söndag 28 september 2014

Between Vigilantius and the Waldensians

I have heard Protestants say or more recently read them write* that:

  • Benedict XVI/Ratzinger was wrong to affirm the need of Apostolic Succession and to affirm at same time that Protestantism lacked it;
  • since to them the continuation of the Church was not tied to the presence of legitimate pastors;
  • that a Church - here is the new item for today - was present in the Cottian Alps independently of Rome. And thus, it is presumed, independently of Apostolic Succession as we understand it.

This presumed Church in the Cottian Alps - was the claim insofar as I understood it - had Waldensians simply continuing the non-Roman Catholicism of Vigilantius. Never mind Vigilantius was rather from the Pyrenees! Richard Bennet is Irish, but he shows an US American disregard for European geography here!

Now, Vigilantius' Treaty or other utterance is not preserved to us. His positions are cited and refuted in Contra Vigilantium by Saint Jerome -and the Church Father is presuming Vigilantius or at least anyone else hearing of this would respect the Papal practise of praying over the full body relics of Saints Peter and Paul. Does not quite seem as if Vigilantius belonged to another confession or ecclesiastic body than Saint Jerome, even more so as Vigilantius was only presbyter, not bishop. One must therefore presume he depended on a bishop. Indeed, Exsuperius of Toulouse being his bishop did favour the views of Vigilantius and Saint Jerome intervened because Riparius, also a presbyter, brought forth the complaints against this. Now, this act of the good Catholic Riparius may be a precedent for making appeals against an apostate bishop, and even to good Theologians not necessarily Popes, but not Vigilantius and Exsuperius for Protestantism. Now, like Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine, Vigalantius lived in the 4th and 5th Centuries. Waldensians are recorded as a sect differring from Catholics in the 12th Century.

Here is a little problem for their theory. If Vigilantius was a Protestant rather than just a radical priest of the Vatican II type of disciplinary dissolution - despite depending on a bishop! - and if Protestants survived where he had lived to when they were Waldensians:

  • how come they did not preserve the precious treaty of Vigilantius by copying? Of course, if Vigilantius was Pyrenees and they were Cottian Alps, there might have been some Geographical difficulty, but if the lost treaty of Vigilantius could spread to where Saint Jerome could answer it, why not to the Cottian Alps, if there were proto-Albigensians there who might have been willing to preserve it?
  • And, did they accept the Bible translation of Saint Jerome, the Vulgate, despite Saint Jerome being a defender of reverence to relics, vigils, burning of tapers, despite defending the sending of alms to Jerusalem, despite his defending monkish poverty and virginal chastity?

    What happened when the language spoken in the Cottian Alps drifted further and further away from being basically one sound per each letter written in Latin?** For the Catholic Community, we know what Alcuin did. He made clergymen pronounce Latin as written, probably even more letter by letter than when Christianity began.** As a byproduct writing down the sounds of spoken speech, also letter by letter, started, first no doubt sporadically, as usual preparation for obligatory sermon in vulgar tongue,*** with different individual makeshifts for sounds not found in Alcuin's Latin pronunication, then written Romance languages emerged. But when exactly did writing Latin leave place to writing Occitan in the Cottian Alps? Would these presumed Waldensians also have been reading the Gospel in Latin pronounced as by the people, then obeyed the reform of Alcuin (despite him being a Catholic who venerated relics and wanted monks to be poor and chaste!) then read the Gospel in Alcuin's Latin and then found (what a coincidence with the Council of Tours, if so!) the people needed a translation and then introduced an Occitan suspiciously similar to that produced in Catholic countries like most of the Carolingian Empire? Or what happened? How did it affect the supposed Waldensian community there?

  • Do we have any traces of the supposed Waldensian community at all, between Vigilantius and the historic Waldensians?

Because, if we haven't, neither the kind of traces I have detailed out as possible, nor in general, how can anyone in his right mind affirm there was an uninterrupted Protestant community there?

If it agreed with Vigilantius in censoring relics, how come there are no conflicts with surrounding Catholicism up to the time of the Waldensians? I do not necessarily mean violent conflicts, but things like ...

  • Was there any Catholic in the 8th C who complained about the men in the Cottian Alps who refused to honour relics (as Vigilantius had done and as Waldensians would do)?
  • Was there any Cottian Alps Protestant who during the 10th C, the Dark Century of Papacy wrote anything like "look what comes of honouring relics"?
  • When the supposed Cottian Alps' Protestants saw Iconoclasm in the East, when Emperors agreed on icons what Vigilantius had said about relics and what Waldensians would say about both, but when they were also persecuting Iconodules, i e Catholics, despite the Waldensian tenet against persecuting anyone, as per La Nobla Leçoun, which whether originally Waldensian or not is one writing accepted by Waldensians, do we see any debates among the supposed Cottian Alps' community of Protestants as to which side to take or as to be neutral?

As far as I know, the answer to these three questions is a very resounding NO.

Now, there is another question than indefectibility of the Church involved in the Catholic claim that Apostolic Necessity is necessary.

Berean Bacon is claming the Cottian Alps got their Christianity independently of Rome, in the Apostolic age. That is indeed possible. I do not know it for a fact, but it is possible. The Catholic claim of Apostolic Succession is not concerned with only succession from St Peter in Rome, or from Sts Peter and Paul in Rome, but with succession from the TWELVE. One can be a bishop, in the Catholic sense, and not trace one's lineage as bishop back to St Peter. But one cannot be so and not trace one's lineage back to the TWELVE, of whom St Peter was foremost but of whom he was only one.

Bergamo got its bishop from St Barnabas - codisciple with St Paul of Gamaliel, only seriously considered named rival of St Paul about the canonic writing to the Hebrews - and St Barnabas was ordained or consecrated in Jerusalem along with St Paul before going off as missionary bishops, unless my memory of Acts or Pauline Epistles misleads me. Whether the Simon mentioned was St Peter or Kephas, or someone else, the cheirotonia did go back to the TWELVE. St Paul and the SEVENTY got their succession from them. Spain certainly got a lineage from St James the Greater, brother of Saint John, son of Zebedee. India certainly got a lineage from Saint Thomas Didymus.

These lineages persist also outside the Catholic Community. There is an ontological as well as a juridical side to episcopacy. The ability to ordain priests for the celebration of Holy Mass is there in a schismatic bishop, like those obeying the wrong "Pope" during the Western Schism. It is present in a bishop who is a heretic, like a Monophysite or a Nestorian. When heretical Monothelite bishops became Catholics, forming the Maronite Community, they needed no reordination, no reconsecration. It is only on the juridical side that episcopacy is automatically deficient or lacking when outside and especially when pertinaciously against the true Church.

And the earliest pastors of Protestantism at the Reformation did not receive episcopacy, excepting one Swede. And he did NOT transmit it, because he did NOT intend to. He changed the ritual because he did not believe in the Holy Mass.

Now, we are not monomaniacs about episcopacy irrespective of "congregation" (as they would say), just because Berean Beacon are blind to it and accuses us of being such.

A Catholic "congregation" without a bishop does not cease to be Catholic. It is widowed (as a bishop represents the Bridegroom), but it is not automatically in heresy or schism because it lacks a bishop.

The so-called Petite Église - it means "little Church" - accused Pius VII of apostasy because of his concordate with Napoleon I, for one thing because he made peace with revolutionary clergy (their practises had been condemned in Auctorem Fidei by Pope Pius VI when he condemned the Synod of Pistoia) and for another because he excommunicated remaining Counterrevolutionaries, remaining Chouans. Cadoudal died, executed by Napoleon's men, in communion with Little Church and not with Pius VII. As these considered Pius VII a non-Pope and traitor, they went into schism. They came to lack bishops and after some time even priests.

But it was their consideration of Pius VII which made them schismatic, not just the misfortune of lacking bishops and priests. And this lack could not make them heretics either. When their last priests died, there was noone who could celebrate Holy Mass with them. Their parishes were not just widowed, but now crippled as well. But did they take the Eucharist in the hands of laymen? No. They were not heretics or Protestants. They trusted episcopacy and Holy Mass continued elsewhere, as Christ had promised. They continued Baptism, which laymen can confer in cases of necessity, and they continued marriages, which the spouses are the ones conferring.

But the Protestants seeing no bishop sided with them saw no need for this limitation. They did not see that a congfregation without a bishop even though retaining the faith, is crippled, unable to continue where it is the Holy Eucharist : it has to unite itself to Holy Eucharist celebrated elsewhere.

That is what makes Protestantism so special as a heresy. There is a semi-episcopal or pseudo-epicopal variety of it recently forming the Porvoo Communion.° But it can show no correct episcopal lineage.

In the Cottian Alps, Waldensians finally did not even try to show such a thing, not when joining hands with Calvinists. But for all i know - and better historians than I will confirm it in some detail, I doubt not, if there is time for it before the world ends - Christianity in the Cottian Alps, previous to Waldensians, had bishops, had Holy Mass, had Seven Sacraments. And as Vigilantius was anyway in the Pyrenees, it honoured relics too.

And of course Vigilantius was no Protestant. He agreed with Protestants in some things, at least before getting the answer from Saint Jerome, like about relics. But he did not agree with them about Holy Mass or Apostolic Succession, nor about Seven Sacraments and Episcopal order.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou

NewAdvent : Fathers : Jerome : Against Vigilantius

* Richard Bennet in Berean Beacon, not linking.

** As long as the discrepancy was basically B and V (originally pronounced W) coinciding between vowels as our v, and the ten vowels of Latin, five long and five short, being simplified to the seven mid long vowels of Proto-Romance, and loss of nasality of nasal vowels spelled as vowel plus final m, as long as the morphological impact of this phonetic change was limited to making accusative agrum coincide with ablative agro, or future with perfect as in vocabit/vocavit, vocabimus/vocavimus, it was feasible to consider the written Latin as a way of writing the spoken language. But changes did not stop there. As to Alcuin's pronunciation, -um was not just not omitted or pronounced like -o, but -u- and -m were pronounced as two sounds, as we do today too, rather than as two letters for a nasal -u.

*** Council of Tours of 813 took note of fact that as Alcuin's pronunciation of the Gospel in Latin was not that of the people, these did not understand it. And those speaking a Germanic language, like Frankish or Burgundian, didn't understand it anyway. So, one decided after the Gospel a priest on a Sunday or Holiday had to explain its content in the vulgar tongue. This decision was taken within few decades of Alcuin's reform.

° Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists. Swedish Lutherans being closer than the others to having episcopal succession and even these not even near, when you consider what Laurentius Petri did.

måndag 22 september 2014

Answering an Attack Against Prayers for the Dead

1) Salute ... the Household of Onesiphorus, 2) Answering an Attack Against Prayers for the Dead, 3) Saint Onesiphorus revisited - did he die before St Paul?, 4) Luther, 2 Maccabees, Purgatory or Prayers for the Dead

The Bible teaches that those who have yielded to the Savior’s will (Hebrews 5:8-9) enter directly and immediately into the presence of the Lord after death (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8).

got questions? : What does the Bible say about praying for the dead?

That yielding to the Saviour's Will is essential to be saved, no Catholic doubts.

Hebrews 5 : [8] And whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered: [9] And being consummated, he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation. [10] Called by God a high priest according to the order of Melchisedech.

Yielding to His and His Father's Will according to verse 10 also implies that one acknowledge He is priest, i e sacrificer, "according to the order of Melchisedec" - who sacrificed as "bringing forth bread and wine". So, one must acknowledge that Holy Mass is not just a true memorial of His death, but also therein a true sacrifice.

This was prophecied of old - without this aspect of Catholicism, the prophecy of King David would remain unfulfilled:

Psalm 109 : [4] The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.

So, yes, we do agree that yielding (i e definitely, not just temporarily and then giving it finally up to sin or unbelief instead) to His Will is indeed necessary to Salvation and doing so adequately (whatever that involves - including acceptance of Holy Mass as a sacrifice for instance) is also sufficient for it. But what about getting to Heaven DIRECTLY after death if this condition is fulfilled?

Gospel According to Saint Luke : Chapter 23 [39] And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. [40] But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation?

[41] And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. [42] And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. [43] And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

Yes, the robber Dismas was received directly, not into Heaven, but into the Bosom of Abraham which became Paradise when Our Lord's Soul entered it. He came to Heaven along with the others of the Limbo of the Fathers a bit later, but Paradise was given the same day. Here is the Challoner comment:

[43] In paradise: That is, in the happy state of rest, joy, and peace everlasting. Christ was pleased, by a special privilege, to reward the faith and confession of the penitent thief, with a full discharge of all his sins, both as to the guilt and punishment; and to introduce him immediately after death into the happy society of the saints, whose limbo, that is, the place of their confinement, was now made a paradise by our Lord's going thither.

In other words, true, the robber whom we usually call Dismas was not in Purgatory between earthly life and Paradise, but that doesn't mean Purgatory doesn't exist.

Now, there are two other passages supposedly about every saved person going directly to Heaven when dying:

Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Philippians : Chapter 1 : [23] But I am straitened between two: having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better.

Second Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Corinthians : Chapter 5 : [5] Now he that maketh us for this very thing, is God, who hath given us the pledge of the Spirit. [6] Therefore having always confidence, knowing that, while we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord. [7] (For we walk by faith, and not by sight.) [8] But we are confident, and have a good will to be absent rather from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

I think, for one thing, both these passages of St Paul - at least the verses cited by "got questions?" - would still have been true if St Paul was not sure if he would go through Purgatory or go directly to Heaven.

But in one of the verses not cited, II Cor 5:5, we get a little key to why St Paul seems to have an assurance of getting to Heaven once he dies. Now he that maketh us for this very thing, is God, who hath given us the pledge of the Spirit. God had revealed to him and to the other ones in that "tabernacle" (verse 4, another indication Holy Mass is a sacrifice, since the place where St Paul and his disciples offered it was compared to the tabernacle where sacrifice was offered up between the time of Moses and that of King Solomon) that they would go to Heaven when they died.

Not that every Christian would, but that they would. They had that pledge of the spirit. And they examplify good Christians - it is a dogm of the Council of Trent that no one even a practising Catholic can know without special revelation that he will be saved, but they could very well know that they would not just be saved but also at least in the case of St Paul not go through Purgatory, since they could have such a special revelation.

When we Catholics speak of SAINT Paul or of SAINT Dismas, this means we have special assurance of their persistance and that the Church recognises they went directly to Heaven, without passing through purgatory. Meaning if St Paul had such a revelation it does not on the least contradict his title as given by Catholics of "saint".

As to the claim of the above cited site that even Catholic authorities "admit it is not in the 66 books of the Bible but the Apocrypha" we find support for praying for the dead, first it is not true that we regard the Bible as having only 66 books or the II Book of Maccabees as belonging to Apocrypha. Second it is not the only place, there was also Onesiphorus. As mentioned earlier on this blog.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Thomas of Villanova, Bishop
St Maurice and the Theban Legion, Martyrs

söndag 7 september 2014

Saint Thomas Aquinas was Not an Atheist

1) Great Bishop of Geneva! : Saint Thomas Aquinas was Not an Atheist ; 2) Creation vs. Evolution : CMI Cites Bible Text Supporting St Thomas over St Bonaventure

Some people have found in Saint Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae words like "it would seem there is no God, for if of two opposites one is infinite, the other is null, but God per definition is infinite good, however, there is evil, so there is no infinite good, there is no God" or some paraphrase of Occam's Razor (before Occam even lived) used against existence of God as superfluous in explaining things.

If the complaint is simply about a Christian stating the case for Atheism, for whatever purpose he may do it, I cannot defend him by saying the words are not there. They are. But if it is meant as proving he was himself an Atheist, that is quote mining. Today Lita Cosner had to answer a question about quote mining. Here is part of her answer:

It would be like an atheist quoting the Bible as affirming their belief in atheism, because 15 places in the Bible say “There is no God”. Of course, the Christian would point out that they are in contexts like, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you” (1 Kings 8:23) or “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 53:1). The surrounding words completely change the meaning, so it is dishonest to quote only the words that say what you want it to say.

Well, in Saint Thomas Aquinas too the surrounding words change the meaning. Before the two statements quoted he has asked something like "article three, whether there is a God" (in article two he had dealt with whether existence of God could be proven, answering yes, and that against those saying it could not be proven because self evident, and you cannot actually prove grass is green, because that is a primary fact used to prove other things, same with God existing). So the immediately preceding words might imply Saint Thomas was referring to some kind of debatable question. And the following words completely destroy the proposition "there is no God". First there is a Bible quote (Exodus 3:14 - not overlookable to π fans since the day when a Catholic bishop divided the Bible chapters into verses on a hunt), then he gets to a rational proof of God's existence. The first three parts could eventually mean there were some kind of impersonal unmoved mover, uncaused cause, necessary existence giving its existence to non-necessary items - modern Atheists would of course say that atoms are necessarily and eternally existent and the things we see are accidental configurations thereof - and this side was when he wrote not as easily and readily explainable in an Atheists sense, and that will on top of this also be further destroyed when he analyses "unmoved mover" in questions like whether God is a body or material or composed or multiple (with no, no, no, no answers all the way), but there are two more items even in this question that directly point to God being personal. Ordering wisdom - and most noble of nobles, in a clear hierarchy of values of the valuable existent things. Ordering wisdom as well as unmoved mover type of omnipotence is of course the approaches we use now against Atheism - as Geocentrics and as Creationists. A Universe where Venus and Mars are dancing around the Sun which is dancing around the Earth and all this within an aether turning westward around the Earth each day is too complex a thing to be set up by chance. Tychonic cosmology makes this even clearer than the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic one which Saint Thomas in his time had access to. Echosystems, the contribution of the Heavens to keep them alive on Earth, the cell, all of these defy atheistic explanations.

Then, after all the discussion which I have paraphrased for modern readers rather than quoted, converging to the conclusions that unmoved mover, uncaused cause, necessary self-existent existence, most noble of nobles and most wise ordainer of the order of Creation by everyone (back then) is (was at least) called God, Saint Thomas answers the two cases of atheism:

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): "Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil." This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

Reply to Objection 2. Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.

Now, to CMI (as I know from Jonathan Sarfati quyoting Saint thomas) it is no big news he was no atheist. But some people, both Protestant and perhaps even among the Orthodox, will still resort to accusing Saint Thomas of Atheism on account of some quote mining done by some anti-Catholic Anglican Divine of the 18th or 19th Century (unless it goes even further back).

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Sunday and Vigil of
the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

CMI : Feedback archive → Feedback 2014
‘What if Jesus tells you you’re wrong?’ (named after first letter, I was quoting answer to the second one)
Published: 7 September 2014 (GMT+10)

Newadvent/Summa : First Part : Question 2. The existence of God : Article 3 Does God exist? (down to ad 1, ad 2)

fredag 5 september 2014

Sylvain Romerowski admits Mosaic authorship of Pentateuch, disputes four senses and Baruch. Part I, Chuck Missler versus Reformers

I wrote an ironic theory about Apollonius Rhodus writing Iliad and Odyssey, as a parallel to the widely accepted idiocy that Ezra wrote the Pentateuch.

As the matter is sacred, even at the risk of spoiling a joke, I have to give serious credit to a scholar who credits Moses with the Pentateuch. Irony off here.

My credit will put his good achievement in the middle, surrounded by first a misunderstanding on his part, second (or third, after the credit) a criticism on his take on the sometimes so called « Apocryphs of the Old Testament » or sometimes rather Deuterocanonic Books. His name is Sylvain Romerowski, his book is called « D’où vient la Bible ? » and his problems which around the credit I will try to correct are connected with the fact he is a Protestant. When I first read his argument in favour of Mosaic authorship and then starting his discussion about deuterocanonic books, I first thought he was a Modernist Catholic. No such luck for them, he was a Protestant.

Part I, Divergent or Convergent Meanings ?
or Chuck Missler versus Reformers

Now for the correction, after discussing the canon he also gives some hints on how to interpret the Bible. One thing he rejects is the four senses, although he shows they have quite a patristic pedigree. His one argument against them is that a well written text to a reader reading it correctly cannot have divergent senses. There is one correct way of reading it.

He makes this point as against one Stanley FISH, « Is There a Text in this Class ? », Harvard University Press 1990. If it were impossible for readers with widely divergent backgrounds to read Stanley as he intended to be read, rather than in senses diverging from it, he would hardly have written the book at all.

Here I must give a credit to Stanley Fish on the issue there are interpretative communities. In Latin, in Hebrew (I presume) and in Modern Languages, there are three different standard ways of communicating a quote. Let’s take a famous one from Caesar.

On this occasion he said « veni, vidi, vici » / On this occasion he said « I came, I saw, I conquered. »

This is the modern procedure. The words are exactly the ones said (or an exact translation in case it was said in a different language), the quote is marked with quotation marks at the beginning and the end.

Homer has a similar procedure. I will not try to equal him in Homeric Greek, but will just give a fair prose translation :

Caesar, when the fair memories hastened to remind his thoughts of a battle, unleashed his tongue from the fetters of the teeth and said I came I saw I conquered, and having said these winged words awaited the worthy appraisal.

He gives a start which goes « unleashed his tongue from the fetters of the teeth and said » as his equivalent of first quotation mark, and he gives in lieu of ending quotation mark « and having said these winged words » plus some words about what he did next.

Holy Bible at least in Greek has a similar approach, « Jesus said » and then the words He said. If I recall OT passages correctly, the not-need of ending quotation marks usually depends on the words after the quote showing who answered or what happened after the dialogue.

Latin – the language of Caesar – has what is called « oratio obliqua ».

« Veni, vidi, vici » becomes « Caesar dixit se venisse, vidisse, vicisse. » Or for that matter, « Caesar dixit se, postquam et venisset et statim vidissed, mox vicisse. » Se is in accusative. The finite verb forms are changed to infinitive (Latin has both present, future and past such). But this is not so in subordinate clauses.

Now, there is a place, not in Holy Bible but in an encyclical of Pius XII where this has been missed.

Quemadmodum autem in biologicis et anthropologicis disciplinis, ita etiam in historicis sunt qui limites et cautelas ab Ecclesia statuta audacter transgrediantur. Ac peculiari modo deploranda est quaedam nimio liberior libros historicos Veteris Testamenti interpretandi ratio, cuius fautores Epistulam haud ita multo ante a Pontificio Consilio de re biblica Archiepiscopo Parisiensi datam ad suam defendendam causam immerito referunt. Haec enim Epistula aperte monet undecim priora capita Geneseos, quamvis cum historicae compositionis rationibus proprie non conveniant, quibus eximii rerum gestarum scriptores graeci et latini, vel nostrae aetatis periti usi fuerint,nihilominus quodam vero sensu, exegetis amplius investigando ac determinando, ad genus historiae pertinere;eademque capita, oratione simplici ac figurata mentique populi parum exculti accommodata, tum praecipuas veritates referre, quibus aeterna nostra procuranda salus innititur,tum etiam popularem descriptionem originis generis humani populique electi . Si quid autem hagiographi antiqui ex narrationibus popularibus hauserint (quod quidem concedi potest), numquam obliviscendum est eos ita egisse divinae inspirationis afflatu adiutos, quo in seligendis ac diiudicandis documentis illis ab omni errore immunes praemuniebantur. Quae autem ex popularibus narrationibus in Sacris Litteris recepta sunt, ea cum mythologiis aliisve id genus minime ae quanda sunt, quae magis ex effusa imaginatione procedunt quam ex illo veritatis ac simplicitatis studio, quod in Sacris Libris Veteris etiam Testamenti adeo elucet ut hagiographi nostri antiquos profanos scriptores aperte praecellere dicendi sint.

Have you noted « Haec enim Epistula aperte monet » followed by accusative « undecim priora capita Geneseos, » followed, after some subordinate clauses (which the type of inderect speech does not change to accusative with infinitive), by the words leading up to an infinitive « nihilominus quodam vero sensu, exegetis amplius investigando ac determinando, ad genus historiae pertinere ». Likewise «  eademque capita » (the same chapters, accusative) « tum praecipuas veritates referre » (infinitive) « tum etiam popularem descriptionem originis generis humani populique electi ».

All this is then the words of the Pontifical Biblical Commission to the Archbishop of Paris. Here comes the thing : the Pope just had introduced this by saying these words had been abused to an all to free exegesis of historical sense. He now comes with his own words, not referring the following accusative with infinitive (which is not reserved for indirect speech !) to the answer to Paris, but to the new heading, said on his own account « numquam obliviscendum est » (it must never be forgotten) … I will spare you the grammatical analysis, but the translation of a EWTN has as finale of the paragraph : « If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations (and this may be conceded), it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents. »

So the Pope is conceding part of what he just cited and reminding of inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. You can of course see that unfamiliarity with the accusative and infinitive may have given rise to misunderstandings going the way of liberal theology, when taking certain things as said on the Pope’s own account.

But when this has been said, such discrepancies of interpretative praxis are on a level which can easily be learned and therefore be guarded against misunderstandings.

Therefore, I must agree with Sylvain against Stanley that in the end, any work made accessible to any public (excepting perhaps people living in very rude conditions and unknowledgeable of culture, and even here God can have adapted their understanding to His word) can and should be read with all of the originally intended sense intact.

Now, the problem with Sylvain’s position is that there are other works than the Bible that have more than one convergent sense.

The today most famous allegories are perhaps Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and Animal Farm by George Orwell. They do have the sense – as tall and entertaining stories – of the words written on the page. They very obviously also have another sense altogether. But not a divergent one, rather a convergent one on another level. It is on this other level that the works are if not true in every detail at least intended to be so. The Pig Napoleon has never existed on any farm, except in the fantasy of George Orwell, but Stalin has very definitely existed at the same time when George Orwell wrote. The City of Destruction has never had physical city walls, even Babylon is not quiet the same thing, but the state of mortal sin does exist and does require leaving it before it is too late.

This is allegory verses history, and in these works only allegory is true, whereas history as such is false. Made up. A fable.

Now, this procedure was also current in ancient times. At least it had been current to reinterpret Homer allegorically, when his statements about the gods made no sense to the philosophical spirit of the readers in Alexandria. It can be argued that Apollonius Rhodus was so familiar with this procedure that he used it backwards and adapted his fable to allegorical interpretations in advance (let us not go into which ones!) So, this procedure was already familiar to Hellenistic Jews at least in the time of the New Testament. And it was on more than one occasion used to interpret the Old Testament by New Testament writers.

Not quite for the same motive as people disenchanted with Homeric pagan theology still refused to give up Homer as an author. No, but because just as a human author can adapt a fable to an allegoric purpose, so God who is almighty over real history and wiser than any human author can do so with real history for an allegory of real prophecy.

One had not yet come to writing full scale allegories, I think, like Pilgrim's Progress or Animal Farm. Not before Psychomachia by Prudentius I think (I consulted CSL's The Allegory of Love, and it has one chapter about allegory and one about courteous love before getting into definite portions of the main subject, where they are intertwined). But one had definitely come to interpreting long works as, though united in a story, having in each or at least more than one location an allegorical meaning. And this is what the theory of the four senses, at least as far as the allegoric sense is concerned.

Therefore the senses are not divergent but rather convergent on different levels. One of them, the moral sense, is actually not unknown to Protestants. As a child within the Protestant communities, I heard some preach over the courage of Daniel or the coping of Ruth and their confidence in God really being applicable to us, a model for us.

One major difference would be that in four senses reading, the moral sense might be an allegorical one (as when Origen gives a moral sense for Joshua's routing of armies under the Solar Miracle : so we must fight our sins and rout our vices under the Sun of Justice who is Christ, similar for the Psalm 137), whereas to deniers of the allegoric sense, the moral sense would often enough be simply parallel in a literal sense. Puritan readings of Joshua have encouraged them to bad treatment of both Irish and Red Indians.

There are other issues, where later-than-the-Reformers Protestants would agree, there are more than the Literal senses to the Bible. Have you heard Chuck Missler recite Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan*, Mahalalel*, Jared, Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah and then give the translations? Man (is) Appointed Mortal Sorrow (but) The-Blessed-God Will-Descend**, Teaching (that) His-Death-Shall-Bring (to?) the Despairing Rest. I would of course agree to it, except Henoch is not just "teaching" but "initiating", and Christ (who is the Blessed God who after this prophecy really did Descend) not just taught this, but initiated this blessing by the First Holy Mass on Maundy Thursday.

So where did Reformers rejecting the Four Senses get the curious idea that the other than literal senses were divergent senses?

The fact is, much of Catholic or Orthodox, much of Monophysite and I suppose also Nestorian statements about the Blessed Virgin Mary are really Biblical if you take certain Old Testament passages as Allegoric prophecies about Her.

The first OT statement about the Blessed Virgin is in Genesis 3. "I will put enmities between the woman and thyself, between her seed and thy seed". Sinning means being a slave of the old serpent. Enmity is incompatible with slavery, since slavery is a kind of peace. Therefore, God putting enmities between the old serpent and the woman means there must be one woman who is sinless. That one sinless woman is not Eve, obviously, she just came from sinning. Of course Eve also became an enemy of the serpent by doing penance. But the Blessed Virgin Mary fully fulfilled this part, just as there is enmity between Christ (the woman's seed) and Antichrist (the serpents' seed, see Apocalypse 19), there is enmity between her and Satan.

Now, such statements, and others meaning we do right to confide in her mediation (an allegoric reading of Esther, for instance), are in themselves not at variance with any literal statement in all of the Old or New Testament.

But they are at variance with a misreading of some such, namely for instance when Jeremiah condemns the idolatry of "the queen of heaven", meaning not the Jewish Queen-Mother of the Heavenly Jerusalem which we honour in Mary, but rather the false "queen" of "heaven", Ishtar. Refomers very sadly thought this word, to be taken literally, would also forbid honouring the Blessed Virgin as the Queen of Heaven, and therefore they came up with this cock-and-bull argument or pilpul against, on one hand what Protestants have called Mariolatry and on the other hand the very known connexion of this to the Allegoric Sense and therefore the Allegoric Sense as such, also.

Let this suffice against Sylvain Romerowski's attack on the Four Senses, which is in the Interpreting the Bible chapters.

Hans Georg Lundahl
UL of Nanterre
San Lorenzo Giustiniani
First Patriarch of Venice***

* Kenan is often spelled Cainan in Catholic Bibles. Probably because the Hebrew sound of èè no longer corresponded to the Greek letter η but instead was the new pronunciation of the earlier diphthong αι - as if a transliteration into Irish English had written it Keanan or as if a transliteration into other modern English had written it Kaynan (Tea/Tay, remember!). Mahalal-El is respelled Malaleel, with a vowel collide representing the h, but this displaced in relation to the Ls. ** Chuck Missler did not use the one verb "descend" but the verb and particle "come down". They mean the same thing and the Hebrew has in Jared no separate particle meaning "down" but rather a Perfect (or Prophetic Future) third person singular masculine (if I looked with sufficient correctitude at my mother's Hebrew studies) of a verb which has down in its stem meaning - a but like descend, though in Latin "de" actually means "down from", "down off" later only "from", "off". *** That is, first bishop of Venice to actually have been elevated into a Patriarch. He was canonised by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690 and himself lived on earth to January 8 1456. The date is when he was forced to become Patriarch, he did not want the post.