the Dominican's booklet.
If this is allowed to stand, the Church in Holland is doomed to collapse. All of the pious talk about the gates of hell not prevailing won't save it. If it is allowed to stand, it will come to the U.S. with the help of the nuns and other women who have already had themselves "ordained."
Have mercy on us, Lord!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
"A GAG RULE ON THREE NUNS"
Remember the Sisters of Bethany who were being kicked out of their convent so that it could be sold to help pay the sexual abuse judgment? Well, apparently they have been silenced, so now the biological sister of one of them is doing the talking for them; and the words "gag order", "shroud of secrecy", and "hostile public opinion" are part of the conversation.
Also mentioned in the story
...the handsome residence of the Santa Barbara bishop -- once a convent -- remains safe behind seven palms on a corner lot. The building is the largest in a neighborhood where homes have been fetching $2 million.
The controversy has gotten sufficiently vocal for the Diocese to bring in the Mother Superior of the order from Guatemala.
Sale of the convent is expected to raise $700,000, by comparison. The entire judgment of $660 million will likely require more stories like this one before the piper has been paid.
The story also indicates that four other convents are being shuttered to raise funds.
Read the story here.
PATRIARCH ALEXIY AT NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris has welcomed an unlikely guest - the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Alexiy II's visit to the Roman Catholic Cathedral was rich in symbolism, highlighting a thaw in relations between the two churches.
THE NOAHIDE LAWS AND BEHEADING
The following passage was found at Jewish Racism, the blog of Christopher Jon Bjerknes. His website is "Dedicated to protecting all Jews from the anti-Semitism and inhumanity of racist Jews":
Judaism teaches Jews that all Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. must be beheaded pursuant to the Noahide Laws (Sanhedrin 56a-60b. Is Judaism illegal? Or is it just illegal for a Gentile to criticize Judaism for Judaism's expressed hatred of the human race?
DO DOGS GO TO HEAVEN ?
This dog, seen in the picture praying with his human surely will!
SHORT VIDEO ON IDENTITY THEFT
Sheriff Ken Jenne of the Broward Sheriff's Office, Broward County, Florida, shows the viewer how criminals are operating at gas stations to steal identity.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
CHICO TELLS THE BENEDETTO STORY
A just released book written for children tells the story of Pope Benedict through the eyes of the cat who loves him.
ZGOZNIK FOUND GUILTY
Cleveland, Oct. 3, 2007 (CWNews.com) - A former financial officer for the Cleveland, Ohio diocese has been convicted of fraud in a scheme involving nearly $800,000 in kickbacks to another former diocesan employee. ...
An attorney for Zgoznik said that his client would appeal the jury's guilty verdict. "The diocese fought us tooth and nail on every request for evidence," attorney Robert Rotatori told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He said that evidence would have demonstrated his client's claim to have had the approval of diocesan officials.
Read all of it...
MASS FOR CATHOLIC DRAG QUEENS IN S.F.
New Oxford Review links this one which appeared in "California Daily Catholic":
What will he tell them?
Archbishop George Niederauer to celebrate Mass at San Francisco parish that sponsored drag queen contest and once was home to weekly bingo games by transvestite “nuns”
I'M STILL TRYING TO FIGURE THIS ONE OUT !
An old issue of "Latin Mass Magazine" contained an article on the four temperaments--Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, Melancholy. If I remember correctly they were credited to St. Thomas Aquinas. Unfortunately I don't have the magazine, and the article doesn't appear to be online. In any case the four temperaments are discussed at Catholic Online:
The four temperaments were originally proposed by Hippocrates -- the "father of medical science" -- 350 years before the birth of Christ. Hippocrates used them to explain differences in personality, based on the predominant bodily fluid; hence the rather unappealing names: choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic....
Many of the great saints, such as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis de Sales, have written about the temperaments, and great spiritual theologians, such as the late Reverend Adolphe Tanquerey -- author of the spiritual classic "The Spiritual Life" -- and contemporary theologian, Dominican Father Jordan Aumann, all write about temperament and the spiritual life.
Understanding one's temperament gives us a clue about where to begin in our quest for holiness.
That was pretty much the thrust of the article in "Latin Mass Magazine".
Frances Yates writes about the four temperaments in THE OCCULT PHILOSOPHY IN THE ELIZABETHAN AGE:
According to the Galenic psychology, dominant through the Middle Ages, the four humours or temperaments into which all men could be classified were the sanguine, the choleric, the phlegmatic, and the melancholoic....(p. 59-60)
The theory locked man's psychology into the cosmos, for the four humours correspond to four elements and four planets, as follows:
Sanguine - Air - Jupiter
Choleric - Fire - Mars
Phlegmatic - Water - Moon
Melancholy - Earth - Saturn
The theory was bound up with astrology. If Saturn dominated in a horoscope, the person concerned would be inclined to melancholy; if Jupiter, the outlook would be more hopeful, and so on.
She goes on to associate the four temperaments with Neoplatonism.
I suppose it could be meaningful to all of the above, but this sort of overlap always bothers me. In any case, the four temperaments play a significant role in Waldorf School curriculum. Waldorf, of course, is the work of Anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner who was head of the German Theosophical Society until he broke off relations with them in order to start his own philosophy which combined Theosophy with Christianity.
I knew about Steiner's use of the four temperaments when I read the "Latin Mass Magazine" article, and so was rather shocked that it was being promoted in Catholic circles. That shock remains as I see its role in Neoplatonism as described by Yates.
And as I said, I'm still trying to figure this out.
WHY THE LAY PRESS IS ESSENTIAL TO THE REFORMATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
Check out Matt Abbott's column today. You don't want to miss this one! From the column:
St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary recently sent out two vocation-recruiting catalogs to prospective seminarians. One version — which contained only articles and no advertisements — targeted straight men. The other version — which did contain advertisements, including the one pictured below, with two bare-chested men standing next to each other in a hot tub — targeted homosexual men.
I have, in my possession, a copy of the latter. (This is addressed to those who might cast doubt on the authenticity of the "gay-friendly" version, as certain individuals did with regard to the photos in my June 19, 2007 column.)
The catalogs were also sent to Miami pastors, at least one of whom was infuriated by the advertisements included in the "gay-friendly" version. Incidentally, said version has reportedly been "recalled" — whatever that may mean.
And down near the end of the column:
Interestingly, Archbishop John Favalora is now promoting the Courage ministry. (See his letter below, which reportedly was sent out after the catalogs were put into circulation.)
While you're over there, click his link to his June 19 column. He has added some new pictures to the liturgical dance spectacle arranged by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.
And in case you're wondering, YES this makes me ANGRY! It makes me reduce my Sunday contribution. It makes me contribute my Catholic Charities money to a diocese that is known to be orthodox.
The pictures and letters are over there in Abbott's column. There is no question about the implication in the gay-friendly version. The men are not standing innocently side by side.
It is outrageous that after the scandal we are still seeing something this scandalous coming out of our seminaries. Where is Benedict? Why has he not cleaned up the rot? Where are the faithful bishops? Why are they not censoring their scandalous cohorts?
Diocesan publications are not going to report this. Fortunately we have the lay Catholic press.
Lord have mercy on us!
Apparently the distribution of the publication with the homosexual ads was a mistake of the printer. Matt Abbott has posted the following update at the website:
Update as of Oct. 3, 2007 —
I received the following e-mail from Jim Frankowiak, of the Coastal Public Relations Group:
"I am contacting you on behalf of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and your column in Renew America regarding advertisements in the seminary's quarterly magazine, Dialogue, that are directed to the gay community.
"I have been associated with the seminary since 2002. I have been part of the editorial staff of the publication since its inception and I have helped proof every edition that has been produced. We had one report from one priest in the Archdiocese of Miami regarding a copy that received with the questionable ad. He made reference to other copies and reports of other priests receiving similar copies but has been unable to provide their names.
"He did provide us with a copy. Dialogue had 13 numbered pages. The pages with the questionable ads were on pages 26 and 27. Our printer subcontracted the production and printing of Dialogue to another printer. That printer had produced other publications containing the ad promoting its product to the gay community. It appears that during the production process at least one copy of Dialogue inadvertently received pages from another publication that contained the ad. The call from the priest in the Miami archdiocese is the only report of this matter that we have received. Given that single incident, the seminary had taken no further action. That is, until we were made aware of your article....
RELIGIOUS PROMOTION OF WAR
Over at "counterpunch", which may or may not be your idea of solid political reporting, is an article about the evangelical involvement in promoting a build-up to war with Iran, and religious support for Israel. To me it is a good example of why politics and religion should not intermingle. But as you know, I'm not savvy on politics, so have at it if you've a mind to.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
CATFIGHT AT THE CONVENT
A convent in southern Italy is being shut down after a quarrel among its last three remaining nuns ended in blows, press reports said Sunday.
Read the details...
EAST MAY MEET WEST WITHIN TWO YEARS
The slow rapprochement between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican - separated for almost a thousand years - gathered momentum Monday as Russia's spiritual leader called for an alliance to promote Christian social values.
At the start of a visit to France, Patriarch Alexy II, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, also predicted that a meeting with the pope might take place within two years. The two churches must cooperate to combat the rise of same sex marriages and "propaganda in favor of euthanasia and abortion," the patriarch said in an interview with the daily Le Figaro, adding that he had "the same approach" to Europe's lack of spiritual values as Pope Benedict XVI.
The comments underline a thaw in relations between two churches and a growing willingness to promote common causes, even though the Russian Orthodox Church objects to the activities of Roman Catholic missionaries in Russia and former Soviet Republics.
Relations have improved notably since the death of Pope John Paul II who was regarded with suspicion by the Russian Orthodox hierarchy.
Read the rest...
TRAINING IMAMS AT CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY
The Paris Grand Mosque and the city's Catholic university are teaming up to offer university education for imams to promote moderate Islam and help integrate foreign-born Muslim prayer leaders in France.
The privately-run Catholic Institute of Paris will launch a two-semester course on French politics, law and secularism in January for future imams studying Islamic theology at the Grand Mosque, officials of both institutions told Reuters....
The Grand Mosque's theology institute, which teaches the Koran, Islamic law and Muslim history in a three-year curriculum, is not accredited to grant university degrees.
With this new course, student imams with two years of university study will earn a bachelor's degree from the Catholic Institute after completing the course and writing a thesis.
Read the entire article...
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — One contentious topic missing from the Supreme Court’s docket as the new term opened on Monday was religion. The justices evidently plan to keep it that way, at least for now.
Among the hundreds of appeals the court turned down on Monday, in a list that printed out at 83 pages, were two cases on the relationship between church and state that might have brought even more visibility to the term.
One was a case from New York on whether church-affiliated employers who object to birth control on religious grounds must nonetheless provide contraceptive coverage to their female employees as part of their medical insurance coverage, as required by laws in New York and some two dozen other states.
The other case challenged the refusal of a public library in California to make a community meeting room available for worship services.
Both cases potentially tested lines that the Supreme Court has drawn to separate those accommodations of religion that governments are required to make from those that are not required or, perhaps, are even forbidden.
BLACK MAGIC OR WHITE--IS THERE A DIFFERENCE ?
One of the questions that invariably arises when the subject is Kabbalah is whether there is such a thing as white magic that could be a legitimate pursuit of a Christian. For the Catholic the CCC 2115 to 2117 seems to address it, indicating that even forms of magic intended to restore health are forbidden.
In the Middle Ages, according to Yates, this teaching was not clear. She speaks of the Venetian Franciscan Francesco Giorgi who was inspired by Pico and by Hebrew studies of which Venice was an important center because of its Jewish community. Of Giorgi she writes:
Giorgi grafts the Cabalist influence onto the traditions of his order. He develops that correlation between Hebrew and Christian angelic systems, already present in Pico, to a high degree of intensity. For Giorgi, with his Franciscan optimism, the angels are close indeed, and Cabala has brought them closer. (p. 34)
The question of Giorgi and magic is a difficult one. He provides material for the practice of both natural and Cabalist magic....he expounds the manipulation of Hebrew letters as used in Cabalist magic. Yet it is difficult to decide whether Giorgi was actually a practising magus, or rather a holy man of (so to speak) magical sanctity....On the whole, one is inclined to the conclusion that Giorgi is a kind of magician, though a very, very white one, very ascetic and holy, with the magical core of his teaching so wrapped in folds of Franciscan piety and mysticism that it would be hardly visible to an earnest follower who might well wonder whether this was the outlook of a miracle-working saint, rather than of a magis. (p. 41)
Reuchlin believed that a magical philosophy could be made safe, guarded from demonic dangers, by the use of Cabala. Giorgi takes such a philosophy a step further by concentrating so heavily on the Pseudo-Dionysian hierarchies of angels. If Christian angels guard the processes of the magus, surely he cannot go wrong, surely he will be an angelic, not a demonic character. Christian Cabala did not escape suspicion, and Giorgi's works were to be condemned....
The longest account of Giorgi and his works given by a modern scholar is that by Cesare Vasoli. At the end of his essay, Vasoli suggests a comparison with Rosicrucianism, citing the vast work on world and human harmony by Robert Fludd, the Rosicrucian, as perhaps a close parallel to Giorgi...Certainly Fludd was heavily influenced by Giorgi and the thought that the Giorgi type of Christian Cabala may be a source of Rosicrucianism is suggestive. (p. 42)
Henry Cornelius Agrippa, according to Yates, was considered to be a black magician. Yet he also was influenced by Christian Cabalists:
The reputation of Henry Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535) has been a survival from the witch-hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in which he figured prominently as a prince of black magicians and sorcerers....In the case of Agrippa, his De occulta philosophia is now seen as the indispensable handbook of Renaissance 'Magia' and 'Cabala', combining the natural magic of Ficino with the Cabalist magic of Pico...and...playing a very important part in the spread of Renaissance Neoplatonism with its magical core....
Agrippa was undoubtedly inspired by Reuchlin's Christian Cabala. (pp 43-44)
[Agrippa] dwells much on magic and its divisions. There is a natural magic and a mathematical magic. There is a bad magic which calls on bad demons; there is a good magic which calls on angels through Cabala. (p. 49)
Agrippa boldly advances into the intellectual and angelic worlds, and sets out schemes for reaching angels and spirits through Cabalist magic. This depends on manipulation of Hebrew letters, which have numerical values, so this...is a kind of mathematical magic...
Pico had said in his Cabalist Conclusions that the only name with which the Cabalist can now operate is the Name of Jesus. Agrippa repeats this, word for word. The famous magician undoubtedly believed that, like Pico della Mirandola, he could qualify as a Christian Cabalist. (p. 54)
The fear of demons had haunted Ficino, but Cabala eliminates this fear. It is an insurance against demons, a guarantee that bold attempts after unlimited knowledge and power will not lead to damnation.
Though the genuine Hebrew Cabalist might be shocked by Agrippa's interpretation of Cabala solely as white magic, yet this interpretation served a purpose in fortifying man for intellectual and spiritual endeavour. (p. 56)
Thus the, or at least some of the, Catholic scholars in the Middle Ages believed it was possible to practice a kind of angelic conjuring that was holy and would only bring forth good spirits. While they used the system of the Hebrew Kabbalists, they altered it to focus on the name of Jesus. This was the major difference between Kabbalah and Cabala as Yates presents it.
According to Yates Neoplatonism was seen, at least by Reuchlin, as a replacement for "dry and barren scholasticism" as a new Christian philosophy. (p. 55)
Monday, October 01, 2007
FRANCES YATES ON OCCULTISM
When it came time to select something to take along on vacation, I took a look at the book on the top of the pile--1,000 pages of Sabbatai Zevi--and decided I needed something thinner. Next one down was THE OCCULT PHILOSOPHY IN THE ELIZABETHAN AGE by Frances Yates, and so that one got packed.
Although said to be "controversial", Yates' work is respected enough for Mariana Banchetti to teach a graduate course at Florida Atlantic University based on her work. The book draws a lot of disconnected pieces of occultism into a system that hangs together rather well. I was particularly interested in how she related Christian Cabala to Jewish Kabbalah.
In reading about Rosicrucianism, I have not been able until now to place it into any particular religious context. It has elements of Judaism and elements of Catholicism but does not conform entirely to either faith. It does tease the reader with hints of a secret contained within its teaching which is only available to the initiated. Yates clarifies.
Here is one of the more significant statements she offers:
The Rosicrucian manifestos call for a universal reformation of the whole wide world through Magia and Cabala. The mystical 'Christian Red Cross' (Christian Rosencreuz), the opening of whose magical tomb is a signal for the general reformation, may perhaps, in one of his aspects, be a teutonised memory of John Dee and his Christian Cabala, confirming earlier suspicions that 'Christian Cabala' and "Rosicrucianism' may be synonymous. (p. 104-105)
In no particular order here are the Cabalists discussed by Yates in the book:
Pico della Mirandola
Henry Cornelius Agrippa
Cardinal Egidius of Viterbo
She claims that Pseudo-Dionysius was the source of the channeling of angels which is essential to Cabala:
Lull belongs into the tradition of medieval Christian Platonism, based primarily on Augustine; the Lullian dignities can nearly all be found listed as divine attributes in Augustine's works. Like all medieval Platonists, Lull is also strongly influenced by the work on the celestial hierarchies of angels by Pseudo-Dionysius. The nearest parallel to his association of dignities or attributes with the elements is to be found in the De divisione naturae of the early Christian Platonist, John Scotus Erigena. Lull's dignities have the creative capacity of Scotus's primordial causes. Moslem forms of Platonic, or Neoplatonic, mysticism had also reached him. Yet perhaps the strongest influence on the formation of the Art was that of the Jewish Cabala. (pp. 14-15)
The Cabalist side gave powerful support to the whole movement. Through the intensive cult of angels, Cabala reaches up into religious spheres and cannot be avoided in approaches to the history of religion. (p. 4)
...the angelic thought-structure within which Agrippa operates is really the same as that which supports Giorgi's mysticism, and Agrippa, too, can be called a Renaissance Neoplatonist, and a Christian Cabalist deeply interested in religious reform. (p 5)
...how was it that John Dee, the philosopher of the Elizabethan age, could base himself on Agrippa's occult angelology whilst at the same time believing himself to be the ardent supporter of a widespread Christian reform? The answer surely is that Dee believed himself to be, like Giorgi and Agrippa, a Christian Cabalist. (p. 6)
...Pico divides Cabala into two main branches (as did the Spanish Cabalists). One is the...art of combining Hebrew letters, which Pico thought rather similar to the Art of Ramon Lull. The other is 'a way of capturing the powers of superior things', or the powers of spirits and angels. Pico carefully warns that this kind of Cabala is good and holy, attaching itself to angels and to good and holy powers, and that it has nothing to do with bad practices through which demons and devils are attracted. If the Cabalist mystic is not himself holy and pure, he may run into spiritual dangers. This warning, and this fear, were always present to the Christian Cabalist who knew that in attempting to scale the heights he might fall into the depths. (p. 23-24)
For [Reuchlin], Cabalist magic did away with this fear for it was concerned with holy forces, with angels, with the sacred names of God. The demonic powers of ancient magic were cleansed of evil, made safe through the angels who cast out demons. Hence...the concentration on angel-summoning in Reuchlin's system. (p. 29)
Pico is basically a mystic, deeply attracted by the hope held out of communicating through Cabala with God and holy spirits. (pp 23-24)
Reuchlin quotes Pico's Cabalist Conclusions. He repeats the names of the
Sephiroth in Hebrew, and shows great interest in the Hebrew names of angels, and how to summon them. (p. 28)
Chapter 1 is titled "Medieval Christian Cabala: The Art of Ramon Lull". In this chapter I noted the similarity to the trend today, best expressed in United Religions Initiative, to unify all religions in the interests of peace.
To Lull, the Catholic Christian, occurred the generous idea that an Art, based on principles which all three religious traditions held in common, would serve to bind all three together on a common philosophical, scientific, and mystical basis. (p. 12)I can easily imagine John Paul II making a similar statement, focused as he was on the common ground of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. That focus continues, though perhaps somewhat abated, in the thinking of Benedict.
For of all the countries of Europe, Spain was the best placed for making a liberal approach to the three great closely related religions. (p. 17)
Modern scholarship has familiarised students of the Renaissance with the fact that Renaissance Neoplatonism had a Hermetic, or magical, core, and that the Renaissance adoption of Cabala could also involve 'practical Cabala', a form of magic. (p. 21)
Consider that just recently I have posted quotes from Jewish sources concerning practical Kabbalah. Based on Yates, could it also be said that modern Judaism involves "a form of magic'?
As we have seen, the Hebrew Cabalists believed that their teachings went right back to Moses through a secret doctrine which had been handed down through initiates. And since, for Pico, Cabala confirmed the truth of Christianity, he believed it to be a Hebrew-Christian source of ancient wisdom which corroborated not only Christianity, but the Gentile ancient wisdom which he admired, particularly the writings of 'Hermes Trismegistus'. Thus Christian Cabala is really a key-stone in the edifice of Renaissance thought on its 'occult' side through which it has most important connections with the history of religion in the period. (p. 22)
It is, I believe, worth noting here that Blavatsky's book is titled the SECRET DOCTRINE. Is her book based on Christian Cabala?
Though Pico's Cabalist Conclusions were formulated by 1486, some years before the actual date of the Expulsion [of the Jews from Spain], there seems little doubt that his instructors were Spanish Jews. Chief among them was the mysterious character known as Flavius Mithridates who...encouraged Pico in the Christian interpretation of Cabala, even to the point of inserting into the texts interpolations of his own pointing in a Christian direction. (p. 22)
To be continued...
In a comments box attached to Fr. Euteneuer's Email posted below, Joseph has posted a 4-point objection to the veneration of St. Michael that Fr. Euteneuer proposes, summarizing his objections with the comment: "Carrie, we were discussing what constitutes heresies from the Right. I think Fr. Euteneuer's rhetoric fits that bill."
I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find evidence of veneration of St. Michael from reliable sources.
I turned to the CATECHISM OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT, first published in 1566. There on p. 370 I found the following which can also be read online here:
IT IS LAWFUL TO HONOR AND INVOKE THE ANGELSHonour and glory to God alone, commands us also to honor our parents and elders; and the holy men who adored one God only are also said in Scripture to have adored, that is, supplicated and venerated kings. If then kings, by whose agency God governs the world, are so highly honored, shall it be deemed unlawful to honor those angelic spirits whom God has been pleased to constitute His ministers, whose services He makes use of not only in the government of His Church, but also of the universe, by whose aid, although we see them not, we are every day delivered from the greatest dangers of soul and body? Are they not worthy of far greater honor, since their dignity so far surpasses that of kings?
The Holy Spirit who says:
Add to this their love towards us, which, as we easily see from Scripture, prompts them to pour out their prayers for those countries over which they are placed, as well as for us whose guardians they are, and whose prayers and tears they present before the throne of God. Hence our Lord admonishes us in the Gospel not to offend the little ones, because their angels in heaven always see the face of their Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 18:10)
Their intercession, therefore, we ought to invoke, because they always see the face of God, and are constituted by Him the willing advocates of our salvation. The Scriptures bear witness to such invocation. Jacob entreated the Angel with whom he wrestled to bless him; nay, he even compelled him, declaring that he would not let him go until he had blessed him. And not only did he invoke the blessing of the Angel whom he saw, but also of him whom he saw not. The angel, said he, who delivers me from all evils, bless these boys.
Next I turned to the Catholic Encyclopedia to see if I could confirm what Fr. Euteneuer has written about the origin of the name Michael. There I found:
St. Michael the Archangel
(Hebrew "Who is like God?").
St. Michael is one of the principal angels; his name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers. Four times his name is recorded in Scripture:
(1) Daniel 10:13 sqq., Gabriel says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel [D.V. prince] of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince";
(2) Daniel 12, the Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."
(3) In the Catholic Epistle of St. Jude: "When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses", etc. St. Jude alludes to an ancient Jewish tradition of a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses, an account of which is also found in the apocryphal book on the assumption of Moses (Origen, "De principiis", III, 2, 2). St. Michael concealed the tomb of Moses; Satan, however, by disclosing it, tried to seduce the Jewish people to the sin of hero-worship. St. Michael also guards the body of Eve, according to the "Revelation of Moses" ("Apocryphal Gospels", etc., ed. A. Walker, Edinburgh, p. 647).
(4) Apocalypse 12:7, "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." St. John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. According to the Fathers there is often question of St. Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned. They say he was the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22:22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35).
Following these Scriptural passages, Christian tradition gives to St. Michael four offices:
* To fight against Satan.
* To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.
* To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.
* To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment ("signifer S. Michael repraesentet eas in lucam sanctam", Offert. Miss Defunct. "Constituit eum principem super animas suscipiendas", Antiph. off. Cf. "Hermas", Pastor, I, 3, Simil. VIII, 3).
To my thinking, this covers the objections that Joseph has raised to Fr. Euteneuer's email.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
UNITY IN DIVERSITY AND NEGATIVE SOCIAL CAPITAL
"Unity in Diversity", a mantra of John Paul II, was intended to be the slogan that would carry us into the 21st century as interreligious people cooperating with each other for the Church and the social good. He believed in it until he died, and his replacement seems to have been persuaded.
A study by Harvard University's Robert Putnam provides a different perspective. While immigration is the focus of his study, I would suggest that his conclusions would apply even more strongly to religious immigration, which is what we get with interreligious dialogue and even with ecumenism. If it doesn't work for communities, how is it supposed to work for the community of the Roman Catholic Church?
An article at "City Journal" describes Putnam's findings:
Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, is very nervous about releasing his new research, and understandably so. His five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. He fears that his work on the surprisingly negative effects of diversity will become part of the immigration debate, even though he finds that in the long run, people do forge new communities and new ties.
Putnam’s study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. Putnam writes: “In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle.”
In the 41 sites Putnam studied in the U.S., he found that the more diverse the neighborhood, the less residents trust neighbors. This proved true in communities large and small, from big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Boston to tiny Yakima, Washington, rural South Dakota, and the mountains of West Virginia. In diverse San Francisco and Los Angeles, about 30 percent of people say that they trust neighbors a lot. In ethnically homogeneous communities in the Dakotas, the figure is 70 percent to 80 percent.
Diversity does not produce “bad race relations,” Putnam says. Rather, people in diverse communities tend “to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.” Putnam adds a crushing footnote: his findings “may underestimate the real effect of diversity on social withdrawal.”
It sounds rather all too familiar. Our Church has been atomized by change and the importation of religious diversity. We are not responding well...apparently predictably according to Putnam's analysis.
FROM MARINI TO MARINI...THE MORE THINGS CHANGE ?
Fr. Zulsdorf offers a translation from Italian of a report on a new papal assignment. The Master of Ceremonies is changing as of tomorrow, but most of us won't even register the change. John Paul's MC Archbishop Piero Marini will become head of the Pontifical Commission for Eucharistic Congresses, and Benedict's new MC will be Msgr. Guido Marini:
The nomination of Msgr. Guido Marini, of the clergy of Genoa, as head of the Office of liturgical celebrations of the Pope, replacing [Archbishop] Piero Marini (who will be nominated as head of the Pontifical Commission for Eucharistic Congresses) will be announced at the beginning of the coming week (probably even Monday). Guido Marini will take possession of the appointment after 21 October, that is, after the Pope’s visit to Naples. But on that occasion he will already be present together with [his] predecessor.
So, is Msgr. Marini brushing up on Latin?
"NOTHING SURPRISES ME"
The Canton Repository, newspaper of the next city south of Akron, gives a brief synopsis of the Zgoznik trial at their website. It's interesting, not for the recap, but for the reader's comment at the bottom which states:
I worked for the Diocese for 3 years during the period the allegations supposedly took place. Nothing surprises me.