Saturday, February 16, 2008
FOLLOWING IN BONAVENTURE'S FOOTSTEPS
Hugh McNichol at the Pew Sitter blog writes:
Rome, Italy. February 15, 2008 – We do not frequently hear much about Saint Bonaventure. However, he is a noted Doctor of the Church and a pupil in the schools of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Francis of Assisi. His writings have influenced the Scholastic age of the Church and perhaps the thoughts and pontificate of Benedict XVI. Today the ZENIT news agency announced a new translation of then Joseph Rat zinger’s treatise on Saint Bonaventure. From the early introductions, it seems the evolving papacy of Pope Benedict XVI is incorporating insights from Bonaventure into our modern Church, while at the same time emphasizing the need to develop global harmony.
If we consider the ministry of Benedict XVI since his canonical election, perhaps the phrase used to describe Saint Bonaventure by St. Francis of Assisi is most appropriate,”O buona ventura!”.The good fortune exclaimed by Francis regarding Bonaventure is indeed good fortune for the life of the Universal Church. In Bonaventurian, theology there is a great appreciation of the desire to achieve harmony and unity among disparate peoples, Christian’s contra Judaism, Platonists contra Neo-Platonist, and so on. In all of his writings and actions, Bonaventure maintained the notion that there is an evolution constantly developing in terms of human harmony. Benedict XVI it seems also advocates such a cosmology of thought.
Read the whole blog
SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE
Blogger Victoria Hardy has posted commentary about the history of Satanic ritual abuse back to the 80s and advancing to the present, questioning why evidence in the day care case of the 80s was suppressed, and why other examples of ritual child abuse have not been properly reported by the press. She gives only a brief nod to the Catholic sexual abuse scandal in connection with all of the other evidence.
If what she has written is accurate, there has truly been a massive cover-up.
One link she provides goes to this website, created by the mother of one of the many missing children. This boy is said to have been the first milk carton missing child.
Friday, February 15, 2008
A PLEA TO THE HOLY FATHER
Michael Brown has written a plea to the Holy Father on the forthcoming event of his visit to the U.S. His plea details the problems we face in the Church here in America and asks Benedict to address them one by one.
I think he speaks for a great many of us. I know he speaks for me. Those things he asks Benedict to address are the very matters that are undermining my own faith.
May God grant Benedict the wisdom to speak to America in such a way that we hear God talking to us so emphatically that we, laity, priests, and bishops, cannot help but respond.
A WISE HEAD ON HIS SHOULDERS
It's not the Rabbis who are speaking wisely in relation to the Good Friday Catholic prayer.
Over at israelenews.com Jonathan Tobin comments:
The Jewish reaction to this move was anguished. The Anti-Defamation League wrote a letter to the pope asking that he further amend the prayer. The Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist rabbinical movements are all expected to add their pleas soon.
In response, Cardinal Walter Kasper seemed to express bewilderment at the sensitivity of the Jews. He told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, “I don’t understand why Jews cannot accept that we can make use of our freedom to formulate our papers.” His point was that the prayer “reflects the faith of the church, and furthermore Jews have prayers in their liturgical texts that we Catholics don’t like … one must respect differences.”
While the cardinal’s statement illustrates the slippery slope down which this sort of dispute can soon lead to hurt feelings on all sides, he is, of course, right. Catholics are free to believe whatever they want about the universal truth of the doctrines of their faith. The same right must also apply to everyone else when it comes to their opinions about their own religions and everyone else’s. Problems arise not from believing these different things, but how we act on those differences. ...
This a moment in history when the greatest challenge to religious freedom is not coming from the traditional sources of reaction within Christianity, such as those that sought to punish Nahmanides for defending Judaism at Barcelona. Instead, our challenge comes from forces within Islam that have already sought to censor the beliefs of Pope Benedict for defending the West. Their goal is to dismantle the entire edifice of tolerance that Jews and Christians have worked so hard to create.
Given that reality, this is not the time to pick fights over other people’s prayers.
A BISHOP WITH A HEART FOR GOD
I haven't heard of him before. Bishop Bernard Harrington, of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota. The diocese seldom makes the news either. Perhaps it's a small one.
There is an article in the current diocesan newspaper which is online here. Many of the articles are noteworthy. A couple deal with NFP, including one about young people who support it. There is an article about "Jesus and the Jews: New Understandings" which I haven't read yet but will.
The article that caught my attention is "Desecration of Holy Ground" written by the bishop. The article describes desecration of a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, a statue of Christ crucified, and a church, St. Joseph's Church in Theilman, where the tabernacle was desecrated and hosts strewn around. Here is what the bishop says about that October 2002 event:
Since the church was desecrated,
it was necessary to re-consecrate
the church before any other
church services could take place.
That following Tuesday night, I
went to Theilman and re-consecrated
the church and celebrated
the Eucharist. Literally, the whole
parish came out for the ceremony.
There was a wonderful demonstration
of faith and deep respect for
When the Mass was finished,
it was already nightfall. I decided
that the desecrated hosts should be
reverently placed in the ground in
the parish cemetery, just above the
church. It was quite a sight to have
the parishioners walk up the hill to
the cemetery with only the lights
from a few cars showing the way.
Two of the men dug an appropriate
grave on the cemetery ground and
the desecrated hosts were reverently
placed into the soil. It was
truly a burial in sacred ground. I
doubt that the young children and
teenagers who were part of this
special ceremony will ever forget
that occasion. It was a special lesson
about respect for the Eucharist
and the sacredness of the cemetery
grounds. A few days later, some
young town teens admitted to the
destruction. One of he young men
came to the church on Sunday and
asked for forgiveness for his foolish
action. This too was a most
meaningful reconciliation for the
Catholic community and the vandal.
What a message this Bishop sent not only to his diocese, but through the web, all around the world. He must have been teaching the sacredness of the consecrated host long before this event took place to have the whole parish turn out for his Mass.
Regarding desecration of the statues in the cemetary he has this to say:
Vandalism or desecration of personal
property is always morally as
well as civilly wrong. But the acts
of vandalism at the cemetery statues
seem to be motivated by something
deeper than just “pranks.” It
seems to manifest hostility perhaps
even a satanical attitude toward our
The frequency of events such as this making the news seems to be increasing. It surprises me that a bishop has the courage to define it this way. I no longer assume American bishops and priests will openly admit that Satan exists, and am heartened to see that one bishop still believes he does, and that Satan has followers who are committing these acts.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
JEFFREY STEINBERG ON AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS
Yesterday, in reviewing Robert O. Self's fifth Chapter in his book AMERICAN BABYLON, I included his quotation of a passage from Jeffrey Steinberg. Steinberg's review of Austrian Economics is also online here. The article is titled "The Legacy of Friedrich von Hayek: Fascism Didn't Die With Hitler" and it appeared in American Almanac, September 23, 1995. The passage that Robert O. Self quoted is contained in the article:
Von Hayek totally rejected the principle that man was created in the image of God. In fact, he traced his own philosophical roots to the early eighteenth century Satanist, Bernard Mandeville. In a lecture he delivered at the British Academy on March 23, 1966, von Hayek lauded Mandeville as a ``master mind,'' as the inventor of modern psychology, and as the true intellectual forbearer of David Hume, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Carl Savigny and Charles Darwin.
Steinberg is a member of Lyndon LaRoche's organization which includes the Schiller Institute. The above-referenced article was an address to Schiller's Day Conference. LaRoche is a conspiracy theorist extraordinare, but if the source passes Muster at Princeton press, it's worth a look.
In this article Steinberg claims
In the summer 1994 issue of the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review, Representative Dick Armey, perhaps the leading candidate for the honorary title of the ``Robespierre of the 1990s Conservative Revolution in America,'' delivered a glowing tribute to his intellectual mentor, Dr. Friedrich von Hayek, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the professor's most well-known work, The Road to Serfdom.
The Mont Pelerin Society, from the outset, was to be a clandestine agency committed to implementing the ``Hayekian'' Conservative Revolution.
One of the key figures in this effort was Antony Fisher. Born in London in 1915, educated at Eton and Cambridge, Fisher was elected to the Mont Pelerin Society in 1954. The following year, he founded the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, as the first of dozens of front groups for Mont Pelerin that he would help launch. Other IEA founders included von Hayek, who at this point was at the University of Chicago; Ralph Harris, a leader of the British Eugenics Society which had earlier helped draft Hitler's race laws; Keith Joseph and Allan Walters.
Those are some serious charges, particularly the last one.
Was Mandeville a member of the Hellfire Club?
Donald Hunt makes the claim here.
Believe it or not, classical economics, the foundation of neoliberal ideology, was inspired by satanism. I'm not referring to Adam Smith, but to the poet who inspired him, Bernard de Mandeville. Mandeville was said to be a member of the notorious Hellfire Club in London. Mandeville's poem, The Grumbling Hive (also appearing in The Fable of the Bees), published in 1705, puts the argument for individual selfishness at most basic.
Apart from this, however, it is only LaRoche's organization who is making the claim online. Geoffrey Ashe does not mention either Mandeville or Smith in his book THE HELL-FIRE CLUBS. However, most of the book concentrates on one particular club, the club of Sir Francis Dashwood, which would have been after Mandeville's time.
Certainly his promotion of selfishness in opposition to the prevailing Christian principles of his time would open the door to any sort of corruption, but there seems to be little evidence for his actual involvement in the Hellfire Club of his day.
DEPENDS UPON WHICH CATHOLIC PRINCIPLE THEY WANT TO UPHOLD
WABASHA, Minn. (AP) - An unmarried fifth-grade teacher at a Catholic school in Wabasha is out of a job because she got pregnant.
Twenty-three year-old Emily Prigge of Lake City told her principal about her pregnancy last month. Prigge says the principal and a priest asked her to resign last week, and she did. Her pregnancy is about 15 weeks along.
Read the article.
According to the article she was asked to resign because her pregnancy was evidence of sex outside of marriage--a Catholic no-no.
On the other hand, if she had quietly had an abortion and no one found out, she could have kept her job.
The school's commendable pro-morality stand at the same time fails to be pro-life. The teacher in a crisis pregnancy is further harmed by the loss of her job in a Catholic institution.
The only way this school can come off looking moral in this situation is if they find a way to uphold the high standard of morality while also supporting the teacher in her crisis pregnancy. Anything less will be seen as opposing the pro-life position.
JESUS COSMETICS GONE
A retailer in Singapore has withdrawn a cosmetics range with a religious theme after people complained that the products were "disrespectful" to Jesus.
The tongue-in-cheek range, named Lookin' Good for Jesus, upset Catholics, who said the line trivialised Christianity. The cosmetics, made by a US company, include hand cream and bubble bath.
The company also sold a "virtuous vanilla" lip balm, under the slogan "Look your Sunday best! Guaranteed to help you be worthy and get noticed by the King of Kings". Other slogans dreamt up by the company, Blue Q, to sell their gels and lotions included "Get tight with Christ", "Get His Attention" and "Redeem Your Reputation and More".
Read the rest...
ANOTHER DIOCESE GOES BELLY UP
The Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska (Catholic Diocese of Northern Alaska?) is filing for bankruptcy as a result of sexual abuse settlements.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
BOUNCING THE ANTI-SEMITIC BALL
As in a tennis match, the ball has been lobbed into Benedict's court. The rabbis did issue their statement of objection to the Good Friday prayer for their conversion.
I have to wonder what they would do if the Catholics were praying, instead, for their continued rejection of Jesus Christ given that we see acceptance of Christ as the ultimate good, and rejection of Him as the ultimate tragedy?
And on another front, the Southern Poverty Law Center has dictated to Catholic University who they can and can't have come to their campus to lecture. Specifically, E. Michael Jones and John Sharpe are taboo because, you know, the anti-Semitic ball has been bounced into their respective courts. Read about it here. I'm not familiar with John Sharpe's activities, but E. Michael Jones has been a target of certain Jewish groups for quite a while.
ROBERT O. SELF'S VIEW OF AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS
"The Triumph of the Merchants" is Part 5 of Robert O. Self's book AMERICAN BABYLON. The chapter is online here.
Robert O. Self is a Professor of History at Brown University according to the Princeton University Press who published his book.
According to Self:
Jesus Christ explicitly taught that love of God is the primary commandment, and that benevolence for our fellow human beings is the the second most important commandment (Matthew 22:34-40). These two basic commandments, which Jesus said were the foundation of all the Law and of all the Prophets, are supported by the warning from the Apostle Paul that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Adam Smith's fundamental conclusion contradicts the commandments of Jesus and then pushes us towards the evil warned of by Paul, by making self-interest, or "love of self," the foundation of society, which today equates to the single-minded pursuit of money which is the basis of modern material gain.
Perhaps the most important influence on Adam Smith's philosophical and economic ideas were the writings of Bernard de Mandeville. Mandeville was a Dutch doctor and writer who lived (1670-1733) in London at a time when anti-Christian Enlightenment ideas were coming to the forefront and when London was quickly becoming the occult capital of the world. He was allegedly a member of the Hell-Fire Club, later led by Sir Francis Dashwood, that engaged in gluttony, drunkenness, and orgies and practiced the "Do As Thou Wilt" satanic philosophy that later inspired Aleister Crowley. Mandeville became a champion of this influential underground network of upper class hedonists through his poem The Grumbling Hive published in 1705 and released again as part of his book The Fable of the Bees in 1714. The basic point that Mandeville tries to argue for in his poem and in his book can be summed up in the short phrase: "Private vice makes public virtue."
Self doesn't make a connection to Sabbateanism, but this statement sounds very much like the philosophy of Zevi and Jacob Frank of seeking salvation through sin, or forcing God's hand to bring good out of evil, given that in Austrian Economics we already have seen the belief in an "invisible hand" that controls the outcome of men's collective actions.
Self does admit that this Adam Smith "connection with Mandeville is hotly debated and very controversial" then adds:
Author Kenneth Lux in Adam Smith's Mistake explains how Smith at first tried to repudiate Mandeville's extreme conclusions and sided with his mentor Hutcheson, but that he was also drawn to important aspects of Mandeville's ideas and ended up repackaging them in his later work The Wealth of Nations. In the end it was those ideas that ended up creating the justification for the very economic climate that Hutchison warned against...
This amounts to a major shift in philosophy from what had motivated Europe previously:
The main idea that Smith took from Mandeville was the idea that the individual's pursuit of self-interest should be regarded as the main foundation upon which society benefits as a whole. This is perhaps the central premise of The Wealth of Nations and, according to Lux, Adam Smith's greatest mistake. Prior to the Enlightenment, avarice, or greed, was viewed with contempt as one of the seven deadly sins, but Adam Smith, buttressed with the work of Mandeville, Hume and other avowed atheists, paved the way for greed to be viewed as a natural, and even as a positive thing. This change in values was perhaps one of the most important and profound changes that helped to overthrow Judeo-Christian morality as the foundation of Western society.
For a Christian, love of self and money is the mantra of the Opposition. To suggest that a Catholic priest is pushing such a philosophy via a think tank on economics which he founded is mindboggling, yet Self makes the connection between Mandeville/Smith and Austrian Economics:
The state of the world today and the primacy of the multinational corporation, based on the ultra-liberal "free trade" economic ideas that trace back to Adam Smith, owe a great deal to the twentieth century economists who have grown famous packaging and promoting this satanic system to the world. This section will highlight these economists, men such as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich A. Hayek, Murray N. Rothbard and Milton Friedman, and it will uncover how their twisted ideas on Morality, Liberty and the purpose of Government became prominent only through concerted backing from the Anglo-American Establishment. Without Rockefeller, Wall Street and the British Oligarchy the fascist anti-human principles of extreme laissez faire advocated by these economists would have never been accepted and the world would be a much better place today.
The remainder of the chapter dissects this school of thought and deserves to be read in full. Near the end Self quotes Jeffrey Steinberg:
Von Hayek totally rejected the principle that man was created in the image of God. In fact, he traced his own philosophical roots to the early eighteenth century Satanist, Bernard Mandeville. In a lecture he delivered at the British Academy on March 23, 1966, von Hayek lauded Mandeville as a "master mind," as the inventor of modern psychology, and as the true intellectual forbearer of David Hume, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Carl Savigny and Charles Darwin.
Von Hayek argued in his Mandeville lecture that Mandeville's poem, "The Fable of the Bees," was perhaps the greatest philosophical treatise ever composed. He credited Mandeville with inspiring Adam Smith's argument for the unbridled free market.
Self tells us further:
David Peterson, in Revoking the Moral Order, focuses on the parallel conclusions drawn by Friedrich Hayek, and explains how genuine Christianity has always been the Austrian School's greatest enemy...
Solidarism and altruism are unequivocally the essence of a true Christian civilization. They are the cultural expression of "agape" or charity, derived from a devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Austrian School philosopher praises capitalism and individual freedom because he believes they are a triumph over the ridiculous superstitions of Christianity.
Self believes that his argument brings us to the conclusion that "Perhaps now the designation of extreme laissez faire economic theory as 'satanic' is sounding much more appropriate."
He mentions the Mount Pelerin Society:
In the following years Antony Fisher and the Mont Pelerin Society would be influential in creating numerous "conservative" think tanks and organizations that promoted neo-liberal free market economic policies for the Establishment. This is a crucial point to understand: that Hayek's economic views were that of extreme liberalism. ...
...the corruption of American Conservatism was a huge success, and the neo-liberal economic agenda promoted by Hayek, Fisher and the Mont Pelerin Society expanded to include the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC in 1973, the Fraser Institute in Vancouver in 1974, the Manhattan Institute in 1977, and the Pacific Institute for Public Policy Research in San Francisco in 1978.
As we approach a presidential election in which no good choice seems at present to be emerging, we need to be aware of what lies behind the third party candidate who touts the buzz word of "freedom" which we all tune into while being a spokesman for the kind of system that Self has described.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
IF YOU BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT, THAT IS
Yahoo News reports on a government attempt to undermine the prevalence of conspiracy theories floating around the web over the symbolism of the Great Seal of the United States:
Conspiracy theorists take note: The myths surrounding one of America's oldest and most enduring national symbols are about to be debunked ... if you believe the government, that is.
The keepers of the Great Seal of the United States, the familiar emblem on the back of the $1 bill, want you to know what it is not. It is not a sign that Freemasons run the country, it has nothing to do with the occult, and it does not contain clues to a fabulous hidden treasure.
It is rather the nation's stamp of authority, sovereignty and power, gracing our cash and embossing the most important of documents from its home at the State Department, which has held it since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the first secretary of state.
Not that the Seal's symbols — the all-seeing eye, the unfinished pyramid, the Latin phrases, the bald eagle clutching an olive branch and arrows and the number 13 — aren't powerful.
They are, historians say. Yet their meanings have been misidentified, misunderstood and misrepresented almost since the Continental Congress first commissioned the Seal in 1776.
It would be another six years before the original design was approved and another 128 before it evolved into its current form. Along the way, a movement to decipher the Seal's meaning with ancient Egyptian, mystical and otherwise otherworldly explanations has gained currency.
The Internet age has seen an explosion in such conspiracy theories, many which have now been ingrained in public consciousness through the popular "National Treasure" movie franchise that serves up a combination of Masonic lore and historical myths in blockbuster Hollywood fashion.
There is more in the story at the website, including the government's explanation of the meaning of the symbols, and a planned traveling exhibit to put conspiracy theories to rest.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
A THOUSAND PICTURES TO TELL THE STORY
If Rome has claimed ignorance of the activities in S.F., that excuse is no longer valid. Anthony Gonzales, President of the St. Joseph's Men Society, has created a video in which the naked truth about the so-called "Catholic" activities in Archbishop George Neiderauer's diocese, particularly centered on the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the Castro District, are presented in living color.
St. John's Valdosta Blog has the video and comments. Check it out, but be warned, this one is X-rated. The truth really is naked here, and it isn't pretty. The full extent of the travesty of a Catholic parish in the Castro is presented for the Pope and his Cardinals to view; and when they view it, I hope they remember that the man who was in charge out there until Benedict called him to Rome, is not exempt from culpability. After this video, how can Benedict possibly continue to remain silent where San Francisco is concerned?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for the Church!
In my on-going research into the activities of Fr. Robert Sirico and questions arising about Sabbateanism in connection with think tank funding, I last posted research on Lord Acton and his rejection of the infallibility doctrine under the influence of his excommunicated mentor Dollinger. Now I'd like to address Austrian Economics directly, since it does seem to be the body of knowledge that binds together a number of think tanks with which Fr. Sirico is involved.
Wikipedia provides a brief description of the founding of the Austrian School of Economics in Vienna, credited to Carl Menger following the 1871 release of his book PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS. The entry also lists the major players in this school including Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Murray Rothbard, Friedrich von Wieser, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, and more. The subsequent move from Austria to Chicago is not discussed, though the Chicago School is linked as a source for further information.
The article does not mention the impact that Adam Smith had on this school, however the Online Library of Liberty does discuss Smith's impact in an article on "Spontaneous Order".
The idea of a “spontaneous order”, i.e. an order which emerges as result of the voluntary activities of individuals and not one which is created by a government, is a key idea in the classical [l]iberal and free market tradition. Although, as Norman Barry argues, the idea emerged in the medieval period, it is closely associated with a number of figures who wrote during the 18th century, in particular a group of writers associated with the Scottish Enlightenment - Bernard Mandeville, David Hume, Adam Ferguson, and Adam Smith. Adam Smith, in the Wealth of Nations, is famous for encapsulating the idea of spontan[e]ous order in the phrase "the invisible hand" which suggests an ordering principle which lies behind the activities of many individuals buying an[d] selling in a market place....
In the 19th century the idea was pursued by Frederic Bastiat and Gustave de Molinari in France, and Herbert Spencer in England. Later in the 19th century the Austrian school of economics made the idea central to their reformulation of economic theory after 1871. Karl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich Hayek are the key figures in this development.
"Spontaneous Order" requires an "invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of [the original] intention" according to this article. That would appear to be a reference to God in the eyes of any Christian. But what if those promoting the system are not Christian?
Next I turned to The American Almanac and a segment titled "Leibniz versus Mandeville" by Edward Spannaus which is part of a larger article titled "What Is The 'General Welfare'?" Bernard Mandeville, according to Spannaus, was "the evil godfather of today's free-market fanatics". Spannaus tells us:
The two overriding themes of Mandeville's writings are: (1) that selfishness and licentiousness are not evil but are a social good (``private vice equals public virtue''), and (2) that it is not only wasteful, but it is counterproductive and harmful, to attempt to educate or improve the lower classes. ...
Mandeville's fundamental contention, which endeared him to the likes of Adam Smith, and ``Austrian School'' (now ``Chicago School'') founders Friedrich von Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises, was that any attempt at a ``grand design'' or an effort to plan men's actions for the common good, is folly.
As he argued in The Fable of the Bees, man, like the industrious bee, performs selfish actions ``in the small''--which lead to the greatest good in the ``large''. ...
Von Mises, in his book Theory and History, adopts Mandeville's bestial view, stating that during the Enlightenment, eminent philosophers stopped ``brooding about the hidden purpose of Providence in directing the course of events,'' and began to look at things from the standpoint of acting men, rather than from the standpoint of plans ascribed to God or nature. This is best illustrated by Adam Smith, says von Mises, but to understand Smith, ``we must first refer to Mandeville.''
``The older ethical systems were almost unanimous in the condemnation of self-interest,'' von Mises wrote. ``Referring to the Sermon on the Mount, they exalted self-denial and indifference with regard to treasures which moth and rust corrupt, and branded self-interest as a reprehensible vice. Bernard de Mandeville in his Fable of the Bees, tried to discredit this doctrine. He pointed out that self-interest and the desire for material well-being, commonly stigmatized as vices, are in fact the incentives whose operation makes for welfare, prosperity, and civilization.''
``Adam Smith adopted this idea,'' von Mises declares.
That sounds so much like the philosophy of another Viennese philosopher, Jacob Frank, the disciple of Jewish heretic Sabbatai Zevi, who believed that man must commit "holy sin" in order to force God's hand to bring good out of it.
Robert O. Self, Assistant Professor of History at Brown University, has much to say about this in his book AMERICAN BABYLON. I'll pick up with this book and Self's look at Austrian Economics next time.
THE RABBIS ARE STILL AT IT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative rabbis expressed concern on Monday over a newly released Catholic prayer calling for the conversion of Jews and said they hoped a resolution expressing dismay over the wording would send a message to Pope Benedict.
Many Jewish organizations have voiced disappointment over the prayer and the Rabbinical Assembly representing some 1,600 Conservative rabbis worldwide is considering a resolution at its meeting this week in Washington saying it is "dismayed and deeply disturbed."
Rabbi Alvin Berkun, president of the group, said the release of the revised Latin-language Good Friday prayer by the Vatican last week was only a small bump in improving Jewish-Catholic relations, but the Jewish community needed to express concern.
"I think as Jews we have learned that we can't just sit idly by, that when there's even a minor setback we need to focus on it," said Berkun, a long-time participant in inter-faith dialogue.
I, for one, am losing patience with these rabbis who live in a glass house and still throw stones. There is only one thing to say...mind your own d... religious business and stay out of ours!
WILL MCCAIN GET THE CATHOLIC VOTE?
A Catholic pro-life group has issued an endorsement for John McCain, the Arizona senator who appears likely to become the Republican presidential nominee. The political action committee for Fidelis says McCain is pro-life on abortion and calls the pro-abortion positions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "disastrous."
Brian Burch, the group's president, told LifeNews.com on Monday that his organization is joining "a growing chorus of conservatives" in backing McCain.
"Fidelis believes McCain’s pro-life record [and] his commitment to selecting judges who will respect the Constitution ... merit the support of Catholics," Burch said. "We are proud to stand with him as he prepares for a very difficult election ahead."
Although some pro-life advocates have expressed doubt or continue to support GOP candidates Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul, Burch said McCain has a pro-life stance on abortion that pro-life advocates can appreciate.
“Senator McCain has amassed a strong pro-life voting record in the United States Senate," he told LifeNews.com.
"He has repeatedly called for the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and has pledged to nominate judges that will exercise judicial restraint, and respect the Constitution," the Catholic pro-life advocate added.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Rick Salbato at Unity Publishing has written three articles dealing with the history and activities of the ultra-right-wing religious congregation calling itself Opus Angelorum. Based in Detroit, it is spreading devotion to the angels around the United States in retreats. The organization claims to be in conformity with the demands of our Pope when he was head of the CDF Cardinal Ratzinger. Yet the secretiveness has not altered, and the seer whose writings have been forbidden is still credited with being the instrumentality of the founding of the organization on their website.
They openly admit that her writings contain names of angels not part of the body of faith:
Now from the examination of Gabriele’s writings it was determined that they contained the names of individual Angels and a certain body of particularized doctrine on their ministries and rankings which are extraneous to Scripture and Tradition; hence, this portion of her writings could not be used as the basis for the spirituality or practices of any institute of the Catholic Church. At the same time, the Congregation, aside from several clear and particular restrictions, left a large body of Gabriele Bitterlich’s writings untouched.
If these names are not part of the body of doctrine, what was the source of Bitterlich's names? Was the spirit who gave them to her an evil spirit, given that the material dictated is not in conformity with doctrine? There are only two sources of supernatural phenomena--God and fallen angels.
In any case, a carrot has been dangled in front of anyone who embraces this theology. It would be natural to seek out the entire body of work after this temptation has been offered. Who, afterall, would not want to know more about God and heavenly things? Who could resist the temptation to obtain special knowledge that is subtly being offered by the writings in this website?
Rick Salbato's three articles on Opus Angelorum can be read at these links:
"Opus Angelorum - Satanism and Disobedience"
"Opus Angelorum, An Old Satanic Heresy"
"Did Rome Stop Opus Angelorum?"
EXORCISM CENTER TO BE BUILT IN POLAND
According to the Washington Post:
POCZERNIN, Poland -- This wind-swept village is bracing for an invasion of demons, thanks to a priest who believes he can defeat Satan.
The Rev. Andrzej Trojanowski, a soft-spoken Pole, plans to build a "spiritual oasis" that will serve as Europe's only center dedicated to performing exorcisms. With the blessing of the local Catholic archbishop and theological support from the Vatican, the center will aid a growing number of Poles possessed by evil forces or the devil himself, he said.
"This is my task, this is my purpose -- I want to help these people," said Trojanowski, who has worked as an exorcist for four years. "There is a group of people who cannot get relief through any other practices and who need peace."
Exorcism -- the church rite of expelling evil spirits from tortured souls -- is making a comeback in Catholic regions of Europe. Last July, more than 300 practitioners gathered in the Polish city of Czestochowa for the fourth International Congress of Exorcists.
About 70 priests serve as trained exorcists in Poland, about double the number of five years ago. An estimated 300 exorcists are active in Italy. Foremost among them: the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, 82, who performs exorcisms daily in Rome and is dean of Europe's corps of demon-battling priests.
"People don't pray anymore, they don't go to church, they don't go to confession. The devil has an easy time of it," Amorth said in an interview. "There's a lot more devil worship, people interested in satanic things and seances, and less in Jesus."
Amorth and other priests said the resurgence in exorcisms has been encouraged by the Vatican, which in 1999 formally revised and upheld the rite for the first time in almost 400 years.
Although a Vatican official denied reports in December of a campaign to train more exorcists, supporters said informal efforts began under Pope John Paul II -- himself an occasional demon chaser -- and have accelerated under Pope Benedict XVI. A Catholic university in Rome began offering courses in exorcism in 2005 and has drawn students from around the globe.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
SOME GENUFLECT--SOME PRANCE
Lately when I see videos like this one over at Catholic Light where even the priest is making a fool of himself dancing around the altar with the monstrance in his hands, and men and women are dancing around with him in what appears to me to be a senseless demonstration of...what?, reflective of Paganism that has invaded the Church and found itself at home. What's more, I don't see much likelihood that it is going to go away any time soon.
It used to make me angry to come upon this sort of thing on the web, but the anger is gone, replaced by a strong desire for distance. Now I breathe a heavy sigh and move on, knowing full well that there is nothing I could do or say that would have even the minutest impact on what I'm looking at. This sort of thing makes of the Church an alien place where I don't belong and don't want to, especially when it is compounded with report after report of scandal of one form or another. This is not the Church I've held in reverence for most of my life. This is something else entirely. I don't recognize these people as Catholics in the way that I think of myself as Catholic. This religion is not my religion.
As I watch this video the questions keep recurring, "What does it all mean? What is the monstrance really that it draws this sort of irreverence out of people? Is it just metal, glass, bread? How could it be God Who calls forth awe and reverence, when this sort of behavior is taking place? Surely these people must see this object as something different from what I see when I look at this object?" And then the unwelcome thought follows that perhaps they are right afterall, and reverence is wasted.
FROM THE EMAILBOX
Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 03, Number 06 | Friday, February 8, 2008
Jamaica at the Crossroads
Teach us true respect for all / Stir response to duty's call / Strengthen us the weak to cherish / Give us vision lest we perish.
These inspiring words are from the Jamaican National Anthem. They perfectly encapsulate the kind of commitment to the vulnerable that Jamaica needs to manifest if it is to have a future. The good pro-life people on this island are struggling hard - before abortion gets legalized - to convince their nation that abortion is a deal with the devil that will kill their national soul.
I am writing primarily to ask your prayers for Jamaica right now. Jamaica is a very Christian nation with deep-seated Christian values that often get trampled upon by hedonistic lifestyles that they have learned from their northern neighbors. Their unwed pregnancy rate is high, poverty is endemic, crime and murders are rampant and they always talk about themselves as a Third World Country. However, even though they are a relatively small island lodged in between two huge American continents they are second to none in their love for life. The vast majority of Jamaicans really understand that there is no reason to kill a baby, ever. They call in to radio talk shows and write letters to the editor to let their pro-life opinions be known, and their pro-life heart will save them.
The attempt to legalize abortion in Jamaica, however, is just another page of the abortion playbook. The international abortion lobby works closely with a few well-placed abortion promoters in any country, usually in the medical profession and government. These then set up committees to study the phenomenon of "unsafe abortion" which is nothing more than a euphemism for "illegal" abortion. They grossly exaggerate or skew the numbers of women being harmed and killed by illegal abortionists, and then on the basis of their voluminous reports to government and scare tactics, they push the agenda to legalize abortion claiming that they are the real champions of women.
True to form, in Jamaica, an Abortion Advisory Committee was set up in 2005 to "study" the issue of abortion for a proposed legal reform. The head of this committee is a retired doctor who had been head of Planned Parenthood in Jamaica - just imagine what she will "advise" her government! Predictably, this advisory group submitted a totally pro-abortion report to Parliament last year advocating abortion on demand up to 22 weeks and proceeded to fast track the effort to legalize abortion when a new, more liberal government came into power in October. Now, the situation has reached a critical stage. Parliament has set up a special Select Committee to "debate" the issue and create draft legislation for a vote. This is why Jamaica needs your prayers! The process is very far advanced.
Thankfully, an alliance of churches and concerned civic groups had a press conference at a hotel in Kingston yesterday in which they signaled to the government in no uncertain terms that they will not accept this plan to legalize abortion on demand in Jamaica. It was a magnificent show of solidarity and unity behind the singular purpose of rebuking this immoral effort to kill more babies. The interventions were just marvelous and you can look at the statements of these groups on the new website that has been set up for this purpose, www.defendlifejamaica.com. These people are the conscience of their nation.
The battle for life has only just begun in Jamaica, but the best part of it is that the defenders of life have a fighting chance because they are getting organized now. They are working very hard to keep their people faithful to their founding vision of "respecting all" and "cherishing the weak." Please pray the prayer to the Guardian Angel of Jamaica and keep their valiant efforts in prayer for at least the near future.
Prayer to Guardian Angel of Jamaica
Come to our aid, O Guardian Angel of Jamaica, you who constantly behold the Face of God (Mt 18:10). Offer the prayers of the Jamaican people like incense to the Throne of Grace (Rev 8:4) and ask Almighty God to restrain the lawless one (2 Thes 2:7) in his desire to destroy our children and families. May you come with St. Michael the Archangel to drive out the spirit of abortion from our land and so protect us from all evil. Assist us now in our hour of need!
We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International