Multiplying the Universe

The Big Bang theory was first described, but not so named, by the French Jesuit Georges Lemaître in the late 1920s. His picture of the universe expanding from a single point was certainly controversial but has now become scientific orthodoxy. The exploration of its implications is today the preoccupation of many of the world’s physicists. I like to mention his name when I hear the Church being accused of opposing science.

But Big Bang theory has itself expanded in the most remarkable and bizarre ways; it is an interesting story.

The universe has from its first micro instant expanded with enormous speed and power. But there is a problem. In order for our universe to have developed there are, I am informed, some 25 parameters which have to be correct in order for our universe to support life. Gravity must be just right, the electron’s charge must be of the strength needed. The “strong nuclear force” requires the right level in order for there to be carbon or life, and so on. There is even a tiny “cosmological constant” without which the universe would not enjoy accelerating expansion.

The universe is supremely finely tuned. And that is a problem because it suggests a fine tuner. Embarrassment upon embarrassment: it seems to hint at God.

But resourceful physicists are not daunted. They argue thus: suppose there is a million-to-one chance against all these factors being exactly as they are. Then we only have to presume that there are a million different universes to make it reasonable to expect that one universe will have the characteristics to support intelligent life. And of course we happen to be that intelligent life. I am told that the chances are a great deal larger than a million to one. The figure is uncertain – even the exact number of parameters is uncertain. We would need many millions of universes to meet the challenge, and it just so happens that millions of universes are exactly what we have.

Where are they all? They are, in principle, beyond our capacity to detect because the universe is not only expanding, it is accelerating beyond the speed of light. Thus no information can ever get back to us. These further universes are, as they say, beyond our “event horizon”. However, it may be possible to make predictions of the effect of this extended cosmos, and then check whether these predictions are verified. There is now a growing speculation about universes existing before the Big Bang – if that actually happened, and even the idea that we are simply the construct of the inhabitants of a superior universe.

How many universes? That depends on which of the several multiverse theories you adopt. You could, for example, go for an infinite number of universes. And literally so – I am reproduced in them an infinite number of times, sitting at my computer typing this. In another I am being decorated with the VC; in yet another, I am shot for cowardice.

But that may be over the top. String theorists are content with worlds numbering 10 to the power of 500. This is a very large number, and I would have thought abundant for the task in question. String theory could be the backing for the “theory of everything”, which links quantum effects with gravity. And some believe that the fluctuations which take place at the quantum level relate through inflation to fluctuations on the cosmic scale.

Some observers take a cynical view of this profusion, but the physicists are busy developing their various models and trying to discover at least indirect ways of verifying them. We should take an interest in this search since the existence of multiverses about which we can by definition know nothing is apparently of little value to the man on the Clapham omnibus – who is ultimately funding the investigation.

Nor should we assume that this quest is solely to answer the possibility that there is a fine tuner responsible for our universe, although it may have been a motivation. There are great minds working away at this question, and reporting fruitful results. That the various theories suggest different models is only to be expected when the problem is so large and the evidence so far beyond us – and getting further with every second.

But one might at least ask whether this is a truly scientific discipline since science is concerned with hypotheses which can be tested through just the sort of empirical evidence, which is excluded in this case. It has been suggested that this is not physics but mathematics – where the only multiverse we can know is to be found in an equation.

But perhaps the most outstanding irony is that, while multiverses might obviate the need for a fine tuner, they do not address the question of creation ex nihilo. Indeed their existence could only lead to a deeper perception of God’s creative power. While belief in God is of a different order from a belief in reductionist physical theories, and indeed they can both be true in their own terms, I wonder why so many scientists who are incredulous of the former can be so childishly credulous of the latter.

I keep an open mind. I am untroubled by universes I cannot see. If there are duplicates, triplicates or infinicates of me, I can only think that to be a good thing. But mastering the Clapham omnibus is as much an intellectual stimulus as I need for the time being.

Visit Secondsightblog.net (which was visited 34,000 times, internationally, in 2011) and tell us about your universe.

New Scientist 28 November 2011 Ultimate Guide to the Multiverse

Scientific American August 2011 Does the Multiverse really Exist?

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Catholic Herald columns, Church and Society, Philosophy, Quentin queries and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

155 Responses to Multiplying the Universe

  1. James H says:

    “While belief in God is of a different order from a belief in reductionist physical theories, and indeed they can both be true in their own terms, I wonder why so many scientists who are incredulous of the former can be so childishly credulous of the latter.”

    Indeed. The phrase ‘Clutching at straws’ springs to mind. It may just be that string theory (assuming the equations are eventually solved) points to the existence of multiple universes, but until it does, the Multiverse isn’t science, but speculation.

    I can’t put the case any better than here:
    http://agentintellect.blogspot.com/2012/01/multiversial-musings.html

  2. tim says:

    ” There is now a growing speculation about universes existing before the Big Bang –…. and even the idea that we are simply the construct of the inhabitants of a superior universe.” Sounds pretty orthodox (as theology, rather than physics)?

    This notion of multiple universes is an interesting variant of Darwinism – variation without selection. Given that God is infinite, I don’t see any theological problem (apart from the feeling that God wouldn’t do it like that, which can hardly be reliable, when we look at all the unlikely things we know He does do). Maybe it’s not true that universes (unlike theories) are not to be created without necessity?

  3. Iona says:

    Do physicists themselves actually believe that what their theorising leads to is real?
    (Is there a physicist in the house?)
    Or is it more a case of “shut up and do the maths”?

  4. Ion Zone says:

    A lot of physicists are religious. Hell, a lot of them are ordained priests. Our own Vatican Astronomer is an expert on disc galaxies. You might wonder why the Vatican has an Astronomer on the books if they are so anti-science. The truth is they are not and have never been anti-science. This is an ‘enlightenment’ era myth. Why does the Vatican have an astronomer? Why, to run the Vatican Observatory, one of the oldest and most reputable scientific institutions in the world. These guys aren’t screwing around here.

    http://vaticanobservatory.org/

    And lets not forget the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/own/documents/rc_pa_acdscien_doc_10121999_history_en.html

    So why does the Catholic Church have such a bad reputation in this regard? Why are they seen as being anti-science when they pour money into adult stem cell research and many other fields? When several Popes have spoken out in approval of the theory of Evolution? The answer is because the atheists, have long spread and encouraged the old Protestant rumours, propaganda, miss-truths, and, dare I say it, outright lies, about us to further their ideology. Why do they continue to say that religion is anti-science when scientists have spoken out on religion’s behalf? When MOST scientists, throughout history, have been religious – if not a priest or equivalent (like Georges Lemaître, or the founders of any good university you care to name – including Oxford). For the same reason they insist on lumping all forms of religion together and blaming us for everything they can. It’s because they hate and fear Christianity and desperately want something to blame, some enemy to unite against and strike down (as they have tried to before).

    If you want to read up on this supposed ‘conflict’, I would look up a book called “Galileo Goes To Jail”, it’s a series of essays by Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and atheist scholars debunking most every part of the conflict.

    • John Candido says:

      You have missed the point somewhat. The Catholic Church is selective as to what science it is prepared to accommodate. It is very touchy and circumspect when contemporary Medicine, Psychiatry, Genetics, Psychology, and Sociology have anything to say about sexuality, when it contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church.

      • tim says:

        And reasonably so. Had it been more credulous, it might have swallowed Freudianism whole, as so many did.

      • milliganp says:

        I’m not sure what “science” you are claiming the church rejects. Yes we know that we can now use genetic technology to create ova free of a certain condition, but that does not make it moral. We now know more about homosexuality than we did in the past and while recognising the need for pastoral care and sensitivity it does not make sodomy any less contrary to Christian teaching.

    • John Candido says:

      It is entirely reasonable to either accept or reject a psychological theory such as Freudianism, with no conclusions that are drawn from the use of statistics in observable experiments. Rejecting contemporary research in medicine, psychiatry, genetics, sexology and psychology in human sexuality, is quite another.

  5. st.joseph says:

    Also through science came the knowledge of the accuracy of a womans fertility
    Pope Paul V1 continually asked scientists to research this when proclaiming Humanae Vitae.
    This is not ignorance from the Dark Ages as some may suggest and would like to , so as to undermine the Churches teaching on Humanae Vitae.

  6. Ion Zone says:

    Ah yes, the infamous Dark Ages. You’ll be pleased to hear they have been labelled a myth by historians worldwide. They now call them the ‘Early Middle Ages’. When did this happen, you might ask? Why about eighty years ago…….

  7. Iona says:

    Funnily enough, our PP’s homily last Sunday touched on exactly this science v. faith debate, and he mentioned a number of Catholic priests and monks who have also been scientists. I asked him afterwards for some references, and he has given me two from Wikipaedia, – “List of Roman Catholic cleric-scientists” which is 14 pages long, and “List of Christian thinkers in science” which is 26 pages long.

  8. claret says:

    Perhaps one of the ‘myths’ that needs de-bunking is that all of todays scientists are atheists. One has to be careful of surveys, (how many questioned, the type of question etc.) but of the one survey I recall of this type the majority of scientists were not atheists. They may have had different concepts of God but so have we all to some degree.

  9. claret says:

    I forgot to add that you could fill a universe with all these different concepts !

  10. Horace says:

    Quentin, I think you are being a little hard on the scientific fraternity when you say”-
    “But one might at least ask whether this is a truly scientific discipline since science is concerned with hypotheses which can be tested through just the sort of empirical evidence, which is excluded in this case.”

    You did after all say:-
    “it may be possible to make predictions of the effect of this extended cosmos, and then check whether these predictions are verified.
    . . . the physicists are busy developing their various models and trying to discover at least indirect ways of verifying them.”

    • Quentin says:

      Fair point, Horace. But that question is actually asked by some reputable scientists. The dispute appears to be whether the indirect proofs can constitute scientifically adequate explanations. It is interesting that mutually exclusive models are claimed to conform with indirect proofs. No one that I have read has raised the “Popperian” standard of falsifiability.

      • Rahner says:

        But how much science would exist if we could only rely on “direct proofs” – whatever that means?

  11. Nektarios says:

    Before we jump to conclusions or speculations, mathematical or mentally of other universes or multiple universes, it is logical to think like that in one sense the problem as Quentin put it,
    `I cannot see’.
    Multiple universes is logical. If there is one there must be others. Right? The same way we think if there is a car there must be more cars, trains planes and so on. But this is but projections of our thoughts.

    The Universe, with all its wonders, space suns, galaxies with billions of suns and so on, we are told declare God’s Glory. We are part of that.
    Finally for now, Do you realise everything visible within the Universe dies, comes to an end,
    and in that ending it has its beginning. We are part of all that process.
    What is God telling us in this Universe He has made? What is this Glory of God through the Universe He has made that He is declaring?

  12. st.joseph says:

    Has anyone seen the DVD of ‘The Star of Bethlehem’.?
    I must say I found it absolutely fascinating-exciting and emotional.
    The Presenter showed how the Bible from the first Book of (I think Job) prophesied the events from the Universe as spoken by God.
    He says in his introduction ‘Was the Star a real event or something made up by the Church?.
    I saw the DVD 1n 2006,and everytime I look at it and see how it reads with Scripture and the apostles Matthew and Paul and the Old Testament., even to the dates of The Day of the Cross &
    St John in the Book of Revelation.
    I lent it to a priest once and he was not impressed by it.
    The reviews on the Bethelem Star.net are all very much convincing.
    It is still selling well.
    I believe that it was Gods plan in the beginning how he arranged the Universe.
    I am not very experienced in scientific matters, I didn’t learn much at school, leaving at 14 1/2 but now at 70 I am still learning.It does not alter my faith but very often confirms it.

  13. Geordie says:

    When I was young atheists used scoffed at the idea that anything could be made out of nothing. Then the Big Bang theory came along. Now atheists say it is possible that matter evolved out of nothing. Then came the idea of multiuniverses which were the origin of our universe. It’s all possible but why won’t atheists accept that the existence of God is possible. I have some sympathy for agnostics but very little for atheists. Atheists say that the existence of an infinite being is against reason. It is no more unreasonable than the existence of an infinite number of universes. Is it the moral code of an infinite being which atheists find unacceptable?

  14. Nektarios says:

    Geordie

    We are looking into multi-universes or possibility of such things.
    Scientists go from the known to projecting a hypothesis about what ever, set up experiments
    and so on. This is very slow as they seek to prove their hypothesis or ideas.

    Perhaps this may be why scientists and atheists have difficulty.

    You say,`Atheists say, that the existence of an infinite being is against reason &c.
    Can we go step by step to discover not only if there is such a One Infinite Being and what we mean? Assertions by themselves are meaningless.
    If the Universe declares His glory, then we have to understand what that is – for you and I and everything else is part of that Universe.
    So, how are we going to logically, rationally, and sanely look at the universe and read in it
    not only our own origins, but the origins of everything, The journey of everything and the ending
    of everything and in that ending, the beginning of everything? How shall we proceed?

  15. Quentin says:

    Nektarios has sent me a link to some splendid pictures of the universe — take from the Hubble telescope. His recommendation is that perhaps we should be meditating on the universe we can already see, and the glory of God which it presents to us. The link is at http://plafstudiesdotcom.posterous.com/hubble-space-photos-awesome. I have to say that the pictures, in full screen, are truly remarkable.

    • st.joseph says:

      Nektarios.
      Thank you, beautiful.
      And to think that God who made it all chose to visit His people on that tiny spot in the Universe ,and take on our human nature-and die for us.
      Amazing!

      • Nektarios says:

        st. joseph

        No need for thanks, I just like sharing good things.
        Now, I want you to notice what you wrote, and to see something very
        important in all this discussionso far, and in what will follow from other contributors too I expect, and that is: it is as if one is standing somewhere, at the side of this great universal river for want of a better word, and just looking…. and you say.
        `and to think’, and so on.
        st.joseph, those pictures you saw is part of you and you it.
        Yes, it is truly wonderful, God in the Person of his Son visiting us &c, that is is one thing,
        but the Universe is declaring God’s glory. He is telling something about Himself,
        and about us, Right?
        What happens in the universe, happens to us; what the universe is in part, is what we are; what the destiny of the Universe will be as revealed in Holy Scriptures is ours too, or is it?.
        So what is stopping us from seeing the Creator in all this wonderful amazing Universe He has made?

  16. Rahner says:

    Useful discussion of Christianity, Evolution and Original sin by Jack Mahoney SJ:
    http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/christianity-in-evolution-an-exploration

    • tim says:

      Interesting read (at a quick glance). Mahoney appears to regard evolution as something more than a biological mechanism. Can that be justified?

    • Quentin says:

      This is a useful link. I first encountered O’Mahony’s ideas in a summarised version in this week’s Tablet. My initial reaction is that he is wrong of some important counts. But I would confine myself (for the time being) with the thought that this is not a development of doctrine but a serious reversal of it. In effect any right to maintain that the Church is protected against doctrinal error would disappear with acceptance of O’Mahony’s main drift.

    • Nektarios says:

      Rahner

      I agree with Quentin, that Jack Mahoney SJ is wrong as he intellectually feels his way
      between Christianity as it was delivered to us, and which we are required to hold fast to,
      if one is to be saved.
      Jack Mahoney sees Salvation as a evolutionary process;it may be unfolding, certainly, but it has been known from the beginning, but evolution means small or large incremental irrevocable changes, for which argument he cannot sustain.

      When Jack Mahoney speaks of death, does he know what it is, actually, as opposed
      to this almost childish explanation by his evolution argument? I think not! If that s the case,
      then it follows that it is doubtful he understands Life and it’s movement either.
      As one person said to St. Paul, `much study has made thee mad’.

      But let us get back to this multiplying Univeres topic – shall we?

  17. st.joseph says:

    Nektrios
    What stops us from seeing God in all this is to me the same as not seeing God in the unborn from conception
    The same thing that stops us from seeing The Lord or our neighbour in an unborn baby torn apart from a mothers womb.
    The same thing that stops us from seeing the unborn in Jesus in the Manger.
    The same thing thats stops us from seeing our fellow human beings in Jesus Christ Crucified on the Cross.
    The same thing that stops us from seeing people of other faiths and so on and on and on.

    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph

      ….and what is that, what is getting in the way of seeing as we can?

      • st.joseph says:

        Nektarios.
        As far as I can see and it may not be for others -and that is ,God made us in His image and likeness, and it all boils down to, Love the Lord our God with our whole heart with our whole soul and our whole mind, and our neighbour as ourself!Perhaps seeing with our soul!
        He was also a human being from the moment of conception and we are all part of the Trinity!
        Whether one believes it or not. Maybe that is the reason why!
        What are your thoughts?

  18. Nektarios says:

    st. joseph
    I am not wanting to give a lecture, or a sermon or homily here, what we are
    doing is discussing together, the universe as declaring God’s Glory. What was or is stopping us all from seeing what that is actually.
    Don’t be in a rush to get to a conclusion, that is the way most people think, and leads to all sorts of errors and silliness.
    On the point’s you raise: You raise several questions, such as, What is God actually, but the description we give is not God actually, is it? What is Hs image actually? What is the Love of God, I presume you mean? What do you mean by your whole heart; your whole mind, your whole soul?
    You know there was a day when this was generally understood by practically everyone, but now,
    we hardly know whatit really means at all. At one time as it was written, `And Enoch walked with God.’ That was readily understood in his day too, now, does anyone really know what it means?

    We are not God, or the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity has no beginning or end – we do.
    We may have God indwelling us, but that does not make us part of him in that sense. He is totally other.
    We have to go more slowly, investigate more attentively, don’t rush to conclusions, you have to see for yourself all these questions you raise. In sequence, consider this when looking at the universe displaying God’s glory:
    With Love comes interest; With interest comes attention; With attention comes looking; with looking comes seeing. Without seeing, there is no change
    What are your thoughts on all that now?

  19. st.joseph says:

    Nektarios.
    I understand you are not wanting to give a lecture.
    Nor am I.
    So to begin-You say’the Universe as declaring Gods Glory’ I presume you mean out in Space!
    Yes it is beautiful and does-but I am more interested in where I am at the moment and see things on our Planet, because that is where I live.
    I am including human beings-because that is what we are-being created in Gods own image (Soul) not what is God but Who He is is really what we ask.
    Since God chose to send His only Son Jesus Christ (who was there from the beginning) not just since He became man to take on our humanity with His own Soul like ours, (which was ours from the beginning as planned by God) but the diffirence being a Divine Nature.Hence the Immaculate Conception, making way for the Incarnation, as prophesised in Scripture.(Born of a Virgin)
    We become His children.
    You say ‘it was was written ‘and Enoch walked with God’that was readily understood in his day-now does anyone know what it means.
    I cannot speak for unbelievers,but you make a sweeping statement saying that we are not able to understand that to-day.Of course we are, we are enlightened now and ought not to be living in ignorance
    You say we are not God. I am not my father or mother, but are related to the.
    We are children of God and He is our Father, Jesus our brother, Mary our Mother, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us, which makes us a part of the Trinity.I dont know what the Church teaches on that, but neverthless I believe it ( I shall look it up ‘sometime’ You say the Trinity has no beginning or no end, I say we dont either. ‘Before you entered into the womb I knew you! before the foundation of the world! So we ought to know where we are going!!Unfortunately many dont.
    It is up to us to show them the Way, our duty as Christians. We have to live the Life of Christ,not just pay lip service as we do on this blog.If it ended here on the blog when we shut down our computer,that is not doing our duty!

    You said to me to stop and think what I am going to say, my mind doesn’t work like that , a mistake on my part, but if I dont say it as it comes it goes nowhere.
    Sorry if this confuses you-but I know what I mean!!
    Thank you for you comments it is good to have feed back-maybe you can enlighten me to your further thoughts-it is interesting to read you.

    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph,
      The Holy Trinity may well dwell with us, in us, but that is not the same as to say we are part of the Holy Trinity. God is God and we are creatures of His creation, just like the
      Universe I am trying for the moment to get back to discussing.
      I know what you are getting at, but some readers who happen upon this blog when you say, `we have to live the Life of Christ may not. As I said previously, assertions by themselves are meaningless.

      When one speaks about being enlightened as a lot of those swamis and gurus who are more concerned with their bank accounts do, one is not enlightened.

      Finally for now, st. joseph, I know nothing as I ought! I look forward to reading more of your comments – it is interesting to read your comments too

      • st.joseph says:

        Nektarios
        You say God is God and we are creatures of His creation just like the Universe.
        The Universe does not have a soul!
        So I would not compare our humanity with the Universe
        All I know about the Universe is that stars die -we dont, we will rise again at the Resurrection on the last day.The Resurrection of the body as we proclaim in our Creed.
        At the Last Supper Jesus changed bread and Wine into His Body and Blood to be continued in the Holy Mass until He comes again.
        He does not ask this to be given to creatures.
        We become part of this by our reception in Holy Communion with Him,every time we receive Him in Holy Mass. We are meant to become like Him.That is my definition of being part of the Blessed Trinity.
        This is what seperates us from animals. Death where is your sting!
        I am not saying that animals are not in Heaven -or saying that they are-I dont know.
        I appreciate that some people who have no faith will not understand what I am saying
        I cannot think otherwise just because they dont believe.I have to speak my mind.
        If one is confused by my comments so-be-it .
        Jesus spoke in Parables as they didn’t understand Him.That is 2000 years ago and we still have them in the Bible -it is best they read it!I am open to any more comments.
        .

  20. Nektarios says:

    Rahner
    You ask, if I know what death is?
    Generally speaking, we only know about death by association, the death of a tree, an animal, a fish, or a human corpse.
    What is death for a human being, it is something extraordinary, something we cannot think about because it lies beyond our thoughts.
    Death, is the ending of our organism, it had a beginning, a middle and and in death, an end.
    It is the ending of all our attachments, all the things our thoughts have built up in a lifetime.
    It is the ending of self, which is a construct of thought and everything it has produced.

    To know what death is, one must not run away from it, but live with it.
    As we are living and not dead, we can die daily to Self with all it’s illusions, pride, fear, sorrows and anxities an so on.
    In that death, there is a new beginning.
    Yes, death is something extraordinary!

  21. JohnBunting says:

    It seems to me that there is a fierce determination among atheists to treat the methodology of science as applying to the whole of reality.
    Natural science of course does not refer to God, or to any other supernatural concept. That limitation, however, does not have to be inflated into a metaphysical absolute.
    A year or two ago I made a comment here, that the scientist, in his work, must observe this distinction between physics and metaphysics; but that he is under no obligation to limit his thinking in this way when considering other ideas, outside the field of his scientific work. This prompted a reply from someone who said that this made him “laugh out loud”. To him, my comment was tantamount to saying that the scientist should leave his critical faculties behind as soon as he leaves the laboratory!
    The ‘multiverse’ idea seems to me pointless, and almost a counsel of desperation. Are we supposed to believe that if you go on throwing random bundles of matter and energy together for long enough, you will eventually get one that produces a world like ours?
    We are often told that we believe in divine creation because we don’t understand what evolution can do. Sure, it can do a lot; but only after it’s up and running. To get started, it requires properties of matter which cannot themselves be products of evolution. So like all arguments of this kind, it boils down to ‘Chance or God?’ Is the watchmaker blind, or not?

  22. Iona says:

    Nektarios – thank you very much for that link to the Hubble telescope pictures; I shall be forwarding it to all my children.
    St. Joseph, I very much appreciated your comments in your post of Jan 15th at 7.56 a.m.
    Rahner, I haven’t yet looked at the Mahoney link but shall do so.

    • Nektarios says:

      Iona
      Glad you enjoyed the pictures on the Universe and the various perspectives
      it gave us. I hope your children will enjoy it too.
      Looking at those pictures, I thought back to when I was a boy, and what you see
      in those pictures was pure science fiction back then.

  23. Iona says:

    Rahner – I have now had a quick read-through of the Mahoney lecture. His claim is a bit breath-taking! – his claim, that is, that the whole doctrine of original sin (and hence by implication the doctrine that Jesus by his death redeemed humankind) is down to a mistake in the translation by Augustine.

    Mahoney says sin is “in essence, a refusal to love”, – contrasting this with the (in his view erroneous) conception of original sin as consisting in disobedience to God’s command. Many sins can be put down to “a refusal to love”, but not all. For example, one may sin by allowing oneself to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but this is not essentially a sin against love (it may well lead on to sins against love, but that’s a different matter).

    Mahoney also says that Jesus’s consent to his own death was a case of “freely choosing to submit to the hostility of his fellows, rather than renege on his mission to bring his people to a true worship of a loving God” and that he (Jesus) was thus “providing an inspiring instance and symbol of divine-human altruism”. But Jesus wouldn’t have needed to die, if his mission was merely “to bring his people to a true worship of a loving God”. He could have just not gone to Jerusalem (he knew he was going to his death); or slipped away through the crowd, as he did on a previous occasion when they were going to throw him over a cliff, and continued his preaching, teaching and healing ministry.

    • Rahner says:

      “His claim is a bit breath-taking!”
      Calm down, theologians have been saying similar things for decades……

    • Rahner says:

      “Many sins can be put down to “a refusal to love”, but not all. For example, one may sin by allowing oneself to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but this is not essentially a sin against love”
      Allowing oneself to become addicted is a sin against love – it is a sin against the proper love we should show to ourselves.

  24. John Candido says:

    As an aside to the essence of this topic, no person has ever, or ever will deliberately become addicted to any prohibited drug, tobacco, or alcoholic drink. It is a case that the enjoyment or temporary release from personal problems or anxieties, that all drugs give people, which can blind them to what can potentially lie ahead. Even if most people are aware of the risks of imbibing; their consumption is not a deliberate act of attempting to become addicted to the drug(s) of their choice.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Candido

      As an aside from the topic, a well spaced out aside, if I may say so, John. Where I live we are all on drugs. Oh yes we are! Drugs for the heart, the water works, drugs to sleep, drugs for blood pressure, anti-depressants. Any reason for a party to knock back some whiskey or ones favourite tipple. Oh yes, the medical profession makes sure we are all tanked up and raring to go on drugs of every description in here.

      And if you thought that was bad enough, we all have Aids in here too,
      Oh yes, hearing aids, seeing aids,
      walking aids, sitting aids, standing aids, aids in the loo, aids in the bathroom and we even have aids in the kitchen and in the bedroom too.

      Now, do you think can we return to the topic from our aside, though all this talk about multiuniverses may be spacing some of us out without any drugs?

  25. st.joseph says:

    Johh, I am taking 12 tablets a day-plus as you know the same as you insulin.plus taking blood samples 7 times aday. In fact it keeps me alive. Thank God!
    For me it is not a temporary release as you said from personal problems and anxieties.
    I go to Holy Mass most days-not because I am particularly that holy, but it keeps all anxieties and problems from my door.
    Oh by way -except when Old Nicks knocks on it now and again, but I dont let him in!!!
    You see John he is knocking all the time on peoples doors-unfortunately he comes in disguise and most people welcome him because they dont know the the difference from the Lord when He knocks.
    As Scripture says ‘be on the watch at all times’

    • st.joseph says:

      Sorry Neketaios.
      For not speaking about Space!
      Have you seen the DVT ‘The Star of Bethlehem as I asked above?’It will blow your brain as much as your Hubble if not more.!

      • Nektarios says:

        st. joseph

        I had a look at the website and all the data on it.
        Things of note are well known in certain circles, but the rest is what they call fillers,
        That is padding out something that would only be a few pages to make it a book length.
        On the webite they come to no conclusion about the Star of Bethlehem or at least they are not stating it.
        I won’t deem it necessary to buy the DVD or the book.

        I have reached the stage, as my dear wife says, of being so heavenly, I am of no earthly use…. I see the above of no earthly use either. Sorry if my view offends.

  26. st.joseph says:

    Sorry for the mispelling of your name.

    • st.joseph says:

      Thank you Nektarios.
      No your views dont offend.
      You would have to see the DVD to appreciate it. The web does nothing for it.
      I have a copy and I could send it to you for keeps via Quentin if he would allow it.I would pay his postage to forward it.
      I wouldn’t want you to go to any expense buying it, but I would really like your opinion.
      I saw it on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network).. It is up to you, I will not be offended if you dont want it.
      I have enjoyed your comments, something to get ones teeth into. a bit like John Candido.
      We are not here to take offence-but to listen and learn, and I have definitely done that over the couple of years.And learned to use a computer, since my husband died.Something he always wanted me to do, so he will be happy, which I am sure he is-in Eternity. Although not a catholic until 3yrs before he died.Methodist at birth-but very
      very Pro-Life. And we both worked along side the Pentocostal Church 35 years ago.
      Not too many catholics interested then, I might say.

      • Nektarios says:

        st. joseph

        Thank you kindly for the offer of a loan of your DVD on the Bethlehem Star, but I will decline. I have so many other things to do here and with my own Church that it would just be another distraction for me, as I have heard and read similar things over the last 45 years.
        Your writing on the blog shows a Protestant background and we hve in common Pro Life
        God bless you

      • Quentin says:

        I am always happy to put people directly in touch when they wish to be so. That is, I can pass on a contributor’s email if they ask me to do so via email.

  27. st.joseph says:

    Nektarios.

    Thank you, I never thought of myself as having a Protestant background
    How do you make that out?. I would love to know. I am really amused with that. And I am still smiling.
    I am RC through and through, but love everybody. Enlighten me please!

    • st.joseph says:

      By the way, I said you could keep the DVD not borrow.

    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph
      Must be the Pentecostal influence.
      But please carry on being R C through and through.
      May the love of Christ dwell in you richly, shining, out and speaking out in love and with real understanding.

  28. st.joseph says:

    Nektarios.
    I will make a confession to you , that is I did go to an Anglican Church Service on Christmas Eve.
    I was staying with my daughters in-laws who are high Anglicans. My eldest grandson ,and 18 yr old were working , so I went with them later and missed the 5.30 Mass in the catholic Church.
    However my host, (there were 17 there )asked who would like to go with them to their service at a pre-reformation Church, now Anglican, and as my son in law who s not a catholic (their son)went with my daughter and youngest grandson to Mass earlier, which I missed as we were late getting there, I didn’t have the heart to say no, I felt it would be very uncharitable to refuse.I was told that I would not be able to receive their Communion as I was not of their faith, I didn’t know that in the Anglican Church ,one could not receive if they were not Confirmed. But obviousley I wouldn’t do so anyway. Years ago in the St Josephs Church I worshipped in- we had a very good relationship with Anglican, Methodist, Baptist and Bethal Churches in the village. And I always invite the Jehovahs Witness’s
    in for a chat .
    I was very surprised that everone knelt for Communion and the lady Vicar had the service with her back to the congregation, and all received on the tongue.
    I did go up for a blessing . Why not.!
    I hope I haven’t shocked any catholics here. I go to Mass nearly every day and the HolyDay of obligation I missed in my own Church .I am sure God will forgive me.
    But I would never change my faith ,even under torment!
    Why not.

    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph,
      st joseph & all fellow bloggers,

      Oh dear God,
      What divisions exist within your Church today. What cruel and murderous behaviour has been carried out in your Name over centuries till now. What wicked religious cruelty, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, physically and all the spiritual damage it has heaped upon Thy flocks around the world. Lord have mercy.

      Has this all come about O Lord, because they never knew you? Is it because others have conditioned them from childhood? Is it because they are so conditioned they cannot look, see or enquire of Thee for themselves but have been made dependent, afraid and helpless? Is it because they have not known the Love of God, the freedom in Christ Jesus, in their own hearts and daily living?

      Is it O Lord, because they have not understood what the fear of God actually is, but instead have a fear of man and those in authority? Thou knowest, O Lord.
      .
      Yet O Lord, You know who are Thine and love them to the end and grant them Your salvation.
      Like you did for the disciples when you were on earth, as it is written, `You opened their minds.’ Open our eyes and mind too Lord, so we see Thee in our fellow man. See Thee in those who believe in Thee and see, O Lord, they are Thine, and because we see that we love love them, for they are precious in Thy sight. Grant this O Lord.

      Thou O Lod who art our Peace, bring peace and righeousness to all who call upon the Name of the Lord, Thy Church, in these dark days; days of disorder and confusion; dispel the darkness, imbue it with Thy light, heal all our division within and without and make the crooked places in us straight, that Thy Church, Thy people, not in assertion only, can truly say, One true holy catholic and apostolic Church.
      And may we walk together, hand in hand, rich, poor, black white, whatever Christian denomination, whatever nationality, singing together in that old negro spiritual, Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we’re free at last. Amen.

      • st.joseph says:

        That is a lovely Christian Unity Prayer.
        Not only for Christians.
        But for all men and women Thank you.

  29. Let me tell you about ‘my’ universe. It couldn’t exist without a Divine Mind; it is charged throughout with meaning and purpose and love. It is the universe that this aging astrologer (and Liberal Catholic Deacon) has been studying, exploring and experiencing for forty years, and which reveals itself as both a mighty music and a complex living Imagination. In this universe, of which every living being and non-living thing is an integral, evolving, and eternal part, the intertwined languages of mathematics, geometry and symmetry are the keys to its structure and understanding. In this universe, other universes co-exist only a breath away in vibrational states that material senses cannot perceive but which connect through pure thought; thus Heaven calls us and holy voices speak to us, if we only ‘have ears to hear’. And beyond all this is the Mystery that humbles all our science: how can the Cosmic Mind itself – God – be born?

    • John Nolan says:

      Pam, leaving aside what can possibly be meant by the appellation Liberal Catholic Deacon, could you explain what astrology (the superstition that the alignment of the solar system at a given time, for example the time of one’s birth, affects things on earth) contributes to our understanding of the universe?

      • John,
        May I refer you to my other comments below? I wish I could sit down with you for all the hours it would take to show you what I know; all I can do is hope you will look at my website and maybe understand why I have spent my life studying this astonishing and utterly beautiful discipline. Perhaps we can converse more later on.

    • JohnBunting says:

      Pam,
      Thanks for your comment. I hesitate to comment on astrology, other than to say that one might regard it as a more highly specific way of seeing that “The Heavens declare the Glory of God”: A sign, rather than a cause, of earthly events.
      “It couldn’t exist without a Divine Mind”. Quite so. So said Berkeley, and – closer to our own time – Schrodinger (‘Mind and Matter’, Chapter 4).
      “Mind is the over-arching reality…”. Yes; “In the Beginning was the Word”.
      “Communication between embodied and discarnate minds can take place…….” etc. (Your letter to Richard Dawkins). Sounds rather like what we call the ‘Communion of Saints’.

      I like your poems, and the ‘Just-So Story’ of the Cats!

      • st.joseph says:

        Am I missing something here in the above.?
        Mind and Matter- Just- So Story of Cats.
        What is all that about? Letter to Richard Dawkins. Help please.

      • JohnBunting says:

        st. joseph:
        Pam’s heading, ‘Rev Pam Crane’ is a link to her own website; you’ll find it all there. ‘Mind and Matter’ and ‘What is Life?’, by Erwin Schrodinger, first published 1944, are in a small volume which you will probably find at Amazon or Abebooks at a reasonable price.

      • John,
        Thank you for your open mind, your kind comments, and your support. I think you understand what I am trying to say. You are one of my happiest birthday presents today!
        And I am so pleased that you like my writing. It makes everything worthwhile.
        Do carry on the conversation, if you like!

    • st.joseph says:

      Rev Pam Crane.I didn’t think the Catholic Church allowed female Deacons.
      Would I be right in saying that you are a member of the Anglican Church and not the RC?
      I also believe that Astrology was condemned by the Catholic Church, correct me if I am wrong!

      • St .joseph, I am neither Anglican (although I was first Christened in the Church of England) nor RC. The Liberal Catholics emerged out of the Old Catholic Church, which had seceded from the RC Church, and we have full Apostolic Succession. We have a married clergy, an open Altar, and the full sequence of Ordinations. We do not have women priests (with one exception that I know of ), only Deacons. Talk to many a Jesuit and you will have a very interesting conversation about astrology. The zodiac symbolism is found in many ancient churches and even synagogues. The Magi found the Christ child through their astrological knowledge. I do my best to follow honourably in their footsteps.

    • Nektarios says:

      revpamcrane

      It is very clear to me from reading your posting and having a look at your website
      that what you have to say is very New Age philosophy, which of course is not new at all
      but a bits of this and that from the ancient civilizations and paganism.

      It is also clear to me, what you have said on this blog is clever, but not that clever.
      For example, You speak about `pure thought’. I presume you are speaking about meditation. If this is the case, brought up in the West what passes as meditation,
      is just ones thoughts. I have to tell you, if you didn’t know already, that meditation starts when your thoughts stop.
      All the other filling you have used to fill out your posting here again is cleverly constructed, but is utterly meaningless, for example, you speak of God as the Cosmic Mind. Again this is New Age terminology that is meaningless.
      God is in the Universe and not at the same time. He is not the Universe, but something He created to declare His Glory.
      If you think God as a Cosmic Being, that is in part what human beings are, but God is
      totally other from all that. Before anything was, He was.

      We are told in Holy writ, to adhere to sound words… your words to me, lack that soundness. I don’t hear the spirit of Christ breathing through your words, or what you
      do for a living either.
      It grieves me to write this, it really does.

      • Nektarios, don’t feel bad about your critique – I’m used to it. I am not trying to be clever; all I am doing is summarising my actual experience over the past 69 years (my birthday today.)
        You may think and say what you wish – but the spirit of Christ has invaded my life in many wonderful and extraordinary ways, and I have learned as much from what He and his holy Mother have been gracious enough to show me as from the beautiful texts of the New Testament.
        I have hardly ever meditated – again, you misunderstand. Pure mind is simply the essence of what we are when separated from the body; and this cannot be separated from pure love. The Cosmos is all that is – it is in this sense that I apply ‘cosmic’ to the Mind of God. God is ultimately All that eternally Is.
        You also assume wrongly that I ‘do astrology’ for a living. Not so. Within the discipline I am a researcher and a teacher and a writer and sometimes a counsellor. My Christian ministry is to bring Christ to anyone who is unaware of Him. Astrologers need him too. “I come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. Mind you, many astrologers I know (and I know hundreds) are better human beings than a few clergy I have encountered.
        In the Liberal Catholic Church we have full Apostolic Succession, and my Diaconate – albeit unconventional – is recognised by the Roman Catholic Church.
        One of my husband’s favourite maxims is that ‘a man is beaten by his assumptions’; before you pass judgment on me, walk in my shoes, or at least don’t jump to so many erroneous (and clearly upsetting) conclusions.

  30. st.joseph says:

    John, If I go outside and knock a pheasant, and there are loads of them where I live all around my garden, and I knock it on the head with a hammer until it dies. Have I not killed it? If I knock it on the head with a hammer to eat-have I not killed it?.People are shooting rabbits around me -are they not killed? Killed is killed ,whether legal or not, something or someone has died by the act of someone else!
    Are you more concerned with it being legal here ,with a baby?Someone has died from being killed.

    If the law is changed, and it will be ,with Gods help ,how would you feel then Would you then say it is wrong? Is it just a matter of legality with you, the law allows it so it must be OK.
    Where is God speaking in all this?

  31. st.joseph says:

    Quentin,
    Sorry this comment was meant for ‘Foetal Reduction’ in answer to John Candido.
    If you would like me to post it on that again I will.
    I dont know how to transfer it.
    Thank you.

    • st.joseph says:

      Quentin ,I have decided to put it in its proper place.
      I expect you can remove the one above.
      It will save you any inconvenience. Thank you.

  32. mike Horsnall says:

    I’ve been on retreat for a few days in darkest shropshire.Last night I was out looking at the stars for an hour or two. Away from city lights the sight of the night sky, clear in the frosty air, was so breathtaking that it was impossible not to break spontaneously into hymns ( don’t know what the sheep thought of it) I was priveleged to meet several Redemptorist ministers from around the world on sabbatical-one of whom had spent the last 25 years in Rwanda and another who ran a womens centre in Ethiopia; these people shone like the stars outside in the integrity of their work and their presence and refreshed my spirit through their simple kindness. It struck me forcefully how we get all fired up about child abuse or aids policy and how easy it is to forget about the astonishing miracle of committment to good there is in our Church …. We are discussing a multiverse-probably better now and then to just go and wonder at the astounding miracle of the one we’ve got… and that includes the church. Oh, I read a bit of Rahner too while I was there!

    • st.joseph says:

      Mike.
      We ought to get fired up about child abuse and aids policy, that doesn’t mean to say that we forget about the astonishing miracle of committment to good there is in our Church
      It is because we dont forget, that we get fired up.
      Pleased you had an enjoyable retreat.

    • Rahner says:

      “I read a bit of Rahner too”
      Very wise.

      • mike Horsnall says:

        He was quite interesting really. I spent two days getting to grips with Foundations of Christian Faith -something like that-Not exactly bedtime reading but some honest questioning I thought and along the same line of enquiry I have myself-I guess that late converts to catholicism have a certain kind of enquiry which is different from being brought up in the faith (people like me,not Karl Rahner I mean) The thing that really stuck out was the obdurate and tenacious singularity of his mind. I very much liked the way, in common with Bultman I suspect, that he insists on reasoning from where we are NOW rather than trying to imagine ourselves back two milennia.

  33. Michael Horsnall says:

    Yep,
    thats a good thought.

  34. Iona says:

    Pam – I don’t suppose you got a reply from Richard Dawkins, did you?

    But where are the cats? I can’t find the cats.

    • No, Iona, I never had a reply from Richard Dawkins. But then I never expected one, as I doubted he would ever be bothered to visit an astrologer’s website, especially that of a Christian astrologer, let alone read anything on it! When you consider how many fine scientists are also men of faith, it’s sad that this otherwise clever and quite sensitive man can’t open his mind just that little bit further …
      If you do find my Story of Cats (written years ago as a children’s fable) I hope you like it! It’s on my website (www.TheHolyTwelve.co.uk)

  35. JohnBunting says:

    Iona –
    The heading to Pam’s comment, ‘Rev Pam Crane’, is in fact a link to her own website. Just click on it, browse through the various pages, and you’ll find the cats and the letter to Dawkins.

  36. John Thomas says:

    SecondSight was, of course, only visited 34,000 times, in 2012, in THIS universe, but it would have been visited 34,000 to the power of infinity, IF an infinite number of universes exist. And I wonder why it is only persons such as ourselves that can see the fact of the scientists’ ability to be very sceptical when it comes to such things as an original intelligent cause, and at the same time being “childishly credulous” regarding the (fantasy) of infinite amounts of universes? (Besides, I thought “universe” meant basically “everything”).

    • Fair points – but don’t forget that each one of a theoretically infinite number of universes is likely to be different (especially if every moment behaves like a multiple-choice question and generates as many consequent universes with the same property as there are ‘answers’!) Therefore SecondSight is unlikely to exist in all of them, were they a reality, since one of Quentin’s logical choices was not to create the blog in the first place. (I’m delighted that you did, Quentin!) ‘Multiverse’ is now a favourite term.
      God must enjoy HImself, watching us all trying in vain to solve His magnificent puzzles!

      • JohnBunting says:

        Pam,
        Your comments here have provoked some lively discussion, to say the least. I think there’s always some tension between formal statements – dogma, if you like – and personal experience. It’s good to be open-minded, but, to quote Chesterton, “The point of having an open mind, as of having an open mouth, is eventually to shut it again on something solid”.
        The Church, not unreasonably, is wary of ‘religious indifferentism’, the idea that one belief is as good as another, while being a lot more open than it used to be to dialogue with other beliefs. The important thing is that no ideology, religious or secular, should be able to use force to suppress criticism or dissent. It is now unthinkable that any Christian church should regard heresy or apostasy as crimes to be punished by death. Unfortunately that is not yet the case elsewhere.
        A lot of the hostility between belief and thought systems stems from the way language is used. Natural science aims to use language in a way that is ‘adequate’: that is, it should say no more, and no less, than what is required. (Come to think of it, theology should aim to do the same!). So, for example, if someone like yourself refers to ‘vibration’, ‘harmonics’, or ‘frequency’, the scientist will say, “Oh, really? Vibrations of what? The twelfth harmonic? How many cycles per second is that?”, etc. (I wonder how you would answer that!). One eminent scientist, Sir Peter Medawar, was very critical of Pere Teilhard de Chardin for what he called ‘sloppy use of language’!
        However, before we get too far ‘off-topic’ I may go and read a few more of your poems, and maybe leave a comment or two.

      • John Bunting, thank you again for your carefully-considered remarks, with which I cannot disagree! Oh, how I would love to discover that ‘something solid’, sometimes! But as long as there is Mystery, the definitive answers will evade us, and our language will always be inadequate.
        I know how vague ‘vibration’ sounds, and how many contexts there are in which the term is used, and how its meanings can vary. As a life-long writer of poetry I suppose my use of language will inevitably be somewhat poetic; terms may seem inexact, but they are an attempt to convey my struggle to understand concepts that cannot easily be pinned down.
        I would need to sit down with you for some hours to explain how the principle of frequency underpins so many of the structures and phenomena of astrology. As in 21st century Physics, the maths make the most elegant sense of concepts that to most people would seem unreal.
        I am not a physicist, so all I can do is trust those who understand and live for Physics. The non-astrologer can only trust the word of those who understand and live for astrology. Both are aspects of reality; and one day – heaven only knows when! – they will meet, and unify.
        Meanwhile I think we all need not to close our minds.

  37. st.joseph says:

    Rev Pam Crane.
    Thank you for your reply.
    Also for making it clear that you are not an RC.I didnt think you were as the RC Church doesnt ordain female deacons, nor as you suggest accept them in the the Old Catholic Church either Perhaps you would be kind enough to direct me to the evidence if I am wrong.
    The Old Catholic Church is still in Schism with the Holy Father-as it does not believe in the infallability of the Chair of Peter in certain teachings we have in the RC Church.
    .Although I believe the Ordination of males are valid.
    You speak about the Magi being directed to the Child Jesus, through astrology, I think maybe you are confusing this with Astromonoy.
    As far as the Jesuits and astrology is concerned, I know nothing about them in that field I only think that there is all sorts of different ideas in the Catholic Church too which are not acceptable in
    our faith.
    I woul d be interested to understand your meaning of ‘open altar’.
    I did feel when reading your. web that it was a bit new-age .A bit like Matthew Fox and his beliefs.
    Correct me if I am wrong.

    • st.joseph, thank you for your response. The Open Altar of the Liberal Catholic Church means that anyone of any of the world’s faiths may take Holy Communion with us as long as they love, revere and serve in good conscience the One God who is Father of us all.
      The Magi were indeed astrologers. Astronomy as a scientific discipline emerged out of Astrology which is culturally older. You will find a number of translations of the NT identifying the Magi as astrologers rather than simply ‘wise men’.
      I don’t know what the current strictures are on astrology in the RC Church, but the Liberal Catholics fully accept this beautiful and complex language of the heavens. I understand that the Vatican Library houses quite a lot of ancient astrological literature in its historic archives, and as I have said, its symbolism is found in scores of old church buildings – including Canterbury Cathedral’s pavement. The Church of the Dormition near Jerusalem has a lovely modern zodiac in its floor. An ancient rectangular zodiac borders the floor of an ancient synagogue in Israel; while on pilgrimage one Easter I was asked to explain it to the ecumenical group of my fellow-pilgrims.
      No – it is modern man who is rejecting astrology; when accepted it brings profound understanding, and often very deep healing to the soul, as it is a vivid reminder that there is meaning and purpose in the universe, and we are all answerable to God who made it.
      I have never read Matthew Fox, not have I ever blindly followed New Age ideas; I started as a complete sceptic, and astrology – which led me to Christ – changed my life. That is simply how it is.

      • st.joseph says:

        Rev Pam Crane.
        Thank you for your reply.
        Reading LCC site on the web, told me that they believe in re-incarnation.
        Is this true?
        Thank you I would appreciate your reply.

      • st.joseph, you are quite right; we in the LCC do teach reincarnation. That was the only bone of contention between us and our very dear friend the local RC priest when we were living in Kent. The problem is that I have had several experiences of totally spontaneous and vivid past-life recall, so I am unable to reject reincarnation even if I wished to. And the memories were very helpful in coming to terms with particular issues in the current life. Nothing glamorous about them, either! A mix of the very mundane and the somewhat painful.
        My own view is that we are meant to be living this life fully and exclusively; so if recall is given to any of us, then it has to be for a really good reason, helping us to grow into a better, wiser person. I know this is a very fraught issue among many Christians, and I appreciate the arguments. But when you have remembered, that fact has to be reconciled with everything you have been taught.

  38. st.joseph says:

    Rev Pam Crane,thank you.
    LCC teach re-incarnation as you say.
    So obviousley your thoughts on Transubstantiation are going to be so much different from the RC Church. Do you think?

    • st.joseph, you raise a very interesting question! It has been much discussed in our Church. I can’t pretend to have a definitive answer, and can’t speak for our other clergy who may have a variety of ideas of what Transubstantiation truly is.
      The feeling we have at our own Altar is that at the moment of consecration the Host is indeed changed (otherwise what would be the point of Holy Communion?) but not in a physical way. In his first letter to the Corinthians St Paul wrote that ‘there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body’. The spiritual body is composed of something we can barely imagine, but in Christ’s case had so much energy that it was able to leave the image of His body on the shroud at the moment of Resurrection.
      We believe that it is this extraordinary, eternal essence of the spiritual Christ that transforms the material Host and through it blesses the Christian communicant. Each of us, as a child of God, shares that same essence; but in material life it is often completely overwhelmed by the body and its concerns. When we die to this life, we pass from the material body of the incarnation into the life of the eternal spirit (and what we experience there will be up to God!)
      Reincarnation means that after reflecting on our sojourn here we can make amends for past wrongs, thank those whom we had no chance to thank before, and grow further in grace by using our next skill-set as well as possible. Life is not unfair after all; we each have many chances to live a spiritually beautiful life.
      The ‘language’ of astrology throws a clear light on the life we are currently asked to lead; where we can stumble if we are careless and thoughtless, and where we can become more Christ-like if we follow our God-given path with courage, love and integrity. Reminding people in this way that they are indeed children of God, as inseparable from Him as the patterns of their nativities are from the entire created universe, puts their lives into both a humbling but inspiring perspective; in my experience they are then able to look forward with hope instead of fear, and cope far better – often heroically – with everything that life throws at them. You will know what I mean when I say that such people can often become shiny.
      Not everyone needs the astrologer, any more than everyone needs an experience of past memory. But through it over the years I have seen many faltering lives turned round … and even turning back to the Church, where their spirits can receive the dizzying touch of the love of Christ in Holy Communion. That touch changed my life for ever.

      • st.joseph says:

        Rev Pam Crane.
        Thank you for replying to my questions,and for the sincerety in your answers.
        On this day of Christian Unity- I find this refreshing that we are able to discuss with others our beliefs
        The reason why I am interested is, I have never heard of LCC or Old Catholics before you mentioned it.
        Of course we do have different doctrines -and beliefs-but I believe even in the R.C church ,if we put them all in a sack-shook it all up, and pull out the Truth we would be united in one church.
        Looking on the LC web. I can see that when you say you are liberal I think I understand what you mean as Liberal. I see the barriers on homo-sexuality marriage, I could,nt find ordination for homo-sexuals, also divorce, re-incarnation of course as we spoke in the earlier comments. I couldnt see contraception or abortion.
        I would appreciate if you could direct me to further information.

        I have come across a little book whch I have had for years now. It is called ‘Why I left the Anglican Church by a Robert Ian Williams.
        Very interesting to read what he disclose about his unhappiness in the Anglican Church-and yet I find in some of it, a great deal of the liberalism which I find among some catholics now in the Roman Catholic Church .I find this very interesting how we move from one set of thinking to another. Anglicans moving one way liberal catholics moving their way., but not leaving, I wonder what the author would think now!
        At least when the LC broke away from the Old Catholic Church you were all honest in your belief to do that.
        Thank you for our discussions, and I hope and pray that we will be all coverted to the Truth asNecktarios said in the beautiful prayer.

      • st.joseph, Amen to that!
        Not very many people have heard of us; and of course we too have been going through our crises and schisms like so many Churches over recent decades. There is printed literature available on the LCC, but not easy to come by. On the other hand, we have a library here at home full of useful books! I wonder if there is some way I could get something to you?
        Wikipedia has a concise but limited overview, but at the following link to the LCC in the UK there is a lot more material, including downloadable PDFs:
        http://kingsgarden.org/English/Organizations/LCC.gb/
        Also at http://www.thelcc.org/ is the site for the USA; again with plenty of current and historical information.
        I have very much enjoyed our conversation so far, and I hope you find something of interest on the sites I have mentioned.
        God bless you,
        Rev Pam

  39. Nektarios says:

    Rev Pam Crane

    By way of answer to your posting of 19 Jan. 5:57
    I apologize for any errorsor assumptions in what I wrote in the blog of you. Forgive me.
    I also see from exploring in more depth, especially the books LCC people have as suggested reading, I have read, studied some of them over many years, these are more mystical writings
    generally speaking.

    If I may, leave with a word for you and for youtoo st. joseph :
    It was written by a Russian Theologian, Valdimir Lossky, in his book, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. This book reveals the root causes of the divergence between Eastern and Western Christianity and its multiple divergences since. Lossky writes:`There can be no Christian mysticism without theology, and no true theology which is not mystical.’

    In the Orthodoxy tradition, theology and spirituality cannot be separated, but here in the West
    it has and has divided, so much so that there is much need for a transformation of the whole understanding of the word `Theology.’

    • … and of the concept of Religion itself!
      Nektarios, of course you are forgiven.
      It has long grieved me, too, that so much religious practice these days seems to be so empty of the mystical. Perhaps it stems from the historic habit – at least in England – of entering the Ministry as a secure and respectable career. This I believe to have been a largely Anglican phenomenon; the aspiration of many RC parents to have a Priest in the family surely comes from the profound respect they have for the holiness of the vocation.
      From what I have experienced of the Orthodox Churches, the mystical appears still to be central to their liturgy, and so to inform the life of their members.
      All good-hearted people of any denomination or none can and do minister to their fellows and offer immense help; but to inspire people spiritually takes a living awareness of the spiritual dimension itself, of the holy, of the sacred. Without this, Priesthood simply becomes Ministry; with it, Ministry is graced by that priesthood that is open to all who walk as closely as they can with God. With it, the ordinary person also can enter ‘the priesthood of all believers.’ Without it, we forget who we are, and the heart of Heaven is broken.
      Thank you for our conversation, and for the beauty of your prayers.

      • st.joseph says:

        Rev Pam Crane.
        I will look into the info you gave,because I am always interested what other Christians believe and why?
        My late husbands journey into the RC Church took a continual 41 years, of reading , listening, and judging,once he could believe in the Real Presence through Transubstantiation and a little bit of help from St Padre Pio and of course The Holy Spirit and Holy Mass.He over the years began to understand Our Blessed Mothers place in our hearts, the pro-life message, and Fertility awareness.It was not an easy journey for him,but our children helped him too.Getting used to beads, pardons, confessions, pilgrimages, and the sacrifice and oblation of Christ made by the priest. Thomas Cranmer’ words I believe. It sounds as though I gave him a tough time. I didn’t he did it with no pressure from me.

        Nektarios.
        Thank you for your comment.Although I am not too sure what you mean. I find most of my Mysticism in Holy Mass

      • Nektarios says:

        Rev Pam Crane

        I largely agree with what you say, but truth is not of any private interpretation,
        this has led to all sorts of divisions within the Church. The link of Church and State also has reaped havoc religiously and spiritually, not to mention Secularism and Humanism.

        The outward aspects of religion are important only as much as there is an inward sameness or reality, otherwise it leads to duality. Say one thing, do another; preach one thing believe another.&c

        As for Priesthood, that, as it has in world religions aound the world, and here I speak advisedly, is largely corrupted.
        I believe in the Royal Priesthood of all believers in Christ Jesus, for He alone is our high Priest.
        I have spent years in Church ministry, done the work of an Evangelist and a Pastor, but not as a Ordained person. The Lord forbade me to do that. He had His own reasons, plan and leading in my life, and what an amazing journey it has been so far.
        OnIy in retrospect do I see the wisdom of God in it all, each step of the way.

  40. mike Horsnall says:

    I would agree with you St Joseph. Whenever I hear people banging on about the lack of ‘mysticism’ or ‘spirituality’ in the church I tend to cringe a little. I also notice that when this happens there usually follows a long and complicated polemic about someones particular brand of ‘spirituality’ or ‘mysticism’. There is sufficient profundity in half an hours Exposition (Prayer in front of the Host) to flood a thousand universes. The deep pulse of encounter between God and any person cannot be analysed, plumbed, reached or even vaguely understood by another -let alone glibly commented on.It is pretty much impossible to determine what happens in the depths of the heart during the most ordinary encounter of prayer.
    Over the past 40 years I have probed a number of writers and traditions but have never come across the mystery of the universe made so present and intimate -anywhere outside Mass, unless it be the rapt contemplation of the Host.

  41. st.joseph says:

    Mike, thank you.
    But I do understand that if someone hasn’t experienced it-how will they know?.
    My husband came to Mass all our married life, but I dont think he experienced it until he believed.
    It is not something one can tell someone about.
    I think as firm catholics my grandchildren are, they haven’t really experienced it yet, at least not to the extent of maturity.I believe it takes years for some to be that absorbed, unless they are particularily spiritual.They have other things on their mind at their age now. We can not tell any one this.I has to be an experience.
    My first moment of deeply feeling something at the altarI was about 13.and I felt it so strongly just for a moment. It overtook me. Then thought every time afterwards I would be the same. But no it wasnt. But I always remembered that moment even if I did not feel it, until later years.

  42. mike Horsnall says:

    ST Joseph,
    Yes thats the funny thing about it all. It is definitely true that God comes graciously,courteosly ..and occasionally even a little forcefully to meet us. Also that, this side of the grave, we cannot bear too much reality! So the level of spiritual experience that each encounters is,at that moment, their tithe if you like-we cannot offer up to God that which we do not have and that which we have is sufficient! The point is that these encounters cannot be weighed one against the other..’Western Church’ .’Eastern Church’ This church, that church, my encounter ,your encounter….our T shirt, your T shirt etc etc. The move of God on the individual soul is as you say beyond words.

  43. st.joseph says:

    Nektarios.
    I think since Vatican 2. The Church has called us the Priesthood of the Laity.I believe that is everybody-even if they are not aware of it yet.
    We ‘all ‘belong to the Kingdom of God , and we are His children , as Jesus said to Pontius Pilate ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.
    Like the lost sheep, He will leave the flock ,to find one that is lost, and He will bring us back to the one True Fold, where ever that is. Maybe it is called Paradise or Heaven, where will be happy with Him for all Eternity. Where every tear will be wiped away. We will not ask each other which faith are you from, which church did you attend.
    Jesus said ‘there are many rooms in my Fathers house,and I am going to prepare one for you.
    I am not sure about that statement-of what it means, are we all equal in the Lords sight or does He see us differently to each other.I often wonder about the resurrection of the body on the last day.
    There are so many conflicting meanings to it all.
    I am not too concerned about all that -but just thoughts of mine.

    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph

      Yes, you are right, that is what Vatican 2 described the Royal Priesthood of believers
      as, the Priesthood of the Laity – doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? No, it is an attempt by the Church to make distinction between those in Holy Orders, Ordained Priests and so on, from we Royal Priest plebs!

      Faith, is not something we think up, it is a gift from God. That gift has a purpose and end in view by God. What Jesus said in the Gospel of John 14, concerning rooms in my Father’s house, is meant first as an encouragement to those early disciples and so to us when they were being parted physically from Jesus, and we when Jesus feels far from us – which He isn’t of course – ever!!.
      Consider: it is not only that God dwells with His sons and daughters but also the whole kingdom of God is within you.
      Within you is eternal, that which is seen, (outward) had its begining, its middle and will have its end.
      But that which is eternal remains and we remain with Him.
      Finally, we are told, it has not entered into the hearts or minds of men the things God has prepared for them that love Him and keep his commandments.
      Curiosity will get one nowhere on spiritual issues such as you pose.
      Does God love us equally? The answer is God loves totally all that He has created.
      Heis the same today, Yesterday and Forever,He changes not.

      • st.joseph says:

        Nektarios.
        Thank you for your reply to my thoughts.
        What are your thoughts on Hell? If ones soul goes there-I believe purgatory to be a state not a place,In this life God is still close to us.There is no where that He isnt, but what about Hell Fire.Jesus mentioned that so many times.

  44. JohnBunting says:

    st.joseph,
    “I often wonder about the resurrection of the body on the last day”
    Yes, I bet most of us do!
    I see our bodily nature as an essential part of our individuality: of who and what we are. A future life as disembodied spirits would seem inadequate: think of all the wonderful things we could no longer do! But the disciples had little doubt about the bodily presence of Jesus after His resurrection.
    I believe we may hope for redemption, not just for ourselves, but for the whole creation. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1); (although, as I love sailing, I’m slightly worried about the bit that says “and there was no more sea”!)

  45. mike Horsnall says:

    I’ve pondered this too. When we think of angels we tend to believe they have bodily form that is made of spirit-yet we do not think of them as lacking identity or substance.

    • st.joseph says:

      Mike.
      Jesus cooked fish for His Apostles-but did it say Jesus ate it Himself.
      Jesus had a Glorified Body, but I have always wondered.Not that I would miss food that much.

      • Horace says:

        THE HOLY GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE: Chapter 24
        (41) But while they yet believed not and wondered for joy, he said: Have you here any thing to eat? (42) And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish and a honeycomb. (43) And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them.

  46. st.joseph says:

    John Bunting .
    I will be serious now.
    You mentioned the Book of Revelation.
    We are to believe when we die we see the Beatific Vision.And some of the the visions that St John says I sometimes think he is partly seeing a new Heaven. It is full of Mysticism in a spiritual sense,and we are meant to be happy with the Lord in His Presence forever, and I think then that our body when we die if Glorified I just cant imagine it being compatable with things of this life, and as you mentioned earth-it has got to have sea.No motor cars.
    We will maybe be pure Spirits and move like Jesus did when He rose from the dead in His own body but Glorified.

    • st.joseph says:

      Horace.
      Thank you .
      So if Jesus’ body was human as well as Glorified, what does He eat in Heaven, do you think.?

      • JohnBunting says:

        “I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)

      • mike Horsnall says:

        Ho ho ho-maybe its veggie burgers. The idea of Jesus mooching around in heaven helping himself to the contents of the fridge really is odd..

  47. st.joseph says:

    John Bunting.
    What would you take that to mean.?

  48. st.joseph says:

    John Bunting.
    This is what I think may be you or others will think different.
    Jesus said ‘my Fathers Kingdom- I take that to mean The One ,Holy , Catholic and Apostolic Church. Himself being the True Vine, the fruit being His Word made Flesh.
    Our Communion with Him in Holy Mass. His Body and Blood.

    The Mysticism in Holy Mass I feel the nearest thing to Heaven
    John 17. The Priestly prayer of Christ to me is one of the most beautiful of Scripture.

    One sentence I ponder on is ‘I want those you have given me to be with me where I am’.
    I wonder if that is His Apostles. It seems to imply that we are all His Apostles who are in Communion with Him in His Church.
    May you will think something else.

  49. Nektarios says:

    st. joseph
    Oh Lord,how to answer you is a satisfactory way?
    What I think about hell or purgatory is not important for you, but for you
    to understand the truth about Hell or otherwise, and the truth or otherwise about purgatory is – Yes?

    I want you to notice something very important when talking about such matters – listen up, dont’ agree or disagree, but see for yourself; that there has been a lot written and spoken about Hell and purgatory over the centuries, so both are in the realm of the known. Heaven on the otherhand is in the realm of the unknown and little is written on it.
    What has been written and portrayed in art, is of the known therefore is not Heaven, it is an invention. That does not mean that Heaven and Hell do not exist because they do, but we have been conditioned to accept the this harp playing, angel singing heaven and all the rest of it. Heaven is not in the realms of the known, so you cannot think about these matters, our thoughts won’t show us or take us there. Heaven to our thughts is unknown.

    Now, before I say anymore, let me give yourself and we fellow bloggers a warning: Don’t get curious about Heaven and Hell, it will not get you anywhere. I remember hearing a story about a Nun
    who asked over sometime for God to give her a vision of Hell and what it was really like. One day her request was granted. The poor Nun on receiving this vision went insane.

    So let me give you one or two pointers: The Holy Scriptures, teach us that the Kingdom of God is within you – Right? That being so, God is within you -Yes? Are you following this? Now something you may not know or accept, Hell is also within us. And we are in this dimension betwixt the two.
    How does one get to Heaven and not to Hell?

    The soul has to forsake it’s own will and flee to God. It is rising out of the known, all you know about God or think you know or have been conditioned into thinking about Him and launching into the deep unknown – for God is unknown.
    The soul rising out of the known falls into God, into Christ, into the Holy Spirit and into Heaven
    For now Heaven can only be a foretaste – we need to be changed to enter it eternally.

    The soul that turns away from God who to it is unknown, is to turn to the known, and, the Hell that is within will be theirs.
    Sorry this posting is too long already – I hope it is helpful to you?

    • st.joseph says:

      Nektarios.
      Thank you for your interesting reply.
      I havent come across any fiery sermons about hell, in fact we never spoke about it as children. It was always the Love of God with my grandmother and mother- It was the Sacred Heart- Mass, Confession of course,Parables and Gospel. Which we did hear at Mass about Hell in the parables. Maybe before my time.Of course Our Lady andSaints.
      It is not known by people ,what the church teaches. So I am always interested to know what other denomonations teach.We have a large Catechism of Catholic Doctrine but it is always good to discuss our faith with others
      They say curiosity killed the cat-I am not dead yet.I just like to know what other believe.
      Your mention of Heaven-this may seem odd but we can get a glimpse of Heaven, although esus said Eyes had not see or ear hear He also said ‘if you have seen me you have seen the Father ‘

  50. mike Horsnall says:

    I really liked those two references to eating and drinking with regard to our future’ bodies’ It really is a fascinating subject and one which we justifiably become more interested in the closer we personally get to the event!

    • st.joseph says:

      Mike.
      I dont remember her name but wasnt there a saint who lived for years by receiving the Blessed Sacrament.Nothing else to eat or drink.

      • Nektarios says:

        st. joseph

        I think you may be referring to St Elizabeth who was a desert dweller. It is said, angels visited her and gave her holy communion.
        A priest who visited her once in a while to seek her wisdom and advice, found her in the desert, dying.
        He gave her holy communion then buried her.
        I may be wrong, it ight not be who you are referring to at all?

  51. mike Horsnall says:

    Thinking about it I think the tendency to reflect on what is ahead becomes more and more natural…more ‘solid’ somehow.There is an interesting aspect to the ‘word becoming flesh and dwelling among us’ Its almost as if the religious life does in some way transform and sanctify as we live it so that little by little we come ,no matter how dimly, to perceive the distant land and have comprehension of it-after all it will become more fully our home as we continue to step toward it. In contradistinction to Nektarios I find the subject of heaven quite beautifully refreshing. I’m also pretty grateful for the doctrine of purgatory because it implies that I won’t be too ashamed when I meet him as I will have had a bit more time to polish up my shoes…Certainly we see as through a glass darkly but that doesnt mean we can’t get excited about what we think it is we see…

    • Nektarios says:

      Mike Horsnall
      I pointed out, that thought, thinking about Heaven is not it, no matter how picturesque
      one thinks about it.
      Is heaven beautiful because you might be comparing it to the hellish world we live in with all its horrors?
      Getting excited about what one thinks one sees is a little crazy don’t you think, Mike?
      It is like saying, I thought I saw a picture of a painted fire and immediately felt warm, hmm?

  52. mike Horsnall says:

    See it how you like dear boy, we comprehend dimly-argue with St Paul if you must.

    • Nektarios says:

      Mike Horsnall,
      You have not understood what SEEING is in this context at all. Seeing, is to be changed
      irrevocably till one can truly say with the Apostle Paul, `It is no longer I that liveth but Christ that liveth in me.’
      If you read what I wrote earlier to you and st.joseph, such a change must occur, and without SEEING there cannot be that change.
      One is playing games, as many do. Arguing, is not going to get one to Heaven.
      Idle assumptions ideas, “see it how you like” to quote you, will keep one in the dark
      as one chooses not to abandon oneself to God, but remain within ones own will.

  53. st.joseph says:

    Mike.
    I would love to sit down with Jesus and eat aVeggi Burger in Heaven. I am the only vegetarian in my family- oh except my daughter-in-law, who calls herself one and eats chicken.But I do eat gammon, so I suppose I am not one really.But however when I take my 8 and 18 year old grandsons to McDonalds, I feel just as close to God-but not the same as Holy Mass.Maybe it is because I can give Him all my time and thoughts and listen to Him speaking to me in the Blessed Sacrament.
    I am sure you will understand that! Then I can look over at Our Blessed Mothers Statue with the Child Jesus in Her arms and smile at Her and She smiles back.
    Aren’t we the crazy catholics but ‘ooh’ it is nice and comforting.

  54. mike Horsnall says:

    St Joseph,
    Yes we are the crazy ones but consolation is ours and from that comes strength, flexibility , love and humour!!

  55. st.joseph says:

    Nektarios.
    I really dont understand your philisophy in ‘seeing.
    The Feast Day of the Conversion of St Paul. is today.
    He was made blind so that He could see with his soul.
    As RC I believe when we look at the Host we see the Body and Blood of Jesus ChristSoul and Divinity ,Truly Present-under the appearance of bread and wine.That is where my seeing began at 5yrs old.But then that is my faith.
    I do not expect other denomonations to ‘see’ because they dont believe it!
    It starts with Grace.

    • JohnBunting says:

      st. joseph,
      – with apologies for the delay-
      On the ‘fruit of the vine’ text, I’m happy to take it both literally and symbolically. In our present life, eating and drinking together is not only a matter of sustaining the body, but also a powerful and universal sign of fellowship. How that relates to any future life is a mystery; and I think Nektarios is right to warn us, ‘Don’t get curious about Heaven and Hell’.

      • st.joseph says:

        John Bunting,
        The reference the fruit and the vine.
        It was always thought that Jesus was the Vine and we are its branches.
        When I have time I will look it up and come back to you.
        That to me seems to represent as I said in my comment, the Church, the Body of Christ.
        If you are a catholic you will know that the Church began at Pentecost, after the first Mass and followed by the Crucifixion.The new Covenant.
        The Apostles didn’t understand in till the Holy Spirit decended on them. that is why they were able to make references to Jesus’s Words..Jesus did say that we are not to worry about what to ‘eat or drink ‘or clothes to wear, so I take it as our Communion with Him. at the Sacrifice of the Mass. I am not able to tell you at the moment where you can find it, but it wasn’t that long ago in a Gospel reading.
        We can not pick and choose from Scripture what we ought to think about, and my thoughts are that it is a bit presumptious of both Nektarios and yourself to ‘warn’ me about the things I should consider to ponder on. Not through curiousity, but interest.
        Perhaps you and Nektarios. would care to tell me what I ought to be ‘ thinking about.
        Did I say I was thinking about Hell,I was interested in Nektarios opinion .
        I dont think it is harmful to think about Heaven or Hell anyway.
        Our Lady showed the children a vision of hell, as I said in an earlier comment, She must have thought it important to know about it.Maybe a few more people ought to be believing in it .Even the wicked have a soul that will go somewhere when they die.

      • Nektarios says:

        st. joseph

        Remember what Our Lord said at the last supper? Unless ye yeat this bread and drink
        of this cup – you have no life in you.

        This refers to the life of Christ in us – the hope of glory – heaven and eternal life!

        I did not warn you about things you wish to ponder on, but on being too curious about spiritual matters where there is no understanding and presumption can lead to real spiritual danger. Ask your priest!
        If as you say, you are looking at these spiritual things not out of curiosity, but out of
        genuine interest, thats fine, because interest comes out of love. Without love, there is no interest, without interest, there is no attention. Without attention, there is no looking and without looking there io seeing. And without seeing there is no change.
        Do you see this?

  56. mike Horsnall says:

    John,
    Why on earth not? heaven is our home- if you were going on holiday you’d be curious about the hotel would you not? Heaven is mentioned in many readings of the Divine Office.. As to Hell, right thinking about Hell is also important because when we consider it we are in fact considering the other side of heaven; these are the parameters of our existence and its good to know where the ropes are. A worked through understanding of hell and its implications is very helpful in terms of understanding the earth we walk upon. None christians are usually quite fascinated by these terms so its all in all a very helpful subject to work through. There is a good book by the Anglicans called the Mystery of Salvation which tries to do the subject a bit of justice.
    I think you mean:
    ‘do not become unhealthily obsessed by.heaven or hell.’ well the same is true for carrots and mars bars.

  57. st.joseph says:

    John Bunting.
    Here are the references in Scripture as promised.

    On the fruit of the vine. John 15.1-7 Refers to the Eucharist and new Covenant

    On eating and drinking .Matthew chpt 6.25.34.
    You will find some more in Luke and Matthew.

  58. Iona says:

    St. Joseph – Marthe Robin is said to have lived for decades without eating, drinking or sleeping. She’s not a saint (yet! – I believe her Cause is being considered) – She is 20th Century, there is a CTS booklet about her. She was taken into hospital for observation over several weeks, and the doctors confirmed that she did not eat nor drink yet maintained her body weight.

    As you say, the children at Fatima were given a vision of Hell. Also Pope Leo – cannot remember his number – in the 19th century, saw a vision of hell which shook him to the core, after which he composed the prayer to Holy Michael, Archangel.

  59. Nektarios says:

    mike Horsnall
    Re: reply Jan. 25 at 7:34
    You remark is not worthy of you.

    But I am nobody, a nothing.
    In fact, I am surprised you are reading anything I have to say here on the blog at all?
    I mean to say, why should you?

  60. mike Horsnall says:

    Because we are polite and read the stuff you post-really just manners and habit I guess.

  61. JohnBunting says:

    Thankyou, all, for your comments and references.
    Nektarios’ s warning about being curious – or ‘unhealthily obsessed’, as mike puts it – struck me rather forcibly because I’ve had similar thoughts myself. I think the point lies in the difference between curiosity about details of Heaven or Hell,- which we cannot possibly imagine, although tempted to do so, – and genuine attention to their meaning, which I feel sure is true in your case, st. joseph, and is better for our spiritual health, as Nektarios himself says.

  62. mike Horsnall says:

    Nektarios,

    Also because we are interested in the whole gamut of religious life- because we live it or at least try to. Some of us on here are very keen on apologetics and action while others are interested in sharing their experience of religious life as they live it, seeking for common ground and insight as they go. You seem on the one hand bent on self deprecation and on the other determined to tell us all where we are going wrong and what it is, in capitals, that we don’t understand. This seems like presumption, possibly because of the medium of blogging which carries huge room for misinterpretation, but possibly because it hasn’t yet dawned on you that we too pray, meditate,contemplate,dwell on sacred things and delve into spiritual writings. Some of us have been doing so for many years. If you really believed yourself to be of no value then I suspect you wouldnt be writing the stuff you are writing, in fact you percieve yourself to be as one who teaches-this is clear from your posts Nektarios.

    • Nektarios says:

      mike Horsnall

      I thought we were discussing together issues we have been looking at. I believed we were looking into these things together, shareing together and at the same time looking at ourselves as we went along. No?

      No sir, I was not being self deprecating, that is a negative, what I was talking about was self renunciation, quite a different action in one. Self deprecation implies comparison.
      To compare oneself with another only lead to a life of frustration.

      Nor am I being self deprecating when I say I am nothing. What does it mean for me to say I am nothing? I am saying, I am no thing! What is a thing? A thing is something
      made. But I am not a thing!
      To say, one is nothing, is to rise above materialism, seeking power, becoming more of whatever, richer, religious, holy, and so on but to see with clarity what is actual, not just descriptive words, that I am created in the image of God, spiritual etc., etc. as you claim to be too, nothing?

      I suppose if you think I am teaching you, preaching at you or something, I guess being a Pastor for many years, old habits die hard.

  63. st.joseph says:

    Nektarios
    In answer to your comment.
    I would not wish to believe that you are putting words into my mouth.
    I made the comment to Rev Pam Crane on 22nd Jan 22nd 8.04.that ‘I was always interested in what other Christian believe and why.
    I assumed you read that and realised -that comment was for all on the blog,obviously you didn’t.

    You also said in a comment to me that ‘you were not giving a lecture.’ I said nor’am I’
    But however I seem to think that you are under the impression that I believe that the RC Church’s teaching are that ‘ whoever does not believe in the Holy Sacrifice, Transubstatiation, or the Real Presence , is not living the life of Christ.
    You dont know much about the teachings of the Catholic Church if you think that is what I was saying.
    Hence the need for clarification .
    The comment you made about ‘implying’ that I maybe confused. If I need instruction as to what I am meant to believe ,I would ask my priest, and that would have been long ago.
    I would not be looking for instruction from another denomonation.

    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph
      I am in the Orthodox Church whic was Catholic for over 1000 years before Roman Catholicism came into being. I may not be Roman Catholic, but Catholic, certainly.

      Also, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church share the same Holy Tradition. The present Pope has recommended that you read the Fathers, that is the OrthodoxFathers and get to know the Holy Christian Tradition we are in our day inheritors of. Roman Catholic tradition you may know, but your roots are Orthodox.
      In no way, do we really differ in our understanding of the Eucharist, essentially it is the same.
      Forgive me, but I was not suggesting you were confused about anything, what I was suggesting was, curiosity in spiritual matters can lead one into dangerous terrritory.
      If you doubt what I was saying, ask your priest. That was all.

      • st.joseph says:

        Nektarios.
        I have forgiven you already, before you asked..
        The word ‘curious’ doesn’t come in to it.
        My ‘interest’ -and I will repeat ‘interest’ was to how you thought-not what I thought.
        I knew what I thought!

        I have read the ‘Fathers of the Church’ by Pier Franco Beatrice many years ago, but thank you I still have it on my bookshelf. A Holy priest who has no ‘sight'(but plenty of spiritual sight) gave it to my husband.

  64. st.joseph says:

    Nektarios.
    There is is a comment made by Jesus at the Last Supper after He instituted The Holy Eucharist.
    The reward promised to his Apostles.
    ‘You are the men who have stood by me faithfully in my trials; and how I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father conferred on me; you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and you will sit on the thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22 .28-30.
    Jn .6. 66-68; 15;27. Rv.2;26-28 Rv 3;20-21. Mt 19;28.
    Make of that what you like.

    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph
      Quite so!
      What do I make of it? Probably the same as you do.
      Perhaps I missed something – but I cannot understand why you think I don’t see the Eucharist as you do? I do.
      Pax!

  65. Nektarios says:

    mike Horsnall

    What nationality am I?
    British, for I was born in Scotland. I could equally say, Scottish, I guess.
    Then, one has to say, nationality with its nationalism breeds division among human beings.
    Having been in many parts of the world, I do not see myself as distinct from others of humakind.

    • st.joseph says:

      Nektarios.
      You are quite right!
      I am part Spanish, part French, part Irish,(born there) bit of a mix up but British Subject.There must be a lot of divisions in me.
      I would like to believe that it is not I now that live, but Christ lives in me.As St Pauls says.

      As Jesus’s prayer when He ascended into Heaven ‘That we all will be one’
      Lets us all pray for that too.

  66. milliganp says:

    Am I in blog hell? This debate is supposed to be about a multiverse theory and we’ve got multi-dimensional astrology and veggie burgers, has anyone posted on-topic?

  67. Iona says:

    Milligan – rather like the myriad different universes, the debate has spread out in all directions.

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