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Saturday, June 20, 2020

Father Rutler: The Cruelest Illiteracy

 After the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Jews relied on literacy to preserve their culture, with the Mishna as the written record of what until then had been an oral tradition of rabbinic commentaries. While functional illiteracy seems to have been common, our Lord asked his listeners at least four times: “Have you not read . . . ?” (Matthew 12:3, 12:5, 19:4 and Mark 12:26). On the very day of the Resurrection, he explained the prophetic writings to the two men on the Emmaus road, just as Philip later would baptize the obviously well-lettered official of the Ethiopian royal household.
    Romans often had Greek slaves as teachers, because they were better educated than themselves. King Malcolm of Scotland did not bother to learn how to read, but was charmed by the way his wife, Saint Margaret, could read to him, and the subjects she chose gave her much influence.  
   The first part of the Eucharistic Liturgy is the “synagogue part” because it teaches from the Sacred Books. “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures . . .” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Since the transmission of knowledge and its ancillary wisdom is fragile and dependent upon faithful stewards, civilizations require civilized people.
   Many were surprised in 1953 when President Eisenhower warned in a commencement speech at Dartmouth, without notes or teleprompter: “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as any document does not offend our own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship.” Having considerable experience of war, he had seen the consequences of thought control. 
   Back in 1821 Heinrich Heine wrote: “Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn people too.” The destruction of the libraries of Alexandria by Muslims in 640 and Cluny by Huguenots in 1562 had irreparable consequences. This also applies to the mutilation of art in all its forms. This is not a question of taste or optional aesthetic judgment. It is simply the fact that to rewrite history is eventually to resent history altogether, to live in the present without past or future.
   The cruelest illiteracy consists in a pantomime education that commands what to think rather than how to think, and that erases from a culture any memory of its tested and vindicated truths. In George Orwell’s “1984” dystopia: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Father George W. Rutler

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please Father the point that Muslims destroyed the ancient library of Alexandria, is mute, even if it were true. It is not. It is mute because miophysite Xtians supported Muslim invasion over rule by the Diophysite Emperor of New Rome, i.e., Constantinople. The situation in the Coptic church of that period is not unlike the Roman Catholic church of today. The Roman Catholic church has allowed the Pharisees to dictate to it doctrine and liturgy. As recently as the last pontificate, changes were made to the ancient liturgy in order to placate the pharisees.Doctrinally, the present pontificate has acceded to the pharisees that their doctrine exposed in the Mishna and augmented in the Talmud is essentially correct. Jews, i.e., the Pharisees need not avail themselves of the blood of the Savior for purposes of salvation. This represents total surrender to the Pharisaical party which as we know plotted and succeeded in the assassination of Jesus the long awaited Christ. I could go on. I have great respect for you Father and you are always in my prayers. You are a good man of respectable background that was duped into joining the Catholic Church. I was born into it and had to struggle to find my way out after long study and many trials. I hope that you will be able to find a way out. I won't reveal my way because it is something each person must find for him or herself. Suffice it to say that there are five Apostolic Sees. Rome is not the only one. And it is clear, at least by this time, if not before, that Rome for the last 50 years is in serious error and not just the by following the heresy of the Pharisees. What about the suggestion that salvation is not eternal by focusing on issues related to the non-eternal reproductive cycle? The wide acceptance of aberrosexuality and the canonization of a Pope who witnessed its effects and did nothing?