Find Scripture Institute now on Facebook
"I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you."
Welcome to our inner sanctum ( Information intermediation) where your studies are served up each day
Note: All Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Coptic translations are my own unless noted otherwise.
To our new readers:
In order to appreciate the ongoing studies you need to know how to follow my wee writings. Since some of these tend to be bookish in length at times and if I put them in book form to sell on Amazon or Barns & Noble it would cost you which is not my purpose for sharing these studies. I’d much rather you read them for free and save your money for that once in a lifetime trip to Ireland. But I digress. Since we have currently more than 1,500 articles you may need directions (or as we like to say bread crumbs to follow the study). You will find on the left side of your computer screen a list of subjects, under the title Archive you can click on this and it will take you to the articles listed by date from the current post written and going backwards. Also if you note I do most of the time list the posts as Part 1, 2, etc. so it becomes easier to go back at the beginning to follow my train of thought. I also allow one to follow at their own pace, and will explain terms or concepts if I feel that they are not commonly understood. For the more casual reader you will find between the "serious" stuff Irish humor or observations about life, politics, and or Irish perspective as an Expat ( from Ireland). So enjoy.
Part two of blood sport Politics, pundits, and Punch &Judy
The Blood Sport we call in America, Politics (Part 1)
Recent Blogs (in case you missed something)
See the Archives...
The Tomorrow people parts 1-9
The Apocalypse (The First Gospel) 40 part series [ Nov 2012-Sept 2013]
There are 20 less angels on earth tonight The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight. They're our students and our teachers and our parents and our friends. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels, but every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless We add our prayers to all of yours for the 20 angels we lost ... One Year past and no help in sight!
The 2008 campaign for president was the most vicious in U.S. history, some pundits have said. There were certainly some cheap-shot moments here and there but, relatively speaking, was the 2008 race really that nasty?
Not at all, compared to labels like "jackass" and "hermaphroditical" tossed around during presidential elections back in the day.
"2008 was downright mild," compared to some of the tactics employed in the past, said Gil Troy, professor of U.S. History at McGill University in Montreal.
Mudslinging is certainly not a new approach in politics, historians agree. Opposing candidates have been tearing each other down since 1789, when George Washington was the first, and last, president to win an election by a unanimous electoral decision.
Our Forefathers could be just as cutthroat
There's just no avoiding the more malevolent side of politics during presidential elections in the United States.
"Elections have frequently been intense dust ups — American politics is rough and tumble," said Troy.
This year's election wasn't free of controversy, but both Democrats and Republicans were tame in their approach, said Troy, who noted that race played a part in keeping things relatively high-brow.
"John McCain to his credit refused to raise the Jeremiah Wright issue, because he feared making racial waves. Barack Obama very cleverly deemed every attack against him, no matter how mild, a smear, and this helped put the Republicans on the defensive and raise the bar," Troy said.
While Obama and McCain's attacks tended to be ideological in nature, past presidential candidates have barely hid their personal disdain for each other.
Slander became the campaign precedent as early as 1800, when incumbent president John Adams ran against his vice-president Thomas Jefferson. The duo, who'd worked together on claiming independence for America in 1776, were now bitter rivals and traded slurs that would put today's genteel candidates to shame.
Jefferson's side started by calling Adams a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." Adams supporters responded by labeling Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."
And the vitriol has continued unabated:
•In 1828 Andrew Jackson's wife — who had, shockingly for the time, been divorced — was called all sorts of lewd names by his opponents (they also called Jackson a jackass). In retaliation, Jackson claimed that incumbent John Quincy Adams had once tried to offer his maid as a concubine to Russian Czar Alexander I.
•1964 pitted sitting president Lyndon Johnson against Republican Barry Goldwater and is considered one of the nastiest of the last century. Johnson systematically destroyed Goldwater's character with the help of an "after-hours" smear team. It worked — Johnson won one of the most lopsided elections in U.S. history.
•In 2004, the "Swiftboat" smears against John Kerry, which questioned Kerry's military service record during the Vietnam War, were much dirtier than anything that happened in 2008, Troy said.
The Fact is that the Golden Age of politics never existed
The forefathers may have been just as sneaky as today's campaign managers, Troy said, but that doesn't prevent people from believing that modern politicians are more cutthroat. The penchant to view the most recent election as the nastiest, hardest-fought contest is a natural one, historians say.
"Americans are always searching for the golden age in the past, which I believe never existed," said Troy.
There is also a reason why politicians keep up the devilish deeds time after time. People have a tendency to forgive and forget even the worst offenders by the time the next election roll around, Troy said.
"[During] each campaign we idealize the previous ones and express deep disappointment with the [candidates] we have to choose from and the methods they use," he said, "not realizing that the reason why they use those methods is because the harsh tactics work on us!"
Few campaigns in the modern era have been completely free of dirty politics, which generally means the use of slander, libel, forgery, or other potentially criminal acts to embarrass a political rival. Since both candidates may engage in this type of behavior during a election year, the losing candidate rarely pursues legal action after the election is over. While voters may be offended by the use of dirty politics, political campaigns are notoriously outcome-oriented, suggesting that the candidate should use any and all means necessary to guarantee a win.
One legendary but unconfirmed example of dirty politics is said to have occurred during a heated campaign between Claude Pepper and George Mathers in the 1950s. Mathers is often credited with delivering a speech describing Pepper's sister as a "well-known thespian." Pepper's brother was a "practicing homo sapiens." Pepper himself reportedly "masticated daily" or "openly matriculated at college." Although none of these allegations were in the least bit immoral or illegal, Mathers counted on voter ignorance to sway the voters away from a questionable candidate like Claude Pepper
While that example of dirty politics may be apocryphal, there are other examples which are all too real. In 1972, an early frontrunner for the Democratic presidential race named Edmund Muskie became a victim of dirty politics. Political enemies leaked a letter to the press which allegedly contained quotes from Muskie condemning French-Canadians. This letter followed allegations of Muskie's wife being an active alcoholic. Muskie's emotional defense of his wife made him appear weak and vulnerable, two qualities not often viewed. as presidential. The "Canuck Letter" also turned out to be a complete forgery.
Dirty politics can range from invasive investigations into an opponent's personal life to complete IRS audits ordered by an incumbent president. President Richard Nixon is said to have maintained an entire staff of experts in this type of political maneuvering, including Donald Segretti and a young Republican named Karl Rove. Political enemies of the president were routinely audited for years, even television hosts such as Dick Cavett. Cavett had criticized one of Nixon's policies on-air, in front of a guest who Cavett correctly assumed worked for the Nixon White House.
Manipulative politics have played a role in American elections since the time of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson himself is said to have used pamphlets filled with incriminating or embarrassing information about his political opponents. Opponents of presidential candidate James Garfield in 1880 published a letter, supposedly written by Garfield himself, recommending that companies use cheap labor whenever possible, including Chinese immigrants. Garfield managed to prove the letter was a forgery before it could permanently damage his campaign.
Dirty politics can occur at any level of public service. Local political candidates often use financial records to embarrass an opponent. Family members and known political associates may also become fair game. A candidate's mental stability may be challenged, especially if he or she offers up an emotional or overheated response to political tactics. A negative ad campaign is not always the same as questionable politics, provided the charges in those ads are true and confirmable. Dirty politics often occur away from the scrutiny of the press, so many examples rarely come to light until years after the campaigns have ended.
Despite the high levels of rhetoric, political scientists don’t necessarily agree that this election is any more negative than those in the past.
Brian Gaines, a political scientist at the University of Illinois Institute for Government and Public Affairs, said a look in history shows mudslinging is nothing new.
The 1828 race between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams was filled with personal attacks, including accusations that Jackson’s mother was a prostitute and that Adams was a pimp.
The 1864 race between Abraham Lincoln and General George B. McClellan was dominated by wild caricatures that included newspaper cartoonists depicting Lincoln as a baboon.
"It is just not true that politics are dirtier or nastier than it ever was," Gaines said.
Kerwin Swint, a political scientist at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, told CNN in August he believes the presidential race will get progressively nastier as November approaches.
But, Swint, author of "Mudslingers: The 25 Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All Time," also said negative campaigns are not new.
In particular, he pointed to the Lyndon Johnson-Barry Goldwater matchup in 1964 that kicked off the television age of negative campaigning with what became known as the "Daisy" ad.
The advertisement, actually called "Peace, Little Girl," shows a girl pulling petals from a flower. A male announcer then begins counting down from 10. At zero, the image of the girl is replaced by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear blast, suggesting that Goldwater’s election could lead to nuclear war.
"That’s the one that set the modern standard," Swint said.
In a study titled "Winning, but losing: How negative campaigns shrink electorate, manipulate news media," political scientists Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar found that negative advertising does turn people away from voting.
Morrison agrees. "You wind up with less voter involvement and lower turnout," he said.
State Rep. Adam Brown, R-Decatur, is among those candidates who signed the fair elections pledge.
But that’s not to say he wasn’t in the middle of a brawl in 2010, when he unseated former state Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, in a race filled with negative ads.
Brown, however, says there is a difference between negative ads and false ads.
"In one situation, you have pure blasphemy. In another you have a factual basis for going after your opponent," Brown said.
Gaines said negative ads can play a role in campaign strategy.
"There are people who like them. They are like red meat to them, the diehard partisans. They don’t shy away from the mud," Gaines said. "The people who don’t like them are mostly independents; those who are casually interested in politics."
"They do depress turnout a little bit. They mainly push independents away from the polls," Gaines said. "Sometimes both campaigns think that’s in their interest. Sometimes one campaign thinks the other is going to do well with independents, so they are happy to have a lot of mud flying around."
So much for what has transpired in the past. Let’s move into the present day next time.
To be continued . . .
The Blood Sport we call in America politics
After posting for almost a year on spiritual things, I thought I would take a wee break I know that you need one too. My next great love or has been in past years was Political Science (when I came to America I fully intended to study Constitutional law). We Irish know a lot about "rights" and the law. On my way to that Law Degree I was waylaid and never took the Bar exam to become a [Constitutional] lawyer. But that didn’t dim my belief in "rights" human and otherwise.
It would seem that here in America everyone has the right of "free" speech whether crazy, obscene, articulate, intellectual factual or not. One of the things that we learn very early in school even as a child is to be certain of the statements that we make or facts that we are going to use for an discussion or in Ireland (an argument)!
Why Doesn't the Constitution Guarantee the Right to Education?
Every country that outperforms the U.S. has a constitutional or statutory commitment to this right. The United States education system sits at 17th place out of 40 countries, and it’s not just behind those socialist Scandinavians. In addition to the classic northern European bloc—Finland (1st), Netherlands (7th), Denmark (9th)—the superior contenders also come from Asia (2nd through 5th), Oceania (New Zealand, 8; Australia, 13), the rest of Europe, and indeed, even Canada (a respectable 10th).
Every country that bests us in the education rankings either has a constitutional guarantee to education, or does not have a constitution but has ensured the right through an independent statute. Each has constructed law around education as a fundamental right of citizens, at least until the age of adulthood. Finland, the world leader, succinctly asserts, "Everyone has the right to basic education free of charge."(Chapter 2, Section 16). South Korea’s Article 31 on Education has six sections. Switzerland’s constitution mentions education more than two dozen times. For countries with no formal constitution, many have included the right in supplementary documents like the Human Rights Act of the United Kingdom (1998) or the Australian Capital Territory Human Rights Act (2005). Others still, like New Zealand, form the basis for the right to education by incorporating international laws like the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, whose Article 13 provides expansive assurances of education. In addition, each of these countries—well, almost every country in the world—is also party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely accepted human rights treaty in history. The convention, which prohibits among other things the kidnaping and sexual exploitation of children, vigorously asserts the right of a child to education. Of UN members, only Somalia and the United States have not ratified that agreement.
Now I wrote all of that to make this point. Politics and our governance based on laws has taken a wrong turn somewhere between the founders and present day politicos. It is now not a matter of what is best for the common good of the citizens. It is about two things ‘Money and Power’. We have in this country basically two groups the "liberals and the conservatives". It’s no longer about what is right and what is wrong but about what is right and what is left! The principles of the founders have long since been left in the dust.
Why you may ask? (go ahead, I’ll wait) In a word or two the "golden rule" has been supplanted by what I call the "Wall street" factor "Greed is Good" mentality.
Those with the wherewithal to do that, must rally around themselves those with less education and those who are functionally analphabetic.
So with that in mind we’ll take a short look back at how we have arrived at the point where we call each opposing political group by the most extreme and vile names that one can muster.
I will remind you that you need to bare in mind that even Jesus being crucified had as an inscription above Him And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. (John 19:19) It was for the crime of being political that brought about Jesus’s demise.
To be continued . . .
I thought I would end this study with a thought of how "Tomorrow people influence those around them. And for a wee time I have spent considering who I might choose to represent the "tomorrow people". Little Miles Scott make our best choice. For one reason in my mind. His wish granted by the Make a wish foundation was to be Batman! A hero! And this wee lad turned a whole city upside down to make his wish come true. It’s not how old one is , or how smart, but what one does with what they have. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance
San Francisco makes Batkid's wish come true
Thousands of people in San Francisco and across the Internet rallied around Batkid on Friday as he sprang through the streets of a San Francisco turned Gotham City.
San Francisco Chronicle printed a special edition in honor of Bat Kid.
Batkid is five-year-old Miles Scott of northern California. For the past three years, Miles has suffered from leukemia. Now in remission, his greatest wish is to be Batman — and the Make-a-Wish Foundation promised to make that dream come true.
It seems that all of San Francisco played their part in turning the city into Batkid's Gotham City. Thousands of volunteers turned out for the all day event and the San Francisco Chronicle even released a special print edition, Gotham City Chronicle, in honor of the pint-sized superhero with articles written by none other than Clark Kent and Lois Lane.
Sports teams, local businesses, police departments and even The White House chimed in with their support for Batkid.
Throughout the day, Batkid was driven around the city in a Batmobile. He jumped into action to save a damsel in distress, prevent the Riddler from robbing a bank and retrieve a kidnaped San Francisco Giants' Lou Seal the seal mascot from the villainous Penguin. And to make the capture official, the Justice Department issued a formal indictment against the Riddler and the Penguin.
Mostly, "Batkid" Miles inspired us to believe in superheroes. If only for the day. Truly Gentle Readers a tomorrow person if we ever needed one. We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why. Once in a while it really hits people that they don't have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.
But can one be a blessing merely by being cheerful? Yes; moral beauty of any kind exerts a silent influence for good. It is like a sweet flower by the wayside, which has a benediction for everyone who passes by. A legend tells how one day in Galilee the useful corn spurned the lilies because they fed no one’s hunger. "One cannot earn a living just by being sweet," said the proud cereal. The lilies said nothing in reply, only seemed the sweeter, then the Master came that way; and while his disciples rested at his feet, and the rustling corn invited them to eat, he said, "Children, the life is more than meat. Consider the lilies, how beautiful they grow." It certainly seemed worth while then just to be sweet, for it pleased the Master.
Be the Tomorrow person you were meant to be...
The second part of part 9 of the tomorrow people starts this way:
One year ago schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen - her "crime", to have spoken up for the right of girls to be educated. The world reacted in horror, but after weeks in intensive care Malala survived
She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. In early 2009, at the age of 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.
On the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, Malala boarded her schoolbus in the northwest Pakistani district of Swat. The gunman had no doubt whom he was looking for. He asked for Malala by name, then pointed a Colt 45 and fired three shots. One bullet hit the left side of Malala's forehead, traveled under her skin the length of her face and then into her shoulder
And as the late great Paul Harvey would say "that’s the rest of the story"
Gentle reader, even as I write this, three are found dead in Maryland. Shot by what we can only imagine to be the personification of the very face of evil. One would think that dissent allows each person to voice their opinion. But in this 21st century it is not allowed not in the East and not in the West any longer. Here in the United States, those in power are slowly restricting the rights of half of its citizenry the distaff side (ever heard of the ‘war on women’?) What about the minimum wage (mostly women, single mothers 64% live in poverty) how about that? (here in America)
So when a young Pakistani girl stands up for the right ob educated halfway around the world. She is standing up for all women worldwide! If you're in trouble, or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones. Poverty is the worst form of violence. Once poverty is gone, we'll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They'll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society - how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.
So Gentle reader our next "Tomorrow person is a little girl who stood up not only for her right to be educated but for the rights of all women everywhere!
You see tomorrow people are not only educated and astute, they not only see clearly in the present but also see what could be in the future!
What the world sees now is hatred, crime and abuse of not only women but children as well. Can one person make a difference? My answer is yes and many tomorrow people can turn this evil around to what it should be. But it will never happen if those who see that they can do something, don’t step forward. One must count the cost but to do nothing makes your life meaningless.
My hope is that there are enough of you who wish not hate and evil but peace and love will step up and do something.
Peace... till next time
“The writer's curse is that even in solitude, no matter its duration, he never grows lonely or bored.”
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal". Saint Paul
“Every man has a specific skill, whether it is discovered or not, that more readily and naturally comes to him than it would to another, and his own should be sought and polished. He excels best in his niche - originality loses its authenticity in one's efforts to obtain originality.”
Upon reconsideration, I must admit this particular subject is much larger than I first imagined. The problem lies in the difficulty of determining who may be a "tomorrow person" and who may not. And beyond that, can one person identify another who has characteristics of one who could be categorized as a "tomorrow person".
Could it be nature vs nurture? Could it be found in ones DNA or genes (Genes are actually a subset of a cell's DNA. While all of your genes are made of DNA, your entire DNA is not composed of genes. In fact, less than two percent of a person's DNA represents active genes! The rest of the DNA seems to be involved mediating how the genes are expressed.)? Is it biological or the action of the mixture of Chemistry within a person? Good questions all. The question that I started out to ask "What makes a person act, behave, or interact with others the way that they do?" Or to put it another and more personal way. "Who am I?" And why do things effect me in the way that they do?
I am going to suggest that certain people not only would be considered "Tomorrow people" not necessarily for their intelligence, or their genes, DNA, but something more intangible. What is the source of our existence? Something that is intangible, that derives from Spirit...Call it God or call it nature - whatever label you use to define it, IT is absolute. The absolute is not subject to change
There are intangible realities which float near us, formless and without words; realities which no one has thought out, and which are excluded for lack of interpreters.
These next people are those that I call interpreters of what "Tomorrow people are to become. Stay with me a bit longer and I trust all will become clear.
This first person that I want to introduce to us is certainly unique. Coming from Australia this woman is in her own right an accomplished artist but she is far more than that. My wife introduced me in a round about way to Jodi, who also suffers from this devastating and crippling disease not recognized by most of the world’s doctors. And yet there are more than a million of theses people, men, women and yes even children who go unnoticed. Unnoticed by health care providers, family and friends in all but a few cases. Jodi Bassett, who was afflicted with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis M.E. at the age of 19. Now 38, Jodi is the webmistress of the most comprehensive site on all aspects of M.E., www.hfme.org "Fighting for recognition of M.E. and patients to be accorded the same basic human rights as those with similar neurological diseases such as M.S." author of a definitive book about caring for patients with M.E., an amazingly talented artist, and an activist for M.E. awareness All her writing, artwork and videos are done from her bed as she has been primarily bedfast for a number of years. And yet Jodi is a fierce advocate for all of those who suffer with this little know (or cared about) disease. Truly a "tomorrow person" in her own right!
Think about this dynamic woman and I’ll get back to you with the next Candidate.
It should be obvious now to all of my long time readers and all in the sound of my voice ( a long time ago) that I seldom take a path that has been down before. If we know exactly where we're going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we'll see along the way, we won't learn anything. It is the road abandoned, the one that everyone thinks too rocky, the hill too altitudinous to climb. Those are the roads that interest me.
So when I undertook this latest journey of the mind, "to boldly go where no man had gone before" (thanks Star Trek!). I had some idea at lest where I was headed but how to get there and what I would find along the journey, I did not know. I found when once undertaken that there were more than a few that we might consider as "Tomorrow people". Who should we consider, and who should we pass over? For we have centuries of candidates, who in my mind could and would be willing to share with us their road less traveled. Spiritually evolved people, by virtue of their discipline, mastery and love, are people of extraordinary ability and competence, and in their competence they are called on to serve the world, and in their love they answer the call.
My next "tomorrow person should not come as a surprise to those who know of my Catholic background. Peter John Sheen was born in El Paso, Illinois in the late 1800's over the hardware store that his mother and father owned on main street.
Already at his birth he was making his mark as a communicator, communicating par excellence in the way that babies do by crying. Young Sheen did this constantly. Which leads one to reflect that even at this stage of his life he already was giving an indication of the path his life would take, "of one crying in the wilderness", for truly that young baby was to grow into the greatest voice of the Catholic Church in the United States in the twentieth century.
His skill of communication was such a degree that his family gave him the nickname of that "Fulton baby" after his mothers side of the family. He gives no indication in his autobiography as to why "crying" was associated with his mothers family but the fact that it was would have a lasting impact on how he would be known.
When he was enrolled in the local Catholic school it was his maternal grandfather who brought him to the school. When asked what was the name of the child being enrolled, his grandfather replied, "Fulton." Thus, from that point onward he would be known as Fulton J. Sheen, his name forever changed to reflect the crying that had marked his first years.
Like others whose names have been changed to reflect a mission so it would seem in hindsight was his. Fulton Sheen, like the Baptist, was a voice crying out in the wilderness. There were times that he was popular and other times during his life when he suffered greatly.
It seems that all who encountered the young Fulton marked him for greatness and that he accepted their prophecies gladly. Although he is often criticized for being proud, what he did he did for God and because he was unashamed he brought God to millions. Like our Lord he came from humble beginnings but soon would take his public ministry to the far corners of the world.
Highly educated early on he made his mark by teaching Philosophy at Catholic University ( I attended there also) in Washington D.C. Most of his early works are writings that deal with philosophy but he soon expanded his classroom beyond the University and through the means of radio taught the universe.
His ability to bring the Gospel message alive and to make it relevant to life is what made Fulton J. Sheen a great preacher. His oratorical skills added to his delivery but indeed it was his message that was powerful.
What did he attribute his success in preaching to? His daily Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament.
In fact it was so much a part of his life that he prayed that he would die in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament on a Feast of Our Lady. He died in his apartment near his personal Chapel on the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the patroness of the United States on December 7, 1979.
As 1999 ended, there was speculation about who had been the greatest, most popular, most significant, or most influential Catholic of the preceding 100 years. When it came to the world, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa scored high on virtually every list. In the United States, names such as Francis Cardinal Spellman, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Al Smith, and John F. Kennedy received considerable attention. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen received little notice.
It is my contention that Sheen was the most influential Catholic of 20th-century America. Indeed, it could be argued that his impact was far superior to others receiving more attention in polls and in the media.
In the first place, he was the most popular public speaker in the Church, and arguably the best. Millions listened to his Catholic Hour radio programs from 1928 to 1952. Millions also received printed copies of these talks. In 1949, Gladys Baker, a noted journalist, observed that Sheen was "the name priest in America." She added, "By members of all faiths, Monsignor Sheen is conceded to be the most electric orator of our times."
When Sheen went on television in February 1952, his Life Is Worth Living programs became extremely popular, competing effectively against shows starring "Mr. Television," Milton Berle, and singer-actor Frank Sinatra. A television critic exclaimed, "Bishop Sheen can’t sing, can’t dance, and can’t act. All he is…is sensational." In his first year on television, Sheen won the Emmy for Most Outstanding Television Personality, winning over media giants Lucille Ball, Arthur Godfrey, Edward R. Murrow, and Jimmy Durante. After winning, he was featured on the covers of Time, TV Guide, Colliers, and Look. The journalist James Conniff stated, "No Catholic bishop has burst on the world with such power as Sheen wields since long before the Protestant Reformation." By early 1955, his programs were reaching 5.5 million households a week.
No record can be made of the thousands of sermons, speeches, and retreats Sheen gave over the decades, often to large audiences. When he was scheduled to preach at St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York City, 6,000 people regularly packed the church. On Easter Sunday 1941, 7,500 worshippers were jammed into the Cathedral, and 800 waited outside, hoping to get in. On Good Friday, his sermons were broadcast outdoors to the thousands standing outside St. Patrick’s. "For three hours," the New York Times reported, "the heart of Manhattan’s most congested midtown area became a miniature St. Peter’s Square. The phenomenon is repeated for the evening service." Many of his television shows, sermons, and speeches are still available on video and audiotape.
An intellectual, theologian, and philosopher of the first rank, Sheen was one of the Church in America’s most prolific writers. Over a period of 54 years, he was the author of 64 books. In addition, he published 65 booklets, pamphlets, and printed radio and television talks. He wrote countless magazine and newspaper articles. In the early 1950s, he was writing two regular newspaper columns, God Love You and Bishop Sheen Writes (which was syndicated in the secular press and ran for 30 years). He edited two magazines, one, Mission, for 16 years.
Sheen’s expertise included a wide variety of topics, from Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas to Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and John Dewey. His academic credentials were excellent; he was the first American to be awarded a rare post doctorate degree from the prestigious University of Louvain. His linguistic achievements were admirable. His writing ability was also exceptional, his style being as lucid and yet consistently less pedantic than that of the great Anglican apologist, C.S. Lewis. More than a dozen of his books remain in print. Fifteen anthologies of his writings have appeared, four in the 1990s.
Servant of the people
The archbishop was one of the Church’s great missionaries. In 1979, the Jesuit magazine America called him "the greatest evangelizer in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. He lavished personal attention on both rich and poor." A reporter observed in 1952: "The bishop’s official date book, listing names of those he plans to see (‘I will see anybody with a spiritual problem’), regularly bulges with eight hundred to a thousand entries." Thousands attended his convert classes. No one, of course, could count the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who came into the Church, wholly or in part, as a result of Sheen’s publications and media and personal appearances.
Sheen also had a passion about helping the world’s poor. As national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966, he raised more money for the poor than any other American Catholic, an effort that was augmented by the donation of more than $10 million of his personal earnings. Not long before his death, he declared "My greatest love has always been the missions of the Church."
He was decades ahead of others in his opposition to racism, raising funds and donating very large sums of personal income to help build a hospital and churches for blacks in Alabama. In the late 1920s, while Klansmen were riding through the streets of hundreds of American cities, Sheen was giving speeches stressing racial equality and brotherhood. In 1944, at a time when America’s armed forces were segregated, Sheen wrote of Christ’s "explicit command to love all men, regardless of race or class or color." He strongly opposed anti-Semitism. "For a Catholic to be anti-Semitic," he wrote during World War II, "is to be un-Catholic." He had a special place in his heart for people disfigured by leprosy and disease.
Frequently outspoken, Sheen stirred controversy with strong statements on such topics as communism, socialism, the Spanish Civil War, World War II diplomacy, psychiatry, secularism, education, and the left in general. He often attacked liberal Protestantism: "Satan’s last assault was an effort to make religion worldly." And yet Sheen defied efforts to place him on the political left or right. He was equally critical of monopolistic capitalists, irresponsible labor union leaders, and idealistic advocates of the welfare state. He eschewed all forms of earthly utopianism. Still, he often supported reform, eager to help create a world rid of inequality, insensitivity, hatred, crime, and corruption. In 1967, he fell under attack from the right by opposing the Vietnam War. He was the first American bishop to attempt to implement in a diocese the full teachings of the Second Vatican Council, producing severe criticism from conservatives.
Sadly, the archbishop has been criticized by academics for abandoning his scholarly discipline and writing for the masses. C.S. Lewis was attacked for the same reason. Even the sympathetic Time story cited above contained this criticism. Sophisticated readers looking at the likes of the slight volume, Prayer Book for Our Times; the collection of columns published as Children and Parents; and These Are the Sacraments, with its large number of absurdly pompous photos of Sheen, might easily conclude that the author was merely a media personality and an intellectual lightweight.
In reply, it must be said that Sheen was essentially a missionary. He might have spent his life writing for philosophy journals. Instead, he reached out to as many people as possible, convinced that human souls were more important than scholarly disputation. Still, the intellectual level of his publications never descended very far. Anyone who reads These Are the Sacraments, as well as looks at the photographs, will discover a learned, sound, and appealing exposition of Church teaching. Children and Parents is both wise and thoughtful. It also bears pointing out that Sheen produced many volumes to raise funds for the world’s poor. Almost all the royalties from his books after 1950 went to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, and the proceeds from his sponsored television programs were devoted to the same cause.
The Sheen story is about a remarkable man whose spiritual intensity was the primary force that propelled him throughout his life. His life in the Church spans one of the most exciting periods in the venerable institution’s history, from an era characterized by growth, discipline, evangelism, self-confidence, and exclusivity, to the post-Vatican II period known for its change, dissent, disillusionment, ecumenism, and openness to the modern world.
Because of Sheen’s wide interests, his story encompasses virtually every major political, social, and cultural development of the 1920s through the 1970s. Fulton J. Sheen’s brilliance, knowledge, acuity, devotion, and incredible energy compel the biographer to reflect on the history of the nation as well as the individual. We might share our favorite quote from the good bishop "Truth must be sought at all costs, but separate isolated truths will not do. Truth is like life; it has to be taken on its entirety or not at all. . . . We must welcome truth even if it reproaches and inconveniences us -- even if it appears in the place where we thought it could not be found."
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen definitely a "tomorrow person"
Part 3 To the Saints (fill in your name) in (now and your location)
Our next candidate is called a "saint" by the Roman Catholic Church which is rather ironic as Paul the "Apostle to the Gentiles" calls all that he writes to Saints for example Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, to the saints being in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus:
It seems that the Roman Catholic Church saw first that what God wanted was a family and He left a wee note (I call it a love letter to each one of us) pinned through the man we call "Saint "Paul. And in any case the RCC started naming "saints" as if you and I weren’t good enough to make the cut. But like always when I get excited. I get a head of my self. So lets slow down a wee bit and take a look at another "Tomorrow person. A man called not only a "saint" but a prophet as well!
Have you ever been disillusioned with people? Have you ever had life just not work out the way you expected it to? Have you ever wondered why it seems the faithful suffer while the wicked prosper? Have you ever questioned God when it seemed like He wasn't keeping His promises? If so, you will want to learn about one of the great men of faith in the Bible who faced all of those tests and asked all those questions. His name was Asaph. Most Christians do not even recognize his name. Even those who do, do not seem to recognize his importance. They probably just know he had something to do with the Psalms.
It is recognized that Asaph was David's music director, and probably wrote much of the original, now lost, music for David's Psalms, but much more importantly, he wrote twelve Psalms. He wrote more of the Bible than Peter, James, Jude, Jonah, Amos, Micah, Joel, Malachi, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Haggai, or Obadiah. Interestingly enough, if we take the time to dig it out, the Bible tells more about Asaph's life than it tells us about any other author of scripture except Moses, David, Samuel, and perhaps Isaiah, Hosea, and Jeremiah. We know the times Asaph lived in (circa 1020 - 920 BC), from David's reign, through Solomon's to Rehoboam's. We know he lived in Jerusalem. We know that he worked as the director of music at David's Tent of Meeting and at Solomon's Temple. We also know a great deal about his personal and family life. We also know the great historical and spiritual events which were the context of Asaph's life. It is important to reconstruct Asaph's life because, without understanding his life and times, it is impossible to fully comprehend the faith amidst adversity that Asaph's Psalms reflect!
Who was Asaph? I have included the scriptural support for much of this in notes, but here I will include only a summary. Asaph was a young priest from the tribe of Levi, when David brought the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem in about 1000 to 995 BC. His father, Berekiah was appointed Doorkeeper of the Ark, and Asaph was so talented that David put him in charge of the music before the Ark of the Covenant. He was assisted there by his brother Zechariah. He was probably in his twenties at the time. At that time the main tabernacle and the most senior priests and Levites were at Gibeon, but Asaph was in charge of the music in Jerusalem where the Ark and the King were. We know that Asaph kept that position at least until the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem almost forty years later. At that time the worship services of the Tent of Meeting and the Tabernacle were consolidated in the Temple, and the Ark of the Covenant was reinstalled in its rightful place in the Holy of Holies next to the Holy Place.
Asaph served in Jerusalem for all of David's reign, and no doubt set to music, many of the Psalms that God gave David. He was in Jerusalem when God gave David the great promise that David would have a son who would be the Messiah, and reign forever. He had to have been very close to David. He was probably afflicted by a little hero worship of David. Who wouldn't have been? He also heard David tell the people and elders of Israel that his son Solomon was the answer to God's promise of a son who would build God's temple and establish a kingdom that would last forever. He saw the death of David, the accession of Solomon, and the building of the Temple. He thought he was standing on the verge of Israel's Millenium. He was on the mountaintop!
After Solomon's dedication of the Temple, Asaph saw Israel's "golden age" turn into something quite apart from what he expected. After a promising beginning, Solomon turned his back on God and pursued power, wealth, luxury, and human wisdom, as well as worship of other gods. To finance these pursuits the people were oppressed with slavery  and taxes. Asaph saw Solomon become a wicked man who entrusted the administration of his Kingdom to other wicked men. There is good reason to believe (see Appendix 5) that during Solomon's reign, Asaph's brother Zechariah  was assassinated in the Temple by Solomon's agents. Neither Asaph nor Zechariah would keep silent about Solomon's wickedness. Zechariah paid the ultimate price.
After Solomon's death, Asaph, now an very old man saw David's kingdom torn in two by God's decree The northern part, restless under Solomon's punishing taxes and resentful at his wasteful luxury, rebelled and took Jeroboam as King, and the southern part, mostly the tribe of Judah, went with Rehoboam, Solomon's son. The northern kingdom rejected the Levites and the temple. After that, the Egyptians invaded, along with Israel's neighbors, took Jerusalem, burned and stripped the Temple, killed many of the priests, and left, mocking Israel, and Israel's God. Since many of Asaph's relatives served in the temple as either musicians or doorkeepers, many of them must have perished in this attack. In the winter of his years Asaph surveyed the wreckage of his hopes. The Kingdom was destroyed, the Temple was in ruins, many of his own family had been killed, and "Solomon as the Messiah" had been exposed as a fraud!
If there was ever a man who had an excuse for being disillusioned, Asaph was that man. David, his hero, who had been used mightily by God in his earlier years, had, in his last years, deceived the people, and himself, about what God had told him about Solomon. David had indicated that Solomon was the Messiah! Then Solomon, who God spoke to twice, and had greatly blessed, turned from the wisdom and grace of God to the worship of idols and a philosophy more suited to Neitsche than the son of David. Pick almost any verse in Ecclesiastes for confirmation! Asaph and his family, who had remained faithful to the truth, for a recompense, became victims of violence and murder at the hands of the Solomon and the Egyptians.
Yet, through it all, Asaph finds God's faithfulness a strong tower of hope. God reveals to Asaph the ultimate truth of what He had promised. It was not what man's ignorance and David's impatience sought, but what God's wisdom provided. And it was better! Oh, so much better! It was not Solomon! It was not Solomon's destroyed kingdom and burned Temple! And not Solomon's worldly despairing wisdom! It was not Solomon's corrupting and corruptible riches! It was Jesus Christ the "Solomon" (Prince of Peace) who was to come! It was His eternal Kingdom, His perfect wisdom, His true riches, and the Temple of His body!
As you read the Psalms of Asaph you will see how much his Psalms speak to the events of his life and times. Psalm 73 reflects Asaph's bitterness at the murder of his brother. It also gives us a much needed commentary on what was happening in Israel in the years between the dedication of the Temple and the end of Solomon's reign. In the narration in Kings and Chronicles this period is almost a blank! Psalm 82 and 75 reflects Asaph's disillusionment with Solomon and his realization that Solomon was not the Prince of Peace that would come. Psalms 76 and 80 reflect Asaph's pain during the division of Solomon's kingdom when Rehoboam took Judah and Jeroboam took Ephraim and nine other tribes. Psalms 74 and 79 reflect Asaph's distress at the invasion of Shishak the king of Egypt. Asaph was an old man of at least a hundred years old when he wrote many of his Psalms.
I have grouped the Psalms of Asaph into six categories. I have also added some commentary on them that might be useful. Following that are footnotes in which I document some of my conclusions. I have put them at the end of the paper to keep the body of it from being too dry and academic. I wanted, however to provide some answers for those who might ask, "Where in the world did he get that!"
With that introduction, I give you the Psalms of Asaph.
 Though in the beginning under Moses the age of Levites who served was 30 to 50 years, under David it was 20. Numbers 4:1-3 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: "Take a census of the Kohathite branch of the Levites by their clans and families. Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting. 1 Chronicles 23:24 These were the descendants of Levi by their families--the heads of families as they were registered under their names and counted individually, that is, the workers twenty years old or more who served in the temple of the LORD. If Asaph's father was young enough to serve as doorkeeper (under 50), it is likely that that asaph was under 30, but at least 20.
 For the first thirty years, Asaph was technically under Heman, but Heman ministered at the tabernacle in Gibeon, while Asaph ministered at the tent of meeting where the Ark of the Covenant was located on Mount Zion next door to David's palace in Jerusalem.
 Ecclesiastes 1:17-18 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless. "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?" I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 2:4 I undertook great projects:
Ecclesiastes 2:7a I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house.
Ecclesiastes 2:7b I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me.
Ecclesiastes 2:8a I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.
Ecclesiastes 2:8b I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well--the delights of the heart of man.
 1 Kings 11:5-10 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD's command.
 1 Kings 9:15 -21
 1 Kings 5:13,12:4
 He was the man Jesus referred to in Matthew 23:32-35 and Luke 11:50-51. It is also possible that he was the man who wrote Psalms 94.
So now you have just a taste of what it was like to live your life disillusioned and yet latter people would realize that each person has a great worth in the sight of God and ever so slowly (me I want to get on with it, don’t you?) God is bringing His family together. And for now I leave you with this thought...
Life is But a Weaving
Corrie Ten Boom (The Tapestry Poem)
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft' times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not 'til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
Till next time...
I believe that the first misconception can be largely attributed to the way the history of science is presented in many high school and even college textbooks. By presenting the advancement of scientific knowledge as a more or less linear progression from successful theory to successful theory, they inadvertently imply that science is never fundamentally wrong, that it always proceeds from the truth to a better understanding of the truth. The fact is that the progress of scientific research is more like a tree being pruned; myriad theories develop at every point, only to be disproved and set aside as new experimental evidence is gathered. Consequently, the fact that a theory is eventually proven right does not establish that it was clearly correct at the time it was first promulgated.
With the evidence available in Galileo's time, there really was no reason to support the Copernican theory over the Ptolemaic, other than the fact that it was a good deal more simple. The modified Ptolemaic system proposed by Tycho Brahe -- which had Earth fixed in the center of the universe, the Sun revolving around the Earth, and the other planets revolving about the Sun -- fit the astronomical data of the day just as well as the Copernican model championed by Galileo, and had the important advantage of not contradicting every tenet of natural philosophy held at the time. Furthermore, there appeared to be a good deal of strong evidence against the Copernican view. For example, the apparent positions of the stars should have shifted as the Earth moved through its orbit, but no such parallaxes were observed (Koestler 1964) . As it turns out, this was because the telescopes of the day weren't powerful enough -- but at the time, it seemed an insurmountable contradiction. In siding with the geocentric thesis, the Church was accepting the view held by the vast majority of scientists and philosophers -- not stubbornly and dogmatically rejecting an overwhelming case for heliocentrism as is commonly believed. Koestler succinctly summed up the situation in The Greatest Scandal in Christendom , saying "...not only tradition, prejudice and naive `commonsense', but also the scientific evidence available at the time, spoke against the Copernican theory."
Fr. Mateo of www.cin.org writes:
Galileo actually taught that the sun was at the center of the universe, not just the solar system; later evidence showed that the sun also orbits the center of the Milky Way galaxy; it thus would have been bad if the Church had given an unqualified endorsement to Galileo's theory, for his specific form of the theory turned out to be false.
The second misconception, that Galileo was abused and mistreated by the Inquisition, can most likely be traced to the antagonistic relation between science and religion. As historian George Sim Johnson comments, "The case makes for such a neat morality play of enlightened science versus dogmatic obscurantism that historians are seldom tempted to correct the anti-Catholic 'spin' that is usually put on it." Galileo was "imprisoned" (he was not guarded, but simply forbidden to leave without special permission) in a luxurious five-room suite in the Florentine embassy rather than in the jail at the Palace of the Inquisition, and he was never tortured -- he was shown the instruments of torture, a mere formality since his age and infirmity officially exempted him from torture in the first place. Unlike the infamous Spanish Inquisition, the Roman Inquisition operated under strict regulations as to the use of torture:
Interrogation with torture usually was prescribed in two general situations. First, where the evidence clearly indicated guilt which the suspect had denied or was incapable of disproving, and second, when it was deemed that a confession had not been full and sincere, or when it was felt that all of the accomplices had not been named. Those who were spared from torture were pregnant women, or women who had given birth within a forty day period, the elderly, children under fourteen and the physically impaired. Torture was rigidly controlled and restrictions were enforced in Roman practice. The judge could not proceed to interrogation under torture unless the evidence was compelling and the defense had presented its case. Nor did the inquisitor alone decide whether torture was justified. He had to seek the opinion of an advisory council consisting of theologians and lawyers. If torture was to be used, the court had to follow the instructions for torture, issued by the Supreme Tribunal of Rome. Deviations from accepted procedure were not tolerated by Rome (Van Helden 1995).
Contrary to popular belief, the Inquisition did not in fact charge Galileo with heresy -- it charged him with violating the 1616 injunction against supporting the heretical Copernican theory. While the difference may seem purely semantical to a modern-day observer, it was a matter of life and death in Galileo's day -- heresy was a capital crime punishable by burning at the stake, while merely supporting heretical beliefs was a much less serious offense. The case against Galileo was based on the minutes of the Holy Office for February of 1616:
The entry for February 25, 1616:
His Holiness ordered the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal Bellarmino to summon before him the said Galileo and admonish him to abandon the said opinion; and in case of his refusal to obey, the Father Commissary, in the presence of a notary and witnesses, is to issue him an injunction to abstain altogether from teaching or defending this doctrine and opinion and even from discussing it; and further, if he should not acquiescence, he is to be imprisoned (as cited in Sobel 1999, pg. 249) .
The entry for February 26, 1616:
In the Palace and residence of Cardinal Bellarmino, Galileo being called and being in the presence of the Cardinal and of the Reverend Father Michelangelo Seghizzi of Lodi, of the Order of Preachers, Commissary General of the Holy Office, the Cardinal admonished the said Galileo of the error of the above-mentioned opinion and warned him to abandon it; and immediately and without delay, the said Cardinal being still present, the said Commissary gave Galileo a precept and ordered him in the name of His Holiness the Pope and the whole body of the Holy Office to the effect that the said opinion that the Sun is the center of the universal and the Earth moves must be entirely abandoned, nor might he from then on in any way hold, teach or defend it by word or in writing,; otherwise the Holy Office would proceed against him (as cited in both Linder 2002 and Sobel 1999, pg. 250) .
That February 26 entry is now believed to be a forgery inserted into the minutes by Galileo's enemies. Its placement on the back of the previous day's entry rather than on a new page is inconsistent with every other entry in the files, and it also contradicts the February 25th entry by stating that the injunction was issued immediately after Bellarmine's admonition, instead of if Galileo did not accept Bellarmine's admonition (which he did, according to Linder, Cardinal Oregius was also present at the meeting and reported that Galileo "remained silent with all his science and thus showed that no less praiseworthy than his mind was his pious disposition."
Had he concentrated his defense on the forged injunction, Galileo might have gone free. Instead, he argued that Dialogues was actually a refutation of the Copernican view, stating in his defense that "...I did not consider that in writing it I was acting contrary to, far les disobeying, the command not to hold, defend, or teach that opinion, but rather that I was refuting the opinion. ...I have neither maintained nor defended in that book the opinion that the Earth moves and that the Sun is stationary but have rather demonstrated the opposite of the Copernican opinion and shown that the arguments of Copernicus are weak and inconclusive." (as cited in Sobel 1999, pg. 251). Predictably enough, the Holy Office was unconvinced by that line of defense, voting seven to none (with three abstentions) to declare Galileo guilty of "vehement suspicion of heresy" and sentence him to formal imprisonment for an indefinite period and reciting the seven penitential psalms once a week for three years. Thanks to the influence of Cardinal Barberini, Galileo's imprisonment was softened to house arrest at the Tuscan Embassy; six days later, he was remanded to the custody of his friend Archbishop Piccolomini of Sienna.
Many people would question the Church's reasons for getting involved in the matter in the first place; after all, what does astronomy have to do with religion? The answer is that the Church felt that the heliocentric Copernican theory threatened the principle of the inerrancy of the Bible; Catholic theologians felt that passages like Joshua 10:13, which states: "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? 'So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.' " (God) clearly implied that the sun moved through the heavens and not the earth. Consequently, the Church considered the Copernican theory to be heretical, although Cardinal Bellarmine also stated in a letter to Paolo Foscarini:
...if there were a true demonstration that the sun was in the center of the universe and the earth in the third sphere, and that the sun did not travel around the earth but the earth circled the sun, then it would be necessary to proceed with great caution in explaining the passages of Scripture which seemed contrary, and we would rather have to say that we did not understand them than to say that something was false which has been demonstrated. But I do not believe that there is any such demonstration; none has been shown to me. It is not the same thing to show that the appearances are saved by assuming that the sun really is in the center and the earth in the heavens. I believe that the first demonstration might exist, but I have grave doubts about the second, and in a case of doubt, one may not depart from the Scriptures as explained by the holy Fathers (Bellarmine 1615).
In effect, what Bellarmine said was that the heliocentric theory might indeed be correct, but until it was conclusively proven it should not be treated as fact since it differed from the current interpretation of the Bible. Treating it as a mathematical model, on the other hand, was perfectly acceptable. This sentiment was echoed in the Pope's instructions to Galileo, and in the fact that the Inquisition did not ban De Revolutionibus even after declaring the Copernican doctrine to be heretical -- they only suspended its publication until nine sentences which postulated the doctrine as fact rather than theory were modified. Foscarini's book, on the other hand, was banned because it attempted to re-interpret the Bible to accommodate the new theory; Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, likewise, only got Galileo into trouble because the Church felt he was intruding on theological matters, and because he gratuitously insulted the Pope by putting the advice the pontiff gave him in the mouth of the dunce Simplicio.
Looking back on the events of 1616 and 1633, we might note that the story of Galileo contains all the key elements of a good thrilller -- it is a riveting tale of exciting scientific discoveries and devious political intrigues, of personal feuds and philosophical rivalries, of records forged and lies told. It is important, however, to separate myth from truth: while the conviction of Galileo was certainly an unfortunate miscarriage of justice, it did not represent a showdown between Church and Science. At the very worst, the Church's actions were nothing more than an overly heavy-handed crackdown on an unproven, highly controversial new theory which had some disturbing philosophical and theological implications. A mistake, yes. A war, no.
Certainly we would include Galileo as a "tomorrow person" Not a prophet but ahead of his time in what he understood.
Rather than weary your mind by giving you all this information at once we'll break it down in bit size morsels.
Galileo's first run-in with the Inquisition occurred in 1616, almost twenty years before his conviction. On December 20, 1614, an ambitious young Dominican priest by the name of Tommaso Caccini attacked Galileo from the pulpit with a scathing sermon in which the hotheaded Caccini called mathematicians in general (and Galileo in particular), "practioners of diabolical arts...enemies of true religion" . Soon thereafter another Dominican, Niccolae Lorini, wrote a letter to the Holy Office condemning Galileo for heresy, substantiating it with an doctored copy of Galileo's Letter to Castelli (Sobel 1999, pg. 66-67). Galileo responded by sending a true copy of Letter to Castelli to Archbishop Piero Dini, and the case was summarily dismissed by the Consultor of the Holy Office. Caccini then took it upon himself to travel to Rome in a second attempt to bring the wrath of the Church down upon the controversial scientist: appearing before the Holy Office on March 20, 1615, he gave a deposition which historian Giorgio de Santillana describes as "such an interminable mass of twists and innuendoes and double talk that a summary does no justice to it" (as cited in Linder 2002) . Unconvinced, the Inquisition reiterated its decision to drop all charges against Galileo.
Angered by the accusations against him, Galileo took the opportunity to send a copy of his newly published Treatise on the Tides to Cardinal Alessandro Orsini, requesting that Orsini forward the paper to Pope Paul V. Galileo then travelled to Rome himself and sought an audience with the Pope in order to make his case for the Copernican system in person. The move backfired, as the Pope decided to take the opportunity to have the Inquisition rule once and for all on whether or not the Copernican doctrine should be officially condemned as heretical. A panel of eleven Qualifiers (expert theologians) of the Holy Office carefully examined the issue and unanimously concluded that:
1. The proposition that the sun is in the center of the world and immovable from its place is absurd, philosophically false, and formally heretical; because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scriptures.
2. The proposition that the earth is not the center of the world, nor immovable, but that it moves, and also with a diurnal action, is also absurd, philosophically false, and, theologically considered, at least erroneous in faith (Halsall 1999).
On the strength of this report, the Inquisition issued an official proclamation declaring that Copernican astronomy was contrary to the Bible and therefore could not be supported as factual. It also censored Copernicus' book De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolution of the Spheres) and several books written in support of it; the publication of De Revolutionibus and of Diego de Zuniga's On Job was suspended until several specified corrections were made, and a book by Paolo Antonio Foscarini which attempted to reconcile the Bible with the Copernican system was banned outright. Galileo was admonished not to support the theories of Copernicus since those views had now been officially declared to be in error, but he was not punished (in order to protect Galileo's reputation, Cardinal Robert Bellarmino issued him papers certifying that he had not been charged by the Inquisition) and his Sunspot Letters were not prohibited even though they strongly supported the Copernican theory. (Sobel 1999, pg. 79) and officially commanding him not to "hold or defend" the views of Copernicus.
Defeated but not crushed, Galileo returned to Florence and bided his time. When his friend and supporter Cardinal Maffeo Barberini became Pope Urban VIII in 1623, Galileo visited him in Rome and petitioned him to revoke the 1616 decree. Fearing that it would undermine the authority of the Church, the Pope did not formally lift the injunction -- instead, he gave Galileo permission to write about the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems on the condition that he do so in noncommittal terms, presenting Copernicanism as a hypothetical mathematical construct rather than as fact (DeMarco 1986) . Galileo promptly began working on Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which was published in February of 1932 with the full imprimatur (approval) of the Church censors. Although the Dialogue was technically noncommittal as the Pope had required, it was clear to all that Galileo wholeheartedly supported the Copernican system. Enraged by what he saw as a blatant betrayal of his trust in Galileo, Urban turned matters over to the Inquisition.
There are two lingering misconceptions about Galileo's trial: that the charges of heresy were patently ludicrous because he was obviously correct in supporting the Copernican system, and that he was tortured and forced to recant his beliefs.
Which we'll take up next time...
“The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go.”
Next we want to consider two more the first is Galileo and then, "Who was Asaph?" It is difficult in such a written short space as opposed given the vastness of the internet, to provide a comprehensive examination of our topic and not reveal the ending or in my case the conclusion without considering the words of our favorite characters "When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
Some call the "tomorrow people" prophets, and bowing to my former Roman Catholic education (which while many don’t like to admit the fact, was in my day the best that a young Irish lad could achieve) The "Church" called them "Saints"...I was considered " Wunderkind (from German: "wonder child") and not unlike Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory" my mother did indeed have me tested! Much to her chagrin she found out that I was more of a sponge, everything I read, every language that I heard, every book that was read to me as a wee lad prior to my reading for my self I analyzed and understood beyond my chronological age. It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.
Reading and writing were to most difficult for me in my early years as in placing me with other children of my own age I would begin to read and write backwards and upside down (hence the testing). When it was discovered that I was bored! For now I’m going to think that these "tomorrow people were just ahead of their time! But what if there is more to it than just that? Ah well... Let’s look at Galileo
In most accounts, the conflict between Galileo and the Inquisition is presented as a battle between scientific progress and blind religious dogmatism -- Galileo is presented as brave crusader for truth and science, unjustly persecuted and imprisoned for the "crime" of being right. This view is fundamentally flawed by its failure to consider the historical background of the case: at the time, Galileo's work was a radical and highly controversial new theory, not an accepted scientific fact. The Church's actions represented an affirmation of the accepted scientific wisdom of the times against a new idea with some disturbing philosophical and theological implications, rather than a rejection of science.
If we seek to understand and interpret the actions of the Inquisition, we must examine them within the context of the scientific and political environment of early seventeenth-century Europe. To someone living in the modern age, it seems utterly inconceivable that any sane person could have ever believed that the earth stood immovable at the very center of the universe, surrounded by perfect crystal spheres upon which rode the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars. We have been raised with the knowledge that our earth is but one of nine planets orbiting the Sun, a G2 class yellow dwarf star located on the edge of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy (Fisher 2000) , and consequently we accept it as obvious fact even though most of us have never personally seen the astronomical or mathematical evidence that proves it to be so. This tends to blind us to the fact that the people of Galileo's day accepted the Ptolemaic system as fact for the exact same reason we accept the Copernican today -- because it is what they were taught, what all the experts of the day believed, and what all the available data supported (if they could understand it, which was not usually the case). Let us, then, consider Italy in the year 1610.
Nearly a hundred years since Martin Luther pinned his famous ninety-five theses to the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Church was still reeling from the theological and political effects of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Although still a powerful socioeconomic force, the Church possessed but a shadow of the influence it once wielded -- even in its homeland of Italy, the reins of power were held by the governments of the individual city-states, not by Rome (Gilbert 1992, Ch. 3). Predictably enough, the Vatican guarded its remaining power jealously, using the Congregation of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition, better known as the Roman Inquisition or the Holy Office, to enforce Catholic orthodoxy by banning books and prosecuting heretics. It was this body that tried and convicted Galileo in 1633, handing down the infamous sentence:
We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo, have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy, that is, of having believed and held the doctrine (which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures) that the sun is the center of the world, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the earth does move, and is not the center of the world; also, that an opinion can be held and supported as probable, after it has been declared and finally decreed contrary to the Holy Scripture, and, consequently, that you have incurred all the censures and penalties enjoined and promulgated in the sacred canons and other general and particular constituents against delinquents of this description. From which it is Our pleasure that you be absolved, provided that with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, in Our presence, you abjure, curse, and detest, the said error and heresies, and every other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Church of Rome (Halsall 1999) .
To be continued...