by Ernst Senkowski
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C-18 THEOLOGY - ESOTERICISM AND SPIRITUALISM
The Christian religion, with its various historically formed denominational institutions, continues to play an important role in the Western world. Pluralistic efforts, which have already reached a maximum level in evangelical groups, are also increasing in the more strictly hierarchichally structured Roman Catholic Church. Following the ‘decree on the subordination of the (human) spirit to the Holy Trinity’ established at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., the human ‘spirit’ was disembodied at the 8th Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople in 869 (GEBSER, p. 337)  But: MICHEL ‘Spiritual Christianity’. In the 18th century, Pope BENEDICT XV described the paranormal phenomena in four volumes. As yet, no modern-language translation from the original Latin is available. Since the 19th century, spiritism and spiritualism have been dogmatically suppressed (see, e.g., LUETTKOPF). On the basis of the dualism of body and soul, those responsible failed to convey to the faithful an adequate picture of man. The whole complex of life after death and eventual transcontacts was insufficiently represented. And obviously this has not been changed in any essential way through the publication in 1979 of the ‘CONGREGATION FOR THE RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE’, in which point 3 states: ‘The church stands firm to the continued subsistence of a spiritual element after death, which is equipped with consciousness and will, so that the ‘human I’ continues to exist. To designate this element, the church uses the term soul’ (HEIDENREICH). The works of BENZ and KUENG are in no wise illuminating. On the other hand, MUSES says: ‘Those religious preachers who insist on remaining at the first stages of spiritual infantilism no longer keep abreast of the requirements of human evolution.’
 ‘Incompatible with the church dogma is also … trichotomism, according to which man is composed of three essential parts: the body, an animistic soul, and a spiritual soul (sarx, psyche, pneuma)’, as mentioned in “Grundriss der Dogmatik” (compendium of dogmatics), 10th edition, 1981, according to RAVAGLI 12/1988. The author has in hands an appeal against this representation, kindly remitted to him by Prof. A. HOFFMANN, but also in the New Catechism of the Catholic church no clear definitions can be found.
The new catechism of the Catholic Church presents an unchanged picture. The ‘fall of the angels’ (§ 391 and followings) is responsible for the misery on earth. ‘Feelings’ are – incomprehensibly – equated with ‘passions’ (§ 1763). Absolutely opaque descriptions are furnished for ‘body-soul-spirit’ (§§ 363, 366, 367, 992, 2516). The complex of the themes dealing with ‘death’ (article 11) leaves an impression of non-uniformity, and ‘reincarnation’ (§ 1013) is generally excluded. In the end, contrary to the regulations and provisions regarding ‘fortune-telling, magic, clairvoyance, necromancy’ and ‘the will for power across time’ (!) (§§ 2115/6/7) - the only consolation left for the believing VOT amateur is to appeal to his personal conscience (§ 1792) and, possibly, to advert to the existence of a ‘community of the saints’ (§§ 957/8), who seem to be identical with the ‘departed’.
The four-fold contouring of the human field of experiences, formulated by RESCH and adopted in HEIM’s ‘General Field Theory’ as physical(body)–bios-psyche-pneuma (matter-life-soul-spirit), would have to be adopted as a basis, and the critical evaluation of TC contents would have to be placed at its side. The reality and the importance of the contacts with the deceased would have to be officially confirmed and divulged worldwide .
 In reality it would be the interpretation of what has been handed down from the Bible: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions”.
Perhaps the Vatican’s traditionally slow reaction speed contributed to avoid official comments on ITC. There, the discrepancy between dogmatic establishment and the liberty of mind may seem to be unsolvable within short time. In any case, it can be proceeded from the ‘supreme circles’ being informed on mediumistic and instrumental contacts. Already in 1952, ERNETTI, accompanied by Padre GEMELLI, were granted a private audience by Pope PIUS XII in order to report on the results obtained on September 17th, 1952 (see A-6.1). JUERGENSON not only did paint a portrait of PIUS XII, and was accorded special permissions for filming in the Vatican, he was overmore the first to stake himself publicly on ‘radio communication with the dead’; and he was bestowed the order of St. Gregory by Pope PAUL VI. Some years ago, MEEK had twice the opportunity to report to high-ranked dignitaries on Spiricom. According to several indications that have to be taken for serious, is well-founded the supposition that the Vatican operates a TC station. The Chronovisor, on which ERNETTI lectured, at least in concord with the Vatican, may have additional importance . In this context can only be cited what the TECHNIKER – who possibly could be regarded as an ‘angel’ – in the course of a dialogue at CETL said to DETERMEYER: Die katholische Kirche wird gut beraten sein, wenn sie die ihr jetzt zugaenglich gemachte Chance nuetzt. (The Catholic Church will be well advised to use (literally: if it uses) the chance now brought within its reach.) .
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 The knowledge about the hierarchies in the Beyond has largely been lost, only the anthroposophists seem to be still aware of them. ‘Angels’ as ‘messengers’ have always manifested themselves (GIOVETTI, LEUENBERGER, MOOLENBURGH). One cannot avoid the impression that in some ecclesiastical circles the ‘devil’ is regarded as of more importance (see also G-38.11/12).
 The generalizing term ‘Vatican’ is inadequate. There, too, live persons with differing opinions, although the majority of them are conservatives, now as before.
Fairly enigmatical is also the comport of the Catholic Church in respect of the appearances of the Virgin, in particular regarding MARIA’s concrete requirement to publish the third secret of Fatima. It might have been blocked in order to avoid the acknowledgement of a cosmic background, before which the patriarchal-dogmatical system would appear as a false development (see J. FIEBAG 1992).
After the official silence, the comments of ‘the Church’ on ITC shift to its ‘lower ranks’, where one meets with noncommittal transitions between completely positive opinions and total rejection: ‘The BISHOP of PARMA and several open-minded priests have designated the communications emanating from entities in the Beyond as the most marvellous phenomenon of our century’ (ALVISI: ‘La Sopravvivenza’, 20th century). ERNETTI’s opinion sounds absolutely natural: ‘Why shouldn’t the ‘poor souls’ and the members of the ‘community of the holy’ make contact (also) via technical devices?’ From the other end of the scale one hears – not only from the Protestant side - the ban on any occupation with the ‘delusions of Satan’ (SIEGMUND) - which leaves open the question what interest the ‘Devil’ should have in demonstrating that there is life after death. The readily cited passage ‘you shall not consult the dead’ loses much of its weight in sight of the fact that it is precisely the ‘dead’ who took the initiative for ITC, and that, with additional reference to the passage ‘let the dead bury their dead’, the definition ‘the dead’ seems to be more applicable to the ‘spiritually dead’. In any case, no one has recommended that anyone should make himself dependent on uncertain or even irrational TI, or degrade the deceased to consultants for life situations. In any case, the Church tolerated the experiments with VOT which the Swiss (Catholic) priest L. SCHMID carried out over many years, and though his book “Wenn die Toten reden” (When the dead speak) did not receive the imprimatur, it was not placed on the Index. In respect of TC, it is valid for each believing individual that he has to make his own decision based on his personal freedom of conscience (HAERING), since the spirit continues to move when and where it will, in despite of all dogmas.
Perhaps it was the (Holy) Spirit who inspired Italian Franciscan Father Gino CONCETTI from the “Osservatore Romano” environment to give, in 1996 (44 years after GEMELLI and ERNETTI!), an interview – not officially for the Vatican, but tolerated by it – which was widely spread in his home country, but was hardly known and appreciated abroad. In the course of the last years, French Catholic priest Prof. Père Francois Brune has been studying transcommunication intensely, and has been active in spreading his solid knowledge on ITC. From the periodical “Parasciences & Transcommunication” of June 29th, 1997, p. 41-44, we quote here essential parts of his report ‘The Catholic Church’s position on reincarnation and transcommunication’.
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Commentary of the Italian reporter: ...’The interview is very significant, since, for the first time, it points to new tendencies of the Church in respect of the paranormal, upon which the ecclesiastical board had quite antagonistic opinions so far’. Father CONCETTI (C.)
C.: ‚According to modern catechizing, God permits our dear disappeared living in an extraterrestrial sphere to send messages in order to guide us in certain moments of our lives. Following new discoveries made in the field of the psychology of the paranormal, the Church decided to no longer forbid experiments endeavouring dialogues with the deceased, subject to the condition that they be carried out with a serious scientific and religious objective.
Question: ‚Doesn’t this convey to us a new theological concept on communication with the Beyond?’
C.: ‚Everything proceeds from the idea that the Church is one sole organism with JESUS CHRIST as its Lord. This organism composes of the living men forming the people of believers on earth, of the saints and elect who are in paradise in the peace of spirit, as well as of the souls who have to expiate their sins in purgatory. These three dimensions are not only connected with Jesus, but – in conformity with the notion ‚Communion of Saints’ – also with each other, is to say, communication is feasible.’
Question: ‚In what way have these contacts to be carried through according to the Church’s doctrines?’
C.: ‚The messages can be transmitted not only by words or tones, say by the human mind’s normal means of communication, but also through signs, as, for example, by dreams, which occasionally may even be precognitive, or by spiritual impulses that permeate our mind. These impulses may transform into visions, images, and concepts.’
Question: ‚Does everybody have this perceptive faculty?’
C.: Those who frequently perceive these phenomena are sensitive, that means persons who have an excellent sensitiveness for the signals coming from the other world. I speak of the mediums and clairvoyants, but also of normal persons who can have extraordinary perceptions, a special dream, a strange sign, a sudden enlightenment, and of those who, unlike the sensitives, succeed only in rare cases in interpreting what they receive.’
Question: ‚Does the Church allow to address to those called sensitives, or mediums, for an interpretation of the phenomena?’
C.: ‚Yes, the Church permits to apply to these special persons, but to use great care, and subject to certain conditions. The sensitives whom one should consult – also if they perform their experiments by using modern techniques – should be inspired with belief. Under this aspect, preference should be given to priests. The Church forbids all contacts of believers with those who, with the contacts with the Beyond, practise idolatry, magical invocation of deceased, necromancy, superstition, and esotericism, (say) all these occult procedures that incite the denial of God and the sacraments.’
Question: ‚What motives does a believer have to follow in order to enter into a dialogue with the dead?’
C.: ‚It is necessary that a dialogue with the dead be aspired to only in urgent cases, for example in case somebody has lost his father, his mother, his son, or spouse under dramatic circumstances and is not capable of reconciling himself to the separation. A contact with the soul of a loved one is able to soothe a mind convulsed by such a tragical event. One may also turn to the dead when a difficult existential problem has to be solved. Generally, our ancestors help us, and they never send messages that could be harmful.’
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Question: ‚What way of behaviour has to be avoided during mediumistic contacts?’
C.: One shall not play with the souls of the deceased. One shall not call for them for futile reasons, for instance in order to get the winning number of a lottery. It is as well appropriate to critically distinguish the signals coming from the Beyond, and one shall not overvalue them. By doing so, one would addict to credulity. Overmore, one should not approach the mediums and phenomena without the power of belief. Otherwise one would dally with the danger of losing one’s psychical balance, and even sink into demoniac obsession. Exorcists still continue to report of thousands who, in consequence of their participation in spiritistic séances, are tormented by demons.’
‚For the Catholic Church, contacts with the Beyond are feasible, and a person who communicates with the world of the deceased in the light of belief, does not commit any sin.’
Père BRUNE summarizes:
The phenomenon exists, it is possible to have communication with the Beyond, practising it is legitimate, be it for scientific reasons, be it in the case of persons who, after the loss of a loved one, are in desperation, or who ask for advice. Restrictions result from the necessary observation of one’s ability to be critical, and the avoidance of vain, nonsense motives.’
In 1937, the Anglican bishops had ordered a study on the issue of survival (after death), whose ‚results’ were made accessible to a pseudo-public 40 (in letters: forty) years later. The majority of the advisory committee’s members, who were at variance, concluded: ‚In our opinion it is important that representatives of the Church should stay in connection/contact with groups of intelligent persons who believe in spiritism’ (!). Supplement: ‚Regarding this item, the committee recommends not any publicity’ (!). The minority opposed this recommendation, but pleaded for its part ‚for a more intense ecclesiastical treatment of the Communion of Saints and the issue of survival after death’ (ARCHBISHOPS COMMITTEE ON SPIRITUALISM, 1939). On this subject HEMLING (p.16) quotes W. TEMPLE, at that time Archbishop of York: ‚It is definitely unwelcome that the continuance of life after death be evidenced by experiments.’
Since the binding force of Christian dogmas and regulations for framing the way of living one’s personal and social life, has continuously diminished, can be observed the development of an immense number of most diverse attempts/undertakings offering help for managing the problems of every-day life in this new freedom marked by uncertainty.
Esotery, which in former times was understood as the knowledge about human-cosmic linkages, that was kept and to be kept secret, and was disclosed to the adepts not before they had passed arduous examinations/probations in wisdom schools and mystery places, today has deteriorated to a collective term (MIERS). (Our present time’s schools are a ‚secularized weak imitation’ of those schools of ancient days!). Groupings like the Rosicrucians (HEINDEL), or the Anthroposophists, who try to continue centuries old traditions, remain more in the background. They cannot be strictly distinguished from the, also poorly defined, spiritualists. Their commonn foundation is their conviction of the primacy of mind/spirit. STEINER called antroposophy a „Geisteswissenschaft“, a science of mind/spirit; the more recent ‚research on consciousness’ is gaining importance increasingly:
TART, WILBER, FREY, GREGORY, HARMAN, JAHN/DUNNE, KRIPPNER, ORNSTEIN.
In general, and especially where the eastern aspects are more accentuated, the paranormal phenomena – so called in the western world – are seen as relatively unimportant by (true) esoterics and spiritualists. For them, the corresponding ‚siddhis’ are a transit stage of little interest on the way of spiritual development. Therefore, and to a large extent, they decline to concern themselves more intensely with the boundary fields; eventual results, at the best, are considered as useless confirmation of a since long acquired ‚knowledge’. It is true however, that a few Indian masters have expressed their interest in ITC (private information); and yoga practices could be propitious means to foster technically supported TC contacts.
With view to the realities in the western societies, the convictions of smaller groups, which frequently find themselves to be exclusive, often are an unjustified undervaluation of paranormology. Presumably, will only be taken due cognizance of the reality of mental/spiritual powers and of ‚mind over matter’ or ‚mind merging with matter’ consequent to massive inroads into the ‚scientifically secured’ materialistic world-view, and into the everyday life of individuals. Within this framework, ITC could gain particular importance in our era.
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