Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! Thank you Lord for blessing me to have a merry Christmas and celebrate your birth with joy! Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jacob of Serugh

Update 12/3/2009:

From New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd. ed., s.v. "Jacob of Sarug (Serugh)," p. 688:
In 1716, E. Renaudot, in his Liturgiarum orientalium collectio, accused James of being a Monophysite. Three years later, J. S. Assemani began publishing his monumental Bibliotheca orientalis in which he argues strongly for the orthodoxy of James. With the publication in 1876 of several key letters, P. Martin seemed to many to have settled the issue: James was a Monophysite. ... P. Krüger has questioned James' orthodoxy; and T. Jansma, in three masterful articles, has proved conclusively that James was a Monophysite of the Severian school and remained so all his life.
T. JANSMA ... "The Credo of James of Sarug: A Return to Nicea and Constantinople," Nederlandsch Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis 44 (1960) 18–36; "Die Christologie Jakobs von Serugh und ihre Abhängigkeit von der alexandrinischen Theologie und von der Frömmigkeit Ephraems des Syrers," Muséon 78 (1965) 5–46; "Encore le Crédo de Jacques de Saroug," L'orient syrien 10 (1965) 75–88, 193–236, 331–370, 474–510.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth, Part II

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1. This was going to be a term paper for Faith & Critical Reason but for sundry reasons it was not to be and it did not end up nearly long enough anyway; my term paper was instead on reasons for safeguarding the environment. I was moved by the style of the Church Fathers to write this in a homiletic manner, but there is probably a great deal of rambling because I was trying to draw things out to meet the required paper length:

2. These days the majority of Biblical scholars, i.e. the mainstream, would have us believe that the creation story in Genesis communicates important religious truths but is not literally historically true. Most of these scholars, influenced by the scientific consensus in favor of evolution, would thus deny that God formed a man called Adam literally from the slime of the earth, and that God anesthetized Adam and literally formed from his side the body of his wife Eve. However, God indeed formed Adam from the slime of the earth and formed Eve from his side. To deny this is to greatly undermine the special dignity of humankind above all other animals, the most profound and holy unity between man and woman which forms the basis for the sacrament of marriage and the prohibition of divorce, the sacramental formation of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church from the side of Christ on the Cross, confidence in the ancient norms of interpretation used by the Magisterium, the equality of dignity between men and women, and the order of creation and authority which God designed to maintain harmony, peace, justice, and love the Church and in every family.

3. We have a special dignity above all the animals and this needs to be stressed, but not, of course, at the expense of our affirmation of responsibility for caring for the rest of creation. Indeed, part of the special dignity we must affirm is our dominion over all the animals and plants and understanding and appreciating this dominion, not tyranny, instills in us a motivation to live frugally rather than extravagantly, and to maintain clean air and water supplies and avoid pernicious practices like slash and burn agriculture which lead to desertification of once lush jungles and the extinction of, for example, plant species that could have provided a cure for several types of cancer and even congenital diseases.

4. Nevertheless, what swine, what mosquito, what cobra, is created in the image of God? Amen, I say to you, of all the corporeal creatures humans alone are created in the image of God; we alone among the corporeal creatures have immortal souls which, after death, are immutably fixed in either good or evil. What beast of the field was suitable to be the partner of Adam? [Gen 2:20]. To which of the brute animals did God grant the priceless gift of original justice? We have religion, music, art; truly of us alone among the corporeal creatures can be predicated that term civilization. We have divine authorization to eat animals, as befits our place and high honor in God's creation [Gen 9:2-3].

5. It is more fitting that Adam be created separately, and not come about as the descendant of soulless hominids, in order to illustrate marvelously and unforgettably this special dignity of humanity over the rest of animals. It is more fitting that Eve should come from the body of Adam, so that she and all her children are shown to possess the same dignity above the animals.

6. The formation of Eve from the side of Adam during his sleep parallels the formation of the Church from the side of Jesus Christ while He was experiencing the deep sleep of death on the Cross. The sacramental formation of the Church from the Sacred Heart of the Lord, pierced by our sins, is a fact of history. If the statement in Genesis that God fashioned Eve from the side of Adam is not a fact of history, where is the strength of the parallel? The parallel, built on a foundation of sand, would collapse. Would not a parallel for the historical event of the formation of the Church be strongest if it were also part of the class of historical events?

7. To no lesser degree is the question of the bodily origin of Adam and Eve related to the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The basis for this beautiful sacrament is nothing less than the profound and singular unity that exists between man and woman. This unity and reciprocal love is manifested and consummated in the marriage act whereby husband and wife become, in the words of Christ, not two, but one flesh. And who can separate what God joined together? Thus becomes clear the basis for the prohibition of divorce: the marriage bond lasts until death does them part. The affirmation of the literal formation of Eve from the side of Adam, already grounded in many solid foundations, can only serve to strengthen belief in the sanctity and power of marriage, and to remind us sinners of the gravity of adultery so that we might, with the grace of God, avoid that abomination. On the other hand, where goes the singular unity between man and woman when we introduce the novel proposition, unheard of until the 19th century, that Adam was the son of a soulless hominid, or otherwise taken from the living matter of some animal? And to where but the abyss does that precious unity go when we affirm that Eve is not bone of Adam's bones and flesh of Adam's flesh?

8. The thesis of the literal creation of Adam from the ground and Eve from the side of Adam has important ties to and implications for feminist theology. If Eve really came from the side of Adam, then she is much more clearly side by side with, i.e., equal to, Adam in dignity. Thus men and women are clearly of equal dignity, a truth most dear to feminist theologians as it ought to be most dear to everyone. And yet it also puts a check on feminist theology. In St. Paul the Apostle's First Letter to Timothy, the creation story serves as a basis for an irreformable moral teaching, that women cannot usurp the roles which God gave to men in Church and must keep silent while in church. While feminist theologians might strive for more prerogatives in this area for women, we must obey the word of God because it is not open to debate, for inspiration is incompatible with all errors and defects, including moral shortcomings. The Apostle, inspired by the Holy Spirit, repeatedly affirms the headship of the husband in the family. Ought we not to trust God for making things this way? Does not God, Who does not merely have wisdom but is Wisdom itself, order all things sweetly? [Wisdom 8:1]. Is not this order of authority designed to foster mutual harmony and love? St. Paul plainly affirms that "Adam was formed first" and this is one of the reasons for this divinely inspired doctrine. Thus to deny that Eve was in very truth formed from the side of Adam is to, whether consciously or not, remove one of the indispensable bases for the doctrine of different ecclesial and familial roles for men and women and make the Spirit of Truth Who inspired St. Paul a spirit who commits fallacies. Let us shrink from such a crime!

9. Finally, in addition to the above arguments from right reason, it must be said that the affirmation of the formation of Adam from the slime of the earth and Eve from the side of Adam is most fitting in order to foster a stronger confidence in the Magisterium to interpret correctly the sacred literature God left us. The thesis of this paper is the unanimous consensus of the Church Fathers, which is infallible. Ought we not to give precedence to the saintly Doctors throughout the centuries rather than to modern Biblical scholars who have departed from the ancient traditional norms of the interpretation? Ought we not to see the literal sense of Scripture as the sense on which all other senses of Scripture are based? Are we wiser than all the Church Fathers, who were handed the exegetical rules and methods of the very Apostles themselves?

10. It is more sensible to safeguard the literal, straightforward historical interpretation which has been perpetually cherished throughout the two millennia of the history of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Far from neglecting and overshadowing the deeper religious truths of the creation story, the literal approach forms the strong and unshakable basis for these salvific truths. If we deny that Eve was formed from the body of Adam, how will we account for the name "woman" which describes all the female offspring of our first parents? And indeed if we say that Adam evolved from a lesser ape, how is he ultimately one of our two first parents? The buck stops with Adam and Eve. With the denial of the real historicity of the Genesis creation narrative, what becomes of the use of Genesis 1:26 as support, from the use of the first person plural, for the doctrine of the Trinity, especially when we evangelize our Jewish friends who would look first to the Torah and Tanakh before considering any of the New Testament? What becomes of the religious truth that men will sweat and work hard in order to feed themselves until the moment of their death if we reduce to mere allegory the reason God Himself is recorded as providing: "for out of [the ground] you were taken"? [Gen 3:19]. All the more could Adam love Eve as himself and as his own body in accordance with Ephesians 5:28,33, if the body of Eve came from him. By saying such things we erode the types and bases for marriage, the formation of the Church, the social relationships and roles of men and women, the dignity of men and women far above and apart from that of the animals. Thus let us believe firmly, and never doubt, the plain sense of one of the earliest statements in God-breathed Scripture: "And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul" [Gen 2:7]. Amen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lives of the Saints Are Tearjerkers

About a week ago, I was reading some hagiography as I usually do, and there were three saints whose stories drove me to tears. I can't remember all three and I should have written them down; I pray that God will refresh my memory. The first was Ven. Antonietta Meo (I pray she will be canonized soon!), and I believe the second was St. Dominic Savio the Child Wonderworker of Piedmont.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not by works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us

MYTH
Predestination to glory in abstraction from grace is post prœvisa merita

1. It seems that predestination to glory in abstraction from grace is ante prœvisa merita. This seems to be more consistent with Scripture than the opposing theory of post prœvisa merita. This is my conclusion after reading a lot on the issue and pondering the treatment of the issue by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Angelicus in his must-read Summa Theologica.

Predestination Ante Prœvisa Merita in the Pauline Epistles
2. St. Paul the Apostle says in Titus 3:5, "Not by works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." After quoting this passage, St. Thomas rightly affirms that "as He saved us, so He also predestined that we should be saved."{1} Thus it would seem from this and other passages to follow shortly that we should probably answer negatively to the question of "whether God pre-ordained that He would give the effect of predestination to anyone on account of any [foreseen] merits."{2} St. Thomas again quotes St. Paul, who says [Rom 9:11-12], "For when they were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil … not of works, but of Him that calleth, it was said of her: The elder shall serve the younger."{3} Because "no principle of action can be imagined previous to the act of thinking," we should conclude that nothing "begun in us can be the reason of the effect of predestination" from the statement of St. Paul in 1 Cor 3:5 that "we are not sufficient to think anything of ourselves as of ourselves."{4}

Merits Following the Effect of Predestination Are Not the Cause of Predestination
3. St. Thomas rebuts the thesis "that merits following the effect of predestination are the cause of predestination" by pointing out that "what is of grace is the effect of predestination" and "cannot be" called "the reason of predestination" because "it is contained in the notion of predestination."{5} We can say of the effect of predestination in particular "that God pre-ordained to give glory on account of merit and … pre-ordained to give grace to merit glory."{6} But "the whole of the effect of predestination in general" does not "have any cause as coming from us; because whatsoever is in man disposing him towards salvation, is all included under the effect of predestination; even the preparation for grace," which is clear from the statement of St. Jeremiah the Prophet in Lam 5:21: "convert us, O Lord, to Thee, and we shall be converted."{7}

Caveat
4. Nevertheless I will have to do a lot of Patristic studies before my opinion can really cement.

Agreement With Fr. William G. Most
5. I agree with Fr. William G. Most, who exemplary Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong rightly calls a genius, that predestination to glory comes before foreseen merits but after the foreseen absence of final impenitence.

Notes & References
{1} St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor Angelicus), Summa Theologica I, q. 23, art. 5.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Ibid.
{6} Ibid.
{7} Ibid.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Apologia Pro Papa Sergius Tertius

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MYTH
Pope Sergius III murdered Pope Leo V and Antipope Christopher, conducted a Second Cadaver Synod, and fathered Pope John XI with Marozia
Flaws
1. Pope Sergius III indeed imitated Pope Stephen VI and annulled the ordinations of Pope Formosus,{1} and he indeed praised Stephen VI on his tombstone.{2}
Phantom Flaws
2. (1) Sergius III did not murder or order the murder of Pope Leo V and Antipope Christopher.{3} (2) Sergius III did not father Pope John XI with Marozia. Horace Kinder Mann,{4} Reginald L. Poole,{5} Peter Llewelyn (Rome in the Dark Ages), Karl Josef von Hefele, August Friedrich Gfrörer,{6} Ludovico Antonio Muratori, and Francis Patrick Kenrick{7} maintain that Pope John XI was sired by Alberic I of Spoleto, Count of Tusculum. (3) Sergius III did not conduct a Second Cadaver Synod as Platina alone claims.{8} Joseph Brusher, S.J. says that "Sergius [III] indulged in no resurrection-man tactics himself"{9} and Schaff, Milman,{10} Gregorovius,{11} von Mosheim,{12} Miley,{13} Mann,{14} Darras,{15} John the Deacon of Naples, Flodoard, and others make no mention of this story.

Virtues
3. Pope Sergius III defended Archbishop John of Ravenna from the Count of Istria and ratified the establishment of several new English sees,{16} and he also completely restored the Lateran Palace and opposed Greek heresies.{17} Other contemporaries describe him respectfully, a point on which I will elaborate soon.

Notes & References
{1} "Sergius at once declared the ordinations conferred by Formosus null; but that he put his two predecessors to death, and by illicit relations with Marozia had a son, who was afterwards John XI, must be regarded as highly doubtful. These assertions are only made by bitter or ill-informed adversaries, and are inconsistent with what is said of him by respectable contemporaries [such as Flodoard]." Mann, Horace. "Sergius III." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 Dec. 2008. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13729a.htm>. See (12/10/2008), "Pope Stephen VI and the Cadaver Synod" @ http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2008/12/pope-stephen-vi-and-cadaver-synod.html.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Poole, Reginald L. (1917). "Benedict IX and Gregory VI". Proceedings of the British Academy 8: 230.
{6} Gfrörer, August Friedrich, Allgemeine Kirchengeschichte, vol. III, Stuttgart: A. Krabbe, pp. 1133-1275, <http://www.archive.org/details/a5831149p103gfrouoft>. Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
{7} Kenrick, Francis Patrick (1855), The Primacy of the Apostolic See Vindicated, Baltimore: John Murphy & Co., p. 418, <http://books.google.com/books?id=EXFCAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA418>. Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
{8} "Nor was he [Sergius III] content with thus dishonouring the dead Pope [Formosus], but he drags his carcass again out of the grave, beheads it as if it had been alive, and then throws it into the Tiber, as unworthy the honour of human burial." Platina, Bartolomeo, The Lives of the Popes From The Time Of Our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII, vol. I, London: Griffith Farran & Co., p. 243, <http://www.archive.org/details/thelivesofthepop01platuoft>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{9} Brusher, Joseph, S.J. (1959). Sergius III. Popes Through the Ages. Neff-Kane. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
{10} Milman, Henry Hart (1867), History of Latin Christianity, vol. III (4th ed.), London: John Murray, pp. 287-290.
{11} Gregorovius, Ferdinand (1903), The History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages, vol. III (2nd ed.), London: George Bell & Sons, pp. 242-248, <http://books.google.com/books?id=tLk4AAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. notes that Gregorovius was "a bitter enemy of the popes." See Hardon, John (1998). "IV. Recognizing the True Church". Christ to Catholicism. InterMirifica. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
{12} von Mosheim, Johann Lorenz (1852), Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern, vol. II (5th ed.), New York: Stanford and Swords, pp. 120-121, <http://books.google.com/books?id=RxEQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=titlepage>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{13} Miley, John (1850), The History of the Papal States From Their Origin to the Present Day, vol. II, London: T.C. Newby, pp. 269-281, <http://books.google.com/books?id=mrsLAAAAYAAJ&printsec=titlepage>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{14} Mann, Horace Kinder (1910), The Lives of the Popes In The Early Middle Ages, vol. IV, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co., Ltd., pp. 119-142, <http://www.archive.org/details/livesofpopesinea04mannuoft>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{15} Darras, Joseph-Epiphane (1898), A General History of the Catholic Church, vol. II, New York: Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, pp. 560-564, <http://books.google.com/books?id=oeoQAAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{16} Mann, Horace. "Sergius III." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13729a.htm>.
{17} Ibid.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pope Stephen VI and the Cadaver Synod

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Stephen VI [r. 5/22/896-8/897]
Pope Stephen VI was forced by Emperor Lambert and his mother Ageltruda to conduct the Cadaver Synod.{1} His caving into secular pressure led to one of the most bizarre and embarrassing episodes in Church history. He had the body of Formosus exhumed and placed before an unwilling council while a deacon answered charges that Formosus acted as a bishop after being deposed and illicitly passed from the See of Porto to the Holy See.{2} The body of Formosus was divested of the papal vestments and the fingers to give the sign of benediction were severed, and he was clothed as a layman and quickly buried.{3} It was ultimately re-exhumed and thrown into the Tiber River.{4} Stephen forced a number of men ordained by Formosus to resign.{5} Before he was strangled in prison he granted a few privileges to churches.{6}

Notes & References
{1} Mann, Horace. "Pope Stephen (VI) VII." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 29 Nov. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14289d.htm>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Ibid.
{6} Ibid.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Happy Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

God bless you on this great feast day of the Immaculate Conception of the Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God, protectress of all Christians, and far and away the holiest of all creatures. Your heart burns with more love for God than the Seraphim. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of death. Amen. Believe firmly, and never doubt, that St. Mary never contracted any stain of original, venial, or mortal sin.

Mass today, like the previous masses here at college, almost made me cry with tears of joy at the promises of God and tears of sorrow for my sins. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!!]

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

There has not been such great distress in Israel since the time prophets ceased to appear among the people

MYTH
1 Maccabees 9:27 means that 1 Maccabees is not inspired Scripture
1 Maccabees 9:27 reads, "There has not been such great distress in Israel since the time prophets ceased to appear among the people." Protestant apologists claim that this means that 1 Maccabees is not divinely inspired. To see why the are wrong, see "Demolishing Fallacious Arguments Against the Deuterocanon." The Banana Republican. 14 Mar. 2006. 3 Dec. 2008 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2006/03/i-am-recanting-comments-i-made-in-my.html>.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Scripture saith: Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water

St. John the Evangelist records in following in Jn 7:37-39: "And on the last, and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believeth in Me, as the scripture saith: Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now this He said of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in him: for as yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." But we find this quote verbatim nowhere in the Old Testament. I see two possibilities to explain the difficulty of why this "scripture" is not a verbatim part of the canon. The first is that the Greek graphe can be any written document. The second is that our Lord was doing some sort of midrash or other rabbinical exegesis or paraphrase of Sir 24:40-42: "I, Wisdom, have poured out rivers. I, like a brook out of a river of a mighty water; I, like a channel of a river, and like an aqueduct, came out of paradise. I said: I will water My garden of plants, and I will water abundantly the fruits of My meadow."

Notes & References
{1} Holding, James Patrick. "Shooting Yourself in the Foot: An Anti-Missionary Site on Contradictions in the NT." Tekton Apologetics Ministries. 2 Dec. 2008 <http://www.tektonics.org/qt/tyellow03.html>. Mr. Holding made a typo; Witherington's Scriptural citation should be 24:40-42 instead of 24:30-32.
{2} Ibid.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is Origen A Church Father?

Update 8/30/2009: Click here for my new post which answers in the negative.

1. We may predicate of Origen Adamantius of Alexandria "holiness of life," "a certain antiquity," "citations, with praise, as an authority as to the Faith by some of the more celebrated Fathers," and I'm not sure but perhaps there was "public reading in Churches in early centuries." He passes the third category with flying colors; the man was extremely influential and was loved by many saints.{1}

2. However, he fails the criteria of "citation by a general council;" he was condemned by an Ecumenical council. He also fails "public acts of popes addressed to Church or concerning Faith," and the criteria of "encomium in Roman Martyrology as 'sanctitate et doctrina insignis.'" Moreover, though he wrote many good and profitable things like the work Contra Celsum, he also must be said to fail the category of "Orthodox doctrine and learning" because he fell into myriad errors due to his unbridled speculation, including transmigration of souls,{2} apokatastasis (universalism),{3} the eternity of the world,{4} the rationality of stars,{5} and the original equality of creatures.{6}

3. So Origen passes up to four of the seven common criteria for Patristic status.{7} The Greek Orthodox apologist Dr. Fr. Michael Azkoul says in his article "Who is a Church Father?" that Origen is not a Church Father, but he also says that St. Augustine of Hippo is not a Church Father, a view not shared by most of the Eastern Orthodox faithful,{8} so his article must be taken with a grain of salt. It would seem that whether you consider this enormously influential man a Church Father boils down to whether someone who was condemned by an Ecumenical Council for various heresies{9} can still merit the title of Church Father, after you take into account the very high degree of his influence on undisputed saintly Fathers as described in the endnote of this post and the great fruits of works among his like Contra Celsum.{10} What say you?

4. O all-merciful and all-wise God, please preserve us from dangerous and heretical speculations, and make us persevere in right belief until the very last moment of this life! Amen.

Notes & References
{1} It is hard to gainsay the testimony of so many Doctors, Fathers, and ecclesial writers. Those who loved and were indebted to Origen include--according to the old Catholic Encyclopedia article "Origen and Origenism"--St. Firmilian of Caesarea, St. Alexander of Jerusalem, Theoctistus of Caesarea, Beryllus of Bostra, St. Anatolus of Laodicea, Julius Africanus, Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Hippolytus the Martyr of Rome, Patriarch St. Dionysius I the Great of Alexandria, St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocasarea, Heracles, St. Pamphilus, Theognostus, Patriarch St. Athanasius I the Great of Alexandria (Doctor), Pierius, Hieromonk St. Jerome the Great of Strido (Doctor), Pierius, Tyrannius Rufinus, Didymus the Blind of Alexandria, St. Gregory the Great Theologian of Nazianzus (Doctor), St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Eusebius of Verceil, St. Hilary of Poitiers (Doctor), Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor), Bishop St. Basil the Great of Caesarea, and St. Victorinus of Pettau. This extremely impressive list of Origen’s disciples, imitators, and intellectual heirs includes six Doctors, including five Great Doctors, and at least 15 saints. However, Syrian ascetical writer St. John Moschus the Monk recorded in Chapter 26 of The Spiritual Meadow that a Brother Theophan saw Origen suffering in Hell with the Nestorian Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople, the Monophysite Archimandrite Eutyches, the Apollinarian Bishop Apollinarius the Younger of Laodicea, the Monophysite Patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria, and the Monophysite Patriarch Severus of Antioch, as well as other heretics. Origen was modest, chaste, studious, industrious and prolific, zealous, and courageous. He probably died due to the tortures he suffered in prison, and was buried as a Confessor of the faith. Yet if he was a martyr it is strange that the Church has not canonized him. The point of the miraculous vision granted to Brother Theophan was to illustrate that orthodox belief is necessary for salvation and this requirement is not dispensed of by the practice of myriad other virtues; Origen was heterodox on many points. Bishop St. Methodius the Martyr, Bishop St. Epiphanius of Salamis, St. Eustathius of Antioch, St. Alexander the Martyr of Alexandria, St. Leontius of Byzantium, and Emperor St. Justinian I the Great of Byzantium condemned Origen before the entire Church did so.
{2} The first of the 15 additional anathemas against Origen by the Fifth Ecumenical Council reads, "If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema."
{3} Origen: "We think that the goodness of God, through the mediation of Christ, will bring all creatures to one and the same end" (De principiis I, vi, 1-3). This affirmation of universalism contradicts his other statements: he affirms the eternity of Heaven because "the freedom of the will will be bound so that sin will be impossible" (in Roman., V, 10), and he affirms the eternity of Hell because the will of the damned is immutably fixed in evil (De principiis, I, viii, 4).
{4} Origen: "It is absurd to imagine the nature of God inactive, or His goodness inefficacious, or His dominion without subjects" (De principiis, III, v, 3). Such was the reasoning behind his bogus and heretical thesis that the world is eternal.
{5} Origen, De principiis, I, vii, 3.
{6} Origen: "In the beginning all intellectual natures were created equal and alike, as God had no motive for creating them otherwise" (De principiis, II, ix, 6).
{7} The criteria come from Chapman, John. "Origen and Origenism." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 29 Nov. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11306b.htm>.
{8} In fact the Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates Bishop St. Augustine of Hippo as a saint. What kind of a theologian has no room for the great Doctor Gratiae?
{9} Anathema 11 of the first 15 anathemas of the Fifth Ecumenical Council reads,
If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinarius, Nestorius, Eutyches, and Origen, as well as their impious writings, as also all other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid four Holy Councils and all those who have held and hold or who in their impiety persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned, let him be anathema.
Thus the writings of Origen and the very person of Origen were condemned by an Ecumenical Council.
{10} In the invaluable line-by-line refutation of the second century anti-Christian polemicist Celsus the Platonist of Greece, called Contra Celsum, Origen proves e.g., that Jesus was a miracle worker rather than a fraudulent magician, and he also debunks Celsus' "Jesus ben Panthera" blasphemy which claims that St. Mary divorced from St. Joseph and a Roman soldier named Panthera is the biological father of Jesus. I have posted lengthy excerpts on these two points as part of my large volume of work against apostate Roman Catholic Brian Holtz, the atheist author of the 2002 falsehood-riddled work Arguments Against Christianity. Q.V. the following:
*"Contra Celsum on the Virgin Birth." The Banana Republican. 28 Apr. 2006. 29 Nov. 2008 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2006/04/contra-celsum-on-virgin-birth.html>.
*"Holtz's Misplaced Appeal to Celsus." The Banana Republican. 16 Jan. 2006. 29 Nov. 2008 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2006/01/biblioskeptics-cite-true-doctrine.html>.

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Was Severus of Antioch Orthodox?

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MYTH
Severus of Antioch, a true representative of Cyrillian teaching, was Christologically orthodox

Partisans of Severos Would Have the Church Err
1. Patriarch Severus of Antioch (r. 512-518, d. 538), in whom Bishop Peter Nabarnugios the Iberian inculcated a hatred of Chalcedonian Christology,{1} was a heretic and it goes without saying that the Ecumenical Councils were right to condemn him. The Church does not err, for she is the pillar and ground of truth [1 Tim 3:15].

Acceptance of Henotikon and Departure from St. Cyril
2. Severus accepted the Henotikon of Emperor Zeno and rejected the Creed of Union signed by Patriarch St. Cyril I of Alexandria, whom he pretended to follow in all matters Christological [PG 89:103D].

One Theandric Energy
3. Severus affirmed μία θεανδρική ένέργεία, by which Christ acts in all things. Divine actions exercised in and through the human nature (raising the dead by a word and healing the sick by a touch) are formally theandric (divino-human). This is the theandric energy to which the great hieromartyr St. Dionysios the Areopagite (10/9) refers [Letter 4 to Caius in PG 3:1072C]. Purely human actions exercised in response to the divine will (walking and eating) are materially theandric (humano-divine). But there are purely divine actions (creating souls and conserving the universe) that are not theandric, and so, pace Severos, not all of the activities of Christ are theandric, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Compound Theandric Nature
4. Severus also posited μία φύσις θεανδρική (one theandric nature) of Christ. This is impossible, because if Christ had a single συνθετος (compound) divine-human φύσις, He would not be consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Who subsist only in the divine nature, nor would he be consubstantial with us, because we do not have a divine-human nature. The great Doctor of the Incarnation St. Cyril (June 27), when he explained μία φύσις Θeoυ Λόγου σεσαρκωμένη, taught something altogether different than the Severian myth that the two natures became one nature.

Denial That Christ Exists in Two Natures After the Union
5. Severus wrongly denied that Christ is in two natures after the union [PG 86:908]. Since St. Paul, inspired of the Holy Spirit, says that Christ exists in human form (and being found in human form [Phil 2:7]), Christ is not merely from two natures (εκ δύο φύσεων), but subsists in two natures (εν δύο φύσεσιν) after the union.

Condemnation by Sixth Ecumenical Council
6. In 681 the Sixth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople III) condemned Severus as a Monophysite, since he taught the following absurd doctrine in his Epistle 2 to Count Oecumenis [Mansi xi:443BC], "Yet one Incarnate Word wrought one and the other--neither was this from one nature, and that from another; nor can we justly affirm that because there are distinct things operated there are therefore two operating natures and forms."

Condemnation by Seventh Ecumenical Council
7. Furthermore, the Decree of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787 (Nicaea II) condemned Severus as a Monophysite [Mansi xiii:377B].

The Doctors Know Best
8. As to the heretical tenets and results of Severian Christology, we can trust the testimony of the great Church Doctor Hieromonk St. John of Damascus (3/27), who says in An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 3:3 [PG 94:993AB], "we hold that there has been a union of two perfect natures, one divine and one human; not with disorder or confusion, or intermixture, or commingling, as is said by the God-accursed Dioscorus and by Eutyches and Severos, and all that impious company."

Reliable Vision of the Unhappy Fate of the Heretic Severus
9. The Syrian monk and ascetical writer St. John Moschos (550-619) relates of the pilgrim brother Theophan or Theophanes in Chapter 26 of The Spiritual Meadow:{2}
About the ninth hour of the next day the brother saw someone of truly awesome appearance standing next to him.
"Come, and see the truth," he said, and led him to a dark and stinking place throwing up flames of fire, and in the flames he saw Nestorius, Eutyches, Apollinaris, Dioscorus, Severus, Arius, Origen and others like them.
"This is the place prepared for the heretics, blasphemers, and those who follow their teachings,"
he said to the brother. "So then, if you like the look of this place persist in your teachings, but if you would prefer to avoid this punishment return to the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, as the old man told you. For I tell you, even if a person practices all the virtues there are, unless he believes rightly he will be crucified in this place.
Severian Christology vs. Catholic Christology: Apples to Oranges
10. Catholicism: two natures, two energies (operations), two wills
11. Severian Monophysitism: one theandric nature, one theandric energy (the faculty of all of Christ's actions), one theandric will

Notes & References
{1} Patriarch Severus of Antioch records that Peter the Iberian made him realize the "evil" and "the impiety" of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. He says, "This communion I so hold, I so draw near, as I drew near in it with the highest assurance and a fixed mind, when our holy father Peter of Iberia was offering and performing the ritual sacrifice."
{2} http://www.vitae-patrum.org.uk/page142.html.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Now the Lord God hath sent Me and His Spirit

In Question 43 of the First Part of his masterpiece Summa Theologica, the great Doctor Angelicus St. Thomas Aquinas asks in Article 8, "Whether a divine person is sent only by the person whence He proceeds eternally?" He answers in the negative because he says, "The Son is sent by the Holy Ghost, according to Is 48:16, 'Now the Lord God hath sent Me and His Spirit.'" This passage, one of the Old Testament Trinitarian passage, does not support the conclusion of St. Thomas. "The Lord God" is the Father, "Me" is the Son, and "His Spirit" is the Holy Spirit. St. Isaiah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote that the Father sends the Son and the Holy Spirit, of Whom He is the single source; the saint did not write that the Holy Spirit sends the Son. If St. Isaiah intended to communicate that, he would have written the words in a different order, rendering the verse, "Now the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent me." Therefore St. Thomas needs a different Scriptural authority to prove his thesis.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dr. John Haught on Natural Theology

Tonight I'm reading a chapter called "Does Evolution Rule Out God's Existence?" from Dr. John Haught's Science and Religion for my Faith & Critical Reason class. Right now I don't have time for a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the chapter, but I will point out one very problematic statement on page 60 when Dr. Haught discusses natural theology. Dr. Haught says "Nature itself provides evidence neither for nor against God's existence." That is anti-Biblical, Dr. Haught! What about:
Psalms 18:2: "The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of His hands."
Wisdom 13:5 "For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the Creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby."
Romans 1:20: "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. His eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable."

The Church Doctor Archbishop St. John Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople says in Homily 9, 4 on the Statues on Psalm 18:2:
How then, tell me, do they declare it? Voice they have none; mouth they possess not; no tongue is theirs! how then do they declare? By means of the spectacle itself. For when you see the beauty, the breadth, the height, the position, the form, the stability thereof during so long a period; hearing as it were a voice, and being instructed by the spectacle, you adore Him who created a body so fair and strange! The heavens may be silent, but the sight of them emits a voice, that is louder than a trumpet's sound; instructing us not by the ear, but through the medium of the eyes; for the latter is a sense which is more sure and more distinct than the former.
On page 61 Dr. Haught dignifies Hans Küng with the title "Roman Catholic theologian," but Hans Küng's works are full of pernicious heresy. Please, Küng, renounce your notorious heresy and accept the true Catholic faith!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I go not up to this feast, for My time is not yet fulfilled

MYTH
Jesus lied when He said "I go not up to this feast" in Jn 7:38

Abstract: Jesus did not lie when He said, "I go not up to this feast" [Jn 7:8].

Monday, November 17, 2008

Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film A Hoax

MYTH
The 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film shows a real Bigfoot

I want people to avoid wasting time and energy debating whether the Patterson Film shows a Bigfoot. It is a brilliant hoax and it is time to move on, so I have written the following:

Art. 1: Whether the Patterson Film is a hoax?

Obj. 1: It would seem that the Patterson-Gimlin film shows a genuine Bigfoot and is not a hoax. For an ape suit would have a zipper, but it is evident that there is no zipper to be found on the creature.
Obj. 2: Patterson maintained until his death from cancer in 1972 that the film was not a hoax, which proves that he was sincere and therefore that the film really shows a Bigfoot.
Obj. 3: A hoax can be ruled out because a hoax would put the person in the suit in immediate mortal danger from hunters.
Obj. 4: The North American Science Institute says that the creature's head does not bob as it walks, which is not true of humans. Therefore, the film does not show a human and must instead show a Bigfoot.
Obj. 5: The North American Science Institute points out that the creature's jaw is below the shoulder line, which means that the creature is not human.
Obj. 6: In 1969 John Green showed the film to Disney executive Ken Peterson, who then said that "their technicians would not be able to duplicate the film" [Grover Krantz, Big Footprints: A Scientific Study Into the Reality of Sasquatch 93]. But since Disney special effects technicians at the time could not duplicate the film, Patterson could not possibly have created a hoax.
Obj. 7: No one has been able to reproduce the locomotion of the creature, indicating that it cannot possibly be a human in a suit.
Obj. 8: Krantz estimated that the creature has a shoulder width that is 35.1% of its standing height, which far exceeds the ratio of a human.
Obj. 9: Dr. Jeff Meldrum points out that the creature in the film has
an IM index somewhere between 80 and 90, intermediate between humans and African apes. In spite of the imprecision of this preliminary estimate, it is well beyond the mean for humans and effectively rules out a man-in-a-suit explanation for the Patterson-Gimlin film without invoking an elaborate, if not inconceivable, prosthetic contrivance to account for the appropriate positions and actions of wrist and elbow and finger flexion visible on the film. This point deserves further examination and may well rule out the probability of hoaxing.
Obj. 10: The creature has distinct buttocks and groups of muscles can be seen moving. Even the feet flex when the creature lifts a leg.

On the contrary, John Napier says [Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality 89], "There is little doubt that the scientific evidence taken collectively points to a hoax of some kind. The creature shown in the film does not stand up well to functional analysis."

I answer that, the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin color film purporting to show a female Sasquatch walking through Bluff Creek is a clever hoax. Roger Patterson was a shady character. Patterson had known about the report that in 1955, William Roe saw a female Bigfoot in eastern British Columbia. The build of the figure in the film and its actions mirror Roe's account:
… as it came closer I saw by its breasts that it was a female… Its broad frame was straight from shoulder to tip…its arms were much thicker than a man's arms and longer reaching almost to its knees…[T]he nose was broad and flat…the hair that covered it [the face], leaving bare only the parts of the face around the mouth, nose, and ears…its neck also was unhuman, thicker and shorter than any man's I have ever seen…It looked directly at me through an opening in the brush. A look of amazement crossed its face… [It] straightened up to its full height and started to walk rapidly back the way it had come…again turning its head to look in my direction.
Patterson illustrated this scene and it matched the creature's stance, build, and hairy breasts [Roger Patterson, Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist?]. Patterson and Gimlin should have followed the alleged Bigfoot, which was not fleeing and which could have been incapacitated with their guns. Patterson needed to shoot the film because there was an arrest warrant against him for not paying the bill for the camera rental. Patterson "never went back to Bluff Creek, to any search except Thailand" [Barbara Wasson] but would have if there really was a Bigfoot. The so-called Bigfoot is an anatomical impossibility. The Bigfoot shown is supposed to be a human-like female ape, but it has a cone-shaped head (male) and sagittal crest (male) in addition to pendulous hairy breasts (no female great ape has hairy breasts) and a hairy buttocks (no great ape has a hairy buttocks). However, the conclusive proof that the film is a hoax can be seen in the original version. Before the film was edited, the figure went from right to left, then there were several blank frames, then the figure walked from left to right. This proves that the film was shot in two takes and that the so-called Bigfoot is actually a human actor in a costume.

Reply 1: Either there was a zipper or there was not. If there was a zipper, it could have been concealed by the fur. If there was no zipper, the costume had a snap instead of a zipper for more natural movement and easier concealment due to the absence of seams and bunching, and increased safety in case the actor needed to quickly exit the suit on that balmy day.
Reply 2: Patterson was a shady character and would have wanted to protect his financial assets for posterity.
Reply 3: Actually, Patterson and Gimlin had made an agreement not to shoot a Bigfoot if they saw one, and there were no hunters who put the actor in danger that day, and so the actor was in no danger of being shot.
Reply 4: A suit which restricts head movement causes the head not to bob.
Reply 5: The jaw can be made to come below the shoulder line via bulky shoulder pads.
Reply 6: Disney technicians did not see a stabilized version of the film, and it is possible they would have said otherwise had they seen the stabilized version of the film created by M.K. Davis, in which case they would have a clear view of the costume and gait.
Reply 7: Bob Heironimus reproduced the creature's locomotion to a tee. There are several glaring problems with Heironimus's confession but regardless of whether he is lying about being the actor in the suit, he showed conclusively that the locomotion is not unhuman.
Reply 8: Bulky shoulder pads can produce wide shoulders, as can the film technique of forced perspective.
Reply 9: Actually, the arms, as measured from shoulder to wrist, match human arms, which is why Bob Heironimus has the same proportions as the creature as is clear from a video capture of his Bigfoot acting. The reason the arms seem too long to be human in the eyes of many supporters of the film's authenticity is that the distance from wrist to fingertip is long, but this can indeed be reproduced with prosthetics.
Reply 10: The waist and abdomen can be enlarged with a water bag. Foam rubber and parachute cord at the ankles, knees, and hips can mimic muscle flexion and plaster extensions/prosthetics can indeed be used for flexing hands.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Patriarch Raphael I of Constantinople

Patriarch Raphael I of Constantinople was a non-Greek speaking Serb who was uncanonically elevated to the throne as a result of the backing of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror, to whom Raphael had promised to give a lot of money. He was an incompetent, dull-witted, and rude alcoholic: "a man lying down, given wholly to drunkenness … who was overall stupid."{1} Raphael was deposed and incarcerated in the spring of 1476 due to his failure to fulfill his promise, and he died that same year in jail.

Notes & References
{1} This quote appears in his biography on the website of the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It appears that the ultimate source of the quote is the Chronicle of Athanasios Komnenos Ypsilantis. See http://www.ec-patr.org/list/index.php?lang=en&id=169.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Saints of November 14

Sts. Adaltrude, Alberic of Utrecht, Clementinus, Dubricus, Gregory Palamas, Hypatius, John Licci, Jucundus of Bologna, Justinian of Byzantium, Lawrence O'Toole, Lucy of Narni, Maria Louise Merkert, Maria Teresa of Jesus, Modanic, Montan of Lorraine, Philomenus, Serapion of Alexandria, Serapion the Martyr of Algiers, Sidonius, Theodotus, Theodora of Byzantium, Venaranda, and Venerandus of Troyes, pray to the one God for us! Amen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Patriarch Joseph II of Constantinople

Abstract: Biography of Patriarch Joseph II of Constantinople, including his activities at the Ecumenical Council of Ferrara-Florence and whether he died a unionist.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

God hath done all things, whatsoever He would

Abstract: The will of God is always fulfilled; the proof by St. Thomas Aquinas and a summary of his answers to objections.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day 2008

Happy Veterans Day 2008; God bless you and yours and God bless the veterans! Sts. Acacius the Martyr of Byzantium, Adrian of Nicomedia, Faith the Martyr of Agen, Gabriel the Archangel, George the Great Martyr of Georgia, Ignatius of Loyola, Apostle and Martyr James the Greater, Joan the Martyr of Arc, John of Capistrano, Joseph of Cupertino, Joseph the Betrothed of Nazareth, King Louis IX of France, Martin of Tours, Mary the Ever-Virgin Theotókos, Maurice the Martyr of the Theban Legion, Michael the Archangel, Phanourios the Great Martyr of Crete, Philip Neri, Raphael the Archangel, Sebastian the Martyr of France, Bishop Stanislaus Szczepanowsky of Cracow, General Theodore Stratelates the Martyr of Tyro, and Therese of Lisieux, pray for those troops currently serving and all those working with them! Uncle Mike and Cousin John, thank you for selflessly serving our country in war!

See also "Why We Must Support Our Troops" @ http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2006/01/why-we-must-support-our-troops.html.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

St. Basil the Confessor

St. Basil the Confessor was a monk and the Bishop of Parium during the eighth century. He is most praiseworthy for being a courageous Iconodule who, after he openly venerated icons and refused to sign the Iconoclast "Iniquitous Scroll" and banned heretics from his diocese, was imprisoned, starved, and otherwise tortured under Emperor Leo III until the emperor's death in 741. The zealous Confessor never betrayed the Catholic faith. Glorious Basil, pray that we will be brave defenders of the faith like you and that we will join you in the Kingdom of Heaven! Amen.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Metropolitan St. Michael I of Kiev

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1. September 30 is the feast day of Metropolitan St. Michael I of Kiev. In 989 Patriarch Nicholas II Chrysoberges of Constantinople sent Greek and Bulgarian clergymen, including Metropolitan St. Michael, to Kiev at the invitation of the recently baptized King St. Vladimir I the Great. St. Michael brought Slavonic church service books, holy relics, icons, and church furnishings to Kiev, and he baptized King St. Vladimir’s 12 sons and the Kievan citizens who went to the Dnieper River.

2. Then the industrious St. Michael, the first Metropolitan of Kiev, did his best to eliminate superstitious paganism in the land. Lots of churches were constructed and many monasteries were established while St. Michael illumined Kiev with the Catholic faith. In Rostov he set up the first wooden church honoring the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotókos, and made Theodore the Greek the bishop of Rostov.

3. St. Michael was full of virtue; he was wise, gentle yet strict, humble, zealous, wise, hardworking, modest, and pious. A true spiritual father of his parish, he appointed priests and selected the most qualified teachers to rear children in virtue. Four Bulgarian princes and a khan of Prcheneg were baptized into the Catholic Church while St. Michael was Metropolitan. The great prelate sent Monk Mark to preach the faith to Muslim Bulgarians who lived along the Volga River.

4. After St. Michael reposed in the Lord in 992, he was laid to rest in the Desyatin-Tithe Church of the Most Holy Theotókos in Kiev. In 1103 Abbot Theoctistus saw to it that his holy relics were transferred to the Antoniev Cave. On 10/1/1730, his relics were moved to the Dormition Cathedral of the Caves of the Kiev Pechersk Lava, where they remain to this day.

5. St. Michael, pray that God saves us sinners and graces us with such righteousness as he blessed you. Please pray that the Russian Orthodox Church comes back into communion with the Apostolic See!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

On Beardless Clergy

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MYTH
The Latin clerical practice of shaving beards is wrong
1. The Eastern Fathers and Western Fathers taught alike about the procession of the Holy Spirit: the formula of the former ("through the Son") and the formula of the latter ("and the Son") emphasized different aspects of the same truth. In the same way, the practice of beardless clergy in the Latin Church is no less legitimate than the practice of bearded clergy in the Eastern Churches. Having the clergy retain their beards symbolizes the maturity of the clergy and distinguishes them from women. Having the clergy shave their beards symbolizes the innocence, humility, purity, and angelic youthful vivacity of the clergy and removes a potential obstacle to drinking the precious Blood of Christ.{1}

2. Patriarch Photius of Constantinople († 2/6/891) says in 861 [Epistle 2 to Pope St. Nicholas I the Great of Rome in PG 102:604-605D],
Everybody must preserve what was defined by common ecumenical decisions, but a particular opinion of a church father or a definition issued by a local council can be followed by some and ignored by others. Thus, some people customarily shave their beards; others reject this practice by local conciliar decrees. ... When the faith remains inviolate, common and catholic decisions are also safe; a sensible man respects the practices and laws of others; he considers it neither wrong to observe them nor illegal to violate them.
Notes & References
{1} Thurston, Herbert. "Beard." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 31 Oct. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02362a.htm.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mother God, Part I

1. "God is spirit" [Jn 4:24] and has all the perfections of a father and a mother. Today I went to the two most controversial classes of the semester thus far. In the first, Introduction to Sociology, we finished watching The Laramie Project and then discussed Focault's 1988 History of Sexuality. People on both sides of the debate had good points but both sides also had flaws from a methodological perspective, at least. I was upset that the kid who had the last word before class was over got away with blaspheming the God of the Bible (esp. with regard to His punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah) and bashing organized religion as "brainwashing." More on that impious venom later. I pray for the conversion of my classmate because he is otherwise very cool and has such good insights on other matters! A man of his intelligence should know better.

2. The next class is Faith and Critical Reason; I'm mostly enjoying the class so far and the professor is a very interesting character. She is a feminist theologian with numerous doctorates and she is kind, good-humored, and patient. The chapter from her book on feminist theology was very thought-provoking, and I plan to offer comments on her powerful arguments about Jesus as the Wisdom of the sublimely beautiful Proverbs of King St. Solomon; Wisdom is described with feminine attributes and pronouns.

3. About feminist theology in general, however, I can't help but think that it puts fallible sentiments and passions above the way the impassible God infallibly revealed Himself as a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One very positive aspect of feminist theology as expounded by my professor is its emphasis that men and women are created equally in the image of God. But as we enter this dangerous turf I insist that we keep in mind the following:
1. God is King of kings and Lord of lords; He is not said to be Queen of queens and Lady of ladies.
2. God is the King of Heaven; Mary is the Queen of Heaven.
3. God is the Father of Jesus; Mary is the mother of Jesus. No human is the father of Jesus. God is not the Mother of Jesus.
4. No one addresses God as "God the Mother;" the Biblical saints only address the First Person of the Trinity as "God the Father." Jesus does not address God as His Mother; Jesus addressed the First Person of the Trinity as His Father.
5. When we consider the relation of the transcendent God to His creation, a mother is not analogous to God as the One Who creates ex nihilo and is not analogous to God as the initiating principle of creation, while a father is analogous in these ways. Both are metaphorically fitting but only fatherhood is analogically fitting in this sense.
6. The Church is the Bride, not the Husband, of Jesus Christ, Who is fully God in addition to being fully human.
7. Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
I love the above painting because it shows all three Persons of the Trinity on the same level, and, by showing the Father and the Son as identical in appearance, bears witness to the fact that the Son is not posterior in time to the Father. It faithfully portrays the Holy Spirit, since He appears visibly as a dove, and it fittingly shows Mary to be Queen of Heaven. The painting also shows Christ's sacrifice which we must always remember and cherish for it brings about the salvation of humanity. Amen.

Some Autumn 2008 Pensées

While myriad people almost never eat enough, how dare I, one wretch, almost always eat too much? O Lord, save me from gluttony! O Lord, fill me with temperance!

While the naked freeze to death, how dare I, all bundled up, complain of the cold? O Lord, save me from ingratitude! While travelers die in the blistering desert, how dare I, relaxing in a room with the fans on, complain of the heat? O Lord, fill me with gratitude for your countless blessings!

While the multitudes toil and sweat all day without much sleep, how dare I complain of fatigue? O Lord, save me from sloth! O Lord, fill me with diligence!

Seek not to receive praise from men, but to give praise to God.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy All Souls Day 2008!

Rejoice, rejoice! Happy All Souls Day 2008! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Please, Lord, save my soul and the souls of my loved ones. Please join me in praying for the eternal repose of the aunt of my roommate:
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
And may perpetual light shine upon her
May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
I sincerely pray that she enters into eternal bliss!

The foundations of the city (REV. 21:12-14 and REV. 21:19-20)
Art used by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992 @ http://revelationillustrated.com.

Church Fathers vs. Eastern Orthodoxy II: Divorce

Christ Himself teaches that divorce is forbidden, and the Lord even said in the Old Testament that He hates divorce [Mal 2:16]. This means that the bond of a consummated sacramental marriage is not dissoluble except by the death of the spouse. The "porneia" exception clause does not mean one of the spouses cheating during the marriage (Christ did not say "moicheia"), but pertains to some irregularity prior to the marriage which would allow for an annulment. The saintly Eastern witnesses to this truth include St. Justin Martyr the Philosopher of Caesarea, St. Clement of Alexandria, Bishop St. Basil the Great of Caesarea (Doctor), Bishop St. Epiphanius of Salamis, and Patriarch St. John Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (Doctor). The saintly Western witnesses to this same truth include Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor), Hieromonk St. Jerome the Great of Stridon (Doctor), Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor Gratiae), Pope St. Gregory I the Great of Rome (Doctor), Pope St. Leo I the Great of Rome (Doctor), Pope St. Innocent I of Rome, and Pope St. Zachary of Rome. The Eastern Orthodox Church deviated from this Apostolic truth.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy All Saints Day 2008!!!

Happy All Saints Day 2008!!! All saints, please pray to God for all of us! Please pray, especially, that the Eastern Orthodox soon return to the Catholic Church! Amen.

Church Fathers vs. Eastern Orthodoxy I: The Papacy

MYTH
The papacy today is nothing like the papacy the Church Fathers knew

Eight Distinctively Catholic Patristic Teachings on the Papacy
The pre-schism Eastern and Western Fathers alike, starting with the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, teach that (1) heterodoxy will never prevail over the Roman see; (2) the pope of Rome is the supreme pastor of the universal Church; (3) disobedience of Rome is unacceptable; (4) final doctrinal decisions rest with Rome; (5) the pope has the special authority to teach the entire Christian world; (6) St. Peter is the prince of Apostles who rules over them; (7) this authoritative primacy of Rome is permanent and non-transferable; (8) communion with Rome is necessary.{1} So too, with the pre-schism Ecumenical Councils, especially Ephesus, Chalcedon, Constantinople III, and Nicaea II.{2} The same was not said and cannot be said of the other four ancient sees.{3}

Pope St. Gregory VII of Rome (Ildebrando de Soana = Hildebrand of Soana) [1020-5/25/1085]


We can gather (1)-(8) from the witness of the following:
Ecumenical Councils: Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople III (680), Nicaea II (787)
Popes: St. Clement I the Martyr, St. Siricius, St. Leo I the Great (Doctor), St. Gregory I the Great of Rome (Doctor), Adrian I
Patriarchs: St. John Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (Doctor), St. Flavian the Martyr of Constantinople, St. Anatolius the Martyr of Constantinople, Macedonius II the Confessor of Constantinople, St. Mennas of Constantinople, St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, St. Tarasius of Constantinople, St. Nicephorus of Constantinople
Bishops: St. Ignatius the Martyr of Antioch, St. Irenaeus the Martyr of Lyons, St. Cyprian the Martyr of Carthage, St. Optatus of Milevis, St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor), St. Asterius of Amasia, St. Peter Chrysologus of Ravenna (Doctor), St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, Stephen of Dora
Abbots: St. Columba of Ireland, St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople
Hieromonks: St. Jerome the Great of Stridon (Doctor)
Priests: St. Philip of Rome
Deacons: St. Ephrem the Syrian (Doctor)
Monks: Bachiarius of Spain, St. John Cassian, St. Maximus the Confessor of Constantinople
Emperors: St. Theodosius the Great (1/17), St. Justinian I the Great (11/14)
Historians: Socrates Scholasticus, Salminius Hermias Sozomen

Notes & References
{1} "Seeds of Papal Infallibility Dogma Pre-Vatican I." The Banana Republican. 9 Sept. 2008. 1 Nov. 2008 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2008/09/seeds-of-papal-infallibility-dogma-pre.html>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} I've pointed out that
The see of Constantinople was plagued by Arianism (Eusebius, Eudoxius), Semi-Arianism (Macedonius), Monophysitism (Acacius, Phravitas, Euphemius, Timothy I, Anthimus), Nestorianism (Nestorius), and Monothelitism (Sergius I, Pyrrhus, Paul II, Peter, John VI). The poisonous smoke of Satan billowed into the see of Antioch in the form of Docetism, Modalism=Sabellianism (Paul of Samosata), Arianism (Eulalius, Euphronius), Nestorianism, Monophysitism (Peter the Fuller, John Codonatus, Palladius, Severus, Sergius, Paul the Black, Peter Callinicum), and Monothelitism (Anthanasius, Macedonius, Macarius). The see of Alexandria succumbed to Monophysitism (Dioscorus, Timothy Aelurus, Peter Mongo, Athanasius II, John II, John III, Timothy III, Theodosius, Damianus) after its wicked rejection of the canons of the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451, and was also preyed upon by Monothelitism (Cyrus). Jerusalem succumbed to Monophysitism (Juvenal) and Origenism (Eustachius).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008!

Happy Halloween 2008! Have fun, be safe, and God bless you!

Origin of Jack-o'-Lanterns

Thursday, October 30, 2008

19th Birthday

I am officially 19! Praise the Lord; I've made it this far and am blessed to be alive and well and have such loving and providing family and friends who give me shelter and food and books and movies and supplies but far more importantly shower me with the gifts of love and hope and faith. Thank you everyone for wishing me such a happy birthday, for by the providence of the supreme God Who is beyond goodness, your wish has come true! Thank you Lord Jesus Christ Almighty, my Savior! Thank you St. Raphael the Archangel, especially, for praying for me and noticeably interceding on my behalf before our eternal Lord Who is the Lamb of God and very God Himself. I love you, God! I love my family!!! A special shoutout, as well, to my teammates! May God bless you all with good health and keep you free of injuries and make you strong of heart so that you run your best time!!!
With love in Christ,

The Banana Republican

+JMJ

Almost 19

Praise God, I will be 19 in 5:42 from now! What a year my 18th has been! No time to comment now; good night and God bless!

Ex 20:1-17 by St. Moses: The Ten Commandments
And the Lord spoke all these words: I am the Lord thy God, Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me: And showing mercy unto thousands to them that love Me, and keep My commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain. Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labor, and shalt do all thy works. But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made Heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayst be longlived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house; neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.
Psalm 23 by King St. David:
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside still waters,

3 He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
Psalm 136 by King St. David:
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

4 to Him Who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.

5 Who by His understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.

6 Who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.

7 Who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.

8 the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.

9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

10 to Him Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.

11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.

12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to Him Who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.

14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.

15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

16 to Him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.

17 Who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.

18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.

19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.

20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.

21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.

22 an inheritance to His servant Israel;
His love endures forever.

23 to the One Who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

24 and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.

25 and Who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of Heaven.
His love endures forever.
Matthew 5:1-16 by St. Matthew the Evangelist: The Beatitudes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain, and when He was set down, His disciples came unto Him. And opening His mouth He taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing anymore but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven.
The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael the Archangels, pray for us!

All saints, pray for us!

In Christ,


+JMJ

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Seven Who Stand Before the Lord

Abstract: We know from canonical Scripture that three of the seven archangels are Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Is it possible to identify the other four? What are the most probable names of the other four of "the seven who stand before the Lord" [Tob 12:15]?

Certainly the fourth archangel is St. Uriel; though his name is not in canonical Scripture,{1} he figures in Sacred Tradition: the ancient authorities are unanimous that Uriel is an archangel. Bishop-Martyr St. Dionysius the Areopagite of Athens and Pope St. Gregory I the Great of Rome are two examples.

Notes & References
{1} St. Uriel appears in the non-canonical book 1 Enoch. St. Uriel appears in the non-canonical book of 2 Esdras, which the Russian Orthodox consider canonical:
2 Esdras 4:1-3: "Then the angel that had been sent to me, whose name was Uriel, answered and said to me, 'Your understanding has utterly failed regarding this world, and do you think you can comprehend the way of the Most High?'"
2 Esdras 5:20: "So I fasted for seven days, mourning and weeping, as the angel Uriel had commanded me."
2 Esdras 10:27-28: "When I looked up, the woman was no longer visible to me, but a city was being built, and a place of huge foundations showed itself. I was afraid, and cried with a loud voice and said, 'Where is the angel Uriel, who came to me at first? For it was he who brought me into this overpowering bewilderment; my end has become corruption, and my prayer a reproach.'"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Emperor St. Justinian I the Great

Abstract: The reign of Emperor St. Justinian I the Great, canonized pre-congregation when the Eastern Orthodox had not yet split from the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church; his ascetic deeds and his most praiseworthy zeal for the preservation of the true faith; the demolition of the myth of his ultimate fall into Aphthartodocetism.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thomism and Palamism Compared

I can see right off the bat that the wonderworking Church Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas, prince of theologians, and the hesychast Gregory Palamas, agree in the following areas at least:

Areas of Agreement
(1) The Immaculate Conception: Mary never contracted original sin (this was the original opinion of Aquinas; he stated in Summa Theologica that Mary contracted original sin but reverted to his original opinion at the end of his life).
(2) The divine names are not synonymous. This is very much stressed by Gregory Palamas throughout his works, and St. Thomas says in his Summa Theologica: "All synonyms united with each other are redundant, as when we say, 'vesture clothing.' Therefore if all names applied to God are synonymous, we cannot properly say 'good God' or the like, and yet it is written, 'O most mighty, great and powerful, the Lord of hosts is Thy name' [Jer 32:18]."
(3) "Death is not natural to man." St. Thomas Aquinas says in Summa Theologica 2:I:85:6 that "death is not natural to man" and "the human body is naturally incorruptible." Gregory Palamas says in his 150 Chapters, "Death, then, was to follow our ancestors just as it is laid up even for those who outlive us, and our body was rendered mortal."

However, it is important to note that there are a few areas in which St. Thomas Aquinas and Gregory Palamas disagree.
Areas of Disagreement
(1) St. Thomas Aquinas says in Summa Theologica that angels are in a place in: "Consequently an angel is said to be in a corporeal place by application of the angelic power in any manner whatever to any place." Gregory Palamas, on the other hand, says in Chapter 61 of his 150 Chapters, "The angel and the soul, as incorporeal beings, are not located in place..." However, maybe Palamas is speaking in a different sense than Aquinas, so that there is no real contradiction. Palamas says, "The soul therefore as it sustains the body together with which it was created is everywhere in the body, not as in a place, nor as if it were encompassed, but as sustaining, encompassing, and giving life to it because it possesses this too in the image of God."
(2)
(3)

More to come on Triadology (Filioque), angelology (whether angels are more to the image of God than man), theonimy (the divine names), essence-energies distinction and its relation to the beatific vision, etc.

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!!]

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Purgatory vs. Toll-Houses

MYTH
After death all souls must literally pass through a series of stations of accusing demons before making it to Heaven or being dragged down to the Hell of the damned

1. The toll-house theory is that after death, all souls must go through a series of stations of accusing demons before making it to Heaven or being dragged down to Hell, is plainly false. A person who is damned does not pass through toll-houses before making it to a toll-house where it is guilty of sins and cannot pass, and so is dragged into Hell. Rather, the damned (those who die in a state of mortal sin) immediately descend to Hell, as the Church teaches; on this constant teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1035 points to DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG [Solemn Profession of Faith: Credo of the People of God] # 12.

Does Ephesians 6:12 Teach Toll-Houses?

Does 1 Peter 5:8 Teach Toll-Houses?

The Scriptures Against Toll-Houses

Do Demons Judge Everyone?

Does St. Macarius the Great Teach Toll-Houses?
Does St. Anthony the Great Teach Toll-Houses?
St. Anthony the Great, in fact, expressly rules out toll-houses, as we see in The Life of St. Anthony the Great:
"From the beginning the devil is a murderer and the father of lies" [Jn 8:44]; while we, though this is so, are alive, and spend our lives all the more in opposing him; it is plain that they [the demons] are powerless. For place is no hindrance to their plots, nor do they look on us as friends that they should spare us; nor are they lovers of good that they should amend. But on the contrary they are evil, and nothing is so much sought after by them as wounding them that love virtue and fear God. But since they have no power to effect anything, they do nought but threaten ... If they had power, they would permit none of us Christians to live... But since they can do nothing, they inflict the greater wounds on themselves; for they can fulfill none of their threats. Next this ought to be considered that we may be in no fear of them... But the demons as they have no power are like actors on the stage ... from which they ought rather to be despised as showing their weakness.
Does Pope St. Gregory I the Great Teach Toll-Houses?

Does St. John of Raithu Teach Toll-Houses?
St. Abba John of Raithu says in his introduction to the Ladder of Divine Ascent of St. John Climacus of Sinai that, "As a ladder set up, [this book] will lead aspirants to the gates of Heaven pure and blameless, so that they may pass unhindered the spirits of wickedness, and the world rulers of darkness and the princes of the air."

But it is clear from the context and purpose of this most edifying work of asceticism that John is referring to the struggle of the present life, rather than the toll-house doctrine of a gauntlet full of demons that every departed person must pass through.

Does St. Diadochos of Photiki Teach Toll-Houses?
St. Diadochos of Photiki says,
If we do not confess our involuntary sins as we should, we shall discover an ill defined fear in ourselves at that hour of our death. We who love the Lord should pray that we may be without fear at that time; for if we are afraid then, we will not be able freely to pass the rulers of the lower world. They will have as their advocate to plead against us the fear which our soul experiences because of its own wickedness. But the soul which rejoices in the love of God, at the hour of its departure, is lifted with the angels of peace above all the hosts of darkness.
In fact it is clear from this passage, so often quoted to support the toll-house myth, that St. Diadochos of Photiki teaches that sins, and not demons, are the only accusers. There are no disputes between angels and demons over the departed.
Does St. Hesychius the Presbyter Teach Toll-Houses?
St. Hesychius the Presbyter says, "If the soul has Christ with it, it will not be disgraced by its enemies even at death, when it rises to heaven's entrance; but then, as now, it will boldly confront them. But let it not tire of calling upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, day and night until the time of its departure from this mortal life, and He will avenge it ... Indeed, He will avenge it both in this present life and after its departure from the body."

"Its enemies" could very well refer to the sins of the person, and this whole statement of the saint can refer to the temptations by demons at the hour of death, when I pray that each person will have the gift of final perseverance. O most holy Church Doctor St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, pray for us! Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

St. John Chrysostom Against Toll-Houses
That wonderful Church Doctor, Patriarch St. John Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople, expressly teaches against the toll-house theory. He says in his Commentary on Matthew, Homily 28:3 in Patrologia Graeca,
Nor indeed is it possible for a soul, torn away from the body, to wander here any more. "For the souls of the righteous are in the Hand of God" [Wis 3:1] ... and the souls of sinners are also led away hence. This is evident from the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man; and elsewhere also Christ says, "This day your soul will be required of you" [Lk 12:20]. Therefore, when the soul has gone forth from the body, it cannot wander here; nor is the reason hard to understand: for if we, going about in the earth which is familiar and well know to us, as once we did when encompassed with a body, journeys down a strange road, know not which way to go unless guided; how should the bodiless soul, having lost her accustomed condition, know where to walk without someone to show it the way.
Hence the God-graced Chrysostom proves from the inspired Scriptures that the demons do not have power, influence, or control over the souls of the righteous departed, thus refuting the toll-house theory which states that all souls must pass through several stations of accusing demons before going to Heaven or Hell.
St. John Cassian Against Toll-Houses
Indeed St. John Cassian rules out toll-houses when he says, "...the demons cannot possibly come near to those thoughts which have not yet come forth from the inmost recesses of the soul. And the thoughts too, which they suggest, whether they are actually or in a kind of way embraced, are discovered by them not from the nature of the soul itself, that is, that inner inclination....but from the motions and signs given by the outward man."
St. Aphrahat the Persian Against Toll-Houses

St. Anastasius of Sinai Against Toll-Houses
St. John the Solitary Against Toll-Houses
St. John the Solitary says [Sixth Dialogue with Thomasios],
The devil cannot touch the nature of the soul, nor can he draw nigh it at all to harm it ... The devil does not touch or see the soul, but the members of the body only ... for indeed if he could draw nigh the soul so as to harm it, then he would also be able to harm it after it departed the body, but this he would have to do while being unable to see it and having no power over it ...
St. Isaac of Nineveh Against Toll-Houses
Bishop St. Isaac of Nineveh, a great ascetic Father who was not actually Christologically Nestorian, says, "The demons, though they are extremely polluted, are not concealed from one another in their own orders; howbeit they do not see the two orders [human souls and angels] that are above them."

The Life of St. Basil the New and The Journey of St. Theodora of Constantinople Through 20 Toll-Houses
Do Demons Punish in Purgatory?

The Fire of Purgatory

Metropolitan Mark of Ephesus and Purgatory

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!!]