Feminism as Antichurch [Pt. 2]
Feminism is the true expression of modern godlessness.
—Gertrud von Le Fort
Mary Daly: Witch and "Catholic Theologian"
Most feminists are products of a standardized indoctrination called "women's studies." (A large grant from the Ford Foundation in 1972 gave initial legitimacy to these programs, and now the majority of accredited colleges and universities have a program in "women's studies.") We prefer to examine a feminist who can be expected to understand better the import of what she is saying, having been a Thomist theologian before becoming "unhinged" (her own favorite expression describing herself) and turning into a leading light of feminism.
Mary Daly, a former nun, was the first American woman to have earned a doctorate in Catholic theology (in Fribourg in 1963). Her Catholic publications are The Problem of Speculative Theology (Washington: Thomist Press, 1965), and Natural Knowledge of God in the Philosophy of Jacques Maritain (Rome: Officium Libri Catholici, 1966).
But she was really formed by all the dissidents she encountered in Fribourg. In 1965 she visited the Second Vatican Council, and from that visit "she came home breathing fire."1 Her next book published in 1968, The Church and the Second Sex, is considered a landmark by feminists. Although most of it is not original (builds on Simone de Beauvoir, Teilhard de Chardin, Paul Tillich, Hans Kung, Gregory Baum, Harvey Cox, and many feminists), it contains in rudimentary form most of the ideas still current in religious feminism. In this book Daly is trying strenuously to neutralize the Eternal Woman of Getrud von Le Fort, which strongly influenced Catholic women since 1934, and keeps on doing so even today.2 All her arguments add up to the feeble assertion that "there is no such thing as an enduring symbolic significance of woman" because everything about woman is constantly changing. This coming from the most adulated of the feminist theoreticians shows that their thinking is nothing but an imitation of Marxism.
In 1973 came Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation. Daly announces a radical departure from Christianity; she no longer believes in a personal God ("God Is a Verb"). Her creed begins with: "In the beginning was patriarchy and the exploitation of women." Everything in her world view is derived from this, and must be fitted to this, so the whole of Christianity is a "social construction" designed to exploit women. Chapter Five declares feminism to be Antiworld, Antichurch and Antichrist.3
In 1978 appeared Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, about the close association between feminism and the ecology movement: "ecofeminism."
The cover of the original 1984 edition of Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy4 is resplendent with the image of a serpent, interpreted by Daly as satanic secret knowledge and extolled in lofty tones as "Dragon-identified" life.5 This is the book in which Daly seems to find her own unique style, characteristic of her later books. Being well trained in philosophy and Catholic theology, she understands that the feminist monomania (all conceivable ills of the world are to be blamed on patriarchy) cannot be defended in the realm of reason. So instead she creates her own private language, hundreds of new words, most of them never defined (200 of them listed in an index without definitions), and then, embedded in a torrent of metaphors, they are used to evoke emotions to support feminism and to attack the ills of the world. She is known to be very proud of these empty linguistic tricks (polite reviewers talk about "wordplay"), although all they add up to is but an abuse of the English language.
She spends a great deal of effort mocking the Bible, Catholicism, and especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, a sore subject for all feminists. Occasionally she pretends to sound like a philosopher (e.g., being is everything that suits feminists, and non-being is anything that does not suit them). She frequently tries to shock the reader by statements like "To Sin is to come into the fullness of our powers."6 The subjects she is positive about, and which dominate the whole book, are sex (e.g., "Women-Touching women") and the demonic:
As the reader recalls, the "fallen angels," according to Christian theology, are those who refused to surrender their natural autonomy to the Christian god and therefore were deprived of "eternal happiness," consisting in the "Beatific Vision" of the divine essence. Since Furiously Fey women refuse such surrender of autonomy, knowing that it involves a most unbeatific fission/fracturing of integrity, the "fallen angels" would appear to be important inspirers and allies.7
Feminists are repeatedly and unmistakably identified with evil. An example:
I suggest that there is a subliminal connection...between the spirits represented by the names "principalities" and "powers"...and the spirits of Elemental Untamed women. Hostile and hateful intent expressed in violent statements about the former are also directed against the latter. Thus portrayals of Christ as one who "disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them" (Col. 2:15) can be decoded...as...descriptions of and justifications for male breaking, humiliating, and gloating over vanquished women.8
Daly claims (mistakenly) that witchcraft, magic, and divination are inherently and exclusively female powers. Males are jealous of this power, and their only purpose is "to hold down female power." Daly completely rejects the Christian world view, but clearly understands and explains that feminism is synonymous with what Christianity calls evil (of course she considers all that good).
Webster's First New Inter-galactic Wickedary of the English Language (1987) introduces a completely new vocabulary taking the social separatism of radical feminism to the ultimate extreme. Daly calls herself a "webster," a term she coined signifying a female weaver. Wickedary, from "Wicca," stands for a dictionary for witches.
Despite being a lesbian and a self-proclaimed witch, she was employed by Boston College (a Jesuit institution) as a "Catholic theologian" until her recent retirement.
Feminism and Catholicism: And Never the Twain Shall Meet
"Christian responses" to feminism are usually cowardly, trying to compromise with this evil and appease it by conceding half of every issue to it. They bemoan the fact that "true" or "good" feminism has been contaminated by extremists, which is certainly not the case.
All feminists are opposed to "patriarchy," to "rule of the father" or in their own favorite expression to "sexism." By sexism they mean "the unequal treatment of individuals based on their sex." But the function of the husband as the head of the family, spoken of by St. Paul as part of the order of creation, is quintessential sexism, and thus we are compelled to conclude that there is no version of feminism that can be reconciled with God's revelation. There is no good feminism, there is no true feminism, there is no Biblical feminism, there is no Christian feminism. Feminism is inherently evil since it deliberately contradicts divine revelation.
We can take the word of Mary Daly that this is indeed so:
Does this mean, then, that the women's movement points to, seeks, or in some way constitutes a rival to "the Christ"?...Michelet wrote that the priest has seen in the witch "an enemy, a menacing rival." In its depth, because it contains a dynamic that drives beyond Christolatry, the women's movement does point to, seek, and constitute the primordial, always present, and future Antichrist.9
Of course, feminists are deliberately deceitful in asserting that sexism, i.e., treating men and women differently, is necessarily demeaning to women, or that it necessarily means oppression, exploitation or devaluation of women. Not only is it perfectly possible to treat men and women according to their true nature (as complementing each other and certainly not being identical to each other), it is decidedly desirable to do so.
The supreme example of all women, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was a wife and a mother, and she was not oppressed, exploited or devalued, and she did not feel demeaned. Not surprisingly the feminists hate her exactly for this, because her example proves beyond a shadow of doubt that feminism is based on a lie.
Another way to bring into focus the irreconcilable differences is by discussing the concept of authority. Jesus Christ, the incarnate God left His authority with His Church, and this is the chief motive for the faith of a Catholic.
Submission to this lawful authority is an essential part of being a Catholic. By contrast, for a feminist any authority is intolerable. Chesterton thought it ironic that "Twenty million young women rose to their feet with the cry 'We will not be dictated to': and proceeded to become stenographers."10 At the heart of feminism is the fiction that woman is an autonomous, self-sufficient being who answers to absolutely no one, which is the exact opposite of reality, of being a creature dependent on the Creator. The inescapable conclusion is that a woman may be a Catholic, or she may be a feminist, but she cannot possibly be both.
We have to address here one more problem of the modern mind that manifests itself in the apparently puzzling (in reality deceitful) expression: "faithful, committed Catholic feminist." The problem can be illustrated with an example: a man claiming to be a vegetarian is found to be eating a steak in a restaurant. When questioned about it, he indignantly answers: "What does eating a steak have to do with being a vegetarian? I am a vegetarian because I consider myself to be one." A "Catholic feminist" is as much a Catholic as the man in the above story is a vegetarian. Since the expression implies an inherent contradiction, it is perfectly justified to call anybody a liar who declares herself to be a "Catholic feminist." (And the same applies to "lesbian Christian" and other fraudulent expressions.)
Marxism and feminism are closely related, and are similar in aims and methods. But according to Gertrud von Le Fort, feminism, "and not the face of the Bolshevist proletarian disfigured by hatred, is the true expression of modern godlessness."11
And when it comes to feminists claiming to be religious, it is again Gertrud von Le Fort who states most clearly what we have to understand: the feminist "is dedicated only to the most miserable of all cults, that of her own body."12 At the First National Conference for Women's Spirituality, held in Boston in 1976, women danced bare-breasted in the church chanting "The goddess lives!" and "Being a woman is divine!" One recommendation of this conference was that women should set up altars with mirrors in their homes so as to be constantly reminded that they are the goddess.13 Their code of ethics is nothing but self-love: develop yourself, enjoy yourself, etc. The warnings of St. Paul: "the wisdom of the flesh is hostile to God...And they who are carnal cannot please God" (Rom. 8:7-8) are completely wasted on the feminist.
She defines herself by her rebellion against the Creator, and consequently, rejects the very basics of Catholicism, for example: "From the feminist viewpoint, the notion of an immortal soul is seen as fundamentally hostile to the body and to women."14
The true religion, which accepts creaturely dependence on the Creator, and manifests itself in obedience to the Divine Will is, of course, totally and inevitably alien to the feminist. Feminists clearly understand that their views cannot be reconciled with Catholicism, and that is why "nothing short of the extinction of the Church could placate them."15 Betty Friedan bluntly stated: "the Church is the enemy,"16 so the feminist agitation to dismantle the traditional Church is inevitable: "The feminist movement in Western culture is engaged in the slow execution of Christ and Yahweh....It is likely that as we watch Christ and Yahweh tumble to the ground, we will completely outgrow the need for an external God."17 But even before they could dismantle the Church, they eagerly disparage it at every opportunity:
Three Wise Women would have...
To feminists the Bible is a "loathsome book"18and the Old Testament prophets, because of their opposition to polytheism, are virtual incarnations of evil. Jewish protests over their attacks on the Old Testament caused a rare instance of feminists restraining their venomous language.19
Even the word "theology" should not be taken seriously when feminists use it, since they are concerned only with women and not with God. "The feminists will serve no transcendent deity, only the 'divine within': that is, only themselves."20 In fact, the place of "theo-logy" (reasoned discourse about God), according to the wish of many feminist authors, is to be taken by "theo-fantasy" or "theo-poesy,"21 which is justified when they freely invent for themselves an imaginary Trinity: "Our Mother, Jesa Christa and the Holy Spiritess."22
For anyone who understands Marxism, feminism is easy to grasp:
At the center of feminist theology is a struggle for power in this world. The idea of a hope for the future that includes the individual person's living on after death is normally denied and spurned as a piece of patriarchal ideology23 ....religious feminists are not pious do-gooders, genuflecting in the face of oppression. [They] are committed agents for social change.24
The Goddess Is "Not Just God In a Skirt": Enter Jung
Feminism and Christianity cannot possibly be reconciled, and feminists fervently hope that the "male-dominated patriarchal Church" will simply wither away (another expression borrowed from Marxism). But feminist Carol P. Christ, in her essay "Why Women Need the Goddess," argued that women need a substitute (and the argument is repeating that of Jung):
Symbol systems cannot simply be rejected; they must be replaced. Where there is not any replacement, the mind will revert to familiar structures at times of crisis, bafflement or defeat....A question immediately arises, Is the Goddess simply female power writ large, and if so, why bother with the symbol of Goddess at all? Or does the symbol refer to a Goddess "out there" who is not reducible to a human potential?25
She put the last question to Starhawk, who answered: "It all depends on how I feel. When I feel weak, she is someone who can help and protect me. When I feel strong, she is the symbol of my own energy...."
Not surprisingly, the favored alternative of feminists is pantheism, which is the inevitable triumph of immanentism. The feminist does not recognize God, she rejects Him. She wants to be the architect of her own destiny, she gives up every sense of law and the inner obligation of conscience. She trusts herself to her feelings, without feeling guilty about anything she does. She refuses to recognize her dependence on God, so she becomes an idol to herself.
And pantheism is combined with "myth-making," in which pursuit feminists increasingly rely on their "patron saint," Carl Gustav Jung. Many "feminist theologians," witches, and shamans are also trained Jungian psychologists. First of all, the Goddess is female: female physiology is the essential irreducible manifestation of the Goddess. Unlike the transcendent Father-God of the Bible, the Mother-Goddess, supposedly, gives birth to life and remains organically and tangibly connected to the earth, she is within all, not beyond all. The Goddess movement firmly aligns itself with the conception of the divine as naturally immanent within the physical universe: the world is intrinsically divine. This pantheism conveniently justifies the self-deification of feminists, and the total lack of a moral law to bind them. And from here it is but a short step to the "eco-feminist" contention that Mother Earth is alive, a concept commonly expressed through the name for the ancient Greek earth-goddess, Gaia.
Although monotheism, the claim that there is only one God, is the most implacable foe of the Goddess religion, feminists still want to claim that the Goddess is unique and singular (the innumerable polytheistic female deities are merely valuable images or representations of the one true Goddess). Unfortunately, the meaning of pantheism is that everything that exists constitutes a unity, and this all-inclusive unity is divine. So calling this unity a Goddess is just metaphoric speaking, but that suits feminists just fine (logic can be ignored, after all, it is only a tool of the male oppressors...). According to Starhawk, a feminist and practicing witch:
The symbolism of the Goddess is not a parallel structure to the symbolism of God the Father. The Goddess does not rule the world; She is the world ....The importance of the Goddess symbol for women cannot be over stressed. The image of the Goddess inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our aggression as healthy, and our anger as purifying. Through the Goddess, we can discover our strength, enlighten our minds, own our bodies, and celebrate our emotions.26
The "symbolism of the Goddess" matches perfectly the description of Jung: "religion is imaginary, but good (meaning useful)." Feminists are enthusiastic supporters of Jungian psychology, which gives them a "scientific" justification for the pagan practices which spontaneously erupted among them.
The "Ancient Goddess Religion"
We organize the discussion of Wicca around three feminist theses (or rather fictions).
Feminist Fiction 1: During the Stone Age (between about 40,000 and 3500 B.C.) mankind first achieved civilization. It was a peaceful, matriarchal society, and their religion was the worship of the Great Goddess.
Feminist Fiction 2: Wicca, the presently fashionable form of witchcraft, is an ancient pagan nature religion, the religion of the Great Goddess.
Feminist Fiction 3: The only hope for the survival of mankind is the return to this matriarchal society and the religion of the Great Goddess. Since it worked so gloriously well in the distant past, it will work again.
Fiction 1 was invented in 1861 by Johann Jakob Bachofen (1815-1887), and was immediately embraced by August Bebel, Engels and other Marxists. Because it played a prominent part in Marxism, it has been scrutinized and thoroughly refuted many times as pure fiction. An early survey of refutations from 1912 can be found in the old Catholic Encyclopedia27The most recent, very detailed refutation is by Philip G. Davis in his 418-page-long book Goddess Unmasked?28 Although a good part of this book is dedicated to this refutation, we merely quote a briefest summary: "the story of the Goddess is a fabrication in defiance of the facts."29 This is admitted even by some of the leading feminists, such as Rosemary Radford Ruether:
Does one seek an alternative, matriarchal religion and resurrect its canon? Unfortunately such a canon cannot be found...such a religion is lost to us. Perhaps it once existed. Perhaps it did not.30
Fiction 2 requires a longer discussion. Witchcraft, invoking evil spirits to perform magic (black or white), has been practiced since time immemorial by both men and women. But presenting witchcraft as a religion, an ancient pagan religion, and an exclusively women's religion, was an idea that first occurred to French historian Jules Michelet (1798-1874), who was motivated to do so by his well-known hostility towards the Catholic Church. As Davis explains,31 Michelet wrote his book Sorcery late in life, in two months, because apparently he as an aging romantic radical had neither the time nor desire for detailed research. The book is the first important one to take a stand in favor of witchcraft, although it was intended not so much to encourage witchcraft but rather to condemn the Catholic Church. Although Michelet has never met a witch, and never expected to do so, he imagined witchcraft as a priestess-led, women-centered nature religion, older than Christianity, opposed to it, persecuted and destroyed by it, and morally superior to it. The book invents the idea of witchcraft as a quintessentially women's religion, a "cult of nature and fertility." Professional historians always dismissed the thesis of this book, yet the book remained popular because of the modern romanticized but false myth of the peace and innocence of paganism.
Englishman Gerald Gardner (1884-1964) invented Wicca starting about 1939.32 His chief sources were the Kabala and Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), another Englishman and probably the most infamous of modern Satanists, personally known to Gardner.
Crowley recognized that his magical system was not for everyone; in fact he gloried in its elitism. On the other hand, he saw a role for a more popular and accessible version of his teachings. In a 1915 letter he wrote, "The time is just ripe for a natural religion. People like rites and ceremonies, and they are tired of hypothetical gods. Insist on the real benefits of the Sun, the Mother-force, the Father-force and so on....In short, be the founder of a new and greater Pagan cult."33
It was Gardner who finally took Crowley's advice, but not until 1951, when the Witchcraft Act of 1736 was repealed in England, was it legal for anyone to declare oneself to be a witch. Even then, Gardner posed as a disinterested investigator of a little-known ancient pagan religion on the verge of extinction and described to the world what he had in fact been composing over more than a decade. So Wicca, a simplified version of Satanism for mass consumption, is the work of Gardner under the influence of Crowley, and the fiction part, that it is a pagan nature religion, comes from Bachofen and Michelet.
Fiction 3 takes care of itself, since there has never been a matriarchal society, and there has never been a religion of the Great Goddess. The feminist Utopia would quickly lead to the complete disintegration of civilized society, since it implies blunting the distinction between male and female, destroying the institution of the family, and affirming homosexuality and sexual license.
Despite all refutations, these fictions thrive wherever feminists are in control. They are certainly promoted as factual material in "women's studies" programs:
The assertions of the Goddess movement do not stand up to scrutiny; indeed it is perplexing that claims so easily disproved are nevertheless in wide and increasing circulation...[they are] being taught as factual history on campus. An important lesson of this book is the ease with which patent falsehoods may clothe themselves in the garb of scholarship and masquerade as truth.34
Not surprisingly, the U.N. Fourth Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 even featured a full-size "reconstruction" of a supposed "ancient matriarchal village," complete with a giant pair of female breasts, one above the other, to guard the entrance.
So modern organized witchcraft in the English-speaking world merits the title "Gardnerian." Its eclectic features are shared to a greater or lesser degree among the visibly practicing groups today, although they cannot be found in the documented records of witchcraft in any era before Gardner's.35A brief description of Wiccan practice:36
Contemporary witches tend to use common ritual elements. First is the casting of a "sacred circle" to create a "sacred space" or "portable temple" for the proceedings. Next is "going within" or "centering the energy" drawing it up from the earth through "guided meditation" dance or shouting. Later, the energy is directed through a "cone of power" to the object of "magick." Many other activities may be included in the ceremonies, but they routinely conclude with "grounding the energy," or returning it to the earth.37
Davis lists the following features that are typical of Wiccans38:
1) the phrases "so mote it be" and "blessed be,"
2) casting the circle,
3) raising the "cone of power,"
4) covens (preferably numbering 13),
5) the pre-eminence of the Goddess and the High Priestess,
6) belief in reincarnation,
7) the nine million witch-hunt victims.
The fiction of the "nine million witch-hunt victims" originated with an American suffragist, Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898) who claims to have derived it from Bachofen. Since then this nine-million figure has become feminist dogma (a special favorite of Mary Daly) supposedly proving the existence of a "war against women." The facts are quite different. Black magic has always been punished, as records from Egypt and the Roman Empire document. In the 16th and 17th centuries there was an epidemic of witchcraft and a corresponding persecution of real and alleged witches. The total number of witches (guilty and innocent) executed in Britain, Europe and North America is estimated between 40,000 and 100,000.39 This was a violent period in history, but Purkiss points out that most accusations of witchcraft were made by women, not by men,40 and not all witches were women,41 thereby discrediting every claim of a "patriarchal war against women." Even Rosemary Ruether admits that "women were never the sole targets of witch-hunts."42
Philip Davis, author of Goddess Unmasked, was himself accused of "Holocaust Denial" for questioning the bogus nine-million figure in print. [Rev. Ms. Aradia Gynette Apfelbaum, Chaplain of the Lesbian Liberation Army PLC, based in "Womyn House, Glastonbury, British Islands" demanded "international law to outlaw such antifemitism (sic)."]43
Satanism and Witchcraft
The empire of Satan is vast and very confusing. If you invoke Satan, he is certain to come (assuming God permits it). He will come no matter what you claim to believe: by invoking him you have already stated your beliefs. And if he comes, you will be in his power. And it matters not how exactly you call him. Aleister Crowley did believe in Satan, whereas Anton LaVey (author of the Satanic Bible) claimed to be an atheist who did not believe in Satan, yet both were manifestly in the power of Satan. It matters little whether one is a "theologically oriented" Satanist offering explicit "worship" to Satan (through profaning a validly consecrated Host in what is known as the Black Mass), or one is just plain evil (secular sources call these "sick" Satanists), the eventual result is the same. Sexual perversions and licentiousness, homosexuality, abortion, killing and torturing humans and animals, ritual bloodletting and desecrating graves are among sure signs that one is in the power of the Evil One.
Feminist followers of Wicca strenuously insist that their "religion" is an innocent, ancient nature religion, and has nothing to do with Satanism. "I resent being classified with Satanism! Satanism has nothing whatsoever to do with women's religion."44 "Wiccans are not Satanists. I don't even believe there is a Satan."45
Deliberately resorting to divination or magic is certainly an invitation to Satan. And feminist followers of Wicca do not for a second deny that they practice magic (they prefer the spelling "magick" which originated with Aleister Crowley). Wiccans are defined by their practices, not by their creed (they do not have any). Since magic cannot be practiced without the help of evil spirits, it is justified to consider them Satanists.
Another telling sign that evil is attractive to feminists is the increasing popularity in our times of Lilith, a female night demon, mentioned once in the Old Testament (Is. 34:14). She came to play a great role in Talmudic demonology, where she (based on a misreading of Genesis) became the demon wife of Adam and the mother of demons.46 She is much like the gnostic Sophia: Sophia engenders the Demiurge, Lilith becomes the mother of countless demons. Both are considered feminist "role models."
Donna Steichen publishes the testimony of one feminist who was given the grace to disengage from Wicca:
When I was a witch, I performed rituals. I evoked spirits. I called entities. I cast spells, burned candles, concocted brews. The only thing I didn't do was fly on a broom, but I probably would have figured it out if given time. But where did it lead to? Into darkness, depression and the creation of an aura of gloom around me. I was frequently under demon attack. The house where I lived was alive with poltergeist activity...due to residual "guests" from rituals. My friends and family were afraid of me. I knew I had no future; all I had was a dark present. I was locked in by oaths and "destiny." But I had power, something I'd always wanted. It wasn't Satan's fault. He didn't exist–or so I thought.47
So when they say, "Call me a pagan, call me anything, but do not call me a Satanist," it is exactly because the term Satanist is their best fitting description. In vain do they argue with Holy Scripture:... "all the gods of the pagans are demons" (Ps. 95:5).
And having pointed out the connections between Marxism and feminism on the one hand, and Wicca and Satanism on the other, it is not surprising that they all use versions of the pentagram as their symbol: the Communist red star is a pentagram; the chosen symbol of Wicca is a circled pentagram, whereas the inverted pentagram (two of its ends pointing upward) represents Satanism.
Preparing a Trojan Horse
The feminists know perfectly well that all their fables and myths have been proven false, but they are impervious to any criticism on factual grounds: 1) anything that comes from a man (or from anyone opposing them) is merely an exercise in gender politics and not to be taken seriously; 2) the real criterion by which to judge witchcraft and the Goddess myth is the stimulus to contemporary social reform they can provide. In other words, truth is irrelevant, the Goddess religion is to be judged by its usefulness. Naomi Goldenberg states clearly: "Modern witches are using religion and ritual as psychological tools....In a very practical sense they have turned religion into psychology."48
Of course, feminists realize the obvious problem: if they stick with Wicca, or with some imaginary Goddess that suits them perfectly, they will become increasingly isolated and irrelevant. In 1985, Rosemary Ruether, another feminist "theologian" clearly stated: "Unless we manage to insert what we are doing...back into...main institutional vehicles of ministry and community...it will have no lasting impact." [Religious revolutionaries] "should stay in the Church and use whatever parts of it they can get their hands on."49
It is not easy to reinterpret parts of the Christian faith to fit a goddess into it. Romano Amerio describes the recent revival of an ancient heresy, which claims that the Holy Spirit is feminine: Spirita Sancta.
From a theoretical point of view the logical and biological monstrosities that follow from this aberration are repellent. The Blessed Virgin would have been overshadowed in Matthew 1:18 by a feminine being, and thus Jesus would have been born of two women. If the Third Person of the Trinity is a Mother, then since "she" proceeds from the Son, we would have the absurdity of a mother originating from her son.50
But feminists think that, at last, they have found a promising candidate that might be acceptable to Christians in Sophia, an imaginary Goddess of Wisdom, who can supposedly be found in the Book of Wisdom of the Old Testament, if only you read that book their way.
Caitlin Matthews is volunteering the battle plan about a suitably modified Goddess, who could serve as a Trojan horse: appearing to fit into Christianity but helping to undermine and destroy it:
The slurring of God's gender is as frightening to some as the reality of homosexual priests or female ordination. Nonsexist liturgies have been introduced in America, using inclusive language and the neutral "Creator" or "Parent" for God. Masculine pronouns such as "he" and "his" are avoided by the repetition of the noun "Creator." Such liturgical tools may begin to influence the modern metaphorical drift of Deity, but many see this as an undermining of Christianity's integrity. If the Goddess of Wisdom is once recognized as the habitation of Christianity, the revitalization of this flagging spirituality may result.51
Sophia seems the perfect solution for women sympathetic to the Divine Feminine, yet who wish to remain in Christianity and Judaism without compromising their beliefs. It may be that Sophia is about to be discerned in much the same way as she was in first-century Alexandria, as a beacon for Christians, Jews, Gnostics, and pagans alike.52
Indeed, the myth of Sophia is central to Gnosticism, but the Catholic religion knows nothing about such a person. But feminists are hopeful. Sophia does not have to be true, she only needs to sound plausible:
Sophia can serve as the image, the "role model" at the heart of feminist spirituality....As the female figure within the biblical faiths, Sophia integrates many of the advantages of the goddess into Jewish monotheism and New Testament Christology. Sophia can become a major connection between feminists and traditional churchgoers, between Christian, Jewish, and goddess-centered feminists.53
The pattern for this feminist undertaking is liberation theology, which is not at all surprising:
Marxism and Catholicism cannot be reconciled–both Marxists and Catholics acknowledge this. Yet deceit and obfuscations brought about liberation theology, which has done a lot of damage to the Church. It contains not an iota of truth, but it sounds plausible to ignorant Catholics. It uses the concepts and the language of the Christian faith to explain and justify political revolution and social violence. Feminism and Catholicism cannot be reconciled either, but feminists realize that all they need to replicate the success of liberation theology is to gain some doctrinal foothold in Christianity, using some goddess that sounds plausible to ignorant Catholics.
Sophia: Divine Wisdom
Divine Wisdom is an attribute of God. All external works of God are common to the Three Divine Persons, because otherwise there would be three separate and distinct Gods. The Divine Appropriations ascribe certain attributes of God (common to the entire Trinity) to one of the Divine Persons, merely as an aid to human thinking, aiming at introducing to us the mystery of the Trinity.
Wisdom, and works of wisdom, have always been ascribed to the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity. This is not arbitrary, but based on the origin of the Son: the generation of the Son is by mode of understanding. ("Why Word? In order that it may become manifest that it proceedeth from the intellect," explains St. Basil.) Among others, one of the greatest churches of Christendom, Santa Sophia in Constantinople, proves this. The name of this church means Holy Wisdom, and was always understood to refer to the Person of Christ.
A good deal of what we know about Divine Wisdom comes from the Sapiential Books of the Old Testament (so called because they teach wisdom). They are listed in the following order by the Council of Trent: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach). The wisdom of man (religious wisdom) and the wisdom of God are both subjects of these books. By the wisdom of man, the gift of wisdom (one of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost) is meant: the soul judges all things as they pertain to God.
Divine Wisdom is presented in a threefold way:
1) Divine Wisdom as an Attribute of God (this is the correct theological understanding of the concept).
2) Poetical Personification of the Abstract Concept, Divine Wisdom (this is merely a literary device).
Faith is not the only pathway to God which the Bible shows us. Wisdom is another which the "Wisdom Books" are especially designated to reveal to men. In certain passages these Books depict wisdom as a woman of mysterious countenance. By her unearthly beauty and by the role assigned to her she attracts our attention and arouses our love. Whoever has heard her voice can never forget it. Charged with a mission to men, she calls them, converses with them, undertakes to educate and guide them. To those who follow her and vow absolute fidelity to her, she promises many treasures and unequaled happiness. Nor is that all. Coming as God's envoy, she plays the role of mediatrix among men, offers to guide them to Him, to bring them even to His own home. In this respect, wisdom appears essentially as a gift of God, the fruit of divine initiative toward men, a fully gratuitous mercy.56
3) Divine Wisdom as a Hypostasis or Distinct Person.57 Three passages in the Old Testament are commonly accepted as a proof of Wisdom as a divine person (Prov. 8:22-31; Wis. 7:22-8:1; Sir. 24: 5-16). They contain the question of a Person who is distinct from God (that is, from the Father), but who possesses the divine attributes and participates in the creative and governing activity of God. These prepare the way for the special revelation of the "Word" or "Logos" that is for the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
J. Arendzen, in his article "Our Lady in the Old Testament"58 further explains:
...the Church has in her liturgy used passages from the Sapiential Books and referred these to Mary. Amongst these the description of Divine Wisdom in the eighth chapter of Proverbs is most prominent and is applied to our Lady by appropriation. The Church does not claim that these passages in their original meaning referred to the Mother of God rather than to the Uncreated Wisdom of God. Fully conscious that their first and direct sense applies to the Eternal Word of God, she uses them because they so aptly express in a derived sense what Mary's place and position was in the eternal plan....
To summarize: the Wisdom of God is not a person. It is an attribute of the Trinity, which belongs to all three Divine Persons. Calling Jesus Christ Wisdom is an instance of Divine Appropriation: we ascribe Wisdom to the Second Person of the Trinity so that we can think more easily about the Trinity.
And when Catholic liturgy applies the same words of the Wisdom Books to the Blessed Virgin Mary, then we have a second level of appropriation. We apply the words to the Virgin Mother that really apply to Jesus Christ, because she is (using the words of the Litany of Loreto) the Seat of Wisdom: she carried Divine Wisdom in her womb and she held Divine Wisdom in her arms. She was also the Dispenser of Wisdom: she was the natural teacher of her child, Eternal Wisdom Himself. And many saints availed themselves of her treasury of Wisdom, who is "The Mother of fair love and knowledge."
Divine Wisdom Misinterpreted: Sophia, a Person
The misinterpretation of the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament is usually called Sophiology (or Sophianism). It adopts two heretical positions simultaneously: declaring that Wisdom is a person, and denying that Wisdom is attributed to Christ. This leads to insoluble conceptual problems: if "Sophia" is divine, a fourth person is required in the Trinity, or if "Sophia" is created, a Divine Attribute (Wisdom) becomes external to God.
From the earliest days of Christianity, metaphorical portrayal of Divine Wisdom in Proverbs as a feminine figure has encouraged some Christian sects to speculate about its real independent existence as a divine or semi-divine being. We shall discuss three appearances of this non-existent being, usually referred to as Sophia.
First she has appeared on the fringes of Christianity as part of the Gnostic heresy. Her second appearance in Protestant theosophy was also of marginal importance, but the third time she successfully struck at the heart of Russian Orthodoxy under the guise of the "New Russian Theology," an orthodox version of Modernism.
Gnosticism has always been a mortal enemy of the Catholic Church, and according to Fr. Arendzen, was (and still is) a parasite on Christianity:
When Gnosticism came in touch with Christianity...it threw herself with strange rapidity into Christian forms of thought, borrowed its nomenclature, acknowledged Jesus as the Savior of the world, simulated its sacraments, pretended to be an esoteric revelation of Christ and His Apostles, flooded the world with apocryphal Gospels, and Acts, and Apocalypses, to substantiate its claim...to be the only true form of Christianity.59
Gnosticism never possessed a nucleus of stable doctrine, and the obscurity, multiplicity and wild confusion of Gnostic systems has a shocking effect on anyone encountering them the first time, even when presented by calm scholarly studies, such as The Gnostic Religion written by Hans Jonas, a disciple of Bultmann and Heidegger.60 (For example, the serpent and Eve are heroic figures, and Jesus supposedly encouraged Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.)
Quite different is the impression given by books written by authors who strongly advocate Gnosticism, such as Elaine Pagel,61 or by practicing Gnostics, such as Hoeller.62 These books exude a most explicit hatred of the Catholic Church. This is because for the practicing Gnostic (their numbers are slowly increasing) Gnosticism is a religion based on religious experience, which is antagonistic to the institutional Church. The word Gnosis means knowledge, not intellectual but "experiential" knowledge, which is certainly not from God.
Hans Jonas has a 25-page-long chapter called "The Valentinian Speculation," devoted to the symbolic figure of Sophia, the "errant Wisdom," the "female Thought of God," who, by her folly, causes all the problems in the Pleroma. Hans Jonas states:
A divine hypostasis already in post-biblical Jewish speculation, the "Wisdom" (chokmah) was there conceived as God's helper or agent in the creation of the world, similar to the alternative hypostasis of the "Word." How this figure, or at least its name, came to be combined in gnostic thought with the moon-, mother-, and love-goddess of Near Eastern religion, to form that ambiguous figure encompassing the whole scale from the highest to the lowest, from the most spiritual to the utterly sensual (expressed in the very combination "Sophia-Prunikos," "Wisdom the Whore"), we do not know.63
For a shorter summary of Sophia, we turn to Hoeller's book.64 The book is in three parts, each beginning with the same "profound" picture of the Gnostic Alchemical Serpent, eating its own tail ("a most unsatisfactory meal" says G. K. Chesterton). Here is the simplified story of Sophia from Valentinian Gnosticism:
High in the ineffable and transcendental world of light there existed a primal pair named Depth and Silence. Together they brought forth a perfect realm of balance and creative power, consisting of thirty archetypal forms of consciousness called Aeons. The youngest and most adventurous of these, called Sophia (Wisdom), fell in love with her own royal progenitor, the great invisible king of the all, called Depth, and wished to fathom his perennially inscrutable nature. Confused by her love, she cast her glance in various directions from her aeonial seat in the fullness until in the distance she espied a magnificent light, shimmering with sublime grace. In her bewilderment brought about by love, she could no longer distinguish between the above and below and thus came to assume that the seductive light, which was in reality below her, was none other than the royal effulgence of the great king, her father, who resided at the highest point of the heavens. Thus she descended into the abysmal void, where in a boundless and fathomless sea of glass the reflection of the heavenly light beckoned to her. Her celestial consort, Christ, was unable to restrain her, and thus after a final, painful embrace she plunged into the murky deep, only to discover how the reflected light had deceived her. Saddened and frightened, she found herself enclosed by emptiness, devoid of the quality and power of Gnosis to which she was accustomed in the fullness. Desirous of having a kindred figure next to her, she brought forth in a virginal fashion a being whose name was Jesus. Although conceived mysteriously by her desire for her original Gnosis, Jesus was nevertheless joined to a shadow of darkness, which attached itself to him because of the malefic influences of the dark void wherein he was born. Jesus soon freed himself from his troublesome, shadowy attachment and ascended into the fullness, leaving Sophia in a state of despondency.
Left outside the supernal spiritual universe, alone and comfortless, Sophia experienced every sort of psychic storm imaginable. Passion, sorrow, fear, despair, and ignorance exuded from her being like mighty clouds and condensed into the four elements of earth, water, fire, and air, as well as into a number of beings, which later were to be known under such names as the Demiurge and the rulers (archontes)–fierce and troublesome spirits, one and all.
Looking down at the flawed and troubled world pridefully fashioned by her own ignorant offspring, Sophia was filled with pity for creation and resolved to assist in such ways as would be available to her. She thus became the spirit of the world, anxiously observing it like a mother is wont to do when watching over a feeble and misshapen child. Meanwhile in the lofty height, Jesus was anxiously observing the sorrowful fate of his mother, Sophia. He joined himself to Sophia's twin aeon, Christ, and thus became Jesus-Christ, the Messiah and messenger of God. Around him rallied all the sublime and compassionate powers of the fullness, each contributing to him gifts and glories of their respective treasures. Thus in Jesus-Christ the fullness and its powers came to be gathered together, readying him for the great act of redemption, the liberation of Sophia from her lamentable condition in the void.
Thus, she worked her magic and divided her nature in half: one to ascend into the aeons of fullness, there to dwell with Christ and Jesus, the other to remain in proximity to creation and continue to assist it with compassionate wisdom. Her second self, created by compassion, thus became known as Achamoth, the errant or lower one who is still in contact with humanity and the regions of this world.65
This myth, entirely fictitious, is the source of all later speculations about Sophia. One may object that two beings becoming one (Jesus and Christ become Jesus-Christ) and one being becoming two (Sophia splits into Sophia and Achamoth) do not make any sense. "This is a Gnostic text, it is not supposed to make any sense" is a common retort, which even Stephan Hoeller acknowledges.66
B) Protestant theosophy: Boehme and followers
Protestants Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) and Johann Georg Gichtel (1638-1710) in Germany, and John Pordage (1607-1681) and Jane Leade (1623-1704) in England,67 were all false mystics: their experiences and visions caused them to hold false doctrines that were not acceptable even to their fellow Protestants (e.g., non-existence of hell). Boehme is called "the father of Western Sophiology" because he revived the Gnostic speculations about the "feminine side of God" and had a strong influence on Schelling and Soloviev.
C) Russian Orthodox philosophy and theology: Soloviev and followers
Russian Orthodoxy became vulnerable to the attack of Sophianism by what Georges Florovsky (1893-1979), an Orthodox priest and an eminent theologian, called "modernism." His two-volume Ways of Russian Theology, originally published in Russian (Paris, 1937), described how Russian Orthodox theology came under alien influences, primarily that of German idealism (he talks about "the passion of Russian thought for German philosophy"). Nicolas Berdiaev swiftly replied in a lengthy and hostile review of Florovsky's book, defending the New Russian Theology (which includes Soloviev, Bulgakov, Florensky, and, of course, Berdiaev):
Theology completely independent of philosophy never was and never will be. Theology is not religious revelation, theology is the reaction of human thought upon revelation, and this revelation is dependent upon the categories of philosophic thought....Father G. Florovsky denounces "modernism," in which all Russian thought be considered guilty, and in ridiculous opposition to contemporary philosophy, all equally whatever, whether Kant or Hegel, Lotze or Bergson, is set the eternal truth of Patristics, Christian dogmatics, and ultimately revelation. But no one should make such a simplistic contrast.
To post-Vatican II Catholics the question is all too familiar: shouldn't theology do with the modern philosophers what St. Thomas did with Aristotle? Jacques Maritain patiently explained many times that this is impossible: "Theology is not a simple application of philosophy to revealed data–as many have thought since the time of Descartes. Were this so it would involve submitting the content of faith to human judgment and discernment."68
In the late 19th century Russian philosopher and Orthodox Christian layman Vladimir Soloviev (1853-1900) again revived the Gnostic speculations about a personal "Sophia," and in the first decades of the 20th century several Russian theologians followed his lead, especially Florensky in the Soviet Union and Bulgakov in Paris. These three men have engineered a dangerous penetration of Orthodoxy by Sophiology (or Sophianism, a term preferred by the Russian Orthodox). In the course of 70 years Sophianism has become one of the favorite false teachings of the Communist-controlled Moscow Patriarchate and other "Orthodox" and non-Orthodox ecumenical churches. We examine these in some detail, since Sophiology is beginning to threaten the Catholic Church through feminists.
The views of Soloviev as a philosopher and religious thinker changed several times: he was an ardent Slavophile for a while, then a Roman Catholic sympathizer (but contrary to all rumors, he never converted to Catholicism), and finally he was a disillusioned philosopher producing his most popular piece of writing, Three Conversations (which includes the Short Account of the Antichrist).
Russian-born Helen Iswolsky (1896-1975), a convert from Russian Orthodoxy to Eastern Rite Catholicism considered herself to be a disciple of Vladimir Soloviev.69 She declared Jacques Maritain and Nicholas Berdiaev "her spiritual leaders," and during the ten years before the second World War she continually worked with them. She was also associated with Emmanuel Mounier, and took an active part in the "personalist movement." Iswolsky is quoted in The Third Hour: Helen Iswolsky Memorial Volume, (New York: Third Hour Foundation, 1976):
Soloviev's Christological interpretation of the world led him toward ethical principles which he described in his famous work The Justification of the Good . It is the basis of his social teaching which was carried on by his disciple Nicholas Berdiaev and has continued to stimulate modern Orthodox thought. It coincides with Western Catholic trends, with the Christian humanism of Jacques Maritain. Soloviev may be considered the precursor of personalism.
During Soloviev's lifetime, the Orthodox Church considered his writings philosophy, and ignored it as having no bearing on theology. A hundred years later, in light of the pernicious influence of Sophiology, and all the manifest damage caused by it, it is becoming clear to the Orthodox that Soloviev needs to be scrutinized from a theological point of view.
A reliable source available in English is Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition.70 This contains an appendix (Appendix I, pp. 357-371) entitled On the New Currents in Russian Philosophico-Theological Thought, from the point of view of the Orthodox Christian Faith, which lists nine heretical beliefs of Soloviev (Sophiology is just one of them). We briefly mention three of them.
A brief summary of Number 1: "All religions are true; 'false religion' is a contradiction in terms."
Number 2 in more detail: "Christ came to earth not in order to save the human race. Rather, he came so as to raise it to a higher degree in the gradual manifestation of the Divine Principle in the world–the process of the ascent and deification of mankind and the world." Soloviev is trying to combine the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation with pantheism. Having been crucially influenced by Boehme, Spinoza, Schelling, and Hegel (all pantheists), it is not surprising that Soloviev was tending towards pantheism.
Number 4: In the Divine life there is introduced an essence which stands at the boundary between the Divine and the created world: this is called Sophia. And Sophia is "a living spiritual being who possesses all the fullness of power and action." Obviously, Christianity knows no such person, and the Appendix condemns the "Sophiology" of Soloviev as heretical: these ideas "are a kind of resurrection of ancient Gnostic philosophy."71
The most accurate and penetrating analysis of Soloviev in English can be found in the second volume of Florovsky's Ways of Russian Theology.72 He devotes about 32 pages to Soloviev, thoroughly documented.
The last decades of the 19th century were permeated with the occult. The pseudo-religious movement of Theosophy was started by the Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891), and Soloviev was well familiar with her writings. Soloviev passed through a phase of violent atheism and materialism in the late 1860's, reading Spinoza at age 18 reinforced his proclivity for mysticism and pantheism, and overall post-Kantian philosophy (mostly Hegel and Schelling) was the chief formative influence on his thought, and kept him occupied till the last year of his life.
Against this background it is not surprising that Soloviev's speculations as a "religious thinker" are summarized by Vladimir Lossky as "the mystical cosmology of Jakob Boehme, of Paracelsus and of the Kabala mixed up with the sociological ideas of Fourier and of August Comte."73 The writings of Soloviev are always praised as "innovative" and "creative," but they are full of ambiguities. That explains how disparate causes are able to claim Soloviev as their representative and champion, such as Gnosticism, ecumenism and Roman Catholicism (the Abbe de Nantes seems to believe in the last case).
But in one sense Soloviev was constant: he was always oriented towards the esoteric, and he claimed to have had three visions of "the divine Sophia," the first one at the age of nine. When Dostoevsky suggested that Soloviev should consider studying in England, Soloviev in 1875 applied to the University of Moscow for a traveling fellowship for a year, and stated on his application that he wished to go to England to study "Gnostic, Indian and Medieval philosophies." So at the age 22 he had his second vision of Sophia in the reading room of the British Museum (while studying Jacob Boehme and the Kabala), and since this vision sent him to Egypt, he had his third vision in the desert near Cairo. These visions were obviously delusions (Georges Florovsky describes them as "turbid erotic delusions") but the whole life of Soloviev can be viewed as an attempt to reconcile his philosophical and religious views with these "mystical experiences."
Copleston, while discussing Schelling74 comments: [Soloviev] "in his tendency to theosophical speculation showed a marked affinity of spirit with Schelling. Soloviev made great play with the idea of Wisdom or Sophia, as found in the Bible and also, for instance, in the writings of Boehme."
Maria Carlson in her article "Gnostic Elements in the Cosmogony of Vladimir Soloviev"75convincingly documents the influence on Soloviev of the Gnostic system of Valentinus. She documents how the Valentinian divine Sophia and fallen Sophia correspond to the Wisdom of God and to the World Soul in Soloviev. They are manifest even in the late (1889) Soloviev book Russia and the Universal Church,76 Part Three, Chapter IV: "The Soul of the World," the book some Roman Catholics tend to find most acceptable.
Alexander Blok (1880-1921), the greatest of the Russian symbolist poets, a student of Gnosticism, who embraced the Bolshevik revolution, wrote: "Soloviev opened the window through which blew on us the wind of the future."
Soloviev understood that the Eternal Feminine is not compatible with the Trinitarian dogma of Orthodox Christianity, so he stopped short of the blasphemy of tampering with the concept of the Most Holy Trinity. Soloviev only injected the poison of Sophiology into Russian Orthodoxy, and his followers Florensky and Bulgakov completed the task by developing it into a full-blown heresy.
Soloviev did express some sympathy for Catholicism in his writings, so much so that Pope Leo XIII expected him to embrace Catholicism, but it never happened, so referring to him as the "Russian Newman" is completely unjustified. Those excusing Soloviev call him a mystic, but if we use McNabb's characterization, Soloviev fails on most accounts:
The true mystic is one who receives an extraordinary supernatural, intellectual union with God; the false mystic is one who seeks it unduly, either in opposition to God, or by unaided reason, or as an end of life or a substitute for holiness. The false mystic is detected by his false doctrines, his contradictions, his moral excesses, his obstinacy, his disobedience. The true mystic is recognized by his conformity with dogma, his consistence, his asceticism, his teachableness, his obedience....To false mystics ecstasy is a paradise; to true mystics it is a responsibility and a Divine trial of humility.77
Soloviev was completely led astray by his false mysticism. Georges Florovsky writes:
[By the 1890's] Soloviev somehow internally left the Church. It was precisely at that time that he addressed Rozanov that unexpected phrase about the religion of the Holy Spirit: "The religion of the Holy Spirit, which I confess, is broader and more substantial than all the separate religions. It is neither their sum, nor an extract of them...."78
And Sergei M. Soloviev (b. 1886), nephew of Vladimir Soloviev and a symbolist poet who eventually joined the Roman Catholic Church, is quoted by Florovsky as having said: "By shedding the bonds of the Church, [Vladimir] Soloviev fell victim to his own mystical freedom and was carried away by a whirlwind of magic."79
In the last year of Soloviev's life, a woman named Anne Shmidt (author of a book with a very complicated system of gnostic teachings) came to Soloviev claiming that she was the incarnation of Sophia, and that Soloviev was the second incarnation of the Logos. This caused great anxiety to Soloviev during his last days. Florovsky comments:
She appeared as a living warning to all who would travel Soloviev's path....Around "Eternal Femininity" arose mirages that could addle weak and strong minds alike. The "exalted" turned out at times to be a "bottomless pit." The old woman Shmidt, believing with insane sincerity that she was the incarnation of Sophia and confronting Soloviev with this strange news just before his death, stood as a retribution to the mystic, who had dared the risk and terror of affirming a new dogma. I now (1922) have the opportunity of studying several of Vladimir Soloviev's previously unpublished manuscripts, which were written in a special type of notation that the poet-philosopher devised automatically during a trance. Such trances, in which Soloviev served as a medium from time to time, were characteristic of him. The theme of his notes is always "Sophia"–but whether she is real or imaginary is another question. In any event, the character of these notes is such that there is no doubt about the "demonism" experienced by those who would share the spiritual experiment of this worshiper of the Virgin of the Rainbow Gates.80
Pavel Florensky (1882-1952), an Orthodox priest who lived in the Soviet Union, further developed Sophiology. He described Sophia as "this great Royal and Feminine Being which is neither God, nor the eternal Son of God, nor an angel, nor a holy man," i.e., he asserts the existence of a being Christianity knows nothing about. The Appendix of Pomazansky's book81 condemns the ideas of Pavel Florensky concerning Sophia too as being absolutely incompatible with Orthodoxy.
Sophia: A Divine Person
This idea was put forward by Russian Orthodox theologian Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944), originally a Marxist, later ordained an Orthodox priest, who took Sophiology the farthest. As the first rector of the Theological Institute of Saint Sergius founded in Paris in 1925, he wrote nine books on his "Sophiology." These teachings raised violent objections both inside and outside the Institute, and his doctrines were condemned as heretical by several synods of Orthodox bishops. The most comprehensive refutation of Bulgakov's Sophiology is found in Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev's book, A New Teaching Concerning Sophia the Wisdom of God (Sofia, Bulgaria, 1935, 525 pp.). Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev speaks of the Sophian doctrine of Florensky and Bulgakov as a "truly heretical teaching with a gnostic and pagan world view" leading to "dogmatic chaos." The Sophian teaching, says Archbishop Seraphim, "may endanger the very existence of the Orthodox Church on earth, if it is not decisively refuted and condemned by the Highest Church Authorities."
A summary of Bulgakov's position is taken from an article entitled New Age Philosophy, Orthodox Thought, and Marriage by Archimandrite Luke.82
There is yet another possible source of inspiration for these new ideas, the heretical teaching of Sophiology. The basic premise of Sophiology is that there exists a fourth "person" in the Holy Trinity, a female entity Sophia. One of the more corrupt ideas in the teaching of Sophiology, spread by Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, was to divide the simple essence of God into two principles, the male and female. Archpriest S. Bulgakov made an analogy between this dual principle and the image of God in man. The heretical concept of a "duality of sexes in the image of God in man" can lead to a "deification of sex," since if in God there is male and female and if in His image in man there is also male and female, one may conclude that if male and female unite in carnal relations they are reflecting the Divine.
It is telling that the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate (completely under Communist control) was the only spiritual reading permitted by the Soviet authorities to the millions of Orthodox people in Russia during decades of Communist rule, people who were not only theologically uneducated, but even deprived of basic catechization. This journal spread all kinds of false teachings and heresies, but apparently the heresy of Sophiology was accorded the greatest honor, and praised as "theological creativity."
Frederick Copleston, S.J., (1907-1994) late in his life devoted a whole book to the New Russian Theology.83 Even though he says "I am not here concerned with questions of theological orthodoxy,"84 he is not able to say anything positive about Sophiology as found in Soloviev, Florensky and Bulgakov, that is, "we cannot find one single consistent use of the word Sophia, or Wisdom, even in the writings of Soloviev, who is credited with being the first Russian religious philosopher to develop the subject."85
Unfortunately, Sophiology is widely promoted in many languages (usually as if it were an inherent part of Russian Orthodoxy), whereas solid refutations of it can only be found in Russian (apart from the English translations of Florovsky).
Against the Church: Inclusive Language
Feminism is a rebellion not only against the order of nature but also against the supernatural order. Many of the unedifying details of this rebellion have been recorded in great detail by Donna Steichen.86 So far equality feminism had some limited success in introducing "inclusive language," by which feminists mean freeing the Catholic religion (liturgy, Bible, etc.) from "sexism." This would of course imply changes to dogma, which the New Church resisted so far.
"Inclusive language" in the secular world is known to result in a convoluted "fern-speak," even including some linguistic monstrosities. The absurdity of the inclusive language is pointed out by the following true story (posted on the Internet): At a meeting of Catholics one nun said that the term "man" didn't include her. A priest replied, "Sister, if I told you there was a man-eating tiger outside, would you feel safe?"
At the instigation of the National Council of Churches in the USA, a "lectionary" was issued for use in church services according to which, for example, Christ (in Gal. 4:6) is no longer sent by his Father, but by "his Mother and Father" (in reference to the first Divine Person). In the same biblical verse, the "Son of God" becomes the "Child of God."87 Removing the idea of fatherhood from the Lord's prayer, replacing "man" with "people," and eliminating the expression "brethren" only hint at the degree of destruction the feminists desire to bring about in Christianity.
Another so far fruitless effort of feminists is demanding the ordination of women by the Catholic Church. The only argument they have for it is raising their voices. They know that unless the Catholic religion is modified (or at least appears to have been modified) their demands cannot be justified. They are powerless to bring about the changes they desire unless they manage to gain a doctrinal foothold in Christianity. Thus they want to make talking about a "feminine God" sound plausible and they want to manufacture some goddess that has some connection with Christianity.
Preparing Catholics for the Goddess
The best introduction to former Protestant Peter Kreeft is one of his own abstracts:
The Protestant Reformation began when a Catholic monk rediscovered a Catholic doctrine in a Catholic book. The monk, of course, was Luther; the doctrine was justification by faith; and the book was the Bible. One of the tragic ironies of Christian history is that the deepest split in the history of the Church, and the one that has occasioned the most persecution, hatred, and bloody wars on both sides–this split between Protestant and Catholic originated in a misunderstanding. And to this day many Catholics and many Protestants still do not realize that fact.
Peter Kreeft, now snugly embedded in the New Church, and declared a "sage of our times" by Scott Hahn, wrote a book in 1990 under the title Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven...But Never Dreamed of Asking. Other Catholic sages of the same ilk heartily applaud him on the cover of the book: "Masterful" (John Hardon, S.J.); "At last! A book which rescues afterlife from sentimentalism and makes heaven truly desirable" (Karl Keating). James J. Drummey in his Catholic Replies (C.R. Publications, 1995), on p. 178 calls this book "intriguing."
Only the publisher, Ignatius Press, works hard at pretending that this is a Catholic book: only on the book cover can one find the word "Catholic." Kreeft does not use the word in his book. In this worse-than-Protestant book, Kreeft completely ignores Catholic eschatology, and invents his own version, which can be described as "variations on themes by C. S. Lewis." He says so himself: "I stand on Lewis' shoulder."88
The closest he comes to Catholicism is when making the arrogant off-hand remark that "By all means read instead St. Thomas Aquinas–if you can find it and if you can understand it."89 He certainly hopes that you will never look at it. Since Protestants are now routinely received into the New Church without being required to renounce their Protestant errors, it is not surprising that Protestant preachers and C. S. Lewis devotees are setting the tone for "Catholic apologetics."
What makes the book worse than Protestant is that Kreeft is a Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, a Jesuit institution. (And it just so happens that the Theology Department of this same Jesuit institution was graced until recently by the most infamous of all feminists, Mary Daly.) Kreeft thus approaches Catholic dogma with the recklessness of a secular philosopher as if he were free to toy with concepts of Catholic eschatology any way it pleased him merely to amuse his audience (e.g., Is Heaven Serious or Funny?90).
The book is full of the kind of pseudo-sophistication with which takers of a typical modern Philosophy 101 tend to be bamboozled. And the book is more like science fiction that Catholicism:
Christ is not a merely local deity. Perhaps after all the individuals of the human race perfect our Communion of Saints, we will begin to share our racial experience with billions of other similarly perfected extraterrestrial races. Perhaps we will also descend into the consciousness of animals and plants.91
He impertinently claims to "breathe new life" into Purgatory, the Communion of Saints and the Beatific Vision, and he does so by recklessly "revising" truths that have been divinely revealed:
Purgatory turns out to be part of Heaven rather than a distinct place, and consists of moral re-education rather than mere punishment, rehabilitation rather than retribution. The Communion of Saints is rescued from a vague philanthropic goodwill and made interesting as human love and communion on earth; getting to know people is in one way or another the only thing we find inexhaustible here as well as there. Finally, the Beatific Vision is also not boring because it is exploring rather than staring at God....92
But after having done a lot of damage to the faith of his Catholic readers, he ends the book with the flippant disclaimer: "Like Lewis' thought on Heaven, mine are 'guesses, of course, only guesses. If they are not true, something better will be.'"93
The whole book is a cloud of ambiguities, contradictions and the resulting uncertainties. We list some of the problems and give one example of each:
1) Outright denial of Catholic teachings (certainly not "theologically sound" as the book cover claims). Example: about salvation and the Catholic Church he asserts: "Are Hindus, Buddhists, Mau Maus, agnostics and atheists saved too?–we simply do not know."94
2) Refusal to use Catholic terminology: in a book devoted entirely to eschatology the words like "supernatural," "grace," "temporal punishment" and "particular judgment" can not be found.
3) Entirely ignoring the supernatural, Kreeft describes a "dumbed-down heaven," a kind of a Moslem paradise.
One problem this view solves is the problem of injustice...the unjust distribution of pleasures and pains, opportunities and rewards on earth....The sharing of lives in Heaven would also deal with the injustice of premature death, especially those of children [there is absolutely no discussion here if these children were baptized or not]. Those children could receive in Heaven all the earthly experiences of growing in love and learning that they were denied on earth...God is an equal opportunity employer.95
Let us be grateful that he did not introduce the "joy of shopping" into this politically correct caricature of Heaven.
4) Kreeft routinely contradicts himself. For example, while discussing hell, he admits the pain of loss, but denies the pain of sense. The teaching of the Church about the pain of sense is that the fire of hell is real, although its nature is not clearly understood. Kreeft rejects the fire, and following C.S. Lewis he chooses to believe that hell is mere "loneliness in a grey town." He brushes aside the words of Our Lord: "Depart from me ye cursed ones into everlasting fire," and pretends never to have heard of the vision of hell our Lady gave the children at Fatima.
The images of Hell in Scripture are not to be taken literally.96
Unlike Heaven, Hell is only a state of mind....The existence of a Hell and the nature of Hell as something other than external punishment of fire and brimstone are both confirmed by the medically dead and resuscitated. These "death travelers," especially suicides, often found themselves in a place strikingly similar to the "grey town" in C.S. Lewis' Great Divorce...97
Kreeft claiming that "near-death" experiences disprove the fires of hell shows either utter ignorance or his contempt for basic Catholic teachings. Since nobody can enter hell before undergoing the particular judgment, if these experiences indeed correspond to anything real (and not demonic delusions) they must describe something that precedes the particular judgment (what Cardinal Newman describes in The Dream of Gerontius). Therefore they have nothing whatsoever to do with hell.
A few pages later he contradicts himself: now he believes in hell fire, and he even knows its exact nature:
Though the damned do not love God, God loves them, and that is their torture. The very fires of Hell are made of the love of God...If God could stop loving the damned, Hell would cease to be pure torture.98
5) Kreeft deliberately mixes theological language with metaphorical language, so the unsophisticated reader has no idea what should be taken seriously and what is merely play with words:
All that seems earth is Hell or Heaven (p. 150). It is like two people sitting side by side at an opera or rock concert; the very same thing that is Heaven to one is Hell to the other.99
But the chapter that is of the greatest interest to us is entitled Is There Sex in Heaven? exactly because it seems to prepare Catholics for the eventual acceptance of some kind of "female deity."
This 16 page-long chapter is not just completely wrong (as if written by an ignoramus), it is decidedly full of malice against the Catholic religion, using ambiguities and logic fallacies to deceive, in a way only a philosophy professor is able to use them. First a sample of statements:
"Sex is cosmic; [the attraction between electron and proton] is exactly as mysterious as love. In fact, it is love."100 [This is childish nonsense; in philosophical language this error is called panpsychism.]
"God is a body. Our bodies, not just our souls, are the image of God."101 [ No. God is a pure spirit, God has no body; and man is in the image of God only because he has a spiritual soul. ]
"Sex is something you are, not something you do."102 [This is where Kreeft creates the confusion about sexuality. Here he starts blurring the distinction between sexual characteristics–the distinction between male and female–and the sexual function, the use of the sex organs, which is subject to morality. He says things like "a nun's prayer is part of her sexual life."103 That is simply not the commonly accepted meaning of the expression "sexual life."]
"Sex is spiritual."104 [St. Thomas is perfectly clear when he states in the Summa: "But sex is not in the soul." He means that sexuality affects the body and the animal soul, i.e., vegetative and sentient life, but not the spiritual soul. Kreeft does not use Thomist definitions, but rather follows Gilbert Ryle, an analytic philosopher.]
Catholic teaching has always been clear that the bodily functions that pertain to the vegetative life will cease in the next world as being unnecessary. The following quote is from Dogmatic Theology, Vol. XII, Eschatology by Joseph Pohle and Arthur (Preuss, Herder 1929):
Nutrition and propagation are incompatible with the status termini. Moreover, Christ Himself expressly repudiated the idea of a Mohammedan paradise. "You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection, they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven" (Mt. 22:29-30). That is to say, though the distinction of sex remains, its function will cease.
Scripture often likens Heaven to a banquet, at which all men will sit down to feast with the Patriarchs. This is mere allegory, designed to illustrate the happiness of the Elect. St. Paul says: "Meat for the belly, and the belly for the meats; but God shall destroy both it and them" (I Cor 6:13).105
After all this, Kreeft becomes like the proverbial elephant in the china shop, offering a series of crudely sensual, titillating speculations about what exactly might be going on in Heaven:
But is there sexual intercourse in heaven? If we have bodily sex organs, what do we use them for there? Monogamy is for earth....In Heaven...promiscuity is a virtue....The relationship may not extend to all persons of the opposite sex....I think there must be some kind of special "kindred souls" in Heaven that we are designed to feel a special sexual love for.106
This is catering to the base instincts of fallen man. The discussion of "revealing," "see-through" clothing in Heaven (p. 44) shows that Kreeft's interest is entirely with the body, exactly because that is what "sells" today.
Proof: the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) is sponsoring a series of lectures for colleges and universities. The lecturers selected by ISI can be hired by any college or university to hear any of the scheduled lectures they are willing to pay for. During the year 2001-2002, Kreeft offers seven lectures, only one of them comes out of the book we are discussing, and it is the one entitled "Is There Sex in Heaven?" That is what "sells" today.
There are at least two ways to evaluate this insidious sophistry of Kreeft to convince ourselves that all of this is most certainly wrong.
1) Consider the Holy Family. If sexuality is what Kreeft claims it is, then the Holy Family could not be the most perfect example for families, rather it is some kind of deprived family to be pitied.
2) The moral law does not ever change. What once was sin (according to the Mosaic law), will always remain sin. St. Paul was very clear in stating: "the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (I Cor 6:13).
There is a very good reason for the Litany of the Saints to say: "From the spirit of fornication deliver us, O Lord!"
But the worst is yet to come:
God is a sexual being, the most sexual of all beings. The love relationship between the Father and the Son within the Trinity, the relationship from which the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds, is a sexual relationship.107 [The Son proceeds from the Father by generation; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son by spiration. There is a marked distinction between generation and spiration, similar to the one between intellect and will.108]
That there are three persons in one God is a mystery which human reason, left to its own resources, can neither discover, nor demonstrate. Even after its actual revelation, theistic philosophy is unable stringently to prove the possibility, much less the existence and intrinsic necessity, of the Divine Trinity, which must therefore be counted among the mysteries called absolute or transcendental.
In light of the absolute inscrutability of the concept of the Trinity, it takes extreme audacity to presume to modify the concept, and the result of such an audacious attempt must be treated as rank sophistry. And the attempt makes even less sense when it involves sex, since sex is of the body, and God does not have a body. Sexuality is certainly not some kind of perfection that would have to be in God. The nature of angels is more perfect than that of humans, and there is no trace of sexuality in them.
So both of the above sentences of Kreeft are utter nonsense. But this is the sad predicament of those who claim that talking about the "feminine divine" makes sense: they will have to begin predicating sexuality on God and thus begin talking nonsense.
There are perfectly good pre-Vatican II books on eschatology that can be recommended to readers of The Angelus, for example Garrigou-Lagrange: Life Everlasting-A Theological Treatise on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell (TAN Books 1991), or J.P.Arendzen: What Becomes of the Dead? A Study in Eschatology (Sheed and Ward 1951).
Sophia Against Catholics
Sophia, this poisonous flower, is nourished by various streams, including paganism, witchcraft, and, most importantly, Gnosticism. All these false religions, despite many surface differences, have important things in common.
1) Creed is unimportant: witchcraft manages completely without a creed, and Gnosticism offers an absurd variety of things that one may choose, at his pleasure, to believe.
2) Morality is unimportant: you may have some moral rules of your own choice (as Wicca claims) but all these false religions are unanimous in condemning the "tyranny" of an objective and absolute moral law. The belief of Jung that, in the interest of wholeness, evil inclinations should be accepted and integrated into the personality rather than suppressed is most acceptable to feminists.
3) Religious experience is central: believing that the self is divine or the delusion of experiencing the divine. Feminists always said: "Women's spirituality will not be discovered in a body of doctrines. It is found in the experiences of persons."109
4) Religious rites are central: divination, magick (including sex magic), bogus Gnostic "sacraments," and, last but not least, "all acts of love and pleasure."110 According to Starhawk: "To invoke the Goddess is to awaken the Goddess within, to become...that aspect we invoke. An invocation channels power through a visualized image of Divinity....For women, the Goddess is the symbol of the inmost self. She awakens the mind and spirit and emotions."111
It was in this spirit that Sophia made her first major public appearance in 1993 at the first "Reimagining God" conference in Minneapolis:
This gathering of some 2000 participants, almost all of them women, won fame and controversy for its emphasis onâ€”and worship ofâ€”Sophia...the conference leaders developed full-blown prayers and liturgies addressed Sophia as a specifically female divinity. Most controversial was the "Blessing over Milk and Honey," a Sunday reimagining of the Eucharist.
....it was initiated, sponsored and attended by representatives of major American churches. The Presbyterian Church and the United Methodist Church had approximately 400 members in attendance and provided major funding. Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Baptists and members of the United Church of Christ and United Church of Canada were also present in significant numbers....Reimagining was an unprecedented event: an interdenominational assembly of Christians openly bent on destroying the historic Christian religion root and branch, and steering the churches into wholesale neopaganism.112
This has become a yearly event, and it is not a fringe movement anymore. We can find the same spirit in all the recently published Sophia books. For example, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor of Divinity at Harvard University, feminist, and thus Catholic in name only, published Jesus–Miriam's Child, Sophia's Prophet: Critical Issues in Feminist Christology (Continuum, 1994). The aim of this apostate woman is to "deconstruct" the New Testament, and "reconceptualize" it to suit feminism. Her specialty is rewriting Gospel passages to say what they should have said. In this book, Sophia plays an important role: "It is likely that Jesus thought of himself as a child of Sophia," she opines. Sophia is a woman who has significant relationships to both humans and the Divine. Feminist theologians continue in the line of Sophia's prophets and messengers, and they will bring about the transformation of the "patriarchal church," she predicts.
All this tedious, fraudulent "feminist theology," all the "demythologizing" and "remythologizing," "deconstructing" and "reconceptualizing" has but one purpose: separating Christians from Christianity, and getting feminists in control of the Church.
Another example we discuss is Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God written by Caitlin Matthews, who boasts of a "shamanic practice in Oxford, England, dedicated to midwifing the soul." She reveals her intentions clearly at the very beginning: "I have treated Christianity with respect for its mystical traditions, a view that few non-Christians and fewer feminists share."113 In plain English: she moderates the typical vicious feminist ranting and raving, and tries not to antagonize Christians, because her goal is to prepare a Trojan horse to penetrate Christianity. The book has a lot of the polytheistic fantasies, even though it is treating only "the Western Goddess tradition." But material from Christianity, the Bible (especially the Sapiential Books), apocryphal and gnostic sources and the Kabala predominate, creating a minefield for Catholics who do not have a secure knowledge of their faith.
We give two examples to illustrate that the book is aiming at Christians who do not know their faith well enough: "Pelagians asked the question that Augustine himself was never to answer satisfactorily: 'Why do regenerated Christians not beget regenerated children?'"114 Matthews is getting this from another feminist book, so probably her own understanding of Christianity is inadequate. But the reader can be easily swayed, if he does not understand Pelagianism, and does not know that Saint Augustine refuted all their false notions.
Another example (just a few lines below the previous quote): "Mary conceived a child that brought about the redemption of the spirit from matter." Here "Mary" means the Blessed Virgin Mary, the "child" is Jesus Christ, which should make it abundantly clear that this sentence is pure nonsense. But Matthews is not deterred, she is inventing things with a gusto following the famous feminist principle of Monique Wittig already mentioned ("Remember. Make an effort to remember. Or failing that, invent."). The whole book is a syncretist collection of goddess stories in the style of pagan mythologies. But in true feminist style she defends all her inventions and fantasies:
I have worked from the premise that all ways to wisdom are valid paths. In speaking of spiritual experience, we have to use the language of the heart, not the mind. If this spoils the academic study of Sophia, then so be it. It is the language I prefer.115
The slick pictures and interesting but irrelevant details that fill up 430 pages are perfectly capable of swaying a Catholic not prepared for this attack.
The next example is a book written by Thomas Schipflinger, a German Catholic priest: Sophia-Maria, A Holistic Vision of Creation.116This book, published in a Goddess/Women's Studies Series, gives a history of the imaginary Sophia. The book discusses at great length the idea that Sophia is a creature who was "incarnated" in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jakob Boehme, the German Lutheran theosophical writer getting credit for the idea. If this fantasy were true (i.e., the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary was not a human soul but a pre-existent spiritual being), then the Catholic dogma about the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother would be not only superfluous but also false. And the absurd consequence would be that the Blessed Virgin, assumed into Heaven body and soul at the end of her life would in fact be this imaginary being called Sophia.
Thomas Schipflinger was ordained a Catholic priest in 1947, so he must have learned the true Catholic Faith even though he later manifestly lost it. Josef Pieper, following George Bernanos, calls Schipflinger's kind of theology a fraud:
"The depredations of theology" (a phrase invented by Hegel during the final decade of his life) refers to a "theology" exercised without faith (and also to the man who practices such "theology": an enlightened man who is well-schooled in the Bible and yet remains an agnostic). In the title of a novel which borders on the prophetic, George Bernanos revealed the true nature of such "theology" by calling it by its true name: "fraud."117
The most blunt and direct attack on Catholics is Prayers to Sophia118 by Joyce Rupp, a Catholic nun. The book contains 50 one-page-long prayers to Sophia, whom the reader is urged to trust and love. Who is this Sophia? We need not worry about details: she must be OK because she is somewhere in the Old Testament and many Scripture quotes are used to reassure the reader about this. The author warns that the prayers "may appear very self-oriented. You will find 'me' and "I" prevalent in these prayers." If we remember the Gnostic principle: "self-knowledge is knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical,"119 it is clear that we are again dealing with a thinly disguised Gnosticism. The whole book is full of ambiguities, which the Catholic should find alarming. Cardinal Ratzinger explains:
If ambiguity is the mark of the demonic, the essence of the Christian's struggle against the devil lies in living day by day in the light of faith's clarity.120
As Josef Pieper wrote: "The Last Days will see an extreme concentration of the energy of evil and an unprecedented fury in the struggle against Christ and Christianity,"121 but "the Antichrist and the Second Coming of women are synonymous" boasts Mary Daly.122And she means women who abdicated their true responsibilities, and therefore are demonic. We have already quoted Gertrud von Le Fort as having stated this clearly: "Whenever woman...seeks self-glorification, a catastrophe is bound to ensue...woman's refusal denotes something demoniacal and is felt as such."123
Now Romano Guardini explains it again:
Demons may take possession of the faculties of man if he does not answer for them with his conscience. We do not use the word "demons" as it is used in ephemeral journalism. We are using the term in the precise sense given it by Revelation. We mean spiritual beings who were created whole and good by God, but who fell away from Him by electing for evil and who are bent on befouling His Creation. These are demons, then, who rule man once he has abdicated his responsibilities. They rule him through his apparently natural but really contradictory instincts, through his apparently logical but in truth easily influenced reason. They rule him through the brutality committed by his helpless selfishness.124
Catholics must firmly reject secular feminism by living a Catholic life, and reject all the false religious manifestations of feminism by having a firm grasp of their Catholic faith. And the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose whole being is a reproach to feminism, is their most important aid in this:
The Catholic...is not surprised...that the new paganism, in professing to emancipate woman, has dragged her down into the mire. He does not need to be told that devotion to our Lady is for man and woman alike the safeguard to a true appreciation of her sex. (Preface to Our Blessed Lady)125
Dr. Gyula Mago was born in 1938 in Hungary and raised a Catholic. He lived under Communist rule for 20 years. Dr. Mago obtained his Ph.D. from Cambridge University, England, in 1970, and was a professor of Computer Science at the University of North arolina, Chapel Hill (1970-1999). He presently lives in retirement in Durham, NC, and assists at the Latin Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Raleigh, NC.
1. Donna Steichen, Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism (Ignatius Press, 1991), p. 298.
2. Manfred Hauke, God or Goddess? Feminist Theology: What Is It? Where Does It Lead? (Ignatius Press, 1995), p. 79.
3. Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father (Beacon Press, 1973), pp. 138-39.
4. Mary Daly, Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy (Beacon Press, 1984).
5. Ibid., p. 391.
6. Ibid., p. 152.
7. Ibid., p. 310.
8. Ibid., p. 184.
9. Daly, Beyond God the Father, p. 96.
10. Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (Sheed and Ward, 1943), p. 205.
11. Von le Fort, Gertrud, The Eternal Woman (Bruce, 1954), pp. 11-12.
13. Hauke, God or Goddess ?p. 47.
14. Ibid., p. 96.
15. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 186.
16. Daly, Beyond God the Father, p. 155.
17. Naomi Goldenberg, Changing of the Gods: Feminism & the End of Traditional Religions (Beacon Press, 1979), pp. 4, 25.
18. Hauke, God or Goddess, p. 125.
19. Ibid., p. 65.
20. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 74.
21. Hauke, God or Goddess? p. 57.
22. Ibid., p. 49.
23. Ibid., p. 239.
24. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 185.
25. Ibid., p. 95.
26. The Spiral Dance (Harper & Row, 1989), pp. 23-24.
27. A. Rossler and W. Fanning, "Woman," The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XV, (1912).
28. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality (Spence Publishing, 1998).
29. Ibid., p. 84.
30. Rosemary R. Ruether, Womanguides: Readings Toward a Feminist Theology (Beacon Press, 1985), p.vx.
31. Davis, "Michelet's Reinvention of Witchcraft," Chapter 13 in Goddess Unmasked.
32. Ibid., pp. 332-33.
33. Davis, Goddess Unmasked, p. 255.
34. Ibid., p. ix.
35. Ibid., p. 337.
36. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 79.
37. Ibid., pp. 72-73.
38. Davis, Goddess Unmasked, p. 338.
39. See Diane Purkiss, The Witch in History (Routledge, 1996), p. 28.
40. Davis, Goddess Unmasked, p. 309.
41. Ibid., p. 324.
42. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 35.
43. Davis, Goddess Unmasked, p. 398, n. 29.
44. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 59.
45. Ibid., p. 64.
46. W. H. Kent, "Demonology," The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, (1912).
47. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, pp. 70-71.
48. Ibid., p.71.
49. Ibid., p. 78.
50. Romano Amerio, Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church (Sarto House, 1996), p. 204.
51. Caitlin Matthews, Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God (Quest Books, Theosophical Publ. House, 2001), p. 142.
52. Ibid., p. 337.
54. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 279.
55. Ibid., p. 205.
56. Paul-Marie of the Cross, Spirituality of the Old Testament, Vol. 3, Chapter 2: "Wisdom" (Herder, 1963), pp. 106-107.
57. J. E. Steinmueller, & K. Sullivan, A Companion to the Old Testament (Joseph F. Wagner, 1946), pp. 342-343.
58. G. Lattey, Our Blessed Lady: Summer School of Catholic Studies, Cambridge (Burns, Oates, Wash-bourne, 1934), pp. 1-17.
59. J. P. Arendzen, "Gnosticism," Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VI (1909).
60. Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity, 3rd edition (Beacon Press, 2001).
61. Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (Vintage Books, 1989).
62. Stephan A. Hoeller, Jung and the Lost Gospels: Insights into the Dead Sea Scrolls and the NagHam-madi Library (Quest Books, 1989).
63. Jonas, The Gnostic Religion, pp. 176-177.
64. Hoeller, Jung and the Lost Gospels.
65. Ibid., pp. 105-109.
66. Ibid., p. xviii.
67. Arthur Versluis, Wisdom's Book: The Sophia Anthology (Paragon House, 2000).
68. J. Maritain, "The Philosophy of Faith" in Science and Wisdom (Geoffrey Bles, 1940), p. 113.
69. Matthew Hoehn, Catholic Authors: Contemporary Biographical Sketches, 1930-1947 (St. Mary's Abbey, 1948), p. 348.
70. Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition, tr. Hiero-monk Seraphim Rose (Platina, California: Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1984).
71. Ibid., p. 359.
72. Georges Florovsky, Ways of Russian Theology, Part Two (Buchervertriebsanstalt, 1987).
73. Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1976), p. 112.
74. Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, Vol. VII, Fichte to Nietzche (Search Press, 1962), p. 147.
75. J. D. Kornblatt, and R. F. Gustafson, eds., Russian Religious Thought (University of Wisconsin Press, 1996), pp. 49-67.
76. Vladimir Soloviev, Russia and the Universal Church (London: G. Bles, 1948).
77. Vincent J. McNabb, "Mysticism" in Where Believers May Doubt (Burns & Oates, 1903), p. 94.
78. Florovsky, Ways of Russian Theology, p. 245.
80. Ibid., p. 249.
81. Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology.
82. Orthodox Life, No. 3, 1997.
83. Frederick Copleston, Russian Religious Philosophy: Selected Aspects (Search Press, 1988).
84. Ibid., p. 147.
85. Ibid., p. 82.
86. Steichen, Ungodly Rage.
87. Hauke, God or Goddess? p. 126.
88. Peter Kreeft, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven (Ignatius Press 1990), p. 13.
89. Ibid., p. 11.
90. Ibid., p. 47.
91. Ibid., p. 79.
92. Ibid., p. 53.
93. Ibid., p. 262.
94. Ibid., p. 242.
95. Ibid., pp. 79-80.
96. Ibid., p. 229.
97. Ibid., p. 230.
98. Ibid., p. 234.
99. Ibid., p. 230.
100. Ibid., p. 126.
101. Ibid., p. 97.
102. Ibid., p. 118.
103. Ibid., p. 118.
104. Ibid., p. 122.
105. Pohle-Preuss, Dogmatic Theology, Vol. XII, Eschatology (Herder, 1929), p. 143.
106. Kreeft, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, pp. 128-129.
107. Ibid., p. 127.
108. Pohle-Preuss, Dogmatic Theology Vol. II, The Divine Trinity (Herder, 1929), pp. 162-193.
109. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 107.
110. Ibid., p. 176.
111. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance (Harper & Row, 1989), p. 99.
112. Davis, Goddess Unmasked, pp. 28-29.
113. Matthews, Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, p. xiv.
114. Ibid., p. 170.
115. Ibid., p. xiv
116. T. Schipflinger, Sophia-Maria: A Holistic Vision of Creation (Samuel Weiser, 1998).
117. Josef Pieper, Problems of Modern Faith: Essays and Addresses (Franciscan Herald Press, 1985), pp. vii-viii.
118. Joyce Rupp, Prayers to Sophia (Innisfree Press, 2000).
119. Steichen, Ungodly Rage, p. 163.
120. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report (Ignatius Press, 1985), p. 150.
121. Josef Pieper, Hope and History (Herder and Herder, 1969), p. 85.
122. Daly, Beyond God the Father, p. 96.
123. Gertrud von Le Fort, The Eternal Woman (Bruce, 1954), p. 9.
124. Romano Guardini, The End of the Modern World (Sheed and Ward, 1956), p. 103.
125. Lattey, Our Blessed Lady: Summer School of Catholic Studies, Cambridge.