AN INTRODUCTION TO THE COMPLETE APOCALYPSE Michael Bolerjack
An Introduction to The Complete Apocalypse ÂŠ 2012 Michael Bolerjack
An Icon from an Evening in Glas In the days of Camus and Derrida, there was explication de texte. That will have been approached here, while escaping the suffocating necessity of a discursive rhetoric. For any two things can be connected from any distance under any rule. The text I propose for examination is the title implicated in the top left hand corner of the page. I need not go into the history of the production of the title of the work, for there are texts upon texts and their contexts, which I must effract. How the title was arrived at, from whence it was derived, in-volves the catastrophe of the end of the world which I am witnessing and recording from here, in this text. We all are, basically, from our own angles of view, sort of like the man at the end of Gabriel Garcia Marquezâ€™s solitude, who is deciphering the text of the secret as the apocalypse unfolds. Yet, let us keep our hands clean and not be negligent, for
the secret of the text is neither magical nor given to appropriation, neither pornographic nor pyrotechnical. It waits on patience, and purity, perseverance and the peace that surpasses all under-standing. It is not done in a fever, or in a sweat, but in measured strains, by number and weight, neither a march nor a waltz, far rather like Davidâ€™s prophetic dance before the Ark of the Lord, not frenzied, nor fraught, but rapturous, candid, faithful and confident. That the world does dance away its final hours on the edge of a volcano almost without quite knowing what it is doing, for none can be sure, our certainty forgotten, is the spectacle and the distraction that would, if it could, keep the knowledge locked away, but the truth will out, whether the world will or know. That the world is standing on its head and must be set right, and that Derrida did this in his own way, a way parallel to that of Camus, and not opposed, is simply the way I see it. That Derridaâ€™s last texts concern, I think, sovereignty and the beast, will not go unnoticed, nor the myth of Sisyphus, the problem of the suicide of the church, and the crux of the matter contained in the juxtaposition of two words in almost any dictionary of the English language, that is to say, Deconsecration Deconstruction
Which hold the key to the recent history of the world and the fate of the church. Seeing patterns is making connections. In the game of connect the dots, one finds the hidden design amid the random chaos, in order to reveal the hidden meaning. If the world has an author, if the text has an author, then we have always presumed that there is an inherent pattern or meaning amidst the apparent chaos of our lives and in the works of literature in which we see ourselves reflected. However, if there is no author, then one may connect the dots in whatever manner one chooses, not finding but inventing a design. I think we have reached that point. Not that there is no author, but that things such as characters or people or plots or history are not the paradigm of our research, but language itself. And perhaps still the book as such and authority remain a subject of question and concern, for we know that as we write we may well be written. This is true in genetics, mathematics, physics, which involve writing or codes, that is to say symbolization, something at once both real and symbolic, literal and more than literal, the ideality of design. We do not know where the design came from but we see it. These words are letters that are arranged in patterns that convey meaning, under ideal conditions, the framing context of the mode of the reader and other factors. All of this I say is not the
explication de texte, but rather the interpretation, the other part of studies in the French schools in the time of Camus and Derrida. Coupled as they were in the curriculum, explication and interpretation were analogical to the roles of faith and reason in theological thought, in that they seemed to presuppose one another. That they are still viable, and are distinct disciplines, may be in doubt. Perhaps there is nothing but a generalized economy of writing at this time. Still, we seem to accept in fact some restrictions as necessary, bending the rules where we desire, but still within a kind of framework. I cannot speak for all. There may be types of discourse unknown to me that operate in far different ways. I do not know. One limit case or promontory in that regard is Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, which in turn inspired the Glas of Jacques Derrida. These texts rewrote the codes or rules regarding literature and philosophy, working out of the command and control authorial paradigm, which is itself based on competition, into a collaborative creativity which does not dictate meaning but suggest it, dream-like and hypnotically, with an almost fascist connotation to the collaborators. On the other hand, I have found that the work I have been engaged in is not limited to these modes, but requires a combination of the contemplative and the critical, on the part of both the author and the reader, for the advent of an economy of meaning that is catholic to
take place, that is to say, a universality, as opposed to the authority of any Roman Empire. The kind of writing that Joyce and Derrida excelled in is characterized by the cognizance and exploitation of what I call the Ultra-structure, a term I have borrowed from science and use to describe what I will sometimes refer to as the Glossolalia of the text, a reading and writing in tongues, as in the Wake, an activity that is summed in the word Icon in the seven word title that I placed at the head of this text. As in the Bible, there is speaking in tongues, an expression of meaning given by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to the nascent Church, and which subsists today even in catholicism in some out of the way places. But just as one may say that the whole economy as such, all economies in principle, have transformed from restricted to general ones, and I here refer to Derridaâ€™s early writings on the subject, the gift of tongues has, in my opinion, also shifted from a strictly oral or verbal expression to the modes of reading and writing, and that in fact textuality itself is this in some way. If language is the house of being, as has been said, which is another way to speak of the languages descended from the catastrophe that took place at Babel, at which time God â€œdeconstructed himself,â€? according to Derrida, then God is in language, as the Word, logos, as truth and meaning, but
in other ways as well. From Holderlin we derive the scene of reading as a quiet, holy act. I project a general-ization then of scripture as such, perhaps as Derrida did the Messiah. Blake said everything that lives is holy, and the word, language, is a living thing, and though often put to profane and secular use, which is an understatement of the greed and pornography that engulf us, yet our texts are basically sacred in a way, even though impure and contaminated, or perhaps even not despite this but because of it. I have advanced a logic over the course of my work that hinges on the understanding of the necessity of contradiction and it applies in this case. The Ultrastructure in language cannot be without being inclusive, both blessing and cursing, creating and defiling, and so on. It is the principle of connection, the condition of possibility for it. It is potency in relation to act, to speak in quasi-Thomistic terms. When I first discovered the word Ultra-structure, I used it exclusively to describe the numerical, not the alphabetical, and saw that numbers need no translation, and so are privileged carriers of meaning. This insight was crucial in the advancing of the theory concerning the Apocalypse which turns on the meaning of a number in the Book of Revelation. I need not rehearse that for you now, having already covered that ground in previous texts, but promise you the subject will have impacted the work you are now reading. However, I will come at
it by way of the Exegesis and Eisegesis of the iconic seven words of my text, An Icon from an Evening in Glas. But before turning to the explication itself, I would like to preface it with a statement concerning the terms Exegesis and Eisegesis. They mean in their etymological back-grounds in Greek to lead out of and to lead into and are used especially in the context of describing Biblical inter-pretation. When one reads ones own ideas into scripture, one is said to be reading eisegetically, while when one reads what is “really there” one is reading with proper exegesis. On the other hand, Joyce and Derrida and the writers following them eschew such an opposition, deconstructing this polarity, rendering it meaningless. In the explication of the seven word text that is to be accomplished, the traditional idea of Exegesis and Eisegesis, while not being ignored, will be redefined by my practice. I will say in advance that all of this bears on the conversion of “leading” into a kind of “following,” and that interpretation and explication is always more of the following of the seams in the semes, rather than a seeming to lead the text toward its inherent meaning, which is always univocal or equivocal. The text itself is, if not infinite at least indefinite, and cannot be pinned down to a set of controlled meanings or readings. There is no exhaustive Exegesis. One can say this is for a mystical reason, when reading the Bible or other scriptures, and in my
theory of the book in general, all texts become the scripture that they are, and as such may be read as having always more than one meaning, the old model including moral and mystical levels in the hierarchy of interpretation, which my own work several years ago drew on. The network of language exists at both the hierarchical level, while at the same time, and contradictorily, subsisting in the text as a leveling, an evening out, I might say. This is the direction of Ultrastructure or Metasignification, which is neither less than nor more than nor equal to another, while at the same time, and contradictorily, being the parallel or prime of that other traditional, re-stricted, hierarchical method of inter-pretation that characterizes theology and its regimes. By being parallel to the tradition, which has become lost in the labyrinth of its own desire, not only is place given, and magnitude recognized, but direction is now discerned, without which we will not arrive. Our arrival is not derived from the tradition, but survives it. One need not be disconsolate over the loss of meaning, for something is received in its stead, the way to a let us say kingdom let us say of ends that the tradition indicated while at the same time preventing. To put it in theological terms, the Romans do not practice what they preach, and so cannot reach the goal set by the savior, which is neither a leading in nor out of the text, but a following. Deny yourselves, take
up your crosses and follow me. Jesus asks not leaders but followers of the good gospel. Now, at this point in the text, if it were a retro meta-fiction, a second narrator would interrupt and comment on what has come before, and the text would explicate and interpret itself. It seems to me that something of this sort is called for, because of an apparent faux pas on my part in the preceding, that is, my assertion of the relationship between Glossolalia and the word Icon. As I was re-reading what I had written, I noticed right away the dissonance in the assertion, and thought without doubt that the word Glas makes much more sense as the symbol for Glossolalia than the word Icon does. There is, in my apparent slip, a crux, and so I inadvertently
really went straight to
the heart of the matter, and upon reflection, decided that the relationship between the word Glas and the word Icon would be the appropriate site for launching the engagement with the text to be explicated. Glas, the title of Derrida’s monumental 1974 work, is the word in French for the “death knell,” the tolling of the church bells at a funeral. One may ask, who’s death? Indeed, it seemed in a way to me at the time I read the English translation in 1986 to be simply the tradition, or even Western culture, everything before postmodernism. Now, it sounds to me different, the
tolling of the bell, and involves a complete reevaluation on my part of the meaning of Derrida’s work, and the history, meaning and fate of the Church, by which I mean the Roman Catholic. To say the tolling of the death knell is the Church itself mourning the death of the Church itself is what I now discern, and in this I reinterpret Derrida’s overall strategy to have been always directed at the Supreme Pontiff in Rome. Derrida took part in the deconstruction of the time, if not leading it then at least presciently seeing the way things could go and the way he wanted them to go, not for the mere sake of enjoying the de-struction of the world, but to indicate the crisis he, I think, saw coming for and from the Catholic Church. The target of Derrida’s attack was at first expressly logocentrism, presence and propriety, valorizing writing over speech, absence over presence, the other over the subject or the self, scattering over gathering, the text over the book; then, later, he took up the problem of religion in his writings on the Messiah, justice, hospitality, and the openness of the “to come.” Toward the end, he wrote of what he termed globalatina-zation, and warned against a projection of power on the Roman basis, and posthumously mentions together in a title “sovereignty” and “the beast.” It seems to me that Derrida was approaching obliquely but steadily to an interpretation of the death of the Church and to the apocalypse now.
The icon is a sometimes â€œwordless wordâ€? that also sometimes contains within itself a text, a book opened, revealing an ancient script in a foreign languages. The icon itself is an image in need of study, and whether or not it has letters or words in it, is open to interpretation and explication. I believe that, again to eschew the relation of Exegesis and Eisegesis, the icon reads us more than we read it. This can be re-applied to texts generally, rather than being restricted to only iconic images, and then it can be said that the text reads us, explains us, and not the other way around. In my discovery or positing of the Ultrastructure I have found that this phenomenon has occurred especially in what has become known as the postmodern period, from roughly the second world war, or the publication of the Wake in 1939, because of a breakdown in the traditional orders. In the chaos that may be but random chance, the thing, which I call also Metasignification, takes place, whether in the mind or out of the mind, I donâ€™t know, as the connecting of bits and pieces to form patterns. We half-perceive and halfcreate this new reality, as Wordsworth said. We are cocreators of it. It sometimes seems magical or schizophrenic, evil or crazy, or sublimely imaginative, and weird or supernatural. There is something there in the details of general textuality that can be seen if
we look hard enough. Joyce had a genius for this perceiving and creating, and by producing the chaos of the Wake, gave a space for the Ultrastructure to be projected into or discovered, as in an alchemical experiment. The icon of Glas by Derrida fuses the ultrastructure with the traditional, forcing the order itself to bear the weight of the creation of new things within it, which is one aspect of what is called deconstruction. The text is in a place somewhere between rigid order and complete nonsense, a place of lability, change and openness, of possibility that deconstructs the closure of a set arrangement, allowing constant re-invention, and bringing to light an indefinite number of potential connections that cannot be limited or closed off in principle, though in fact for a written work to be, there must be some limits found or applied, as the human subject itself needs an identity, in order to not become lost or submerged in the ever greater of the sea surrounding. But as mystics tell us, our destiny is just that losing of oneself in the infinite sea of God. Textuality is not the divinity, nor is the internet, which are rather simulacrum of eternity, which at least in a parallel manner are breaking into the closed paradigm of human society and are translating us into another space that is preparatory to the advent of the thing that is on the other side of the apocalypse, a kingdom of peace, the new age to come.
At the outset of my text, in addition to the promise of an explication of the seven word title, I promised some interpretation of Derrida’s sovereign and beast, of Camus and the myth of Sisyphus, and of what I call the suicide of the Church, as well as something on the importance of the relation between the words Deconsecration Deconstruction which I think sum-up the problem of the church in the modern world. Taking these in order, it is not, I think, a coincidence that Derrida employs terms that apply to the Antichrist, though the word coincidence has become altogether meaningless in my world. Things just simply are, in their weird ways, and I cannot understand or explain how or why they happen. As I have said elsewhere, I believe John Paul II is the “beast” of the Book of Revelation, based on the interpretation of the text, including an elucidation of the famous number. That, if this is the case, as he was raised to the status of the order of the blessed, then the abomination of deso-lation has already occurred, and the order of mass that takes place in November 2011 is his “image” that speaks in order to be worshipped. It is not clear to me, however, if John Paul II and Benedict XVI were conscious they were doing what Revelation
prophesied. It seems to me that the world and the church were destined to be destroyed, or changed, by God himself, but that this takes place in two ways, which may compete with each other as a disjunctive either or, or may collaborate as a synthetic both and. The world and the church began the final deconstruction of themselves about the same time, in the 1960s, the time of Derridaâ€™s early work, of the Second Vatican Council in Rome, and which is the date some, for instance the critic Northrop Frye, point at as the start of the postmodern period. The world stayed on its course of de-construction, including even that of the Soviet Union, but Rome did not, and under John Paul II, beginning in 1978, began instead a worse thing than deconstruction, that is to say, it began to deconsecrate itself, which Derrida, I think, obliquely points to in one of his last ideas, that of â€œthe worst.â€? This is taking place, in principle and in fact, by the repudiation covertly of the highpoints of the theology won at Vatican II, such as the inviolability of the conscience, in the unending sex abuse scandals, and in other more obscure, but perhaps more unholy things, reaching back throughout Catholic history, concerning lies and forgeries, money and murder. Again, I do not know the intentions, only the results. In the Book of Numbers, God tells Moses and Aaron that he himself breaks his promise, after the people of God refuse to enter the promised land, as Caleb and Joshua urged them
to do. Instead, they would stone the men who had scouted Canaan and found it indeed a land of milk and honey, ripe for the taking. God wills that the people fall in the wilderness over the next forty years, for not listening to the men who told them that the promised land had arrived, they needed only go in and claim the victory that God would surely give. Something like that has happened in our own day, with the visionary men of Vatican II and their attempt at a free, transformed catholicity, being rejected for the thing the Roman Church has become, a disgrace. That those of us who know this stand like Joshua and Caleb in relation to the people of God is to me incontrovertible, so we must urge now, go in, trust God, the kingdom is yours, while realizing our plea will probably be rejected, every people of God, new and old, Jew and Catholic, always refusing. In this may be seen the myth of Sisyphus, as well, that we roll the rock up, only to see it roll back down, yet must do our duty, as perhaps even the bishops and theologians of Vatican II knew their leadership could be eventually despised and ignored. I do not think the Church is going to immediately cease to exist as a visible bricks and mortar institution, and it will still have its money and some power, but as a spiritual entity it is ceasing to be. God, I believe, as in the case of the rebellion in the wilderness, is not bound to fulfill the covenant with this Church, and in fact, new Israel
and old Israel are in the same position, typologically in every way, just as the religious authorities, in the days of Jesus, are the same type as now. In the time of Jesus, whose name is really the same as Joshua, the promised land or the kingdom of God was again proclaimed, the thing was at hand, but through some refusal or lack on the part of the people of God, it was deferred, not because God chose to, but rather because the Church herself did not claim the victory. The situation became clear under Constantine, and more so later, as the institution became involved in money and politics. That God knew this beforehand, that the people would betray him, not only among the Jews but at a later time, is foretold in Daniel 12:7, when it is said God will â€œscatter the power of the holy people.â€? Indeed, the thing is at hand, a little earlier even than Isaac Newton foresaw based on a calculation he made of 1260 years after the coronation in 800 of Charlemagne. No, it is 1260 years since the forgery of the donation of Constantine, the fiction on which Rome bases her authority, which was accomplished by 754. In other words, the Deconsecration that began then will be fulfilled now, and the death knell will toll, albeit perhaps in silence, for the iconic Church that once was. To go on from this point to an explication of the little seven word text of the title seems a bit anti-
climactic, but I will summarily mention a few things. In the center of the square appears the words “veni roman,” and in a cross-like formation there is the indication f-ing roman, pointing to the bind of a contradiction that concerns the final Pope to come, called Peter the Roman in the prophecy of St. Malachy. Whether he will fulfill the evil plan or expose it, I do not know, but after him, the Church will be no more. There are many other connections among the letters in the design, including some chatter about “anal” icons, or the essential anal aspect that is the condition of possibility inherent to a thing for it to be analyzed. The anal is a thing Derrida writes of in his Glas, and in connection to religion. In his work, the IC and the GL are opposed, the immaculate conception and the siglum GL, and it is indicated in my design that IC and GL had a son, something of an Onan, as is the type written of in de-construction, such as Rousseau. As well, several women appear covertly in the text, including Eve, Mary and the Greek earth mother Gaia or Gaea. That in the center of the square an “omen” is written concerning at least an “I,” and also other things that can be construed into some sort of narrative, if one desires, is given, considering there are at least several characters involved in a kind of conflict. But, that time has stopped and that everything is connected, would have to be the principle of any possible inter-pretation of the text-design. You
may look and may find more in the seven word text, but I have shown you at least this much. I cannot say things are even at this point, what the leveling means, or if there has been some kind of revenge, or getting even. I do think we are in the â€œevening,â€? as one said, not dark yet, but getting there. The world will deconstruct and the church deconsecrate, and what will happen after that? We do not know, but the Bible promises great things, the thousand year kingdom of peace on earth in Revelation, and as also Isaiah promises, a finale in which the lion lies down with the lamb, not a violent catastrophe, but a restoration of lost innocence. I think, in fact, the part of the apocalypse that is catastrophic is almost over, and the violence, for instance the absurd amount in Mexico as I write, is an indication of the way the matrix of technology, money, and fascism, all tied to a grand corruption that may be seen in the useful paradigm of collaboration, where all give their assent, none dissent, and the thing itself, Rome or the authority of an invisible hand, is seemingly infallible. But if it canâ€™t be wrong, it must be wrong, and if I must be mistaken, then I must be telling the truth. Truth, if it is true, must always be inconvenient, as we say, unsettling, disturbing, opposed to the illusion, the madness, the evil. That truth and lies stand side by side, good and evil, being
and mere semblance, cannot be helped, but if justice ever happens, as we hope, then the re-conciliation of them will have taken place. Impossible, as Derrida said, yet God alone does the impossible. To conclude, I should speak of the seven word textdesign, “An Icon from an Evening in Glas,” in relation to my work as a whole, which could bear that inscription. The Icon Glas pair describe the struggle by me with catholicism and de-construction, while the word Evening invokes Hegel’s word in his Philosophy of Right that Minerva’s owl of wisdom flies at dusk, an indication of his awareness of the closure taking place through the accomplishment in the dialectic of all possible positions in the spectrum of thought. My work finds itself shuttling back and forth between the Roman, the Derridean and the Hegelian, all plied together as the three strand cord of which the Bible in Ecclesiastes speaks. If this knot or circle was at any point effracted, to use once more Derrida’s term I learned from his late work Given Time, then it is not in taking sides in the positions of the catholic, deconstructionist or dialectician, but rather by the autobiographical element of the writing. For those who have read, or read about, Derrida’s Glas, autobiography is a part of his de-construction. Perhaps my work is an oblique commentary on my own deconstructed self. But as Derrida said, GL protects against the schiz that GL
produces, and so, having becoming other to myself, at times uncanny, quite beside myself, I eventually healed, and this perhaps by the very thing that GL symbolized in its invention or intervention in my life. I do not know, and the authorial fallacy is asserted. I am not the best judge of what I have written, or of the life I have lived. That the work is the history of a journey out of deconstruction and completely through the catholic church, only to emerge on the other side, understanding both in themselves and in relation to each other, may be true. If I were to add anything to these final words, it would be concerning what Derrida already called in 1991 “the state of the debt.” It seems every nation and most individuals are in a financial bind that is insolvable except by means of a key piece of what I would have once called the “Catholic Economy,” ideas that I and others have been working on the last few years in light of the Church’s teachings on social and economic justice. It seems to me that we are in need of forgiveness, of a “jubilee year” as in old Israel, forgiveness of debts and debtors. As well as giving and asking for forgiveness, as individuals, nations must adopt a total for-bearance of the debt, at least until things get better, if not an outright charging off of the entire debt of the U.S. and all other countries. Then we can start over with a clean slate. Our debt now
threatens to enslave and impoverish the whole world. I do not say it was an intended thing, as I do not know the intention of any, but I know all need a chance to begin again. The promised land â€œto come,â€? will have been, therefore, so that the Messiah may arrive. You might say, as I said that I might, as God Himself in His might may say, that as has been said, we had then but a circling occupation, and did walk into eternity without ever knowing, but for this: a young professor stood at the chalk board and drew a new diagram of our salvation according to the Council, in an elaborate encircled sphere, almost justly Ptolemaic in design, ever in a paradigm of Catholics, with Roman centrality the primacy, and those of the other nominations spreading out in a sea of the to be blessed, amid the murmur of a discussion
I so as
hazarded to interpose: there are not degrees of this salvation, one is either saved or one is not; so that for a logic disjunctive I put them to it, and did so make them love, in that now as I see it, our circles interchanged,
what was at the center is in the end but
only peripheral at best, and God calls sinners, not the righteous, and the twins of Israel, new and old, Jew and Catholic, miss the Messiah, or as if to, so God turns human salvation inside out, stands our thinking against itself, for mercy if and only if, is His alone and is most free, and judgment has begun at the House
of God, so that we will have been shown His ways were never ours, nor to be comprehended. But let this be, as it dismayed, for those who say there can be no Christian thing proper tragic, so all is a divine comedy, but yet we do not know the time, whether it be free, and whether we are ready, nor if we be ripe or rotten, or if things stand out of joint, for it seems to me that even when we do our best, our actions recoil against us, as Oedipus or an hero from a tragedy by William Shakespeare, and we wonder at ourselves as men betrayed, so let it be with Caesar, if we had but time, what great things could have been said and done, as men of a Roman rule did think they had saved the Church even as they destroyed the same, deconsecrating the blessing with the curse of infallibility, with the assumption of the right to heir, while propagating a faith, which, neither mystic nor moral, did hinder the eternal from ever breaking into time, as if, and imposed upon the becoming of the kingdom of God a rigid, hard, static, death, the Being of the thing appropriated, and stamped the necessity of hierarchy and all that comes with it on life itself, as if, only to find the miracle in the end of true substantiation,in that the body and blood of Christ was given but once for all, His action saving only those whom He chose, only those so chosen. We are all but parallel lines that meet in infinity. Because of the
space that took place in the modern theory, the square as such became impossible for the geometry of Einstein, as he reconciled the discordances in thought, and he said there were only lines and their primes. It seems if we be beside ourselves, we have a chance. The world itself has created its own parallel world, and it is more in that virtual world that we live and move and have our being than in the space we once lived in. Now, that other space, the primordial one of the Bible, has become distant, in a way un-thinkable, and perhaps impossible to reach, even more impossible to traverse, even if it could be. But it is still possible for God to square things, because though we are billions of parallel lines lost in a waste land, Godâ€™s meridian crosses all our parallels, and he closes us, squares the accounts, gives shape and form to what, though it was still direction, had no meaning, for the end was unknown and un-knowable. God has drawn a line, not to cross us through or out, and not in an erasure of our characters, but to complete the story, so that we may be saved. His line is not an underlining, to reemphasize us, nor a line across the bottom of our last page, a line that says so far and no further, but a kind of margin, a place for His gloss and for Him to write, a line running from the top to the bottom, clean through everyone and everything, like the prime meridian spoken of by the poet, which connects us all, our distant sites not so much gathered in the
appropriation, that is in the circle of the text and the world it created, but a line to cross all our lives with the knowledge and love of that one who is alone able to demarcate us, to take a globe, and circle it against the time, as he also said, there, north of the future, for we have been given all our latitude, and given enough, see what we have done, but as the line approaches from the other side of this evening, how long was his patience, how long was his forbearance, how long he suffered us in the wilderness. But now that waiting, that wandering, is over, and he draws over the face of our depths, to shake us, to arouse us, to awaken us to his arrival. Our life will not have seemed so long, once He comes, nor will the dreams we once beheld still hold, for the cord of life will not have been cut, in fate it will not be so, but our lifeâ€™s lines then will have to have been, as even the Glas foretold. In the Book of Joshua it is told that a schism almost occurred in Israel, in the beginning, as the tribes were settling the promised land. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had taken their places east of the Jordan, as in the agreement they had reached with Moses, just before all the warriors crossed into Canaan. However, after the two tribes and the halftribe were to the east, they thought to construct an altar for themselves, and when the people of Israel
heard of this they sent an armed troop to make war on what they considered a blasphemy, the setting up of a rival altar. Gad and Reuben, their descendents and those of Manasseh, explained that the reason they built their own altar was that they feared someday the children of Israel in the west, in the I think proper of the Promised land, would tell the children of Reuben and Gad and Manasseh that they were not true Israelites, and disown them, and cause them to be disheartened and to lose their faith in the one true God of the patriarchs. They built their own altar they said to show all that they too worship the same God, and to point up the difference between themselves and the one altar before the tabernacle, that they were not a rival in worship, but the same, which might become lost from view to the people of God and their descendents because of their physical separation from those in Israel. Phineas, representing the people of God, was pleased with this response, as was Joshua and the elders when he made his report upon his return. What moral may we draw? It is this: That the altar I have erected in the work now concluding, though it often preaches the arrival, is not a rival to the Catholic way, but one with it, with provision made however that the altar of the Lord, we feel, has become de-consecrated by the actions of the hierarchy and the clergy of the people of God. We do not claim to be the only true people of God, anymore than we feel those who
follow Rome should claim that exclusive title. At Vatican II, in the declaration on religious liberty, it is said that there is a true religion still, and that this only subsists in the Catholic and Christian churches and is not identical with them. The true religion may be found in many places, but I feel strongly that true religion is evidenced herein by this altar so set up to show that we too worship God, so that no one can claim us to be outside the one fold of Christ, shepherd of our souls. That Christ, king of endless glory, is the one true sovereign, and does not need a visible representative on earth that merely usurps the throne that is in fact set up in heaven, not in Rome, or in any city of this world. It also exists in the heart of each believer as the one aboriginal vicar, the
conscience, which is irreplaceable and our
last refuge. One must follow ones own conscience, as the sole sovereignty that is within oneself. The starting point for my critique of the papacy last year was the coat of arms of Benedict XVI, a fact I have concealed and withheld until now. There are various interpretations, all benign, of what that crest and shield contain, but I would like to add my own reading of that heraldic device, the at once iconic and Glas-like emblem of the man I consider the false prophet of Revelation, who promotes worship of the Beast, by means of an image set up for worship, at
every altar of the Roman Church. In the coat of arms of Benedict, there are several features. With-in it are three items, a seashell, the head of an Ethiopian, wearing a crown, and a four-footed beast, a bear. Despite the benign, obscure and I think far-fetched inter-pretations of these things by commentators, I offer the opinion that they mean some-thing sinister. It is in fact in what is called the â€œbend sinisterâ€? that the Beast appears. In Revelation, the Beast is said to have four feet like a bear. Thus it fits. The seashell I think represents the verse of Revelation that says the Beast will rise from the sea, not as in some obtuse reading about heroic Augustine, and a boy emptying the sea. The Ethiopian crowned is I think a reference more complex, bearing on the Acts of the Apostles, the only place in the New Testament that such a person is mentioned. He is the one converted by Phillip. What comes just before this is the warning about Simon Magus and the perennial Roman ur-problem of simony, as for instance the practice, still,
in Mexico of the selling
of indulgences. It is important what the Ethiopian is reading when he is found by Phillip, something from Isaiah about the suffering servant. The passage as Acts quotes it is a little different from the Old Testament. It speaks of him who in his humiliation had judgment taken from him. To me this indicates the view of the young seminarian I once heard that Godâ€™s hands are tied, there is nothing he can do to end the abuses by Rome.
Surrounding the inside of the coat of arms are some curious innovations by Benedict, the replacing of the triple crown by the bishop’s miter, contra a ruling by Paul VI in 1969, and the addition of the pallium, along with the traditional “keys” of Peter. It seems this addition of the bishop’s hat fits the reading by exegetes of Revelation that the false prophet will have two horns like a lamb, which has been taken to indicate the form of the miter. The pallium itself is a pall that now hangs over all. Altogether, it seems that Benedict’s coat of arms is a symbol that fits his role, as I see it, as the one who follows the Beast, wields the same power as the former, and will promote the worship of him, especially by the image I take to be the new order of mass. In this iconic representation of who and what Benedict is, we have the telling Glas of the Roman Church, if it is read prophetically, which is the dimension of Biblical studies neglected by many, but which is the highest level of scripture interpretation, being the end in view for which the Word of God was given. The emblem of Benedict, an anti-icon, inscribes the Glas of the Church, as a Mise en abime, as a crypt to be unsealed. It is perhaps this that Aquinas was shown, and which caused him to lay down his pen.
Near the start of his career, in the “opuscula” on the eternity of the world, Thomas had said that it had not yet been demonstrated that God cannot do an infinite number of things simultaneously. Indeed. Thomas in the beginning knew more than he knew. In the end he knew what is called the vision of God, at least that’s what they say. They say that he saw God in a beatitude, the glory of God, was astonished by the beauty of love and simply ceased to write in order more quickly to pass on to the heavenly abode that awaits. But perhaps the vision of God was for him something else, far stranger than the pious fraud the church used to gloss over the silence of Thomas and his statement that all he had written was of no account. I think, it seems to me, God did not show him Himself but the catholic fate. All the work of Thomas would be for naught, and even used for evil ends. God has mercy on whom He will, and I believe that Thomas Aquinas found that before he died God had already decreed the condemnation of the Church before it was ever created. Thomas was not wicked and understood, though he was astonished. The wicked will never understand. God’s way is not the way of the church, nor does it know Him. In this, blindness and blessing.