Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Holy Lance and Holy Cross

1) Holy Lance and Holy Cross, 2) Catholicism vs. Slave Hunting Pseudo-Theology

I usually think creation.com / CMI is a fairly good site, for questions related to the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

Usually. But not quite always. As to Fourth Day events, I cannot quite agree with details, to say the least, with avowed Heliocentrics. Today I found a debunking of traditional Mount Ararat site. From it I found - the source of Hume:

CMI : Has the Ark of the Covenant been found? And Noah’s Ark? Pharaoh’s drowned army? What about the Garden of Eden? creation.com/has-the-ark-of-the-covenant-been-found

The relevant quote is:

Then there are pieces of wood ‘from the actual cross of Christ.’ In the fourth century, Helena, the Roman Emperor Constantine’s mother, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. ‘There with a rapidity and assurance that can only strike wonder in the modern archaeologist, legend has it that she unearthed the True Cross, the lance, the crown of thorns, and identified, under a temple of Aphrodite, the tomb of Christ.’ [Reference given as: National Geographic, 164 (6):723, December 1983.]

This cross became an object of pilgrimage, with pieces cut off as a token for the one who made a generous offering. Theologian John Calvin (1509–1564) wrote that, by his day, there were so many parts of the ‘true cross’ around that ‘whereas the original cross could be carried by one man, it would take three hundred men to support the weight of the existing fragments of it.’ [John Calvin, Book of Days, Volume 1, p. 587.]

I hope how you can see how:

  • a) by promoting scepticism about relic claims, Calvin promoted scepticism about miracles made by or through relics,
  • b) besides, he promoted scepticism about recorded Christian miracles outside the case of relics as well,
  • c) and in both cases, about the Catholic Church which has recorded them as faithfully if not as inerrantly as Acts records Luke seeing St Paul raise a boy from the dead whom he had examined as having broken the neck and same St Paul deal with snakes and receive a snake bite without harm,
  • d) that if this tendency was in Calvin's case not denying Biblical miracles, it was because of the remnants in Calvin's mind from the Catholic religion he had left,
  • e) that eventually this would break out on full scale among people loosing the Catholic faith in the Bible on top of the Catholic faith in miracles and relics. This happened in Hume. Feuerbach, Marx and Engels, Lenin, Trotski, Stalin, Mao, as well as Charles Darwin are all intellectually indebted to Calvin's take on miracles and on relics, notably those of the Holy Cross.

Let us see if his original argument holds water.

‘whereas the original cross could be carried by one man, it would take three hundred men to support the weight of the existing fragments of it.’

How did he come up with such a figure? Like numbers involved in the Holocaust, it is not what I would call a singular, visible fact. It is an adding up of singular visible facts, involving huge proportions of estimate.

First of all, even if we suppose there were false relics, there were perhaps true ones as well. But second, his argument about the false relics is a mathematical one which is very hard to check. Third, if not based on downright intellectual dishonesty before people who were not questioning his attacks on Catholicism (whatever else they questioned, as his prolonged celibacy before marrying Ydelette de Bure), it was at best based on some sloppy adding up, and multiplication by a large fragment of Holy Cross. Fourth, God has made the Holy Cross the tree of life, so He can also have given it a multiplication like of the bread and fishes in the desert.

This fourth argument was actually put forth by Catholics, but ridiculed by Calvin. Or by Calvinists. Now I am of course supposing they did not make it up as a strawman to draw away attention from the real criticism of Calvin's argument. I do not think it is necessary to suppose this is so, since I do not have any faith in his "three hundred men" calculus. But at least we are sure God could do it. But if we do not say He actually did so, you can easily see how precisely the three hundred men calculus (in the sense of three hundred men necessary for the sheer weight, there may have been use for more than one man in carrying separate objects, even if their added weight could be carried by one man in an object that is compact and solid) is being rehashed as "mathematical impossibility" of Noah's Ark taking "all existing species" on board.

Now, his calculus may, in case it was anywhere near honest, have been based on adding up localities known to have fragments of the Holy Cross with reputed such, known to have relics, using for multiplication factor perhaps a larger fragment of it, or even the composite weight of relic as such with the jewelry around it.

Of St Theresa from Ávila the direct relics, i e her body, have been dispersed by revolutionary henchmen from France, Napoleon's soldiery, having not exactly the Westminister Catechism, but at least a Calvinist theological fury against "superstition and idolatry of relics". One indirect relic (like a rosary she had used or some piece of clothing) was exposed in Burgos, I touched the rosary I onwed onto the glass window around the relic on my pilgrimage to St James in Galicia. The fact is that relics are not usually carried around or set in a place just as the objects they are, they are set in a setting. Calvin could - presuming his honesty, which I for one am not vouching for - have gotten the weight he multiplied by number of fragments (however he calculated that one) by asking someone who had carried a fragment of the Holy Cross, and the man asked may have been unaware of the calculus Calvin was trying to do, and have given the weight you are carrying in a procession when you carry a relic of the True Cross in processions - an information with a practical value, it was obviously far less heavy than being one of four carrying a golden (or golden on the surface, gilt) statue of the Virgin with Child.

Now, since 25 of March is not just the date of the Annunciation but of the Crucifixion as well - this is even more certain, since it is probably that people in doubt over Christmas date calculated Crucifixion = Day of Conception = 9 months before Day of Birth. So, from the True Cross (but I will get back to it) to the Lance of Longinus.

Adolf Hitler was allegedly in possession of what he believed was the ‘holy lance,’ the spear used by the centurion to pierce Christ’s side. This was only one of many relics der Führer obtained (or sought) to satisfy his obsession with the occult. Interestingly, several such ‘genuine’ spears are owned by various collectors around the world.

Adolf Hitler may have had an "obsession" with the occult. I actually think he had so. Thule Lodge, proning research into lost Atlantis as supposed Urheim of Germanic or Aryan race ... yes, I think he had an "obsession" with the occult or at least (I am not sure what obsession means) an interest which was at times consuming and may have been superstitious. This does not mean that the honour due to relics is occultism, even if Jewry would stamp it as such. When Elisaeus was buried, his body fell on another body, which rose from the dead on touch. The same miracle happened again with the body of St Martin of Tours. God himself has honoured relics with miracles. Now, an occultist may not believe in God, he may not believe miracles are miracles of God, or Adolf may have had some remains of his childhood Catholic faith, precisely as Calvin when not putting Christ's miracles in doubt. But supposing Adolf's interest was of an occultist and sacrilegious nature, this does not discredit the relics. There are Sadducees who belive in no personal God, but who use Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy as a book of occultism. This is the darker side of what happened in Kabbalah between Kaiaphas rejecting the true Christ, and Isaac Kaduri finding Him. It is a side of kabbalistic use of Holy Writ among those who prefer Kaiaphas to Kaduri even now. But obviously, and Jonathan Sarfati must agree, this does not discredit Genesis.

So, getting back to how the True Cross and the Lance of Longinus were found ... St Helen, the Mother of Constantine the Great (whom the Eastern Orthodox also honour as a Saint) did some research. It involved torturing a Jew who had the information but refused to give it away (not with her own hands of course). This is to some people argument enough she was no Saint and that any Church honouring her as such must be outside the People of God. I obviously do not agree. Any Church NOT honouring her as a saint is outside the true People of God, whatever excuses God may find for individual souls who lost their way into such a thing. But as to the story of how this happened, there is better evidence than National Geographic articles.

How the Holy Cross Was Found: From Event to Mediaeval Legend
Stephan Borgehammar

A book I read before becoming friends, via Facebook, with its author. A quite man, not easily excited. His life has been more quiet than that of John Calvin (or my own). His conversion from Lutheran Confession to Catholic Church was more quiet than mine, but far more quiet than Calvin's self-exclusion by partial apostasy from the Catholic Church as co-founding some Non-Lutheran Protestant Confessions (Lutherans reject Zwingli and Calvin, but accept Melanchthon as a Theologian). But even above his personal qualities, he is a man who put forth a coherent argument. Since the story exists in two or three versions, that even contradict each other or seem to do so (I just said that the Catholic record of miracles is as faithful, but not as inerrant, as St Luke's record in the Holy Bible - faithfulness being a human intention and even achievement, inerrancy more like a divine privilege), since these exist since very shortly after the purported event, the story as such must have arisen very close in time to when it is supposed to have happened, i e, as I add to his conclusion, to when it happened. As writing within Modern Academia, he was not allowed or did not feel allowed to state that conclusion in the text of his Book.

I may save the topic of the Ark of Noah for another day, the Holy Lance and the Holy Cross are quite enough as theme for one essay.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Annunciation of Our Lady
the Blessed Virgin Mary
and Holy Good Thief

Appropriately, when on theme of Good Friday and when having mentioned Hume and Marx, I came across this:

The Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance
Founders: Ana Blandiana and Romulus Rusan

I might mention that Carpentras, in France, formerly (back then) Holy Roman Empire, claims to possess a horse bite made by Constantine, from the nails of the Holy Cross. But it was the Church Bells from a Church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary which stopped the Plague of 1628. As I looked up Saint Mors or Saint Clou (Holy Horse-Bite or Holy Nail), I found on wiki an ancient author's reference:

Rufin d'Aquilée, Histoire Ecclésiastique, I, 7-8 (PL 21, 475), with Rufinus of Aquileia and Historia Ecclesiastica as Latin forms, and PL means Patrologia Latina, edited by Migne. Obviously an author who died 411 AD is a better source for something that happened around 325 than an author who lived around 1000 AD for something that happened 2300 BC.

Obviously, Stephan Borgehammar had additional information. One French Architect, Charles Rohault de Fleury went through all the fragments of the Holy Cross he could find, estimated them accurately by cubic millimetres, and they amounted to a tenth of a Cross. I suppose this refers to his work "de Fleury, Charles Rohault (1870). Les instruments de la passion. Paris." And one A. Frolow, art connaisseur - I suppose the reference is to "Frolow, A., « La relique de la Vraie Croix », Archives de l'Orient chrétien, 7, Institut français d'études byzantines (1961)" - completed the work, got ten times as much and this means there is half a Cross around in the Cross relics. The first has his own wikipedian article in both English and French, the latter was cited as a reference to the French article on the Battle of the Yarmouk./HGL

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