IN DEFENSE OF THE PROPHETIC TRUTH
by Arnaldo de Vilanova
Distributed by Fernando M. Fluguerto Martí
After waiting patiently for years, I must now speak in defense of the prophetic truth related to the presence of the Holy Grail in Argentina. It is a tiresome job, for although the issue deserved public attention some time ago through a review kindly published by "TXT" magazine edited by Adolfo Castelo on June 27th. 2003, the bold and daring statements made by some university teachers did not deserve any reply on our part, and no enlightening debate was ever opened up in our ordinary cultural environment.
Likewise, vis-à-vis the unfolding of events, the reader will appreciate that the nature of the subject itself involves related issues such as the presence, before the Columbian endeavor, of expedition groups or small European, white-skinned populations.
Whether Columbus arrived first or whether he was driven by the need to whitewash and come clean on a situation which undoubtedly unleashed the methodical and formal conquest, exploration, and colonization of America by the European powers, is significant not only with respect to the reestablishment of the historical truth, but also as a higher symptom of the spiritual essence of America as the "New World". Whether America is the Atlantis mentioned by Plato after the teachings of the Egyptian priests, or is the "Ultima Thule" discussed by Seneca in his tragedy Medea, is no minor detail that many an improvised mind could ignore, harbored as he may be in a university chair. This is not the way in which an Alexander von Humboldt would have addressed the issue in his wise work on Columbus. However, in the decaying, unhealthily dogmatic Argentina, driven by lay or pseudo-religious dogmas established by Heaven knows who, this greater issue related to America's, particularly to Argentina's fate as the sacred space of the future, devoted to the regeneration of the human race and the opening of a new cycle of humanity, does not deserve any consideration, so busy we are in gossiping about the fashionable 'prima donna' or the top football player.
Hence, as put at the beginning, the issue in question is altogether
annoying, because we
are not faced with witty contenders open to an enlightening debate, but
cautious to face any novelty capable of disturbing their drowsy habits.
somnambulistic behavior leads them, though unaware, to make certain unwise
intellectual judgments we cannot bear any longer.
Such words are enough to start a controversy. In subsequent paragraphs we will quote other comments made by the professor that seem to us equally unwise and lacking academic sound judgment, for they lose focus on the heart of the matter. Indeed, as we will see, a university teacher of "History of Culture" should never argue from a catholic dogmatic stance allegedly insulted by the idea or symbol embodied by the Grail, but should rather build on what the history of European culture, literature, cathedrals, churches, paintings, and so on and so forth, has lavishly provided.
A true academic chair should have in mind for example, the cry of treason let out by Nietzsche to the once much admired Richard Wagner at the opening of "Parsifal". It was clear for Nietzsche that in his last work and masterpiece, Wagner has turned back to Rome and embraced again the medieval and catholic Christianity. It could be argued that Nietzsche was not a church doctor, to which I retort that we are not leading a dogmatic debate, such as the slippery soil that the venturous professor walks when he refers to the Grail symbols as a "gnosticism", a far too ambiguous word.
Yet, though Nietzsche is claimed to be not a church doctor, he was a superb Culture taster of the deep sense of human production in its historical evolution. But as we see, the Grail issue, regardless of whether it is or it is not in Argentina, deserves a less ambiguous approach. The quote fluctuates between a concealed "¡Vade retro, Satan!" for calling its symbols a "gnosticism" (i.e. the essential heresy faced by the growing Church), and the superb nonsense of stating that the Grail is related to "non catholic esoteric groups" (SIC!).
At this point, it is hard for us to follow our confusing professor's line of thought. We are indeed concerned though, that young argentine students, devoid as yet of a deep contact with culture, may hear a confused teacher state that "… the Grail did not belong to the cultural catholic context". May it be by chance, that the Grail issue arose within the Taoist or Confucian Chinese context, or the Japanese Shintoism, or it was born in the Black Africa, or amidst the Siberian shamans, or maybe as a spark stirred up by pre-Columbian cultures? According to our discreet professor, we are sailing in the stormy waters of doubt, while one of the most outstanding features of the great medieval catholic culture was the sudden emergence, during its centuries of splendor (XII and XIII), of the Grail as a literary subject. Naturally, as we will see later on, there was some previous written record on the issue, but it was just in the most conspicuous catholic period in History that the Grail stands up in all is mysterious majesty.
However, to give up the Grail so nonchalantly to Gnostic heretics or some "New Age" insignificant occultist group will do no good to reaching the historical truth, and will serve to no other purpose except throwing to hungry heretical jaws the succulent food that should nurture the far too empty minds of our unprotected youth. Our hectic professor, who is receiving a well deserved beating based on our rationale, would reach the deepest pain and astonishment should he realize that his unwise idea of labeling the Grail as a mere "gnosticism", is actually favoring (¡of all horrors!) Otto Rahn, an erudite, scholar, member of the nazi propaganda and, to make things worse, an SS officer, who linked the Grail's presence to Montsegur, the final core of the false medieval Catharism. Otto Rahn's two major works ("The crusade against the Grail" and "Lucifer's Court ") were fully dedicated to link the Grail to the Cathar heresy, that was considered an update of the old Manicheism as the basis to conceive an (improbable) link between Catharism and esoteric nazism. ¡What an undesirable group of supporters has recruited our poor professor! Speaking about the Grail without true knowledge is highly dangerous. However, to calm more then one supporter of our German culture, as we certainly are, we will release in due course something that Otto Rahn might have ignored or pretended he ignored, namely that four of the top members of the German culture, whose arguments are irrefutable, four colossus of our beloved Germany and Europe, have mentioned that the Grail might be present in another sacred mountain, which identity will be duly disclosed. Their names are: Goethe, Wagner, Schiller and Beethoven. Three of them were Lutherans and one was catholic, but they had joined to point at or be somehow related to the catholic Grail's center and to the presence of a most eminent religious order that played a major role in the History of the Church, that was instrumental to the transformation of one of the most admirable founding fathers provided to the world by Christianity.
Let us not jump into giving the names of this astounding narration. Time will lavishly provide better opportunities to disclose such names. The attentive reader who has graciously read us through, may have noticed that the Grail is a serious matter and, as our natives would most appropriately put it: "true riding boots are only for the skilled"… So, champions of the untrue, speakers of the unwise, refrain from trying to put on such boots for the skilled. For you will end up thrown to the ground, face down in the mud.
But since we have been challenged not only in the cultural history arena but, although stealthily, in the orthodoxy arena as well, we will reply "comme il faut". There is a curious book on TAROT attributed to a Christian Hermetist of an extraordinary dogmatic erudition and knowledgeable on the issues that are the object of our study, that includes a careful interpretation of the famous Greater Arcanes. The original German book was titled "Die grossen Arcana des Tarot. Meditationen". It was published by the highly catholic HERDER publishing house from Basilea, Switzerland, and translated into Spanish by the Spanish counterpart HERDER located in Barcelona, Spain.
So far, it could be argued that it may all be about a slip of a highly
house, that may have indulged into some kind of fashionable groundless
most horrifying side of the case is that the foreword of the book is
signed by Hans Urs
von Balthasar S. J., Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, and essayist on
man of a proved orthodoxy, with a vast knowledge of scholastic philosophy
Patristics (his book on St. Maxim the Confessor must be mentioned at this
prone to exalt the greatest icons of the XXth. Century who are masterly
quoted in his
book, such as Heidegger, Rilke, Gabriel Marcel and Ortega y Gasset. It
tiresome to list every book he wrote as well as his cultural interests,
Aesthetics, Drama, etc. Perhaps in the future, to shock some sacristan
lost in the jungle
of Culture, we may take pleasure in transcribing his complete intellectual
his own explanation of the "Casta Meretrix".
Our loyal readers should not be discouraged: there is more to come. In a future issue of these "tracts" we will provide photocopies of some pages of a marvelous book called "Teolegúmeno español", written by another master theologian, where he explains a Counter reform pivot as stemming from the Holy Grail and the Sacred Empire. Such explanation, that will be provided in detail in due course, is highly important for the fate of Argentina, since as the title itself puts it – "Teolegúmeno español" –, it has a particular theological vision of the History of Spain while at the peak of its splendor in the imperial era, precisely when it gave birth to Argentina.
In addition, as we will see later on, the Grail issue stems from the same root as the "courteous love", in other words the unattainable love for a woman, the core and zenith of loyal gentlemen's spiritual love. For such is the meaning of Dante's Beatrice, Patriarch's Laura Noves, and in a tragic way, Tristam and Isolde or Romeo and Juliet. This "love-passion", masterly expressed by Denis de Rougemont in his work "Love and the West", has also been the subject-matter of comprehensive studies by other catholic scholars who try to underplay the issue's coexistence with the Cathar and Albi heresies in the southern part of France, the Old Occitane. The "Courts of Love", or the "Courteous Love", the courtesy, the Provencal and Languedoc minstrels, the "dolce stil nuovo" that moved from Provenza to Italy deeply affecting Dante; in short, all this vast and complex cultural environment, must be reviewed in depth instead of being dismissed with a contemptuous and overly simplified qualification.
Yet, it is somehow flattering that our writer Victoria Ocampo would write an essay on the women characters of the Divine Comedy, From Francesca to Beatrice, that deserved Ortega y Gasset's prodigious foreword in 1924. In it, even before many other magnificent European philosophers, the colossal Spanish thinker cast light on the issues discussed in this paper, while putting forth its vast significance on the spiritual and social evolution of the West. It is worth mentioning at this point that Denis de Rougemont, Drieu la Rochelle, Paul Valery and Ernest Ansermet, were the French-speaking contributors and sponsors of "SUR" magazine.
Now, as we will show in due course based on the appropriate documentation, one of the most important Holy Founders of the History of the Church, who proved instrumental in the Counter Reform, when he was a boy and before his conversion used to be part of the conception involving "Courteous Love". The chosen Lady was no other than the Queen of Spain, the second wife to Ferdinand the Catholic, already a widower of Isabelle of Castilla. The lady's name was Germaine de Foix from the French House, whose nobility title, "FOIX", made her kinship of the famous Esclarmonde de Foix, Lady and "anima mater" Montsegur, the last hallmark of Cathar resistance. Since it is an intertwined matter, a clear differentiation must be made between a good and a bad Catharism, for such "purity" essence (from Greek CATAR = PURE) in the orthodox context gave birth to no less than San Francisco de Asís, neé Giovanni but called "Francesco" in reference to his French Provencal cloak and manners. It must be noted that "Francesco" in Italian means "little French".
How, then, could the Grail issue be disdained, being such a huge subject that drags along half of European literature due to its multiple implications? How could we not recall that in order to draw a metaphor out of the cruel world of today, and its chaotic and absurd nature, Thomas Stearns Eliot, one of the major poets of the XXth. Century, called his unparalleled work of art "The Waste Land"? We must not forget that "barren, devastated, destroyed" are other possible translations of the English word "waste". In addition, it is well known that the hidden meaning of concealing the GRAIL, the sign of the incurable disease of the old King of the Grail, lies in the fact that his kingdom is barren, desolate not only physically but also spiritually. And that both, King and Kingdom, are awaiting their redemption by a new Knight that is able to rediscover the Grail whereby he will restore the ORDER that has been profoundly shaken by unreasonableness. Two glories of the English Arts and language, Eliot, the great poet born in America and English by adoption, and Ezra Pound, his friend and colleague, propose to re-interpret through the Grail, our devastated contemporaneous civilization devoid of the Grail, something that causes irreparable loss.
And I, Arnaldo de Vilanova, walking the streets of Buenos Aires in the evenings, when our big phantoms emerge to stir up other people's rejects, thereby exposing chaos and hotchpotch while they build the essential metaphor of our incivilization, cannot but remember the memorable verses by the flagship of poets -the Eliot who wished himself to be English and catholic in terms of religion, monarchic in politics, and classic in Art. In a nutshell, wished himself to pertain to Order and Tradition.
At this point of our account, it may be noticed that I'd rather be mistaken in connection with Goethe and Shakespeare, Eliot and Cervantes (who also touches briefly on the Grail), Wagner and Wolfram von Eschembach, and would rather follow the sheer insanity of Parsifal, than be right on the statements made by the much too sane sacristans who watch undaunted how the kingdom of Waste becomes a Standard of Culture and Civilization. But, be it placed on records once and for all, that what is written here obliges nobody but myself, least of all the DELPHOS foundation, that has so kindly provided the context to these reflections in their attempt to dignify the Grail's approach from many angles, and in the multiplicity of its spiritual, historical and cultural connections. Consequently, DELPHOS is hereby released from any obligation associated to the editing of this idealistic attempt to raise the tone of the so-called argentine culture.
As we have already mentioned, the text written by the challenged History of Culture professor, after many circumlocutions and muffling cushions, introduces the fatal word, "le mot témoin" according to French stylists or, in other words, the key word, the true blow to disqualify the Grail's issue to make it suspicious of heresy: "gnosticism". There is the unforgivable word, the abusive issue. He could be forgiven for ignoring the divorce between Nietzsche and Wagner due to "Parsifal". Or else, we could refrain from obliging him to be knowledgeable about Eliot and his "Waste Land", or about the Goethe who writes a poem (The Mysteries), where he makes a reference to the Grail; or we may hastily be indulgent with his lack of knowledge about the Medieval Courts of Love. But putting forward the word "gnosticism", though in a concealed way, is indicative of an atrocious and stifling degree of bad faith or regrettable lack of culture.
The Greek work "GNOSIS" means "Knowledge" of eminent things, such as sacred, metaphysic and religious learning. Whereas the Greek work a-Gnostic, with the prefix "A" means 'he who does not know or has not learned'. So far so good. But further on, the controversial use of the rising Christianity ended up by assigning the innocent word "gnosticism", against all heresies, an additional meaning that is not inherent to it but was acquired through the historical evolution of doctrines. So "gnosticism" and its parent word "gnosis" have irreparably been endowed with ambiguity, for there is a Christian and orthodox "Gnosis", and another one which is the opposite and heretical. Hence, many Priests of the Greek Church spoke about Gnosis as a higher stage of the mere "Pistis", i.e. the Faith of the simple follower. Never has the Church have mere "followers" in the herd of the faithful, but it had to a certain extent "Gnostics", i.e. men of a higher spirit who belonged to a spiritual "elite".
We will approach such issue more rigorously in future papers. It must be noticed that in the beginning, Christianity emerged in a "Gnostic" cultural context as a result of the expansion of Hellenism across the eastern lands that covered different system of ideas. Such syncretism of Greek, Syrian, Egyptian, Jewish and Persian ideas which Alexander the Great had unintentionally gathered through his conquests against the wise advice of his master Aristotle; such cultural and religious marriage embraced the dawn of Christianity. Seen from afar with the pagan eyes of the first centuries, Christianity seemed more a Jewish heresy at odds with the Phariseism and the Temple's religion, later hellenized by St. Paul.
So the use of the word "gnosticism" is inevitably incorrect, for it creates confusion as to whether it refers to the legitimate Christian and orthodox gnosis, or to the heretic gnosis. The exegetic and theological works by the previously mentioned Von Balthasar, by Cardinal Jean Daniélou (who wrote a dedication in the issue we have of his dissertation on St. Gregoire à Nice at the Sorbone) by Henri de Lubac, etc., point out to the difficult field which historically starts on Alexandria with Filo, Clement, Origen, and continues later on with Basil and the two Gregories, the great men from Capadoccia and three friends and holy doctors of the Greek and universal Church.
So it is clear for the 'bona fide' reader that branding Gnostic "the body of symbols surrounding the Grail", is unavoidably ambiguous. Rather, the professor should dare say plainly that the Grail's subject is heretic, thereby branding heretic centuries of Christian story, cathedrals, churches, paintings and illustrious religious orders, in addition to the associated medieval literature and the subsequent literature involving so many extraordinary writers, poets and musicians. He might rather have stated, more humbly and with a higher spirit of truth, that the Grail is an issue that calls for a deeper insight of the common faith in favor of a wisdom that must be sought, for it is not handy to everyone.
But the professor's defeat does not end here. Our beloved professor (in the end we have become fond of him, for we perceive he is more and more at a tight spot) has used the word "GNOSIS" and therefore he must bear with us, for in future writings we will overwhelm him with the erudition of major academic experts worldwide, in an effort to tear him apart from the sacristans who have advised him wrong. We will be most pleased to clarify matters for him along with Hans Jonas, Puech, Filoramo, Hutin, and Dodds. Then, for illustration purposes, we will quote the school of medieval catholic thinkers, such as Gilson, Marrou and M. M. Davy Pauphilet, who will not agree with him but with us. He will be forced, to his dislike, to acknowledge that His Catholic Majesty king Philip II, made a special reference to king Arthur (of the round table), whom he used to point at, even to the English nobility, as the legitimate heir to the English crown. Such reference was made even on the occasion of a trip to London, when he met his wife and second-aunt, the highly catholic Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. And if Philip II, protector of St. Theresa's barefoot carmels reform, would speak solemnly about King Arthur, the quintessential King of the Grail, such sacristans would be better off by keeping silent.
Dear and perhaps weary reader: please bear with us, we are almost done now. We may now leave the professor aside for a while and address more serious matters. The notion of the GNOSIS inevitably brings to mind, in a catholic cultural context of excellence, the unparalleled figure of René Guenon, born a catholic, a traditionalist, bishop of the Gnostic Church acknowledged by the Roman church; an apostolic, mason of the old and accepted Scottish rite; a distinguished Vedantist and Sufi belonging to Ibn Arabi from Murcia's lineage, and Muslim sheik finally established in Cairo. Hated, loved and feared by many, he had a strange relationship with Argentina. It will suffice to say that he was known to us not through the "heretic" or mason circles one might thought of, but through the catholic culture courses of the '30, thanks to the good offices of his great admirer Dr. Cesar Pico. These details were referenced to us by our beloved master and friend Dr. José Maria de Estrada, while many have been confirmed by the also dear friend and master Fray Mario Pinto O.P., the wise backbone of St. Dominique of Guzman's order, and in addition, a most noble man.
This spiritual lineage, to which I feel a debtor, led the intellectual Catholicism of Argentina to a degree that has not always been maintained. It must be noted, for I have sufficient evidence, that R.P. Dr. Julio Meinvielle, another major referent of argentine catholic doctrine, was an attentive reader of Guenon's works, from whom he took inspiration to elaborate on the 4 social functions (the theory of the Indian castes), which according to Meinvielle, were based on Aquinate's wisdom and biblical texts. For him, the anti-Christian communist revolution was nothing but the final stage of the predominance of the servile class, which in India is called "Kali Yuga".
But the strange relationship between Guenon and Argentina does not end here. After he was appointed Muslim sheik in Cairo, he created a doctrinarian committee of executors, formed by two French friends of him and a Rumanian diplomat born a orthodox, a former Iron Guard in Codreanu and later converted to Islam, and Dr. Hector Madero, the argentine ambassador to Cairo, born in a distinguished Buenos Aires family and kinship to Eng. Eduardo Madero, who built the highly famous Puerto Madero named after him.
Now, after this brief introduction of such a unique character as Guenon, we may wonder what strange magnet could make him be in letter contact with people from Argentina? What made his name be disseminated by traditional Catholicism after an early confrontation with Maritain in France? It is painful to remember that Maritain, using his capacity as French ambassador to the Holy See, aimed at achieving that Guenon works be included in the INDEX. He could not achieve such purpose, which speaks of the hidden affinity between certain Vatican instances and the spiritual approach endorsed by Guenon.
Now please let me open a suspense parenthesis, to reflect on certain less known and highly sensitive issues that –God willing-, will be developed in future documents. Such issues, listed as questions herebelow, are:
1. Was there a letter exchange between Guenon and Pope Pious XII? What was the subject of these letters?
2. Was Guenon ever aware of certain suspicious apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Pious XII?
3. Was there a hidden bond, an initiatic fraternity between the Muslim sheik and the roman pontiff that would be decisive in the final reorganization of the world, in which Argentina was called to play a major role based on its "polar", southern location? It was the argentine mystery that attracted Guenon and Pious XII like a magnet, which made the latter come down to our country to preside over the Eucharistic Congress held in 1934, as holy appointed church member. The logical religious purpose of such Congress concealed a dangerous international game.
4. Why would a mason embracing Mitre's thought such as President Justo, would say words of such a theocratic flavor implying the absolute sovereignty of Christ the King, to welcome Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pious XII? Why would the patrician masonry embrace Hector Madero in one of its loggias reserved to members of argentine families entrusted with historical secrets, after he finished his diplomatic assignment in Cairo? How did that masonry know from the beginning that the Argentine patriotic fate is "palingenesia", i.e. man's regeneration, and that it will be attained in our territory?
5. What rite did Cardinal Pacelli fulfill by crossing the Equator's line, which clearly speaks of his sense of the holy geography whereby entering the SOUTHERN hemisphere is a sacred act? It was the only time during his journey to Buenos Aires, when he was ever seen on deck. During the inbound trip he would not attempt to set foot in Rio de Janeiro or Montevideo, cities he would consent to visit on his way back, not to offend Uruguayans and Brazilians.
6. What High Inspiration made a 5 year-old boy in Argentina, proclaim him Pope at the stairs of St. Nicholas of Bari's Church (Av. Sta. Fe 1300) in Buenos Aires, five years before the actual enthroning? Over time, the boy would become a good friend of mine: the most beloved and remembered Dr. Roberto Dupuy de Lome.
7. What astounding rite did Cardinal Pacelli perform, after arriving back in Rome after his triumphant trip to Buenos Aires, where he was welcomed and acclaimed as an Emperor? It is known that in Argentina, the Pope-to-be Pious XII was like never before, for he could feel descending unto him the tremendous power of the honor and glory bestowed by God to His selected lambs. Only his crowning and exaltation to the Papal throne five years later, could overcome the experience he had in Argentina.
8. What strange bond links the Italian location of Viterbo, the birthplace of the Pacelli family, to the appearance of a strange eremite, Father Julian, in this Lacio's area? The strange fact is that Father Julian's inception took place at the dawn of the mysterious Brotherhood to which both Guenon and Eugenio Pacelli belonged. In addition, it must be noted that such Brotherhood X had telepathic contact with the Supreme center, the "AGARTHA", which at some moment had in its ranks as Great Master one of the most influential members of the Vatican, surely the man who recruited young Pacelli.
In due time, we will explain the meaning of "AGARTHA" as the supreme Initiation Center of the World, a name bestowed by Saint-Ives d'Alveydre, the Papal Marquis, and later on by René Guenon in "Le Roi du Monde".
And finally, to conclude with "Viterbo", it may suffice to say that in his famous short story "El Aleph", Jorge Luis Borges calls his beloved by the name of "Beatriz Viterbo". It is almost unnecessary to remind the reader that he calls his character Beatrice following the steps of Dante and added such particular last name to it, surely under the influence of the magic-initiation society present in the background of the lives of Borges himself, Marechal, Xul Solar (born Schultz Solari). Marechal got acquainted with the works of Guenon, whom he quotes in his philosophic essays Courses of Catholic Culture. It must be added that "Adan Buenos Aires", his most famous work that bears a meaningful name, was started in Paris. Some friends of mine, exquisite scholars, can confirm that Ricardo Güiraldes, head of the "Martín Fierro" literary group, also got acquainted with Guenon's works in Paris, which might account for his interest in eastern matters, his trip to India, the adoption of a Hindu boy, etc. And that such interest might have been due to these other reasons and not only to the influence of his wife Adelina del Carril, as people thought.
Oddly enough, the location called "Viterbo" is also present in Manuel Mujica Lainez' novel "Bomarzo", as the place of residency of the Orsini family, to which belongs the Duke of Bomarzo, the trans-temporal narrator of the story.
Are these a number of coincidences, or perhaps it is the invisible hand that guided three or four of our major writers through the path she wished, to leave significant trails that we, who came after, must learn to interpret?
But, dear reader, so far has come your patience and mine too. God wishing, in a next issue we will provide further details about this particular matter, sustained in the bold certitude that we are unveiling some of the secret threads of our patriotic Destiny. A patriotic Destiny which cannot be fully understood except through an explicit reference to the Holy Grail.