Image result for Icon of Woman Caught in Adultery

Do we read the story of the woman caught in adultery aright, I wonder? It is often supposed that the scribes and Pharisees were testing our Lord, in the sense of seeing whether He would follow the path of Law or of gentleness, so that they could accuse Him of neglecting one or the other. Again, it is also generally supposed that the words ‘he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her’ are meant as a warning not to condemn others while having sins on one’s own conscience. I don’t deny either of these interpretations, but I wonder if they give the principal meaning of the dialogue.

Surely, the trap that the scribes and Pharisees had in mind was that if Christ told them not to stone the woman then He would, as everyone recognises, be seeming to deny the authority of the old Law, and that if He told them to stone her, then He would be seeming to usurp an authority that the Romans had reserved to themselves, that of capital punishment. I don’t know of any evidence that giving commands to stone adulterers was contrary to the popular picture of the Messiah, and would have therefore caused anyone to stop believing in Christ; even though such a command would have been incongruous with the work He had come to do, as perhaps the Pharisees half-understood. On the other hand, anyone who openly pronounced a sentence of death on another person would surely have been brought to the attention of the Roman authorities promptly.

If this is the test, then it throws light on our Lord’s reply: ‘‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’ One might be inclined to say: ‘Either the scribes and Pharisees had judicial authority or they didn’t; if they did, then they should have carried out the sentence of the Mosaic Law even if they were themselves sinful; and if they didn’t, they were not the proper people to carry it out, however perfect they were.’

But perhaps Christ’s words are meant to address this very question, of whether the scribes did have judicial authority to order an execution or not. As far as appearances went, they did not: the temporal sword, in 1st century Judaea, was clearly in the hands of the Romans, however much the Jews might dislike the fact. There was no realistic prospect of their wresting it from Roman hands, nor was it clear that the Romans were doing anything to them that would make such an effort lawful, even had it not been hopeless. Only one thing, therefore, could have justified someone’s taking the temporal sword to himself: the kind of surpassing excellence that Aristotle speculates about in Book III of the Politics:

When therefore it comes about that there is either a whole family or even some one individual that differs from the other citizens in virtue so greatly that his virtue exceeds that of all the others, then it is just for this family to be the royal family or this individual king, and sovereign over all matters. … It remains therefore, and this seems to be the natural course, for all to obey such a man gladly, so that men of this sort may be kings in the cities for all time.

If any of the scribes or Pharisees had surpassed all other men in this way, then he could have justly set aside the dominion of the Romans, and thrown the first stone. But seeing that none of them did so excel, it was just that they should continue to bear the Roman yoke.


In October 2015, the Remnant Newspaper drew attention to an apparently very rare conjunction of heavenly bodies due to take place during the 100th anniversary of the miracle of the sun.  The author, Patrick Archbold, quoted first the opening verse of Apoc. 12: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.” He continued:

The author of Revelation clearly indicates that this vision is one of a sign in heaven or in the sky. What do we see in the sky of the near future?

On November 20, 2016, an astronomical event begins that will last nine and a half months, culminating in startling concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12. While I am not an astronomer, all my research indicates that this astronomical event, in all its particulars, is unique in the history of man.

On November 20, 2016, Jupiter (the King planet) enters into the body (womb) of the constellation Virgo (the virgin).   Jupiter, due its retrograde motion, will spend the next 9 ½ months within the womb of Virgo. This length of time corresponds with gestation period of a normal late-term baby.

After 9 ½ months, Jupiter exits out of the womb of Virgo. Upon Jupiter’s exit (birth), on September 23, 2017, we see the constellation Virgo with the sun rise directly behind it (the woman clothed with the sun). At the feet of Virgo, we find the moon. And upon her head we find a crown of twelve stars, formed by the usual nine stars of the constellation Leo with the addition of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

That is a truly remarkable and, as far as I can determine, unique series of event with a startling degree of concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12.

As a result, there was a certain amount of speculation about whether something significant for the Church or the word would happen on September 23rd 2017. Other people drew attention to the importance of 100 years in connexion with Fatima, and wondered whether something dramatic would happen on, say October 13th, 2017. I have discussed this last point here.

However, to my knowledge, no one has pointed out that something rather important did take place on 23rd September. The ‘Filial Correction’ which accused Pope Francis of upholding and propagating seven heresies was first seen by most people, at least on the eastern side of the Atlantic, on 24th September. However, the Associated Press, who seem to have been the first to publish it, date their article to the 23rd.

(Someone might wonder whether the organisers of the Filial Correction released their document deliberately to coincide with the ‘sign in the heavens’. I have been able to speak  to some of them, and I do not believe that this is the case.)

Unless it be otherwise determined, by reason of some exceptional condition of things, it is expedient to take part in the administration of public affairs. And the Church approves of every one devoting his services to the common good, and doing all that he can for the defense, preservation, and prosperity of his country.

– Libertas 45

[T]hat liberty is truly genuine, and to be sought after, which in regard to the individual does not allow men to be the slaves of error and of passion, the worst of all masters; which, too, in public administration guides the citizens in wisdom and provides for them increased means of well-being; and which, further, protects the State from foreign interference. This honourable liberty, alone worthy of human beings, the Church approves most highly and has never slackened her endeavour to preserve, strong and unchanged, among nations. And, in truth, whatever in the State is of chief avail for the common welfare; whatever has been usefully established to curb the license of rulers who are opposed to the true interests of the people, or to keep in check the leading authorities from unwarrantably interfering in municipal or family affairs; whatever tends to uphold the honour, manhood, and equal rights of individual citizens-of all these things, as the monuments of past ages bear witness, the Catholic Church has always been the originator, the promoter, or the guardian. Ever, therefore, consistent with herself, while on the one hand she rejects that exorbitant liberty which in individuals and in nations ends in license or in thraldom, on the other hand, she willingly and most gladly welcomes whatever improvements the age brings forth, if these really secure the prosperity of life here below, which is, as it were, a stage in the journey to the life that will know no ending.

– Immortale Dei 37-38

Paul rebuked Peter because of the danger of salvation for the faithful, and did not allow the latter’s sin to pass, since it was scandalous, though small. He thereby taught others that they should act magnanimously by rebuking the crimes of their prelates when these scandalise the Church and by their bad example lead others toward damnation. The princes of the Church and the princes of the world are obliged to do the same, when the pope scandalizes the Church, once he has been admonished in private and not come to his senses. For it is likely that he will be cowed [verebitur] when princes rebuke him publicly, even if he doesn’t care about the salvation of his subjects. And so even if he himself does not become good, at least he will not continue to scandalise others.

Indeed, those who can help have a much greater duty to do this than to save someone who is being led to bodily death. For they must set themselves ‘up as a wall for the house of Israel’. ‘Seeing their brothers in need and shutting up, in effect, the bowels of their mercy from them, how do they have the charity of God?’ [Commentary on the Summa Theologiae, 2a 2ae 33, 4].

Anything to quibble with here?

The 11 resurrection appearances (Mt 28; Mk 16; Lk 24; Jn 20-21; Acts 9:3-6; 1 Cor 15:5-8)

  • First and second appearances (Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-11; Jn 20:1-18)
    • Mary Magdalene, Aunt Mary (wife of Cleopas, Joseph’s brother), Cousin Salome (daughter of Cleopas and Mary), and Joanna see the angels and empty tomb, and at some point therein Magdalene leaves to get Peter and John (Mt 28:1-8; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24:1-9; Jn 20:1-10)
    • The other women eventually leave to give the testimony of the angels to the apostles, which is denied, while Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb with Peter and John (Lk 24:10-11)
    • First appearance to Mary Magdalene at the tomb on Easter Sunday (Mk 16:9-11; Jn 20:11-18)
      • Peter and John return to the upper room, while Magdalene encounters the risen Christ after mistaking him for the gardener
      • Magdalene’s testimony is denied by the apostles
    • Second appearance on Easter Sunday to Aunt Mary, cousin Salome, and Joanna at an undetermined place in Jerusalem (Mt 28:9-10)
      • Christ appears to the women after their testimony from the angels was denied by the apostles
      • Their testimony is again denied by the apostles
  • Third appearance on Easter Sunday to Peter, but no details are recorded (Lk 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5)
  • Fourth appearance on Easter Sunday to Uncle Cleopas (Joseph’s brother) and an unnamed disciple on the Road to Emmaus (Mk 16:12-13; Lk 24:13-35)
  • Fifth appearance on Easter Sunday to the 10 apostles (except Thomas) in the upper room for the institution of the Sacrament of Penance – the apostles should have immediately gone to Galilee upon the testimony of the women, but Christ must condescend to “prove” himself amidst their unbelief (Lk 24:36-49; Jn 20:19-23)
  • Sixth appearance the following Sunday to the 11 apostles in the upper room for the “doubting Thomas” episode (Mk 16:14; Jn 20:26-29; 1 Cor 15:5)
  • Seventh appearance an unspecified time thereafter at the Sea of Tiberias to the apostles Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James and John of Zebedee, and 2 unnamed disciples (Jn 21:1-23)
  • Eighth appearance an unspecified time thereafter at Galilee to more than 500 disciples, along with the “Great Commission” (Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15-18; 1 Cor 15:6)
  • Ninth appearance an unspecified time thereafter to cousin James the Lesser (son of Cleopas and Mary), but no details are recorded (1 Cor 15:7)
  • Tenth appearance at the Ascension on the 40th day after Easter Sunday at the Mount of Olives to the faithful (Mk 16:19; Lk 24:50-52; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Cor 15:7)
  • Eleventh appearance a few years thereafter on the Road to Damascus for Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Cor 15:8)


Some possible arguments, as well, as to why the Galilee appearance with the “Great Commission” in the Gospels in the same as the appearance to more than 500 disciples that Paul mentions:

  • Galilee seems to be the biggie, as it was spoken of from day 1, with both the angels and Christ telling the women to instruct the apostles to go to Galilee, which they seemingly should have on Easter Sunday, simply based on the testimony of the women. Thus, it seems reasonable that this biggie would be the one with the most witnesses.
  • Since this is the one resurrection appearance that is anticipated (Matthew says that they go to the mountain that Jesus directed them to, so the apostles seemingly know ahead of time when this is going to happen after having failed to respond to the call on Easter Sunday), the apostles would have been able to gather up all the troops in preparation. How else would more than 500 disciples otherwise be gathered together for a spontaneous resurrection appearance?
  • Matthew writes that those at Galilee worship Christ, though some doubt, but what apostles could still be doubting at this point? Surely there must be others there who have yet to see the risen Christ. This then explains why the Church was smaller come Pentecost Sunday, as some don’t believe, and so they fall away.
  • Galilee is the “Great Commission”, so it makes sense that the whole Church would be gathered together, as that way you can witness the authority that Christ has given to the apostles and the task distinct to the Church.
  • It’s on a mountain, a place where more than 500 could conceivably be gathered.

“No Greek or Latin word corresponds to the modern term homosexuality, and ancient Mediterranean societies did not in practice treat homosexuality as a meaningful category of personal or public life. Sexual relations between persons of the same sex certainly did occur (they are widely attested in ancient sources), but they were not systematically distinguished or conceptualized as such, much less were they thought to represent a single, homogeneous phenomenon in contradistinction to sexual relations between persons of different sexes.”