Friday, June 27, 2008
UNEXPECTED COMPONENT OF LIBERTARIANISM
Recently a reader sent me a link to Adyar Pamphlets No. 91, a publication of the Adyar Theosophical Society and reprint from "The Theosophist", February 1911. The title of the pamphlet is "Yoga-Practice in the Roman Catholic Church", by Franz Hartmann.
The pamphlet attempts to equate the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola with those of the Buddhists, stating at the end of the text
The Roman Catholic Church has originally derived its doctrines and practices, and even its ceremonies, from the Northern Buddhistic School. Loyola is a true representative of its spirit. His spiritual exercises are in many ways identical with the inst4ructions given in the East for the practice of Raja-Yoga, and a comparison of the two systems may be useful for those who do not merely desire to gratify their curiosity in regard to the astral plane, but desire to become more spiritual by letting the divine powers within their soul become awakened and developed through the influence of divine Love, divine Wisdom, and eternal Life.
I tend to think of this concept as a novelty of post-Vatican II Catholicism, but here is evidence that it has been around much longer.
With The Theosophist as a source, the Liberal Catholic Church cannot be far away. The "church" of the Theosophical Society, the Liberal Catholic Church has taken the trappings of Roman Catholicism and molded them into a religion composed of Catholic truth and various heresies. Their churches look like traditional Roman Catholic churches, but their theology is anything but.
Since I don't currently have a book to read, the article prompted me to explore briefly what the Liberal Catholic Church is doing now. I ended up in this website of The Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church, with links to various websites of interest to the independents and hints that yet again they are trying to come together through an organization called the International Council of Community Churches. Here I found links to the Theosophical Society, to Blavatsky Texts online, to writings of C. W. Leadbeater, to an Old Catholic missal and catechism, to information about Rene Vilatte, to one of Bishop Lewis Keizer's websites, and surprisingly a link to a Lew Rockwell website with an article "How I became a Christian Libertarian". Here I read that I could
See also, for spiritual reflections, the official blog of the Society for Humanistic Potential and, for news from the independent sacramental movement, the official blog of the Arnold Harris Mathew Center for the Study of the Independent Sacramental Movement at European-American University.
A university? This was something I had not encountered before.
A Newsweek article described it:
European-American University brings together the best of the European and American educational traditions.
The University delivers its programs through distance education, using highly flexible academic methods anchored firmly in historic and legal precedent. Distance learning programs use the approach of mentored study and require no residency whatsoever. They may be completed by citizens resident anywhere in the world.
Individualized Model of Education
As a private, non-traditional institution the University's outlook is radically different from that of many mainstream universities. Its individualized model of education is based on real-world values that are directly relevant to your life and aspirations, creating a uniquely forward-looking profile within contemporary higher education.
The experienced, mid-career adults who join the EAU family will work with a Mentor to design a program that is directly focussed on their specific needs. They can tailor their chosen assessment methods (including coursework, prior learning assessment, dissertation and project assignments) subject to University approval. There are no minimum or maximum time-limits or other unnecessary restrictions on the demonstration of valid learning experiences. The result is a bespoke degree that fits naturally around your life with minimal disruption.
They have a press, the European-American University Press. They have a number of think tanks organized under their umbrella, including The Libertarian Library Online Project, the Arnold Harris Mathew Center for the Study of the Independent Sacramental Movement, the Henselt Library of nineteenth-century piono music and its affiliated Romantic Discoveries Recordings, and the David Ricardo School of Business.
One of the University websites discusses the Arnold Harris Mathew Center for the Study of the Independent Sacramental Movement. Here you can find information on the various successions, the independent Celtic churches, and more. Here also is information about the creator of this online university, Dr. Bertil Persson, Primate Emeritus of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, former Archbishop for Europe of the Philippine Independent Church, and Professor at the University.
Here you can also find a "Talk given by John Kersey to the Adam Smith Institute, December 2007", and a summary of books dealing with the theology and succession of the Liberal Catholic Church, including the book "The Science of the Sacraments" by Charles Webster Leadbeater with a preface by John Kersey.
The John Kersey Foundation website indicates
In March 2008, John Kersey was elected Metropolitan Primate of the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church under the religious title of His Grace Mar Joannes III. Consequently, he has overall responsibility for a church with clergy and communities in the United Kingdom and United States and its dependent religious orders and societies, as well as for its wider outreach through the Independent Liberal Catholic Fellowship. The LCAC is a member of the International Council of Community Churches and through the ICCC shares in membership of bodies including the World Council of Churches and Churches Uniting in Christ.
H.G. Mar Joannes III is 116th in direct Apostolic Succession from the Apostle St Thomas through the Chaldean Catholic line and 139th in direct Apostolic Succession from the Apostle St Peter through the Syrian-Orthodox Antiochian line. He is also in succession from the Apostles St James the Less and St Andrew. He is a member of the Sophia Circle, the international association of bishops in the esoteric tradition.
In addition to his religious responsibilities, which in common with all Liberal Catholic clergy are non-stipendiary, John Kersey is also an award-winning concert pianist and a radical educationalist. Both an economic and social libertarian with strong Rothbardian leanings, he regards intellectual freedom and the expression of individual creativity and spirituality as essentials for a progressive and fulfilled society, and seeks to promote a radical inclusivity as an alternative to prevalent hegemonic and authoritarian paradigms. He is a member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in the USA and a subscriber to the Libertarian Alliance in the UK. In recent years he has debated for Civitas advocating UK withdrawal from the European Union, and has been an invited speaker at meetings of the Adam Smith Institute TNG, Café Philo at the Institut Français, and the Libertarian Alliance.
I got the impression there are strong ties between the Liberal Catholic Church, the Theosophists, and the Libertarians. Kersey's other awards and honors, spelled out in the biography, indicate he is a well-respected European. He holds several knighthoods. His educational outlook has been influenced by, among others, Rudolf Steiner. He has written a paper for the Libertarian Alliance. According to the website:
For some years, John Kersey has worked with others towards the aim of creating a genuinely independent global online university that would put into action the spiritual and political principles of holistic education now absent from the mainstream tertiary sector. The fulfilment of this process is European-American University, the educational outreach of the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church's Society for Humanistic Potential, of which he became President in August 2007. EAU opened its virtual doors to the public in November 2007 and has already received acclaim as a highly innovative and progressive venture in alternative education.
I found the blog of Fr. Eckhart Christopher Sowers, a priest in The Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church and Father-Custodian of the Order of Ave Maria, and an Adjunct Professor of the European-American University.
I also found what appears to be partnerships between European-American University, Von Epstein University, and Knightsbridge University.
The European-American University Libertarian Alliance UK blog links the Botsford Archive of libertarian videos.
EAU also houses the David Ricardo School of Business, named after a Jewish Unitarian:
David Ricardo (1772-1823) was an English political economist and, together with Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus, part of the influential group of classical economists of the Enlightenment era. Ricardo was a highly successful businessman and financier (retiring at the age of 41 due to the wealth he had accumulated).
Ricardo held strong humanitarian beliefs (although born Jewish, he became a Unitarian, which religious movement was a major influence on the origins of the Society for Humanistic Potential, founder of European-American University) and in keeping with these beliefs served his country as a Member of Parliament between 1819 and his death.
The Libertarian Library Online Project, another effort of the EAU, indicates the philosophy most likely espoused by the David Ricardo School is Austrian Economics:
The University's ongoing Libertarian Library Online Project (LLOP) aims to collect together online resources exploring different aspects of libertarian philosophy in a convenient single-source location, thus providing a comprehensive virtual library of libertarianism. As well as providing access to complete texts of such key writers as Henry David Thoreau, Ludwig von Mises and Adam Smith via online libraries, it includes links to libertarian organizations, political parties and to thousands of shorter articles and papers. All resources are free at the point of delivery and fully digitized for easy searching and printing. Resources are selected and annotated by the LLOP Librarians.