We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Bishop Lopes: A Pledged Troth. A pastoral letter on Amoris Laetitia.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hail Caesar! Sigh for the end of civilization.

For the decryption minded, a Caesar cipher (sigh for a diminishing society).*

A Caesar cipher seems somewhat appropriate in this day and age when the state (caesar), or at least those abusing the powers of the state, is extending its tentacles more deeply into people's lives.

No wild conspiracy theories here, just an acknowledgement that there is always a place for healthy skepticism regarding the declared claims and motivations of the agents of the state. That, and it never hurts to have a contingency plan should the state decide to prosecute its most responsible citizens as threats to its agenda.
Al kwwek lzsl, sk s khwuawk, ow sjw esjuzafy lgosjv gtdanagf.
Owklwjf kguawlawk sjw wfsegmjwv af lzw udaeslw uzsfyw, ydgtsd osjeafy uajumk. Lzw xseadq sfv lzw afklalmlagf gx esjjasyw zsk twwf vwxafwv lg ewsf sfqlzafy sfqgfw osflk lzgkw lwjek lg ewsf. Owklwjf fslagfk sjw sdegkl hgowjdwkk sysafkl nsjagmk vwslz umdlk. Nadw wphwjaewflk sjw twafy vgfw oalz lakkmw zsjnwklwv xjge mftgjf xwlmkwk. Tstawk sjw twafy stgjlwv twusmkw lzwq sjw lzw "ojgfy" ywfvwj. Lzw kauc, vwhjwkkwv sfv wdvwjdq sjw twafy wmlzsfarwv. Hdsflk sfv sfaesdk sjw twafy ywfwlausddq egvaxawv lg escw lzwe egjw jwkaklsfl lg vakwskw sfv lg afujwskw xggv zsjnwklk.
Sfv ozsl gx sjlaxauasddq aflwddaywfl esuzafwk? Oadd zmesf twafyk kgew vsq twugew sf mfvwjudskk lg kwflawfl esuzafwk?
A Case of the Common Code

Christians have always been interested in codes and encryption. In fact, the Book of Revelation is, for the most part, a compendium of encrypted messages that, contrary to modern end-times "prophets", would have been understood by Christians who knew well the Liturgy. Author/convert Scott Hahn has written well of the Book of Revelation and its relationship to the Mass:
The Lamb's Supper reveals a long-lost secret of the Church: The early Christians' key to understanding the mysteries of the Mass was the New Testament Book of Revelation. With its bizarre imagery, its mystic visions of heaven, and its end-of-time prophecies, Revelation mirrors the sacrifice and celebration of the Eucharist.—Publisher's Summary—source/link.
Many are probably familiar with the fish symbol, or more properly the ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthus), which is an backronym/acrostic for "Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour". (Wikipedia)
  • Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for "Jesus".
  • Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos (Χριστός), Greek for "anointed".
  • Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), Greek for "God's", the genitive case of Θεóς, Theos, Greek for "God".
  • Upsilon (y) is the first letter of (h)uios (Υἱός), Greek for "Son".
  • Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for "Savior".
During times of persecution in the first centuries of the Faith, for example, a Christian, upon encountering a fellow traveller, could distinguish friend from foe by casually tracing a small arc in the soil with his foot or a stick. If the person with whom he was speaking traced an intersecting arc to complete the fish symbol, both would then be able to recognize each other as Christians. The fact that the fish symbol was used by various ancient cultures for a variety of reasons meant that Christians could employ the symbol in their public encounters and attract little attention for doing so.

The faithful may, yet again, be compelled by circumstances to employ signs and symbols to protect themselves from those who would do us harm. Certainly, the experiences of contemporary (PRC) Chinese Catholics and Chaldean Catholics could inform others in the way of operating in a stealthy manner in hostile territory. Catholics certainly have a wealth of symbols from which to choose, symbols unknown to non-Catholics, that could be employed as identifiers, passwords, markers, etc.

Encrypted Catechism

An example of English Catholic (recusant) ingenuity is a famous Christmas carol that served as a catechism.
The song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is an English Christmas carol. From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the Church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/advent/customs-and-traditions/the-history-of-the-twelve-days-of-christmas/
* Embedded in the text of the above essay is a link to a decryption site where one can enter the encrypted text. A series of rotations will be produced. One simply has to then find the correct rotation.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.