Hark Now Hear The Angels Sing



When someone has a problem with Christianity and Western Civilization - or more specifically, the Roman Catholic Church - inevitably, one of the first assaults they will launch has something to do with the Crusades. The Crusades are the go-to resource for those who are disgruntled with the Roman Catholic Church. Tellingly, their original problem usually has absolutely nothing to do with these military campaigns. Willfully ignorant of the fact that the Crusades were a defensive action after 450 years of unanswered Islamic aggression, they point to the Crusades as some grave injustice that the Catholic Church has committed. It thereby follows that their own personal gripe with the Catholic Church is now justified, since they have 'exposed' evidence of its 'evil' manifestation. In the above extract, in which Ian Brown explains why religion features so prominently in his lyrics, he is grossly inaccurate in the assertion highlighted in bold. The Catholics did not steal the steps of the Praetorium during the Crusades; they were taken - legally - by the Emperor Constantine's mother, Helena, one thousand years earlier (around 326 AD), and re-erected in Rome in the papal palace. What will Ian blame next on the Christians, I wonder. The Great Fire of Rome ?

The Holy Steps consist of twenty-eight white marble steps, situated in a building which incorporates part of the old Lateran Palace, located opposite the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. These were the steps leading once to the praetorium of Pilate at Jerusalem, sanctified by the footsteps of Our Lord during His Passion. The stairs lead to the Sancta Sanctorum, the personal chapel of the early Popes in the Lateran palace, known as the chapel of St. Lawrence.

Dialogue from a Melody Maker interview with journalist Dave Simpson in May 1995 offers further insight into why Squire and Brown draw upon religion in their work:

The echo chamber just gets louder and louder. Regarding Squire's mockery that Jesus was "sittin' on a cross", it is worth bearing in mind that the ex cruc in the word excruciating means 'from the cross'. This utterly futile "Why couldn't Jesus have been _____ ?" contradictory approach is spawn of the chaotic liberal matrix of subjectivism and relativism. A devirilization of Western Civilization, taking all of the masculine capacity for initiation out of the culture. Why couldn't Jesus have been who He (said He) was. Note that those virtue signallers leading the feminist charge never seem to have a problem with the masculine pronoun applied to Satan. In response to Brown's claim that "Mary Magdalene gave Him his power", do you know what you are reading ? Nowhere in any of the Dead Sea Scrolls is anything ever said about Jesus (let alone Mary Magdalene). Ian here is most probably getting confused between the Dead Sea Scrolls and (Gnostic) Nag Hammadi texts. I do not know which doctored version of the Bible Robbie Maddix is working from here, but there is no mention whatsoever of 'Mother Earth' in mine. If Mother Earth is your spiritual totem, then you are in the realm of Gaia worship, not Christianity. Man is not subordinate to the environment. The earth is for man. Man is not for the earth. Man is for God and the earth is for man. Pantheism turns the earth and physical creation into God and makes it the object of worship.

God the Father is the source of life and the Church is understood as the Bride of Christ. Holy Mother Church. This is not meant to denote an actual feminine physical quality. God is not male. God is not female. God is masculine. Do not confuse gender and identity. God is not a solitary nature but a Communion of Persons. The Processions of Persons (Father generating the Son, and Father and Son spirating the Holy Spirit) is reflected in the order of Man's own creation. "And God created man to his own image . . . Male and female he created them" (Gen. 1: 27). God made the representative type Man (Adam) first, and then differentiated Man into two kinds, male and female, by creating Eve. With respect to the likeness of God's divine nature in Man, man and woman are equal. Thus, Adam is the representative type because of his humanity, not his maleness. The masculine is a pattern of initial union, separation, and reunion, while the feminine is a maintenance of unity. This pattern is found on the biological level, and even more on the psychological, anthropological, and cultural levels. God the Father is not a religious projection of patriarchal social structures. The God and Father of Jesus Christ is the same God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The gnostic attempts to pit an androgynous Jesus in opposition to the patriarchal Jehovah, but the masculinity of the Son reveals the Father. The incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, is an icon of the Father, His perfect image. The image does not consist in a corporeal resemblance, since God is Spirit and does not have a body, but rather in the resemblance of their modes of action. It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Ghost who proceeds. It is the Father who created us, the Son who redeemed us, and the Holy Ghost who sanctified us. The divine Unity is Triune. The Godhead is a Communion of Persons. God as Father defines the first order, the first place, the first dynamic of the life of the Blessed Trinity. There can be no Son without the Father. The entire mission of our Blessed Lord was to lead us to His Father. The blessed know the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. The second Person of the Blessed Trinity came to earth as man. The second Person of the Blessed Trinity refers to the first Person of the Blessed Trinity as father. The third Person, too, is masculine, yet his intra-trinitarian function of uniting the Father and Son explains the Spirit's association with femininity as reflected in the Church's unity. The second Person of the Blessed Trinity takes on suffering in coming to protect His beloved bride, Holy Mother Church, and bring her back to the Heavenly Father. Bridegroom and Bride become one flesh. The Bride belongs to the Bridegroom, but the time will come when the Bridegroom will be taken from the sons of the bridechamber, and on that day they will fast. Bookending the ministry of Jesus are two weddings. Jesus inaugurates His ministry by changing water into wine at a Jewish wedding. He assumes the role of bridegroom at Cana in the provision of wine, pointing forward to the hour of His Passion, the Last Supper, where He will give His own wine at a Messianic banquet by pouring out His blood on the cross. On this mountain, the Lord of Hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines. The old has condemned itself; this is the beginning of a new day (John 18: 28). The eschatological era, the era of salvation, is now upon us. Abraham longed to see my day. With crown, the Jewish bridegroom is 'king for a day'.

If you want to know about a civilization, take a look at its buildings. To understand the Church and her liturgy, take a look at her architecture. The architecture of a Church represents both heaven and earth. The sanctuary is where Christ's sacrifice is re-presented to the Father, hence the association with Christ and the masculine. The nave is where the Bride of Christ, His Church, are gathered, representing the feminine. The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. Your maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name. Just as Eve was brought forth from the side of Adam, the Church pours forth from the wounded side of Jesus at Calvary. Consummatum Est. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist, the friend of the bridegroom, the best man. When the Bridegroom comes, the best man steps back into the shadows ("He must increase, but I must decrease", John 3: 30). The Lord is the Bridegroom Messiah, and Scripture speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride "betrothed" to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with Him. The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her. Like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, He has joined her with Himself in an everlasting covenant; His love endures forever. They are two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union. Our Blessed Lord established one Church, and to that Church, He wedded Himself for all eternity. Sacred Scripture, the oral tradition of the faith breathed on to paper, is polyvalent. Many truths are present on numbers of different levels, and these truths overlap with each other: Mary is Mother of the Church, She is also Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Church is the Bride of Christ (the third of these truths led to the development of a queenly personification in early Christian art). At Pentecost, He to whom Mary was betrothed, the Holy Spirit, descended upon Her and the infant Church that Her Son had established. This had divine parallel. Mary, who was the Mother of the earthly body of Christ, was now the Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Church may have been born at Pentecost, but its moment of conception was earlier, and Israel is the Church in utero. This transforming grace arcs, like an electric spark between two poles, from protology to eschatology. Parent and spouse are the two most primal relationships that exist in the human race, and Israel was often portrayed in the Old Testament as a woman, a virgin daughter espoused to God in a covenantal relationship. When faithful, she was presented as a chaste bride; when unfaithful, an adulteress. In the Book of the Apocalypse, John's absorption of this develops the Old Testament's vision of daughter Zion giving birth to the Messiah. Jesus comes to bring about a renewal of all creation. The beginning of John's Gospel inaugurates a new creation week, with the wedding at Cana taking place at its climax, the seventh day. Opening with a wedding that ends in death, the Bible climaxes with a death that ends in wedding. The Bible is the story of two gardens: Eden and Gethsemane. In the first, Adam took a fall. In the second, Jesus took a stand. In the garden, Eve was sold a lie as Adam stood silent. Adam failed to protect his bride (hence, why Original Sin is called the 'Sin of Adam'), and so Christ as the New Adam comes to lay down His life for His beloved bride. The story of salvation history begins with a wedding in Genesis between Adam and Eve; the Book of the Apocalypse spans the aeons of time and closes with a great wedding feast, in which Christ is King and married to His indefectible, immaculate bride, the Church. Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the ages. Jesus has gone to His Father's house to prepare a room for His beloved bride. Apocalypse (apokalypto, unveiling), revelation for the masses, sees the unveiling of the Bride of Christ. God gave us His Word; He will not leave us orphan. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass seals the covenant between Christ and His Church. The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Washing with water through the word, He will return when His bride has made herself ready for the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem. And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Mary was the prototype and fulfilment of Israel, the stage for which was prepared across millennia. Christ is the fulcrum and point of convergence of God's saving plan. In Chapter 12 of the Book of the Apocalypse, we see a battle before time in the angelic realm, between Michael and the dragon. The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time", when God sent forth His only Son, and the lines of the Figure meet at last in a single portraiture. The Eternal Word made Man, God's final Word is His Son.

 

Top: St. Peter's Baldachin, over the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
Second row: The Church is the canopy of the Holy Eucharist. This view is from beneath the baldachin, showing the Holy Spirit within a radiant sunburst. The Catholic Church is the immaculate spouse of Christ. Love seeks union. In the midst of these bedposts over the altar, God draws nigh to His bride in a divine love story. The Son clings to His wife, the Church, and the two become one flesh in a marital embrace. Blessed are those called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is love that leads you to the altar; it is the author of love that is received. Holy Communion is a Holy Common Union with God. The Eucharist is where Jesus makes a gift of Himself to His bride, the Church, the temple of the Holy Spirit. At the moment of consecration, the priest in an act of masculine initiation is calling God to the altar. The act of consecration is the consummation of the nuptial union between God and man (which is why the priest rests his elbows on the altar, veiling Our Lord's Body with his own). God becomes, just for a moment, the feminine responder to the masculine initiating action of man. The priest lovingly holds the Host in his hands beneath him atop the supernatural marriage bed of the altar, leans over, looks intently at the Host and whispers, "HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM / This is My Body," and then with the Chalice, "HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI / For this is the Chalice of My Blood." And then, in the hands of and lying completely vulnerable to man in the supreme act of loving response, is Our Lord, physically present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church. At consecration, the priest (In persona Christi) implores the descent of the Holy Spirit, that he might transfigure the species of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ: You are indeed holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The memory of God's gift bears the entreaty to the Spirit of the beloved Son of the Father. Present under the Eucharistic veil, the change of the bread into the Body of Christ is effected by the same Holy Spirit who was at work in the Incarnation. Et Verbum caro factum est. The Logos became flesh and tabernacled among us. We veil that which is Holy. The Tabernacle is the Holy of Holies.
Third row (left): "Got Dead Sea Scrolls for you...". Qumran in the West Bank, Middle East, where most of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
Third row (right): Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls on display at the Archaeological Museum, Amman. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 that consist of biblical manuscripts from what is now known as the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name.
Bottom: 'Noli me tangere' (1524) by Hans Holbein the Younger. Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" (John 20: 17). Some modernist writers, latching on to Gnostic writings such as the apocryphal Gospel of Philip, have made the warped claim that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus, arguing that she was closer to Jesus than any of His disciples. This depraved thinking was popularized in such bogus print as The Jesus Scroll (1972), Holy Blood, Holy Grail (1982), The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1991), The Woman with the Alabaster Jar (1993), Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed (1996), The Da Vinci Code (2003), and Jesus the Man (2006). The 1979 Elaine Pagels release, The Gnostic Gospels, was a watershed in popularizing gnosticism, and the author is referenced in The Da Vinci Code.

Religious pluralism, at its core, is theological relativism, and Christ will not tolerate spiritual consumerism. Jesus is not a way, a truth, a life. He uses the definite article, unashamedly proclaiming the scandal of His particularity. The public square is His alone. "Religious freedom" (the natural child of freedom of conscience) is the language of humanists, an effort to bring the Holy Catholic Church to her knees before the god of humanity. Error has no rights. One does not have the 'right' to choose a 'wrong' religion, merely the free will to remain obstinate in your error. Religious liberty is a freemasonic construct designed to undermine the Catholic confessional state. It is an outright denial of the social kingship of Christ, a facade to lock down Christendom into an invisible prison of man-made limits on the faith (a de facto absorption into the New World Order). In a world order rooted in the Freemasonic Social Kingship of Man, freedom of religion very soon becomes freedom from religion (meaning freedom from God). Liberals invariably invoke the former whenever Islam is on the table, but the latter for Christianity. In a Guardian interview from 2002, Ian Brown spoke about his unstructured personal belief system, a hodge-podge of syncretism and indifferentism. This is emblematic of a widespread societal transition where people manoeuvre from faith in God to belief in some amorphous spirit being, patched together with a thousand commonplaces, with whom they have no relationship at all. A theological manifestation of Masonic religious principle, the golden calf is today a sacred cow. Masonry divinizes only humanity. The only altar that Ian Brown is worshipping at here is the altar of religious diversity, the temple of man. Religious diversity comes not from God, but from man's rebellion against God. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Lucifer's ambition to be like the Most High promulgated polytheism.

Ian Brown "makes no apology for the fact that spirituality is a big part of his life..." ? What in Hades does that even mean ? Are people queueing up in demand of an apology because Ian Brown can't figure out what religion he is ? His catalogue of lies about Catholicism on this page - now that might be something for which he may want to search within himself to muster an apology.

Top: They affirm what they deny while denying what they affirm. The Pied Piper on Ian Brown's "spiritual quest" is obfuscation artist, Dan Brown. An FAQ page screengrab from the author's official website, a patchwork of lies from the lexicon of Modernist revolution, is shown here. Truth is not to be found in public opinion. What Thomas, Richard and Harold believe constitutes the faith is of no importance here. What does the Church believe ? The Apostles' Creed and the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed come to mind, but such crystal clear profession of faith no doubt is too "rigid" for this cosmic freethinker. The guarantee of our doctrine is the divinely assisted Church. Lex orandi, lex credendi. What we pray, we believe. The Catholic Church is not an amorphous operation with spiritual trappings on some random faith continuum; She is a divine institution - protecting, defending and preserving the sacred deposit of faith until the end of time. Man is anchored; man is not in a state of evolutionary flux. Faith is the adherence of the intellect to a truth revealed by God on the authority of God revealing. Belief in the Trinity is communio; to believe in the Trinity means to become communio. This charlatan is studiously evading any affirmation of the existence of the triune God, or that Christ is the divine second Person of the Holy Trinity. An exercise in playing in the margins of nuance, for 'spiritual quest', read: 'not a snowball's chance in hell of me committing to the one true faith'. Any 'journey' language in the context of faith is, more often than not, '60s code for dogmatic evolution. We are not followers of a way. We are followers of the Way. What Dan Brown is attempting to do here is fracture the body of Christ by downplaying the ascension command. These three time-wasting postulations all find resolution in Mark's gospel (16: 15 - 16): And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. There is only one way into the Church and that is through baptism. There are, however, a multitude of ways to leave the Church. The first rule of salvation is to hold the true faith, whole and undefiled. St. Robert Bellarmine's doctrine on the membership of the Church is the basis for Pope Pius XII's presentation in Mystici Corporis. There, four requirements for membership are given: those who are baptised, who profess the Faith integrally, who submit to the lawful authority of the Pope and hierarchy in communion with him, and who have not been excluded from the Church by excommunication. A heretic is a baptised person who, while continuing to call himself a Christian, pertinaciously denies or doubts a truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith (Canon 1325, 1917 Code of Canon Law). When someone departs from the authoritative rule of the magisterium, that person is considered alien to the Church. All heretics and schismatics in canon law are ipso facto excommunicated. There is one universal church of the faithful, outside of which there is no salvation. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is divine, then you are not a Christian. Dan Brown does not believe that Jesus Christ is divine; ergo, Dan Brown is not a Christian. Let your Yes mean yes and your No mean no. Dissent from any Church teaching is flirting with Hellfire. Your conveniently prevaricating fork-tongued "spiritual quest" may indeed be life-long, but hell is everlasting. The understanding of 'Christian', in its original and authentic sense, has been completely stripped bare of its meaning. In a theological sense, 'Christian' refers to anyone baptized, and that's about it. In every other sense, the word has no real meaning because practical Christianity has been utterly neutered owing to the heresy of Protestantism. Generic Christianity, meaning heretical Protestantism, is the parent of the neo-paganism now engulfing the world. In the final analysis, Christians are divided into: a) Catholics; b) Schismatics; c) Heretics. And only Catholics can be true Christians.
Bottom: The Da Vinci Code - a writhing nest of neo-Gnostic myths, blatant falsehoods, half-truths and absurd suppositions presented as historical fact - spearheads a poisonous genre that has plagued contemporary theological thought. The novel, specifically the swill that I have highlighted here, published in 2003, is undoubtedly the trough from which Ian Brown is noshing in the odious Channel 4 and Top Of The Pops extracts from 2005. Ian was, however, already on this damnable path years prior to this, as can be seen from the May 1995 Melody Maker extract here.

God from God / Light from Light / True God from True God / Begotten, not made / Consubstantial with the Father. Only one figure in Ian Brown's oh-so-wacky, arbitrary list from February 2002 is consubstantial with the Father... and it sure as hell ain't Bob Marley. He who comes from heaven is above all. In John 14: 6, Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." In His humanity, Jesus is subordinate to the Father, but in His divinity, He is equal to the Father. This is why Jesus can say in the same gospel that "the Father is greater than I" (John 14: 28), because He speaks that from His humanity, yet answer Philip's request to be shown the Father thus, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14: 9); this, He answers from His divinity. In His humanity, Jesus wept for Lazarus; in His divinity, He raised him from the dead. The humanity and divinity (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) of Jesus are enshrined in the Eucharist. Two Substances in one Person, united without confusion, and distinct in their operations. Thinking of this Hypostatic union in poker terms, Christianity is 'all-in'. If Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead, then, as the apostle Paul said, we are the greatest fools who ever lived. Jesus Christ is so close that He came within arm's reach. No other religion has ever dared assert such a close propinquity between God and men. Christianity makes a unique claim that no other religion in the history of the world has made. No other religion has a founder who says, 'I am God'. Muhammad did not claim to be God, Buddha did not claim to be God, Confucius did not claim to be God, Hinduism does not worship one God. This makes a special place for Christianity. Either Jesus Christ is God, or he is not. Truth cannot contradict itself. If there are two opposing propositions, either both of them are false or one of them is false. They cannot both be true. Jesus claimed to be God, His followers believed He was God, they preached Him to be God, they died for that belief that He was God. They transmitted that belief, and two thousand years later, here it is. The faith is absolute; it is not relative. If Christianity is true, all other religions fall somewhere on the spectrum of false. It makes no sense to say that all religions are equal unless they are all equally false. Ian's cherry picking of three of the world's heavyweight religions (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism) is typical of the modern unease with absolutes and commitment to the (one true) faith. Religious diversity will not lead you to objective morality. Christianity and Islam are diametrically opposed and are not the same moral equivalency. Islam rejects the Trinity; God revealed Himself to be a Trinity and Jesus revealed Himself to be God. Islam does not even come close to accepting these truths. During his 30-day stay in Strangeways prison, Ian turned Muslim, the reason for which he outlined in a Guardian Newspaper interview from 4th February 2000: "It was the only way I could keep alive, food wise. It was all dog-food pies, so I went Muslim and I got lentils, chickpeas, rice and chicken curry on Friday. They told me that half of Manchester's Muslim in Kirkham nick. It's the only way you can be guaranteed chicken." Converting to Islam on the basis of a guarantee of chicken curry on a Friday evening is not laying down the most solid of theological foundations, I must say. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Your God is your belly ! Man does not live on bread alone, and the same applies to lentils and chickpeas. Ian has his foot in the doors of a temple, mosque and cathedral and reads both the Bible and the Koran. He claims to be "a believer" in a March 1995 Q Magazine feature as an extension of this. A believer in what, precisely ? Micky Dolenz was a believer. Every village of cannibals is full of 'believers'. I believe has very much lost its We opine quality, in a world in denial of a one true faith and objective truth. Unless faith has an object, it cannot operate, just like the eye without light has no sight. The difference between the Catholic faith and all other faiths is that we believe everything that has been divinely revealed and infallibly taught by the Church, the solitary Ark of Salvation established by Christ. One cannot put other religions on the same moral or theological footing as Christianity, as Ian seeks to do here. The singer's venomous verbal attacks, and those of many other ideologues, on the Vatican can no doubt be traced to enmity toward the moral codes (usually, though not exclusively, the Sixth and Ninth Commandments) of this high-doctrine religion. In an effort to destroy Christianity, the vessel of objective truth and morality, such figures will try to elevate anything or anyone to the same level, to make Christianity seem like it has no special place.

By different roads, but converging, note where each and every one of Ian's attacks arrive. All roads do indeed lead to Rome. Evidently, the Vatican for Ian is a convenient catch-all label for every conceivable ill in the world. In his deep-seated revulsion, he levels accusations against the Roman Catholic Church that it has stolen God from him, that it is responsible for child poverty in Latin America, that it is overseeing slave plantations, that it should be held accountable for the repression of women throughout history, that Nazi gold is conspiratorially buried under the Vatican, and so on and so forth. Mary is Mother of the Word Incarnate. She is the living altar of the Bread of Life. Given Ian's expressed desire to send JCBs into the Mystical Body of Christ, one has to wonder what in God's name he is doing anywhere near the Virgin of Guadalupe. The singer does not believe that Jesus died at crucifixion [(1), (2)], or that the Mother of Sorrows suffered pain. He does not even consider Mary, the Mother of God, to be the greatest Mary who ever lived (see the repulsive Channel 4 extract from 2005); thus, the singer might like to reflect on what his prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe entailed, on this whistle-stop religious tour. Prayer is a surge of the heart. Prayer is the source of life for the soul. Prayer is raising your mind and heart to God. Place your mind before the mirror of eternity. Gabriel, the heavenly ambassador sent to earth, proclaimed Mary to be full of grace (Kecharitomene) - an expression not used, ever, to any other person in Sacred Scripture - and thus, contemplate, for a moment, the concomitant of this; if Mary was full of sanctifying grace, what, then, was She entirely without ? The second person of the Holy Trinity came to Earth, incarnated in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which makes Her the highest of all human beings because She was chosen from all eternity for that singular grace. The great privilege that the Blessed Virgin Mary had, of holding God in Her arms in Bethlehem, comes to completion in the Assumption. She steps into the very life of the Holy Trinity, and sees Father, Son and Spirit. Mary has a unique relationship to each; to the Father, She is Daughter, to the Son, She is Mother, and to the Spirit, She is Spouse. She is made complete, raised to an everlasting supernatural perfection in the Trinity, by the Trinity. Conceived immaculately and assumed into Heaven, Almighty God preserved Her from the corruption of the womb and the tomb. Yet Ian, immersed in the heresy-ridden abomination that is The Da Vinci Code, holds Mary Magdalene in higher regard than Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Ian Brown once said that John Squire "followed the wrong Jimmy". Well, Ian is most certainly following the wrong Mary here. He is also following the wrong Madonna. Madonna the Queen of Heaven is dismissed without so much as a thought in this loathsome Channel 4 interview, yet Madonna the Queen of Pop is revered as a bastion of beauty. We only know about three years of Jesus' life, through His public ministry; thirty of those thirty-three years were spent secluded and hidden with the object of His deepest joy, Mary, The Blessed Mother of God. Jesus disappears with the object of His love for thirty years, and only at Her insistence does He begin - the very first miracle of Christ in Sacred Scripture was triggered by the words of Mary to Her Son, at a wedding in Cana. If Ian is trying to gain a few brownie points from female readers of this Channel 4 interview by playing the misogyny card (Women have had a rough deal, you say ? Here's one who nearly had no hand at all !), he had best rethink his approach. One of the two primary functions of women on this planet is to tame men ? What is this, The Flinstones ? Good luck with that one at the next Women's Lib conference. Ian Brown claims that the very idea of a woman becoming a saint is "unachievable"; enshrined in the Roman Catholic faith is the belief that Our Lady is crowned Queen of All Saints in Heaven. Saint comes from the latin word sanctus, meaning 'holy', and this is the real meaning of 'Godlike'. Anyone trading on the title 'Godlike' courtesy of the NME is a spiritual fraud doing the work of the Enemy. If Ian is simply reading the Bible "for the stories", then he might as well be tuning into the latest instalment of Jackanory.

The singer veers between lingering uncertainty as to whether God exists or not (Until The Sky Turns Green, August 1989) to becoming incensed that the Catholic Church has stolen God from him (The Independent, October 2011). Zoning in on a much shorter timeframe, we discover that Ian Brown's belief in God changes, quite literally, with the seasons. In April 1989, the singer proclaims that he believes in God; in August of that year, he is not so sure. Only by living in the fullness of the faith do you have a man for all seasons. The beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church were the same in 1989 as they are in 2011, the same yesterday, today and forever; Ian's, by comparison, are all over the shop. The singer claims that the Vatican "stole God off the people and attempted to sell God back." Ian evidently is keen to portray the priest as a Jesus He Knows Me televangelist, but it doth cost not a penny to walk through the doors of any Catholic Church worldwide; it has been known, on occasion, to cost in excess of £100 to gain access through Wembley turnstiles however. Faith, the supernatural virtue necessary for salvation, is a free gift of God and accessible to all who humbly seek it. Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee. Ian's cack-handed cafeteria approach to religion bears the influence of Muhammad Ali, whom the singer casually places alongside Jesus in the vile 2002 Guardian extract above. Clearly winging it in one particular television interview, Ali advocates a multiplicity of beliefs: "You can choose any religion you want. If you believe it, you'll see God, because all of them are good." God is truth, Jesus Christ is truth incarnate, and His Church is led to all truth by the Holy Spirit. God reveals and the Church teaches. What we have here is a dunderhead claiming that if you believe something, it is true. So, by this reckoning, if I believe that 2 + 2 = 5, does that mean 2 + 2 = 5 ? Truth is one, error is multiple. Strive to enter by the narrow gate. The 'anything goes' mentality pedalled by Ali, propagating the notion that each religion is just one more welcome stream of holiness, is utter claptrap. Luciferianism is a religion - if you believe it, will you see God ? Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism - to name just two branches of Christianity - are deceitful and underhanded rewrites of Catholic Truth. Some religions are nothing more than man-made glorifications of man. A religion can have the 'truth' in two ways: 1. It can have natural truths, that it has deduced through reason. 2. It has borrowed/stolen truths from the Catholic faith, and sullied with error. Ali could reel off a list of religions as long as his arm, but only one of them will contain the fullness of truth. I am the way and the truth and the life. Therefore, The Truth has flesh, have no doubt. I firmly believe that when Pilate retorted, What is truth ? (John 18: 38), he was looking at - but failing to see - Truth incarnate. The answer to Pilate's question, Quid est veritas ? (What is truth ?), can be found in anagram form: Est vir qui adest (It is the man who is here). Shortly before this, in Gethsemane, Jesus had prayed to Almighty Father, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." (John 17: 17). In the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, "Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate." Ali was a formidable heavyweight in the ring, but a complete and utter lightweight in the company with which Ian is placing him here. When Ali was cornered by David Frost in August 1969, on his belief that "all white people are devils", the boxer bumbled and tellingly made no move to withdraw this claim. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God Almighty, to whom the Lord God will give the throne of his father David, who shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, of whose kingdom there shall be no end, who is the Logos from all eternity, the order through which the entire universe came into being. Jesus Christ and Muhammad Ali were not two "great people". Jesus Christ and Muhammad Ali most certainly were not looking towards the same God, nor, as has been illustrated, were they in battle against the same devil. Sidebar: Why didn't Ian Brown include Muhammad in his insultingly irreverent list of 'great people' ? Chicken ? Fearful of a backlash ? Surely not ! The opening of Ian's Magnetic Magazine extract from 2011 comes close, superficially, to arriving at a general framework of truth, but falls at the final hurdle: "I do believe in one mandate (correct) and one belief structure (correct). I believe there's one God (correct) and that one God is in all religions (incorrect)." Religion, by definition, is a belief structure. How can you believe in "one belief structure", yet claim that one God is in all belief structures ? The Greek pantheon of gods, it seems, has been replaced with the global pantheon of religions and 'paths to God'. Father, I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one. (John 17: 21). Religion binds us to the one Almighty God. Salvation can only be through Christ, since the Resurrection is only through Christ, the Resurrected One. True God from True God. Lest anyone be fooled into thinking that Ian is close to seeing the light, what he is championing here is a One-World Church, a religion more universal than the Catholic Church herself. In a frenzy of ecumenism, Modernism tears asunder that which should remain wedded, and forges together that which should be distinct. Ian Brown's flight from reality takes two strands: exaltation of supernatural diversity where, supernaturally, there should be unity; denial of reality in the natural diversity that God Himself created in this world. A word which deserves close attention in the Great Commission is therefore (Matt 28: 19). A direct, inextricable connection is made between the mission of the Holy Catholic Church and the Kingship of Christ. The Catholic Church has a divine mandate to communicate eternal life to man, since She is the indefectible Bride of Christ. As the font of salvation for humanity, She has the only truth that saves. Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. I believe in one God. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. "As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith." (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 1943). To whatever extent someone from another religion may possess some fragmentary truth, they are duty-bound to pursue that truth by using their intellect and judgment to arrive at the fullness of truth - which is the Catholic faith. Reject it, or refuse to search for it - and you are rejecting or refusing to fully embrace God. Looking at this from a concentric understanding, you are either in the Church, or, you start to move away from it by degrees of separation. When the arms of Holy Mother Church close at the end of time, and those colonnades touch, are you in or are you out ?

Ian's interview with The Independent in October 2011 demonstrates a nonsensical comprehension of religion: "I believe in the spirit," he says. "All the great tribes, through time, have all got it down to the one spirit - the Aborigines, the Incas - all the prophets believed in the one God. But the organised churches have hijacked religion off all of us, they've stolen God from us, they've put the priest next to God." All the prophets believed in the one God ? What, even the false prophets ?

In John 11: 50, Caiaphas prophesies, not knowing what he says. The Holy Ghost makes use of his tongue only, but touches not his sinful heart. Do not be fooled by Ian's fallacious monotheistic reasoning, as if we worship one and the same God. Judaism believes in one God. Christianity believes in one God. Islam believes in one God. But Judaism, Christianity and Islam do not believe in the one God. There is a monumental difference between worshipping one God and worshipping one and the same God. Ian claims that Muhammad was a prophet. He wasn't, but for the sake of argument, let's follow this line of thought. John the Baptist and Muhammad did not believe in the one God, since Islam rejects the Trinity. The God that we worship has a Son. The God that Islam worships does not have a Son. If you and I know a Mr Smith, but the one that I know has a son, and the one that you know does not have a son, we would have to conclude that this is not the same person we each have in mind. God has certain attributes, a single portraiture, and unless we concur in our comprehension of all of those attributes, we do not identify with the same Being. John the Baptist is the last of the prophets, that majestic line including Moses and Elijah and Jeremiah and Isaiah and Zephaniah and Malachi. "Allahu akbar", the ubiquitous battle cry of Islamic jihadists as they commit mass murder, means "Allah is greater". Greater than what ? Greater than your God. Neither does Christianity and Judaism believe in the one God. Is the God of the Old Testament the same God of the New Testament ? Yes. God is as good as His Word. But as Judaism does not accept the God of the New Testament, it also rejects the God of the Old Testament. True God from True God, Jesus Christ is the Word Incarnate and the final revelation of the Most High. Judaism is bankrupt. Jews have no temple, no priesthood and no sacrifice, and thereby, no means of fulfilling their covenant. And if you be Christ's; then you are the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise (Gal 3: 29). The Catholic Church is the legitimate heir of the Old Testament, and the divinely inspired apostolic author of the New Testament. Christianity is a trinitarian monotheistic religion. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. The Catholic Church proclaims to be the one true faith because it is the one true Church of the one true God, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. The gods of the pagans are demons. Unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians.

The Incas were a wide-ranging group of tribes and did not simply "believe in the one spirit"; their belief system was polytheistic. Ian is perhaps only familiar with Viracocha, but they had several other deities: Chasca, Illapa, Inti, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Supai and Urcaguary. There is no one distinct deity encompassing all of Australia either. Each Aboriginal tribe has its own deities with an overlap of beliefs, just as there is an overlap of words between language groups. Thus, for example, the Wandjina spirits in the northern Kimberley of Western Australia belong to the Ngarinyin, Worora and Wunambal tribes. These Wandjina are responsible for bringing the Wet Season rains, as well as laying down many of the laws for the people. As one travels east, this function is taken over by Yagjagbula and Jabirringgi, The Lightning Brothers of the Wardaman tribe in the Victoria River District of the Northern Territory, then by Nargorkun, also known as Bula, in the upper Katherine River area, and by Namarrgun, the Lightning Man in the Kakadu and western Arnhem Land regions. If Ian wishes to see a prime example of someone "hijacking religion" and putting themselves "next to God", I would point the singer squarely in the direction of his own egocentric Guardian feature from 2002. Scripture is the daughter of Tradition. The Catholic Church compiled Scripture, and therefore, the Catholic Church is the sole authoritative interpreter of Scripture. The Holy Spirit inspired the authors, but their writings grew out of the lived experience or tradition of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, of whom Peter is the head. Ian's bitterness towards religious institution centres once again on Catholicism - "they've put the priest next to God" - a dimwitted claim. The Catholic Church does not "put the priest next to God"; rather, the human is directed and subordinated to the Divine [Thanks be to God]. The ordained are ontologically and uniquely configured to Christ. Anyone who claims that the priest is put "next to God" by the Roman Catholic Church has a very distorted notion of In persona Christi capitis. The priesthood is intrinsically defined by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest, far from 'sharing the bill' with God, is the servant to God on that altar (by extension, the Pope is servus servorum Dei). Through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever. It is through Christ, our Mediator with the Father, with Him, by fervent participation in prayer, and in Him, as members of His Body that we offer the mass; and this is done through the action of the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son to continue and bring to completion the work that Christ began. Ite, missa est. Instead of frittering away his time in the Vatican, chin-stroking in front of a portrait of Cesare Borgia, Ian perhaps should have cast an eye over the rest of his surroundings. The figure whom the Catholic Church sees 'next to Christ' is Mary, the Mother of God. She is the person who can say of Jesus, "This Is My Body, This Is My Blood." The apostles, their successors and priesthood can say that by order of grace; Our Lady says that by order of nature. Saint Bonaventure, meditating on the role of Our Lady in salvation history, wrote, "As the moon, standing between the sun and the earth, transmits to the earth whatever light it receives from the sun, so Mary stands between God and human beings and pours His grace upon us."

One of the basic principles of ascetical theology is that virtue strives to diffuse itself. Bonum est diffusivum sui. All of reality is sacramental. All of reality is dialogical. It was made through the Logos, through the Word, and the Word is Jesus. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most intense expression of this divine reality. The Mass of All Time is an earthly participation in the heavenly Eucharist, where Christ, the High Priest, eternally presents to the Father His Sacrifice on Calvary. It is a re-presentation of Calvary for the redemption of mankind. See the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself. The priest offers this sacrifice, in a role supported entirely by Scripture. On the night that Jesus rose from the dead, He came back to the apostles in the Upper Room. His very first action was to raise His hands over them and say: "Peace be with you ! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20: 21 - 23). Hence, we have the sacrament of Confession. Short of undertaking a course in telepathy, how else would Ian suggest that the disciples (and subsequent generations) were to go about hearing the sins of people taking inventory of their souls ? That particular use of the word breathed occurs only one other time in Sacred Scripture, when God breathed His soul into Adam (Genesis 2: 7). Jesus is taking these apostles and making a new creation. John 1: 1 presents Jesus as both the one through whom God created the world and the one through whom God will begin this new creation. Just as all have died with Adam, so with Christ all will be brought to life. And he who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. In this light, note how the outstretched hand of Jesus (both a cruciform foreshadow and a casting of His net as the fisher of men) in Caravaggio's The Calling of Saint Matthew mirrors the outstretched hand of Adam in Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. God created man on the sixth day and Jesus (the 'New Adam') created man anew on the sixth day through death on the cross. On the seventh day He rested, before the dawn of a new creation. Ablaze with light from her eternal King, the sacraments are pure grace - they all flow from the efficacy of the Cross. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the channel through which the graces won on Calvary are poured out to a sinful world. Since Ian rejects the Cross, it is little surprise then, that he rejects the sacraments which flow from that Cross. As St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote in De unitate ecclesiae, "He can no longer have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother." Furthermore, remember that Christ's threefold office is that of Priest, Prophet and King. The Ark of the Old Covenant contained three things: the Ten Commandments (the word of God), manna (the miraculous bread come down from heaven), and Aaron's staff (the symbol of the priestly power of God). Inside Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, is: the body of Jesus Christ, the word of God in the flesh; the womb containing Jesus, the bread of life come down from heaven (John 6: 41); the actual and eternal High Priest. A living, walking tabernacle, Mary is in a state of perpetual communion with her Divine Son. In seamless linen, Jesus Christ is a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. The priesthood is not some manufactured construct of the Roman Catholic Church, as Ian Brown would have you believe here. "Simple secularists still talk as if the Church had introduced a sort of schism between reason and religion," wrote Chesterton in The Everlasting Man. "The truth is that the Church was actually the first thing that ever tried to combine reason and faith." In an interview with Q Magazine in November 2007, Ian makes the claim that the Catholic Church stands as some kind of block between the individual and Christ: "My spiritual quest is for me to understand God. I've gotta educate myself, cos the church isn't going to show me God. They put themselves next to God so that you've got to go through them to get to God. I don't believe that." As Ian well knows, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Now to whom did the Good Shepherd give divine authority to feed His sheep and tend His lambs until His return ?

Raphael, Christ's Charge to Peter (1515). One flock under one Shepherd.

The Church is a society divine in its origin, supernatural in its end. Christ and His Church together make up the "whole Christ" (Saint Augustine); the response of Saint Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter." The mission of the Church is to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God begun by Jesus Christ among all peoples. The Church constitutes on earth the seed and beginning of this salvific Kingdom, in a communion of the church militant and church triumphant. Faith is a personal act insofar as it is the free response of the human person to God who reveals Himself. But at the same time it is an ecclesial act which expresses itself in the proclamation, "We believe". It is in fact the Church that believes, and thus by the grace of the Holy Spirit precedes, engenders and nourishes the faith of each Christian. Christ clearly establishes a church (singular) in Chapter 16 of Matthew, and listen carefully to the pronoun used by Jesus: "I will build my church". By divine decree, the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of divine truth. This does not mean that the Church 'hoards' it as its own. Rather, it proclaims what was given to it - an immutable sacred deposit of faith. Freely you have received, now freely you must give. The authority of the Pope is essentially subordinate to that of Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. The purpose for which Jesus made Peter His vicar on earth and gave him successors was that they would use this authority to protect, defend and preserve the deposit of faith. The truth is the lifeblood of the Church; it courses through her veins. Jesus endowed the Church with a charism to teach in His name, and she is led to all truth by the Holy Spirit. You will find admission of this straight out of the mouth of Martin Luther himself: "We are obliged to yield many things to the Papists (Catholics) - that they possess the Word of God which we received from them, otherwise we should have known nothing at all about it." (Commentary on St. John, ch. 16). Remember that Truth, with a capital T, is a person, Jesus Christ, and the Catholic Church is the doorway to that Truth. Perusal of the collection of extracts which embody Ian's "spiritual quest" reads like nothing more than a self-glorifying, pseudo-spiritual Gap Yah journal, in which reason is strictly limited to the empirical. The New Testament came out of the Church; the Church did not come out of the New Testament. Before the Acts of the Apostles could be written, the apostles had to act. There was no Bible for the first 400 years of Christianity. The Catholic Church did not 'steal God' from anyone; the Catholic Church is Christ in His mystical body. Otherwise, why does Christ, who had already ascended to heaven, ask of Saul on the road to Damascus, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me ?". This body existed throughout the Roman Empire before the first stroke of the Gospels was ever written. "Even as I write, I am glad of my sufferings on your behalf, as, in this mortal frame of mine, I help to pay off the debt which the afflictions of Christ still leave to be paid, for the sake of his body, the Church." (Col. 1: 24). We serve a suffering Saviour. Jesus spoke of His crucifixion as a baptism (Luke 12: 50), in which sacrament we die with Him so that we might rise to new life. The old man is crucified with Him; clothed with Christ, we are no longer servants of sin. The word church comes from the old English and Germanic word kirke; Greek ekklesia; Hebrew qahal; which means called, assembled, gathered. The church, in its most basic sense, is the community of those who have been gathered together by God. You never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name. The church exists for the altar, rather than the altar for the church.

Twin Beasts of the Apocalypse, Liberalism and Islamic fundamentalism share the same vision: the destruction of Western civilization. Both ideologies wish to wipe the slate clean and remould society according to their own wicked designs.

Recommended viewing:
Thomas Woods, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (13-part series, 2008)

As Woods nails here, note how Ian's attacks, and those of others, are masked at the outset as a criticism of religion in general, but soon narrow to the true source of their ire - the Catholic priesthood (Not ministers. Not pastors. Priests). Saul Alinsky, Rule 12. Note the bungled phrasing from Squire ("organised religion and Christianity") in the NME extract below; have the balls to say namely.

The Catholic Church, the Eternal Church, is the only church that can trace its lineage right back to the apostles. Our Blessed Lord established one Church, and to that Church alone guaranteed the fullness of truth and the protection of the Holy Spirit until the end of time. Everything else is man-made. Every other 'church' was founded at a later date and by a human being, making them deficient at their core, and thus it is perplexing that Ian's charges of 'hijacking religion' and the implementation of a 'tampered bible' are honing in on Vatican doors. The only line of continuum you will find in the history of Christianity is the Roman Catholic Church; on his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith, Cardinal Newman reflected, "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." The Holy Bible was the product of long centuries of compilation and preservation by Roman Catholic councils and popes under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The books of the Bible were collected, collated and copied by the Roman Catholic Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Were I seeking historical evidence of a tampered Bible, I would be training my eye toward sixteenth century Germany as opposed to fourth century Rome. The Catholic Church in two thousand years of existence has never once reversed or contradicted a single doctrine, once that doctrine has become part of the infallible teaching of the Church. The Church is not an organization. The Church is an organism, a living Body, growing and reawakened in souls who - like the Virgin Mary - welcome the Word of God and conceive it through the action of the Holy Spirit; they offer to God their own flesh. Ian is critical of the concept of an 'organised church', yet the fact that there are tens of thousands of personal denominational conceptions of Christ out there - his own, taking the guise of a Peyote-induced Ready Brek glow (a twenty-first century update on the Mormons' 'burning of the breast' philosophy) - demonstrates precisely the repercussions of a 'disorganised' church that has no anchor to tradition. Judging from this Channel 4 interview in 2005, Ian's own personal take on Jesus - who calms storms, walks on water, raises the dead, feeds thousands with a few loaves, cures the sick, declares He is God and then raises Himself from the dead - is that he simply had anger management issues. Condensing the above excerpt from Ian's Channel 4 interview in 2005, the singer claims that Mary Magdalene "gave Jesus his power" to be an "angry guy", at the same time soothing him of this anger, in what resembles some sort of neverending cyclical counselling session. Mary Magdalene gave Jesus the power to be this angry guy ? Do we speak of Christ here, or The Incredible Hulk ? If Ian believes that Jesus was "basically just an angry guy" (Channel 4, 2005), then I can save him time on his "spiritual quest" (Q Magazine, November 2007) and show him, this very minute, the god he is looking for: Ares, the Greek god of anger. No touchstone to the truth that is invested in (Catholic) religious authority means no clear teaching, and no clear teaching means theological chaos. Any Robert Langdon-stylized 'I don't need the church' quest for the 'grail' will ultimately go the way of Walter Donovan who, remember, chose... poorly. Side-stepping the truth, Ian advises people to follow (what could, for the sake of argument here, be termed) a selection of figures from the 'supporting cast' of the Bible, yet never, it seems, the central character, Christ Himself, in His journey to the cross. "Follow the path of Moses and you won't go wrong", we are instructed by the singer; "Mary Magdalene gave Him his power", we are informed in another instance. May I remind Ian - it is called Christianity for a reason, you know ? What Ian is attempting to do here is short-circuit the message of Our Blessed Lord, not to mention the very reason He came here to earth. To run with a C.S. Lewis (God in The Dock) line of argument, Ian could ascribe the causation of Ophelia's fall from a branch to her death in Hamlet to whatever baloney theory takes his fancy; he should ultimately remember, however, that it is Shakespeare who is making the whole play. Ian ends his Channel 4 answer with a vacuous quip about never having met Mary Magdalene; I would concern myself more with giving an account standing in front of Almighty God. The incarnation of God, swapping the places of the Creator and the Created in one great castling move: therein lies the uniqueness of Christianity. The whole point of the game is the king. If you get the king, you win the game. But by will of the king, who has the most mobility on the board ? If you lose the queen, you've lost the game. The king wins his victorious campaign through the queen, the masterpiece of the Most High. Align with the Mother of Mercy before meeting the King of Justice.

Corruptio optimi est pessima. The law perishes by a priest. In The Soul of the Apostolate, Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, Trappist Abbot of Sept-Fons, expressed this maxim: "A holy priest coincides with a fervent populace; a fervent priest - a pious populace; a pius priest - an honest populace; an honest priest - an impious populace." Speaking to The Quietus in September 2009, Ian claims that "All organised religions are about money and power, and I don't trust any of them. I don't see why a priest is any more holy than a taxi driver." Deep down, the sentiment being expressed here (for I am sure that Ian Brown is not losing any sleep over the imagined generic sanctity rating of those in the taxi driving profession) is 'I don't see why a priest is any more holy than me.' Like a politician garnering the vote of the 'man in the street', Ian here is implying that the average Joe is hierarchically shackled by ecclesiastical authority in any efforts to reach the heights of sanctity (Ian, it seems, is the one denying that a carpenter can be holy ?). No such restraints are in force (read, for example, about the life of the Venerable Matt Talbot). Priests go to confession. Popes go to confession. "My son, when you come to serve God, prepare your soul for temptation." The holiest among us are the ones with the heaviest crosses; the spiritual desert is where saints are formed. To the modern world, a priest is simply the guy who is supposed to play the nicest in Satan's sandpit. The priest will only be understood in heaven. Sin is spiritual illness, the essential malady of our immortal soul; it can be deadly. The church, the locus of redemption, is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. Saint Peter Julian Eymard, a French Catholic priest, writes, "Distinctions of rank are not in order here: great and small, kings and subjects, priests and people instinctively fall to their knees before the God of the Eucharist." There are not two classes of holiness, a holiness for the priest and a holiness for the laity. The call to holiness in the Church is universal. Is Ian even aware that Islam - the religion he is encouraging Jews and Christians to flock towards - is itself an 'organised religion' ? Otherwise, what does Ian mean by the word us when he says "...they must come to us" ? Contrary to the impression given by Ian, there is no pecking order of holiness in Catholicism. The Catholic Church does not trade in sanctification calcification via the Sacrament of Holy Orders or religious community; the priest's hood is not a halo. Domine, miserere super ista peccatrice. No less a saint than Athanasius served the warning that "The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops." Being a priest or bishop is no guarantee of having supernatural faith or irreproachable moral character. The collar or mitre is no safeguard against eternal perdition. In fact, in many ways this vocation runs a greater risk of condemnation owing to the great responsibility and authority such a man is given. There is almost no margin for error. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Hallowed be Thy Name. Though we are created in the image and likeness of God, holiness is not something that we will possess as an inherent part of our nature; we only become holy in relationship to Christ, the visible image of the invisible God. It is an infused holiness. You are indeed holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Only in Christ might we "become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5: 21). A halo is an abiding awareness of God's presence, an opening in the heavens, a state of constant communion with God. The hallmark of holiness is to be set apart (whereas the demonic New Age movement trades on a 'spirit of inclusiveness'). And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. Israel departs, not in order to be a people like all the others; it departs in order to serve God. The prophet Jeremiah was set apart in his mother's womb. The Spirit sets apart Mary from the normal course of human life, telling her that she had been chosen to bear the Messiah outside the course of nature. The moment Jesus came into Her life, She went in haste to give Him to others. Following baptism, the first action of the Spirit is to lead Jesus out into the wilderness, to separate Him from society and bring Him into confrontation with Satan. Those who were called to teach all the nations and to make disciples of them, were first to withdraw from the world and receive the strength of the Holy Ghost. Looking at the leadership strategy of Jesus, He taught the multitudes, mobilized the seventy-two, trained the twelve and confided in the three. The Spirit is at work in the early Church, bringing it into confrontation with the Jews and pagans. God is separated from His creation. God has made creation separate from Himself. He acquired a people for himself from those who previously were not a people. Non fecit taliter omni nationi. From its very first beginnings, the Church was separated: You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart. I have called you out of darkness into my own wonderful light. The priesthood is a people set apart from a people set apart. Jesus had an inner circle comprised of Peter, James, and John. Catholics do not have any kind of monopoly on holiness (but we do need to each be striving towards it), yet nor should there be any 'socialist' appropriation of holiness for that matter either. The ultimate division at the end of time begins in time. Holiness draws lines. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Holiness draws lines. The word of God is a sword that separates the soul from the spirit. The word vocation derives from the Latin vocare, "to call". It was not you that chose me, it was I that chose you. An apostle is one who is sent. Holiness is a divine invitation to be set apart, and to then go back and set apart. The crux of the priesthood is labour for the salvation of souls. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you. The first and last words of Jesus' ministry are Come (John 1: 39) and Go (Matthew 28: 19).

Hell is not a common room. There are degrees of evil exactly as there will be degrees of punishment in hell. The world cannot afford to entertain the pursuit of an 'I'm holy, you're holy, we're all holy' mindset. I think we could agree, for example, that Thérèse of Lisieux was in a greater state of holiness than Joseph Stalin ? If we were playing a game of Spiritual Top Trumps, I know which of the two cards I would rather have in my hand. The singer did, however, once claim that "millions of people in the world do exactly what Mother Teresa does" (NME, December 1989). There is a sliver of truth in this statement, but only in the sense that Mother Teresa promoted a false gospel of religious indifferentism. I would nevertheless dispute that there are millions of people in the world who do exactly what Mother Teresa does. Heck, there aren't even four John Vianneys in the world ! It is God's will that you should be sanctified (1 Thess. 4: 3); For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thess. 4: 7 - 8). The Risen Christ is now at work in human hearts through the strength of His Spirit, for it is the Spirit who sows the seeds of the word. This is the Word of the Lord. By the Word he speaks and the Spirit he breathes forth. The priesthood has an exalted dignity. To the apostles and their successors, Christ has entrusted the office of sanctifying, teaching and governing in His name and by His power. Holy Orders are an empowering for service, not a badge of holiness. The priest is not his own. Holy Orders are orders to be holy. The priest is an alter Christus. The spiritual character of the priesthood is sealed indelibly on his soul; it will be there for all eternity, whether he spends that eternity in heaven or in hell.

Ian believes in "the spirit" (The Independent, October 2011), I have little doubt. The problem is that he doesn't believe in the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, the Giver of Grace. Therefore, the "spirit" of this Independent extract is naturally going to be devoid of all holiness. There is only one thing worse than sin, and that is denial of the reality of sin. In the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, "The same sun shines upon mud that shines upon wax. It hardens the mud but softens the wax. The difference is not in the sun, but in that upon which it shines." Holiness is not the accumulation of a collection of virtues. Holiness is being possessed by God. Holiness consists in the practice of the theological virtues, whose pathway is more one of beatitude than virtue. It is a path of "poverty of heart", and it is compatible with many a fault. The secret of this path is hidden from the prideful and revealed to the humble. The prodigal son returned to his father in the rags of his sorrow and humility. We are all sinners, yet we all have the opportunity to become saints. Aside from the Virgin Inviolate, there is no saint who was not a sinner. The beatitude of the saints in heaven is the fruit of their perfect conformity to the will of God. The eternal Sun is infinite Beauty, of whom the saints are but reflections. "In the end, life offers only one tragedy: not to have been a saint." (Charles Péguy). The wedding gown of the Bride of Christ is the righteous deeds of the saints. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Top: Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Marian apparition and 16th century Roman Catholic icon, Mexico's most popular religious image. Guadalupe's feast day is celebrated on 12th December, a day which commemorates her appearance to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City from 9th - 12th December 1531. Guadalupe was originally a Nahuatl word that the Virgin Mary said to Juan Diego to identify who She was. This Aztec word was originally Coatlaxopeuh, which means 'One who treads on snakes', the significance of which is expounded upon at the end of this essay.
Bottom: The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883). Giving it the big 'I Am' on Me And You Forever, Ian appropriates the plight of Daniel in the lions' den: "Come into the lions' den / We'll see what you're made of then". Well, the early Christians in the full conviction of their faith were, as illustrated here, quite literally, in the lions' den. What 'feeling' Ian was getting, when positioned where the Roman emperors used to sit, we are not informed, in the above Q extract. However, if this is his take on the authenticity and validity of early Christianity, I imagine it is not one of empathy and solidarity with the Christians on the sands of the Coliseum. Ian levels the accusation that the (Catholic) Church hijacked religion, claiming that the Bible has been "tampered with". The Catholic Church compiled the Bible over the course of centuries. It was the first generation of Catholics who wrote the New Testament. In the Roman Empire, it was Catholics who were killed protecting those sacred scriptures, and who were persecuted for their faith over the course of three centuries. Many were fed to the lions; as a footnote, this accusation against the validity of their faith comes from a man who has a recurring dream where he is sitting under a tree, wearing a gold crown, with a lion under one arm and a lioness under the other. The verb preen (when speaking of a person) means to 'devote effort to making oneself look attractive and then admire one's appearance.' I will leave it up to the reader to decide whether that word best describes people paying their respects to Pope John Paul II or the content of Ian's recurring dream.

...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you (Mt. 28: 20). As soon as you put a crack in the foundation of faith, you destroy the faith. After commenting that Rastafarianism is "full of joy" in an interview with The Guardian (Saturday 2nd February 2002), Ian is asked about the movement's attitude to homosexuals. He responds, "You can pick something out of every religion that you don't agree with." If Rastafarianism is, as Ian claims, "full of joy", then, by that definition, there should be nothing in it that can be countered. Joy floods the soul as a consequence of the Truth, not the other way around. Ian's definition and perception of joy here is clearly not the embedded, deep-seated longing articulated by C.S. Lewis. Joy is not an emotion, but rather, is born of certitude of heart about the faith. It may be expressed through the emotions, but it does not emanate from the emotions. The emotions are at the service of joy, not the other way around. This is the order of God, that the lower obey what is higher. When emotions are in the driving seat, you are veering toward the Luciferian view of human nature, which emphasizes emotions and passions over knowledge and intellect. This stands on its head the correct ordering of the human being (indeed, the symbol of the devil is a man turned upside down). The corollary of Ian's response to the Guardian exposes the futility of his 'spiritual quest', because equally so, you can no doubt find something in every religion that you do 'like'. This does not mean, however, that you can then merrily dine on them all, buffet-style. The Beatitudes mean diddly-squat if you are at the same time in denial of the Crucifixion. A world that does not fear hell will never put joy in the context of Salvation. Rather, it will put it in the context of quality of life. The harshest truths on the planet are the very foundation of the only true religion of the planet. 'This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it ?'. Christianity cannot be deconstructed of its components, as if the faith or any given doctrine of it is something negotiable or inconsequential. The teachings of the Church, her divinely revealed complexes of doctrines, are intrinsically wed and cannot be torn apart. Anyone on such a quest places their soul in immortal danger. Equally so, they cannot be merged to choice aspects of other religions in order to weave some personal snug spiritual patchwork quilt. Without the Church blueprint, one's own shortcomings become the foundation of one's own morality. We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong. In summary, if you can "pick something out of every religion that you don't agree with", then (applying this to any specific religion), a) that religion has a false component, or b) you have not conformed to the 'truth' of that religion. Either way, you are in a land of confusion.

The Rastafari movement is a religion and philosophy that accepts Haile Selassie I (1892 - 1975), the former (and last) emperor of Ethiopia, as Jah (the Rasta name for God incarnate, from a shortened form of Jehovah, found in Psalms 68: 4 in the King James Version of the Bible), and part of the Holy Trinity as the messiah promised to return in the Bible. The name Rastafari comes from Ras (Duke or Chief) Tafari Makonnen, the pre-coronation name of Haile Selassie I. The movement emerged in Jamaica among working-class and peasant black people in the early 1930s, arising from an interpretation of Biblical prophecy partly based on Selassie's status as the only African monarch of a fully independent state, and his titles of King of kings, Lord of lords, and Conquering Lion of Judah (Apocalypse 5: 5). Other factors leading to its rise include the sacred use of cannabis, and various Afrocentric social and political aspirations, such as the teachings of Jamaican publicist and organiser Marcus Garvey (1887 - 1940), also often regarded as a prophet within this belief system, whose political and cultural vision helped inspire a new world view. Perceived by his followers as a second John the Baptist, his philosophy fundamentally shaped the movement, with many of the early Rastas starting out as Garveyites. The movement is called Rastafarianism by some non-Rastas, although some Rastas themselves regard that term as improper and offensive. The Rastafari movement has spread throughout much of the world, largely through interest generated by reggae music - most notably, that of Jamaican-born singer/songwriter Bob Marley. By the year 2000, there were more than one million Rastafari faithful worldwide. One of the most famous prophecies attributed to him - involving the coronation of Haile Selassie I - was the 1927 pronouncement, "Look to Africa, for there a king shall be crowned," though an associate of Garvey's, James Morris Webb, had made very similar public statements as early as 1921. Garvey promoted Pan-Africanism, the belief that all black people of the world should join in brotherhood and work to decolonise the continent of Africa - then still controlled by the white colonialist powers. He promoted his cause of black pride throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and was particularly successful and influential among lower-class black people in Jamaica and in rural communities. Although his ideas have been hugely influential in the development of Rastafari culture, Garvey never identified himself with the movement, and even wrote an article critical of Haile Selassie for leaving Ethiopia at the time of the Fascist occupation: "Hailie Selassie is the ruler of a country where black men are chained and flogged... He will go down in history as a great coward who ran away from his country." In addition, his Universal Negro Improvement Association disagreed with Leonard P. Howell, one of the first preachers of the Rastafari movement, over Howell's teaching that Haile Selassie was the Messiah. Rastafari nonetheless may be seen as an extension of Garveyism.

 

Left: Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.
Right: "So I'm singing to Kingston / Your teaching it's on..." ... Marcus Garvey.

Breaking down Where Angels Play into discernible basic references provides the following summary:

This condensed reading of the opening verses reveals the Genesis creation narrative, the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. God created a man, Adam, from the dust and he is later joined by a woman, Eve, whom God forms from a part of man's body. God created man "in his own image" (Genesis 1: 27) and "blessed them" (Genesis 1: 28), hence, God-given grace and a holy heaven face. They were given "every seed-bearing plant" and "every tree that has fruit with seed in it" (Genesis 1: 29) for food. They were, however, forbidden to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At the end of the second verse of the song, once 'contact' is made with the apple, the eyes of Adam and Eve are opened, and they become instantly aware of their nakedness. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil sent the message to their Creator, I don't need you; in God's words to the serpent, the seeds of enmity - between thy seed and her seed - are sown (You brood of vipers...). The solo material of John Squire and Ian Brown provides supporting evidence for two tickets to paradise. Intimating toward a 'paradise lost', Squire sings on Strange Feeling, "We never made that flight to Paradise"; this calibrates with the Ian Brown lyric, "What a trip before the fall", on Me And You Forever. This Ian Brown lyric contains two subtle dualities in meaning. Just as someone trips before they fall, Adam and Eve, on Where Angels Play, took a (psychedelic) trip before the Fall. 'Adam' (MDA, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine) and 'Eve' (MDE, 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine) make love. We are in the realm of a Byrdsian Fifth Dimension magic carpet ride here. This Is Not Manchester. This Is a Trip.

"...van van van Gogh". 'Flowering Plumtree (after Hiroshige)' (1887) by Vincent van Gogh. "Far below the country rolls like a mighty boiling sea / The warm red sun gives up and sinks into the trees". The artistic nature of this rhyming couplet suggests the hand of Squire and may branch from this Van Gogh Japanese inspired print. Drowned in red blood, the Sun gives up his breath; With the day trip over, a tangerine sun turns into a blood red sun splashed horizon.

Pride goeth before a fall. Pride was the sin of Satan; Pride occasioned the fall of Adam. Pride is the instrument by which the serpent deceives Eve and trips up Adam. The beginning of man's pride is to depart from the Lord. Pride is the taproot of the tree of death. By Jesus dying on the tree of death (the cross), we now have access to the Tree of Life (Apoc. 22).

"What a trip before the fall...". A Sistine Chapel fresco by Michelangelo depicts the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. On the east side of the Garden of Eden, God placed cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life ("Through fire we'll walk and start again"). 'What A Trip' was also the title of a November 1989 interview with Ian Brown in London, released by Baktabak in 1990.

The live version of Where Angels Play from 1987 contains the following synaesthetic chorus, from which the title derives. Harmonies like unto the harmonies of paradise, ear hath never heard.

Where angels play
Heart-shaped tambourines
And the birds sing out the sweetest song
That you have ever seen

Throughout the history of art, angels are often portrayed playing musical instruments, a symbol and expression of heavenly harmony. We see this in the works of Fra Angelico (1400 - 1455), 'The Annunciation' (1596) by El Greco (1541 - 1614) and 'Song of the Angels' (1881) by William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 - 1905). These angels play in harmony with the birds (Genesis 2: 19).

 

"Come hear the angels sing..."
Top left: Tabernacle of the Linaioli (detail) (c. 1433) by Fra Angelico. The central panel depicting the Madonna and Child is surrounded by a band of 20 cm width, showing twelve angels playing different musical instruments. This band can be seen only when the tabernacle is open.
Top right: 'The Annunciation' (1596) by El Greco.
Second row: 'The Golden Stairs' (1880) by Edward Burne-Jones (1833 - 1898). The work revolves upon itself like a piece of music or a dance.
Third row: 'Song of the Angels' (1881) by William Adolphe Bouguereau.
Bottom: 'St Cecilia' (1895) by John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917).

On Transatlantic Near Death Experience, Squire invites the listener to "come hear the angels sing", alluding to Where Angels Play. Nighthawks contains a Garden of Eden themed message to Ian, "...But the snake's head still grows in my garden."; a closing lyric from the recipient's Time Is My Everything, recorded a year later, also has roots here - "Ain't the devil happy when two lovers break a bond they made ?". The marriage covenant of man and woman is built into the order of creation, and raised to the dignity of a sacrament, visibly expressing the covenant between Christ and His Church. The home is the first school of Christian life, and the family is the 'domestic Church'. The devil has attacked married life and the family from the very beginning. Satan desires that the family becomes a place of accusation and blame, of pride and unwillingness to confess sin. At first hiding from God, Adam blames both God and Eve. Eve blames the serpent. The devil made me do it. A bond broken between Brown and Squire led to The Stone Roses splitting in 1996, and if Shaun William Ryder is to be believed, it was another bond being broken that tipped the scales in favour of a reunion in 2011. The former Happy Mondays frontman hinted that Ian Brown's costly divorce bill, following his recent split from wife Fabiola Quiroz Brown, was a decisive factor: "It's amazing what a divorce will make you do", Ryder commented in October 2011. We discover much of what Jesus teaches about marriage in what He says about divorce. He grounds His teaching on marriage in Genesis 1-2 and gives it the seal of His own authority. Jesus takes things from the beginning to lead them to their fulfilment (Ephesians 1: 10). He brings marriage back to what it was meant to be in the beginning (Matt 19: 8). God's love never fails, and it never ends, but our love changes, like the moon, in marriage. It waxes and it wanes. But had too many moons passed to turn the clock back ? They have all the time in the world but would the Roses have a happy ever after ending when two lovers come as one again ?

"Your tongue is far too long...". The lyrical anger and bitterness of I Am The Resurrection, the peak of the first album's snake-fanged bite, also has one foot in Eden. Satan, the destroyer of life, took the form of a serpent in order to tempt Eve, thus breaking the bond between man and wife, as each attempted to pass the blame for their transgression. He was a murderer from the beginning of the world, having brought both a corporal and a spiritual death by sin, upon all mankind. The head of the serpent, henceforth, was susceptible to being crushed by the offspring of Eve; Jesus was the 'New Adam', who came to undo the Fall of the first Adam (Dying you destroyed our death...). I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. He had not the power to die. We had not the power to live. So He took from us the power to die, so that He could give to us the power to live. On this mountain He will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations. He will destroy Death for ever. With victory over the grave, Love conquers death. Evil has its hour, but God has His day.

Some theologians - for example, Philip Yancey - speculate as to whether it would have been better if God had told Adam and Eve, "Don't eat the snake." A lyric from Superstar forms such a contrast: "I'd sooner eat the snake than have to eat the sand". The serpent in the Garden of Eden was cursed to eat dust ('sand' in the context of Superstar) all the days of its life. In this, 'I would rather x than y' propositional formula, is the 'cunning' John Squire considered to have befallen the fate of y ? If the hypothesis of this essay is correct, then the following verse from Nighthawks journeys through the thematic territory of three Stone Roses tracks: Elephant Stone, This Is The One and Where Angels Play.

 

 

"...But the snake's head still grows in my garden."
Mary gave God Almighty the flesh He used to crush the head of the serpent at the place of the skull. Mary is the 'New Eve', crushing the serpent under Her feet. Top right is the Blessed Virgin Mary's statue in Rome; second row, left is Fr. Sorin's statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Notre Dame's Golden Dome (accompanied by close-up). On the top left is Caravaggio's 'The Madonna and the Serpent' (1605 - 06), in which Mary and Jesus - the mother holding Jesus protectively, Her foot under His - together crush the serpent. The naked child Jesus represents the innocence of pre-fall Eden. In the dark shadow between Mary and St Anne, the position of Jesus' hand - which at first glance seems like a natural product of childlike exuberance - is in a commanding position over the serpent. In this motion, Caravaggio also prefigures the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, which crossed the valley of the shadow of death, in which the hand of Jesus is outstretched in darkness. Is there here already the cast of a naked Christ, an arm stretched out, a hand clawed in pain, a head bowed down, a wounded side - which is clasped - and foot pierced upon the serpent's tooth. This sacrifice by Jesus reverts the work of the adversary, who here is depicted writhing in pain beneath the almighty power of God. St. Anne - whose halo is aligned with that of the Virgin Mary - in antique style, detachedly contemplates the scene. Darkness envelops the figures set in this undefined place, but an unnaturally bright light symbolic of God's presence bursts forth from above, bathing the child's skin in a warm glow.
Bottom: Standing on your head is a symbol of absolute victory, and Jesus definitively crushed the head of Satan on Calvary. All four Gospels make reference to where this happened, Golgotha, place of [the] skull. The Blessed Virgin Mary was standing right there at the final victory where Satan's head was crushed. Jesus did not choose one of the apostles to help redeem mankind with Him, He chose a woman to help redeem mankind with Him. The only time in history that a son gave life to his mother, Jesus chose a woman to give Him His flesh, the same flesh that would hang on that cross and redeem the entire race. Eve is our mother in the natural order; Mary, the 'New Eve', is our mother in the supernatural order of grace. Eve gives us human life; Mary brings us to the font of eternal supernatural life. Just as Eve became the source of death, Mary becomes the source of Life. In the Old Testament, in Genesis, it was the man that compassed the woman. The woman came out from man. Women, in Hebrew, means from man. Humanity was under the sinful head of Adam, and a recapitulation (anakephalaiosis) of all things in Christ was needed to usher in grace and the New Creation, a New Eden. The sword drawn to block Adam from life in Eden is sheathed to open the way to life in Christ in Gethsemane. For, with the old order destroyed, a universe cast down is renewed, and integrity of life is restored to us in Christ. In Jeremiah, we are told that the woman shall compass the man, and this is fulfilled in the New Testament, when the new man, the 'New Adam', comes out of the woman. Together, they change Creation. Eve and Adam together cause the Fall. The New Eve and New Adam together bring Salvation. Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary's womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation. We are from below, but He is from above. In the Old Testament, Adam was formed from the slime of the earth. When original sin enters the land, it is then that God curses the earth. Prior to this, the earth was pristine and untouched by sin. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. Mary becomes a new land, a new earth. On those who dwell in the land and shadow of death, a light has dawned. The 'New Eve' forms one of three types of Our Blessed Mother in the Old Testament, along with 'Ark of the Covenant' and 'Queen'. In the great axiom of Saint Augustine, "The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old is made manifest in the New." In its compilation of the Bible, the Catholic Church bridges Malachi with Matthew because John the Baptist is the new Elijah, preparing the way for God's full and final revelation of Himself in Jesus. God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary in the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy. Mary visits Elizabeth and stays with her for about three months (Luke 1: 56), meaning Mary was there to assist Elizabeth in bringing John the Baptist into the world. Soon to be the herald of the King, the last prophet from the Old Covenant is ushered into the world, into the arms of the Mother of the New Covenant, making Mary the bridge between the Old and the New.


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