It was in the church that I got to love shadows and dark corners, musty cupboards and creaking floorboards. I was a perfect recruit for the Addams family. Cobwebs made me whimper with joy.
A group of politicians deciding to dump a President because his morals are bad is like the Mafia getting together to bump off the Godfather for not going to church on Sunday.
The Church has become hostile to new ideas. If any doctrine came from the priesthood the church would hear it and heed it, but if it came from an out of the way place, like Nazareth, they would scorn and persecute it. It was churchmen who put Jesus to the cross. In Luther's time when he hurled his advanced ideas like bombshells into the Roman Church, it was the churchmen of his day that sought his death. In Wesley's time, though he preached the purest form of spiritual Truth that was proclaimed to his age, yet the churchmen of his time drove him out and he had to preach in graveyards and coal mines and on the markets.
A difficulty in seeking Truth is the notion that certain men are ordained of heaven to seek Truth for all mankind and that we are to accept their acquisitions in the place of seeking for ourselves. We can never attain Truth by proxy. By divine ordination every man is an original investigator of Truth. He denies his own reason who hands over his religious views and opinions to any priest or religious teacher We are to accept nothing on the opinions of others. What another man has thought and believed, what a Church Council or synod has formulated is nothing to me, only that it may be a reason for personal investigation ending in acceptance or rejection as I may find it in harmony with reason and well established truth.
"Magna Carta is the Law: Let the King look out."
So it has always been with tyrants among our own people: when the King was tyrant, let him look out. And it has always been the same, and will be the same, whether the tyrant be the Barons, whether the tyrant be the Church, whether he be demagogue or dictator let them look out.
I have never seen myself as a spokesman. I am a witness. In the church in which I was raised you were supposed to bear witness to the truth. Now, later on, you wonder what in the world the truth is, but you do know what a lie is.
I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them... are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words "social justice" or "economic justice" on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!
The absurd and legendary devil is the enigma of the Church.
Unable to do away with love, the Church found a way to decontaminate it by creating marriage.
It has become a settled principle that nothing which is good and true can be destroyed by persecution, but that the effect ultimately is to establish more firmly, and to spread more widely, that which it was designed to overthrow. It has long since passed into a proverb that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."
Nations eagerly invested their rulers with every prerogative needed to preserve their faith, and all the care to keep Church and State asunder, and to prevent the confusion of their powers, which had been the work of ages, was renounced in the intensity of the crisis. Atrocious deeds were done, in which religious passion was often the instrument, but policy was the motive.
Fanaticism displays itself in the masses; but the masses were rarely fanaticised; and the crimes ascribed to it were commonly due to the calculations of dispassionate politicians.
Constantine declared his own will equivalent to a canon of the Church. According to Justinian, the Roman people had formally transferred to the emperors the entire plenitude of its authority, and, therefore, the emperors pleasure, expressed by edict or by letter, had force of law. Even in the fervent age of its conversion the empire employed its refined civilization, the accumulated wisdom of ancient sages, the reasonableness and subtlety of Roman law, and the entire inheritance of the Jewish, the pagan, and the Christian world, to make the Church serve as a gilded crutch of absolutism. Neither an enlightened philosophy, nor all the political wisdom of Rome, nor even the faith and virtue of the Christians availed against the incorrigible tradition of antiquity. Something was wanted, beyond all the gifts of reflection and experience a faculty of self government and self control, developed like its language in the fibre of a nation, and growing with its growth. This vital element, which many centuries of warfare, of anarchy, of oppression, had extinguished in the countries that were still draped in the pomp of ancient civilization, was deposited on the soil of Christendom by the fertilising stream of migration that overthrew the empire of the West.
For the millions that suffer unjustly, the Confessing Church does not yet have a heart.
The notion that the church, the press, and the universities should serve the state is essentially a Communist notion. In a free society these institutions must be wholly free which is to say that their function is to serve as checks upon the state.
The editor of this catalog asked me to make a statement about my work. I dont have much to write:
- Be a child of your age. - Be naturalistic against your own ego. - Be matter-of- fact toward your inner visions. - My love is dedicated to the four great masters of masculine mysticism: Mleskirchener (church-painters / muralists, fh), Grnewald, Breughel and Van Gogh.
When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on her deck. Am I not in your books and stories and beliefs, from the first settlements on? Am I not spoken of, still, in every church in New England? 'Tis true the North claims me for a Southerner and the South for a Northerner, but I am neither. I am merely an honest American like yourself and of the best descent for, to tell the truth, Mr. Webster, though I don't like to boast of it, my name is older in this country than yours.
We do not seek a Christ whom we have invented, for only in the real communion of the Church do we encounter the real Christ.
Unlimited trust should only be placed in the real Word of the Revelation that we encounter in the faith transmitted by the Church.
The ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.
We have to let God's love break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church.
As the source of our new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit is also, in a very real way, the soul of the Church, the love that binds us to the Lord and to one another, and the light that opens our eyes to see all around us the wonders of God's grace.
I rejoiced so greatly when I heard of your answer in the case of some who seemed to be filled with extravagant ambition for the office of legate, and to hope for it with impudence, even more than I can say. And not only I but all who love your name rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Moreover, when I read your letter written in the cause of the Church of Rodez, then was my mouth filled with laughter and my tongue with joy. Such things as these are worthy of your Apostleship, they honour the highest See, they are just what is becoming to the Bishop of the world. Whence, also, I bow my knees to the Author of your unique Primacy... In truth, you have been raised to this chair for the fall and rising again of many.
Do what Jesus says,... what he commands through his ministers who are in the Church [see 1 Cor 6:4]. Be subject to his vicars, your leaders, not only those who are gentle and kind, but even those who are overbearing.
Obey your bishop! Obey those set over you [Heb 13:17], the teachers of the Church. I remind you, my dear friends, of what I said when I was with you: do not receive any outside or unknown preacher, unless he be sent by your bishop or preaches with the permission of the pope. For how shall they preach unless they are sent [Rom 10:15]?
A cypress-bough, and a rose-wreath sweet,
A wedding-robe, and a winding-sheet,
A bridal bed and a bier.
Thine be the kisses, maid,
And smiling Loves alarms;
And thou, pale youth, be laid
In the graves cold arms.
Each in his own charms,
Death and Hymen both are here;
So up with scythe and torch,
And to the old church porch,
While all the bells ring clear:
And rosy, rosy the bed shall bloom,
And earthy, earthy heap up the tomb.