Please pray for the conversion of someone very dear to me who is not at all well. Thank you!

“Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death”

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petition, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.

Some of the fathers of the Church speak of Christ and the saints reigning on earth for a thousand years, once six thousand years of history have passed; some others speak of the antichrist as due to arrive after six thousand years.  Is there any way to reconcile this?

The Roman martyrology gives 5199BC as the date of creation.  As I have mentioned before, Venerable Mary of Agreda says that the Blessed Virgin Mary told her that this date is correct.  On the other hand, calculations of the date of Adam based on taking the genealogies of the bible at face-value yield a date of somewhere around 3950-4000BC.  Is there any way to reconcile these?

We are given no indication by Holy Scripture of how long Adam remained unfallen.  We are likewise not told anything about the nature of the ‘sleep’ into which God casts Adam before the creation of Eve, although the Septuagint calls it an ‘ecstasy’ (ἐπέβαλεν ὁ θεὸς ἔκστασιν ἐπὶ τὸν Αδαμ*.)

Presumably Adam’s life before the Fall was a contemplative life of an exalted kind.  St Ambrose says in his commentary on St Luke’s gospel, chapter 10, that he enjoyed an untroubled beatitude (inoffensa beatitudine perfruebatur).  Presumably, too, the more closely one is united to the eternal God, the less sense one has of time passing.  Could it be that Adam, or both of our first parents, were rapt by God before the Fall into ecstasies that coincided with the passing of hundreds of years in the outside world, somewhat as an angel can stay fixed on the same thought for an indefinite period of time?  If so, that would explain why the martyrology mentions a higher number of years than the bible, the latter reckoning Adam’s age only from the day on which he began to be a mortal man.

In this case, it would be possible to reckon ‘six thousand years’ from two different starting points, thus reaching two different ending points.

It is very striking, as I have also mentioned before, that exactly six thousand years after the date of creation found on the martyrology, the first holy Roman emperor was crowned by the pope, inaugurating a line that lasted a thousand years.  We, or those who immediately follow us, will see what happens when the six thousand years based on a simple reading of the biblical genealogies have certainly finished.

 

* I don’t know why gaps appear in the Greek when one copies and pastes.

LateranThere has been a lot of talk lately about the Second Vatican Council and how it ought to be set aside or relegated from its ecumenical status. This is quite impossible and improper. It is precisely the sort of idea liberals have been floating about many of the other councils. It cannot be accepted or even tolerated.  The Council infallibly defined in a number of areas and these definitions must be accepted. Vatican II was a validly convened Ecumenical Council and must be accepted as such.

However, it is very clear that the twenty-first council was associated with many rash and frankly presumptuous prudential decisions. The very idea of holding an Ecumencial Council for no particular reason and then deliberately defining no dogmas and issuing no canons while putting forth volumes of merely authentic teaching is wrong. It is putting God to the test. Bishops at the council openly propounded heretical doctrines and nothing was done. Cardinal Franz König of Vienna openly denied the inerrancy of Scripture. Others praised the monstrous writings of Teilhard de Chardin. Ambiguities intended to favour heresy were introduced into the texts. The reforms proposed by Sacrosanctum Concilium were similarly ambiguous in order to facilitate the outrageous and illicit confection of a ‘New Rite’ of the Mass by Paul VI.

These wicked acts must be frankly acknowledged and atoned for by another Ecumenical Council in a definitive way. The public and complete atonement for the blasphemies of the last sixty years must be comprehensive. Just as Cardinal Pole frankly acknowledged the crimes of the Roman Curia and the episcopate at the beginning of Trent so too the Council of restoration must, and even more solemnly, confess the sins of the prelacy and beg Almighty God to put an end to the plague of apostasy, corruption and unnatural vice that has laid waste to the Church.

All the errors and heresies favoured by the ambiguities in Vatican II’s merely authentic teaching must be solemnly condemned. It must be solemnly defined that the Novus Ordo was illicit and that Popes do not have the authority to create ‘new rites’ of this kind. Heretics such as Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin must be solemnly condemned by name along with their adherents and the errors of authors such as Maritain and de Lubac openly identified, attributed to them by name and proscribed. If possible, priestly ordinations should henceforth be conducted only by bishops without the Novus Ordo in their episcopal line. Not because the Novus Ordo is invalid but in recognition of the offence it has given to God. This Council must not flinch from holding the present occupant of the highest See to the same standards as Honorius was held in 681 and binding all his successors to recognise their verdict in that matter.

In a passage in John Paul II’s Catechism entitled “The Necessity of Baptism” the CCC (1257) asserts “The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude”. It goes on the insist that “God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.” Nevertheless, the earlier statement is striking in its implications, implications which seem generally to be overlooked. If the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude the fact that good could save people without baptism does not at all entitle us to teach that He will do so. When various saints have claimed that some persons are saved without baptism this must either be taken as pure speculation or one must take the CCC as rejecting their claims. Indeed, John 3:5 “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” might very well be taken as asserting as a matter of fact no one dies in a state of grace who has not been sacramentally baptised. Perhaps this cannot be safely taught but can it be safely denied?

The magisterium has given ‘socialism’ a defined meaning and condemned it. No Catholic can adhere to Socialism in that sense and to adopt the term on the grounds that one adheres to a generically similar but formally distinct doctrine is to give very serious scandal.

“[T]he socialists … are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy.” Rerum Novarum 4

“Socialists, therefore, by endeavouring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.” Rerum Novarum 5

“The socialists, therefore, in setting aside the parent and setting up a State supervision, act against natural justice, and destroy the structure of the home.” Rerum Novarum 14

“Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal.” Rerum Novarum 15

The Church teaches that the goods of the earth are given to the entire human race to provide for their subsistence and security and that by our application of fruitful labour to some part of the earth we appropriate that portion of the earth to provide for our own subsistence and security and that of our dependents. This right of property includes essentially the right to alienate these goods by sale, gift or bequest. Once provision is made for our own subsistence and security and that of our dependents whatever remains should be employed whether gratuitously or in exchange for labour or goods to assist others in providing for their subsistence and security. Only if this last obligation is not fulfilled does the right of property lapse and do third parties (destitute individuals and families or the civil power acting on their behalf but without respect of persons)  become entitled to treat the additional goods in question as if they had not been appropriated. Socialism essentially consists in the claim that the initial appropriation is undertaken by the community as a whole and so the right of property is vested in the community not in individuals or families and is only enjoyed by individuals and families by a concession of the community that may be modified or revoked.

I don’t think it plausible that Benedict XVI wanted to carry on being the successor of St Peter and not bishop of Rome in order to allow someone else to be bishop of Rome and not successor of St Peter, i.e. that he held and wanted to put into practice a hypothesis that has occasionally been put forward, that a pope can separate the papacy from the Roman see.  But here are some notes about the state of the question.

In 1851, in the apostolic letter Ad apostolicae sedis fastigium, Pius IX condemned the view found in the works of John Nuytz, a canonist from Turin, who maintained that “nothing prevents the supreme pontificate from being, by the decision of some general council, or by the deed of all peoples, transferred from the bishop and city of Rome to another bishop and city” (the original Latin is available here, page 93.)  This condemnation was placed into the Syllabus of Errors, number 35.

That might seem to settle the question, since the pope can’t do more than a general council can do.  But perhaps Nuytz meant it in a conciliarist sense, i.e. he was perhaps thinking of a council acting independently of a pope, given that he also suggests that ‘an act of all the peoples’ (whatever that would look like) might also suffice.  Also, the opposite of ‘nothing prevents’ is not ‘divine law prevents’ but ‘something prevents’, so I suppose Pius IX could have had in mind simply that e.g. ‘respect for tradition’ prevents it, though that seems unlikely.

In the first draft of Pastor aeternus, at Vatican I, the second canon read:

If anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord himself that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not by divine law the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.

That is almost the same as the canon as finally agreed on, with one interesting change.  The words ‘divine law’ were moved and made into a gloss on the phrase ‘by the institution of Christ the Lord’.  Hence the canon as promulgated reads:

If anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.

Some of the fathers had said that a distinction should be drawn between the law by which St Peter has perpetual successors, which they said was of divine institution, and the law by which these successors are the bishops of Rome, which they said was better said to be ‘of divine ordination’, i.e. that God had inspired St Peter to make the choice of Rome.

Bishop (not yet Cardinal) Pie, acting as Relator, was basically in agreement with this.  He said that the first law (perpetual successors) was of divine institution, and that the latter was of the institution of St Peter, disponente Domino, and that it is therefore a human law “which nevertheless is better and more truly called an ecclesiastico-apostolic law”.  He argued nevertheless that the canon should be left unchanged, on the grounds that it followed from two premises which are of faith, namely that St Peter has perpetual successors, and that (as Florence defined), these successors are, as a matter of historical fact, the bishops of Rome.  This seems like a bad argument, unless I have misunderstood it.

Anyway, a request was again made that the words ‘iure divino’ be omitted.  The next Relator, a bishop Zinelli, said that while it cannot be doubted but that St Peter transferred his see from Antioch to Rome as the result of a divine revelation (ex revelatione divina), as Innocent III says in letter 209 (PL 214:761), nevertheless, it had not been the intention of the drafters to condemn those who rejected this, but only to say that, given the divine law about perpetual succession, and the act of St Peter in choosing Rome, therefore the bishops of Rome are in fact these divine-law-promised successors (and hence that if someone refused to accept Pius IX as the successor of St Peter, he would be contravening divine law.)  However, he accepted that the canon as it stood was ambiguous, and said that it had therefore been decided to move the words ‘iure divino’ to the place that they came finally to occupy.

Bill Gates

Has lots of mates.

He can set the table at a roar

With his plans for there to be less people than there were before.

 

If you grab Dr Fauci

By the hand he gets grouchy

Coz he wants to stay clean

And doesn’t know where you’ve been.

 

I wouldn’t quite say that George Soros

Gave me the horrors.

But it might be wiser

If he wore a visor.

{for more about this admirable literary genre, see here.}

The traditional Roman martyrology gives the date of creation as 5,199BC.  This is not a date that anyone would come up with by using the Vulgate bible.  Hence St Bede, basing himself on the Vulgate, calculated the date as 3,592BC.  The date on the martyrology apparently derives from some version of the Septuagint, from which the Latin version of the bible anterior to the Vulgate derives.  Eusebius of Caesarea placed this date into his Chronicon, which was translated into Latin by St Jerome around AD 378.  See here for a reasonably learned study, which is however strangely lacking a footnote for the reference to Bede.

Ven. Mary of Agreda says that she was told by the Blessed Virgin that 5,199 was the date of creation.  Her superior or spiritual director, I forget which, told her to ask again, and Mary of Agreda says that she was again told plainly that this was the correct date.

There was a wide-spread belief in the early patristic period that the world as we know it would last 6,000 years, and that this would be followed by a thousand year reign of Christ and the saints.  This is inspired, among other things, by Apoc. 20:22 – “And he laid hold on the dragon the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”  I’ve given some examples here.

One cannot help being impressed by the fact that, starting from the date on the martyrology, six thousand years would bring us to AD 801, and that Charlemagne was crowned by the pope as the first holy Roman emperor on Christmas day 800.  Was not this a reign of Christ on earth?  Likewise, it is impressive that the holy empire was brought to an end a thousand years later by Napoleon who became first consul in 1799 and extinguished it over the next few years.

For the end of the world was long ago,
And all we dwell to-day
As children of some second birth,
Like a strange people left on earth
After a judgment day.

An interesting exchange of letters.

The rout of Lucifer and his angels from Calvary to the abyss of hell was more violent and disastrous than their first expulsion from heaven. Though, as holy Job says (Job 10:21), that place is a land of darkness, covered with the shades of death, full of gloomy disorder, misery, torments and confusion; yet on this occasion the chaos and disorder was a thousand-fold increased; because the damned were made to feel new horror and additional punishments at the sudden meeting of the ferocious demons in their rabid fury. It is certain that the devils have not the power of assigning the damned to a place of greater or lesser torment; for all their torments are decreed by divine justice according to the measure of the demerits of each of the condemned.

As soon as Lucifer was permitted to proceed in these matters and arise from the consternation in which he remained for some time, he set about proposing to his fellow-demons new plans of his pride. For this purpose he called them all together and placing himself in an elevated position, he spoke to them: “To you, who have for so many ages followed and still follow my standards for the vengeance of my wrongs, is known the injury which I have now sustained at the hands of this Man-God, and how for thirty-three years He has led me about in deceit, hiding his Divinity and concealing the operations of his soul, and how He has now triumphed over us by the very Death which we have brought upon Him. Before He assumed flesh I hated Him and refused to acknowledge Him as being more worthy than I to be adored by the rest of creation. Although on account of this resistance I was cast out from heaven with you and was degraded to this abominable condition so unworthy of my greatness and former beauty, I am even more tormented to see myself thus vanquished and oppressed by this Man and by his Mother. From the day on which the first man was created I have sleeplessly sought to find Them and destroy Them; or if I should not be able to destroy Them, I at least wished to bring destruction upon all his creatures and induce them not to acknowledge Him as their God, and that none of them should ever draw any benefit from his works.

“This has been my intent, to this all my solicitude and efforts were directed. But in vain, since He has overcome me by his humility and poverty, crushed me by his patience, and at last has despoiled me of the sovereignty of the world by his Passion and frightful Death. This causes me such an excruciating pain, that, even if I succeeded in hurling Him from the right hand of his Father, where He sits triumphant, and if I should draw all the souls redeemed down into this hell, my wrath would not be satiated or my fury placated.

“Is it possible that the human nature, so inferior to my own, shall be exalted above all the creatures! That it should be so loved and favoured, as to be united to the Creator in the person of the eternal Word! That He should first make war upon me before executing this work, and afterwards overwhelm me with such confusion! From the beginning I have held this humanity as my greatest enemy; it has always filled me with intolerable abhorrence. O men, so favoured and gifted by your God whom I abhor, and so ardently loved by Him! How shall I hinder your good fortune? How shall I bring upon you my unhappiness, since I cannot destroy the existence you have received? What shall we now begin, O my followers? How shall we restore our reign? How shall we recover our power over men? How shall we overcome them? For if men from now on shall not be most senseless and ungrateful, if they are not worse disposed than we ourselves toward this God-man, who has redeemed them with so much love, it is clear that all of them will eagerly follow Him; none will take notice of our deceits; they will abhor the honours which we insidiously offer them, and will love contempt; they will seek the mortification of the flesh and will discover the danger of carnal pleasure and ease; they will despise riches and treasures, and love the poverty so much honoured by their Master; and all that we can offer to their appetites they will abhor in imitation of their true Redeemer.

“Thus will our reign be destroyed, since no one will be added to our number in this place of confusion and torments; all will reach the happiness which we have lost, all will humiliate themselves to the dust and suffer with patience; and my wrath and haughtiness will avail me nothing.

“Ah, woe is me, what torment does this mistake cause me! When I tempted Him in the desert, the only result was to afford him a chance to leave the example of this victory, by following which men can overcome so much the more easily. My persecutions only brought out more clearly his doctrine of humility and patience. In persuading Judas to betray Him, and the Jews subject Him to the deadly torture of the Cross, I merely hastened my ruin and the salvation of men, while the doctrine I sought to blot out was only the more firmly implanted. How could One who is God humiliate Himself to such an extent? How could He bear so much from men who are evil? How could I myself have been led to assist so much in making this salvation so copious and wonderful? O how godlike is the power of that Man which could torment and weaken me so? And can this Woman, his Mother and my Enemy, be so mighty and invincible in her opposition to me? New is such power in a mere creature, and no doubt She derived it from the divine Word, whom She clothed in human flesh. Through this Woman the Almighty has ceaselessly waged war against me, though I have hated Her in my pride from the moment I recognized Her in her image or heavenly sign.

“But if my proud indignation is not to be assuaged, I benefit nothing by my perpetual war against this Redeemer, against his Mother and against men. Now then, ye demons who follow me, now is the time to give way to our wrath against God. Come all of ye to take counsel what we are to do; for I desire to hear your opinions.”

Some of the principal demons gave their answers to this dreadful proposal, encouraging Lucifer by suggesting diverse schemes for hindering the fruit of the Redemption among men. They all agreed that it was not possible to injure the person of Christ, to diminish the immense value of his merits, to destroy the efficacy of the Sacraments, to falsify or abolish the doctrine which Christ had preached; yet they resolved that, in accordance with the new order of assistance and favour established by God for the salvation of men, they should now seek new ways of hindering and preventing the work of God by much the greater deceits and temptations.

In reference to these plans some of the astute and malicious demons said “It is true, that men now have at their disposal a new and very powerful doctrine and law, new and efficacious Sacraments, a new Model and Instructor of virtues, a powerful Intercessor and Advocate in this Woman; yet the natural inclinations and passions of the flesh remain just the same, and the sensible and delectable creatures have not changed their nature. Let us then, making use of this situation with increased astuteness, foil as far as in us lies the effects of what this Godman has wrought for men. Let us begin strenuous warfare against mankind by suggesting new attractions, exciting them to follow their passions in forgetfulness of all else. Thus men, being taken up with these dangerous things, cannot attend to the contrary.”

Acting upon this counsel they redistributed the spheres of work among themselves, in order that each squadron of demons might, with a specialized astuteness tempt men to different vices. They resolved to continue to propagate idolatry in the world, so that men might not come to the knowledge of the true God and the Redemption. Wherever idolatry would fail, they concluded to establish sects and heresies, for which they would select the most perverse and depraved of the human race as leaders and teachers of error.

Then and there was concocted among these malignant spirits the sect of Mahomet, the heresies of Arius, Pelagius, Nestorius, and whatever other heresies have been started in the world from the first ages of the Church until now, together with those which they have in readiness, but which it is neither necessary nor proper to mention here. Lucifer showed himself content with these infernal counsels as being opposed to divine truth and destructive of the very foundation of man’s rescue, namely divine faith. He lavished flattering praise and high offices upon those demons, who showed themselves willing and who undertook to find the impious originators of these errors.

Some of the devils charged themselves with perverting the inclinations of children at their conception and birth; others to induce parents to be negligent in the education and instruction of their children, either through an inordinate love or aversion, and to cause a hatred of parents among the children. Some offered to create hatred between husbands and wives, to place them in the way of adultery, or to think little of the fidelity promised to their conjugal partners. All agreed to sow among men the seeds of discord, hatred and vengeance, proud and sensual thoughts, desire of riches or honours, and by suggesting sophistical reasons against all the virtues Christ has taught; above all they intended to weaken the remembrance of his Passion and Death, of the means of salvation, and of the eternal pains of hell.

By these means the demons hoped to burden all the powers and the faculties of men with solicitude for earthly affairs and sensual pleasures, leaving them little time for spiritual thoughts and their own salvation (Ven. Mary of Agreda, ‘The Mystical City of God’).