Saturday, February 07, 2004

SOLOVIEV AND SOPHIOLOGY Unfortunately I can't find the source of this website. In any case, this statement is noteworthy and seems to reflect what I've been reading elsewhere: In his poetry Sophia is treated more like a gnostic Aeon, or a pagan goddess. Fr. Bulgakov has summerized it by saying that in his poetry, Solovyov, is "very far from Orthodoxy". But this may simply be poetic freedom, and not so much dogmatic teaching. If indeed Solovyov leaned toward gnosticism, he was at least partly correct in living the truth of a Christian Gnosticism (capitol "G" to distinguish heretical "gnosticism" from Orthodox "Gnosticism"), but there are borders which one crosses only at one's own peril. A more developed and balanced Gnosticism is found in N. Berdyayev, Fr. S. Bulgakov, Fr. P. Florensky, P. Evdokimov, V. Lossky, J. Zizioulas, C. Yanarras, J. Meyendorff, Bishop Kalistos Ware,etc. However, it remains true that Vladimir Solovyov is a prophet to our times, and his message deserves our attention. His prophetic voice has awakened Orthodox theologians to seek a deeper understanding of the Divine Sophia, a task notably taken up by Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, of whom a few words must now be spoken. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PAPAL INFLUENCES - Part III Clearly the Polish exiles, including Adam Mickiewicz, were deeply involved in the French occult revival of the 19th century. A great deal more could be taken from Webb regarding Mickiewicz, but I will leave him here in order to move ahead to another of John Paul II�s favorites. Returning to George Weigel�s biography, where he writes: As Pope, Karol Wojtyla nurtured his interest in Russia and the Russians through numerous channels. He read deeply in the writings of Vladimir Soloviev, the late nineteenth-century Russian philosopher and theologian, a prophet of the reconciliation of Eastern and Western Christianity with a marked millennial strain in his thought. John Paul also became familiar with the work of Russian religious thinkers, once convinced Marxists, who had abandoned Marxism between the 1905 and 1917 revolutions while warning both the government and the Russian Orthodox Church about the impending catastrophe: Nicolai Berdyaev, Sergei Bulgakov, and Simon Frank. These thinkers and the work of theologians like Pavel Florensky and Georges Florovsky, whom he read in French or Polish, translations, familiarized the Pope with the religious core of Russian culture and convinced him that Russia had much to give the world. (�Witness� p. 568-9) At the Vatican website is archived a �Message of John Paul II to the Participants in the Conference on the Theme: �Vladimir Solovyov, Russia and the Universal Church.� Some passages from the document: 2. The unity of the Church was one of the main aspirations of Vladimir Solovyoy, (sic)�His thought, based on God�s wisdom and on the spiritual foundations of life, like his insight concerning moral philosophy and the meaning of human history, influenced the rich flourishing of contemporary Russian thought and also made an impact on European culture by fostering a fertile and enriching dialogue concerning the fundamental issues of theology and spirituality. 3. The theme of the Congress, �Vladimir Solovyov, Russia and the Universal Church�, clearly mirrors the basic concern of this great author. The study of his thought on the universal nature of Christ�s Church will highlight once again the duty of the Christian communities of East and West to listen to Christ�s desire with regard to the unity of his disciples. Solovyov was convinced that it is only in the Church that humanity will be able to coexist in full solidarity. In a statement made to a Cursillo gathering in his Angelus Message, July 30, 2000, the Holy Father said: The truth of Christ is vigorously proclaimed today, as it was courageously defended in the 20th century by so many witnesses of the faith and illustrious Christian thinkers, among whom I am pleased to remember today Vladimir Sergeevic Soloviev, the centenary of whose death we commemorate these days. A report in Catholic World News indicates that: In an address to seminarians from the southern Italian region of Anagni today, Pope John Paul II paid tribute to the Orthodox philosopher Vladimir Soloviev, and noted that one of Soloviev�s students, Leonid Feodoroff, had become a Catholic and studied at the Anagni seminary. Simply put, the Pope puts Soloviev before us as a teacher. So who was Soloviev? The online Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001 says he was: A Russian religious philosopher and poet�Soloviev believed in the incarnation of divine wisdom in a being called Sophia, a concept that greatly influenced the young symbolist poets, especially Blok. He advocated a synthesis of Eastern and Western churches in Russia and the Universal Church, which he wrote in French in 1889. The imminent coming of the Antichrist was the theme of his Three Conversations on War, Progress, and the End of History (1899, tr. 1915). The best known of his mystical poems is Three Meetings (1899), which describes his visions of Sophia. Soloviev is also noted for political writings and literary criticism. Turning to Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal�s The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture: Many Russians in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were also attracted to the philiosophy of Nikolai Fedorov (1828-1903), who maintained that the �common task� of humanity was to resurrect, by means of science, its dead fathers from particles scattered in the cosmic dust. Fedor Dostoevsky, Lev Tolstoy, and Vladimir Soloviev were among his admirers�Despite Fedorov�s invocation of science and technology and his emphasis on abolishing the distinction between the learned and the unlearned, his was a special science of the Gnostic type and there are definite parallels between his thought and the occult. Fedorov�s �common task� was like an alchemical Great Work in which transmutation is achieved by science rather than the philosopher�s stone. (�The Occult� p. 11) Interestingly, Fr. Thomas Berry (The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future) uses this expression. The religious communities that joined Global Education Associates Religious Orders Partnership teach Berry�s concepts in their seminars and retreats. Albert Pike uses the expression as well. In fact �Great Work� appears numerous times in Morals and Dogma. The Orthodox Church did not discourage personal religious experience or speculative mysticism. Gnostic elements, laundered by the Greek fathers, became embedded in Orthodoxy in the sixth century and were reinforced in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries by Boehme�s thought, which was popular in the Orthodox seminaries. Boehme�s thought, very likely in combination with mystical Freemasonry, which Russians learned about in the eighteenth century, influenced the reformer Count Mikhail Speransky (1772-1839) and the Slavophile Ivan Kireevsky (1806-56), whose father was a Mason. Boehme also influenced Russia�s greatest philosopher, Vladimir Soloviev, and through him the art and thought of the early twentieth century. Boehme and Schelling had exalted Sophia, but the mystical eroticism of Vladimir Soloviev�s poems to her was unique. (�The Occult� p. 9-10) Today the Orthodox Church is more careful to avoid New Age theology than is the Roman Catholic Church. Fr. Seraphim Rose spells it out in his book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future: The concept of prelest, a key one in Orthodox ascetical teaching, is completely absent in the Protestant-Ctholic world which produced the �charismatic� movement: and this fact explains why such an obvious deception can gain such a hold over nominally �Christian� circles, and also why a �prophet� like Nicholas Berdyaev who comes from an Orthodox background should regard it as absolutely essential that in the �new age of the Holy Spirit� �there will be no more of the ascetic world-view.� The reason is obvious: the Orthodox ascetic world view gives the only means by which men, having received the Holy Spirit at their Baptism and Chrismation, may truly continue to acquire the Holy Spirit in their lives; and it teaches how to distinguish and guard oneself against spiritual deception. The �new spirituality� of which Berdyaev dreamed and which the �charismatic revival� actually practices, has an entirely different foundation and is seen to be a fraud in the light of the Orthodox ascetical teaching. Therefore, there is not room for both conceptions in the same spiritual universe: to accept the �new spirituality� of the �charismatic revival,� one must reject Orthodox Christianity; and conversely, to remain an Orthodox Christian, one must reject the �charismatic revival,� which is a counterfeit of Orthodoxy. (p. 143-4) But I was quoting Rosenthal, and I�ll return to her work. The philosopher Vladimir Soloviev (1853-1900), his brother Vsevolod Soloviev (1849-1903), and the Symbolist poet Valery Briusov (1873-1924) were interested in Spiritualism. (�The Occult� p. 9) French occultism featured alchemy and magic and depended on Catholic rituals and symbols. The Satanist black mass, for example, was an inversion of the Catholic mass. German occultists rediscovered their own mystical and occult tradition�Meister Eckhardt (c. 1260-1327), Boehme, Franz von Baader, Pietism, Goethe�s interest in alchemy and magic. German Romanticism is replete with occult elements. Irish Theosophists emphasized Celtic folklore and myth to counteract the dominant English culture. In both Ireland and England, early Theosophical propaganda was aggressively anti-Christian. Russians combined Western doctrines with their own religious and cultural heritage, and with apocalypticism and messianism. (�The Occult� p. 9) Jacob Boehme was a Protestant. Goethe was the inspiration for Steiner�s Anthroposophy. Pietism was the source of Moravianism according to Rev. Ronald Knox (Enthusiasm p. 408) Persons interested in the occult were receptive to all sorts of extrarational beliefs and practices. The Symbolists regarded the orgiastic rituals of certain mystical sectarian groups as survivals of the Dionysian cults and, paradoxically, as expressing authentic Christianity. (�The Occult� p. 10) Symbolism is based on the occult idea of correspondences. Assuming that the phenomenal world is but a reflection of a deeper or higher reality, the Symbolists frequently quoted Charles Baudelaire�s poem �Correspondences,� which contains the line �Man passes through forests of symbols,� and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe�s statement �Everything that exists is just a symbol.� Incidentally, Goethe and Baudelaire were both readers of Swedenborg. Also basic to Symbolism is belief in the magic power of the word, a tenet that can be traced back to ancient Egypt and is perpetuated in the Kabbala. The Decadent poet Arthur Rimbaud wrote about �the alchemy of the word,� to which he attributed transmutative powers, and preached derangement of the senses as a means to new insights. (�The Occult� p. 12) Many Catholics have been led into believing that the consecrated Host is nothing more than a symbol. Might this be a clue as to why this has happened? It would be hard not to see a relationship between the current Problems in the Church and the occult practices cited below: Some occultists interpreted the Gnostic ideal of the androgyne �to sanction bisexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism. (�The Occult� p. 14) Women constituted a large proportion of the members and leaders of the various Theosophical and Anthroposophical societies, especially the former. Many of these women were also active in philanthropic and humanitarian causes and in the women�s movement. Many female Russian Theosophists had their own businesses or careers, especially in the arts. (�The Occult� p. 15) To be continued� CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, February 06, 2004

ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH There is a brief story about her at Spirit Daily. In light of all I've posted here, it is difficult to know what to make of Anne Catherine Emmerich. The book described in the article sounds very much like the Akashic Record that seers frequently say is the source of their information, when that source is not specifically a channeled spirit. But this woman has been beatified. She may be declared a saint. She was a nun. On the other hand, if we take her prophecies to have come from God, what do we do about the others, like Nostradamus? What do we do about the prophecies of people who were subsequently declared heretics? What do we do about the prophecies of saints when some of them fail to come true? Fatima and Lourdes are safe bets to be from God. The prophecies have come true, or there have been miracles. The Church approved them back in the days before the Church was divided as it is now. Before Pentecostalism became the rage, with it's attendant signs and wonders. But other prophecies--and there have been a lot of them down through the centuries--are not so reliable. We have been told that in the last days deceiving spirits would perform signs and wonders. So are we in the last days? Or are those last days far off in the future? What Catholic would want to turn away from that which truly comes from God? What Catholic would want to take as a gift from God, the machinations of the father of lies? Where is there a trustworthy source to turn to in this divided landscape of Catholic faith? I have no answers, just questions...always more questions. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE LAW Ohio Gov. Bob Taft on Friday signed the country's strictest "defense of marriage" law, making Ohio the 38th state formally to define marriage as between a woman and a man. "We won't have to worry about our courts deferring to the novel and unorthodox definitions of marriage that we're seeing in states such as Massachusetts," the bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Bill Seitz, told CNN. The Ohio law, which also bars the state from providing marital benefits for unmarried partners - homosexual or heterosexual - is the latest success for a campaign that began in 1996 when Congress passed its Defense of Marriage Act. Since then, 37 state legislatures have jumped on the bandwagon with so-called DOMA laws. Pennsylvania and Delaware lawmakers approved bans on same-sex marriage in 1996. New Jersey lawmakers have not done so. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, February 05, 2004

PAPAL INFLUENCES - Part II The Father of the modern occult revival, Alphonse Louis Constant, or Eliphas Levi as he later called himself, was the source of knowledge that H. P. Blavatsky drew on when she developed Theosophy. He was also the source for Aleister Crowley, a notorious Satinist and the founder of the Ordo Templi Orientis. This same Eliphas Levi was initiated into occult practices by a member of the Polish circle: The ex-Abbe and former political prisoner also wrote execrable poetry and could turn his hand successfully to drawing�But he has been chiefly remembered as the author who gave to the turn of the century occultists, as well as to the general public, a colorful and romantic picture of �Magic,� in particular in the History of Magic (1860) where Zoroaster, the Cabala, Pythagoras, and the Hermetic Tradition are confounded in a gaudy display with Satan, Vintras, Mesmerism, and the Oupnek�hat. Levi knew the latter in the translation of Anquetil-Duperron, considered it the ancestor of all magical books, and presented uncritically the methods it recommended for attaining ecstasy�From this compendium of the supernatural was derived the popular idea of occultism which Madame Blavatsky was to exploit in her own imaginatively inferior productions. The Abbe Constant did, however, himself profess more sophisticated beliefs than those he retailed for public consumption. These were attained chiefly through his initiation by Wronski. (�Underground� p. 263) But allow me to back up a bit. Before the Polish exile in France, Mickiewicz had spent time in a Russian prison in the 1820s with a Lithuanian mystagogue named Thomas Zan whose theories were derived from occult Masonry and Mesmerism. Zan�s circle, known as the �Radiants,� held to magical theories of correspondence, promoted the adoption of Masonic ritual among revolutionary groups, and professed a stern code of moral virtue. (�Underground� p. 250) Zan�s meetings ended in a fervent show of brotherly embracing and the drinking of milk. The fervor generated in these meetings found release in nationalist activity, prompting Russian authorities to suspect a conspiracy that did not exist. A large number of students were imprisoned, including Zan and Mickiewicz. Presumably in the hope of making a good Muscovite of the refractory Pole, the Russians deported Mickiewicz to St. Petersburg. This had no more effect than his imprisonment in keeping the young poet from the dangerous fruit of illuminism. When the students had been in prison (1823-4), Thomas Zan had undergone ecstatic visionary states which greatly impressed Mickiewicz. In St. Petersburg he fell under the influence of his fellow Pole, the artist, poet, and prophet Joseph Olesciewicz, who was during this period Grand Master of the Martinist Order in Russia, and from whom Mickiewicz learned the Cabala. Thus, when he left Russia, Mickiewicz carried with him a body of Traditional knowledge, acquired through his membership of an underground where rejected knowledge and rejected politics were one. His wanderings do not concern us until his meeting with Towianski in Paris in 1841. Andrei Towianski was born a Lithuanian, and like Mickiewicz studied at the University of Wilno. The circles in which he moved have been described as a �mad-house.� His connections with the mystical element among the students are proved by his affiliation of a society to which he belonged to to a Lodge of occult Masonry. But he escaped imprisonment or deportation, and calmly entered the legal profession. In 1832 he suddenly stopped practicing and traveled to St. Petersburg, where he drank deep of Martinist doctrines at the same sources as Mickiewicz. From Russia he went to Dresden, the center from which Polish occult Masonry had been derived. He returned for a short while to Poland, where he conceived the idea that he had a religious mission, and was called to go West. Towianski set off for Paris, fortified by the blessing of the Archbishop of Poznan. (�Underground� p. 250-1) With that background in mind, I�ll take up the story of the Polish exiles in Paris once again. Towianski and Mickiewicz organized the circle of the Oeuvre de Dieu. When Towianski was subsequently expelled from Paris, he continued to direct the circle through Mickiewicz. During this time Towianski was expelled from Rome by the Papal Police; and also from Lausanne, and from Spoletto. It was through the Oeuvre de Dieu, directed by Mickiewicz, and through the personal influence of the poet while occupying the Chair of Slavonic Literature in Paris, that Towianski�s brand of Messianism became known in the West. It comes as something of a shock after this journey into Central Europe to discover the close connection which established itself between the Oeuvre de Dieu and the Oeuvre de Misericorde, between the Poles and the Normans, between Towianski and Vintras. At the period of the peophet�s expulsion from France, a dual approach was made to the Poles by the Oeuvre de Misericorde The Abbe Charvoz came to Mickiewicz in Paris, and three Vintrasians tracked Towianski down in Brussels which he had made his first stopping-place in exile. Mickiewicz wrote to Towianski expressing qualified approval of what he had been told of Eugene Vintras, and advising his Master that a union might be fruitful. Towianski so impressed his Vintrasian deputation that their report caused the Norman prophet to hail the Pole as the Messiah. Towianski certified the Franch sect as of good provenance and accepted Vintras as a �brother.� The followers of the two cults exchanged visits, Poles journeying to Tilly and the Vintrasian Charvoz spreading the doctrines of Towianski. From the Oeuvre de Misericorde Mickiewicz borrowed the idea of establishing his own group in sections of seven. The two cults had by coincidence adopted the same white cross without the figure of Christ Crucified. (�Underground� p. 255-6) The story of Pierre-Eugene-Michel Vintras is an interesting side trip to the story of the Paris occultists. Vintras, a Catholic priest and visionary founded l�oeuvre de la misericorde (The Work of Mercy) following a vision of the Archangel Michael, the Holy Ghost, St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary. His followers were Roman Catholic and Irvingite priests. Phenomena associated with Vintras included visions of the empty chalices filled with bleeding hosts that remained preserved for years. He had bloody sweats. Wine falling from his chalice left bloodstains. Priests of the Work of Mercy celebrated the �Provictimal Sacrifice of Mary.� Ultimately, however, Vintras was accused of homosexuality and of secret masses where participants were naked. His sect was condemned by Pope Gregory XVI. Vintras preached an advent of the Age of the Spirit, similar to that prophesied by Joachim of Fiore, which was to coincide with redemption wrought by the Virgin Mediatrix and her priestesses. This sect claimed the greatest sacrament was the sexual act that restored original androgyny. He founded the Church of Carmel, with branches in Spain, Belgium, England, and Italy. The Polish Mariavites, an offshoot of Vintras� sect, preached a Messianism similar to Mickewicz and Towianski. Two brothers who were Catholic priests named Baillard established the Brothers of Christian Doctrine in association with Vintras. The Abbe de Boullan was also associated with Vintras. He was known for his Society for the Preparation of Souls. Ultimately these sects devolved into black magic and Luciferian theology. Black Madonnas are also associated with Vintras� circle. For a more in-depth look at Vintras, go to the website of the Gnostic Catholic Church. This is the church of well known occultist, Bishop Stephen Hoeller. The Polish occultists staunchly and continually proclaimed their orthodoxy: Glory be to the Christ, who has brought to their completion the symbols of the Ancient Mysteries, and who has prepared the reign of knowledge by faith. Will you now be greater than all Magi? Hide away your science in the recesses of your mind. Become a Christian, simple and docile; be a faithful servant of the Church, believe, mortify yourself, and obey. (�Underground� p. 268) Their orthodoxy, however, had a slight twist: But Christ had, as all great teachers have had, one teaching for the people, and also an esoteric doctrine. To John, the Beloved disciple, he confided the deepest mysteries of the Holy Cabala; and John in after years revealed or reveiled them in his Apocalypse, which is indeed a synthesis of all earlier magical, prophetic and Cabalistic works. (�Underground� p. 268-9) Along with Mickiewicz and Towianski, was a third member of the Polish circle, Levi�s initiator, Joseph Maria Hoene-Wronski. Wronski, best known for his occult activities, was also an inventor. He developed a kind of steam engine among other things. �if Messianism made little appeal to the Powers That Were, its impact on the Underground was very noticeable. It was from Polish sources that Alphonse Louis Constant, the famous �Eliphas Levi,� derived his knowledge of the Cabala; and Constant himself is responsible for almost single-handedly turning the Secret Traditions into a romantic mixture suitable for popular consumption. His initiator was the third member of the Messianic trio, Joseph Maria Hoene-Wronski. (�Underground� p. 257) Wronski�s supporters derive his theories from his mathematical studies and the influence of Kant. But it is just as likely that they came from mystical experience and a knowledge of the Cabala. That Wronski was knowledgeable in Cabalistic matters was obvious to early commentators on his work. He also knew Boehme and was familiar with Gnostic teachings. Like more mystical Traditionalists, Wronski maintained that the goal of man was to become God-like; like other occultists, he veiled his meaning with an impenetrable curtain of jargon. His teachings were not for the vulgar�Such indications would be sufficient to place Wronski among the Traditionalists even had Eliphas Levi not been more specific. Wronski, he wrote, wished no one to know that he was a Cabalist and studied magic. (�Underground� p. 258-9) Levi, the Father of the contemporary occult revival, Had read widely in Traditional literature ever since leaving school�Boehme, Swedenborg, Saint-Martin and, in particular, Knorr von Rosenreuth�s Kabbala Denudata. He was familiar with the works of Mickiewicz and he thought Towianski �an enthusiast of great magnetic power.� (�Underground� p. 263) What marks out Constant from other occultists, apart from his prodigal imagination and the comparative sophistication of his private beliefs, is his continuing connection with the Polish exiles. (�Underground� p. 264) To be continued� CarrieTomko@aol.com

THIS IS CATHOLIC?? No, this is Rosicrucian. The website is the Sophia Foundation, Robert Powell's website. It features a homily given last August by: Fr. Se�n �Laoire is a Catholic priest, ordained in 1972. Born in Ireland, he was awarded a B.Sc. degree (major in Mathematics) from the National University of Ireland. He spent 14 years in East Africa working in Education, Agriculture, Preventive Medicine, Famine Relief, Architecture and also with physically disabled children. He is multi-lingual and has an M.A. and a Ph. D. in transpersonal psychology. He is a co-founder and the Spiritual Director of a group of Bay Area Catholics, called "Companions on the Journey", who are attempting to find "a new way of being truly Catholic." He is, also, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a private counseling practice in Los Altos. He lectures and conducts scientific research on the effects of prayer. It also talks about Rudolf Steiner and Soloviev: Valentin Tomberg (1900-1973) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, into a Lutheran family. He entered into a serious study of Christian esotericism at a young age, being strongly influenced by the Russian Sophiologist Vladimir Soloviev. In his early life, he was a student of Rudolf Steiner, and lectured on Anthroposophy. Justin, do you know anything about this priest? CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

It�s not politically correct! But I didn�t start down this path to be politically correct. When I began, I wanted to know the truth. I still do. �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.� She warned us. We didn�t listen. I�ve been told that what I�ve turned up has been found by others. From the beginning I�ve been determined to do my own research, and so I�ve done. I�m not a schismatic. I don�t attend the Tridentine or belong to a �Traditional� group. I don�t belong to any group. I love the Church and hate watching what is happening. And the �Why?�s that keep turning up leave me unable to know whom to trust. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. And so, let me begin� ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PAPAL INFLUENCES � Part I I have before me three books. The first, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel. Published by Harper Collins, 1990, 2001. It needs no introduction. These 1016 pages are a standard reference on the life of our Holy Father. I�ll refer to it in endnotes as �Witness.� First Things ran a review of this book by Avery Dulles. The second, The Occult Underground by James Webb. Published by Carus Publishing Company, 1974. This is considered a standard reference on the nineteenth century occult revival. In the five years or so that I�ve been studying the occult, no more comprehensive text has come to hand. Webb is cited by university faculty. I�ll refer to it in citations as �Underground.� Lowell K. Dyson (Ph.D. Columbia 1968) at this Rutgers website cites Webb�s book as being a magnificently researched and well-written volume. From the website: James Webb, The Occult Underground [originally published as The Flight from Reason] (La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing Company, 1974) (Someone should tell us more about Open Court which does a lot of good solid occult and mystical books.... Webb later wrote a book on Gurdjieff which I haven't read. According to a friend in occult circles, Webb later went mad and has since died. Another friend says that he sometimes gathered together with Ellic Howe, Bob Gilbert, John Hamill, Francis King, and Occasionally Gerald Suster in a bonny drinking and discussion "seminar." I cannot attest to this, but it would have been grand.... The third, The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, Editor. Published by Cornell University Press in 1997, this book is a collection of sixteen essays by various contributors. I�ll refer to it in endnotes as �The Occult.� Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal (Ph.D. California-Berkeley) Her books are listed at the Fordham University website. These three books along with some supplemental material tell an interesting story, and I will try to let the authors tell as much of it as possible by quoting them, starting with �Witness�, Weigel describes Karol Wojtyla�s interest in the Polish Romantic poets: [There are] several key ideas in Polish Romanticism�s distinctive view of polish history: history had a spiritual core; the deterioration of its traditional national virtues had caused Poland�s political collapse; reestablishing Polish independence required recovering those virtues as the foundation of a new Polish state. Karol Wojtyla deepened his understanding of this singular way of reading history in his adolescent encounter with the great poet/dramatists of Polish Romanticism, including Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, and Cyprian Kamil Norwid. Mickewicz (1789-1855)�poet, playwright, and political activist�was the defining exponent of Polish Romanticism and the greatest Polish literary figure of his time. (�Witness� p. 34) �Mickiewicz insisted that history had a deep spiritual dimension in which suffering prepared the soul for glory. It was a familiar Christian theme�redemptive suffering as a personal spiritual discipline. For Mickiewicz, though, redemptive suffering was also the national destiny. Partitioned Poland was a Messiah among nations, a suffering servant whose time on Calvary would redeem the world and show it the path beyond Western materialism into a new, more spiritual form of freedom. Mickewicz was a political progressive and philo-Semite who interpreted the revolutionary tradition�s �liberty, equality, and fraternity� according to his Christian belief that the Incarnation of Christ, the Second Adam, had made all men equal, irrespective of their convictions about Christ. (�Witness� p. 34-35) Mickiewicz had a significant impact on the youthful Karol Wojtyla that stayed with him into the years of his Papacy. But there were others, as Weigel points out: Juliusz Slowacki (1800-1849) competed with Mickiewicz for the role of spiritual leader of the noncountry of Poland�. Slowacki was fascinated by the question of how the world must have looked to Adam, the first man, and his literary work was in some respects an effort to imagine the world, its origins, and its destiny afresh. Like other Polish Romantics, he was convinced that partitioned, suffering Poland played a unique role in the drama of world history. In Slowacki�s case, this meant that the �Spirit� which had created the world and shaped each succeeding phase of history now resided in Poland. There, it would give birth to a figure who would lead humanity beyond its present sufferings into a new and better future. It was during this last, mystical period in his career that Slowacki wrote a poem about a �Slav Pope� who would be a �brother� to all humanity�.Here, Slowacki most powerfully displayed that mystical bent in which, according to Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz, �he raised historical events to cosmic dimensions and saw in history superhuman, mystical forces shaping the fate of mankind.� The creative proclamation of Slowo, the Word, could bend history in the direction in which the Spirit led it. Karol Wojtyla memorized [Mickiewicz�s] Pan Tadeusz and acted in Kordian, but the most influential of the Polish Romantic poets on his thought was Cyprian Kamil Norwid (1821-1883)�[who] wrote extensively about the dignity of labor and the imperative of respect for workers and their work�.Norwid criticized what he regarded as the crass materialism he found in the West, and especially in the United States. (�Witness� p. 35-6) John Paul II to this day is critical of the materialism in the United States. Norwid�s influence has stuck with him, it would seem, for all of his life. Does he see in his election to the Papacy a fulfillment of Slowacki�s prophecy? In Poland the association between Mickiewicz and Cardinal Wojtyla was so strong that on the day his election was announced in Poland A huge, spontaneous celebration erupted throughout the city�The bells of the Mariacki Church started ringing�A photograph of Cardinal Wojtyla was placed on the pedestal of the statue of Adam Mickiewicz in the market square, and a mound of flowers began to form in front of his old residence� (�Witness� p. 256) Meanwhile in Rome shortly after his election On October 29, [John Paul II] went by helicopter to the Marian shrine at Mentorella, cared for by the Resurrectionist Fathers, a group of priests whose nineteenth-century founding was inspired by Adam Mickiewicz�. (�Witness p. 271) The Pope�s play-acting in his youth at the Rhapsodic Theater where he took the lead in plays by the Polish Romantic poets is documented in �Witness,� p. 62-6. Some have suggested that, confronted by the horror of Nazi-occupied Poland, Karol Wojtyla retreated into a religious quietism. In the light of the evidence, it is clear that he had a decision to make. Some young Poles choose armed resistance or clandestine sabotage. The evidence makes clear that Karol Wojtyla deliberately chose the power of resistance through culture, through the power of the word, in the conviction that the �word� (and in Christian terms, the Word) is that on which the world turns. Those who question the choice he made are also questioning that judgment about the power of the Word and words. (�Witness� p. 66) Is language�or words�the equal of the Word made flesh? Is Christ no more than a figure of speech? The Pope�s interest in poetry is evidenced by the recent publication of a book of his poems. The French Sojourn of the Polish Romantic Poets Mickiewicz, Norwid, and Slowacki had a profound influence on the thinking of John Paul II. He was not, however, the only person influenced. Poland was partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria after the Polish revolution of 1830-31. Twelve thousand Poles of the official classes were permitted to live in exile in France. Mickiewicz and Slowacki were among them. Webb explains: Together with their political opinions, the Polish exiles brought with them their national tradition of mystical philosophy, a condition aggravated by their dismal lot. The Polish reputation for mysticism was such that when toward the end of the century Leon Bloy was serching for an epithet with which to vilify his pet hate Sar Peladan, the Catholic Magus was described as a �mumbo-jumboing lacky of some fantastic Poland.� From German Romanticism, from their Catholic inheritance, and the proximity of Poland to half-Oriental Russia, the Poles drew the most obvious sources of their inspiration�The great mystical poet, Julius Slowacki (1809-49), combined in his thought Traditional doctrines, from Western thinkers like Boehme, Swedenborg, Saint-Martin and Novalis, with Hindu and Buddhist teachings, probably derived from Schlegel�s The Language and Wisdom of the Hindus, and his own researches into the Mongols�He chose to explain the misfortunes of Poland by the doctrine of karma. (�Underground� p. 246-7) �what the Poles brought with them is more important than what they found. The exiles were responsible for reintroducing to French occultism, which on their arrival was an unsystematic jumble of Mesmerism and the sham Oriental, a consciousness of the Secret Traditions. To their influence is directly attributable the fact that the Traditions which in the West had been somewhat in decline during the Age of Reason, formed a recognized part of the underground of rejected knowledge when that underground again became a source of inspiration. Three Messianists were influential in this development: the Polish national poet, Adam Mickiewicz; his spiritual master Andrei Towianski; and the mathematician-philosopher, Hoene-Wronski. The story of Mickiewicz and Towianski shows quite clearly the tortuous routes by which occult and Traditional thought first became entangled with Polish nationalist aspirations, next formed an integral part of the �Messianic� doctrine, then made contact with the West. It is ironic that the essence of the Traditions should have originally been drawn into Poland and Russia from the West. The sources were Martinism and occult Masonry. (�Underground� p. 248) To be continued... CarrieTomko@aol.com

DEAL HUDSON'S WEEKLY E-LETTER covered three topics this week, a Russian maternity clinic financed by an American Catholic couple, that just opened and that will not perform abortions, also his comments about the Superbowl half time show, and the following: A few weeks ago, when the bishops released the audit results concerning diocesan compliance with the abuse charter, I mentioned my concern over the emphasis on "safe environment programs." No real guidelines were laid out to explain what these programs would involve, and experience has taught me to be cautious of vaguely defined sex-ed programs for children. The debate over these programs has become especially heated in my home diocese of Arlington, Virginia, after the audit determined that we weren't in compliance. Since then, parents and diocesan officials have been taking sides in a battle over what to teach our children. One particular confrontation made headlines in January as a crowd of parents booed at a town hall meeting in response to news that the diocese was considering implementing the Good-Touch/Bad-Touch program in our schools. There are some real problems with this program. It's simply too graphic for young children, it undermines a parent's right to be the primary teachers of their children, and it teaches some things contrary to a Catholic understanding of sexuality. Unfortunately, it appears that Arlington diocese officials aren't currently interested in other options. At the most recent meeting with parents on January 24, Catherine Nolan, the diocesan director of child protection and safety, said that plans to implement Good-Touch/Bad-Touch were on hold, but that no other programs were being considered. (This is a shame, since there ARE good programs out there... Archbishop John Myers told me that his diocese uses and can recommend "Protecting God's Children," for example.) Nolan was then asked why Arlington parents weren't a part of the program selection process in the first place and weren't contacted with specifics about its content. She answered that the children's protection came first and that parents themselves might be predators. Now that just made me laugh. Does Nolan read the news? In the first place (and I'm starting to sound like a broken record here), the problem is NOT with parents. It's with priests. On the list of 1700-plus names published in the New York Times as being sexual predators in this scandal, not one of them was a parent. So can we finally put that to rest? Secondly, the Church teaches that it's the responsibility of PARENTS to teach their children about sexual matters. It should be the job of the diocese to educate the parents so they can educate their children. But it isn't the diocese' right to do an end-run around the parents. At this point in the meeting, something interesting happened. While the parents got more and more fed up with being given the runaround on the specifics of the program, one parent stood up and asked Nolan, point-blank, if she was pro-life. Obviously flustered, Nolan replied that she couldn't answer that question because it was "a very personal decision" and it might prevent her from working with certain people in her official diocesan capacity. That, my friend, is the problem in a nutshell. If the inability to affirm one of the most basic Church teachings -- by a diocesan official, in a Church, in front of Catholic parents -- doesn't tell you all you need to know about the real problem we're facing in the Church today... well, there's not much else I can say. To learn more about CRISIS Magazine, visit http://www.crisismagazine.com/subscribe.htm I presume Nolan is pro-abortion. Yet she works for the diocese? And she is in a position to teach a program to children that is sexual in nature? There is simply no way to make sense out of diocesan policies like this. Is it any wonder we have abused minors? CarrieTomko@aol.com

INTERESTING BOOK REVIEW The book is Sophia-Maria: A Holistic Vision of Creation by Thomas Schipflinger. Sophia-Maria contains a treasure trove of insights, images, and ideas about the Divine Feminine. Thomas Schipflinger presents Sophia's many guises in scripture; her depiction by the church fathers and Augustine; and her presence in the visions of Hildegard of Bingen, the mystical writings of Jacob Boehme, the poetry of Gottfried Arnold, the philosophy of Vladimir Soloviev, and the spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin who saw her as the World's Soul. There are also representations of Sophia in the Jewish Cabala, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Throughout the ages she has been seen as God's partner in creation, the feminine principle of the Holy Trinity, and as incarnated in Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Schipflinger also includes a multitude of images of Sophia in art and architecture. And he shows how Lady Wisdom continues to teach, guide, and protect humanity with her nurturing love. Translated by James Morgante with an afterword by Robert Powell, founder of the Sophia Foundation in North America, this paperback is the most comprehensive and well-organized resource available on the Divine Feminine. CarrieTomko@aol.com

TOXIC CHEMICAL ALERT I know all of you chemists out there in blogland will want to see this alert so that you can take proper precautions. I had no idea this substance was this dangerous. To think I had a container of it right next to my computer. I'll be disposing of its contents in the prescribed manner before today is done! CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

MICHAEL ROSE, WRITING FOR THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE critiques the flak over Gibson's movie in a piece titled "The Pre-Emptive War on the Passion." The row over Gibson�s passion involves a string of media attacks stemming from a wholly negative 18-page critique put together by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and an ad-hoc scholars� group that advises a subcommittee of the U.S. Catholic bishops� bureaucracy. (Last year that same subcommittee inveighed against Catholics seeking to convert Jews to Christianity.) He doesn't say what the name of the group that advises the bishops is. While the flurry of gossip columns and editorials were still littering the nation�s dailies, the U.S. bishops� bureaucracy came under fire for its affiliation with the incontinent critique. Gibson even hinted to an Australian newspaper that he was threatening a lawsuit against the good shepherds who seem eternally hostage to the deceitful artifice of their swollen bureaucracy. Shortly thereafter, Mark E. Chopko, attorney for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, offered a passionate mea culpa to Gibson and gave his well-publicized assurance that the bishops� bureaucratic brigade will hold off on being party to any further critique until the film is released, a courtesy accorded to nearly all other films. A group within a group. An advisory committee for US Bishops. And what was the motivation for this advisory committee? Seems there is no end to curiosities within the Catholic Church. CarrieTomko@aol.com

NEW THOUGHT A reader asked about this. Ron Rhodes tracks religious movements. Here is his entry for New Thought: New Thought New Thought developed slowly during the nineteenth century after Quimby's death in 1866. Quimby did not create an organization himself. But individuals he helped adopted his ideas and passed them on to others, adding to or modifying them along the way. Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science is a major example of this, though this tradition is too exclusive to meld with today's New Age movement. However, several smaller, more inclusive metaphysical groups also emerged, and in the 1890s the term "New Thought" surfaced as a way of describing them. The Christ of New Thought was an outgrowth of Quimby's metaphysics. The Christ was considered not a person but an impersonal Divine Nature or Principle. Jesus was believed to have embodied or appropriated the Christ-principle as no human had before. He had fully realized his Christ-nature. But Jesus was not a savior to mankind; he was merely a "way-shower." Salvation is based not on Jesus but on the recognition of the Divine Nature or Christ-principle within. Anything that combines "science" and "religion" into a homogenous whole and advertises it, is usually of the New Age/Theosophy/Spiritualism type of metaphysics. Rudolf Steiner called his Anthroposophy "Spiritual-Science." And he did it often enough to make it a catch phrase. This website dedicated to books about Theosophy includes the topic of New Thought in the descriptions of two books. Here is another book list of New Thought books. Take a look at the titles and you get an idea what is being promoted. In a word, channeling or some form of clairvoyant spiritualism not compatible with the First Commandment. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Comparative Literature 120: LITERATURE OF THE OCCULT/THE OCCULT IN LITERATURE This course is taught at Penn State University. I see that one of the required texts is Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita [Russian]. Grove, 1987. From the Orthodox Christians anti-ecumenism website, the webpage dedicated to Rosicrucians: "The Third Testament" of Anna Schmidt was later published by S. Bulgakov. In the preface to the book "From the Manuscripts of A. N. Schmidt" S. Bulgakov refers to A. Schmidt's work as a mystical treatise of "paramount significance which could easily stand the comparison with the works of the first-class European mystics, such as J. Boehme, Poredge, Swedenborg, a.o. [98] In his "Recollections about Blok" Andrei Bely wrote: "read "The Third Testament" of A. N. Schmidt, and there you will find the keys to many problems plaguing Blok of those days; not everyone finds these keys incomprehensible. Thus, they are understood by S. N. Bulgakov, V. I. Ivanov, N. A. Berdyaev, P.A. Florensky. A. A.'s (Blok's L.P.) many literary colleagues remain in the dark about them, since, of course, he did not discuss gnostic themes with them" [99]. The CESNUR website, an organiation dedicated to the exposure of cults, speaks of Bulgakov at this webpage dedicated to "The Center of Our Lady and Counterculture" (Falikov). Here is the pertinent quote: Being a prophet father Ioann keeps silence about the cultural sources of his teaching. But they are obvious to those who are familiar with Russian religious philosophy of Slavophils, V. Soloviev, N. Berdiaev, S. Bulgakov, P. Florensky and many others. Father Ioann openly borrows from them such ideas as saving mission of Russia among the people of the world, the universal theocracy, the coming revelation of the Third Testament (the epoch of Paraclete), sophiology, etc. However, these great religious thinkers didn't agree with each other in many respects. Soloviev argued with Slavophils about the Russia's mission in the world, Catholicism played a big role in his theocratic projects. Berdiaev declaring the coming age of Paraclete rejected the sophiology of Bulgakov and "stylized orthodoxy" of Florensky. The latter developing the sophiological ideas of Soloviev rejected his Gnostic predilections, etc. They also differed in their evaluation of occultism and oriental religions. Steiner Books, a division of the Anthroposophical Press, offers one of Bulgakov's books: Sophia, The Wisdom of God An Outline of Sophiology Sergei Bulgakov 224 pages, Paperback Lindisfarne Books ISBN 0940262606 $17.95 I see that it's published by Lindisfarne Books. From "Pope John Paul II - General Audience - 25 October 2000: 5. In this light, as Sergej Bulgakov, the Russian theologian said suggestively, "the liturgy is heaven on earth." Because of this, in the apostolic letter "Dies Domini," referring to Paul VI's words, I exhorted Christians not to neglect "this encounter, this banquet that Christ prepares for us in his love. May participation in it also be very worthy and joyful! It is Christ crucified and glorified who passes in the midst of his disciples to attract them together in the renewal of his resurrection. It is the culmination down here of the covenant of love between God and his people: sign and source of Christian joy, a stage for the eternal feast" (Gaudete in Domino, conclusion; Dies Domini, No. 58). How are Sergei Bulgakov and Mikhail Bulgakov related? Very strange, I think. Something is wrong in Rome. CarrieTomko@aol.com

SPIRITUAL WARFARE ESCALATES In an article at Zenit titled "Lefebvre Group Attacks Pope's Ecumenical Vision" Cardinal Hoyos "referred to the 'frontal attack' implied in the accusation addressed to the Pope of 'having abandoned Tradition'." He continues, "It constitutes, in fact, a dangerous presumption to also judge the Supreme Authority...we believe that no one can arrogate to himself the right to judge the Holy See." I guess that St. Paul, St. Catherine of Sienna, and St. Athanasius were dangerously presumptious. And thank God that they were. Hmmm. Looks like questions about ecumenism raises the bar in Rome. Cardinal Hoyos didn't exactly soften his comments. He also indicated that Dominus Iesus was not mentioned in the SSPX letter. Might that be because words are hollow without action to back them up? We do not worship the Pope. We worship Jesus Christ. Him alone do we serve. And that includes everyone including the Pope. In any case, we have no choice but to bring about correction from within. There is no home but Rome. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, February 02, 2004

BULGAKOV AND SOLOVIEV In a comment box below, Justin made the following observation: It gets especially convoluted with Bulgakov, whose sophiology I'm most familiar with. He doesn't want to call Sophia a person or personality, so he instead says that Sophia is the essence of God, shared by all three Persons of the Holy Trinity. He then goes on to describe the attributes of Sophia as though she were a person. Not only is he imprecise, but in both the Western and Eastern traditions, but especially in the Eastern, one can never make affirmative statements about the essence of God--it is so far beyond our comprehension or power of expression. Yet this is precisely what the sophiologists like Bulgakov do. It starts to sound like gnosticism. Bulgakov and Soloviev...hmmm....sort of like this? From the website of the St. Andrew's Biblical Theological College, a call for papers for an upcoming conference: In September 2003, St. Andrew�s Biblical Theological College in cooperation with Ostkirchliches Institut, Regensburg and with the support of the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration (Rome) organized an International Academic Theological Conference �Russia and the Universal Church: Humanity of God in the Perspective of Contemporary Interconfessional and Interreligious Dialogue� in honor of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Soloviev. Soloviev was not only a great Russian philosopher, but also the founder of a specific philosophical school in Russia. His religious-philosophical ideas of pan-unity (vseedinstvo), God-humanity (Bogo-chelovechestvo), sophianic nature of the creation (sofiynost), political and social existence of the world, were continued and developed by Russian philosophers of the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries and are still relevant for today�s world. Our next Conference is dedicated to the heritage of Sergey Bulgakov, a Russian philosopher, priest, theologian, and public figure, which continued Soloviev�s school with support of the Orthodox tradition and contemporary Western philosophy. Looks like you take the prize in philosophy, Justin! I think the Holy Father has some explaining to do, and not in the usual convoluted language that obscures the truth, either! Is his promotion of Soloviev Catholic, or isn't it? CarrieTomko@aol.com

SOLOVIEV'S OCCULT INFLUENCES It's not just the Catholics who turn to Soloviev, as I pointed out in yesterday's blog. This Book Review of Sophia-Maria: A Holistic Vision of Creation by Thomas Schipflinger includes Soloviev with this concept of the Divine Feminine, including with him Teilhard de Chardin and Jacob Boehme. Boehme lies in the background of Pentecostalism via. William Law who influenced John Wesley. Teilhard needs no explanation. The book also mentions the Early Church Fathers. But is this a correct interpretation of what they taught? Certainly the Cabala, Buddhism and Hinduism--all mentioned here--are outside of our Tradition. But it gets worse. Here at the Alchemy Lab website is the occult side of Soloviev: George Gurdjieff (1877�1949) the famed Russian Mystic, also experimented with hashish. Gurdjieff gained knowledge of cannabis� unique effects on the human psyche while spending time studying with a number of Sufi schools and dervish orders, in Persia, eastern Turkey and Bokhara. Gurdjieff used hashish in experiments with some of his pupils to demon�strate the awakening of people�s essences. Gurdjieff, and his �loyal friend of all friends,� Soloviev, studied together under an Isma�ili affiliated Sufi group. During this time Gurdjieff states that Soloviev became an expert in eastern medicine, Tibetan medicine, �and he was also the world�s greatest specialist in the knowledge of opium and hashish on the psyche and organism of man.�[62] Gurdjieff?? Soloviev's "loyal friend of all friends"?? This doesn't just venture briefly over the line into occultism. This takes a giant leap into outlaw territory. I would very much like to hear the Holy Father's explanation as to why he is speaking in glowing terms of an occult philosopher! Hashish?? Opium?? And we wonder why a priest in Barberton grows marijuana in a rectory closet while teaching Yoga to his parishioners? This website, too, places Soloviev in the same category as Jacob Boehme, a Protestant occultist, and William Law, who translated Boehme and influenced John Wesley. (Scroll down to #78.) His [Jacob Boehme's - ct] writings are often difficult to follow, partly due to his lack of formal education, and also to his use of alchemical terminology, which was the scientific chemistry of his medieval times. His writings are nevertheless compelling, filled with illumination, and charged with passionate spirituality. Jacob Boehme was highly influential on subsequent thinkers, including William Law, Dionysius Freher, Nicolas Berdyrev, Soloviev, Hegel, Schelling, William Blake, Isaac Newton, Franz von Baader, and George Fox, the founder of the Quakers. Just remember, so narrow is the gate that leads to the real divine truth that no self-sufficiency can ever enter in. This Site was created and is maintained by Esprit Systems, Inc We have occultism moving into our convents. We have New Age teaching in our parishes. We have priests abusing minors. We have bishops who have facilitated that abuse. And we have a Pope who is holding up an occult philosopher as a model to lead us into ecumenism, while our bishops fail to censor the deviance, and the Pope does not act. After spending the last several hours looking at such websites, I very much feel like I've been had by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church! CarrieTomko@aol.com

JUNGIANS AND GNOSTICS A reader presented this website in a comments box. It's a long article which I've skimmed. This paragraph leapt off the screen: "The archetypes," states Jung, "are the images of the instincts." Archetypes are the mythological figures that serve as the universal "cores" around which personal complexes constellate. Their universality gives human psychology its relatively invariant character across time and culture. Jung notes that the archetypes have a personality-like structure (one-dimensional and stereotyped though they may be, like the allegorical characters in a Dickens novel, or the "alters" in Multiple Personality Disorder, or the gods and goddesses of Greek and other mythologies) including each its own consciousness, set of values, and goals. He identifies them with, for example, the "spirits" that spoke to his cousin, a medium, while in trance. And this one as well... However, Jung also attributes to the archetypes a transcendent dimension, a capacity to evade the constraints of material causality (as in extrasensory phenomena, astrological correspondences, or so-called "synchronicity"-seemingly meaningful coincidences). Once this dimension is added, the archetypes become indistinguishable from spirits or demons as traditionally conceived, regardless of the scientific sound of words like "complexes," "synchronicity," or, indeed, "archetypes." Archetypes are immaterial, yet beings; each has an individual consciousness and intentionality, yet possesses a commonly shared and universal consciousness of some sort; they can transmit to people information not obtainable by natural means, and yet in some crucial way are linked to (and hence rousable by) the basic animal drives of human nature. It's common knowledge in the occult world that C. G. Jung was an occultist. It's an interesting article. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, February 01, 2004

A LITTLE MORE SOLOVIEV Fr. Ray Ryland spoke of Soloviev in a Zenit Daily Dispatch at the EWTN website. From that article it can be determined that the Pope * hailed him as "a pioneer and example of dialogue between Eastern and Western Christians." * Von Balthasar ranked Soloviev second to Thomas Aquinas as "the greatest artist of order and organization in the history of thought. * Pope John Paul called attention to Soloviev in 1998's "Fides et Ratio" as standing in a line of distinguished Christian philosophers. * The Holy Father declared that Soloviev's "prophetic" work makes him one of our era's great "witnesses of the faith and illustrious Christian thinkers." These are glowing recommendations for this Russian philosopher. Clearly it is Soloviev's belief that Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy should be reunited, certainly an appealing proposition. With such a glowing endorsement, is it any wonder Catholics and other Christians take up the teachings of Soloviev? To the best of my knowledge, John Paul II has never made a negative statement about anything Soloviev taught. But if anyone else knows of one, please let me know. I turned to The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy Second Edition, Robert Audi General Editor, published by Cambridge University Press, 1999 for a description of Soloviev. Solovyov, Vladimir (1853-1900). Russian philosopher, theologian, essayist, and poet. In addition to major treatises and dialogues in speculative philosophy, Solovyov wrote sensitive literary criticism and influential essays on current social, political, and ecclesiastical questions. His serious verse is subtle and delicate; his light verse is rich in comic invention. The mystical image of the "Divine Sophia," which Solovyov articulated in theoretical concepts as well as poetic symbols, powerfully influenced the Russian symbolist poets of the early twentieth century. His stress on the human role of the "divine-human process" that creates both cosmic and historical being led to charges of heresy from Russian Orthodox traditionalists. Solovyov's rationalistic "justification of the good" in history, society, and individual life was inspired by Plato, Spinoza, and especially Hegel. [emphasis mine - ct] However, at the end of his life Solovyov offered (in _Three Conversations on War, Progress, and the End of History,_ 1900) a contrasting apocalyptic vision of historical and cosmic disaster, including the appearance, in the twenty-first century, of the Antichrist. In ethics, social philosophy, philosophy of history, and theory of culture, Solovyov was both a vigorous ecumenist and a "good European" who affirmed the intrinsic value of both the "individual human person" (Russian lichnost') and the "individual nation or people" (narodnost'), but he decisively repudiated the perversions of these values in egoism and nationalism, respectively. He contrasted the fruits of English narodnost' - the works of Shakespeare and Byron, Berkeley and Newton - with the fruits of English nationalism - the repressive and destructive expansion of the British Empire. In opposing ethnic, national, and religious exclusiveness and self-centeredness, Solovyov also, and quite consistently, opposed the growing xenophobia and anti-Semitism of his own time. Since 1988 long-suppressed works by and about Solovyov have been widely republished in Russia, and fresh interpretations of his philosophy and theology have begun to appear. Hegel. A name associated with Phenomenology. In fact this same Dictionary of Philosopy says: "The term has been used since the mid-eighteenth century and received a carefully defined technical meaning in the works of both Kant and Hegel, but it is not now used to refer to a homogeneous and systematically developed philosophical position. Since this reference work mentions the "Divine Sophia" in explaining Soloviev, I think it would be careless to simply dismiss this aspect of his philosophy without addressing it. Yet to the best of my knowledge, I have never heard the Pope describe how he envisions this aspect of Soloviev's work to fit into Catholic thought, or not to fit. Since I covered this aspect of Soloviev's work yesterday, I won't go back to it today. Catholic Blogger Gerard Serafin comments on Soloviev: The Catholic Church using the term Sapientia (Wisdom) has a Latin-Germanic > tradition as I understand it that is beginning to come to the surface >thanks to several very innovative, creative, and revolutionary theological > thinkers such as Fr. Teilhard de Chardin. Also of interest, the Catholic > convert and Catholic theologian Vladimir Soloviev seems to found a more > congenial home in Catholicism than in his original native Orthodoxy. His > teachings are for the most part rejected by the Orthodox as heretical. > Even Father Men admires Soloviev for his moral example but not for his > theological creativity. I have read several references of Fr Alexander Men and he seems to think Soloviev one of the great religious genuines of Russia--he says that the likes of Soloviev come only once a century! (Though, I add, Newman came from the same century--both drawn to Rome!). Fr Men took as one of his great themes the theme so highlighted by Soloviev, the theme of "Godmanhood." So I would find it hard to agree with the assesment you give of Fr Men's assesment of Soloviev. He may indeed have admired his moral example as well. Apparantly Soloviev took his faith very seriously and lived a truly Christlike life. If Soloviev's teachings are rejected by the Orthodox, he is not likely to help the Pope argument for ecumenism. A paper on Soloviev's philosophy at the Baylor University website offers this perspective: The nature of the other-one, of humanity, is to desire inner union with God, and to be united to the �world-soul[12] � in the Church. The Church for Solovyov is an organic, living body, �since man can only receive Divinity only in his absolute totality, i.e., in union with all, the man-God is . . . all-humanity, or the Universal Church; the God-man is the individual[13] .� In an effort further to elucidate his conception of the universal church body, Solovyov traveled to England. His �eternal friend,� St. Sophia, visited him a second time instructing him to journey to Egypt. In Egypt, Solovyov saw St. Sophia in another mystical vision. From this meeting, Solovyov moved from the conceptual union of the Universal Church to an active mission to unite the churches of the World. Solovyov found no reason for Catholic and Orthodox to be divided, nor for Jew and Gentile to be at odds. The Church of Solovyov�s vision, revealed in St. Sophia, even united reason and faith. That seems to come awfully close to claiming that man is God. It certainly offers a syncretic picture of the "universal church" which would encompass all religions. The comment also indicates that Soloviev was a visionary. This is also an interesting comment in light of the fact that John Paul mentions Soloviev in his "Fiedes et Ratio." The paper is written by Amy Antoninka, a second year graduate student in philosophy at Baylor. A website called ""Women Priests Catholic Internet Library" does this with Soloviev's Godmanhood: From the standpoint of the creator, Sophia is the divine purpose and vision in view of which the universe is made, which is already enscribed in it in a hidden manner, and which must be progressively manifested in the history of man until its ultimate fulfillment. These two aspects are one, so that the soul of the world must be equated with the divine purpose: it is a theanthropy, a divine-human reality, what Soloviev calls Godmanhood. With the coming of Christ, immense progress was made in the manifestation of Godmanhood. For Christ is himself the divine Sophia incarnate; the Virgin Mary, as his human mother, embodies the motherly aspect of the divine Sophia; the Church, as his bride, is the body of the divine wisdom. Accordingly, in his Lectures on Godmanhood, delivered in Moscow in 1878, Soloviev calls Sophia the world soul, and the body of Christ, the Church, the divine Mother,(22) the ideal mankind, the real form of the Divinity, the manifestation of the Spirit.(23) In the mutual enrichment of the two aspects of Sophia, human and divine, the mystery of redemption takes place: God becomes man and man is deified. Now, not only has Christ become woman, man has become divine. There are other websites indicating that Soloviev's "Godmanhood" can be interpreted to say that man is divine. It would be interesting to know what the pope thinks of this interpretation of Soloviev. In fact there are several Gnostic/esoteric/occult references in this paper from Notre Dame. If such scholarship is truly a departure from Catholic thought, isn't it reasonable to expect the Pope to make some sort of statement on Soloviev's philosophy, indicating that he recognizes not all of it is kosher, so to speak? Yet to the best of my knowledge everything the Pope has said about Soloviev has been praise. If the Pope has played a part in encouraging Catholic women to think of Sophia as a sort of goddess, isn't it reasonable to expect some clarification? CarrieTomko@aol.com

VLADIMIR SOLOVIEV AND SOPHIA From the Columbia Encyclopedia comes this description of Soloviev's Sophia Soloviev believed in the incarnation of divine wisdom in a being called Sophia, a concept that greatly influenced the young symbolist poets, especially Blok. He advocated a synthesis of Eastern and Western churches in Russia and the Universal Church, which he wrote in French in 1889 (tr. 1948). The Sophia Foundation describes Soloviev's "Sophiology" this way: The power of devotion to Sophia, preeminently in the Orthodox Christian Church, is the inspiration of the Russian School of "Sophiology" that began in the late nineteenth century and continues to this day. Sophiology is closely connected to the life work of Vladimir Soloviev (1853 - 1900), one of Russia's greatest philosophers. Soloviev had three mystical experiences of Sophia, and these determined the central impulse and motivation for his entire life's work. Inspired by Soloviev, Pavel Florensky (1882 - 1937) and Sergei Bulgakov (1871 - 1944), both of whom were priests in the Russian Orthodox Church, developed Sophiology further in a systematic sense, drawing primarily upon the biblical Books of Wisdom and the Orthodox tradition of devotion to Sophia. It was their concern to elaborate a theology of Sophia that, while signifying an extension of Orthodox theology, would not conflict with it. Notice on the website that the Sophia Foundation uses the Rose Croic symbol in the top left corner. A website called "OrthodoxPhotos.com" offers this perspective: THE IMPULSE FOR THE NEW CURRENTS of Russian philosophical thought was given, as was said, by Vladimir S. Soloviev, who set as his aim "to justify the faith of the Fathers" before the reason of his contemporaries. Unfortunately, he made a whole series of direct deviations from the Orthodox Christian way of thinking, many of which were accepted and even developed by his successors. Here are a series of points in Soloviev's philosophy which are most evidently distinct from, and even directly depart from the teaching of faith confessed by the Church: You'll have to go to the website to read the points of disagreement. It's too long to include here. The article concludes by saying: The few points here noted of divergence between the views of Soloviev and the teaching of the Church indicate the unacceptability of the religious system of Soloviev as a whole for the Orthodox consciousness. This paper by Annabelle Nelson on Sophiology: A Russian orthodox mystic, Vadimir Soloviev (4) had a vision of Sophia in which he experienced bliss at seeing God in the beauty of a mountain range so breath taking that the site took his breath away. As a result he created a theology called Sophiology in an attempt to resacralize nature and remove it from the evil state it occupied after Adam and Eve fell from Eden. However since the prevailing orthodox doctrine could not accept the integrative vision of spirit in matter, he was ostracized from his church. Sophia�s wisdom to Soloviev seemed to be the experience that there was no division between spirit and matter. In fact he implied that one could find wisdom through the material world. There are Gnostic sources in her footnotes. Iconographer Robert Lentz uses Soloviev to defend the belief that Christ could be described in feminine terms: In the Christian tradition, it is clear that the mystery of the Christ ought not to be described in masculine terms alone. In the ancient scriptures wisdom was � she,� and as the Incarnation continues to unfold after Christ�s resurrection and ascension, it is again the feminine Sophia who expresses the mystery - as pointed out by Russian theologian Soloviev. His Christ Sophia is pictured here. Here is his Mother of the Disappeared A picture of this icon in black and white is included in China Galland's book Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna, a book that describes her pilgrimmage through Buddhist, Hindu, and Catholic sources for Black Virgina. I suspect that this Compassion Mandala icon breaks all of the rules iconographers live by. His Celtic Trinity features an Ouroboros (snake swallowing its tail - an common occult symbol) as a border. His Pax Christi is really offensive, as is Lord of the Dance. Take a look at The Good Shepherd. Some sheep! Tells us something about his "lord" perhaps. Here are a couple of his pre-Christian saints. But I digress... An Orthodox website objecting to ecumenism has a description of Soloviev on its site. They call the page "Sophian Heresy." Perhaps Justin will appreciate this one. "Sophia" translated from the Greek means "Divine Wisdom". As used in the Bible this term designates a general attribute of Divinity, His all-wise authority, as well as His superior reason. The terms personifying Wisdom, commonly used in the Old Testament, particularly in the passages which are akin to the New Testament, and the revelation of Christ, were unanimously perceived by the Fathers as the Hypostasis of the Son of God. For instance, such is the general Church understanding of words about the Wisdom contained in the Book of Proverbs (9,1-9). Then there is this book review, "Honest to Goddess." Sophia found a home and welcome in Russia, and any search for Sophia must spend time with the Russian Sophiologists. Chapter 3 introduces the trinity of Russian Sophiologists: Soloviev, Florensky, and Bulgakov and their work. Soloviev was a poet and professor. He taught oneness with the Self with nature and the divine, presenting a broader more embracing Christianity. Bulgakov, the most recent of the trio lost his teaching position when he was ordained in 1918. He was a political scientist and even a member of the Duma before he was exiled from Russia. After his ordination, his writings and views created a charge of heresy by the Orthodox Church. He became dean of the Russian Theological Institute in Paris. In his The Jannine Apocalypse he restated the major Christian teachings in terms of Sophia the Divine All Wisdom. (No, I have no idea what sort of church he belongs to.) There are nine more pages of hits in Google for Soloviev and Sophia. But it's late, and I'm tired. It will have to wait for another day. Let me close with the following: SOLOVIEV AND THE POPE Unfortunately the article is not dated, but OrthodoxyToday runs a story by John Couretas challenging the contents of Deal Hudson's Crisis Magazine article titled "Soloviev's Amen." He was not pleased with Couretas' interpretation! A clue to the present confusion in the Church perhaps? CarrieTomko@aol.com

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