Saturday, February 14, 2004

VALENTIN TOMBERG Author of Meditations on the Tarot was the topic of a book by the Chairman of the Russian Anthroposophical Society, S. O. Prokofieff. The book is titled The Case of Valentin Tomberg. Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote the forward to Tomberg's Meditations. Valentin Tomberg - A Talk by Robert Powell, Summer 1986. From the website: in these articles Valentine Tomberg describes how the great Russian authors, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Soloviev, brought very special impulses in Russia which really were to prepare the way for Anthroposophy there especially Soloviev with his deeply Christian philosophical, teaching was a central figure for the preparation for Anthroposophy. Soloviev died in his 86 th. year, in 1900, and Valentin Tomberg describes how for Anthroposophy to spread in Russia it would be necessary to connect onto the impulse of Valdimir Soloviev just as in Germany Rudolf Steiner connected onto Goethe. Steiner Books, a division of the Anthroposophic Press, offers a book about Soloviev. Interesting... CarrieTomko@aol.com

VM CANCELLED AT 15 CATHOLIC COLLEGES From TCR News: Already Cardinal Newman Society�s campaign against the play has had an impact. Productions have been canceled at 15 Catholic colleges and universities this year, several prompted by letters, phone calls and e-mails urging administrators to ban �Vagina Monologues.� Cardinal Newman Society praised college officials who interceded and banned the play at the Catholic University of America (Washington, DC), Emmanuel College (Boston, MA), Loyola University of New Orleans (LA), St. John�s University (Jamaica, NY), St. Joseph�s College (Rensselaer, IN), the University of Portland (OR), the University of St. Francis (Joliet, IL), and Wheeling Jesuit University (WV). CarrieTomko@aol.com

PAPAL INFLUENCES � Part VII In continuing to explore the influence Soloviev has had on religion in Russia, I�ll turn to Chapter Ten of The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, titled �The Magic of Words: Symbolism, Futurism, Socialist Realism� by Irina Gutkin. who writes: The Symbolists were the first among Russian modernists to sense the impending end of the old world and to turn, under the influence of Vladimir Soloviev�s philosophy, to diverse occult systems in search of alternative epistemological models that would unite nonrational intuitive ways of cognition with rational, logical ones. Soloviev�s theurgic aesthetics assigned the arts the task of totally transfiguring the world in the light of the future. �Artists and poets once again must become priests and prophets, but in a new, still more important and lofty sense: not only will they be possessed by the religious idea, but they themselves will take possession of it and will consciously control its earthly incarnations.� (�The Occult� p. 225-6) Anyone who has followed the development of liberal Christian thought can see that this took root. At the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, concerts are very much part of the bill of fare. Jazz musician Paul Winter�s Missa Gaia or Earth Mass is welcomed at the cathedral. Matthew Fox combines entertainment and �worship� in his Techno-Cosmic Mass. Meanwhile American Catholics struggle with the agitators who want to include liturgical dance in the Mass. And there are all of the entertainments included in the various Papal Masses around the world in the name of �inculturation.� Gutkin continues: In Aleksandr Blok�s words, �The Symbolist from the very beginning is already a theurgist, that is to say the possessor of a secret knowledge behind which stands a secret act; but he looks at the secret, which only later turns out to be universal, as his own.� The Symbolists conceived of the poet�s role in terms of the Gnostic tradition and saw themselves as mystagogues whose exclusive mission was to penetrate the ontological mysteries and to reveal the path to salvation. Like alchemists who believed that the discovery of the elixir of life was a matter of achieving unsurpassed mastery of magic, the Symbolists sought to master the magic of words by means of symbolic correspondences as well as through sound, rhythm, and rhyme. (�The Occult� p. 226) Generally, the Symbolists� approach to the occult was eclectic; they borrowed extensively from straightforward folk sources and complex esoteric doctrines. (�The Occult� p. 226-7) In Blok�s characterization, sorcerers are close kin to the Symbolist poets in the way they use language: they �know the word, the essence of things, and know how to turn these things to harm or to good; therefore an inaccessible line separates them from the ordinary people.��The poet-magician became one of the central images of Symbolist mythologized self-perception. (�The Occult� p. 227) In �Symbolism as a World Understanding� [Bely] termed [the] use of the word �theurgy,� after Soloviev. �The �magic of words,� by means of which the artist obtains the power to conjure up realities inaccessible through common everyday language, was a concept shared by other Symbolist poets; it came to signify the �theurgic� or futurological function of art�the creation of a �new� or �future� reality, albeit a reality specific to each theorist. (�The Occult� p. 231-2) �Theurgy� gets heavy usage in alchemical, hermetic, magickal circles as a technique for imposing the practitioner�s will upon material reality. It can be used in a good way, but also it is believed that it can be used to bring about evil ends. Often the distinction is made between white and black magic The Metareligion website describes it this way: Magick intended to bring about the spiritual transformation of the person who practices it. This form of magick is designed to channel the magician's consciousness towards the sacred light within, which is often personified by the high gods of different cosmologies. The aim of high magick has been described as communication with one's holy guardian angel, or higher self. It is also known as theurgy. In some ways this is similar to prayer. The difference, however, lies with the intention of the magician or the petitioner. With prayer, we recognize that not our own will but rather the will of the Father must be done. With theurgy or magick, only the will of the magician is a factor. This is wholly absorbed self-will, an essential distinction. In fact, according to Gutkin, Symbolists, or at least some of them, saw �the ideal future based on apocalyptic doctrines that informed Symbolist mentality, particularly Soloviev�s Neo-Gnostic mysticism, which predicated the advent of millenarian utopia. (�The Occult� p. 233) Was a hope for a millenarian utopia a motivating factor in John Paul II�s declaration of a �New Springtime� in the Church? The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses millenarianism in passage No. 676: The Antichrist�s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the �intrinsically perverse� political form of a secular messianism. (CCC p. 177) Yet Russian Messianism is a political form of millenariarianism. Soloviev promoted a Theocracy. The only debatable question was whether he saw this as the return of Christ or the reign of antichrist? The poet Bely was an admirer of Soloviev and an admirer of something else: At this time Bely was preoccupied with Theosophy; he perused Blavatsky�s Secret Doctrine and frequented a Theosophical circle in Moscow. Occult doctrines are typically founded on the belief that all phenomena of the universe are connected in a great design or pattern. The highest goal of an occult system has always been to reveal that divine design; to explain relationships between phenomena such as the cycles of human life and the movement of the planets, between the proportions of the human body and the structure of the cosmos�ultimately, to construe an overall relationship between spirit and matter. Blavatsky�s doctrine was an attempt to bring into one system the mystical notions underlying world religions. Bely, guided by Soloviev�s ideas of synthesis, apparently took on an analogous task�to solve the problem of synthetic knowledge. (�The Occult� p. 228-9) The idea that through the word a poet-magician can act upon the unknown constituted a leitmotif of Bely�s essays of the period. In �Symbolism as a World Understanding� he termed this use of the word �theurgy,� after Soloviev. The �magic of words,� by means of which the artist obtains the power to conjure up realities inaccessible through common everyday language, was a concept shared by other Symbolist poets; it came to signify the �theurgic� or futurological function of art�the creation of a �new� or �future� reality, albeit a reality specific to each theorist. (�The Occult� p. 231-2) Does art reflect reality or create it? It seems as though Bely and other Symbolists intended to create it through the use of words. Considering the power of our visual arts, it would be reasonable to say that TV follows in the footsteps of Symbolist poets bent on the magical creation of reality. We are highly influenced by television. If the script writers subscribe to this concept of �theurgy,� it is reasonable to conclude that they are shaping our culture. Certainly new trends are tried out on television before they become common concepts in the cultural marketplace. Consider the first televised gay kiss as a prime example. How much has our cultural perception of homosexuality been shaped by sit coms? To be continued� CarrieTomko@aol.com

UMMM....WHAT IS THIS ? CarrieTomko@aol.com

FATIMA And specifically the plans to turn Fatima into an interfaith shrine are discussed by John Vennari. CarrieTomko@aol.com

TRYING TO FIGURE THIS OUT... The Church of St. David the King, a Roman Catholic church named after an Old Testament figure. The fascade reminds me of a discount store. Has David been declared a saint? I seem to have missed that. Well, anyway, take the tour which shows the interior, including the tabernacle. Well that's what they call it anyway... It's hard to say where they hide it. The picture of the sanctuary doesn't show it. CarrieTomko@aol.com

FROM THE EYE OF THE NOTRE DAME STORM over the V. Monologues and the gay film festival...The Shrine of the Holy Whapping is a ND student blog. The posting on this topic is encouraging. Looks like time for the oldsters to follow the youngsters. What a delightful turn of events! This link comes via Amy Welborn's blog where it's being discussed, btw. Now that I've read through the rest of Amy's blog, I see that there has been a cancellation of the VM event at John Carroll thanks to the efforts to all those who protested. Hurray!! CarrieTomko@aol.com

SYMBOLISTS, SYMBOLISM, SYMBOLS... Like maybe a "stang" or forked walking stick? CruxNews reports that Catholics in the "Archdiocese of Brisbane were invited by Archbishop John Bathersby to gather at St. Stephen's Cathedral on the First Sunday of Advent to receive an official "Pilgrim Staff." In Celtic mythology, a stang "represents the horned god. . . . The stang is used as the visual marking of the entrance to a circle. . . . The use of the stang confirms to the gods and goddesses, the elemental spirits, that you mean business and that you are aware of the Craft" (from the Internet web site, CelticAncestralPages). In the Tools of Witchcraft (witchvox.com), one learns that a stang "may be used in much the same manner as the wand." On the pagan web site, ladyslair.net, one reads, "the wood that your Stang is made of, should you choose to use one, should be appropriate to the type of Magic you generally perform. Its decoration should also be a reflection of that consideration." And as the United States? most famous witch, Starhawk, explained: "To cast a spell is to project energy through a symbol." Starhawk, incidentally, is author of The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, which explains the occult power of pagan symbols. Not surprisingly, the spiral goddess symbol is becoming a major symbol in Catholic publications, art, and iconography in Australia, and is even the logo for the Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes? Social Action Office in Queensland. One of the most celebrated uses of the stang in a public demonstration occurred when well-known Catholic homosexual activist Tony Robertson marched in the June 2000 Gay Pride Parade procession with the Jubilee Pilgrim Staff from Brisbane?s "gay-friendly" St. Mary?s Parish. That staff is a rainbow-covered stang representing "those who are currently excluded from the Eucharistic Table by Church legislation on marriage and sexuality [and] call the Church to repent of the sins of racism, sexism, homophobia, and prejudice that have seen so many excluded from the Eucharistic Table." A web site also reports that he carried the staff in the archdiocese?s main Corpus Christi procession, where he marched behind the archbishop. See www.geocities .com/jubilee2000au/index.html. Looks like some Catholics in Australia know about symbolism and what to do with a stan...um...pilgrim staff. Apparently the Bishop doesn't know, or else wants to pretend he doesn't know. Weeds in the rectory. Pagan occult implements in the sanctuary. Will Catholic wonders in the news never cease? But the most interesting part of the article is this: This group is made up of predominantly members of the Sisters of Mercy, who play an essential role in the transformation of the Church in Australia into a pagan, goddess-worshiping cult. And I can't even ask "Where is their bishop?" Apparently he could very well be designing stangs in the chancery. The article contains more of the activities of the Mercy Sisters. It also talks about the Brisbane grandmothers who have visited the Sister's center to collect literature and newsletters, and sent them to the bishop. But no action has been taken. Now why is that? Could it be because the bishop approves of the pagan activities of the nuns? Certainly it's a possibility. Since I've been digesting the philosophy of Soloviev who preached the Divine Sophia, naturally this sentence from the article caught my eye: This program spoke of ?Sophia-Christ? and even carried a picture advertisement for the Sisters of Mercy?s ?earth link? eco-spirituality/witchcraft retreat center which promotes goddess-worshiping books on its web site." Not surprisingly the diocese where this took place has the lowest Sunday Mass attendance in Australia. See that "Sophia-Christ" up there? Yup, Soloviev. Someone needs to have a talk with the Holy Father. And there was this paragraph: Sr. Margie Abbott, RSM, is author of Sparks of the Cosmos: Rituals for Seasonal Use, a book which contains 80 rituals to celebrate earth, air, fire, and water. Abbott is also coauthor of Sparks of Life: Rituals for Children, which is designed to teach young people to pray in an "earth-centered" way. Sr. Abbott, according to her biography in the Australian Catholic Leaders of Religious Institutes, "is an adult educator, teacher, group worker, and writer. Margie works part time as a Gender Equity Consultant with the Catholic Education Office Adelaide. In her other work, Margie tutors in counseling, facilitates retreats, staff development days, and works in drama with homeless young people who visit schools and the community presenting plays about teenage pregnancy, violence, and bullying. Margie edits Join the Circle for MediaCom." Drama. And the Symbolist poets, of whom Mickiewicz and Soloviev were two, promoted art as a change agent. Looks like they have been successful. The article also indicts the Presentation Sisters, Sisters of St. Joseph, the Capuchins, and the Christian Brothers for similar offenses. The books they offer in their library are sure not my kind of "women's spirituality." What religion do these people belong to, anyway? Sure isn't Catholic. The article also refers to a replacement of "God" with "Holy Spirit of Fire" in prayers. Hmmm. I wonder if they are Charismatic? Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, February 13, 2004

MORE ON THE NOTRE DAME UNIV. GAY PLAYS from Thomas Droleskey who attempted to post a Catholic position in the school newspaper but had his ad rejected. Catholic parents who are considering Notre Dame for their children should take note of the political climate at the University. It doesn't appear to be Catholic. CarrieTomko@aol.com

JOHN ALLEN DISSECTS THE LATERAN TREATY at the NCR website: Though there will be no five-star happenings to mark the occasion � no fireworks, no papal liturgies, no processions � Wednesday, Feb. 11, is nevertheless the 75th anniversary of a decisive turning point in the history of the modern Catholic Church. On that date in 1929, the Vatican and the Italian government signed the so-called �Lateran Pacts.� These three agreements � a treaty, a concordat, and a financial settlement � recognized the sovereignty of the Holy See and the Vatican City-State, protected Catholic structures in Italy, and provided the Vatican roughly $85 million ($500 million in today�s dollars) as reparation for the loss of the Papal States. Cambridge University historian John Pollard compares the significance of the Lateran Treaties to the impact of Constantine in the 4th century. Just as Constantine�s policy of state support for the church laid the foundation for medieval Christendom, the legal and financial independence bequeathed by the Lateran Treaties were the sine qua non for the modern �imperial papacy.� Continue reading his comments... While you're in there reading them, take a look at his report on the accusations against the papacy made by the SSPX, among them these: �As attractive as he seems at first sight,� the booklet concludes about John Paul, �as spectacular as his ceremonies appear on TV, and however large the crowds that follow him, the realty is extremely sad: ecumenism has transformed the holy city that is the church into a city in ruins.� Other than the pope, the villain of the story as told by the Lefebvrites is Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who is accused of heresy three times in the 50-page document. Strong words. Definitely not PC. An indication that the climate in the Church has shifted toward a favorable assessment of the SSPX on this issue? I'm getting some overtones from Amy's blog that it may have. Allen's interview with Fr. Robert Taft about ecumenism with the Orthodox and Cdl. Kasper's upcoming visit with Alexi II are also interesting. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PAPAL INFLUENCES � Part VI Soloviev promoted devotion to the �Divine Sophia.� The notion did not die with Soloviev. Today in Catholic circles of a certain persuasion we still her about this Divine Sophia. How did we get here? And who took up Soloviev�s cause to keep it alive after he died? The Occult in Russian and Societ Culture helps to answer that question. The fourth chapter in the book entitled �The Shade of Lucifer�s Dark Wing: Satanism in Silver Age Russia,� written by Kristi A. Groberg, whom Rosenthal describes as �Assistant Professor of History at Moorhead State University, Minnesota. She co-edited, with Avraham Greenbaum, and contributed to A Missionary for History: Essays in Honor of Simon Dubnov (Minneapolis, in press) and is the author of �The Feminine Occult Sophia in the Russian Religious Renaissance,� Canadian-American Slavic Studies, 1992, and of numerous articles on Vladimir Soloviev and on women writers of the Silver Age.� (�The Occult� p. 452) Groberg writes: The fascination with Satan was often colored by apocalyptic ideas engendered by the Russian sociopolitical crisis and by visions of the Nietzschean Ubermensch (Superman), or of the Antichrist, who reversed �good� and �evil.� The religious philosopher Vladimir Soloviev (1853-1900) was in many ways the spiritual father of this zeitgeist because Christian theology, spiritualism, occultism, and demonism were realities in his metaphysical worldview. Between 1898 and his death in 1900, he became increasingly disillusioned with Christianity as a unifying force for the modern world; at this time, he began to experience visions of demons and devils, and believed that he had actually confronted Satan in the flesh. His final work is the eschatological Kratkaia povest� ob Antikhriste. (Christ and the Antichrist, 1899)�. Among a broad cross section of artists, fascination with the satanic became an almost cultic response to the chaos that followed the failed revolution of 1905. Their responses were highly individual and varied over time. Many of these artists were the educated children of the newly wealthy merchant class or of upper-middle-class intellectuals; some were aristocrats; and with few exceptions they were male. To a man they were allied with or sympathetic to the political left. (�The Occult� p. 102-3) Chapter five of the book, �Fashionable Occultism: Spiritualism, Theosophy, Freemasonry, and Hermeticism in Fin-de-Siecle Russia� is an essay by Maria Carlson. Carlson writes: After 1911 national Russian Masonic lodges proliferated in every area of the Russian empire, in parallel with the Spiritualist societies, Theosophical branches, and other occult movements. The exoteric Masons even assayed their own journal, the short-lived Russkii Frank-Mason: Svobodnyi kamenshchik (Russian Freemason), in 1908. Unlike the earlier lodges, which were exclusively male, many post-1911 lodges accepted women as members. They tended to be highly politicized, leaning toward the liberal or moderate left. By February 1917 there were twenty-eight known major (and many more minor) Masonic lodges in Russia, together boasting some 2,500 members. The movement had permeated every level of Russian professional and intellectual life. Nina Berberova points out that �at this time�from the start of the First World War and right up to February 1917�there was no profession, institution, civic or private society, organization, or group in Russia without Masons.� The Masonic phenomenon in Russia was not monolithic. The lodges varied not only in their rites and the degrees they recognized but in their purposes and doctrines. (�The Occult� p. 147) Russian Hermeticism was the heir of the French occult revival of the second half of the nineteenth century; it signaled a reaction against the prevailing scientific positivism and gained particular popularity among the French Decadents and Symbolists. Its recognized leader was Eliphas Levi (Alphonse Louis Constant, 1810-1875), a defrocked French priest who had a long-standing interest in occult and mystical philosophy. Starting almost alone, he gathered around him a group of devout if eccentric disciples, and soon made France the vanguard of the occult renascence. His studies, although vague, Romantic, and often contradictory, became increasingly popular and are considered occult classics even today. (�The Occult� p. 150) Carlson errs in claiming Eliphas Levi was "defrocked", when in fact he was never ordained since he walked away from the seminary a few days before his ordination. Nevertheless, with that passage, she has placed Russian Hermeticism in a direct line with Eliphas Levi, and thus in a direct line with Adam Mickiewicz, the exiled Polish poet who directly influenced Karol Wojtyla in his youth. Carlson continues: Not only was Eliphas Levi himself an important figure of the French occult revival, but his occult works, especially his Histoire de la magie (1860), influenced the work of many others. Levi and the French occultists had an important influence on the Symbolist writers�the painters of the Salon de la Rose-Croix, the Nabis�Odilon Redon, Puvis de Chavannes, Gustave Moreau, and Jean Delville, as well as on the Dutch artist Jan Toorop, the English Pre-Raphaelites, the scandalous poets Algernon Charles Swinburne and Oscar Wilde, and, both directly and indirectly, the Russian Decadents. The British writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a Rosicrucian, put Levi and his philosophy into his popular novels. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, whose members included the Theosophically inclined Irish poet William Butler Yeats and the scholar A. E. Waite, attempted to synthesize the vast and bewildering body of occult material into a system, using Eliphas Levi�s works as its foundation. Many other occultists based their studies on Levi�s; even the wonderfully eccentric Mme Blavatsky leaned heavily on Levi�s work for her own Theosophical classics, injecting Hermetic materials into her highly syncretic Theosophical doctrine. The French occult revival, once started, generated interest in many mystical systems. Gnosticism, ancient Hermeticism, medieval philosophical alchemy, astrology (traditional and Oriental), Kabbala, Eastern mysticism, black and white magic, Rosicrucianism, the tarot, and some forms of mystical Freemasonry were rediscovered and popularized under the rubric of �Hermetic arts.� As the French occult revival configured French Decadence and Symbolism in the arts in France, so it acted on the arts of Russia. (�The Occult� p. 150-151) That was the Russian climate in which Soloviev wrote his poetry and philosophical notions. Russia was ripe for a Gnostic Sophia, and Soloviev obliged. Renata von Maydell describes the spread of �Anthroposophy in Russia� in Chapter Six. Rosenthal describes Maydell as �Assistant Professor at the Institute for Slavic Philology, Munich University. Her publications include �Dornach als pilgerstaette der russischen Anthroposophen� in Russische Emigration in Deutschland, 1918 bis 1941, edited by Karl Schloegel (Berlin, 1995), and �Neue Materialien uber Emilij Metner,� Wiener Slawistische Almanach 36 (1995).� ("The Occult" p. 453) Maydell writes: �Steiner derived the capability of holistic thinking. In the Russian way of thinking, as he saw it, two opposing concepts can hold sway simultaneously, so that rationality was mysticism and mysticism was rationality. �The Russian does not have the slightest understanding of what Westeners call �reasonableness.� He is accessible to what could be termed �revelation.� Basically, he will accept and integrate into the contents of his soul anything he owes to a kind of revelation." (�The Occult� p. 155) Such thinking produces a mind ripe for the infusion of occult doctrines which can be many, varied, and contradictory. Since contact with the spirit world is very much a part of the occult worldview, �revelation� plays a significant part in the development of that worldview. Another characteristic of the Russian people manifested itself in its understanding of Christ, Steiner claimed. The Russians had kept their souls open to the �continuous influx of the Christ-impulse.� That is how they became Christ�s own people; Christ was present in them as an aura, determining their thoughts and feelings (for the soul has no physical appearance, and can be discerned only by the spiritual eye). The evidence of this impulse can be seen in Vladimir Soloviev�s understanding of Christ, which was like �the dawn announcing the rise of a new civilization.� In Soloviev�s philosophy Steiner saw the seed of the philosophy of the �Spirit Self� of the sixth epoch, for here the religious and philosophical worldviews merged; Soloviev�s philosophy spoke the language of religion, while his religion strove to be a philosophical worldview.� And, according to Steiner, this was where the superiority of the Russian philosophy over the aging Western philosophy lay: it transcended Hegel�s and Kant�s views, the fruit of the fifth epoch, because it transcended the limits of reason and it built a basis for a new holistic understanding. In order to develop its capacities and to fulfill its mission, Steiner said, the Russian people needed contact with the West; the �female East� should be impregnated by the �male West.� (�The Occult� p. 155-6) John Paul II often speaks of the �Eastern lung and Western lung� of the Catholic Church. Did he get the idea from Steiner? The similarity, at any rate, is obvious. Returning to Maydell: Many Russian Anthroposophists saw themselves as part of the tradition of the Symbolists, who had helped create religious-philosophical meetings and societies at the beginning of the century. Theosophy is rarely compatible with the Russian Orthodox faith, but Anthroposophy is strongly oriented toward Christianity, embodies a way that leads to a new Christianity, and thus is easier to reconcile with Christian traditions. Steiner saw a symbolic significance in the fact that Anthroposophy in Russia evolved out of contacts that members of the intelligentsia maintained with the West: in 1912 he said that Anthroposophy, whose roots are to be found in Russia (he was referring to the Ukranian Elena Blavatsky), should return to Russia by way of India, the Americas, and Europe, thereby coming full circle. As early as 1913, interest in Steiner led to the founding of the Vladimir Soloviev Russian Anthroposophical Society in Moscow. (�The Occult� p. 157) For emphasis, let me repeat that�The Anthroposophical Society in Moscow was named the Vladimir Soloviev Russian Anthroposophical Society in Moscow. Obviously Soloviev and Rudolf Steiner have philosophy in common. Even before Steiner broke from the Theosophical Society, a division had opened up between Russian Theosophical groups that were oriented toward England and those that were allied with the Russian Symbolists. The latter groups had met mainly through the Symbolist publishing house Musaget, headed by Emily Karlovich Medtner, and were already oriented toward Germany. These meetings provided the framework for courses and workshops on the philosophy and literature of Symbolism as well as on the Theosophical worldview (based on Steiner�s work). Bely and his friend Lev Kobylinsky-Ellis influenced these activities significantly. (�The Occult� p. 157) To be continued� CarrieTomko@aol.com

ANNIBALE BUGNINI Will we ever know for sure? You know the question I refer to. A reader has linked this website which discusses this controversial figure in contemporary Church politics. I admit I haven't read all of the material there. The reason I haven't read it is that I have a nagging suspicion without any proof that perhaps Bugnini wasn't "banished" to Iran, but rather was "sent." And there really is nothing more that I can say on that topic because, as I said, I have only a nagging suspicion but no proof of any kind. And I don't have the time to dig for proof. So I'll just have to let it be. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, February 12, 2004

LITURGICAL DANCE A reader has written an article on Liturgical Dance which is up at the Triumph Communications website. Here's a portion of it: Liturgical dance needed an intellectual justification. Kathryn Mihelick, a liturgical dancer, presented her paper, "On the Appropriateness of Sacred Dance for Liturgical Use," to the Ad Hoc Committee of the NCCB (National Conference of Catholic Bishops) in the summer of 2003. The committee's conclusion was that they would not act to legalize liturgical dance until another more scholarly "exegetical, anthropological, theological" paper is done. Another pro-liturgical dance paper will probably be presented in the next few months. Ms. Mihelick uses mostly post-conciliar sources to support her conclusions. Her bibliography includes Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, many post-Vatican II works, and only one book written before 1960. Ms. Mihelick uses two misrepresented quotes of St. Ambrose and St. Gregory on the general topic of dancing. Liturgical dance should be called religious dance, as Rome's document Notitiae II Dance in the Liturgy: Religious Dance, An Expression of Spiritual Joy (1975) stated, because it cannot be done during the liturgy. This rule, like most in today's conciliar church, is not enforced. Ms. Mihelick's thesis is that it is not fair for the Church to use every other art form except dance at Mass. Ms. Mihelick is a dance professor at Kent State University and has been dancing illegally at Holy Family Parish in Stow, Ohio for over 15 years, as this author has witnessed. However, all of her pastors have given her permission to dance. The ploy of liberal priests and laity is to abuse and push Rome until she caves in. Like a permissive parent, Rome makes legal an illegal activity which finally after years of being an abuse now becomes a cultural custom. Liberals use the Vatican II documents Sacrosanctum Concilium and Gaudium et Spes to legalize what is in accordance with "mankind's autonomy" and the Church's "inculturation policy." Liberals never want to upset the sensibilities of cultural existentialists. Everyone should just do what they want. Ms. Mihelick had an "Assisi moment," to use a phrase invented by John Vennari, when she and her leaven dance troop tried to organize an interreligious pagan dance extravaganza of various religions in the sanctuary of Holy Family Church in Stow, Ohio on March 20, 1999. Entitled "Beyond Belief," a nice gnostic title, it really was beyond belief. Fortunately, many parishioners such as Eleanor Willett and this author (core members of the St. Catherine of Sienna Society) and scores of others wrote and called the chancery. Notwithstanding this development, the pastor, Fr. Zsabo, and his assistant, Fr. Joseph Leiberth, were still going to have it in the church, so people faxed the Vatican in protest. Fr. Leiberth and four other priests at Holy Family Church were allegedly sexual molesters of minor male teens over the years and have been suspended, but that is another story in itself. So, folks...yet another example of abberant liturgical practices and sexual abuse going together. Maybe they should have invited Fr. Greenhouse and included a little weed with the entertainment! He didn't live all that far away. Perhaps the dancers would have been willing to add some belly dancing from the yoga school where Fr. Greenhouse's student is now doing her thing. Such a funhouse we have become! Ironically, there is a heated discussion in Amy's blog today stemming from the Buddhist monks who were prevented from worshipping on the altar of St. Adelbert Basilica (Grand Rapids Diocese) by a group of 200 SSPX parishioners who did a sit-in protest with rosaries. There is a link in one of the first couple comments boxes to an article at the Daily Catholic website. It describes the event in detail. Also, one of the people commenting in Amy's blog is the organizer of the protest. As of this moment the comments box is up to 126 entries. As I said, it's a hot topic! CarrieTomko@aol.com

WAS BUGNINI A MASON ? AD2000 offers an opinion by Fr. Brian Harrison, OS. from their archives. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ST. ADELBERT CATHEDRAL in Grand Rapids...well, really their website...offers the Enneagram. Notice anything about that drawing? Like maybe just a little bit of tweaking and you have a pentagram? Just my overactive imagination? Maybe not... Gurdjieff and the Enigmatic Enneagram. From the website: The following article emerged out of a footnote to a larger investigation into the relationship between Dr. Carl Jung, neo-gnosticism, and the MBTI. Who is George Gurdjieff, and why is he having such a massive indirect impact on our churches today? Why in particular are �post-charismatic� Roman Catholics, especially well-meaning nuns, becoming caught up in his questionable practices?(1) The Rev. Dr. Robert Innes, Lecturer in Systematic Theology at St. John�s College: Durham, England, tells us that the man credited with bringing the Enneagram to the West is George Gurdjieff, a Greek-Armenian from what is now the Republic of Georgia. While still a teen, Gurdjieff became immersed in occultic practices such as astrology, mental telepathy, spiritism, table turning, fortune telling and demon possession. Gurdjieff claimed that while he was in Afghanistan in 1897, he visited a monastery of the esoteric Sarmouni sect where he learned their mystical Sufi dancing, psychic powers and the Enneagram.(2) In the introduction to The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture Rosenthal says: Two new occult systems foregrounded Oriental religions and yogic practices. George Gurdjieff (1886-1949) developed a unique system that included Islamic mysticism (Sufism), yoga, his own form of numerology, and a vision of the world and the body as machines. Uspensky began to work with Gurdjieff around 1915. They emigrated (separately) after the Bolshevik Revolution and continued to work together until the mid-1920s, when Uspensky began to develop his own system of a Fourth Way. The painter and poet Nikolai Rerikh (Roerich; 1974-1947) synthesized European and Asian esoteric and spiritual thought in an illustrated book of poems...(The flowers of Moria, 1921), and in Agni-yoga (there is no such system in India), both written in emigration. Agni-yoga includes discussions of health, education, daily life, and human relationships. There is tremendous interest in his thought, and in Gurdjieff's and Uspensky's as well, in present-day Russia. ("The Occult" p. 21) Webb also discusses Gurdjieff: Of Georgei Ivanovich Gurdjieff (c. 1877-1949) it is easy to say too little or too much. Just before the outbrak of the First World War, this enigmatic figure had appeared in Moscow and St. Petersburg and gathered around him a band of disciples drawn chiefly from the illuminated intelligentsia. It was not known where Gurdjieff had derived the singularly comprehensive system that he taught. He began from the principle that mankind was asleep and that by following a technique of "self-remembering" man could wake up. This is not the place for an examination of the details of Gurdjieff's system, which probably originates in a combination of Western occultism and certain Oriental doctrines. The ideas seem to represent a restatement of traditional doctrine in the language of the 20th century. In this aspect the work of Gurdjieff is comparable to that of Jung. Gurdjieff himself disliked occultists and Theosophists, regarding such groups as breeding grounds of delusion. But he discovered that his ideas met with an encouraging response in such circles. When this remarkable man emerged from the debris of revolutionary Russia, by the way of an astonishing spiritual and physical obstacle course in his native Caucasus, he brought with him a small group of disciples whose way toward him had led through the tortuous mysticism of the illuminated intellegentsia. This was particularly true of the man through whom Gurdjieff was to become most widely known: P. D. Ouspensky. Ouspensky had been intimately connected with the Theosophists, and just before he met Gurdjieff he had embarked on a tour of the world during which he had visited the Theosophical headquarters at Adyar. He was a friend of A. L. Volynsky, the Symbolist critic, and his profession as a journalist had led him to an extensive acquaintance with the intellectual underworld of Moscow. ("The Occult Establishment" by James Webb, p. 179-80) So what's the work of an occultist doing in a Catholic cathedral? Interestingly enough, Amy Welborn had posted an article in her weblog about the Buddhist service that was scheduled to take place at the cathedral which was disrupted by 200 SSPX adherents who protested during the scheduled event by saying the rosary. Check out the article she has linked. There are a few pictures there. A poster has also linked an article at the Daily Catholic which describes the protest from a Catholic perspective and in detail. It's an encouraging story! UPDATE I neglected to put the link to the cathedral homepage where the link to the above Enneagram program can be found. Here it is. Click the "Positive Living" link at the top of the website. CarrieTomko@aol.com

NOTRE DAME'S FILM FESTIVAL "This film fest is our way of forcing people to recognize there is an active gay community here," said Liam Dacey, a Notre Dame senior. "There's been a fear on this campus to come out." Films in the series include "The Opposite of Sex," a gay-straight-gay love triangle, and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," the story of a transgender rock star. Dacey hardly expects everyone on campus, let alone old grads, to rejoice in their alma mater hosting a gay-film series. Christopher Brophy, a Greek major and publisher of the Irish Rover, a conservative student newspaper, said the film festival crosses what should be a hard-and-fast line. "We support tolerance for homosexuals," Brophy said. "We don't feel it is appropriate at a Catholic school to promote viewing of movies that show inappropriate behavior." Sean Vinck, a third-year law student, is also unhappy with the prospect of the ND Queer Film Festival. "The fact that Notre Dame would allow it to take place on campus points to an institutional confusion," Vinck said. "The university claims to adhere to the teachings of the church about a homosexual lifestyle, but at the same time it bends to modern culture's acceptance of it." Let's see...one of the films is about a gay love triangle. And this is being shown on a Catholic college campus. And we wonder why Catholic young people are confused about what the Church teaches? Excuse me...!?? We send them to a Catholic college to learn not only the content of their major, but also the content of Catholic theology and lifestyle. And this is what they learn??? Don't get me wrong, I would object just as much to a film festival involving a straight love triangle that was not platonic. There is one place for sex, and one place only. Between a man and woman married to each other and intending to promote a family life. Period. Sex is not recreational. Sex is not the right of single people, gay or straight. Sex is not the right of a divorced person or a widow. Sex is marriage glue. Period. It makes family life a possibility by strengthening the marital bond and providing for children, the future of our culture and our world. Find a way to teach that in classroom and film on the Notre Dame campus, will you? Should be the challenge of the decade! CarrieTomko@aol.com

SOLOVIEV Von Balthasar approved of him: Von Balthasar regarded his work "the most universal speculative creation of the modern period" (Gloria III, p. 263) and even goes so far as to set him on the level of Thomas Aquinas. CarrieTomko@aol.com

VLADIMIR SOLOV�EV AND THE KNIGHTHOOD OF THE DIVINE SOPHIA by Samuel D. Cioran, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1977. I found it in the KSU library this afternoon. It confirms what Webb said about Soloviev�s occult activities. While the rational thinker made himself known in his theoretical writings, public and university lectures, as well as his personal efforts to bring about an ecumenical union of the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity, the mystic Solov�ev was revealed to many not only in his poetry, but also in his eccentric life-style and private views. Many are the personal accounts and reminiscences of Solov�ev�s occult interests. As a young man, he apparently took a very active interest in spiritism and frequently participated in s�ances. His letters give ample evidence of this preoccupation with mediumistic practices. It gave rise to earnest arguments with N. Strakhov, the positivistist; it attracted him to the circle initiated by A. K. Tolstoj (and carried on by A. K. Tolstoj�s widow after his death in 1875) who himself had been very deeply immersed in occult studies; it provided part of the basis of his friendship with the Slavophile Aksakovs who were like-minded. While in London in 1875, he made a special visit to the then famous English medium, Charles Williams, although in his correspondence he voiced some doubts about the character and success of both the medium and the s�ance. In fact, Solov�ev appeared to be rather disappointed on the whole with most of the professed mediums he encountered in both London and Paris, judging from his letters. Among others, Prince Evgenij Trubetskoj tells of the extremely delicate and nervous constitution of Solov�ev. Apparently, he was often sick and feverish and it was especially during these bouts of illness that he was particularly susceptible to visions and hallucinations. In fact, Solov�ev considered himself to be a very sensitive medium and often confided to friends the nature of his contact with the spirits. In his reminiscences one Russian intellectual, who was also doing research in the British Museum at the same time as Solov�ev was there, gives a rather startling description of the young philosopher�s activities both in and out of the library in London. This chance acquaintance often observed Solov�ev at work in the reading room and his curiosity was aroused by the abnormal manner of the philosopher. Solov�ev would sit for hours over a single text on the Cabbala that contained mysterious and fantastic drawings and symbols. To Janzhul�s question of why he was so absorbed in this single book, Solov�ev�s reply was apparently that��in a single line of this book there is more intelligence than in all of European science�� Especially arresting, however, is the account of the following episode that relates most directly to Solov�ev�s mediumistic abilities and eccentric behaviour: �Incidentally, I would add to this [i.e., Solov�ev�s visit to Wiliams] that to the latter individuals, that is, to the young girl, Schtudnitz and to my wife, by way of a special sign of trust, Vladimir Sergeevich frequently and in a most serious manner announced that in all the decisive and important instances of his life he acted according to the directions and advice of the spirit of a certain Norman woman of the XVIth or XVIIth century, who appeared to him when he wished and gave the appropriate directions on how to act or what to expect. I repeat again that he announced this several times�avoiding us, the men, who would have held him up to ridicule for such announcements.� Quite obviously there was a hidden side to Solov�ev�s life of which few people knew a great deal. The person who did have knowledge of the most intimate and uncirculated details of his strange habits and occult visions was his brother, Mikhail Sergeevich Solov�ev. Apparently in the private papers and correspondence of the deceased philosopher, M. S. Solov�ev uncovered such incredible and compromising material that he felt forced to destroy most of it in order to preserve the intellectual and moral reputation of his brother. One of the scandalous facts that leaked out was recently presented by Nikolaj Valentinov in his posthumously published memoirs, Two Years with the Symbolists. Valentinov intended to destroy the myth of Solov�ev�s �saintliness� by exposing him as a mentally unbalanced pervert. According to Valentinov, M. S. Solov�ev found a series of intimate letters addressed to Vladimir Solov�ev and signed merely with the letter �S�. However, it was quite apparent that the letters were in Solov�ev�s own easily recognizable handwriting. Apparently he had written these erotic letters to himself and signed them �S� which was construed as �Sophia�. However, Valentinov�s �expose� was by no means new, for this rather amazing set of circumstances had been documented by two other sources. It was known that Solov�ev did indulge in �automatic writing� much as Yeats did, and claimed to be sensitive to emanations and telepathic messages from other realms. Of particular interest is the fact that a later symbolist writer, Georgij Chulkov, claimed that he had seen some specimens of Solov�ev�s �automatic writing� in the 1920�s. Apparently, then, not all of Solov�ev�s compromising private papers were in fact destroyed. They may exist to this day in some appropriately hidden and mysterious Soviet archive. Andrej Belyj also testified to the existence of such curious letters throughout his own memoirs. Perhaps M. S. Solov�ev only wanted to give the impression that the papers had been destroyed in order to put a stop to the vicious rumours concerning Solov�ev�s strange and erotic loves. These sinister rumours increased during the final year of his life because of his so-called �mysterious affair� with a certain Anna Nikolaevna Schmidt, who also had mystical visions and saw herself as the incarnated Sophia, descended to earth for union with Vladimir Solov�ev. (p. 40-43) This is the philosopher that Pope John Paul II speaks of with unqualified approval as a source for direction in the ecumenical efforts with the Orthodox. That seems ever more strange to me. The activities described in these passages are anything but Christian. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

THIS ISN'T YOUR FATHER'S NOTRE DAME ! A festival of gay and lesbian filmmaking to promote discussion and awareness of queer films in a context of acceptance of all sexualities at the University of Notre Dame Check out the nice titles at the "Schedule of Films" link. So, is this "Respect for the individual who happens to be homosexual" OR "Promoting the homosexual lifestyle"? Which to choose...decisions...decisions...these Catholic decisions are so complicated.... Check out the "A Message from the Festival Chair" link. The Chair of the Festival, Liam Dacey, explains it all for us so we can know the true Catholic way to relate... In the face of continuous protests throughout the mid 90s, and demands for inclusion of sexual orientation in the university's non-discrimination clause, the administration made a temporary fix, creating The Standing Committee on Gay and Lesbian Student Needs. The Standing Committee has created some positive programs, including Solidarity Sunday, where on one Sunday a year, inclusion and acceptance of homosexuality is spoken in all masses on campus. There is also the Standing Committee's "CommUnity Initiative", where gay students speak about their homosexuality to selected groups of freshmen in dorms. However, these efforts have not gone far enough. The Queer Film Festival is an unprecedented event � normalizing the existence of gay students on this campus and offering to the entire community the opportunity to enjoy and study the extraordinary accomplishment of gay cinema artists in the United States. We hope it will do more then anything before in Notre Dame history to create support for gays and lesbians, and bridge the community together to celebrate diversity on our campus and beyond. See there...they even use the Pope's own language..."Solidarity" "Unity" "diversity." Surely you can't get any more Catholic than to be using the Pope's own language, can you? I trust all of these gay and lesbian students are being appropriately celibate, and that their films invariably reflect this Catholic moral perspective. It's Notre Dame, for heaven sake! Would you expect anything less? Where is their bishop? CarrieTomko@aol.com

MICKIEWICZ ACCORDING TO MALACHI MARTIN In a comments box below Lee Penn suggested looking at Malchi Martin's book The Keys of This Blood for a different perspective on Adam Mickiewicz. The passage in the book is relatively short. Martin puts an interesting spin on the Pope's fondness for Mickiewicz. Here is what he writes: There was just one point in time when the Catholicity of Poland was almost led onto a fatal path. That moment reached its paroxysm around 1848--the year of the revolution in Europe, the Springtime of the Nations--when the deep Polish night was subjected to the torture of the false and meretricious light of an illusory dawn. Among the expatriate Polish leaders and intellegentsia, mainly in France, there arose a deep and moving conviction that Poland, in imitation of Christ himself, would be resurrected from the tomb of territorial dismemberment. It was nothing less than a national Messianism; and it developed into a fierce belief among the Polish emigres in Paris. The comparison they made between Poland and Christ was full-blown. Poland, they said, had died a violent death at the hands of enemies, as Christ had. Poland's sufferings and death were redemptive, as Christ's were. As Christ was resurrected from the dead, so would Poland be. As the Risen Christ set all men free from sin, so the Risen Poland would set all nations free from oppression. So far did the Messianists go in their febrile enthusiasm that they believed the dead Polish heroes of the past would be reincarnated, and would even develop angelic powers of moral persuasion. (p. 540) He hints with that last sentence, at the occult nature of this speculation, but never comes out and says it. Without having first studied the occult revival in Paris at this time, a reader would not have a clue as to just what the nature of this Messianism was all about. He doesn't even mention Mickiewicz's involvement with Eliphas Levi. The range for this Risen Poland envisioned by the Messianists would not be geopolitical in the sense that had become normal by now in Polish thinking; it would be supergeopolitical. They felt Poland would provide in microcosm a model for the new world order. And in the dreams of these enthusiasts, that world order would forever exclude the old divisive internationalism still so deeply embedded in the contemporary empire-builders of the nineteenth century--the French, the Dutch, the English, the Germans, the Russians and the Chinese. This new Polish identity was prophesied principally by three Polish poets, each of whom was born and died within the time of Poland's official nonexistence: Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855); Zigmunt Krasinski (1812-1859); and Julius Slowacki (1809-1849), whose verses were used to express the deep bond between Pope John Paul II and the Polish people in 1979, as they cheered him and sang with him and wept to see him when he went to Poland to issue his first direct, geopolitical challenge as Pope to Moscow. For he was theirs in a most special sense, their Interrex in Rome itself. "We need strength / To lift this world of God's," Slowacki's words rang out in the sudden hush of the crowds on the eve of John Paul's departure. "Thus here comes a Slavic Pope, / A brother of the people!" Each of these poets insisted on the Christ figure of Poland; and each took Poland--the center of the cross formed by romanitas and polonicitas--as the point of salvation for Poles and for all human beings. In the awful circumstances in which the Messianists found themselves, their dream is understandable as an errant offshoot of the "organic labor" of self-preservation. But at base, their Catholicism was erroneous--a fact that was pointed out to them by their countrymen and archcritic the great poet, philosopher and patriot, Cyprian Norvid. There was one and only one Christ in human history; there cannot be another. There was only one cross on which a redeeming crucifixion could take place. There was only one human death and divine resurrection--Christ's--that could have universal redemptive value. No other individual--and no nation at all--could be described accurately in these same terms. (p. 540-541) Weigle does indicate that Norwid (or Norvid) was the "most influential" on Wojtyla's thought, but does not discuss this difference of opinion that Martin refers to here. In time, most of these Polish Messianists came to recognize the error of confusing Poland with Christ. Further, in reaction to their own mistake--and in a move that would have deep and long-lasting repercussions for Poland, for Polishness, for the nearly unbelievable strength interrex would provide for Poland's survival, and for the direct formation of Karol Wojtyla as priest and Pope--some of the Messianists formed a new religious order, the Resurrectionist Fathers. (p.541) There can be no doubt that the brutilization of the Polish nation by the Germans, followed by the Allied betrayal of the Second Polish Republic and the ruthless Stalinization of all things that ensued, dispelled any aery-faery romanticism that may have lingered in the Poles. Like many of his generation born between the world wars, Karol Wojtyla had been influenced by the Messianist poets of the nineteenth century. Mickiewicz, for one, had acquired world status; and images he and others had used, their genuine lyricism, the language they fashioned, the concepts they evolved, had easily entered the people's consciousness as part of their Polish heritage during their emergence into the brief daylight of the Second Polish Republic after more than 120 years of enslavement. Now, however, the great world had once more offered Poland as a non-nation into the total control of a merciless power. And once more, it was a power that aimed precisely at eviscerating and cremating classical Polishness. In this second night that fell over Polonia Sacra, Poles of Wojtyla's generation saw a clear signal from God that neither the messianic role imagined for their country by its past and dead dreamers, nor its republican status attempted between the two world wars, was to be Poland's destiny. All that was null and void. It did not fit with God's overall plan for Europe. Nor did it fit with God's particular providence for this people. Their true greatness, it seemed, tied always to the Three Pacts of Polishness, was to be linked to the larger Europe that had always extended, in their geopolitical reckoning, from the Atlantic to the Urals. (p. 552) Martin separates the Pope from any lengthy involvement with Polish Messianism. He does not mention Soloviev at all. Though perhaps the Pope's public enthusiasm for Soloviev post-dates Martin's book published in 1990. I haven't searched for the first time the Pope mentions Soloviev. I'm not so quick to dismiss Mickiewicz as Martin does because Russian Messianism, which is a part of the Soloviev picture has once again attracted John Paul II, and Soloviev's association with the occult is clear. As Webb puts it in the preface of The Occult Establishment: If influential people are discovered to harbor occult ideas, it is quite reasonable to take these ideas as an index of a wider attitude to the broader questions of life and thus to arrive at an approximate "history of some men seen whole." For, fundamentally, occult beliefs often imply an all-embracing world-view of the sort that was once associated with religious faith and is today demanded by totalitarian politics. (p. 3) Mickiewicz was certainly influential. He could hardly have gotten any more immerced in the occult than he was if we are to take Webb to be correct. So it seems unlikely that he could shrug it off as an erroneous theory and move on to something new. Webb doesn't indicate that Mickiewicz got out. Webb is much more thoroughly versed in occult history than is Weigle. Where Martin would be placed on this continuum isn't entirely clear. As an exorcist, he would have contact. Whether he had delved into the inner workings of the various organizations is another matter. Another factor that may come into play is his fear of repercussions if he said too much. He wrote "factions" with the details embedded because he didn't believe he would be permitted to write facts. The Pope's current enthusiasm for Soloviev tends to confirm his earlier enthusiasm for Mickiewicz either in spite of or because of Mickiewicz's occult leanings. Were Soloviev not part of the entire picture, I think Mickiewicz could be dismissed as a part of youthful naivete. And there is the matter of the Pentecostal/Charismatic promotion. Jacob Boehme is in the background of both John Wesley and Adam Mickiewicz/Soloviev. Additionally, the similarity between the Pope's belief that a New Springtime has arrived combined with the new ecclesial communities which are monastic-like and have his blessing, compared with some of the teaching of Joachim of Fiore is also noteworthy.. Complicating all of that is the fact that he has not governed the Church, but rather seems to be willing to allow the dioceses to fall apart here in America, and the seminaries to remain empty, while promoting a new form of Catholicism via those new ecclesial communities. It sounds like the workings of chaos magick that have been effective in other settings being applied to the Church. Altogether rather a lot of associations that are not conclusive, but that make me more and more uneasy the deeper I probe. Something is wrong in Rome. CarrieTomko@aol.com

AT JOHN CARROLL (CATHOLIC) UNIVERSITY you can see the Vagina Monologues for $7 on Feb. 13, 14, and 15. The money will be donated to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. A member organization of Freedom of Choice Cleveland Coalition. Where your $7 will be used to support: a cohesive alliance of organizations that proactively support safe and legal access to abortion and birth control for all women. Our goal is to mobilize the pro-choice majority to affect legislation and counter anti-choice efforts. We increase public knowledge of reproductive rights and serve as a grassroots network for the sharing of information and ideas directly affecting the status and accessibility of reproductive health care. As a collaborative organization, FOCC mobilizes its collective resources to re-energize Cleveland's pro-choice community as an active force of influence. Happy Valentine's Day all you Catholics out there. Don't forget to attend the play and support abortions locally! Thanks for the help of John Carroll University in this important effort to stamp out innocent life all across our diocese! Way to go Bishop Pilla! CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

KASPER, ALEXII, THE POPE, AND A RETURN TO HOSTILITY seems to be the nature of Orthodox-Roman Catholic ecumenism at the present time, according to Chiesa. On how to resolve the question between Rome and Moscow: �The further you go East from anywhere, the worse everything gets, except the food. Logic gets worse, rationality gets worse, and everything ultimately winds up in hysteria and emotionalism. It�s futile to try and reason about this. The Catholic church should not even try to persuade the Orthodox to accept the patriarchate. To hell with Moscow.� And within the Catholic Church: �I told the Ukrainians, take two steps. First, publicly declare the patriarchate. Second, request Roman recognition, but even if it doesn�t come, refuse all mail that doesn�t come addressed to the patriarchate. Don�t just pretend, but really do it. The Secretary of State sends a letter addressed to the archbishop? We don�t have any archbishop, we�ve got a patriarch. Send it back unopened: addressee unknown.� Whew! Fr. Taft wades in... Towards the end of the interview, Fr. Taft expanded on the contention between Catholicism and Orthodoxy over the question of the papacy. And this is his outline of a solution: �What we�ve made out of the papacy is simply ridiculous. There�s no possible justification in the New Testament or anyplace else for what we�ve made out of the papacy. There�s no reason on God�s earth why the pope should be appointing the bishop of Peoria. None whatsoever. So we really need a devolution, a decentralization. The Catholic church has become so big that we need some kind of a synodal structure in the West the same way you have in the East. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ought to be a kind of synod of Catholic bishops in the United States. They ought to be able to elect the bishops. Leave Rome a veto, if you want. By the way, this would be no guarantee of better bishops. The notion that the locals will necessarily pick better people than Rome is obviously false, as anybody who knows the East understands. But at least people will see these guys as their bishops and not Rome�s. Make your own bed and sleep in it. The pope could say: You don�t like the archbishop of New York? Hey, I didn�t name him�. Should someone say "chaos magick"? CarrieTomko@aol.com

30 DAYS COMMENTS ON "IT IS AS IT WAS" Yet another "He said, She said." But this is interesting: Both Michelinis are supernumeraries of Opus Dei. Jan was born, with his twin sister, in 1979, during the pope�s first visit to Poland, and upon returning to Rome it was Wojtyla himself who baptized him, the first of his pontificate. Since that time they have been very close, receiving many heavenly signs. During production, Jan Michelini was struck by lightning while was filming the crucifixion, and he was struck again on December 5, the day the pope previewed the film. On both occasions, he came away unharmed. Wasn't it just yesterday that I posted the interview with the actor who played Christ and who was also struck by lightning? That's a lot of bolts zipping around! The closing paragraph of the article mentions Rod Dreher: It was a madhouse. Jan Michelini reconfirmed his version. McEveety circulated an e-mail from Navarro telling him not to worry and to go ahead and use the pope�s fatal phrase �again and again and again.� Rod Dreher of the �Dallas Morning News� asked for further confirmation from Navarro, and he responded No, his messages to McEveety and others were never his own, they are fakes. But they all come from the same Vatican e-mail address, the same one from which the message disclaiming them was sent. On January 22, the director of the Vatican press office made an official press release: �It is the habit of the Holy Father not to express public judgments on artistic works.� But in private? One thing is certain: in public, the big lies have taken the stage. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PAPAL INFLUENCES - Part V Before moving on to Soloviev�s legacy, I want to take a side road. Most of this report has been taken from three books. I�d like to add some material from a fourth. This fourth book is titled The Occult Establishment and like The Occult Underground it is also written by James Webb. It was published by Open Court in 1976. Webb has elaborated somewhat on the life of Soloviev in this volume. As you read the following quote, please keep in mind that the Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, Cardinal Biffi, and some respected Catholic teachers have promoted Soloviev. Googling �Ratzinger� and �Vladimir Soloviev� together brought up 6 pages of hits. But enough of that. Here is Webb�s assessment of Vladimir Soloviev: Vladimir Sergeivitch Soloviev (1853-1900) was the father of the peculiar sort of religious speculation that most characterized the Russian religious revival. He was the son of an eminent historian who was also an Orthodox priest. Vladimir Soloviev abandoned his early materialism for an idealistic philosophy and in 1872 underwent the first of a series of mystical experiences. This consisted in the transfiguration of a girl traveling in the Moscow-Kharkov train into the figure of a divine woman. At once Soloviev abandoned his scientific pursuits and left Moscow University to study at the Ecclesiastical Academy. In 1874 he produced a book entitled The Crisis of Western Philosophy. This concluded that �Western philosophy affirms under the form of rational knowledge, the same truths which under the form of faith and spiritual contemplation were affirmed by the great theological doctrines of the Orient (in part of the ancient East and particularly the Christian East).� Soloviev called for a �universal synthesis of science, philosophy, and religion.� This peculiarly Russian expression of the conflict between the claims of inherited Eastern methods of thought and intruding Western traditions was to find an enthusiastic welcome. Soloviev himself became a lecturer at Moscow University, and was stimulated by the historical interests of his predecessor in the past to investigate Spiritualism and the 18th-century seer Swedenborg. At one time he thought that he could elaborate the revelations of the spirits into a valid system of metaphysics. In 1874 he obtained a year�s sabbatical and went to London to study Hindu, Gnostic, and medieval philosophy in the British Museum, where the second of his visions overcame him. Soloviev seems to have studied most of the classics of Western occultism. It is uncertain just what he was reading when he had his vision; but it was probably Knorr von Rosenreuth�s Kabbala Denudata, a 17th-century translation of Jewish mystical texts. Once more the figure of a divine woman appeared before him. She revealed herself as �Sophia��wisdom�a divine participant in the Creation of the world. In response to the vision, Soloviev abandoned his Jacob Boehme and his Eliphas Levi, and rushed off to Egypt where he received a mysterious order to go to Thebes. In 1876 Count Melchior de Vogue was introduced to Soloviev in Cairo by Ferdinand de Lesseps. �In high Egyptian summer, this Christ was wearing a long black overcoat and a top hat. He told us ingenuously that he had gone quite alone, dressed in his paraphernalia to the Bedouins of the Suez desert; he was looking for a tribe which preserved, someone must have told him, certain Cabalistic secrets, certain Masonic traditions directly inherited from King Solomon. The Bedouins had not enlightened him in the slightest about these matters: but they stole his watch and dented his top hat.� In fact, the Arabs thought this black-garbed apparition was the devil and abandoned him in the desert for the night. In the morning, the Russian awoke surrounded by the smell of roses, and Sophia appeared to him again. At this point Soloviev was completely absorbed by occult tradition. He appears to have believed that the legendary Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus did in fact contain all secrets, and that he could discover its custodians. But he finally decided that nothing had come of his journey to Egypt and returned to Russia. There in the next year Melchoir de Vogue met him again. He found him occupied greatly with occultism, contemplating a book which would prove the divine principle to be female, and questioning the spirits about the Turko-Russian War. Basing his ideas upon those of the occult traditions he had so diligently studied, Soloviev next began to elaborate a philosophy of an �integral life,� which must first be accepted by a small brotherhood, then by all Russia. He began to lecture at St. Petersburg University, and he found support from Dostoievsky, the Archbishop of Lithuania, Sophie Tolstoy, (Leo Tolstoy�s widow), and Princess Wolkonsky. His obsession with the name �Sophia� and with various women of that name, whom he saw as partial embodiment of his divine conception, is interesting and not a little erotic. The poet Andrei Bely saw many of Soloviev�s manuscripts covered with curious writing signed with the letter �S,� which seemed to Bely to read like love letters. Toward the end of his life, Soloviev was plagued by the attentions of one Anna Schmidt (she died in 1905) who wrote a column on mysticism in a Nizhni-Novgorod newspaper. Anna decided that she was the Divine Sophia come to earth to be reunited with Vladimir Soloviev, the reincarnate Christ. Soloviev was horrified. But after his death his family kept in touch with the Sophia from Nizhni-Novogorod, and in 1916 Sergei Bulgakov published her Notes, including a �Third Testament,� which he described as �an amazing document.� Soloviev�s family and disciples evidently thought her worth humoring, just in case. Soloviev�s legacy is many-faceted. Although it was added to by his disciples, it is remarkable how many of the elements of the Russian religious revival were contained in the ideas of its pioneer. First, there was the idea of the �God-man,� who represented the outcome of the gradual spiritualization of humanity. As the process of physical creation had produced its crowning achievement in the human being, so the process of human self-creation would produce from the human being�God. Soloviev�s other main preoccupations toward the end of his life concerned the status of the Orthodox church and the coming of Antichrist. His faith in traditional Russian Orthodoxy�he had visited the staretz Ambrose of Optina Pustyn in the company of Dostoievsky�was shaken by the church�s reactionary political stance over the murderer of Alexander II, and after 1881 he began to regard the Orthodox clergy as tainted by their ancient persecution of the Old Believers. He made several attempts to approach Rome, but all were failures. His followers were to continue Soloviev�s concern with the ecumenical role of Orthodoxy. For a large number of the intelligentsia this meant subscribing, for a time, to the doctrine of �Slavophilism��the vision of Russia�s messianic mission in Europe�a belief owing not a little to the mysticism of the Polish Messianists. More important was the pessimistic attitude which engulfed Soloviev in the last two years of his life. He revisited Egypt and began to feel that all his early hopes had been disappointed. He believed that he was pursued by demons, that the end of the world was approaching, and that his divine Sophia would be incarnate only after history as such as (sic) ceased. In a dialogue he forecast the appearance of Antichrist. �Politician: And do you think the catastrophie is very near? Mr. Z.: Well, there will still be a great deal of rattling and bustling on stage, but the drama has been all written long ago, and neither the audience nor the actors are allowed to alter anything in it.� Soloviev�s death in 1900 occurred in the same year as those of Nietzsche and Oscar Wilde, who were also heroes of the Russian intelligentsia. As some of the prophet�s followers had expected his immediate resurrection, they fell back on forebodings that his gloomy predictions were to be fulfilled. The Symbolist poet Vyacheslav Ivanov and his friends computed a prophecy of Cornelius Agrippa to agree with a verdict of apocalypse in 1900, and the intelligentsia turned itself over eagerly to the God-seeking movement. The conflicting claims of Orthodox tradition, the fear of apocalypse, and the example of Soloviev�s occultism formed the ingredients of a hothouse atmosphere which excited some disgust among more conservative souls. One of these wrote of Soloviev that some of the secondary and unhealthy elements of his philosophical creed were unhappily a starting-point for the eager speculations and overstrung pseudo-religious emotions of certain intellectuals of orgiastic tendencies who were eager to combine the holiest mysteries of religion, the holy of holies of the Christian faith, with the sexual excitement of the Bacchanalia. (�The Occult Establishment� p. 151-154) This is the Russian philosopher whom our Pope and Cdl. Ratzinger promote. A philosopher whom Cdl. Biffi has called: �A passionate defender of the human person and allergic to every philanthropy; a tireless apostle of peace and adversary of pacifism; a promoter of Christian unity and critic of every irenicism; a lover of nature and yet very far from today�s ecological infatuations�in a word, a friend of truth and an enemy of ideology. Of leaders like him we have today great need.� And we wonder why the sexual abuse of minors fails to disturb Vatican prelates? We should be grateful that they even take a moment�s notice. ��I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart�� �If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.� �In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.� The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.� Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, February 09, 2004

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ACTOR WHO PLAYS JESUS IN MEL'S MOVIE He thought he was being interviewed for a Surfer movie. CarrieTomko@aol.com

TWO THUMBS UP, O'MALLEY ! In a message to a youth ralley, Boston's Archbishop tells it like it is: TV is a ``glass idol'' that has too prominent a role in most people's lives, O'Malley told 1,300 Catholic teens assembled at Merrimack College in North Andover.... ``MTV packages it in a very attractive way for our young people,'' he told the boisterous crowd. ``But it's poisonous . . . be aware that there are people out there who want to brainwash you. Don't let yourself be brainwashed.'' And the kids heard him: O'Malley appeared more relaxed than he does in some public settings, even when the group of teens high up in the bleachers began chanting his name and clapping in unison as if cheering on a basketball player. One church group's members wore red jerseys emblazoned with ``O'Malley 04.'' Great message, Bishop O'Malley! CarrieTomko@aol.com

FR. CHARLES MOORE What will the clergy get into next? From the website: What then does the pyramid itself symbolize? Aside from the rather important fact that the symbol as a whole is the seal of the Bavarian Illuminati, an ancient order of Masons, we must recognize that we are looking at none other than an Egyptian icon. The eye at the top of the pyramid is the eye of Horus. Horus is the Eygyptian god descended from Isis and Osiris, who is a mythologically analogous figure to that of the Christ. Indeed, those who chose this symbol to appear upon the archetypal instrument of our economic strength (money) must have had a knowledge of what shall be called 'The Solar Myth'. Here's a picture of Fr. Charlie, and a listing of the programs being offered. Ramtha School of Enlightenment is part of this organization it appears. Fr. Charlie's talk is listed on this webpage, too. Here he is again, this time talking about...ummm...well, you'll have to read it to believe it! The website also talks about Barbara Hand Clow. She is a channeler and she and her husband used to own the publishing house that published Matthew Fox. From the Listener Comment archives: Hello Elena and Nancy~ I just wanted to write and say how much I've enjoyed the Fr. Charles Moore programs I received a few days ago. I had previously heard and seen Fr. Moore on other tapes, as a well as in a seminar he gave at the New Science and Ancient Wisdom conference back in '00. I find the fact that he is allowed to say the things he says about Christianity and organized religion remarkable, considering Christianity's long, long history of silencing its opposition. His vantage point on the human spirit is, like you say, mind-blowing--but, for me anyway, all these ideas ands insights into what it means to be human seem strangely familiar and natural, you know? Like it's all a long lost secret from childhood that only now I'm remembering. Maybe it's that way for a lot of people. I'm curious: How do you and Nancy see the process with which Fr. Moore is being allowed to come on the air and speak publicly about such radical ideas and not be de-robed as a priest? Has he said anything about this? Do you take this to indicate a real change happening within Christianity? (To be honest, I'd call him and ask myself but I'm a bit shy about it. I did write him a letter, however.) _____Fr. Charlie is not "in the book". but the church knows that to excommunicate him would make him a bigger problem. Also, those that are truer within the church know full well that things must change and that a great fall is indeed imminent, and they see that what he is doing is healing. Several Bishops and Cardinals talk to Fr. Charlie and quietly let him continue. The same is true for Miceal Ledwith, he is doing and saying much the same. I live in Wauconda, IL, about an hour north of Chicago near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. I wish I could listen to your program live, but unfortunately my PC isn't set up for that (yet). I will continue to visit your site.... Happy new now. Indeed! take good care, Elena Does this priest still have faculties? I would ask where is his bishop? but it's San Francisco. I don't ask about SF Catholic weirdness. It wouldn't do any good. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE AVALONIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH Claims to use the Tridentine Mass and to be orthodox. But look at the picture at this page in their website. YIKES! And this page which is even more shocking. The picture in the circle under the caption "An Introduction to our Work" is straight out of alchemical artwork. Can we say "modern Rosicrucian group" here? They talk about spiritualism. But then clicking the link for Live Journal in the first website above brings up what looks like it could be a bunch of music groups. So maybe the whole thing is some sort of spoof. CarrieTomko@aol.com

TEACHING WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES At the Saturday evening Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Columbus, OH, Fr. David A. Poliafico gave a homily defending what the Church teaches about marriage. Most likely this was sparked by the Defense of Marriage Law that Governor Taft signed last week. Fr. Poliafico told the congregation they didn't need to write him any letters because he was only teaching what the Church believes. Brave man, Fr. Poliafico, to be commended for taking the difficult but correct position on this topic. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE AVALONIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH that I linked below, offers on the Church News page a so-called "Star of the Sea" Rosary, an Avalonia Mass, a Tridentine Liturgy, a Grail Mass, a healing liturgy, benediction of the blessed sacrament, a Celtic praise service. They seem to be targeting the cities where some of the most liberal Catholic practices take place: Avalon Rising will be tested in the Quad Cities (which includes Davenport, Iowa; Moline, Illinois; East Moline, Illinois; Rock Island, Illinois), Des Moines, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois in the Spring of 2002. Depending on what transpires, it may well be held again in many other major metro areas, including Denver, New York City, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Milwaukee. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PAPAL INFLUENCES - Part IV The quotes from Rosenthal that I've used so far came from her Introduction to The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture.. It's time to move on to one of the 16 essays contained in this volume--Chapter Three, �Russian Religious Thought and the Jewish Kabbala� by Judith Deutsch Kornblatt: This chapter, as its name implies, discusses Kabbala, with a major section of the chapter devoted to Soloviev�s Attraction to the Kabbala. Kornblatt opens the section with: For anyone familiar with both the ethical and the metaphysical teachings of Vladimir Soloviev, the points of contact between Kabbala and Soloviev�s doctrine of�(Godmanhood) should be clear. Soloviev was by no means a kabbalist, just as he was not a Gnostic, a papist, or a Theosophist, as some have claimed, but he did research Kabbala rather extensively, and he learned Hebrew to read Scripture in the original and to study Talmud with his tutor and friend Faivel� Gets�. Soloviev himself recognized that the Greek name Sophia which he adopted for his mystical vision of communion between the Trinity and the self, is a direct translation of the Hebrew term Hokhmah, Wisdom. (�The Occult� p. 82) Sophia Cruden�s Complete Concordance to the Old and New Testaments has no entry for �Sophia.� Wisdom, of course, has many entries, and there are references to �spirit� in the Wisdom category, specifically, Exodus 28:3, Deuteronomy 34:9, Isaiah 11:2, and Ephesians 1:17. Exodus 28:3 And thou shalt speak to all the wise of heart, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron�s vestments, in which he being consecrated, may minister to me. That passage is from the Douay-Rheims. The New American Bible does not use the word �spirit� in 28:3. Deuteronomy 34:9 And Josue, the son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands upon him. Taken from the Douay-Rheims The passage in the New American is identical. Isaiah 11:2, And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. Taken from the Douay-Rheims. The New American renders the �spirit of godliness� as �fear of the Lord.� Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation, in the knowledge of him. Taken from the Douay-Rheims. Once again the New American is similar. What is particularly interesting about those passages is that the word �spirit� is capitalized in only one instance, Isaiah 11:2, and only when it speaks of the �Spirit of the Lord.� In every other instance the word �spirit� is used as a common noun, indicating no actual being is intended. In summary, several �spirits� are spoken of here in addition to the �spirit of wisdom,� but none of them, including wisdom, are treated as specific spirit beings. Returning to Kornblatt, she offers a subheading in her essay titled "The Jewish Kabbala: History and Theology": Kabbala actually refers to a mystical practice that involves contemplation of the names of God found in Hebrew Scripture, often through numerical manipulation of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, Kabbala is based on a theology that attempts to speak of God positively, rather than in the apophatic or negative terms of most postbiblical theology (i.e., "God is NOT limited," "God is NOT mortal"), and that aims at an explanation of God's intimate relationship with creation. Its most intense development came in thirteenth-century Spain, with the dissemination of the Zohar or Book of Splendor, and in sexteenth-centurty Safed, in Palestine, within the school of Isaac Luria. The Zohar, which Soloviev probably read in Latin translation on his London trip, was written or perhaps partially compiled by Moses ben Shemtov de Leon, but it was attributed to a great sage of the Talmudic period, Shimon bar Yohai. Its theology contrasts both to the theism of rabbinic Judaism and even more to the medieval Jewish philosophers' insistence on God's radical transcendence. God does have a transcendent aspect in Kabbala: Ein-Sof or "That Which Has No End," sometimes called the Root of Roots, the Cause of Causes, and the Concealed One. Ein-Sof, however, "gives birth" to an elaborate system of sefirot, something similar but not identical to hypostases or members of the divine pleroma that are no longer concealed, but disclosed. Sefirot are "outer layers of the hidden dimension of God to which they are intimately bound"; they are referred to as the garments, colors, faces, limbs, crowns, or names of God, and are associated with various biblical personalities. The sefirot interact in a way reminiscent of a human family, so that Hokhmah (Wisdom), the second sefirah, impregnates the third, Binah (Knowledge), who, as Upper Mother, gives birth to the lower seven sefirot. The lower sefirot are often distinguished by gender, and two of them, the male Tiferet (Beauty) and the female Shekhinah (Divine Presence, sometimes called Malkhut, or Kingship), duplicate the sexual activity of the upper sefirot and unite in sexual intercourse through the vehicle of Yesod (Foundation), the phallus. Thus divine energy flows downward undiminished, as creation and procreation. Shekinah, although still fully a part of the Godhead and in fact the culmination of the internal divine unfolding, becomes the hinge between us and God. ("The Occult" p. 79-80) This is rather far from any concept of the Trinity that a Catholic adheres to. Sexual relations are not part of our God concept since all members of the Trinity are male. As Christ told us, "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." If we morph the Holy Spirit into a woman, Mary, who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit at the conception of Jesus, would become some sort of lesbian. Kabbala is a conception of mystical Judaism traced primarily to the thirteenth century. That is well after the Jewish people had rejected Christ. Is it a coincidence that Soloviev�s central vision of Sophia appeared to him in the British Museum, while he read the Zohar or another text of the Kabbala? Although Soloviev�s Sophia ultimately is not identical to the Hokhmah of Kabbala, the resemblance of many basic kabbalistic premises to Soloviev�s statements on the structure of reality, the cosmogonic process, and human institutions all point to Kabbala as a source for his vocabulary and as confirmation of his mystical intuitions about the relationship of God and man. (�The Occult� p. 82-83) For Soloviev, Sophia is a living being, the Spirit of Wisdom come to life, which he takes from Kabbala, but which is incompatible with the �spirit of wisdom� in Scripture. And indeed Soloviev refers to Kabbala as a �whole and unique worldview.� (�The Occult� p. 83) This is much closer to an occult worldview than to a Christian one. His conception of Church, too, deviates from a Christian conception: The church on earth and in heaven, Sophia, and the Godhead Itself are all fully integrated and organic wholes with a nonetheless multipartite one and many. (�The Occult� p. 83. The syncretism of Kabbala no doubt appealed to Soloviev�s own highly synthetic mind, especially in view of the Neoplatonic and Gnostic influence on both systems. Yet Soloviev warns against overemphasizing the influence of Neoplatonism, since Kabbala ultimately goes deeper than its �superficial branches,� and is grounded through its roots in ancient and biblical thought�Soloviev further emphasizes the �special and essential realism� and the �integrated monism� of Kabbala. (�The Occult� p. 83) For both Kabbala and Soloviev, God can indeed seem to be many, for the divine world is in perpetual movement, constantly relating to and interrelating with aspects of itself�.In Soloviev�s words: �In the thought of the God of heaven and earth, the higher world and the lower world were created together and have a single base, which is essential Wisdom�the unconditional unity of all. ("The Occult" p. 84) Monism is not compatible with Christianity. Yet John Paul II gives Soloviev an unqualified endorsement. He issues no caution that Soloviev�s philosophy can lead to a form of occult philosophy. In fact Kornblatt spells out where this philosophy can lead: For Soloviev, who here follows Orthodox doctrine, to be born in the image and likeness of God is to retain Godlike unity. The Orthodox Church might distinguish between the divine and the human realms, but not between spirit and flesh, as Western theology does, following Augustine. (�The Occult� p. 85) How then can Soloviev lead the way to a reunification of the Roman Catholic, Byzantine Catholic, and Orthodox Churches? Yet Soloviev is presented to us by the Holy Father as a way to ecumenism. There is a danger in this emphasis on the Kabbala: For the kabbalist, sexual relations on Friday night are one way for the male mystic to unite with Shekhinah. As one scholar remarks: �Kabbalists considered the sexual act as an act that gives life,� and �Marriage and sexual union have an enormous impact on the upper world�; �perfect sexual union truly influences the divine presence.� Soloviev directly links erotic love with the transfiguration of the flesh into a divine-human being, claiming that Eros can lead us along five possible paths, the highest of which is the path toward the image and likeness of God, the union of male and female principles in androgyny, and the establishment of a whole human being� (�The Occult� p. 85) If these are your beliefs, how does celibacy fit in? Accepting Soloviev�s concept of sexual relations will leave the priesthood out in the cold. Of course Orthodox priests marry. But perhaps this reference to the Kabbala appeals to the Holy Father because he also wants to have ecumenical relations with the Jews. Kornblatt writes: The Jewish people and their institutions held a special place in all aspects of Soloviev�s philosophy, and it is not surprising that their mystical practices should seem so appealing to this prophet of the Universal Church. Christian cabala is rarely mentioned by Soloviev, although its development in Europe had a significant influence on Renaissance and modern Western philosophy, and its teachings found their way into Russian thought through Freemasonry�Apparently only �authentic� Jewish Kabbala carried the authority of Soloviev�s beloved Hebrew prophets and could help structure his ideal theocracy. (�The Occult� p. 86) A Theocracy�a man in charge who demands to be given the respect of a god? Would a variety of religions be tolerable under such a system? It seems unlikely. Unless Christ returns, such a system might mean that Christianity would have no place in the world. The anti-Christ prophesied in Scripture would fit nicely into such a structure. Soloviev talks about bringing about the Godman and Godmanhood, but his last written work concerns the appearance of anti-Christ. To be continued� CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, February 08, 2004


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