I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Raffalovich and a Catholic Theology on Homosexuality

The Young Marc-Andre Raffalovich

Frederick S Roden in his book "Same-sex Desire in Victorian Religious Culture" comments how Raffalovich's ideas lead to a Catholic theology on homosexuality and that Raffalovich ideas are reflected in the modern understanding of the Catholic Church as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Older Marc-Andre Raffalovich

The Catholic Catechism of the Catholic church writes about same-sex attraction : 

"2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms throughout the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which present homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity [Gen. 19:1-29, Rom. 1:24-27, 1 Cor. 6:10, 1Tim. 1:10], tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered [Persona Humana 8]. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection."


Raffalovich


Raffalovich was a 19th century Hebrew Catholic or Catholic Jew. His name was Marc-Andre Raffalovich and was a famous French poet and writer associated with John Gray and Oscar Wilde. He came from a wealthy Russian Jewish family from Odessa who moved to France a year before his birth. He became a Catholic in 1896 through the reading of Catholic mystical literature especially St John of the Cross.


Raffalovich's sister Sophie also became a devout Catholic when she married her husband William O'Brien. His brother was Arthur Raffalovich. His mother Marie Raffalovich was noted for her artistic and literary salons in Paris and Marc-Andre was to establish his own salons in Britain. Marie married her uncle Hermann Raffalovich. She was the daughter of the banker Leon Raffalovich and Rosette Lowensohn. Marie and her husband Hermann Raffalovich were attached to Judaism enough that they left Odessa rather than convert to Christianity.


Hermann's father Abraham and brother Anissim (Onesime) had converted in order to continue the family banking and merchant interests in Odessa in 1857. Abraham's brother Solomon remained a leader in the orthodox Jewish community and continued the family's ship building business for the Czar.


Abraham and Solomon's brother Kalmaan Raffalovich left Russia in the 1870's and settled in the Holy Land. These three Raffalovich brothers were the grandsons of Raphael Parnes and Miriam Mirels. Miriam was the daughter of Rabbi Moses Mirels the Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam who was in turn the son of Rabbi Zalman Mirels the Chief Rabbi of Hamburg.


John Gray

Marc-Andre Raffalovich advocated a Catholic spirituality of channelling same -sex or homoerotic desires into sublimation through divine intimacy with the Messiah Jesus. He saw that there were two major kinds of homosexuals -a higher or elevated kind who had a high sense of art and beauty and those who were lower and were absorbed in the lustful homosexual activities. It would seem this was based on a Jewish understanding of the animal and divine souls in men. 

These lower homosexuals or inverts live out acts only according to their animal or base nature of man whereas those who united themselves to divine beauty through the power of the Cross and the dark night of sublimation (bitul and mesirut nefesh) could attain to that part of man that connects with the Divine. One could then have intimate and life-long spiritual and mystical friendships with those of the same-sex as advocated by St Aelred. 

Raffalovich considered that those of the higher type of homosexual to be the ones who made the best priests followed by heterosexuals who were also able to embrace celibacy. The lower type of homosexual he considered unsuited and dangerous to religious life. His life-long friend John Gray a former lover of Oscar Wilde was to become a Dominican priest supported by Raffalovich. Raffalovich himself became a Dominican Tertiary taking the name of Sebastian in honour of St Sebastian.

St Sebastian

In Raffalovich's understanding of homosexuality I perceive his Jewish sources in Hasidic Judaism united with Catholic mysticism. Uniting Raffalovich's insights with those of John Paul II's theology of the Body and the teachings of Hasidic Judaism can lead to a new understanding of the homosexual and his potential for holiness and becoming a living icon of the crucified Messiah and a great Tzadik who can enter into the suffering of others in a deep way and make tikun (reparation) for them. Raffalovich was also familiar with other famous Hebrew Christians as he mentions Joseph Wolff and Alphonse Ratisbonne in one of his letters.
Marie Raffalovich: Mother of Marc-Andre Raffalovich

Hasidic Jewish teachings warn of the dangers of p'gam ha brit (spilling the seed/masturbation) which feeds the animal soul (or inclination)of the homosexual (this also applies to the heterosexual) whereas the divine element is fed by reflecting on beauty in nature, religion, music and the arts. Masturbation and lustful thoughts distort ones spirituality and leads to loneliness and an obsession with the self. 

Priests and religious are called to focus on the perfect male who is the God-Man and when they shift their focus from divine intimacy with him, it may lead to them focusing on the closest thing to the manliness they find in Christ- young, handsome men. Instead of using their sexuality as a way to give selflessly to God and others they fall into the power of the evil inclination and hurt themselves, others and God.

The man or woman caught in the lower form need only to start to desire the higher ways and God will respond and send them help if they remain open and avail themselves of the sacraments and Eucharistic adoration. It is not the case of denying who they are but of embracing it and using it for a higher purpose. 

Raffalovich and Gray may have started out as physical lovers before Raffolovich's conversion to Catholicism (but this is not clear)but after his conversion they grew into a deep, celibate and spiritual friendship that lasted their entire life by sublimating their homoerotic desires to a higher purpose rooted in the Cross of the Messiah.

In the case of Marc Andre Raffalovich, John Gray and Oscar Wilde (as well as Lord Alfred Douglas) who all embraced Catholicism we have wonderful models of hope for those struggling in this area of their lives. Oscar Wilde seems to give hope for those caught up in the lower form who then embrace a desire to be transformed by the Messiah. 

Many were surprised when the Vatican newspaper published a positive article on Oscar Wilde. Once the Church fully assimilates the rich teaching contained in John Paul II's "Theology of the Body", then Raffalovich's ideas may help in developing a deeper understanding of the spiritual and emotional aspects of same-sex love and desire and its transformation in the Messiah. This will be 'deep calling to deep' and the turning of a great cross and struggle into Eucharistic Intimacy and Glory.



Oscar Wilde's "The Dole of the King's Daughter"

Note: Abraham Raffalovich the father of Hermann, Annissim and Leon Raffalovich was married to Olga Lowensohn (the daughter of Leon Lowensohn). Olga's sister Bella Lowensohn was married to Charles Joachim Ephrussi of Odessa. The Ephrussi family were related to the Rothschilds. Marie Raffalovich's sister Elena Raffalovich was also famous in Italy.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The End of Times


The Jewish mystical book "Zohar" speaks of two periods known as the "end of times". Many people recently are speaking about our present time as the "end of times". However as Catholics and Jews we know that this term is referring to the first end of times and it is the end of a stage of salvation history that is drawing to a close. This period's close is also called 'the end of the times of the gentiles' or 'the end of the time of special mercy for the Gentiles.

Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of this 'end of times' which is rapidly drawing to an end and the special time of mercy for the Jews will begin. The time of the Gentiles lasted for 2000 years and also concludes with the era also known as the church of Sardis by Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser. Don Bosco predicted that there will be a terrible crucifixion of the church and purification and that through this the Chair of Moses (Rabbinic Judaism)will lead their flock in a new direction. This will be the time that will lead to a major ingrafting of the Jews and Judaism into the Catholic Faith. They will bring with them the immense riches of Jewish belief and tradition which will cause a spiritual resurrection from the dead for the Church and the World.

The time of great shakings is already underway in which all the religious and political structures will collapse during a time of great deception with a false messiah and a false church. Many Jews and Gentiles will be deceived at first but the Jews will wake up to the deception and join with the remnant of Gentiles that have remained awake and the Jews will lead the push for the new Eucharistic Evangelisation and usher in a great era of peace also known as the Church of Philadelphia- where the two brothers will love each other once again. We are not at the end of the world or of history but we are at an 'end of times' as told by Our Lady to the children of Garabandal. Blessed Anne Emmerich speaks of the 12 apostles of the end times (latter days) working quietly all over the world in this period. One of these apostles will be the future Jewish Pope who in this period is still a layman.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Jewish Christian Codices and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

The Image of the Crucified Messiah on the Codex
Those who have read my articles and blogs will be aware that for many years I have claimed that the Zohar (which has traditionally been said to have written by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai) was in origin a Jewish Christian document. I also believe Shimon bar Yochai and his family were some of the crypto-Christian Jews in the Jewish community in the second century. I have also written that the Jewish Christians who re-assimilated back into the Jewish communities brought their mystical traditions with them and passed them on in secret especially among those descended from the royal House of King David. The discovery of ancient codices in the Holy Land may further confirm these ideas of mine based on a study of Kabbalah and history.

An article in the Daily Mail states: "The image is eerily familiar: a bearded young man with flowing curly hair. After lying for nearly 2,000 years hidden in a cave in the Holy Land, the fine detail is difficult to determine. But in a certain light it is not difficult to interpret the marks around the figure’s brow as a crown of thorns. The extraordinary picture of one of the recently discovered hoard of up to 70 lead codices – booklets – found in a cave in the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee is one reason Bible historians are clamouring to get their hands on the ancient artefacts. If genuine, this could be the first-ever portrait of Jesus Christ, possibly even created in the lifetime of those who knew him..."

The recent discoveries of what look to be early Jewish Christian codices found in Jordan seem to link the Jewish Christians to the Kabbalah and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. The Daily Mail article states that another scholar connects the codices to Kabbalah and Rabbi Shimon ben Yachai: "...If genuine, it seems clear that these books were, in fact, created by an early Messianic Jewish sect, perhaps closely allied to the early Christian church and that these images represent Christ himself. However another theory, put forward by Robert Feather – an authority on The Dead Sea Scrolls and author of The Mystery Of The Copper Scroll Of Qumran – is that these books are connected to the Bar Kokhba Revolt of 132-136AD, the third major rebellion by the Jews of Judea Province and the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars. The revolt established an independent state of Israel over parts of Judea for two years before the Roman army finally crushed it, with the result that all Jews, including the early Christians, were barred from Jerusalem.

The followers of Simon Bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, acclaimed him as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel. Although Jewish Christians hailed Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba, they were barred from Jerusalem along with the rest of the Jews. The war and its aftermath helped differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism. The spiritual leader of the revolt was Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who laid the foundations for a mystical form of Judaism known today as Kabbalah... Yochai hid in a cave for 13 years and wrote a secret commentary on the Bible, the Zohar, which evolved into the teaching of Kabbalah. Feather is convinced that some of the text on the codices carry the name of Rabbi Bar Yochai..."


While the two theories at face value seem to be opposed to one another, I believe they may both be correct and they may provide contemporary evidence of the Jewish Christian origins of the Kabbalah. It was Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai who said "The Torah was given to be expounded only to the eaters of Manna" (in Midrash Mechilta), which reveals his secret faith in the Eucharistic Messiah of Israel. I have many times in my holy hours of Adoration prayed for just such a discovery and it may seem that my prayers have been answered if these discoveries are authentic. There are already those who cannot accept the authenticity of these codices due to it not fitting with their already preconceived ideas on how things should be. It is the heights of arrogance to dismiss something without examining it thoroughly just because it may conflict with ones previously accepted theories. Unfortunately the culture of arrogance reigns in academic and scholarly circles. It may turn out that these codices are modern forgeries but one needs to wait until that is shown conclusively rather than just assuming they are because there have been fakes in the past.

Professor Philip Davies writing about the language on the codices said: "My own scrutiny suggests to me and to several of my colleagues that the form of the archaic Semitic script corresponds well to what was used in the era 200BCE-100CE. However much of the writing appears to be in code and many of the images are unfamiliar. The possibility of a Hebrew-Christian origin is certainly suggested by the imagery and, if so, these codices are likely to bring dramatic new light to our understanding of a very significant but so far little understood period of history. The adoption of a codex format may also be relevant: it is known to have been adopted by Christians from about the first century CE."

Added July 2011: It seems that tests on the lead codices seem to be leading to them being authentic. There has been a vigorous attempt to discredit them in certain circles. It would seem that the question of the authenticity of the codices is still up to debate. see this.