(urth) Quasi Christ?

Joe Riley whamdoodler at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 10 10:34:04 PST 2009

I'm not a Catholic, so this could be wrong, but someone mentioned it on the list once before, and I remember being floored by it then.

Didn't the Second Vatican Council (1965) rule that even "those who have not yet received the Gospel" can go to heaven if they've discerned the nature of God through their own religion?  Here's what Wikipedia says:

"Perhaps the most famous and most influential product of the council is the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.
In its first chapter, titled "The Mystery of the Church," is
the famous statement that "the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed
we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour,
after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the
other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected
for all ages as 'the pillar and mainstay of the truth.' This Church,
constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in
the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by
the bishops in communion with him" (Lumen Gentium, 8). The document
immediately adds: "Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of
truth are found outside its visible confines."

In the second chapter, titled "On the People of God", the
Council teaches that God wills to save people not just as individuals
but as a people. For this reason God chose the Israelite people to be
his own people and established a covenant with it, as a preparation and
figure of the covenant ratified in Christ that constitutes the new
People of God, which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in
the Spirit and which is called the Church of Christ (Lumen Gentium,
9). All human beings are called to belong to the Church. Not all are
fully incorporated into the Church, but "the Church knows that she is
joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of
Christ, but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its
entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor
of Peter" (Lumen Gentium, 15) and even with "those who have not yet received the Gospel," among whom Jews and Muslims are explicitly mentioned (Lumen Gentium, 16).

Doesn't this make multiple Christs unnecessary, so long as the sentient aliens came to an understanding of God through their own gods?  Being a dogmatic Catholic, I'm sure Wolfe would have been aware of this.  

--- On Mon, 2/9/09, Jordon Flato <jordonflato at gmail.com> wrote:
From: Jordon Flato <jordonflato at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Quasi Christ?
To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
Date: Monday, February 9, 2009, 4:02 PM

I'll have to go back to the books to find the quotes I'm looking for, but although they don't appear in the text as such, there are, from what I remember, references to other sentient races.  Races that were subjugated by Typhon, and in reference to all of the other Islands on the Yesod, and other references to other civilizations mentioned in some of those Apheta/Sev conversations. Again, I don't have the books in front of me, so I could be compeltely misremmembering.

However, what of the being on Sirius who the Cumaen 'contacts' to remember Apu Punchau?  That is at least one explicit reference.  

 I don't see how you can say that the novel must simply rule out all other sentient species.   Is there evidence for this?  And to say "powers" like Cumaen, Inire...that seems like a cop out.  What are Powers then.  Divine?  You don't seem to take that position.  So, what are they?  Oh, and you mention the Inhumu.  Well, what about the Neighbors?  They seem more salient here.  They are not human, and they first fed on the Neighbors.  Are you saying the neighbors are human?  I sure missed that part.  I guess there are arguments for that (if you buy the whole Blue/Gree is Ushas/Lune thing, which I don't think I do).

What are Abai and Erebus?  Aren't they most likely alien beings who landed on Urth and are attempting to take it over?  I suppose that isn't necessarily the case, but it seems likely from some evidience.

I can't expect you to deal thoroughly with such a really strange question, but I think you haven't really thought through your answer.  I can't blame you for that though.

And if every 'species" did have some sort of "unique-intervention" moment, then that would seem to me to be against the Catholic doctrine.

But I'm really splitting hairs here, and seem to have lost track of the point I was trying to make!

On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 1:42 PM, David Stockhoff <dstockhoff at verizon.net> wrote:

First, I'd say that the novel simply must rule out all other sentient species. In fact, there don't seem to be any other sentient species in the TBotNS universe---only Powers like the Cumean, Inire, Tzadkiel, etc. (The Inhumi are different, and look at how closely Wolfe examines their moral potential, and how he ties it to humans'.) 

We can't speculate on their histories because we don't meet more than one of them---their societies and histories are closed to us. But for all we know, every one of their "species" did indeed have some sort of "unique-intervention" moment. The Increate could have an infinity of sons he sent off to die horribly, *but we don't need to know about it.* TBotNS is not really an "interstellar" or galactic SF novel.

Second, I agree that it would be a basic unfairness to all the other interstellar races to have the only OTC in the universes land on Earth in 0 AD, and I'm sure this has occurred to Wolfe. *But that's not what TBotNS is about.* Perhaps the LS/SS novels pay a bit more attention to that problem, but still in a necessarily anthropocentric manner.

I don't think the Pope has ruled yet on whether space aliens have souls.

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