+JMJ+ Welcome to part 30 of our weekly series on the soul. I think I’ve found the next text for our series. I stumbled across a book this week while searching for Catholic books on the soul. As I was reading it I began to think I’d read it before but I was reasonably certain I had not. Then I realized that the author’s name was familiar. I wondered if he quoted Dom Wiesinger at some point since the text seemed so familiar. But a search returned no results. Then I looked at the index in Wiesinger and there it was: Lépicier, five times. Lépicier is A. H. M. Cardinal Lépicier and he published The Unseen World: An Exposition Of Catholic Theology in its Relation to Modern Spiritism in 1906, Wiesinger, in 1957. So I was partly correct, it was familiar, I just had it backward as to who quoted who. I didn’t expect to find any of the ones Wiesinger quotes so this is a happy find, for me, anyway, bookworm that I am. Notes and links will be at the end of this post.
A brief note about our author. He is sometimes listed as Fr., sometimes as Cardinal, sometimes as Alexius, Alexis, or Alessio (as Wiesinger has him). Catholic Hierarchy has him as Alexis-Henri-Marie Cardinal Lépicier, O.S.M. † He was, among other things, Professor of Divinity in the College of Propaganda, Rome Consultor of the S. Congregation of Propaganda, of the Bible Commission, and he spent some time as the Prior General of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary, Official of the Congregation for Propagation of the Faith, and as Prefect and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation of the Affairs of Religious.
The Unseen World carries two Imprimaturs. That’s one of the first things I look for in a book, especially before I use it in our series here (though I may refer to one from time to time without one). From what I’ve read about him he was definitely not some New Age flake leaving orthodox Cathoicism behind and going out on a limb in the realm of parapsychology. All the more reason for me to study his work, especially this part of it as I endeavor to learn all I can about the soul from a good, solid, and solidly faithful, Catholic perspective.
(I’ve come a long way from my days of looking to Gary Zukav’s Seat of the Soul for spiritual guidance. Oy vey!)
Following you’ll find a couple of JPGs showing the Table of Contents. Right up our alley. Mine, anyway. If you’re reading along with me, then it’s up your alley, too. If you’re not reading along with me, I may be talking to myself. Wouldn’t be the first time. ;)
I don’t know what I would have thought about all of that as a New Ager, but this next part I sure wish I had found somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I was NOT into séances. The very thought makes me shudder. I had enough experiences happen to me without me seeking them out. I certainly did not ever go looking for them. And I didn’t find them the least bit entertaining. I found them terrifying. Knowing what I know now and being a Catholic and a child of Holy Mother Church, I might not be so terrified now. I might pray for the spirit instead. And I’d be praying for me, too, because now that I think about it, yeah, I’d still probably be afraid, at least a little. Or a lot.
Tonight I’m not going to do much more than introduce the book because I haven’t had a chance to do more than glance at it. I want to go back and see what Dom Wiesinger had to say about it, if he did anything other than quote it, and whether or not he quoted it in agreement or as an opposing point-of-view. If memory serves, it was the former, but I’ll check to be sure. This seems a fair summary of The Unseen World, or at least the author’s goal and plan:
Granting, therefore, the objectivity of the phenomena in general, our purpose will be to investigate their proper causes and thus to arrive at a better knowledge of their nature and of the relation in which they stand to the general moral order of the universe.
The first question which, in connection with such an inquiry, presents itself to the mind, and upon the right solution of which the whole problem of spiritism depends, is, “Are these invisible spirits all of one kind, or are there, besides the spirits of the dead—or to use the modern phrase, discarnate souls—other spirits who, although little known to us by reason of the subtlety of their nature, may nevertheless be held responsible for the phenomena in question?”
And in the event of its being shown that such other spirits must be admitted to exist, and that the phenomena are attributable to them, the further question which would present itself would be, “What are we to hold as to the extent of the knowledge of these beings and as to the general “lawfulness of spiritistic practices?”
From this consideration we propose to pass on to an inquiry into the state of the human soul after death: —the extent of its knowledge of the affairs of earth, and the mode and nature of its activity, finally seeking to determine to which of these two classes of the inhabitants of the spiritual world the phenomena usually occurring at spiritistic séances are to be ascribed.The Unseen World: An Exposition Of Catholic Theology in its Relation to Modern Spiritism by A. H. M. Cardinal Lépicier, 1906, pages 4-5, in the author’s Introduction.
He makes a note about terminology. More about that later. And says that he’ll set forth the teachings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.
We shall endeavour to set forth in these pages, as faithfully and as clearly as possible, what the teaching of the Fathers and Doctors reflecting the mind of the Catholic Church is on this deeply- important subject, and shall draw our deductions from those fundamental principles upon which the laws of the universe are founded, submitting each statement to the judgment of the Church, which is “the pillar and ground of the truth.”Ibid., 7, quoting I Tim 3:15.
Then he quotes words that have come to my mind many times while preparing this series.
“Take heed that no man seduce you : for many will come in My Name, saying: I am Christ, and they will seduce many.’’Ibid., 8, quoting Matt. 24:4-5.
That’s it for this edition of the Weekly Series On the Soul. I found this book late and I need time to read it and look back at what we’ve already read, too, at least some of it. I haven’t really even begun to do any comparisons but that is the plan.
Thank you for visiting and reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy. May the Lord bless and keep you and your loved ones, and may His peace be always with you. Have a great weekend, y’all! +JMJ+
Notes and Links
- A. H. M. Cardinal Lépicier is quoted in Dom Wiesinger’s book, Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology, that we looked at in the first five posts in this series.
- Get a copy of The Unseen World: An Exposition Of Catholic Theology in its Relation to Modern Spiritism by A. H. M. Cardinal Lépicier, 1906: Leatherbound. Paperback. Free formats including PDF or black and white PDF (smaller file size). (First two links are affiliate links. See Full Disclosure below for more about that.)
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