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Yes, I got it right here:
The German tank in the first picture is a Tiger II / King Tiger / Panzer VIb. Americans first ran up against these in the Battle of the Bulge. The burning wreck is a Sherman
The twin engine jet in the third picture is an ME-262. Not that many made and not many saw combat. Their other Jet the ME-163 was prone to explode either on take-off, or if it ran out of fuel. Not much use.
But the ME-262 was potentially quite useful. Substantial speed, manueverability, and climb advantages over the next best planes, P-51's and P-38's.
Yes, you have provided me with a piece of the puzzel. I have been trying to find a connection between Agen and the Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade.
Agen is not that close to Monsegur. Its almost on the opposite side of Toulouse, in a differnt dioscese and a differnt province.
Condolances cards upon the birth of a second child? And even back in the 19th Century? I've never heard of such a thing.
The only time I've every heard of such attitudes has been in connection with Gnosticism.
Here is a map of the de-Christianization of France:
De-Christianization had not been one of the original 1789 goals. But shortly into the revolution, it became clear that there was popular support for reinstating the monarchy and that this was closely tied to support for Catholicism.
So eventually they wanted priests to take oaths of loyalty to the Revolution. When they did they were granted the role of Juror - Priest. This is what the map shows. It gives a sense of the level of support for secularity.
According to Yale's John Merriman, the map is almost identical to a map which shows the support for Mitterand.
France is different than the US. In the US the usual alternative to Catholicism is Protestantism. And Protestantism restarts every few decades that is, the non-denominationals turn into denominations. And so a new crop rises, quoting Paul of Tarsus even more out of context and claiming that they are even more Christian than anyone else.
In France Protestantism never got very far. Mostly the Rhone River Valley as it comes out of Switzerland. America's Dupont family are French Protestants. They tried to launch a Fascist Coup against Franklin Roosevelt.
But for most in France the alternative to Catholicsim is this de-Christianizing or Anti-Clericalism.
This is not the same as Bertrand Russel styled atheism either.
In a book I read about the Cathars, the author visited Montsegur. There people told him that everyone there was a Cathar. And that everyone there still is a Cathar.
Cathars mixed in fully with Catholics and even attended Catholic services. Their cession is private. They don't reject all of it, they just understand it differently. They don't seek to make a new Church to replace it.
Mostly what seems different in their views is how they see the Church and how they see procreation. You could say that in each they see error.
Very very different from Protestantism.
Condolances cards? Anyone ever heard of such a thing?
more about Gnosticism
That Gnostics were dualistic, or more dualistic than Orthodoxy is not clear. That is, most what we know about them has been written by their detractors. One detractor is Iraneaus, writing against Valentinus.
It is not clear that all Gnostics were influenced by Manicheanism.
Also, I will concede that the Orthodox doctrine of The Incarnation and Fully Human and Fully Divine is actually the most radical. When Gnostic groups have been based on teachings which opposed this, like in the early centuries, they were not very sensical.
But there is also dualism in Orthodoxy, with the Augustinian notion of The Fall and Original Sin. Its just that the lines are drawn differently. Most doctrines are dualistic. Maybe not Taoism, but most everything else is based on drawing a line of distinction.
The cosmological texts of the Gnostics really don't seem that important to me. Rather, Gnosticism is more about opting out. And the means of doing this are usually private. When really pressed what the difference seems to come down to is two things:
1. They see Christian Orthodoxy as part of this fallen or demiurgic world. This is not so strange. Martin Luther said that the Pope was the Anti-Christ. Luther was seeing only part of the picture.
2. Gnostics tend not to be pro-natalist, where as Christian Orthodoxy is always decidedly so. Gnosticism has always been pluralistic and usually secretive. Often Cathars are presented as extreme aesthetics and you will hear this kind of criticism coming from Catholic sources. But I think this is being misunderstood.
Gnostics did not see sex as sinful. But they tended to see procreation as an error, "sowing children to the Demiurge".
But again, I don't think their mythology is intended to be taken as objective truth.
You know all those Baby Jesus's put out in Manger Scenes at Christmas time? Well, the Catholic Church feeds off of them. It feeds off of children. It feeds off of them just like a Moloch. It sucks the life out of them. It needs them in order to regulate the lives of adults into their 3 approved States of Life. It needs children to use, to legitimate itself.
There is one escape route from the Family System, and it is the one they control. Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience.
Anything else, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, non-procreative sex, is sinful.
In recent decades as these other ways have become more accepted, religious vocations have dropped to to a trickle of what they once were.
The Catholic Church really doesn't care if Priests are homosexual. I've heard inside estimates about the Jesuit Order of 70%. They don't even really care if they abuse children either, so long as it doesn't effect the Church's finances. Everything about Catholicism is based on abusing children in one way or another.
What is important is that they keep it concealed so that they can control the laity and enforce procreative heterosexuality.
So we can now review the vows,
Chastity, meaning an exemption from the Family System.
Poverty, meaning being able to live with greater material security than all but a very very few will ever enjoy, and a quite comfortable life as well. I remember not too far back being introduced to a 300lb Carmelite as he was opening the door to a walk in freezer.
Obedience, meaning one must never stop preaching about the virtues of the Good Family, and one must always be able to give the "I Love My Mother" sermon.
The Albigensian Crusades were the first of the crusades. It was after this that the crusades into the Holy Land and wars with Islam came.
About Europe and birth rates. As I remember, it was West Germany that had the lowest birth rate. Definitely negative population growth. I believe that this was because the Right was discredited and kept under wraps.
I believe that their birth rate would have gone way up after reunification.
The Netherlands was low, and Scandinavia almost as low.
France was not as low, over all.
But what I have learned from John Merriman is that France was lower before 1945 and that from about 1850 thru 1940 France stood out as being very low. Certainly it was much lower than German and Italy, and even lower than England.
The explanation Merriman offers is contraception and de-Christianizing. That is, Bishops were saying, "No dirty little secrets". Some people listened and some did not. Enforcing procreation was and still is a central part of Catholic practice.
As far as the regions, what Merriman explains is:
Cities tend to have lower birth rates. More people die in cities than are born their. Cities will tend to be more de-Christianized.
But Paris and Lyon are exceptions. They are "lost to the Church".
Agen is not that large of a city. It is also not the only place with a very low birth rate. But it is the one Merriman tells of as people receiving condolences cards upon the birth of a second child. It was like this even in the 19th Century.
I have never heard of such a thing or of a place where people think like that. The only explanation I could hypothesize would be Gnosticism. Merriman does not talk about anything like this.
You folks have taken this to the next level, providing evidence of a connection between the Cathars and Agen.
As far as contraception:
To me it seems like there has likely been contraception for as long as people have lived in cities. Maybe not everyone knew about it, and maybe it didn't work so well. But I am convinced that it existed.
Never been able to find much written about this.
My feeling is that modern science is not really the issue. Rather, its changes in people's thinking that make them want contraception.
And likewise, if there was more demand for it, billions of dollars could be spent per year to develop contraception which is more idea. So far this is not happening.
about Gnosticism and the idea of opting out:
That Cathars were sometimes referred to as Pater Nosters. That is, they would recite the Lord's Prayer over and over and over.
I saw in a video once one of their artifacts. On the front side it is a Crucifix. On the back though it says Pater Noster.
It seems that there have been many ways of opting out of Christian Orthodoxy.
According to Joseph Campbell the Parceval stories were one such. They follow many themes which are different from what Christianity promotes.
There were Medieval small breviaries. These were hourly prayer books intended for laity. They would have the same 8 hour Benedictine hours which the official breviary used. But the books were small and simple. The hours were often understood as being a meditation on Jesus's last day.
The effect of this was to give one a level of personal contemplative prayer. Every hour of every day became sacred.
So Sunday, and Mass, and sermons, and Confession before Communion, became less important.
The Rosary may also have originally been something like this, a way of opting out.
Francis of Assisi is the one who really pushed for veneration of the Holy Family and the use of Manger Scenes. He was trying to oppose the non-pronatalist views of the various Gnostic groups, including the Cathars.
Francis himself was a layman who never took vows. But he did opt himself out of the Family System and did have a very strong emotional need to promote it.
Francis came from a well off merchant family. Giving away everything, even the clothes off his back, was a way of opposing his father.
As depicted in film, his father was angered by this. And because of his social position he started giving orders to the Bishop. "Don't just stand there, do something!"
"Here my son, take this to clothe your naked body," as he gives him his own magnificent robe.
Francis then proceeds to give the BIshop's robe away too. Then with no coverage except for his hands, he runs off into the woods.
It was and still is very common for celibate religious vocations to come from well off families. You see, such people would have zero excuse for failure to perpetuate the Family System. They have zero economic hardship or other lack of advantages. So the only legitimate way out would be Chastity, Poverty and Obediance. And the cost of this, not really a cost, an obligation, is that one must keep on preaching and preaching the virtues of the Good Family. One must stay in denial.
I want to know more about these regions of France with very low birth rates and I want to understand what their attitudes really are, and where they come from.
You folks have provided me with the link between Catharism and Agen. Now it would be interesting to see if people really do think in similar manners. I don't see it as being tied to comological narratives as I don't see these as important. Rather, its more about opting out of certain aspects of Christian Orthodoxy and refusing certain patterns of denial.
Here, trying to find information about Agen I just stumbled across this:
I knew that West Germany had a very low birth rate during the 1960's, lower than the Netherlands or Scandinavia, the lowest anywhere in the world. But I assumed that after reunification, as the Right resurfaced. the rate would go way up. The Right did resurface, separating people by race in train stations for Customs processing, attacks on Muslims, holocaust denial, anti-abortion laws, talk about making two tiers of health care benefits. But seemingly the birth rate has not gone back up. They are talking about 1.5, which is very low for any country, and even 1.38.
But these sorts of numbers are misleading, as they give the impression that the country is entirely homogeneous. I'm sure it is not, that it is stratified in all sorts of different ways, including by region and by the influence of religion. So its going to be very similar then to France.
In the US I believe the number is more like 2.1 or 2.2, very high for industrialized nations.
Some of the groups in the US with a very high rate are ultra conservative factions of of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. According to Kevin Philips, its these very groups, with their high birth rates, which provided the support for the war in Iraq.
The above article talks about issues with state run day care. Well, the US has zero state run day care. So the explanations given in the above two articles are just a small portion of the story.
In the 1970's Congress passed legislation for Universal Day Care, but Richard Nixon vetoed it, saying that it would "Sovietize the American Family".
The population of the entire world still grows by 100,000,000 per year, and then a billion per decade. This also means that the average age continues to get younger, and so it is still a geometrical explosion. Maybe its not as steep of a curve as the worst predictions made 50 years ago, but it is still a geometrical explosion.
What I'm interested in are the psycho dynamics which underlie the regions and social segments of the industrialized countries which have very low numbers.
So I am still hoping someone might know more about Agen and regions like that. And as far as the condolences cards upon the birth of a second child, and even in the 19th Century, I really am looking for information about that.
In this course session Merriman goes into it, the de-Christianization:
Here, at 16:30 he talks about the recorded sermons of Bishops in 19th Century France, saying, "No dark secrets!" Well in a land of falling birth rates, that means no contraception.
At 22:00 he starts telling the story. He mentions a couple where they had 12 and 13 siblings.
At 22:40 he starts to talk about Agen, the Prune Capital. And he explains about the condolances cards.
shows pronunciation marks
here, still working on my Chance to Survive website text:
I'm glad you listened to Merriman. Thank you. Yes, the condolences
cards are kind of nasty. At least they could be. I'm not really
encouraging that. I just want to understand it.
France has universal access to health care. I live in a country which
doesn't have that, but where the Born Again Movement is extremely
popular. So I don't know how common the condolences cards are. This
is why I'm posting about it. I'm hoping someone will know.
The only time I have ever heard of people who might think that way is
associated with Gnosticism. But actually not with Cathars, with one
of the predecessor groups which influenced them, Bogomils.
But again, most of what is known about Gnosticism is what has been
written by its detractors, so you have to take it with a grain of
An anti-natalist position could be nasty. But pro-natalism is also
nasty, and it preys on children.
Most of what the Recovery Movement puts out is really just Liberal
Pedagogy, Rousseauism, and this most certainly is pro-natalism.
As far as Roman Catholic celibacy, yes, everything it says in your two
links is true. Its only for the Latin Rite, and its not always been
this way. There are about 10 or so Eastern Rites, and they do not
require celibacy for priests.
The Anglican Church has three parties, a mainline protestant styled, a
fundamentalist protestant styled, and the Anglo-Catholic party. The
parties are barely on speaking terms, and none of them look to the
Arch Bishop of Canterbury for their leadership. They each look
outside of England.
In England itself, not talking about Ireland, just talking about
England, Roman Catholic Sunday attendance exceeds Anglican attendance,
even counting all three of its parties.
Many in the Anglo-Catholic party want some sort of reunification with
Rome. But they want it with some special status still preserved.
Because of these Eastern Rites, there is precedent for this. There
are also married Lutheran clergy who have been allowed to become
Catholic Priests. So it could happen.
But, the Anglo-Catholic party is the most liberal of the three
Anglican Church parties.
I don't feel that going to married priests would solve much within the
Roman Catholic Church. I don't think the way it has worked in the
Anglican Church would give one much reason to be hopeful about it.
See, once you do that, then you are making marriage part of one's
social legitimacy. Historically, they had to be married before
Ordination, and a divorce would mean they were out.
Familiar with the Zen teacher Alan Watts? He was quite iconoclast and
decided that he wanted to become a priest in the Anglo-Catholic wing
of the American Episcopalian Church. He was married to an English
woman from a wealthy and well connected family. So they shopped the
entire United States for a suitable diocese, and one where they would
let Watts prepare for the priesthood by self study. They found what
they wanted in Chicago. So Watts was soon the Chaplin for I believe
Northwestern University. He never wanted to be a parish rector. The
agreement he had with the Bishop was that he would chase after wealthy
Episcopalians who had strayed from the fold, and try to present them
with a thinking person's approach to Christianity and bring them back.
At doing this Watts proved quite adept, hosting cocktail parties
twice per week.
But then his marriage fell apart. What Watts wanted was something
very different, much more bohemian. So they were divorced. Then the
wife wrote a letter to the Bishop denouncing Watts as a sexual
pervert, and explaining how penitent she was and that she wanted to
make herself ready for "Christian Marriage". Her family really was
loaded, so staying in good graces with their church was really
important to her.
Watts then pre-empted the Bishop by writing a letter denouncing
Christianity. Then he went on to write one of his best books, The
Wisdom of Non-Belief. This was around about 1950.
In the decades since its been republished along with his last book
written while wearing the Episcopalian collar, Behold the Spirit.
Watts has written in the new editions a suggestion that the two works
be read back to back.
Anytime you make marriage a matter of social identity, then very soon
you are also going to be making children part of this.
A big part of the argument against gay clergy among protestant groups
is that an unattached person is potentially on the make, and so they
are a threat to the congregation.
Watts used to say that for an Episcopalian Priest, alcoholism, traffic
citations, and bank over draws would always be forgiven, but an affair
with the secretary would be inexcusable. Watts said that churches are
little more than "sexual regulation societies". This would seem to be
It would be in the mid 60's that Watts would be in San Francisco and
would meet up with the Episcopalian Bishop James Pike, who welcomed
him to celebrate in the Cathedral. From then on, Watts would often be
asked to do funerals and weddings for friends, though the weddings he
Ideally the Catholic Clergy Abuse Scandal would have prompted a deeper
look at what their attitudes really are. But nothing of the sort has
happened. Rather they've just gotten tougher about making people tow
the line, and they gotten less tolerant about lots of things not
So no, I don't think eliminating the celibacy requirement for Roman
Catholic Priests would solve anything. The denial about the Family
System runs very very deep. I feel that it is the core of
Catholicism, and in large measure it is also for all of the Abrahamic
Celibacy is a kind of a protest. It was 2000 years ago, it was for
Jeremiah, and it still is today. It suggests that one may be engaging
in spiritual warfare. So I do see value in it.
It is not clear that Gnostic groups were influenced by Manicheanism.
This is just something which has been speculated. But one man who was
most certainly saturated with Manicheanism was Augustine.
Augustine wanted to be baptized for over a decade, but he still
declined until he was also ready for celibacy. This required a change
in him, and also his teenage son died and he dismissed his common law
I've tried to present Gnosticism as a kind of opting out, and to
downplay their various cosmological doctrines. The orthodox doctrine
of one creator God and of the Incarnation as meaning fully human and
fully divine, is actually a more radical doctrine. Celibacy is also
radical, but the way that they do it is in support of pro-natalism.
What I've always said is that the Clergy Abuse law suits should be
just the first step. Religious Addition plays out in families. So I
say, figure out ways to sue for all the ramifications of familial
religious addiction. Sue until there is nothing left but the bones of
requesting international assistance in process service:
I really do want to understand what it is like in Agen and these other
areas of France with the very low birth rates. It sounds like there
are also such areas in Germany as well.
one of my favorite recordings, especially the opening;
I like the stereo mastering too. They say that Keith Richards
plays just very slightly behind the beat, and that this lets the drumming
stand out and gives the music a distinctive sound. To actually hear this
you really do have to listen close.
I'm not against acoustic or semi-hollow guitar music. Its just that I like
the solid body music so much that I rarely have patience to listen to
Cathar Feminism? Part II
Here I draw attention to a smaller section:
Marriage was also condemned, as it led to the production of children and so entrapped more spiritual souls in evil, material bodies1.
This last item provides a good starting point for the exploration of a Cathar feminism. The condemnation of marriage was particularly obnoxious in the eyes of their orthodox opponents. Instead, the Cathars advocated a complete reversal of orthodox teaching. Catholicism championed that sex belonged only in marriage, and that sex in marriage must be for reproduction and without pleasure. While the Cathars thought childbearing a great sin, they did not object to sexual motivations other than reproduction.
Again I want to state that it is not clear that Catharism or Gnosticism is actually dualistic, or at least not any more dualistic than orthodoxy. Though there are cosmological gnostic texts, it is not at all clear to me that gnosticism depends upon these, or that it actually depends at all on rejection of the orthodox doctrines of one creator God and of the Incarnation.
It is not clear that Cathars or Bogomils were influenced by Manicheanism or Zoroastrianism. Or I should say, it is not clear that they are any more influenced by these things than are Christian and Islamic orthodoxy.
As far as what the differences of significance are then, mostly it seems to be how one views the Church.
Beyond that there do seem to be attitudinal differences about procreation and sex. But I feel that these matters are actually quite complex and conflicted.
The harsher anti-natal attitudes I have heard of are attributed to Bogomils and not Cathars. But as with everything else about gnosticism, these are anecdotal accounts coming from detractors.
Could it be that some aspect of Cathar thinking still continues in France and has contributed to de-Christianizing, an early drop in birth rate, and some regions with extremely low birth rates and the condolences cards?
Again, it was Francis of Assisi who promoted veneration of the Holy Family and the use of Manger Scenes. He was trying to counter the Bogomil and Cathar influence. Francis himself remained a layman and did not take vows. But he still was following the clerical example, Augustine's example, of do what I say and not what I do.
Consider this when you read accounts which say that Gnosticism was dualistic.
This conversation is continuing here:
funny you mention; some 'rep' you know types that get american tax funds and 'decide' what to do with...
he said contraception pills are going to kill the population!?!? what crack is he schmokin' ?
Listening to the above audio. Most interesting.
They go into something interesting, why Innocent III and the Church accepted Francis of Assisi, while condemning the Cathars. After all, just like the Cathars, Francis was an extreme aesthetic and he could be seen as embarrasing the clergy.
Well, the Church accepted Francis because Francis was not anti-clerical. Also, Francis was specifically anti-Cathar.
In the audio they say that Francis rejected the dualism and accepted all of creation. This is conveyed in the images of him giving sermons to birds.
Well again, I wish to add my own take on this. I see in Francis something like what I see in Augustine.
And it seems to have been in response to the Cathars that the Church revived the most extreme anti-contraception doctrine, Augustine's.
Francis endorsed the family system. He endorsed the view that sex is for procreation and procreation is good and so sex used for procreation is good. But other sex is bad bad bad.
Francis emulated the clergy, preaching the good family, while claiming for himself a personal exemption. So for all effective purposes Francis was clergy.
Also, it was Francis who promoted veneration of the Holy Family and the use of Manger Scenes.
And again, I am not personally endorsing Cathar dualism. Frankly I don't think we really understand it and I don't think it really matters.
But I do feel that in some areas orthodoxy is also based on dualism and extreme extreme denial, and that it feeds off of children.