Thursday, 24 April 2014

Solange Strong Herz on Geocentrism and Denial Thereof

The following passage makes me glad that my favourite convert from Puseyism was not Cardinal Manning but Cardinal Newman. Not an adept of Scientism. But here* is Solange Hertz on Cardinal Manning:

Cardinal Manning, one of the famous converts from Anglicanism brought into the Church by the Oxford movement, is a fairly representative case. In his popular book The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost, written in the 1870’s, he writes in perfect good faith,

From the moment that the motion of the earth was established as a scientific truth, the Church has accepted it. And why? Because the Church has no revelation of physical science. No revelation whatever is made of astronomy. The Book of Joshua uses the language of sense and not the language of science in saying that the sun stood still. Therefore faith and theology are in no way implicated and in no way in conflict.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? The good Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster didn’t hesitate to throw the entire weight of his office behind heliocentrism, despite a total absence of documented proof that the Magisterium of the Church has ever accepted heliocentrism, let alone that heliocentrism has been proven scientifically. Leo XIII’s Providentissimus Deus, promulgated in 1893, staunchly defended the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, but did nothing to remedy the situation because it allowed considerable leeway to accommodated meanings and interpretations. With science permitted to go its own way unchecked and to wield so unprecedented an influence over the minds of Christians, it’s no wonder that less than a half century later G. K. Chesterton would see no reason why a Catholic could not accept the equally unproven theory of theistic evolution, now openly preached by the new conciliar religion.

If men like Palm and The O'Floinn and Mark Shea think that Geocentrics are contradicting Church teaching, part of the blame goes to Cardinal Manning. Part of the blame goes to those that brought his thoughts too much to the forefront of English Catholicism. And part of it goes to predominance of English in the Western Civilisation, hence also of English Catholicism in Catholicism.

But Cardinal Manning was not Pope. He was not adressing the whole Church. And English Catholic Tradition since Cardinal Manning is not in every detail identic to Catholic Universal Tradition.

Pope Benedict XV clearly taught a book of fiction can convey Theological truth correctly, despite being inaccurate in natural sciences. I agree Dante was not up to date on the flow of blood through the body. As to him possibly being wrong, also on place of the Earth in the Universe, that was only admitted as a concession, it was NOT the subject on which the Pope was teaching in the Encyclical. Just this yesterday morning I had a letter from Dimond Brothers on that matter.

Until then [Galileo's time] the whole world, both Christian and pagan, believed that our earth was the center of the universe and that the entire cosmos revolved around it, because geocentricity is a truth of the natural order revealed by God from Adamic times. Inasmuch as it’s impossible to see what’s actually going on in outer space without standing outside the universe, this truth is a proper object of revelation. God had to reveal that He had set His earth at the center of the universe because, although, like Aristotle, we might be led to deduce this from simple observation, we could never be certain of it for lack of conclusive empirical proof, given the fact that we have no stable point of reference outside ourselves by which to judge relative motion between us and other heavenly bodies.

Here I do not quite agree. Was Geocentricity revealed or co-revealed to Adam?

In the Gospel some "psychology of unjust judges" is what I would call co-revealed. Unjustly lazy people sometimes do start doing what they should if nagged at. But was the world totally ignorant thereof until Jesus said that?

Perhaps in some sense the psychology of unjust judges was unknown before Jesus mentioned it. And yet, this was not exactly what Our Lord was revealing and intending to reveal to us. But even so, it remains true.

So, I am certainly not saying Adam was ignorant of Geocentricity. Nor that God and he never mentioned it before their familiarity was broken by the Fall. I am rather saying Adam could have wondered and God said something like "of course". It was in that case "co-revealed" rather than per se revealed.

But normally speaking, the senses should be enough to convey to us the truth of Geocentricity. It is true that we have no perception of the matter by watching the Universe from the outside - so we have no corrective to the senses in such a direct manner should they be wrong. But that fact in turn suggests pretty clearly we have no reason to assume they are wrong.

The reasons given are consciously or unconsciously assuming there is no God or He doesn't move the Heavens around us each day "because that's not His job" and that there are no angels or they are not moving planets, "because that's not their job".

But what if these are if not actual "jobs" as sons of Adam experience after the Fall (there have been moments when writing has been made so to me, through persecutions of low intensity and thus improbable detection where I am writing - even if writing is my own personal ideal of hobby = work), it could still be their appointments? That ruins all the physical argument for Heliocentrism.

And the optical ones are dependent on physical assumptions about, for instance, α Centauri.

There are two kinds of optical arguments that would not do that, both depending however on spacecraft (not necessarily manned) and therefore on the honesty of NASA. One is if:

  • all parallaxes measurable from here are confirmed in distance calculations (like c. four light years for α Centauri) by parallax measured from Mars.

    The other is if:

    • either earth has been observed vacillating each year from a spacecraft presumable to be moving rectilinearly,

    • or spacecraft has been observed zigzagging from earth, although presumed to proceed rectilinearly. So that apparent zigzagging would be parallactic.

The first I have heard has not been a priority to observe, and the second I have been asking for years, and got only one very brief "of course" from an astronomer who did not care to explain his source - perhaps it was only his obvious conclusion (as obvious to him as to me) from the Heliocentric view of the cosmos he didn't doubt.

But assume now that Cardinal Manning had to be answered on the account of Bible not formally teaching Geocentrism in the Book of Joshua.

The author could have used "the language of appearance" when telling about the event. The problem posed is whether the miracle worker could have either - while working a miracle on behalf of God - been ignorant of the proper words to use or taken into account his human listeners' impressions all the while ostentatiously adressing what ostentatiously needed adressing.

If Heliocentrism is true, why did he not say "earth, cease from the rotation"?

Assume the story is false, it becomes apparent to any modern why: he would not have known enough. But assume it is false, and you are no longer Christian.

Assume it is true, and his choice of words become problematic to say the least, or rather impossible, unless Geocentrism is true.

Normally a simple observational truth like Geostasis (Geocentricity once you discover the earth is round) would not have needed such a strong proof from the veracity of a miracle worker while working a miracle. But if the story is true - and as a Christian I cherish no doubt thereon (even Cardinal Manning didn't) - the reason would be that God foresaw the Heliocentric errors before they came into fashion. Precisely as Jacob and Esau refuted horoscopes probably before such came into fashion (for the greater benefit of an Aurelius Augustinus on his way to becoming Saint Augustine of Hippo - and many after him).

The Gospel contains so much comment on Paganisms not known in Palestine at the time. Could not some Old Testament books contain pertinent comment on the latter day paganism we see?

One of the Puranas says an Avatar of Vishnu saved a King from the Flood ... and that Avatar was a fish. Matsya in Sanscrit. Now, this Sanscrit word for fish sounds a bit like the Hebrew word for Christ (Mashiac'h). And the early Christians, without any knowledge of either Sanscrit or Puranas, described the Christ as ΙΧΘΥΣ - Ιησους Χριστος Θεου 'Υιος Σοτηρ. The abbreviation means - fish. The Babylonian Myth of the Flood (long since forgotten by the time of Christ, but unearthed in ceramic tablets with cuneiforms) also refers to Christ: Shamash the Sun God miraculously provided bread for those on board Ziasudra's or Utnapishtim's ark. Christ is called the Sun of Justice and He has given bread miraculously. Turning water to wine was a speciality of Dionysus - but Christ did it, in Cana. Defeating death was predicated of Hercules. Raising dead was predicated of Aesculapius. Both of these came true of Christ.

I think there are two attitutdes possible about these parallels : God gave some prophetic content to the false myths, and sometimes to some true events (like Ulysses' homecoming, prefiguring Christ's return to defeat an Antichrist who is like unto the evil suitors and like unto the worst of them**, and Penelope, like the Church, remained faithful until rescued), and therefore we see a kind of prophecies fulfilled in Christ. The other is the charge that Christianity plagiarised the mythologies. If that were so, how come Gospels succeeded in covering more of them than Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion put together, in less space and with at least as much if not greater coherence?

And in the same way, either we ought to believe the Book of Joshua says Heliocentrism is a Pagan error, or we would be condemned to say Heliocentrism proves the Book of Joshua a Christian error. The latter, I utterly reject. The compromises, I find them less interesting.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Marc / Easter Friday***

* The Scientific Illusion
Solange Strong Hertz

** Antinous, son of Eupeithes. Is it not ironic and sadly emblematic of Paganism that much later Hadrian made the Empire adore his drowned ephebe Antinous? In a way this shows forth that the worship of Paganism, when not given directly to devils, is given in some way to Antichrists.

*** Not sure whether the Friday in the Easter Octave or the Feast of a Gospeller prevails. For Saints George and Fidelis I think it is the Easter Octave that prevails, so they or one of them is celebrated Monday next week, but for St Marc I am not sure.

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