(urth) Wolfean theologies

Son of Witz sonofwitz at butcherbaker.org
Thu Feb 5 10:35:40 PST 2009

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Dan'l Danehy-Oakes [mailto:danldo at gmail.com]
>Sent: Thursday, February 5, 2009 09:50 AM

>> You can't critique ANYTHING without SOMEONE getting offended.
>There's a wide space between "critiquing" and (a) calling people heretics
>and (b) dragging painful stuff like the sexual abuse scandals into the
>discussion at a point where they aren't relevant.

I didn't call anyone here heretics. I said many Orthodox I've met consider Catholics heretics. I'm not Christian. I've made clear that my own ideas are much more heretical than the Catholic take on things.

I'm very sorry, dear Catholic list members, if I have offended YOU personally while trying to discuss a decision your church made over 800 years ago.

"Dragging painful stuff"... I guess one word about "Priest/Rapists" was one word too much.

>> B first) "Hair-pulling to get a reaction"  what, so you're saying I'm a troll,
>> just spouting BS to get a reaction?
>Well, I at least am _not_ calling you a troll. You've made some interesing
>and useful comments on the list in the past.
>But your current contribution is not among them.


>> I'm genuinely sorry people's feelings are hurt, but I'm not sorry about
>> any of my views.

>To bring things directly into the scope of Godwin's Law:
>"I'm sorry all those Jews got killed, but I'm not sorry about my anti-Semitism."

Um. Give me a break. I haven't HATED on anyone or anything here. I've made a minor critique as a discussion point. To equate that with Anti-Semitism is  disgusting and way overblown.

>You've been coming across in the recent discussion as someone with
>a serious grudge against the Roman church. Well, you're allowed to have
>one -- but remember that Wolfe attracts Catholic readers, and understand
>that anti-Catholic rhetoric is going to be hurtful to those people.

I do have issues with the Catholic Church, and thanks for realizing I'm allowed to have them. It should be noted that at almost any comment I've made about the RCC in the past, I've tried to give a nod of respect to the Catholics.  I don't conflate worshippers with the church fathers, or whatever they should be properly called.


>And take _responsibility_ for the consequences of your words.

I do, which is why I'm trying to clarify my points and have apologized for inadvertently offending anyone.  I don't mean to drag the subject on, but people got all up in my face about it, so I'm trying to explain myself.

>If you want to talk about how *Wolfe* understands Christ, I believe
>you have to at least start from a Catholic Christology (as well as
>soteriology, moral theology, etc.).
>That's where he seems to start.
Good if that works for you. I don't think it's necessary to start there. How can anyone START with an understanding they don't have?

>> I brought up the Filioque for two main reasons.
>> First, to demonstrate that even the Catholic view has been historically
>> questioned, even to the point of being called Heresy, and that the
>> Catholic view has MODIFIED itself over time, changing it's very creed.
>The Catholic church does not deny this. In fact, it's a part of the
>Magisterium (teaching authority) of the RCC, called "the development
>of doctrine." The RCC, arrogant as it may be, is *not* arrogant enough
>to believe that it knows everything.
>Two examples:
>1. Yep, the Church condemned Galileo. Later, it admitted that it was
>wrong, and in fact sponsors some of the most important observatories
>in the world today (as well as officially accepting evolution as
>consistent with its theology -- indeed, *condemning* the view that
>the Earth *must* have been made in 7 24-hour days as "trying to
>constrain God's freedom in how to create" or something like that).
>2. All that business about the Inquisition? Well, the Church still
>believes that heresy and error have no rights. *But*, and this is
>an important nuance to the above, *those who hold to* heresy
>and error *do* have rights. Thus, the Inquisition was a mistake
>in moral theology. Again, this is how the Church views its own
>So, yes, the Roman church has modified its views and its
>theology over time. This is called _humility_.
Or call it "saving face"
I'm certainly glad the Church views the Inquisition as a moral mistake. 
Wonder what they think about the Crusades.

>> Secondly, which no one has touched, that the nature of
>> the Filioque CHANGES the shape of the our understanding of
>> Christ. It changes the Trinity from a triangle into a flat,
>> hierarchical line.
>All I can say is, that's not the Christology I was taught.
I wasn't taught any Christology. This idea is my own, but I think there is something to it.

>To say that the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the
>Son" rather than "with the Son" may invert the triangle, so
>that it points down instead of up, but it doesn't flatten it.
I see your point about inversion rather than flattening. Well noted.

>I'm not a trained theologian, but how I understand it is that
>the Father begets the Son, and the Spirit, as the active
>and living Love between them, "proceeds from" them.
>Or something like that.
Something like that. I'm no theologian either.


>Frankly, I think it's arrogant of *both* Eastern and Western
>churches to think they understand the mystery of the
>Trinity well enough to call the other's understanding wrong.

Just make sure you're not lumping me in with that. Pointing out that Party X thinks such and such of Party Y, is not the same as saying "I'm with Party X"
I think ANYONE who says they've got God figured out to the exclusion of other figurings is just completely full of BS.

>> Now, I question how much Wolfe's writing should be viewed through the
>> lens of strict Catholicism.  He's got the Pope, or Bishop of Viron as a
>> vampire leading people to their doom. Hello? He feeds on children. Hello?
>First, Quetzal is *not* a Pope figure; his authority is only over the city
>of Viron, which (despite being the focus of our story) is not, apparently,
>a particularly special city on the Whorl.

Sorry, he maps to Pope or Bishop of the Church that is in Viron.  Maybe it's only a small church, but he's the head of it. The Pope of Rome would still be Pope even if only Rome was in the church, right?

>Second, there's a long-standing tradition *in* the Catholic church that
>the last Pope will be an anti-Pope who will lead the Church into evil.
>Quetzal seems to fit that idea.
Yeah, that's interesting.

>> He's got a Torturer as a Christ figure
>"I bring not peace but a sword..."
>> who eventually ends up becoming the myth that shaped him, and
>> to embody and give voice to that myth, he cites a derivative play
>> as his source material. It's almost a farce.  He's got a Eucharist
>> that involves exhuming and eating corpses. Real Kosher stuff.
>Severian is *not* a Christ. I believe most of us have agreed on that.
>(Hi, David.)
I'm less inclined to read Severian as Christ after discussion here, if only because it's so problematic for "True Believers", but I've not really agreed on the reasons why.  I mean, how is Frodo more Christlike than Severian? 3 wounds? or something. That hardly stacks up against Severian's correspondences.  Most of the complaints center on Morals and Divinity, which to be sure, aren't really characteristics of Severian.

Thanks for your thoughtful response, Dan'l.


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