Saturday, 3 September 2011

Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life

Hello Bishop, I would like to ask you if you think believing in the existance of extraterrestrial life contradicts a belief in the Catholic faith? I know some traditional Catholics don't believe in aliens in outer space, but at the same time I hear people like Dr Michio Kaku and Dr Stephen Hawkings say that there probably is other intelligent life in the universe. Ruben H

We should retain on open mind on such matters until proof positive one way or the other arrives. I hold the view that the likelihood of intelligent extraterrestrial life is remote at best and most probably non-existent. I emphasise that we are discussing intelligent extraterrestrial life and not low level life forms such as might occur where certain elements are present. This might surprise some people who have come across comments fraudulently attributed to me on the internet and the proliferation of same by someone particularly hostile towards me and my Christian faith. Regarding the latter, I do not regard the two scientists referred to as supporting the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life as being (a) Christian, or (b) believers in God as that belief would be defined and understood by traditional Christians and especially those in the Catholic Church.

Michio Kaku (born 24 January 1947) is an American theoretical physicist, the co-founder of string field theory, and a "communicator" and "populariser" of science. Light-cone string field theories, however, were introduced by Stanley Mandelstam and developed by Mandelstam, Michael Green, John Schwarz and Lars Brink. An explicit description of the second-quantisation of the light-cone string was given by Michio Kaku and Keiji Kikkawa. According to Michio Kaku, about 30% of scientists (polled since WWII) are religious and believe in God, and he says he believes the Bible is scientific. Michio Kaku also says: "I work in something called String Theory which makes the statement that we are reading the mind of God. It’s based on music or little vibrating strings thus giving us particles that we see in nature. The laws of chemistry that we struggled with in high school would be the melodies that you can play on these vibrating strings. The Universe would be a symphony of these vibrating strings and the mind of God that Einstein wrote about at length would be cosmic music resonating through this nirvana … through this eleven dimensional hyperspace — that would be the mind of God. We physicists are the only scientists who can say the word 'God' and not blush." He further explains: "Einstein believed in two types of Gods, for example. He did not believe in a personal God, or a God of intervention. He did not believe that God answered our prayers. But he did believe that there was a God of Spinoza. This is the God of Harmony. He said we are like children entering a huge library for the first time, not knowing how to read the thousands of books that are beyond our understanding."

The Cambridge research biologist Stephen Hawking (born 8 January 1942) was originally more in line with the direction of traditional thinking on God with his famous book A Brief History of Time in which he said: “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.” Unfortunately, in his new book The Grand Design and in a companion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Hawking now says God is unnecessary after all. Stephen Hawking's interests have been in thermodynamics, relativity, and quantum mechanics. Hawking's key scientific works to date have included providing, with Roger Penrose, theorems regarding gravitational singularities in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking radiation (or sometimes as Bekenstein–Hawking radiation).

Any confusion which may have arisen over my position on intelligent extraterrestrial life is probably due to the online version of the Dorset Echo receiving comments falsely attributed to my name in the summer of 2007 that were widely disseminated to the effect that "mysterious lights" seen in the sky over that county, thought by some to be UFOs, were the "supernatural powers" conjured by a man who has made a career out of harassment and stalking; a man, moreover, who was sentenced to almost five years' imprisonment in the 1970s for vandalism, desecration and threatening police witnesses with black magic. This sad individual, noticing reports on television and in newspapers about strange lights over a coastal county, obviously felt there was potential mileage in this unusual phenomenon for his agenda, namely self-publicity and furthering his personal vendetta against a Christian bishop. The online comments in the Dorset Echo were unmoderated. One of his coterie, posting fraudulently in my name, claimed that the eerie lights over Dorset had nothing to do with UFOs but were the remarkable supernatural powers of the offender who in the past has unconvincingly claimed to be a "high priest of witchcraft." With stage one accomplished (publicity in a newspaper for the offender) it was time to post abuse against me; stage two having already been set in place because the original comment had been fraudulently attributed to me, which left the way open for a tirade of abuse in subsequent comments. However, the IP behind the fraudulent "Bishop Seán Manchester" comment proved to be identical to that of a member of the offender's cabal. The comments were immediately removed by the editor after his newspaper was alerted by my secretary who requested a record be kept for the police should the problem keep recurring. Needless to say, I do not believe (and have never believed) that the offender in question has any supernatural powers, or that he is anything other than an incorrigible hoaxer and a charlatan.

The same offender attempted to repeat the exercise last month when equally fraudulent comments appeared in the same newspaper under the name of a religious order (Ordo Sancti Graal) which I happen to oversee and am Superior General. The following false attribution was posted in the Dorset Echo:

"We recall a spate of UFOs sent to disturb our fair coastal region in 2007 and suspect that the current unpleasantness originates from the same demonically infested individual.”

Within a matter of a few hours of the bogus comments made on August 19th, the offender posted in the early hours of the next day what follows:

"Oh dear! I was just sent this report by somebody who spotted this in the '[Dorset] Echo' yesterday. I wouldn’t mind, except that ‘I’ am the ‘demonically infested’ person who was supposed to have sent a ‘biblical flood’ upon the quiet town ... yesterday. That newspaper reported that [the town] had suffered the worst rainfall for 30 years, and it was possibly related to a similar UFO invasion upon this fair tourist town (previously reported by the reliable '[Dorset] Echo') in the latter part of 2007. Needless to say, I was the ‘black magician’ held for being responsible for these alien disturbances, and , not least, for causing one particular resident to take refuge in his loo outside his bungalow [sic] on a cliff-top in [the town]. What can I say!? It is true that I am in personal contact with the Commander of the alien invasion force who plan to return to the planet Earth very soon, to ‘escort’ certain earthlings to their distant planet of Bonkinite for the purpose analysing, and eradicating certain forms of evil human behaviour."

Once again, the newspaper in question was contacted and informed of what was going on. They confirmed the geographical location of the IP behind the comments to be many miles removed from Ordo Sancti Graal, and immediately deleted the falsely attributed foolishness, promising to monitor the situation in future now they know for a fact that neither I nor my religious order (Ordo Sancti Graal) have ever posted comments on their newspaper website.

Grail Church Belief

Your Excellency, I am interested to learn what the British Grail Church, restored in 1973, believes and how this might differ from other churches? Maggie

"Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments
and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;
but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the
kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness
exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter."

(Matthew 5: 19-20)

The Grail Church adheres to the revealed truth in Holy Scripture and the tradition and Faith of the early Church as formulated in the Ecumenical Symbols and specified precisely by the unanimously accepted decisions of the seven Ecumenical Councils and of the Fathers of the Church. All teachings that have no substance in Holy Writ and were not accepted by the early Apostolic Church are not received nor held as Articles of Faith by Ecclesia Apostolica Jesu Christi (hereafter referred to as the Grail Church) whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction (an entirely non-stipendiary ministry) is confined to the British Isles with missions to the rest of the world.

The Grail Church holds fast to all seven Sacraments, including the doctrine of the Real Presence. The Seven Sacraments are an outward, visible symbols of the inward, spiritual Grace, Presence and working of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In accordance with the faith and practice of Holy Mother Church,

These Sacraments are declared to be:

Baptism, whereby the forgiveness of sins and new life in Christ and membership into His Mystical Body the Church is proclaimed and that this sacrament is necessary for Salvation.

Confirmation as the seal of the Holy Spirit in completion of Baptism.

The Mass, as the sacrifice whereby Our Lord, Jesus Christ unites us to His all-sufficient Sacrifice, once made, to bestow on us remission of sins, and all other benefits of His Passion, whereby He is truly present under the forms of bread and wine, and gives Himself to us in His Body and Blood, to be our heavenly food and to unite us to Himself and to all in His Sacred Body the Church.

Holy Matrimony, which is a mystical bond of one man and one woman together in lifelong commitment and unity.

Holy Orders, which is the perpetuation of the sacred and apostolic ministry in accordance with the will of Christ established for the Government of His Church as the ministers of His Gospel and Sacraments; and that the three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons by Christ's institution are to be confined to the male sex; and that Bishops alone possess the fullness of apostolic authority as Overseers of the faithful and conveyers of Holy Orders.

Confession, through which the faithful are called to conversion of life, confession of sins and reconciliation with God, and through which we are called to forgive others.

Holy Unction, whereby the healing power and consolation of God is specifically bestowed upon the faithful who are sick in body, mind or soul.

The Grail Church does not subscribe to the pagan doctrine of a just war (justum bellum) in contrast to most of the remainder of mainstream churchianity. Our Lord’s words (Luke 6: 27-36) make the prohibition clear. Augustine laid down the just war theory which was then built upon by Thomas Aquinas. Churches would thence become the great offenders in war and bloodshed over the centuries, making a mockery of Christ’s teaching to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

The Grail Church is not simply an alternative to mainstream churchianity, but a living sanctuary for Christians who cannot reconcile their Faith with the drift into modernism, revisionism and error by the established institutions. The larger institutions, eg the Anglican and Roman folds, have certainly embraced modernism to the detriment of Christianity and with the inevitable decline in their number. At the time of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Ottaviani, one of the ablest members of the Curia, asked: “Are we seeking to stir up wonder, perhaps scandal, among the Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved by so many centuries, and is now so familiar? The rite of Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned according to the whim of each generation.” But that is exactly how it was treated in the succeeding years. From its pagan origins the Roman Church has returned to a more pagan religion than obtained even in the dark ages.

The Grail Church, in common with the Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic and Eastern and Western Orthodox Churches, permits only men to be ordained in the sacred office of the priesthood. The tradition of only ordaining men to the ministerial priesthood goes right back to the time of Jesus Himself, who chose only men to be His apostles. The priest (in persona Christi), especially in the Eucharist, represents Christ, who is God become Man, not God become Woman. This does not mean that women are not important in the Church. On the contrary, apart from Christ Himself, we believe that the most important role of all in God’s plan was given to a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who bore the Son of God in her womb; a role, indeed, which no man could have fulfilled.

The Grail Church does not regard the Blessed Virgin Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate and asserts that such mediation belongs exclusively to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Neither does the Grail Church accept the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception (1854) and the Corporeal Assumption of Mary (1950) as Articles of Faith necessary to salvation. Neither dogma is explicitly contained in Holy Writ. The Roman Catholic Church, therefore, cannot add to the depositum fidei for even the Vatican is emphatic in proclaiming that there can be no new revelation of divine truth.

Decrees promulgated by the Roman Church in 1870 concerning the Infallibility and Universal Jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, the Pontiff or Pope, are rejected by the Grail Church. The term “pontiff” formerly applied to any bishop, but became corrupted when adopted by the “supreme pontiff” as Pontifex Maximus, an exclusively pagan title. Many bishops employed the title “pope” (meaning “father”) in the early Church. Pope Leo in the fifth century was the first to use it officially. Pope Gregory in the eleventh century, by decree, reserved the title for the Bishop of Rome. The Grail Church, however, recognises and gives due honour to the Pope as Bishop of Rome and as Patriarch of the West on the ancient principle of primus inter pares. He is the "first among equals" in the episcopate and thus has a special role and responsibility.

Enforced celibacy (foretold and warned against by Paul in 1 Timothy 4: 3) is unacceptable to the Grail Church. It was introduced by the Roman Church in 1139 for those in holy orders. Peter, on whom so much importance is placed by Rome, was married, as were the first thirty-nine popes. Priests and bishops naturally had families of their own, so the rule of celibacy was imposed to prevent Roman Catholic Church property being inherited by anyone other than the Roman Catholic Church itself. Holy Scripture nonetheless warns against those who will “forbid marriage.”

The ordination of homosexuals is forbidden within the Grail Church. Whilst acknowledging a need for pastoral care of homosexuals, the Grail Church fully recognises that homosexual acts must be unequivocally opposed by all who follow Christ, observing what is set down in Holy Scripture as a prohibition. Paul makes it quite clear (1 Corinthians 6: 9) that practising homosexuals, along with other sinners, are excluded from the Kingdom of God. This applies to both male and female homosexuals, a condition “contrary to nature” (Romans 1: 26-27).

Freemasonry’s intrusion into Christendom is not acceptable to the Grail Church. Many bishops and clergy in the Anglican Communion have been Freemasons who are also thought to have entered Roman Catholic seminaries more than half a century ago.  Other denominations have also been infiltrated. The Roman Catholic Church did once resist Freemasonry and Canon 2335 made it clear that such membership incurred instant excommunication. However, in 1983 the new Code of Canon Law deposed the anti-Masonic Canon 2335 and replaced it with Canon 1374 which makes no mention of Freemasonry. It is now believed by a number of respected Roman Catholics that Freemasons have significantly infiltrated the Roman hierarchy, a process thought to have begun in earnest after the Second World War. Freemasonry is unacceptable owing to it being a pantheistic religion which embraces occult ceremonies that are incompatible with Christianity.

The Grail Church is the spiritual continuity of the Apostolic Church founded at Glastonbury by Our Lord Jesus Christ and developed by Joseph of Arimathea and those who accompanied him with the Sacred Cup after the Passion from Palestine to the western confines of England. Its restored continuity is via apostolic successions (Catholic and Orthodox) that are recognised as being valid by most of Christendom, including the Roman Catholic Church. The jurisdiction of the Grail Church is autocephalous and, therefore, is independent of all other jurisdictions and shall foreseeably remain so in order to retain its doctrinal and spiritual integrity. Its ministry is fully sacramental, putting emphasis on the Eucharist, baptism, healing and exorcism. Much more information about its early origin and latter-day restoration can be found in The Grail Church book.

Those who belong to the Grail Church are Christians who have an English liturgical and theological heritage and a spiritual heritage and an ancestral connection to the Celtic Church, also known as the British Church. The Grail Church is Catholic because it accepts the doctrine of the ancient Church which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.

The Grail Church accepts the teachings of the Undivided Church, the Church of the first millennium of Church history. From the Day of Pentecost, when the Church was established, to the Great Schism in AD 1054, the Church was truly Catholic: one in faith and doctrine, even though there were differences between the way Eastern and Western Churches worshipped. Therefore, the Grail Church claims, in essence, to be both an English Catholic Church and a Western Orthodox Church.

The Grail Church is part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, faithfully continuing the English Catholic tradition. It practices and upholds the historic Catholic Faith.

The Grail Church believes that there is one true and eternal God in Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, without any difference or inequality, Consubstantial, Undivided and of one Essence in Three Divine Persons through whom all that is, was and ever shall be, was created and has its being.

The Grail Church believes that Jesus Christ is the unique and final revelation of the Person and Purpose of God, in whom alone is the fullness of God's truth and grace, and that there is no other through whom salvation may be obtained.

The Grail Church believes in the Communion of Saints, which is the blessed company of all faithful people both living and departed.

Traditionally the Universal Church has been considered to comprise of the Church Triumphant (those Christians who are in Heaven), the Church Militant (those Christians who are living) and the Church at Rest (those Christians who are dead but who are not yet in Heaven).

The Grail Church believes that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ, and that she is preeminent above all others as the first-fruits of those who are saved by Him.

The prayers of the saints in heaven assist the faithful on earth according to the Revelation of St John (Revelation 5: 8 and 8: 3-4 in the light of 6: 9-11). The Saints are not to be given worship or adoration that belongs to God alone, but their prayers support Christians on earth just as the prayers of Christians on earth support one another in prayer).

The Grail Church believes in the sanctity of human life; that life begins at the moment of conception; and that the willful taking of that life from the womb to the grave is a mortal sin.

Furthermore, the Grail Church believes that the wilful, intentional, and direct taking of any innocent human life is murder, whether disguised as "euthanasia", "mercy-killing" or "assisted suicide."

The Grail Church believes that all men will appear before Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate Judge and Ruler of all Mankind to receive the due recompense of their faith and works.

Since it has been stated that the Grail Church is not a "Roman" but an "English" Catholic Church it does not consider itself to be under the Bishop of Rome's "Universal Jurisdiction." Its position is comparable to the practice of the Undivided Church. Furthermore, the Pope claims to be infallible in certain matters. The Grail Church believes in infallibility, but it believes that it is found not within the office of the Pope, but within the Church itself, and that this is best expressed when it is acting as an undivided unity through the medium of the Ecumenical Councils. Since AD 1054, however, this has not happened. As a result the pronouncements and decisions of Church Council's within the Roman Catholic Church, such as the Council of Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II are not considered to have the same authority.