fredag 23 februari 2018

Remainer food hypocrisy

Remainers claim that Brexit will allow in a torrent of toxic meat. This Guardian article, unsurprisingly not open for comment, shows yet again that there is already a grave home-produced problem.

Tests carried out on food at the point of entry to a country are almost worthless in ensuring that it will be safe by the time it it put on the shelves of the shops, or served in restaurants. Food can be badly handled, or frozen food thawed and re-frozen. The most effective deterrent is the likelihood of random checks, with contraventions punishable by heavy fines or imprisonment.

To supplement the resources of local authorities, it would also be worth giving the public better access to public analytical and testing services.

Import controls exist primarily to protect producer interests. Benefits to consumers are largely incidental.

onsdag 21 februari 2018

Remainers: lovers blind to the faults of the beloved

Remainers are like lovers who are blind to the faults of the loved one, even when these faults are expensive habits which can kill. How is this?

The EU can be seen as operating in three levels in a hierarchical structure.

At the top level is the principle of a forum where major issues of common interest can be discussed and differences resolved. This is one of the places where a particular moral tone is set eg through promoting values, human rights issues, legal structures, developing cultural and educational collaboration such as the Erasmus programme, and keeping a watchful eye on what is happening elsewhere in the world. There are also shared concerns such as the management of rivers which flow through several countries.

Significantly, the EU steered clear of associating itself with Christianity, despite pleas such as that made by the Pope in 2002, when he said, of the EU draft Constitution, “How can we not mention the decisive contribution of the values which Christianity espouses and that have contributed to strengthening culture and humanism of which Europe feels legitimately proud and without which its most profound identity could not be understood?”

Score: C

Next level down is about trade, economics, tax and tariff policies. These are in principle both moral and practical decisions “coloured” by the moral tone that comes from above. It has profound implications for the quality of people's lives and political relations with the rest of the world.

Score: FAIL

I rate it as a fail because it a moral failure. Tariffs and trade protection are corrupt and immoral, as well as damaging; the Mafia lives on protection, as in “protection racket”. VAT is a immoral tax which is inefficient and economically damaging. If the EU had been doing its job properly at the top level, it would have pushed member countries to get rid of VAT, not make it a membershi requirement.

The bottom “artisan” level is about regulation and technical matters. Whilst important to individuals, it is trivial within the broader context. Much of this regulation is, or can be, dealt with other international bodies such as the ISO and industrial organisations. Some originates there and is transcribed into EU regulation. The EU has been responsible for plenty of silly and counter-productive regulation, but taking one thing with another - food additives and E-numbers, for example - it does not do too badly.

Score: B

IN CONCLUSION, I would count myself broadly in support of the concept of an EU, provided it kept to the principle of subsidiarity.  Failure in the policy areas of tax, economics, trade and tariffs, however, is a critical moral and practical top-level failure. That most national governments are no better is beside the point. It is easier to change the direction of a country than a continent, and the larger the body, the larger the scale of the damage can be, up to and including the possibility of major conflict and war.

If those who had been committed to the EU had spoken up and demanded change, the toxic political situation today would never have developed.

fredag 16 februari 2018

Calendar confusions

I have taken down my Christmas lights at last, yesterday being the Feast of the Presentation, 2nd February, which marks the end of the Christmas season. Except that yesterday was 15th February. It was 2nd February on the Julian calendar, which is now 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar in secular use.

Muslims use a lunar calendar with 12 months, but the months are  28 or 29 days long. The year is shorter than the real year, and feasts like Ramadan are 11 or 12 days earlier each year. At the moment, Ramadan is in the middle of the summer, which would be tough on those near the Arctic circle if the rules were not relaxed.

The Jewish calendar is also a lunar calendar but extra months are added according to a 19 year cycle of leap years. The extra month, called Adar Sheni, the Second Adar, is in the spring, and is inserted on the 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19th years of the cycle. In practice the Jewish calendar is more complicated than that. Passover is on 15th Nisan, the month after Adar. In leap years, Nisan is after Adar Sheni, which brings Passover into late April if there is a leap year. The earliest date for Passover is 26th March.

The Jewish calendar keeps reasonably good time, with a drift of one day every 231 years, about 4 days per millennium. It will be several millennia before Passover is so late in the year as to be a problem. There is no need for anyone alive today to worry about it.

The Julian calendar is worse, with a leap year every four years and a drift of 12 days per millennium. It came about like this. A solar year is reckoned as 365 and a quarter days; after four years, an extra day is added to the year. Each year is 11 minutes too long, a discrepancy which builds up over time. This drift had been noticed by the early middle ages but it took a long time to devise a way of fixing the problem.

The solution adopted was to make an adjustment every hundred years, by not having a leap year unless the year was divisible by 400. Thus 1600 and 2000 were leap years but 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not, and 2100 will not be. The calendar was first introduced in 1582 and its use spread gradually. By the time it was adopted in Britain, in 1752, 11 days had to be skipped; 2th September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752. This change is the reason why the British tax year ends on 5th April; it is the old Lady Day, 25th March.

Thus the Gregorian calendar has 238 leap years per millennium compared to the 250 leap years of the Julian calendar. The separation of 12 days per thousand years is not desperate but becomes appreciable with the passing of the centuries. 

The trouble with the Gregorian calender, however, is that, every few years, 2005 and 2008, for example, Easter can be one month before the Jewish Passover. This matters from a theological perspective because the Last Supper was on 14th Nisan, the night before the Jewish Seder on the 15th. The earliest possible date for Easter is 22th March is but there will not be another until 2353; about once a century, Easter is on 23th March but it is not unusual for Easter to be a month before Passover.

The Julian calendar still used by some of the Orthodox churches avoids Easter from coming before Passover, but is drifting to the point where it is sometimes, and increasingly, in May; if the calendar is still in use, it will be on 10th May in 2268. This is of course nothing that any of us alive today needs to bother ourselves about, but at some time it would be a good idea to skip a fortnight and bring the Julian calendar back into line if the churches want to carry on using it. There is a lot to be said for not adopting the Gregorian calendar with its breaking of the link to the Jewish Passover.

onsdag 14 februari 2018

The True Catholic Doctrine of Salvation

This is extracted, unedited and without comment, from “The Innovations of the Roman Church” by Apostolos Makrakis (1831-1905).

Here is an alternative interpretation of Matthew 16:18, the passage on which the perpetual Supremacy of Peter is based: that the Rock is not the person of Peter, but the faith which Peter confesses.

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him. Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16: 15-19).

The Father of Christ revealed to Peter that Christ was the Son of the living God, and not what other men thought about Him, who thought Christ to be John the Baptist, or Elias, or Jeremiah, or as one of the prophets. And Christ supplementing the divine revelation made to Peter, says to him that for this reason he was named Peter, he who was formally called Simon son of Jona—that he knew the rock of faith and became the foundation stone of the holy structure and the fact that upon this rock of faith Christ will build His own Church, which the ruler of darkness will fight with all his might, but shall not prevail against it. (The effectiveness of the above passage in Greek lies in the etymology of the name Peter meaning of rock.)

Thus every man who knows and confesses Christ as Peter did to be the Son of the living God, becomes petros (like rock) that is a rock useful toward the building of the Church all the members -of which possess the same essential characteristic, of confessing Christ as the Son of the living God, perfect God, begotten of true God without time, and perfect man born within time of .the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary according to the testimony of the Evangelists. He who does not believe and testify this does not become petros nor a member of the Church of Christ.

And he moreover, who denies this testimony, crumbles away from the divine structure or is cut off from association with the Church because he has lost the most essential asset of membership. Therefore the stone upon which Christ promises to build his Church is the confession of Peter, the truth revealed to him by the heavenly Father which abides for ever, the truth which gives birth to Peter’s and the stones of the divine structure. But the Papists destroy this scriptural passage toward their own damnation arguing sophistically and erroneously that Christ promised Peter to build upon the latter’s persons His Church; and the phrase “upon this rock” which clearly signifies the confession of Peter they interpret upon thee Peter. And by heaping up more falsehoods upon this one they build up the system of their diabolical heresy through which Satan has attempted the overthrow of the orthodox Church but failed totally; for falsehood is not strong enough to overcome truth.

The foundation of the Christian Church in Christ and Peter’s testimony. Upon this foundation the apostles have built the once Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of God, as Peter also testifies in his first Catholic Epistle saying: To whom coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious, ye also, as living stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” Behold the living stone, the chosen, the precious, the corner stone upon which Apostle Peter built the church; behold too the living stones placed upon the Foundation stone of the structure and constituting God’s spiritual house within which holy priests offer acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. But the Papists of Rome, after repudiating this doctrine of Apostle Peter, boast that they are his only successors, thus deluding themselves and others and bound toward perdition.

But this delusion of theirs we have reproached in our work which has been fully reprinted under the title “Memoir of the Nature of the Church of Christ” and whoever wishes may find therein the reproach. But the prophetic statement of Christ regarding the Church to be built upon the testimony of Peter “And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” has received full historic proof; because since the beginning of the foundation and organization of the Church, Satan’s attacks out of the gates of Hell, against the Church and its basic truth for the purpose of destroying them, have proven powerless either toward shaking the foundation. or toward tearing down the super-structure on the foundation. And the well founded and fighting Church shall prevail against the gates of hell, and after finally overcoming the enemy will imprison him in the place whence he attacked her. The invincible Church will prove victorious through sheer strength over her bitter enemy and will eventually wipe out his power and authority from the face of the earth.

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The kingdom of heaven has a door which closes and opens, and the door has keys by which it is opened and closed. But what is the door to the kingdom of heaven, and what are the keys that open and close it. The door to the kingdom of heaven is Christ as He says: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” This door is opened to those who will repent and bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, but it is closed to the unrepentant and unbelieving.

And the keys which open and shut this door are the power to bind and loose n1en’s sins. He who has been granted remission of sins by the one who has the authority to do so, enters freely through the door opened for him; whereas he who has not been granted forgiveness does not enter, the door being closed to him. The power to forgive sins was possessed by Christ who exercised it by announcing to those who approached Him in faith the remission- of their sins, and by saying “Child be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.” This power Christ, after his resurrection imparted to his own disciples by breathing upon them and saying “receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” Then Peter with the other disciples received the keys of the kingdom which Christ promised to give him after his testimony of the truth. The Father showed Peter the door of the kingdom of heaven; and the Son fulfilling the work of the Father gave Peter the keys for opening and closing the door, for ushering in or keeping out those whom he judged worthy or unworthy of admittance. But Peter was not the only one who received from the Father the knowledge of the door nor was he the only one to whom Christ gave the keys for opening and closing it. Christ praying to His Father says: “O righteous Father the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee and these have known that thou hast sent me.” And Peter answering Christ says: “Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Obviously Peter testifies to a common knowledge of the faith in Christ among the disciples and does not boast that he alone knew and believed in Christ. Therefore he received the keys in common with the other disciples, no one disciple being given the keys individually. But those who distort the Scriptures toward their own perdition, those who have misinterpreted the rock of faith, and have built the house of their heresy on false foundation, have also misinterpreted the keys of the kingdom and commercialised them toward filling their purse. The self-elected successors of Peter have become the exclusive and only heirs to the keys of God’s kingdom, and the only possessors of the authority to bind and loose and to usher in and put out of Paradise those they wish. And they wish to usher in those who give them silver and gold, whereas Peter excludes from the kingdom of heaven those who offer him silver and gold according to the following proof. The book of Acts of the Apostles record that Simon the sorcerer seeing that the Apostles imparted the Holy Spirit through the laying of their hands he offered them money saying: “Give me also this power, that on whomsoever lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” But Peter said unto him. “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”

Behold, Peter, the key-master of God’s kingdom excluded Simon the sorcerer from it for offering silver to the former. But his self-termed successors usher the one offering them the most silver farthings into Paradise. And what may be gathered logically from this contrast? That the keys of Peter are different from those that the Papists hold in their hands. The keys of the latter being different from those of Peter open and close an opposite door—the door of hell and death. And those who give silver to them in order to enter Paradise, enter the Tartarus of eternal damnation whereas these who turn away and flee from the Papists, get farther from the door and entrance which ushers all that enter through it, to everlasting perdition.

Speaking more simple—Christ established His Church on the Confession of St. Peter (Petra) in Greek meaning a Great Rock, and Christ is (the Rock of our salvation. The Romish Church established its claim on the person of St. Peter. Therefore, they worship St. Peter more than God, and look to the Pope for their salvation and wage continual war upon Christ’s true people everywhere with a view to world-wide domination to rule the Church and Politics in every country and to bring down ruin on all nations.

Innovations of the Roman Church—Minor innovations

This is extracted, unedited, from “The Innovations of the Roman Church” by Apostolos Makrakis (1831-1905). I do not like the style but am in agreement with the substance. 

Neither statues nor pictures are approved according to Jewish practice. Statues are indeed problematic; whilst they are intended only as a help to worship, it does not always stop there in practice. Ikons are a different matter because they are not made by human hands and are the product of prayer.

The Gregorian calendar has been criticised by Jewish authorities on the same grounds: that Easter can occur a month too early.

On the celibacy of the clergy, recent experience should be sufficient to condemn the practice. Married clergy is not of course a guarantee that misdemeanours will not occur, and this is not to suggest that most Catholic priests do not keep their vow of celibacy, but the requirement is neither necessary nor desirable.

But besides the seven major innovations (heresies) and the infallible primacy, the Popes fabricated and introduced other innovations of a lower order, such as, for instance:

1) The use of statues instead of icons (sacred images, or pictures), in imitation of the idolators. The icon, being a picture represents and depicts to the eye the departed soul, whereas the statue represents to the touch the body of the departed. The Church of Christ handed down the icons from the very beginning, having ousted the statues from the churches. St. Luke, one of the seventy Apostles and the author of the Gospel bearing his name as well as of the Acts of the Apostles, initiated the practice by painting pictures of the Theotokos while she was still alive, which she blessed. The Eastern Church preserved this heritage in spite of the furious war waged by the iconoclasts and notwithstanding the pressure and propaganda put forth by the statuarian Romanists.

2) The celibacy of the clergy, instituted in the sixteenth century by Pope Gregory XIII of Rome, which is not recommended anywhere in the Holy Scriptures or in the Apostolical or Synodical Canons. Everyone is left free to choose marriage or celibacy for himself. The Lord said: “All men cannot receive this saying, but they to Whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who were so born from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Matt. 19.11-12). As a consequence of the law of celibacy of the Papal clergy, the latter fell into malfeasances for which they were subject to no disposal from office when caught in the act, nor are they even now so punished, but only transferred.

For in the Roman Catholic Church the doctrine of the Jesuits that “The end justifies the means” prevails and is practised. That is to say, whatever they do they do for the glory of God, and therefore it is no sin. Adultery, wars with those who oppose the Holy Pope, etc. are all pardonable, because they are practiced for the glory of God and the subjection of all to the Pope!

3) The change of the Julian calendar by Pope Gregory XIII of Rome in the year 1582 by calling October 5th October 15th.

Satan had long endeavoured to change the calendar through the agency of many antichrists and astrologers, but had been constantly defeated by the monkery of both the East and the West, aided by those fearful anathemas of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod against all who should attempt to add to or to subtract from the decrees and regulations issued by the Holy Synods. St. Bede, a monk and philosopher (Anglo-Saxon, A.D. 730) stoutly declared: “The alleged correction of the ecclesiastical calendar is not permissible to anyone.” Likewise conscientious astronomers have at various times declared that no Synod should permit a change of the calendar on an astronomical basis, because astronomers never agree in their astronomical calculations.

In the end, however, the aforesaid Gregory ascended the Papal throne (A.D. 1572) and in cooperation with the astrologers J. Stoeffler, Regiomonus, and Aloysius Lilius effected the change, of the calendar, and changed its name to the “Gregorian”. But it took 150 years to establish the new calendar in the West, during which rivers of blood were shed, and it is even now acknowledged to be erroneous both from the ecclesiastical and from the scientific points of view by astronomers of the West.

The Orthodox Eastern Church disapproved and condemned and anathematised the Gregorian calendar at three consecutive Synods in Constantinople in A.D. 1583 under the presidency of the patriarchs Jeremiah of Constantinople, Silvester of Alexandria, and Sophronios of Jerusalem; and the second time by the same authorities in the year 1587; and the third under the presidency of Jeremiah of Constantinople, Meletios Pegas of Alexandria, Joachim of Antioch, and Sophronios of Jerusalem.

The Innovations of the Roman Church #7 Immaculate Conception

This is extracted, unedited and without comment, from “The Innovations of the Roman Church” by Apostolos Makrakis (1831-1905). I am not going to distance myself from this.

The seventh innovation of the Popes is that decreed a century ago by the Vatican Council as the dogma of immaculate conception of the Theotokos (mother-who-has-given-birth-to-God), which asserts that she did not share the original sin—a dogma which is blasphemous, for it represents her as being at the same time Mother and Son, notwithstanding that she derived her substance (hypostasis) from the seed of earthly Adam, having been born of parents named Joachim and Anna.

These are the principal innovations introduced by the Popes and are all due to the Popes’ claim to primacy, which caused the separation and the excommunication issued against them by the pastors of the Orthodox Church of Christ.

The Innovations of the Roman Church #6 Purgatory

This is extracted, unedited, from “The Innovations of the Roman Church” by Apostolos Makrakis (1831-1905). 

Having a background in Judaism, the notions of Purgatory and the associated Original Sin have never made sense to me.

The sixth innovation of the Popes is that of Purgatory. According to the Papists, sinful souls (but what soul, besides that of Jesus, is righteous?) enter it after death and are purified through the prayers of the Popes. When, however? Whenever the relatives of the deceased pay the requisite sums, the amount of which depends upon the sins of the deceased and the financial status of the living, unless they are Willing to let their beloved be condemned to everlasting punishment. On the basis of this Purgatory the Popes have brought forth their life-saving “indulgences” in behalf of both the living and the dead, which have resulted in the rise of Protestantism with its many heads.

Protestantism, in seeking to eradicate heresy by means of its own heresy, and error by means of its own error, and falsehood by means of its own falsehood, contributed rather to the consolidation of the Papal heresy. The Biblical saying, “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” is applicable to them. If Luther and his followers had adopted the dogma of the Eastern Orthodox Church, neither Protestantism nor Romanism would have been in existence today, but only a single flock under the chief shepherd Christ.

Remainer food hypocrisy

Remainers claim that Brexit will allow in a torrent of toxic meat. This Guardian article , unsurprisingly not open for comment, shows yet ag...