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Katholic Church. Alice Ann Baily.

Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj

Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D.

Are Traditional Catholics a cult ? (part 2)

- III -

Now it is all very well to point to the Church as the source of authentic and objective truth - indeed, as to the only source of such truth. But what of man's ability to recognize it? Can man ever come to certitude and be assured that he is not deluding himself? Is man capable of recognizing objective truth? All this brings us back to nature of man. I would like you to consider the following slide.

Intellection Revelation

Premise...............REASON (logic)............Conclusion

Feelings Measurable Phenomena

Modern Psychologists tell us Reason is the highest product of the evolutionary process. Now, clearly truth does not depend on reason. We do not say something is true because it is logical, but rather that it is logical because it is true. This presupposes a still higher faculty of judging or, to use the term of St. Thomas Aquinas, 'discernment.' Modern philosophers attempt to get around this problem by speaking of 'rational principles,' but forget that principles can never be derived from discursive logic. Reason cannot prove its own validity, for principles must be grasped intuitively and suprarationally. As Aristotle said, 'one does not demonstrate principles, but one perceives directly the truth thereof...' To make use of scholastic terminology, it is the pure intellect which is the habitus principorum, while reason is only the habitus conclusionum. Man then possesses reason and with it language, only because, unlike animals, he has access in principle to supra-rational vision. It is this supra-rational vision, intellection or insight that gives man, not only discernment, but certitude: certitude in his own existence as a being, confidence in the functional capacity of reason, the ability to discriminate between what is real and what is unreal, what is true and what is false. Intellection is a kind of 'seeing,' - a seeing with the 'third' or 'inner eye,' - and not a conclusion, and it is this that opens to man the possibility of metaphysical certitude. Boethius tells us that a man who defines himself as an animal who reasons has forgotten who he is - that is to say, has forgotten his true nature.

Because some of you may not be familiar with the concept that man is capable of certainty I should like to tell you a brief story. I was talking to a friend recently and I told him I had never had a religious experience. He responded much to my surprise that he had one and explained: two plus two = four. Now what he was referring to was the miracle of certitude and intellection this demonstrated. There is no one here who can seriously deny that man is capable of this certitude and thus of certitude in general. I will gladly exchange money with any of you who would argue that two plus two = five.

It should be clear that intellection has nothing to do with mental ability. This is well evidenced by what psychiatrists call idiot savants - people who can function like a computer, but who are incapable of thinking, much less intellection. But if all men are endowed with an intellect, why is it that all men do not see clearly. The answer lies in the fact that as a result of the fall - one could perhaps speak of a series of falls - our intellects have become 'clouded' and our wills 'weakened.' This does not mean that man is deprived of them, but only that they don't work as well as they should. This is precisely why a Revelation is required. Adam, required no revelation as his intellect was clear and he 'walked and talked with God.' We however, especially as we approach the end of the Kali Yuga, are desperately in need of a guidance which is precisely why there is Revelation.

True religion clearly provides man with objective truths; it also hold that man is capable of objectivity. Man is capable of using his intellect to determine what is objectively real and of discriminating between this and what is illusory. This requires on his part a certain act of the will. Man's will is also capable of objectivity for he can and must choose to accept these objective criteria or reject them and must suffer the consequences which flow from this choice. With freedom comes responsibility. This ability to intellect and to choose, to know the good and to desire the good, are qualities man shares by participation with God and hence man is said to be made in the 'image of God.' By using our intellects and wills correctly we 'participate' in the divine life. Modern man, seeing himself as made 'in the image of an amoeba,' does not believe it is possible to know truth or God who is the essence of truth, much less desire Him. Hence he does not believe he is responsible to anything other than his fellow amoebas. And this brings us to another principle, namely that man is responsible and hence when he dies he will be rewarded or punished in accord with how he uses both his intellect and his free will.

Before going on to define the nature of a cult there are a few more characteristics of a true religion which we should consider. Implicit in the diagram which I showed is that there is a hierarchy in man in which what is higher must rule over what is lower - not only must our intellects and wills rule over our passions, but ultimately the Spirit of God that dwells in us by Grace must rule over our intellects and wills. Putting this in other terms, objective truth and objective response demands on the part of man a spiritual life the goal of which is the sanctification of his soul. This in turn not only demands a strict moral code which is predispositive to the spiritual life, but also the more "active" response of a life of prayer.

This 'objective' view of reality not only effects our spiritual lives; it also is reflected in the social order. Not only must we order our inner lives in accordance with the divine will, we must also do this with regard to our outer or social lives. If there is a hierarchy in man, there must also be a hierarchical structure in the family. The family is thus a 'mini-Church.' Just as God is our Father in heaven, so also is the priest our Father - God's representative in the community, and so also is the Father God's representative in the family. As with the priest, the purpose of this is not to make him a despot, but rather a saint and a conduit for sanctifying those under his authority - be it the community or the family. There is no privilege in the divine order without corresponding responsibility.

And by further extension, this should ideally apply to society around us. All authority comes from God, but it is mediated through various intermediaries who in exercising that authority must try to be as perfect conduits as possible. If we daily pray 'Thy Kingdom come on earth,' we must remember that heaven also is a hierarchical society. Objectively speaking all this translates into certain fundamental principles in the social order. For one, we know we cannot achieve a perfect utopia in this world, one in which all men are equal and in which God is excluded. We further know that we cannot change man by changing society - rather we must start with ourselves. All this is not to say that man should not, in conformity with his nature, and with simple good sense, attempt to overcome the evils he encounters in the course of life - for this he requires no injunctions either divine or human. But to seek to establish a certain state of well being with God in view is one thing, and to seek to institute a perfect state of happiness on earth apart from God is quite another. In any event, the latter aim is foredoomed to failure precisely because the lasting elimination of our miseries is dependent upon our conforming to the divine Equilibrium, and upon our establishing the Kingdom of God within our own souls.

These then are some of the objective responses required of man - responses of which he is always capable. The two fundamentals to be remembered is that truth is objective and man is capable of objectivity. But what has this to do with the nature of cults. The answer is simple. A cult is any deviation from this pattern of objectivity. And since this pattern of objectivity is enshrined in the true Catholic faith, it follows that a cult is any deviation from that faith. I would ask you consider the following slide. Here we see a a pseudo-scientific graph in which the vertical axis represents the fullness of the faith and the horizontal axis the progression of time. Now the descending curve drawn from the left to the right is what I shall call the "cultic curve." From the beginning we see a certain tendency of mankind to deviate. With the course of time this tendency to fall away increases exponentially or at an increasingly rapid rate. You will notice that the curve never reaches bottom. This is not only because we cannot know when the end will come - even the angels do not know this, but also because total inversion, like total error, is an impossibility. Error can only be conceived of as a departure from truth.

You will also notice a little figure about half way down the curve. I have introduced a break in the curve with this figure not because deviation from the norm is not a continuity, but because at this point the break becomes quite clear. This is the point at which man no longer prays. It is interesting that one of the mediaeval descriptions of Antichrist is as a person whose knee joints are formed backwards - that is a person incapable of kneeling down to pray. Now a cult may not forbid prayer - though some actually do - the usual technique is to say that prayer is "optional." Those familiar with the rubrics of the New Mass know what "optional" means. It means something left in so Traditional Catholics cannot say it was deleted - but at the same time something which is meant to be ignored. The question to be asked is whether or not a member of a cult prays. When man no longer turns towards God, his chances of reversing the fall become increasingly poor. From a certain point of view it matters not where one falls on the curve for any departure of truth not attributable to invincible ignorance places oneself outside the ark of salvation. But from another point of view one can say that the farther one finds oneself from the truth, the more difficult is any reversal of one's condition.

At the start of this talk I gave various definitions of the word cult when used in a pejorative sense. I then pointed out that implicit in the current use of the term was the idea the religious beliefs of such a group were erroneous, that the group in question was small and some how different from the surrounding culture, and that there was an element of brainwashing or mind control involved. Can any of these criticisms be leveled at Traditional Catholics . The answer is clearly yes. We are a small group and inevitably we are at odds with the surrounding culture. And it is clearly true that we try to influence the thinking and behavior of those for whom we are responsible. As such we are bound to appear to some as a cult . However, if the reason we are a small group and if the reason we are at odds with the prevailing culture and if the reason we try to influence the thinking and actions of those we are responsible for is that we have the fullness of the truth such criticisms become meaningless.

It is perhaps better not to claim that 'we' have the fullness of the truth, for in fact it is only ours by adoption. In so far as we adhere to the constant teaching of the Church, no one can accuse us of adhering to other than purely objective truth. Nor has anyone in two thousand years been able to destroy the objective and authentic nature of that truth. As to brainwashing, it is clear that it is precisely because we adhere to objective truth that we are incapable of being brainwashed. That we are few in number is precisely because we are not brainwashed, and that we are at odds with the prevailing culture around us is a result of our adherence to the truth.

This way of viewing things gives us an important insight into the surrounding culture. I have already pointed out that everyone is a believer in one thing or another. During my professional career I was often referred to as a "believer" by others who declared they were not believers. In point of fact, they were much more believers than I ever was. They just believed in vastly different things. However they did so with a blind faith and with a conviction which far surpassed my own. They were in fact members of a host of cults all holding to basically similar doctrines. I have already covered some of these - just to review them once again, they are that Man qua man is at the apex of the evolutionary stream. He has replaced God at the center of the universe. He is the self validating source of all truth and has a right to believe whatever he thinks is true. This is the basis of his faith. He is convinced that he is creating a better world, one in which suffering and perhaps even death will be eliminated. This is his hope. And he believes there is no better thing he can do than to help his fellow man. This is his charity. Given these criteria it becomes clear that one of the biggest cults around is none other than the post-Conciliar Church.

There is one last point I would like to cover and that deals with what I shall call cultic tendencies among Traditional Catholic groups. The essentials characteristics of any religion are, as I have said, Creed, cult and Code. Now sine qua non of traditional Catholicism is clearly adherence to the constant teaching and practice of the Church. There can be very little doubt about what the Church teaches. If two people disagree about a given teaching of the Church they can look it up in literally thousands of different places. Now when a priest who claims the title of traditional demands of us that we follow his or some other person's personal opinion on but one point that departs from the constant teaching of the Church, we must label him and those that follow him a cult . Let me give you two examples. Those that reject baptism of desire and baptism of blood are members of a cult . Those who teach that one can disobey a valid pope commanding within the proper realm of his authority are a cult . Pope Leo XIII was quite clear: to reject even one teaching of the Church is equivalent to rejecting them all. When we listen to a priest, we have absolutely no interest in his personal or subjective opinions. His authority and his function depend upon his being a conduit for the objective truth. In his function as priest, he speaks to others, not as Father Bob, but as an alter Christus. We do not confess to Father Bob, but to Christ. The priest on the altar does not say the Words of Consecration as a private individual, as we might say them when we read the Gospel Story, but as an alter Christus.

Similarly with the sacraments. We know the nature of the sacraments used by the Church throughout her history and in the practical order we adhere to this usage because we also know that to participate in or confect a doubtful sacrament is sacrilege. Priests who use strange and innovative sacraments are either setting up their own cult or following someone else's cult .

When we come to code we begin to have problems. Let me explain.

It is easy to agree on the usage of the 1917 Code for the 1983 code was created to establish the errors of Vatican II firmly on the basis of law. Now the problem doesn't lie in what the Code says, but in its application to present circumstances. All law - and the Code is a listing of laws - requires interpretation. This is why we have lawyers. And since lawyers disagree, this is why we have judges and supreme courts. Unfortunately, in the present state of the Church we have no universally recognized higher authority. Hence when different bishops, priests, and even layman insist that only their interpretation is acceptable and those who disagree are outside the Church, we have problems. It is this tendency more than anything else which has made it impossible for Traditional Catholics to present a united front in the face of the worldly cults that surround them.

One occasionally comes across traditional priests who insert their own personality between Christ and their congregations. They do this in a variety of ways such as teaching doctrines which are not strictly speaking Catholic, or making up Canon laws which have no foundation in fact. This can be fairly innocent in that it is almost impossible not to insert one's personality into any teaching setting. But if in doing so, the priest or nun obscures the truth in any degree, he runs the risk of turning the traditional Church into a cult . The principle of "He must increase and I must decrease"; should always be in the mind of any religious, as indeed, in the mind of any Catholic. Here of course, we are talking of degree rather than of promulgating committed error.

The importance of being able to objectively define the nature of cults is not so much to allow us to defend ourselves against false accusations - it goes without saying that if we are not accused of being a cult , we will be accused of something else - but rather to protect ourselves against falling unwittingly into the very attitudes that the cults promulgate. In what little time is left I should like to tell you a little about the New Age Religion. I would ask you to note that there is very little to choose between it and the post-Conciliar religion. But far more dangerous to us is the kind of world view it projects, a world view which we must be aware of if we would protect our children.

- IV -

Most Traditional Catholics are rather unfamiliar with the fastest growing cult in the western world. I refer to the New Age Religion. Needless to say, like most forms of error, this new religion is not new. Sin and error may change their style, but never their nature. We have however to start somewhere so I shall start with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She was born in 1875 and founded the Theosophical Society which was closely tied to Freemasonry. Strongly influenced by the evolutionary thinking of that era, the Theosophists also believed in the existence of "masters" who were either "spirit beings" or fortunate men who were more highly "evolved" than the common heard. Madam Blavatsky was in "telepathic communication" with these beings and served as a "fulcrum" for the masters starting in 1867 until her death in 1891.

Theosophists were from the start against all orthodox forms of religion, and above all against the Roman Catholic Church. They attacked it both from without and from within - the latter by forming various organizations such as Esoteric or Hermetic Christianity and later the so-called Liberal Catholic Church. Leaders of this society were instructed by their spirit masters to keep their teachings secret for 100 years, until about 1975.

In India Blavatsky was joined by an English Clergyman named Leadbetter, a homosexual who was under the direction of a Spirit Master named Koot Hoomi. He incidentally wrote the first modern revised order of the Mass - a somewhat mild affair when compared to Bugnini's masterpiece. They were joined by Colonel Olcott who was later to play the same role in Cinghalese Buddhism that Annie Bessant played in Hinduism. When Blavatsky died Annie Bessant became the leader and she along with her colleagues decided to train a young Hindu named Krishnamurti to fulfill the role of Anti-Christ. He and his father however objected and broke away from her influence which greatly angered the 'masters.' The torch was then passed to a certain Alice Ann Baily, a beautiful young woman born to position in England and who eventually married an Episcopalian clergyman in this country. She was a prolific writer and organized the Arcane School, the New Group of World Servers, Triangles, World Good Will, and a host of other early New Age groups. She also established the Lucifer Publishing House - still active under the title of Lucis Publishing. These groups spread theosophical ideas throughout the western world.

An interesting facet of the story is that Annie Bessant and Colonel Olcott were paid by British Intelligence to undermine the religious structure of the Indians and Singhalese. They did this by creating by adopting a hodge-poge of Hindu concepts and totally modernizing them. They were responsible for creating the Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj, two new Hindu sects which followed Protestant principles and were very attractive to Indians trying to come to terms with the modern world. Orthodox Hinduism strongly rejected these movements and characterized the spirit masters as nothing other than demons. I mention this however because it explains the seeming connection between Hinduism and the New Age Regions movements in this country.

1962 was another landmark year, for this was when the Scottish community of Findhorn was established by Eileen Caddy who meticulously followed the Ann Baily's writings. They were soon joined by David Spangler who was said to have 'Christ energies,' and who became their spiritual adviser. He of course received frequent transmissions from his many spirit guides which including 'individuals' named Maitreya, Rakoczi. In 1973 Spangler came to north American and established the Lorian Association by means of which they have infiltrated almost every other organization and Church in the western world.

Another supposed link with Hinduism is provided by Dr. Murphy of the Eselin Institute who spent several years in India studying with Sri Aurobindo - a strange individual best characterized as the Teilhard de Chardin of Hinduism. He incidentally is or was also the spiritual director of Father Bede Griffiths, the Benedictine monk in South India deeply involved in the inculturation process. The Eselin Institute brings in a close tie with modern psychology and the use of a variety of techniques to alter people's states of consciousness - drugs, sports, music, yoga, etc., etc. An interesting tie in here is provided by Carl Jung who himself was taught by a spirit guide called Philomath. It was Philomath who introduced him to the idea of the collective subconscious when he broke away from Freud. Jung is one of the darlings of the post-Conciliar establishment.

New Agers cannot be dismissed as a batch of kooks. During the past 15 years they have spread throughout the western world to the point that today almost every city in this country has New Age fairs on an annual basis. Seemingly those involved have a wide variety of different religious attitudes which gives the movement a somewhat nebulous character. Not all of them advocate each and every principle that we have considered in outline. But all of them have certain characteristics in common.

Consider their ecumenical character. All religions are good as long as they make you feel good. According to the planned outline given in Ann Baily's books however, initially New Agers are to argue for religious liberty and ecumenism in their public releases. But once religious exclusivism is broken down, their books openly call for a new mandatory world religion, a religion completely breaking with the concept of Jesus Christ and God as Father. Those who do not go along with this are to be eliminated by means of violence - called by her 'a cleansing action.'

None of them advocate a life of prayer or discipline, but rather support the principle of doing your own thing. All of them have an open attitude towards sexual promiscuity and what is euphemistically called alternative live styles. They don't openly advocate these things - such is hardly necessary in our day. But underlying the attack on sexual morals is an attack on the family. We are all meant to be members of one world and loyalties are not to be to family or even nation, but ultimately to the one world structure. It follows that all of them are utopian in outlook and look forward to the creation of a new age, the age of Aquarius, which will be characterized by all the dreams of the new egalitarian socialist order. All of them see man as being at the center of creation, as being the self-validating source of truth and as needing no higher authority for guidance. All of them decry doctrine and orthodoxy and talk of love.

The logical conclusion for those who reject guidance from above is to subject themselves to guidance from below. And so it is not surprising to find New Agers addicted to what is called 'channeling.' Channeling could be a perfectly legitimate term. One could speak of the priest as being a channel for grace. But this is far from what the New Agers have in mind. Channeling is essentially a means or method of changing the person's state of consciousness in order for him or her to establish contact with spirit guides. Now the New Agers use a variety of techniques to achieve this - repetition of meaningless mantras, music, yogic practices - incidentally, any orthodox Hindu would be horrified at the idea of Americans practicing yoga - even sports. But techniques for doing this have improved with time and one of the best is using crystals. Bookstores abound with a variety of do it yourself manuals.

Recently I came across a most interesting text. It is a book written by a 'psychic counselor' named Dr. Cathryn Rydell who for years worked within the establishment as a counselor, social worker and administrator, but who for the past seven years has been helping people get in touch with their own spirit guides. She made a study of the teachings of some 200 spirit guides with the assistance of her colleagues and students and summarized them in the following manner.

1) Consciousness in the universe continually evolves, moving towards higher levels of compassion and unconditional love.

2) Many different kinds of life are conscious and involved in the process of evolution. Beings who have developed beyond us, and parts of ourselves that are more conscious than our personalities, can guide human beings in their evolution.

3) The earth is currently at a critical point in its development. Between now and the year 2011 we will witness a major shift in values, life-styles, and spiritual orientation as we move into greater spiritual maturity.

4) To reach this stage of maturity the earth will need to undergo a major purification of existing values and social organization. Major changes in the earth itself - such as earth quakes and volcanic activity - may accompany these activities

5) Many guides have now made themselves available to help us through these changes and enter a new age of harmony and world peace. New energies of a higher frequency are currently pouring into our world.

6) The human being is one part of a multi-dimensional soul or god-self. We are much, much more than we think we are. This is of course pantheism.

7) We create our own experience on all levels of reality. Matter follows thought. Our physical reality is created and shaped by our subjective beliefs.

8) Although our individual expression demonstrates much diversity, we are all ultimately one.

Now, what I would like to suggest to you is that this is pure Teilhardianism. But it goes much farther, for it advocates changing our states of awareness by a variety of techniques so as to admit or submit to the influence of spirit guides. Dr. Rydell's spirit guide is named Diya. She once asked him who he was. He answered by asking her if she believed in angels. He didn't say he was an angel - though as we know, demons are in fact fallen angels. Dr. Rydell concluded that it really didn't matter where the information came from as long as the experience was valuable to her. Diya expanded her view of conscious life, explaining, and I quote, that 'we are all part of an evolutionary chain; that love is the glue of the universe, the force which holds together all form, even molecules; and that the primary function of the spirit guides was to help us see the God in ourselves, to know our own multidimensional nature - to reflect our own inner nature to us and help us reach our own unique expression.'

Once again, allow me to point to the similarity between these ideas and what is taught by Vatican II, by the liberal protestant churches and indeed by the entire ethos of the modern world. The Age of Aquarius is coming. It will be an age of Centered on man as man, an age in which a new humanism will prevail, an age in which man is his own source of truth and creates his own reality. An age in which there will not only be a single political order, but one in which there will also be a single man made - or spirit master made - religion. It will be an age where the inversion is virtually complete and one in which the reign of Christ will be replaced by the reign of Antichrist. Then it is that the reality of our faith will shine forth.

Let me conclude with a caveat. We are indeed fortunate not to have wandered from the true faith. But with the gift which is ours - clearly not deserved - comes a great responsibility. We cannot turn the world around. God will do that in his own good time. But we can bear witness to the truth which is given us, and the only way we can do this is by sanctifying our lives through prayer and knowledge. We must know our faith. We must live our faith. And, we must be ready to die for our faith. If we don't we will ourselves end up in one of the innumerable cults that surround us. .

Katholic Church.Hhabitus principorum. Discernment rational principles scholastic terminology idiot savants objective truths progress life of prayer hierarchical society. Hierarchical society telepathic communication. Liberal Catholic Church. Alice Ann Baily. Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj. David Spangler - Lorian Association. New Agers. Sexual promiscuity. Age of Aquarius

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