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

Mirror link

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).