St. Hildegard’s Cryptic Message to Clerics Who “Neglect the Precepts they Were Meant to Uphold”

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Cardinal Walter Kasper

In light of the upcoming final session of the Synod of the Family, with the “shadow synod” lurking in the background: closed-door meetings and behind-the-scenes strategy sessions to ensure success in their determination to overturn Church teaching on communion for the divorced and remarried. What came to my mind was a particular vision of St. Hildegard’s as recalled by Pope Benedict XVI, which in turn brought to mind a scene from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

PAPAL ADDRESS TO THE ROMAN CURIA, 2010

The focal point of Benedict’s Christmas speech were the revelations of a new series of sex abuse accusations against priests which had surfaced throughout Europe during the year. Recall that 2010 was the “Year of the Priest”; Benedict laments the unexpected irony:

“…[W]hen in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred, profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime.”

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Today’s “Soft Despotism” and St. Hildegard’s Futuristic Visions

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of the Archdiocese of Miami recently celebrated a Red Mass for members of the legal community. His homily touched on the legal troubles currently facing the Catholic Church:

“And so in our country as in other Western countries, we see a tendency to relegate religion to the private sphere. And, in these countries, we see the courts chipping away at the original understanding of religious freedom. In order to fit new political agendas, religious freedom is being reinterpreted narrowly to mean merely “freedom to worship” but excluding the freedom to serve and/or the freedom to witness. The Catholic Church in this country is currently battling in legislatures and in courts against this tendency. And it is not clear that we will prevail. Education, family law, healthcare are just some of the areas in which narrow readings of religious freedom are paving the way for antireligious policies.”

According to St. Hildegard’s vision of the fourth beast, the Black Pig, we will not prevail. This era, which began in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union, is unusual in that it is focused squarely on society’s leaders rather than the people themselves. She explains that the blackness is caused by the pig rolling around in mud and excrement, reflecting the corrupt nature of this era’s leaders:

“…[T]his epoch will have leaders who blacken themselves in misery and wallow in the mud of impurity. They will infringe the divine law by fornication and other like evils and will plot to diverge from the holiness of God’s commands”[Scivias, Book III, Vision 11]

The reason we will not prevail has to do with Hildegard’s explanation of the symbolism of the ropes, which signifies that the particular evil that characterizes each era will be present from its beginning to its end. Archbishop Wenski goes on to call what’s happening to the Church “soft despotism”:

“…[I]n this country and other liberal democracies, people of faith are being increasingly subject to a soft despotism in which ridicule, ostracism, and denial of employment opportunities of advancement are being used to marginalize us. We see this when butchers, and bakers and candlestick makers are being put into the legal dock for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs. …Christian pastors are stalked and threatened for being “Christian” pastors, social scientists are expelled from universities for having turned up “politically incorrect” facts, charitable organizations and confessional schools are harassed if they take seriously their faith’s moral precepts and required their employees to support their missions.”

I discuss this present era at length in the book. Until it ends, however, what signifies the era, the actions of leaders who “…plot to diverge from the holiness of God’s commands,” will continue unabated. Catholics should be prepared for this to intensify.

…rjt

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“Either They Shall Stay Together in Righteous Union, or They Shall Both Abstain From Such Unions!” St. Hildegard on Divorce and Remarriage

marriage2In her first book, Scivias, within which we find the vision of the five beasts, many of St.Hildegard’s twenty-six visions included references to matters relating to marriage and sexuality. Her language at times can be rather blunt, employing less than delicate phraseology. The visions of this twelfth-century Doctor of the Church can take the form of direct warnings from God, written in the style of an Old Testament prophet, “Thus saith the Lord…”, taking the form of a first-person oration by God Himself! This is uncommon in medieval mystical literature and more unusual in that it comes through the voice of a woman. An example of this comes from Book 1,Vision 2,Chapter 3, in which the text is specifically referring to prohibitions against incestual relationships (All quotations herein are taken from the following translation: Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, translated by Columba Hart and Jane Bishop. The Abby of Regina Laudis: Benedictine Congregation Regina Laudis of the Strict Observance, Inc. Paulist Press, 1990.):

…[F]or the embraces of a man and woman related by blood would be wickedly enkindled into shameless fornication and ceaseless lust much more than those of unrelated people. I am explaining this by this person [Hildegard], …she is receiving this explanation not from human knowledge but from God. (p.82)

The Medieval scholars that stumbled across Hildegard’s little known Latin works in the late twentieth-century were astounded by the authority in her first-person voice of God. She discusses marriage in the Second Vision of Book One, the context of which covers the fall of Adam and Eve:

But if either husband or wife breaks the law by fornication, …they shall undergo the just censure of the spiritual magisterium. For the husband shall complain of the wife, or the wife of the husband, about their sin against their union before the Church and its prelates, according to the justice of God; but not so that the husband or wife can seek another marriage; either they shall stay together in righteous union, or they shall both abstain from such unions, as the discipline of Church practice shows. (p.78)

Continue reading ““Either They Shall Stay Together in Righteous Union, or They Shall Both Abstain From Such Unions!” St. Hildegard on Divorce and Remarriage”

Fifty Shades of Degradation

Over at Bonfire of the Vanities blog Fr. Fox and his Archbishop, Dennis Shnurr, take a shot at the upcoming movie. The Archbishop had issued a statement to his priests:

The movie is a direct assault on Christian marriage and on the moral and spiritual strength of God’s people.We need to inform our people about the destructive message of this movie and to highlight the beauty of God’s design for loving relationships between a husband and wife in the bond of marriage.

I’m more inclined towards Fr. Fox’s wording:

This movie is filth; it is evil. I’m sure it’s pretty, and has lots of fine production values, yadda-yadda. I can think of no excuse for anyone to buy a ticket to it; or, for that matter, to buy the book. It is also intensely degrading, particularly toward women.

While Father might not see a reason to buy the book, a lot of other people did; what is worth noting is not only the book’s extreme sado-masochistic content, but its broad popularity. According to Wiki, it has sold over 100 million copies and was the fastest-selling paperback in U.K. history. Also, as I understand it, the vast majority of buyers are young women, who I suppose enjoy reading about the degradation of another young woman.

America has contributed quite a lot toward the perversion of Western society, The Kinsey Report, for example, which was a bestseller back in 1948, internet porn, …etc. etc. But the popularity of this thing strikes me as reflecting that our already-debased secular culture has reached a new low. If there is a chastisement, America should be first in line, (see previous post).

…rjt

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The Angelic Warfare Confraternity

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A Dominican apostolate, the confraternity is open to all Catholics (including married Catholics) who want to commit themselves to a chaste/pure life. It was founded in the 17th century and is based on an incident in the life of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas’ family opposed his desire for the monastic life so his brothers kidnapped him and locked him in the family’s tower. They then hired a prostitute to seduce him hoping it would cure him of his wish to live as a chaste monk. Thomas’ flew into a rage, grabbing a red-hot iron poker from the fireplace he chased her out of the room. He then emblazoned a cross on the door, fell to the floor, and thanked God. Continue reading “The Angelic Warfare Confraternity”