Monday, April 26, 2021

Whose Heel Is It Anyway?


To My Readers: For the first time since COVID, I'm away on business. Thankfully, my wonderful guest poster, A Simple Man, is filling in with one of his always enjoyable, educational, and edifying posts! I will respond to all comments when I have a few moments, but it may take me a little longer than normal this week.  A Simple Man will also respond as he always does, so please be patient with me! I will be back with my next post in the "When Strangers Come Knocking" series on May 3, 2021--the month dedicated to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

God bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

Whose Heel Is It Anyway?
By A Simple Man

Of the many Scriptural passages ascribed by the Catholic Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her capacity as the Mother of Our Lord, few are more memorable than the passage from Genesis 3:14-15, wherein God – in an act of His Divine Omniscience – proclaims what will happen to the Devil because of his role in the Fall of Man: “And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Douay-Rheims, retrieved on March 9, 2021 from

However, if one were to investigate other translations (Protestant or otherwise), they would show a certain change of emphasis for Genesis 3:15 (bold is emphasis mine; all subsequent citations were retrieved on March 9, 2021 from

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (New International Version)

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” (New American Bible, Revised Edition)

I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (King James Version)

[:] and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (American Standard Version)

I will put contempt between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. They will strike your head, but you will strike at their heels.” (Common English Bible)

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (English Standard Version)

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Revised Standard Version)

I shall set enmities betwixt thee and the woman, and betwixt thy seed and her seed; she shall break thine head, and thou shalt set ambushes to her heel.” (Wycliffe Bible)

This naturally leads to a sensible question: whose heel is God talking about? Whose heel shall crush the head of the serpent?

First, some background. Per the old Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry on the Blessed Virgin Mary, we have the following citation (bracketed footnotes have been redacted): 

The Old Testament refers to Our Blessed Lady both in its prophecies and its types or figures.

Genesis 3:15 

The first prophecy referring to Mary is found in the very opening chapters of the Book of Genesis (3:15): "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." This rendering appears to differ in two respects from the original Hebrew text:

(1) First, the Hebrew text employs the same verb for the two renderings "she shall crush" and "thou shalt lie in wait"; the Septuagint renders the verb both times by terein, to lie in wait; Aquila, Symmachus, the Syriac and the Samaritan translators, interpret the Hebrew verb by expressions which mean to crush, to bruise; the Itala renders the terein employed in the Septuagint by the Latin "servare", to guard; St. Jerome maintains that the Hebrew verb has the meaning of "crushing" or "bruising" rather than of "lying in wait", "guarding". Still in his own work, which became the Latin Vulgate, the saint employs the verb "to crush" (conterere) in the first place, and "to lie in wait" (insidiari) in the second. Hence the punishment inflicted on the serpent and the serpent's retaliation are expressed by the same verb: but the wound of the serpent is mortal, since it affects his head, while the wound inflicted by the serpent is not mortal, being inflicted on the heel.

(2) The second point of difference between the Hebrew text and our version concerns the agent who is to inflict the mortal wound on the serpent: our version agrees with the present Vulgate text in reading "she" (ipsa) which refers to the woman, while the Hebrew text reads hu' (autos, ipse) which refers to the seed of the woman. According to our version, and the Vulgate reading, the woman herself will win the victory; according to the Hebrew text, she will be victorious through her seed. In this sense does the Bull "Ineffabilis" ascribe the victory to Our Blessed Lady. The reading "she" (ipsa) is neither an intentional corruption of the original text, nor is it an accidental error; it is rather an explanatory version expressing explicitly the fact of Our Lady's part in the victory over the serpent, which is contained implicitly in the Hebrew original. The strength of the Christian tradition as to Mary's share in this victory may be inferred from the retention of "she" in St. Jerome's version in spite of his acquaintance with the original text and with the reading "he" (ipse) in the old Latin version.

As it is quite commonly admitted that the Divine judgment is directed not so much against the serpent as against the originator of sin, the seed of the serpent denotes the followers of the serpent, the "brood of vipers", the "generation of vipers", those whose father is the Devil, the children of evil, imitando, non nascendo (Augustine). One may be tempted to understand the seed of the woman in a similar collective sense, embracing all who are born of God. But seed not only may denote a particular person, but has such a meaning usually, if the context allows it. St. Paul (Galatians 3:16) gives this explanation of the word "seed" as it occurs in the patriarchal promises: "To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not, and to his seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to his seed, which is Christ". Finally the expression "the woman" in the clause "I will put enmities between thee and the woman" is a literal version of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew Grammar of Gesenius-Kautzsch establishes the rule: Peculiar to the Hebrew is the use of the article in order to indicate a person or thing, not yet known and not yet to be more clearly described, either as present or as to be taken into account under the contextual conditions. Since our indefinite article serves this purpose, we may translate: "I will put enmities between you and a woman". Hence the prophecy promises a woman, Our Blessed Lady, who will be the enemy of the serpent to a marked degree; besides, the same woman will be victorious over the Devil, at least through her offspring. The completeness of the victory is emphasized by the contextual phrase "earth shall thou eat", which is according to Winckler a common old-oriental expression denoting the deepest humiliation. 

However, no less an authority than St. Irenaeus of Lyons utilizes the masculine verbiage in his famous book Against Heresies; in two particular sections, this Early Church Father writes as follows (English translation and punctuation is as cited from New Advent; bold is emphasis mine):

The Lord, indeed, sowed good seed in His own field; and He says, "The field is the world. " But while men slept, the enemy came, and "sowed tares in the midst of the wheat, and went his way." Matthew 13:28 Hence we learn that this was the apostate angel and the enemy, because he was envious of God's workmanship, and took in hand to render this [workmanship] an enmity with God. For this cause also God has banished from His presence him who did of his own accord stealthily sow the tares, that is, him who brought about the transgression; but He took compassion upon man, who, through want of care no doubt, but still wickedly [on the part of another], became involved in disobedience; and He turned the enmity by which [the devil] had designed to make [man] the enemy of God, against the author of it, by removing His own anger from man, turning it in another direction, and sending it instead upon the serpent. As also the Scripture tells us that God said to the serpent, "And I will place enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15 And the Lord summed up in Himself this enmity, when He was made man from a woman, and trod upon his [the serpent's] head, as I have pointed out in the preceding book.” —(Paragraph 3, Chapter 40, Book IV)

[Christ] has therefore, in His work of recapitulation, summed up all things, both waging war against our enemy, and crushing him who had at the beginning led us away captives in Adam, and trampled upon his head, as you can perceive in Genesis that God said to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall be on the watch for (observabit ) your head, and you on the watch for His heel." Genesis 3:15 For from that time, He who should be born of a woman, [namely] from the Virgin, after the likeness of Adam, was preached as keeping watch for the head of the serpent. This is the seed of which the apostle says in the Epistle to the Galatians, "that the law of works was established until the seed should come to whom the promise was made." Galatians 3:19 This fact is exhibited in a still clearer light in the same Epistle, where he thus speaks: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman." Galatians 4:4 For indeed the enemy would not have been fairly vanquished, unless it had been a man [born] of a woman who conquered him. For it was by means of a woman that he got the advantage over man at first, setting himself up as man's opponent. And therefore does the Lord profess Himself to be the Son of man, comprising in Himself that original man out of whom the woman was fashioned (ex quo ea quæ secundum mulierem est plasmatio facta est), in order that, as our species went down to death through a vanquished man, so we may ascend to life again through a victorious one; and as through a man death received the palm [of victory] against us, so again by a man we may receive the palm against death.” —(Paragraph 1, Chapter 21, Book V)

Does this imply a true discrepancy exists between the Patristic Tradition and later biblical exegesis? By no means.

It is to our great fortune that a great deal of legwork has been done already.

Richard F. Quigley was a Catholic layman, a Knight of Columbus, and Canadian barrister-at-law (with an LL. B. [i.e. a Bachelor of Legal Letters, an undergraduate law degree still in use in common law jurisdictions worldwide, though it has largely been phased out of the USA in favor of the J.D. degree] from Harvard and Boston Universities; a Doctor of Philosophy degree from “Leo XIII” [which is how his alma mater is referred to in the materials I’ve been able to find. Given the status of pontifical schools in North America in the late 19th century, this probably refers to either the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH, to the College of Ottawa {now known as Saint Paul University} in Canada, or to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., as all three received their charters during the pontificate of Leo XIII. However, I am open to correction on this matter]; and a D.Lit [i.e. a Doctor of Letters] from Laval University) who had attended a lecture (in late 1887) on the subject of copyist errors and misprints in historical documents by the Anglican bishop Hollingworth Tully Kingdon, of Fredericton, New Brunswick. When the lecture was reported on in the November 23, 1887 edition of the St. John Globe (a local Canadian newspaper that ran from 1866 – 1927 before merging with another paper, and still continues today as the Saint John Times Globe), Mr. Quigley – before he had received either of his doctorate degrees – submitted a Letter to the Editor regarding their report, criticizing Dr. Kingdon’s historical errors and his misapprehension of Catholic dogma regarding the Immaculate Conception.

What ensued from that was a series of back-and-forth letters, largely between R.F. Quigley and an Anglican priest by the name of John M. Davenport. These letters, and the arguments assembled by Mr. Quigley, were eventually compiled and published in 1890 by Fr. Pustet & Company as IPSE, IPSA: Ipse, Ipsa, Ipsum: Which? (The Latin Various Readings, Genesis iii. 15.). Controversial Letters in answer to the above question, and in Vindication of the Position assigned by the Catholic Church to the Ever-Blessed Mother of the World’s Redeemer in the Divine Economy of Man’s Salvation, IN REPLY TO the Right Reverend Dr. Kingdon, Coadjutor (Anglican) Bishop of Fredericton, New Brunswick, and “John M. Davenport, Priest of the Mission Church,” Ritualist Minister, St. John, New Brunswick. (Quite the mouthful!)

However, so thorough and comprehensive was R.F. Quigley’s treatment that a second edition was published in 1892 under the new title Mary, the Mother of Christ in Prophecy and its Fulfilment, with a third edition being published in 1907 [ASM’s note: I’ve been unsuccessful in finding an online copy of the third edition (I should have a physical copy by the end of March 2021), but the first edition and second edition have online scans available in the public domain]. This work did not escape the eyes of the various Catholic journals in America, who spoke of the book in rather glowing terms: 

BOOK REVIEW. IPSE, IPSA: IPSE, IPSA, IPSUM: WHICH? By Richard F. Quigley, LL. B., (Harvard and Boston Universities), Barrister at Law, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.

This is a remarkable book. Remarkable as a specimen of uncompromising polemics, but more remarkable as a most lucid exposition of a well-known subject of theological controversy in which its author displays an astonishing amount of erudition in view of the fact that he is not an ecclesiastic, but a lawyer.

The book is composed, chiefly, of letters to the St. John Globe by Mr. Quigley and the Rev. John M. Davenport, a Ritualistic minister of that city. These letters were occasioned by “a lecture on ‘Misprints,’ delivered by the Right Reverend Dr. Kingdon, Coadjutor Bishop of Fredericton, New Brunswick.” That is to say the Protestant Bishop of St. John.

…Whoever reads the volume—and we are sure that few can read it without adding materially to their knowledge—will, doubtless, be impressed with the severity of language which Mr. Quigley applies to his opponent, and it may be that some will regret it. But this must be said in justice to Mr. Quigley. He is answering a man who calls himself a “Catholic priest,” and who uses the most outrageously insulting and disrespectful language of her who is to every true Catholic the first of all created beings.

Again, as Mr. Quigley so well says—“there is one obligation of honesty and decorum imposed on a Catholic and quite another on a Protestant.”

But, after all, all that is personal in the book is only accidental, and about its substance nothing can be said that is not in praise.

As an answer to Protestant objections to “extravagant language” about our Lady, it is complete. As a vindication of the belief in the Immaculate Conception, it is exhaustive.

Mr. Quigley’s style is, always, clear and cogent, and often he is eloquent. Space forbids much indulgence in detail here, but there are a few lines so beautiful, and so full of meaning that we can not forego to quote them. They occur at the bottom of p. 261 and are “I am, of course, aware that there are several of the ordinary, ridiculous objections to what I have just said, but they vanish if only looked at. It may, for instance, be said that a person loves the Blessed Mary too much if he loves her more than he loves God. Not at all. He sins very grievously, but not from his excess of love for her (he cannot possibly love her enough), but from his want of love for God. Or it may be said that a person who feels sure that the Mother of God will obtain from her Son the pardon of his sins, however careless he may be of his own salvation, has too much confidence in her intercession. By no means; he is guilty of the sin of presumption, precisely in the same way as if he hoped that God Himself would pardon him whether he repented or not. No one would, in the latter case, say that he had too much confidence in God’s power—which would mean that God’s power was less than he estimated it.”

It is with extreme reluctance that we abstain from indicating more in detail the many evidences that the book presents of Mr. Quigley’s knowledge of this sublime subject, and of the scholarly treatment that it receives at his hands.

To give it what it merits is to read it from beginning to end…

(Source: Fr. Pustet & Co., New York & Cincinnati. (1891) The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. V. pp. 231-233. Italics in original. Retrieved March 9, 2021 from Google Books)

[ASM’s note: all subsequent reviews cited are of the third edition, published in 1907.]

Mary the Mother of Christ.” […] This valuable work is make [recte made] up of controversial letters vindicating the position assigned by the Catholic Church to the Ever-Blessed Mother of the world’s Redeemer in the divine economy of man’s salvation…[The original letter to St. John’s Globe] gives rise to an interesting correspondence of about 500 pages wherein Dr. Quigley tears to tatters the weak arguments of his opponents…The reader, we feel sure, will get from these letters a full and complete idea of the whole controversy. Catholics and fair-minded Protestants will find this volume most helpful and instructive. (Source: (May 1907) The Sacred Heart Review, Vol. 37, Number 20. Retrieved on March 9, 2021 from Boston College Libraries.)

Mary, the Mother of Christ, in Prophecy and Its Fulfilment. […] This is the third edition of a work that appeared originally under the title, “Ipse, Ipsa: Ipse, Ipsa, Ipsum: Which?” The author has rightly changed it to its present form, which better expresses the scope of the work and is not so puzzling to the layman…The present edition contains an excellent review of the work from the pen of an Anglican scholar, who shows that Mr. Quigley proved the error of the Protestant Bishop Kingdon’s statement that the substitution of ipsa for ipse in Gen. III, 15, was “the foundation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.” Though one may regret the vigorous language used here and there by its disputants, the book is full of useful matter that has not lost its timeliness, both on the main subject and on the incidental questions that arose. We call attention especially to the reprint in Appendix B of Bishop Strossmayer’s letter denouncing the calumnies circulated about his conduct at the Vatican Council, and in Appendix C of Dr. Lee’s crushing letter on Littledale’s “Plain Reasons,” a book that is still used by Protestants to deter people from entering the Church of God. (Source: Fordham University. (1907) The Messenger, Vol. 48. p. 104. Italics in original. Retrieved on March 9, 2021 from Google Books.)

MARY, THE MOTHER OF CHRIST. In Prophecy and Fulfillment. […] It is surely a sign of permanent value when a work so expensive as the one before us, and which was originally the result of a controversy, appears in a new and revised edition after twenty years; and the sign is not misleading. It was indeed a matter of surprise that a layman and lawyer should champion the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God against an Anglican Bishop. And the wonder grew as the controversy went on, far beyond the expectations of the contending parties, no doubt, until the case was complete, with a mass of evidence marshaled in true legal style by the barrister, on which every fair-minded judge has given him the verdict. If it could be done, it might be well some time in the future to condense the book into briefer form. Perhaps it is not possible. All controversies are more or less vocal, more or less personal and generally rather verbose. If the history of the controversy could be reduced to brief form, and the arguments thrown into concise shape, we should have a really valuable book on the subject under discussion, and one that would be much more extensively and profitably used. This is not said to disparage in any degree the work before us, but rather to enhance its value… (Source: Hardy & Mahony, Philadelphia. (1908) The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. XXXIII. pp. 173-174. Retrieved on March 9, 2021 from Google Books.)

MARY THE MOTHER OF CHRIST in Prophecy and Its Fulfilment. […] Readers of twenty years ago may remember that a certain book under the title Ipse, Ispa [sic]; Ipse, Ipsa, Ipsum: Which? made considerable stir in controversial circles, inasmuch as it took to task a rather prominent Protestant divine who had attacked the Catholic position on Our Blessed Lady’s Immaculate Conception. The attack had made pretensions to be based on critical Scriptural grounds, and the answer of the clever Canadian lawyer who felt called upon to vindicate not only Catholic dogma but Catholic scholarship as well, came with a peculiarly incisive emphasis. It was welcomed on all sides by those who were free from bias on the subject. The volume before us is a new edition, enlarged, of the same work. It is written in the form of a rejoinder, is in the main controversial, and splendidly illustrates the Catholic and Scriptural doctrine on the prerogatives of the Virgin Mother of Christ. The work was reviewed in these pages at the time of its first appearance. (Source: The Dolphin Press, Philadelphia. (1907) The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. XXXVII. pp. 102-103. Italics in original. Retrieved on March 9, 2021 from Google Books.) 

In terms of approbation, R.F. Quigley’s work has plenty of praise. A cursory look at the review placed in the front pages of the second edition succinctly summarizes the extent of the ground tread by the dogged barrister (bold is emphasis mine): 

Now the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is not founded on [Genesis 3:15]. The doctrine is wholly independent of it. The indirect support which it gives to the doctrine appears in the first clause rather than in the last clause of the verse…Where “enmities” are placed between these two persons, it is plainly implied that neither shares in the essential characteristics of the other. But sin is the essential characteristic of Satan. Therefore sin is wholly absent from the Blessed Virgin. Even if this verse had never formed a part of the inspired volume, the doctrine would still have constituted from the beginning a part of the faith once delivered to the saints, although it has only been defined in an explicit form in modern times.

As Eve before the fall was clothed in a garment of righteousness, so the Blessed Virgin, by a special interposition of divine favor, was created in precisely the same sinless state by reason of the merits of Christ Jesus, the Saviour of the human race. The Evangelist, by quoting the statement of the Virgin, sets upon it the seal of truth: “All generations shall call me blessed, for He that is mighty hath magnified me.Is it possible to cite any similar inspired utterance relating to Eve? Can any Christian attribute to Eve, at any period of her life, a state of sinless purity which he denies to the mother of our Lord?

Having defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, it remains to consider whether the formidable indictment which the Coadjutor Bishop has drawn up against the Church is sustained by the arguments and authorities upon which his defender, the Rev. Mr. Davenport, relies. Mr. Quigley’s contention in answer to the indictment may be thus defined. He undertakes to prove the Church is not committed to one reading “Ipsa” She, but accepts as of equal authority the reading “Ipse” Christ, or “IpsumIt—the seed, which is Christ. He contends that there is no difference in meaning between these three readings. Now, if in manuscripts, Bibles, and commentaries without end, the reading is various—“he,” “she,” or “it”; if the acknowledged leaders of theological opinion, Protestant and Catholic, adopt all three; if the dogma of the Immaculate Conception does not rest upon any one of the three, but is consistent with them all, then the charge of the Bishop that the Church recognizes one reading only “Ipsa,” and builds the dogma on that reading alone upon the authority of corrupt manuscripts, must be held to be disproved, to state it mildly, at the bar of public opinion.

Can it be said after an attentive examination of the book that Mr. Quigley has made out his case? He declines…to confine the discussion to Latin manuscripts…Now the Hebrew text is the source. Upon turning to the reference made to Gen. iii. 15 by Maimonides, the greatest of all Jewish scholars, it will be seen that “Ipsa” “she” was the received reading among those who cannot be suspected of a leaning to any form of Christianity. The Hebrew Bible by Plantin, 1572, two editions of the Hebrew Bible at Venice, 1776, and several others have “Ipsa.” Arabic and Chaldaic authorities might be added. It would appear from the book before us that the Rev. Mr. Davenport made no attempt whatever to controvert these statements. The Hebrew manuscripts cast no light upon the reading “Ipsum,” for there is no neuter gender in the Hebrew language. The Greek and Latin manuscripts were necessarily copied from the Hebrew. Mr. Quigley proves not only from Catholic theologians of the highest eminence, but from Protestant Biblical critics, that the reading in the Greek manuscripts is various, “autos, aute, auto,”—“he, she, it.” The writers of these manuscripts must have considered that the Hebrew pronoun was capable of a neuter interpretation.

Cardinal Bellarmine, who himself was one of the Revisers of the Vulgate, says: “The Vulgate is various here, for some Codices have ‘Ipse,’ some ‘Ipsa’; and besides it is not contrary to the Vulgate should one be convinced that he ought to read ‘Ipse’ or ‘Ipsum.’” The gravamen of the Bishop’s charge was that while the word “Ipse” was in the manuscripts from which the Vulgate was copied, the Church had changed it to “Ipsa” in order to sustain a doctrine which was wholly devoid of truth. Why then challenge Mr. Quigley to prove that the Vulgate contains “Ipsum”? Mr. Quigley has proved his case when he cites other Bibles and manuscripts to prove that the Church accepts “Ipse” and “Ipsum” as of equal authority with “Ipsa,…The Virgin crushes the serpent’s head, as St. Bernard says,—“by her co-operation in the mystery of the Incarnation, and by rejecting, with horror, the very first suggestion of the enemy to commit even the smallest sin”; and, in the words of the Bull Ineffabilis,—“by that virtue with which she was endued from on high.”

Mr. Quigley may adopt by “accommodation” the language which Baronius applied to himself, “I have trodden the winepress alone.” Without the assistance of any learned friends, he has traversed the whole field of Catholic theology. He has examined the original authorities in all the great American libraries—the Astor, Lennox, Harvard, Boston, and that of Georgetown, Washington. He has added to his own extensive collection of books the great works on the subject from Europe. The readers of his work possess in it a golden key with which to unlock the treasures of Biblical and Patristic learning. He has shown that all Catholic doctrines bear the notes of the Vincentian Canon—Antiquity, Universality, Consent; that when heresy has arisen, the Church has suppressed it by defining what has been the faith from the beginning. The dogma always existed. Heresy has but drawn it out in an explicit form. Thus the Church is ever the same. The addition to the confession of the faith is not an addition to the faith itself. If the result of his efforts shall be to strengthen the faithful, and to comfort the doubtful, and to restore the erring, and to remove misconceptions from the minds of those who are without the fold of the Catholic Church, he will not have labored in vain.

(Source: Fr. Pustet & Co., New York and Cincinnati. (1892) Quigley, Richard F. Mary The Mother of Christ in Prophecy and its Fulfilment, pp. i-viii [pp. 7-14 of the PDF]. Italics in original. Retrieved on March 9, 2021 from

In conclusion, although the discrepancies in grammatical gender seem to be unsettling when first glancing at the various translations of Genesis 3:15, they need not be feared as such. As shown by the voluminous references compiled by R.F. Quigley, the Church’s doctrine on the Blessed Virgin is not so shaky as to be undone by such interpretive disagreements.

One could even say that the teaching of the Church is as strong and steadfast against falsehoods as the heel (whether it belongs to Our Lady or to her Divine Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the former has cooperated most excellently with the latter in His Salvific mission; truly, she is Co-Redemptrix, and He is Our Redeemer) is against the head of the serpent.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Going Through Improper Channels


In the dark days following the Great Apostasy ushered in by Robber Council Vatican II, there has been a neo-pagan resurgence such as the world has never before seen. I would argue it's more pervasive than before the time of Christ. There is a concomitant invasion of occult practices that have reached the average person. Without the moral guidance of the One True Church, many have incorporated these evil practices into their lives. The Vatican II sect praises pagan sects (See Nostra Aetate) and does nothing to warn against or combat these serious evils and errors. Indeed, the sect actually encourages such by praising the "elements of truth" allegedly within them according to their heretical ecclesiology.

One of the most prevalent evils is that of divination. Divination has existed in all cultures throughout history. Its basic idea involves foretelling the future or accessing occult information by various means. Traditionally, the person who practiced divination was regarded as having supernatural powers. Despite its frequent modern reformulation in psychological or parapsychological terms (e.g., receiving information from “the unconscious” or “higher” mind), historically, divination has always been an attempt to communicate with the supernatural or “divine” realm in order to secure information from the “gods.” Its fundamentally pagan and spiritistic nature has never changed, regardless of how “modern” its practices have become today. Called by different names such as "channeling" or "mediums," people contact the dead (formerly called necromancy) hoping to seek information about their deceased loved ones and "talk to them again," often receiving information about the future from them. Others use Tarot Cards, Ouija Boards, and Rune Stones (pictured at the top of this post) to foretell their future.

These practices even get invited into the home via television. John Edward, Theresa Caputo, and Tyler Henry are just some of the "mediums" that have appeared on American television claiming to "channel the dead."

The questions arise, "Why is it wrong to seek to talk to a loved one who passed and find closure"? "What's wrong with trying to find out what the future holds for me"? This post will answer those questions and give a critique of the specific divination practices used today.

The Future is for God to Know
The reason that divination and mediums are forbidden is quite simple: Almighty God forbids it and finds it detestable. Some people claiming to be "Christian" or "Catholic" will (similar to Satan in the desert with Christ) quote from Scripture to justify their divination practices. They reject and/or purposely misinterpret Church teaching and the Bible's clear prohibitions on such wickedness. In the Old Testament, there were times when God had to communicate His will for specific reasons, and He chose particular methods. Thus, in the Bible, certain exceptional methods were used to discover God’s specific will, such as the Urim and Thummim, dreams, through the Old Testament prophets, and casting lots (See Exodus 28:30; Acts 1:24-26). These methods are replaced by other means (See Hebrews 1:1-2). We now have everything we need to know via the Deposit of Revelation and the Magisterium.

 As Traditionalist Catholics, we are to trust in Christ's Church and in His sovereignty over future events, both in our own lives and in the final outcome of human affairs. For very good reasons, God has not and does not reveal our specific, individual futures. For example, no one likes pain, and if we knew the future, most of us would try to avoid unpleasant situations, suffering, and tragedy. These things may be God’s will for us, and we are avoiding what God has wisely deter­mined is best for us from the eternal perspective. People grow in their faith and in their ability to endure things. God’s Will that cannot be endured at one point in life, may be able to be endured or accepted at another. Likewise, contact with the dead is forbidden. God allows it in extraordinary cases (e.g., the soul of St. Maria Goretti appearing to her murderer in prison to effectuate his conversion), but it is not the norm to be performed by "special people" (i.e., "mediums" or "channelers"). 

The condemnation of divination comes to us from the passages of the Bible (as rightly interpreted by the Magisterium) and the Church of Her own authority. According to theologian Slater:

On Divination. We here suppose that the devil, a wicked spirit of great intelligence and power, but subject to God, exists and continually interferes in the affairs of men in order to ruin them. This truth belongs to the Catholic Faith and cannot be denied without sin. The sin of divination is committed when the devil is invoked expressly or tacitly in order to discover what is secret and hidden. There is express invocation of the devil when his aid is expressly implored. The devil is tacitly invoked when altogether inadequate means are used to find out what is occult [hidden], means which are not sufficient for the purpose naturally, and which have not been ordained by God for that purpose. The devil is eager to be appealed to in order the more easily to attain his own ends, and anyone who uses such inadequate means  to find out hidden secrets virtually appeals to the devil to help him. A great variety of such means of divination has been in use from the earliest times among all nations; and periods which have witnessed a decay of faith have also witnessed a recrudescence [recurrence] of these superstitions...The devil sometimes takes possession of the body of a human being and manifests what is secret through it; this was called pythonism. The devil had his prophets as God had. In necromancy the devil answers through the dead called to life again...Divination is mortally sinful, for it is a great insult to God to hold intercourse with and seek aid from the devil, His bitter enemy; and besides, it is most dangerous to the parties concerned. He is wont gradually to insinuate himself until he has his victim within his power, and then he works on him his evil will. (See A Manual of Moral Theology, [1925], 1:141-142; Emphasis mine). 

Therefore, let no one say to you that divination (in any form) is "harmless," or "only used as entertainment," or is OK if you believe in God because He protects you (God will never protect someone who deliberately exposes himself to evil through sin). The Bible is very clear as to what God thinks of divination:

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

Do not practice divination or sorcery. (Leviticus 19:26).

He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. (2 Chronicles 33:6).

Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds" (Jeremiah 14:14).

 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain girl, having a pythonical [telling the future] spirit, met us, who brought to her masters much gain by divining. This same following Paul and us, cried out, saying: "These men are the servants of the most high God, who preach unto you the way of salvation." And this she did many days. But Paul being grieved, turned, and said to the spirit: "I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to go out from her." And he went out the same hour. (Acts 16:16-18). 

Several Methods of Divining
[I will list my sources for this section of my post at the end---Introibo]

The following popular methods will be explored:
  • Runes
  • Palmistry
  • I Ching
  • Numerology
  • Tarot Cards
  • Ouija Board

Runes. Runes are ancient Teutonic and Norse alphabet sigils (signs or images) placed upon tiles that are seen as having magical and divinatory properties. The word “rune” derives from the Indo-European root “rw,” meaning “secret” or “mystery.” The Nazis employed two runes extensively: the swastika (originally a Norse magical symbol known as Thor’s hammer) and the sigil [a stylized “s” or lightening bolt] used by the SS troops, originally a symbol of the Earth Mother and the sun. The Nazis were deeply into the occult and most were sodomites. Runes are used as follows:

Concentrate on a question. Focus on finding the answer. You may imagine yourself walking down a path or looking through a field of clover, trying to find one with four leaves. Whichever visual helps you focus your attention is up to you.

Once you feel clam and receptive, reach into your set of runes and choose one that feels right. Sometimes you may want to imagine you are feeling for a certain color or trying to find the one that is warmer or cooler than the others. Anything you can do to focus on picking the “right” rune will help you.

Inspect the rune in your hand and reflect on all the possible meanings this single rune has.

ask yourself:
   1) Did I draw the rune right-side-up, or up-side-down?
   2) Are more of the symbolic meanings positive or negative?
   3) Is there one of those meanings that applies directly to my question?
   4) Does the sound of the rune fit in my answer?

The o-rune, whose name was ooila – meaning inheritance, was used as a symbol of "Blut und Boden" (blood and soil), and the t-rune as a symbol of war and struggle, after the god of war, Tyr. It became popular in the Nazi youth organization Hitlerjugend--the most famous member of which was Joseph Ratzinger; the future "Pope" Benedict XVI. The R-rune became the symbol of either life or death depending on whether the diagonal lines were facing up or down.

The consequences of the Nazi’s portrayal of themselves as a supreme race are well known--and it came from the occult. 

Palmistry.  Also known as Chiromancy consists of the practice of evaluating a person's character or future life by "reading" the palm of that person's hand. According to one source: "Is the person reading your palm well-trained in palmistry? Sure, anyone can grab a palm reading book, but that doesn’t mean they have any professional experience." (See How does one become "well-trained" in reading palms?  It's as asinine as claiming a doctorate in knowledge on Bigfoot. The subjective nature of palmistry leads to the general and ambiguous characteristics of many of its prognostications. People then can read into it. "You will have great fortune."  You find a $20 bill, ergo the palm reading was correct. In addition, there are those predictions that are uncannily accurate. This is demonic in nature.  "Psychic palm readers" can also use demons as a false pretext for scamming people:

Somerset police have arrested a psychic palm reader, accusing her of tricking a client out of over $70,000 by convincing her that her daughter was possessed by a demon. Tracey Milanovich, 37, of Somerset, has been charged with six counts of obtaining property over $250 by trick, larceny over $1,200 and intimidation of a witness. She was arraigned Monday at Fall River District Court. (See 

Tarot Cards. Tarot cards probably originated in Italy in the 14th century since the earliest known explanation of their usage dates to 1391. The pack of cards, known as the Tarocco, is made up of 22 major enigmas, whose figures represent a synthesis of the mysteries of life; and 56 minor images incorporating 14 figures in four series (gold, clubs, swords and goblets). The 22 major enigmas correspond to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the number of hieroglyphs the ancient Jews used in divination. Each major enigma has an image with a particular meaning, e.g. Enigma I is the Minstrel, which signifies The Being, the spirit and creation; and Enigma XV is the Devil, which signifies magic, eloquence, commerce and mystery. Enigmas I through XI comprise the solar way, which is active, conscious, reflective and autonomous; while enigmas XII through XXII denote the lunar way, which is passive, unconscious, intuitive and possessed. The four series of the 56 minor images have the following significance: gold signifies intellectual activity; clubs, government; swords, military career; and goblets, the "priesthood." Practitioners of Tarot believe that these enigmas, images and series represent the sum of the knowledge of all sciences, particularly astrology, and in the permutations in "dealing the cards" are capable of revealing the future and solving all problems. 

An ex-tarot card reader admitted after she broke away from the practice, “It was after getting rid of them that there were several strange happenings, I began to feel the presence of a spirit, which kept visiting me between May and August. I realized the cards had actually connected me with ‘something,’ as I started to feel a presence which kept coming to me, very often, almost weekly. It came at any time … because I had finally broken the connection, and it was trying to keep it.” (See

 In 2002, a sniper who murdered several people left a tarot death card at the scene of one of his shootings along with the blasphemous message "I am God." The tarot cards were (of course) defended by an occultist. If a serial sniper sought by police left the "death" tarot card found near a shooting scene in Maryland, he or she likely doesn't have much of an understanding of tarot, says a woman who's produced instructional audiotapes on the fortunetelling cards.

"Anybody who knows tarot [knows] the death card is a good card in the deck," said Tori Hartman, writer and narrator of 12 Step Tarot and Learn How to Read the Tarot in an Hour. "It is basically transformation and it tells you that old ways of thinking are transforming." Transforming into something from Hell no doubt. (See 

I Ching. The I Ching is a collection of practical wisdom, pertaining to every conceivable situation. It originates in ancient China and is the oldest Chinese classical text. "I Ching" means "Classic of Changes" or "Book of Changes." (While mostly the spelling "I Ching" is used, "Yijing" is, in fact, the official modern spelling).

There are 64 different main kinds of situations in the I Ching. Each one is indicated by a hexagram, which is a symbol made up by 6 lines, each of which can be broken or unbroken.

To obtain "advice" from the I Ching about one's current situation, one can consult it as an oracle. To decide which hexagram is related to the situation at hand, a "random" hexagram is obtained by throwing coins (or yarrow sticks, that traditionally were used). The "random" hexagram is supposed to not be random at all, but to coincide with the situation. The notorious Satan worshipper, Aleister Crowley, once commented that “other systems of divina­tion are often manipulated by demons who delight in misleading the inquirer,” and he felt that the I Ching was somehow above such duplicity. But he still conceded that the oracle was manipulated by personal intelligence: “The intelligences which direct it show no inclina­tion to evade the question or to mislead the querant.”

Numerology. Numerology is another modern method of divination, one that attempts to discern the occult significance of numbers. It too is a popular form of entertainment. Like palmistry, numerology is thousands of years old and strongly associated with the occult. The practice of using tarot cards and the Kabala are rooted in numerology, and astrology also bears a relationship. As with other forms of divination, there are two principal aspects: (1) character assessment and (2) divining or predicting the future. Numerologists claim they cannot only help people to understand themselves better, but that they must also help them to make important decisions in all areas of life. 

According to numerologists, the day you were born certain powers were bestowed upon you that will be with you your whole life long, and since this date is unalterable, its personal vibrations shape every event or incident in your life span. From the first day of your life to your last, you are governed by the destiny bestowed upon you according to the date of your birth. The numerological value of this birthdate will reveal to you the path of your destiny and suggest the line of personal development to help you attain all you wish from life. Like practitioners in other divinatory fields, numerologists may claim that their "profession" does not involve the occult. Main advocates insist that numerology is merely “a science of the numbers of life.” Yet no one can explain how this "science" works, nor is it subject to the scientific method.

Each of the basic numbers, 1-9, has been assigned a list of key per­sonality characteristics, much like the "astrological houses." But do such lists, as supplied in different numerological texts, always agree? No, they don’t agree. This means, for ex­ample, that the number 2 may be given different characteristics in different texts. Thus, since the “meaning” of the numbers is not uniform, the one seeking a reading may receive conflicting read­ings from different numerologists. It is susceptible to the same subjectivism as all divination; and when it works, it's due to the demonic forces invoked implicitly.

Ouija Board. Manufactured by Parker Brothers and sold with other children's games, such as Monopoly and Clue, the Ouija Board is anything but harmless fun for kids. It has its wicked origins in the 19th century, when "table rapping" was the way occultists attempted to contact the dead during a seance. Those who participate would ask questions and wait for the table to "rap" out a prearranged number of times to spell out words using the alphabet (e.g. one rap for the letter "a," two raps for "b," etc.). In 1853, an occultist named M. Planchette, invented the triangular object (now named the planchette) which has three legs. One of its three legs had a pencil to spell out answers on the board posed by a person who was touching the planchette. The modern board has the letters of the alphabet to make the process of contacting the dead easier; the planchette simply points to each letter. The board also has the words yes and no as well as goodbye. 

 This modern Ouija board got its start in the United States with inventor Elijah Bond who filed for a patent in 1890. William Fuld bought the rights to it in 1892. According to Fuld, the board itself told him to patent it under the name "Ouija" which comes from the French "oui" and German "ja" both of which mean "yes." It is an invitation to let spirits (demons) in. The board told Fuld to manufacturer it, and he became wealthy as the game caught on. Ironically, Fuld died in 1927, falling off the roof of a building  the board instructed him to build. 

Parker Brothers bought the rights in 1966, and by 1976 it was the #1 selling board game in the United States. I remember the Christmas commercial for it which asked, "It's only a game--or is it?" There are WAY too many stories associated with the Ouija board to be dismissed. I personally knew a woman several years ago, who told me that in college, she and her sister used a Ouija board. She said it was fun and it "really worked." Things she had never told anyone were spelled out on the board in response to her questions. Then, one night, while asking another question to see how much the board knew about her past, the planchette spelled out, "I saw you naked in the shower." (She had just come out of the shower). After two more "answers" involving her naked body, she screamed and ran out of her dorm room. She warned her sister never to use it, and they gave it away to someone they knew, requesting they never mention it or bring it back. 

Inviting this kind of demonic activity into your life is dangerous beyond description.

[Sources: Geri Tully, The Secret Powers of Numerology (1977), Joyce Wilson, The Complete Book of Palmistry (1978), Alfred Douglas, The Tarot: The Origins, Meaning and Uses of the Cards (1972),David and Julia Line, Fortune Telling by Runes, (1985), John Blofeld, I Ching (1968), Richard Cavendish, ed., Encyclopedia of the Unexplained: Magic, Occultism and Parapsychology , (1976)].

What's the Attraction?
What draws people to the occult practices of divination? There are several.

  • The desire to feel special with esoteric knowledge
  • The need to feel closure and cope with grieving the loss of a loved one
  • Hell and right/wrong are effectively denied, so they don't need to follow the Commandments. Everyone who consults these items of divination and/or their "practitioners" is told they are "good" and their loved ones are "in Heaven" 
  • The Vatican II sect does not speak against such things, leading people to think it is ok 
The results of the above are most serious. There have been people who commit suicide to "see the wonders of the other side," and people defrauded of large amounts of money when doing as allegedly directed from someone they knew "on the other side" when told so by the medium, Ouija board, etc.

 Do not allow yourself and those you love to be drawn into divination practices. They are mortally sinful. Even when the result of chicanery, the very attempt at trying to "see into the future" or "communicate with the deceased" is mortal sin. According to theologian Jone, "Spiritism claims to be able to communicate with the spirit world and endeavors to establish such commerce with it. Although spiritism is for the most part fraud, still the intention alone to enter into communication with spirits is gravely sinful. Therefore, it is mortally sinful to conduct a spiritistic seance or to act as a medium." (See Moral Theology, [1961], pg. 100; Emphasis mine). Theologian Slater, cited above, teaches that "Divination is mortally sinful, for it is a great insult to God to hold intercourse with and seek aid from the devil, His bitter enemy; and besides, it is most dangerous to the parties concerned." 

Let us leave the future in God's Hands, Who Alone knows what it will bring. Be content with facing each day in Faith and hope being in sanctifying grace. God will take care of the rest. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (St. Matthew 6:34). 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Killing The Killers

Later this year, there will be a short, ten episode return of the show Dexter. Originally broadcast from 2006-2013, the eponymous protagonist (if you can call him that) is a serial killer. How do people cheer for a murderer? Here's the set-up: Dexter Morgan was orphaned at three years old when his mother was brutally killed with a chainsaw by drug dealers. He is subsequently adopted by police officer Harry Morgan. Harry notices that the trauma has given his son sociopathic tendencies and a "blood lust" making him have urges to kill people. Harry decides to "save" his son from being locked-up for life in a mental institution by helping him obtain employment as a forensic analyst for the Miami police. This enables Dexter to live a double life. When not working at his police force job, his father teaches him to murder other murders who slipped through the cracks of the justice system. In this way, "justice is served" and Dexter doesn't kill innocent people--what a guy!

This warped sense of morality has been used by pro-abortionists. Their argument runs like this: 
If abortion is the legal mass murder of innocents, like in Nazi Germany and Communist China, then how is it wrong to kill abortion providers? "Pro-lifers" don’t even believe their own claims and don’t think abortion is quite the same as murder--because it isn't. Therefore, since abortion is not murder, the Church is wrong in condemning it. If abortion were really murder, then those against abortion should be celebrating those who kill abortion doctors, not condemning them.  Think about it: If a Nazi soldier was coming to kill Fr. Maximillian Kolbe, wouldn't you be justified in killing the soldier to protect Fr. Kolbe?

In this post, I shall tackle their reasoning head on and demonstrate why the Church is correct in (a) declaring abortion as murder and (b) condemning the killing of abortion "doctors" (anyone who murders babies is not a healer--doctor--but a cold-blooded killer). 

Abortion: Biologically and Theologically Constituting Murder

(a) Biology. 
It is in vouge to ask the question, "When does life begin?" Pro-abortionists want you to think the subject boils down to a matter of opinion. Since opinions shouldn't be forced on others, then women should be free to decide for themselves when life begins, and whether or not to procure an abortion. Under the infamous Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion is legal right up until minutes before the baby is born. While certain states have placed restrictions on abortion (and many have been upheld by the Supreme Court), such restrictions are not mandated. Here, in New York State, there are no restrictions whatsoever. When restrictions are placed, they usually involve various "tests" for determining whether the unborn should be considered a life which cannot be taken. For example, viability (i.e., when an unborn baby can live outside the womb) and "vital functions" (i.e., heartbeat and/or brainwaves) are two such factors used to impose restrictions on killing innocent babies. 

Biology is the study of life, and it is biologists who give us the answer as to when life begins. A group of noted biologist, including Dr. Thomas L. Johnson, calling themselves Scientists for Life, put out a concise and scientifically accurate publication entitled The Position of Modern Science on the Beginning of Human Life. The biological answer as to when life begins is simple: Life is continuous. There is no period in between when life "starts" and "stops." Human cells can only come from other living human cells. That's not to say life is a process over time. Everything is a process. If an event takes place in zero time it would require an infinite amount of energy to be released, which the known laws of physics tell us is impossible. Hence, at fertilization, a new human being with a unique set of chromosomes and DNA is made.

The objection will immediately be made, "Since death is the permanent stopping of all vital functions (e.g., heartbeat, breathing, brainwaves, etc.) even though cells are still alive, why should people consider cellular life (fertilization and the zygote which comes into being) which has none of those attributes to be the beginning of human life?" Simply put, vital functions are different, not absent in the zygote. The vital functions of the zygote are metabolism and cleavage. Eventually, brainwaves and the vital functions of beings at later stages of life will begin. It is no more justified to say a zygote isn't human because it has no heartbeat and brainwaves than to say an infant isn't human because he can't walk erect or speak fluently in a language. 

It is also a biological fact that the "product of conception" as pro-baby killers call him/her will be born as a human baby. The burden of proof is therefore on pro-abortionists to prove that at all times prior to birth the baby is somehow not human. If it cannot be so proven, abortion must be forbidden (on secular grounds alone) because the unborn could be human. If a hunter sees movement in a bush and doesn't know if it is a human or a deer, must he not refrain from shooting because it might be human life and the unjust taking thereof? So too with abortion, even if we concede, ad arguendo, that we "don't know when life begins." 

(b) Theology.
Pro-abortionists make the false claim that abortion was not considered murder by the Church until Pope Pius IX in 1869. The fact is that the Catholic Church always regarded abortion as murder, regardless of ensoulment. The approved theologians, and all Magisterial authorities did not hesitate to condemn abortion as murder whether or not the soul is present. 

 Thou shalt not kill an unborn child or murder a newborn infant.---

The Didache ("The Lord's Instruction to the Gentiles through the Twelve Apostles"). II, 2, translated by J.A. Kleist, S.J., Ancient Christian Writers, [1942],Volume VI:16).

For us Christians, murder is once and for all forbidden; so even the child in the womb, while yet the mother's blood is still being drawn on to form the human being, it is not lawful for us to destroy. To forbid birth is only quicker murder. It makes no difference whether one takes away the life once born or destroys it as it comes to birth. He is a man, who is to be a man; the fruit is always present in the seed.---

Tertullian (when Catholic), 197, Apologeticus, page 9 (Emphasis mine).

The hairsplitting difference between formed and unformed makes no difference to us. Whoever deliberately commits abortion is subject to the penalty for homicide.---

St. Basil the Great, priest (c. 329-379), First Canonical Letter, from the work Three Canonical Letters. Loeb Classical Library, 3:20-23. 

In 1679, Pope Blessed Innocent XI condemned the teachings of two theologians, Thomas Sanchez and Ioannis Marcus, who taught that abortion was lawful if the fetus was not yet animated or ensouled and the purpose of the abortion was to prevent shame to the woman. (See Enchiridion Symbolorum, 13th edition, pg. 327, Condemned proposition #34). Condemned proposition #35 from that same document of Pope Blessed Innocent XI is even more explicit: "It seems probable that every fetus (as long as it is in the womb) lacks a rational soul and begins to have the same at the time it is born; and consequently it will have to be said that no homicide is committed in any abortion."

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary a dogma of the Faith. In Ineffabilis Deus the pontiff defined, We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. (Emphasis mine).

Notice well that the definition says that Mary's soul was free from conception (not ensoulment), giving credence to immediate animation of the human being at biological fertilization. Had immediate animation been part of Mary's unique privilege, you would expect the theologians to teach about it--especially those who wrote post-1854-- but they do not. While "silence implies consent" is not a theological maxim, it is a weighty argument that immediate animation was implicitly taught, and no approved theologians have taught differently since. The very idea of delayed animation was based on the disproven biological theories of Aristotle.

Therefore, it was not surprising that in 1869, Pope Pius IX officially removed the distinction between the animated and unanimated fetus from the Code of Canon Law. (See Codicus Iuris Canonici Fontes, specification number 552). Pro-abortionists jump on this as "proof" of the first penalty against abortion, when all Pope Pius was doing was making a uniform condemnation of abortion and removing any distinctions between animated (ensouled) and unanimated fetuses. This was done to bring the penalty in line with Church teaching that ensoulment is at fertilization (conception).

 In any case, the matter of when the body is 'ensouled' has historically made no difference to the Church. Saint Thomas Aquinas recognized that ensoulment and abortion were two distinct and separate issues. He condemned abortion in the strongest possible terms even though he believed in delayed ensoulment based on the science of his day. For example, in his commentary on murder, he states: “He that strikes a woman with child does something unlawful: wherefore if there results the death either of the woman or of the animated fetus, he will not be excused from homicide.” (See Summa Theologica II-II, q.64, a.8) Also, dealing with whether to baptize a baby in the mother's womb, he writes,  “If, however, the mother die while the child lives yet in her womb, she should be opened that the child may be baptized.” (Ibid, III, q.68, a.11; no mention of animation).   Finally, the Angelic Doctor knew extraordinarily well all of these ancient Church teachings on abortion, and that it was forbidden at any stage of development. He never disagreed. 

Why Not Abort the Abortionist?
There are four circumstances in which killing another human being is morally justified; two of those circumstances involve a person acting as an agent of the State, and the other two concern individuals in their capacities as private citizens. As an agent of the State, a person make take another's life in the carrying out of a lawful execution (i.e., capital punishment), and when he takes part in a just war. A private citizen acting on his own, may take a life in legitimate self-defense of his own life and/or property of great value, and to defend the life of an innocent third party against unjust aggression

In the case of legalized abortion (such as exists in the United States since 1973), it is obvious that the killing of an abortion doctor could not be justified as an act of capital punishment nor as part of a just war. Could it be justified as defending the life of an innocent third party (the unborn baby) against unjust aggression (horrible death from an abortionist)? In a word: No. In order to understand why, the moral principles of the Church must be properly understood and applied.

According to theologians McHugh and Callan: This right of self-defense is grounded in the Natural Law itself and has been denied by but few moralists...The principles on defense of one's own life against an unjust aggressor, even at the cost of the latter's life, may be applied to the life of an innocent third party. What are these principles? (a) The assault must be a true aggression (i.e., an act of violence threatening the life of the person assaulted) and unjust (i.e., an attack made without public authority); (b) the resistance must be true self-defense (i.e., an act used to ward off attack or to make the assailant powerless) and moderate (i.e., the person attacked must not use more force than necessary and he must not intend to kill the aggressor). Moreover, in the defense of another:(a) is necessary to defend the innocent person, even if the aggressor has to be killed, when one is bound to give this person protection by natural duty (e.g., because the innocent person is one's child or father and the aggressor is not a relative), or by contract (e.g., because one is a hired bodyguard or policeman). (b) It is lawful to defend the innocent person, even if the aggressor has to be killed, and even though there is no duty of nature or contract to give this protection (Exodus 2:12). But it is disputed whether it is necessary to do this.(See Moral Theology, [1930], 2:104-109; Emphasis mine). 

It is clear that in the defense of oneself or another, there must be no intent to kill the aggressor, it must be an unintended consequence. Furthermore, in defending another there is no certain opinion as to whether or not a moral obligation exists apart from a duty contracted. The principle that a private individual cannot intend directly to kill the aggressor is echoed by the great moral theologians:

Prummer: Principle: One may defend oneself against an unjust aggressor even to the point of killing him, provided one does not injure him more than is absolutely necessary to ensure self-protection. (See Handbook of Moral Theology, [1957], pg. 127; Emphasis mine).

Slater: In defense of my own life from unjust attack I may use whatever violence is necessary and even go to the length of killing the aggressor, if I cannot otherwise save my life...I may also do the same in [an innocent person's] defense. Although I may lawfully do this, yet there is seldom an obligation of doing it, for the obligation would only arise in charity...(See A Manual of Moral Theology, [1925], 1:198-199; Emphasis mine). 

Jone: The defense must be moderate, i.e., the assailant must not be injured more than is absolutely necessary to ensure self-protection known as moderamen inculpatae tutelae, or moderation of blameless defense. (See Moral Theology, [1961], pg. 141; Emphasis mine). 

St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church and Greatest of Moral Theologians: The law of nature permits that you may repel force with force and that you may forestall and kill an assailant who unjustly tries to take your life from you or those things that are necessary for you to lead a worthy life, such as temporal goods, honors, chastity, or the integrity of your members. Nevertheless, that it is done with a mind to defend yourself and with moderamen inculpatae tutelae, namely not by causing greater damage or using greater force than is necessary to prevent harm. (See Theologia Moralis, Book IVa, pg. 408; Emphasis mine). 

To intentionally kill another innocent human being is morally unjustifiable. It should also be (and is) legally unjustifiable (except in the case of abortion). An abortionist can hardly be labeled innocent. Nevertheless, even in self-defense or defense of others, against an aggressor, the intent must be to defend rather than to kill. One who shoots an abortionist has the motive to save children. However, his intent in shooting the abortionist is to kill the baby's murderer to achieve that purpose of saving children. Apart from capital punishment, the just war, or the justified rebellion, which derive from God's authority, no one may ever intentionally kill anyone. God is the Author of Life, therefore only God--and those who are given authority by Him--may take human life. 

In countries that have legalized abortion, is rebellion against the government justified? This is where the attempted analogy to Nazi Germany breaks down as shall be shown in the next section of this post.

The Conditions When Justified Rebellion Are Permitted
People have a right to defend themselves against a tyrannical government that goes against God's law. However, to resist the government is always an extreme measure, and therefore it can only be resorted to in extreme cases and under certain well-defined conditions of Natural Law. The most terse and eloquent exposition of the four (4) requirements when open opposition to the government is permitted was penned by theologian Rickaby in the Dublin Review, April 1865 on resisting tyrannical government; De Regimine Principium. 

The First Condition. The government must become substantially and habitually tyrannical. It must lose sight of the common good, and pursues its own selfish objectives to the manifest detriment of the people, most especially when their religious interests are concerned. The people cannot resort to physical resistance for the redress of any and every grievance.  If they could, civil war would be the common condition and peaceful progress would wholly cease. In every nation there are innumerable conflicting interests to be considered and some people are bound to suffer injustice. These ordinary injustices should be remedied through the lawmaking authority available to them, whether by voting, or by appealing to those in power. Resistance to the government can only be tolerated in the case of a government that is substantially and habitually tyrannical and therefore opposed to the common good

The Second Condition. All legal and peaceful means have been tried in vain to recall the ruler/government to a sense of duty. The conditions of lawful self-defense are substantially the same in the case of resistance to private, individual aggression and that of aggression by the government. Now, in the former case, a man cannot kill another in self-defense if he can escape the aggression in any other way. [In secular law, this is also applied in many states. Here, in New York, if someone tries to start a fight with you, there is what the law calls "The Duty to Retreat," whereby you must try to get away from the aggressor. This duty extends to all situations except if you are in your home or in your place of business. Then you may immediately fight back---Introibo] So also, if a tyrannical government can be brought back to reason by legal means it has the right to be brought back by legal means. In a republic, such as the United States, rebellion is very difficult to justify because the government can be rejected at the polls. 

The Third Condition. There must be a reasonable probability that resistance will be successful, and not entail greater evils than it seeks to remove. Therefore, the reasonable hope must exist that the tyranny will be overthrown and end, or at least the beginnings of improvement will be effectuated. If the uprising would result in greater misery and suffering for the people, resistance cannot be undertaken.

The Fourth Condition. When the judgement is formed as to the evil of the government, and the resistance necessary, it is not the opinion of a few, or some instigating group, but it is the manifested sentiment of the majority of the people, so that it may be morally considered as the judgement of the nation as a whole. In countries, there is often a group trying to incite revolution "for the good of the people" when it is actually for the group's own good.  They have no right to incite the masses through fear-mongering and acts of violence. 

The Principles of Justified Rebellion As Applied To Legalized Abortion
A justified rebellion involves the assumption by private persons of the prerogative of the State to wage a just war. In a rebellion the war is waged against the State itself. The rebellion itself would be a just war, in which the abortionist, as someone directly a part of the "substantially and habitually tyranny" justifying the rebellion, would be rightly regarded as a combatant and therefore a legitimate target. (See Prof. Charles Rice & John P. Tuskey, The Legality and Morality of Using Deadly Force to Protect Unborn Children from Abortionists, 5 Regent U. L. Rev. 83 (1995), pgs. 83-151). Remember that all four conditions must obtain to have a justified rebellion; the Church sets a high standard to meet.

As to the first condition, I would argue that the government has become "substantially and habitually tyrannical" by stripping a whole class of human beings of their right to life. This condition (in my opinion) is satisfied.

As to the second condition, I argue it is not satisfied. Overall, pro-life initiatives have been winning at the state level, and the Supreme Court has upheld most of them. Expect more victories with three new pro-life Trump-appointed Justices (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney-Barrett). We also have elections, and not all can be classified as "stolen." Therefore, we must bring the government back by legal means only, not rebellion--and there is hope for success.

As to the third condition, I argue rebellion would bring about greater evils than good. Take the case of an active shooter in an elementary school who has killed several children and threatens many more. If you kill the shooter, the threat is neutralized and no other children will suffer. However, if you kill an abortionist the mother can simply find someone else to murder her child. The killing of individual abortionists is ineffectual; there is no evidence that murdering abortion providers has prevented the murder of any unborn children, nor is there any reasonable assumption that it would ever do so. The only thing violence would do is paint pro-lifers as "radicals," "hypocrites," and draw sympathy for the abortionists. No one would look at the horror of abortion--it would be overshadowed by the violence of shootings. Abortionists would just dig their heels in deeper and hire armed bodyguards (as some already do). 

As to the fourth condition, I argue it has not been met because there is no clear pro-life consensus as the manifest sentiment of the majority; nor is there a clear consensus by a majority that rebellion is necessary. 

Therefore, with three of the four conditions not having been met (and all four being both necessary and sufficient for justified rebellion), there is no right to a justified rebellion in the case of legalized abortion.

Abortion is the murder of an innocent unborn child. It is therefore one of the Four Sins That Scream To Heaven For Vengeance. I have been involved in the pro-life movement since age 16. We must not allow our zeal for the unborn to blind us to the principles of true morality. In an age were antiheros like Dexter are cheered, it's no wonder people lose their moral compass. Compound this with the Church driven underground, and the Vatican II sect being led by a moral relativist. It's no wonder people are confused in making good moral choices.

Killing abortionists is immoral and would only be a setback to the right-to-life movement. Let us remember the words of St. Augustine, "A man who, without exercising public authority, kills an evildoer, shall be judged guilty of murder, and all the more, since he has dared to usurp a power which God has not given him." 

Monday, April 5, 2021

When Strangers Come Knocking---Part 20


This is the next installment of my series to be published the first Monday of each month.

There are members of false sects, like Jehovah's Witnesses, that come knocking door-to-door hoping to convert you. Instead of ignoring them, it is we who should try and convert them. In 1 Peter 3:16, our first Pope writes, "But in thy hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks thee to give the reason for the hope that thou hast. But do this with gentleness and respect,..." Before the Great Apostasy, the Church would send missionaries to the ends of the Earth to make as many converts as possible. 

Those in false religions don't always come (literally) knocking at your door. It may be a Hindu at work who wants you to try yoga. It could be a "Christian Scientist" who lives next door and invites you to come to their reading room. Each month, I will present a false sect. Unlike the Vatican II sect, I do not see them as a "means of salvation" or possessing "elements of truth" that lead to salvation. That is heresy. They lead to damnation, and the adherents of the various sects must be converted so they may be saved.

In each month's post, I will present one false sect and give an overview of: 

  • The sect's history
  • Their theology
  • Tips on how to share the True Faith with them


I wish to credit  Alfred Metraux Voodoo in Haiti (2016), and Jeffrey Anderson Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Conjure: A Handbook (2008) for much of the informtion in this post.---Introibo

The word voodoo conjures up images of Africans in tribal clothes engaging in corybantic dancing  while someone sticks pins in a doll. While not entirely untrue, there is more to it than that. In 1993, John Paul the Great Apostate visited the African country of Benin. The L’Osservatore Romano gave this definition of voodoo upon the occasion of his visit:

VOODOOISM (voodoo-deity) is a religion originating in West Africa (particularly Benin) that is also widely practiced in Haiti and the Antilles. It is characterized by various rites to the “Great Master” or good God who is the creator of the spirits responsible for protecting human beings. The great God and the spirits are identified with the Christian God and the saints of the Catholic Church. The calendar of voodoo feasts imitates that of Christian worship.

Voodoo ceremonies consist of rituals invoking the spirits and the great God and are marked by drums and songs accompanying an animal sacrifice. The rite culminates in a trance in which a ritual dancer is thought to be possessed by a divinity. Ceremonies are conducted by a man (hungan) or a woman (mambo), who are often knowledgeable about witchcraft as well.

While the practitioners of voodoo have a nominal belief in a “master creator,”--similar to the "Great Architect of the Universe" in Masonry-- it is a "god" incompatible with the Theistic God of Christianity. Voodoo does believe in a deity above the other gods, though one without many of the qualities the Church recognizes in the True God, such as omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, etc. It is a god far removed from the affairs of the world, which it allows "lesser spirits" or "lesser gods" to control. These spirits are thought to reside in trees, water, animals, and other natural phenomena. This primitive cosmology is known as animism.

Likewise, the Yoruba religion system is comprised of traditional African practices and spiritual concepts. They believe that before one is born, they determine their destiny. They decide long before they ever arrive on Earth on what they will be doing in the world, where they will live, and who they will love, and even on how they will die. The religion also states that after one is born into the world all their plans and promises are forgotten and similarly their destiny is even forgotten. There are orishas or spirits that inhabit things and act for or against humans. Olorun (also called Olodumare) is the supreme deity. You must become one with him through successive reincarnations. Unlike Eastern pagans (Hindus, Buddhists, etc.) they view reincarnation as something positive; each alleged rebirth bringing you closer to Olorum.

Santeria derives from the correspondences made by some devotees between the Yoruba deities and the saints (santos) of  Catholicism. It has its origins in Cuba, and many identify as "Catholics." They will also pray to the statues of the true saints, but to them those saints signify demonic "deities." The very name is Spanish for “The Way of the Saints." Santeria is based upon the development of personal relationships through divination, sacrifice, initiation, and mediumship between practitioners of the religion and the orisha deities, who provide their devotees with protection, wisdom, and success. About 60 percent of Cuba's 11 million people are baptized in the Vatican II sect, however, an equal number practice Santeria or another form of Afro-Cuban religion. 

Voodoo and Santeria began in the West when African slaves brought their pagan traditions with them as they were transported to the New World. However, they were generally forbidden from practicing their evil religion. To get around these restrictions, the slaves started to equate their gods with Catholic saints. They also performed their rituals using the items and imagery of the Catholic Church. These sects have no so-called sacred texts only oral traditions. It's not hard to understand how backwards, poverty-stricken countries like Haiti would cling to pagan traditions from Africa. The Church was trying (successfully) to make in-roads eliminating such false religions--but then came Vatican II. 

Why would people in the United States and other developed countries choose to practice voodoo? It lures a dark part of the human psyche that covertly craves uninhibited behavior and revenge. Voodoo dolls are mostly associated with a form of African folk magic called “Hoodoo,” which is a mixture of animism, spiritism, and a combination of other religious beliefs and practices originating in Africa. Hoodoo/Voodoo dolls have traditionally been made to represent an individual who the practitioner is attempting to put a spell or curse upon during a religious ceremony. It satisfies a person's anger and desire for revenge.

There is no hierarchy, only lone practitioners in these pagan sects. They believe that all objects have indwelling spirits; hence the spirits can be invoked by means of objects they manipulate as amulets and charms. Hungans and mambos sacrifice animals to the "spirits" and channel them, asking that they may injure someone who hurt their client in some way, or cure said client of illness, or bring some other benefit upon them. Hence, at the heart of Voodoo, Santeria and Yoruba is spiritism. The Bible makes it clear:

 "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you." (See Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Emphasis mine.)  According to theologian Jone, "Spiritism claims to be able to communicate with the spirit world and endeavors to establish such commerce with it. Although spiritism is for the most part fraud, still the intention alone to enter into communication with spirits is gravely sinful. Therefore, it is mortally sinful to conduct a spiritistic seance or to act as a medium." (See Moral Theology,[1961] pg. 100; Emphasis mine). 

While "spiritism is for the most part fraud," it sometimes is not. When Fr. Jone's theology manual was published in 1961, the Great Apostasy had not yet occurred. Most of spiritism at that time consisted of old ladies reading palms and pretending to contact spirits (or souls of the dead) for extra money; it was a fraud. Since Vatican II there has been an occult and pagan explosion world-wide, such that Fr. Jone couldn't comprehend at the time of his writing. While some spiritism is still fraudulent, I dare to say much--if not most---is real today. The direct and deliberate calling upon "spirits" (i.e., demons) to enter your life will rarely go unheeded. I will examine the striking similarities between Biblical accounts of possession and voodoo practitioners in Haiti calling upon a loa; their name for the Yoruban orishas

Demonic Possession in the Bible

There are nine (9) cases of possessed people in the Bible:

1. The demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum (St. Mark 1:23-26; St. Luke 4:33-37)

2. The Gadarene demoniac (St. Mark 5:1-20;  St. Matthew 8:28-34; St. Luke 8:26-39)

3. The daughter of the Syro-Phenician woman (St. Mark 7:24-30; St. Matthew 15:21-28)

4. The demoniac boy (St. Mark 9:14-29; St. Matthew 17:14-20; St. Luke 9:37-43)

5. The mute ("dumb") man (St. Matthew 9:32; St. Luke 11:14-15)

6. The blind and mute ("dumb") man (St. Matthew 12:22-28)

7. The crippled woman (St. Luke 13:11-16)

8. The slave girl at Philippi (Acts 16:16-18)

9. The strong man at Ephesus (Acts 19:13-17)

According to theologian Sagues, the signs of someone possessed are: (1) to speak a foreign language never studied or to understand someone speaking it; (2) to know things hidden far away; (3) to possess strength beyond one's age or natural condition. (See Sacrae Theologiae Summa, II B:221; these signs are also mentioned in the Rituale Romanum). 

The first sign is not expressly mentioned in the Bible. 

The second sign is also referred to as clairvoyance; which is defined as perceiving things or events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact. The clearest example of this is the slave girl in Philippi. In other instances, the possessed person appeared to recognize Jesus for all that He was without ever having been introduced to Him. This happened in both of the cases in the book of Acts as well as in the cases of the Capernaum and Gadarene demoniacs.

The third sign of superhuman strength is not mentioned in every Biblical case, but the exhibition of unusual or supernormal strength characterizes some instances of Biblical demon possession. The possessed man in Ephesus overpowered seven other men. The Gadarene demoniac could tear chains apart. 

The three signs of possession are primary, but not exclusive. Demons can display themselves possessing a human in other ways. (See's_Habits_and_Exorcism_in_the_Catholic_Church_Father_Amorth's_Account).  Two such traits exhibited in the biblical accounts are moral impurity and seizures.  The Gadarene demoniac, for instance, ran about naked, and the spirits in him seemed to have no regard for the property rights of others. The demoniac boy had seizures, convulsions, and other symptoms such as rigidity and foaming at the mouth. According to Alfred Metraux in Voodoo in Haiti (2016), mambos and houngans need the "gift of eyes" to see the future; often dress half or fully naked; roll on the ground frothing at the mouth; speak strange words; and can lift heavy objects when in a trance. Sounds like possession? I'll let the readers decide. 

The Great Apostate and Voodoo

Keeping in mind all that has been shown about Voodoo, Santeria, and Yoruba, here is what Wojtyla ["St" John Paul II] had to say to a Voodoo houngan in Benin on February 4, 1993 [English translation of Wojtyla's words from page 4 of L'Osservatore Romano 2/6/93]:

Dear friends,

I am pleased to have this occasion to meet you, and I very cordially greet you. As you know, I came to Benin principally to visit with the Catholic community, to encourage it and confirm it in the faith. However, I have always thought that contact with persons who belong to other religious traditions is an important part of my ministry. Indeed, the Catholic Church[sic] is favorable to dialogue: dialogue with Christians of other churches and ecclesial communities, dialogue with believers of other spiritual families, and dialogue even with those who do not profess any religion. The Church establishes positive and constructive relations with persons and human groups of other creeds for a reciprocal enrichment.

Vatican Council II …. recognized that there are truth and good, seeds of the Word, in the various religious traditions. …These provide the foundations for a fruitful dialogue, as the Apostle Paul said to the first Christians: “Everything that is true, noble, just, pure, amiable, honorable, whatever is virtuous and deserves praise, let all these things be the object of your thinking.” From this comes our approach of respect [toward you]: respect for true values wherever they are, and overall respect for the man who looks to live these values that help him set aside fear.

You are strongly attached to the traditions which your ancestors transmitted to you. It is legitimate to be grateful to the ancestors who transmitted to you the sense of the sacral, faith in a one and good god [sic], the taste for celebrations, and consideration for moral life and harmony in society. (Emphasis mine). How can anyone maintain this man was "pope"? A true pope would not, indeed, could not say such about paganism.

Proselytizing Members of Voodoo Sects

I have dealt with people who practice Santeria. Since those sects (Yoruba/Voodoo/Santeria) will have some superficial knowledge of the Vatican II sect, they will claim to be "Catholic," and even cite to Wojtyla's approval. I was shown a pamphlet by the National African Religion Congress, which said, “Voodoo is based on the belief in one God. We recognize Christ as the Savior and we believe in the Holy Spirit (the Holy Loa). The Loa (singular or plural) are divine forces or the messengers of God. You may know them as the Holy Spirit, the saints or as angels. The Loa guide us and govern the activities of our daily lives.” They teach the (alleged) compatibility of Voodoo and Christianity. This is  syncretism, i.e., he combining of different beliefs, sometimes even when incompatible. 

Traditionalist Catholicism cannot be combined with Voodoo or with any other form of religious worship. To worship Christ at all is to worship Christ alone. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (St. John 14:6); He did not say, “I am a step along the way, a partial perspective on the truth, and one among many equally-valid lifestyle choices.” With Christ it is Him and His One True Church alone that saves. 

Point out the contradictions between Voodoo, etc. and Church teaching. Remember the words of Jesus himself: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (St. Matthew 7:21). The native pagan African religions are a good example of what Christ meant. None of them believe that the one true God exists in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For them, the Holy Ghost is not a Person, but a "divine force." Or He is made up of hundreds of angels (which are really demons in disguise). Since these pagan religions do not recognize God’s true Spirit, they cannot worship the true Christ, Who has unity with the Father and with the Holy Ghost but does not consort with pagan gods and goddesses.

A person could even use the heretical 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, to show inconsistencies. If the Voodoo follower then asks, "Then why did the pope say what he did?" that would be a great opportunity to talk about sedevacantism and True Catholicism. Remember, these people converse with demons. You should always, in today's evil world, carry a St. Benedict medal on your person.  Leave them with somethings to think about and pray for them much.


The African pagan sects are on the rise thanks to Vatican II and its ecclesiology from Hell. Have nothing to do with these sects and their works of darkness; to do otherwise is to invite evil into your life. By giving such evil recognition, Wojtyla was, in fact, helping them spread their wickedness. With apologies to Cole Porter, John Paul the Great Apostate is paying the price for doing that voodoo he did so well.