Catholic Fundamentalism

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Until 1966, Catholics had been anti-modernism and had been skeptical of modern rationality.  The Catholic Church had a rigorous clear-cut world view.  With the changes of Vatican II (1962-1966) some feel that the Church has abandoned unchanging truths.  There was a reaction to the English liturgy, the changes in the church, and the attacks on the absolute authority of the Pope.  The sinfulness of man needed the episcopal authority to direct them.  God is a God of judgment, not a God of mercy.  Catholic fundamentalists are selective, with not much about the Trinity, but lots about the Latin Mass, female and married priests, and artificial birth control.

Destroy those against Jerusalem (Zech 12:8-12:9)

“On that day,

Yahweh will shield

The inhabitants

Of Jerusalem.

Thus,

The feeblest among them,

On that day,

Shall be like David.

The house of David

Shall be like God.

The house of David

Shall be like the angel of Yahweh,

At their head.

On that day,

I will seek to destroy

All the nations

That come against Jerusalem.”

On this coming day, Yahweh was going to shield Jerusalem from all attacks.  The weakest among them would be like King David.  The house of David would be like God, with the angel of Yahweh leading it.  Yahweh was going to destroy every country that tried to go against Jerusalem.  This was a very strong defense of the city of Jerusalem and the Davidic royalty, on the day of Yahweh.

The scattered sheep (Ezek 34:5-34:6)

“The sheep

Were scattered,

Because there was

No shepherd.

Thus,

They became food

For all the wild animals.

My sheep

Were scattered.

They wandered

Over all the mountains.

They wandered

On every high hill.

My sheep

Were scattered

Over all the face

Of the earth.

There was no one

To search

For them.

There was no one

To seek

For them.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that his sheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd to lead them. Thus, these sheep became food for all the wild animals, perhaps an allusion to the attacks of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The sheep of Israel and Judah were scattered, so that they wandered into the mountains and the high hills, perhaps an allusion to the high places of idol worship. His sheep were scattered all over all the face of the earth, perhaps an allusion to the captivity. Finally, there was no leader or shepherd to go out to search and look for them. They were the lost sheep of Israel.

The caretakers of the idol gods (Bar 6:26-6:28)

“Those who serve

These idol gods

Are ashamed.

If any of these gods

Fall to the ground,

They themselves

Must pick them up.

If anyone sets them upright,

These gods

Cannot move themselves.

If they are tipped over,

They cannot straighten themselves.

Gifts are placed

Before them

Just as before the dead.

The priests sell

The sacrifices

That are offered

To these gods.

They use the money themselves.

Their wives likewise

Preserve some of the meat

With salt.

But they give none of it

To the poor

Or the helpless.”

Next this author attacks those who take care of these idol gods. These caretakers were themselves ashamed. If any of these gods fell to the ground, they must pick them up. They have to set these gods upright since they cannot move themselves. If these idols are tipped over, they cannot up right themselves. In other words, there has to be someone around these false idol gods, because if anything happens to them, these caretakers have to straighten things out. Gifts are placed before these images, just like gifts for the dead. However, these caretaker priests often sell the sacrifices that were offered to these gods. Then they would use the money for themselves. Their wives likewise would preserve some of the meat with salt. However, they gave none of it to the poor or the helpless.

Against the complacent women in Jerusalem (Isa 32:9-32:14)

“Rise up!

You women who are at ease!

Hear my voice!

You complacent daughters!

Listen to my speech!

In little more than a year

You will shudder!

You complacent ones!

The vintage will fail!

The fruit harvest will not come!

Tremble!

You women who are at ease!

Shudder!

You complacent ones!

Strip!

Make yourselves bare!

Put sackcloth on your loins!

Beat upon your breasts

For the pleasant fields,

For the fruitful vine,

For the soil of my people,

Growing up in thorns,

Growing up in briers!

All the joyous houses

In the joyful city

Will be no more.

The palace will be forsaken.

The populous city will be deserted.

The watchtower will become a den.

The hills will become a den forever

For the joy of wild donkeys,

As a pasture for flocks.”

Isaiah attacks the easy going complacent Jerusalem women. Apparently this was a year before the attack on Jerusalem around 703 BCE. Isaiah always wanted people to listen to him, since they appear to be not listening. He reminded the complacent women that next year the vintage would fail and there would not be any fruit harvest. Isaiah wanted these complacent women to take off their clothes and go into mourning for their city. They should put on sackcloth and beat their breasts for the coming death of the pleasant fields and fruit vines that were about to be turned into thorns and briers. The joyful houses, the city, and the palace would be abandoned. This heavily populated city would be deserted. The towers and the hills would become a den for wild donkeys and a grazing area for animals.

The weakness of the Egyptian wise sages (Isa 19:11-19:15)

“The princes of Zoan

Are utterly foolish.

The wise counselors of Pharaoh

Give stupid counsel.

How can you say to Pharaoh?

‘I am one of the sages.

I am a descendant of the ancient kings.’

Where now are your sages?

Let them tell you!

Let them make known!

What has Yahweh of hosts

Planned against Egypt?

The princes of Zoan

Have become fools.

The princes of Memphis

Are deluded.

Those who are the cornerstones

Of its tribes

Have led Egypt astray.

Yahweh has poured into them

A spirit of confusion.

They have made Egypt

Stagger in all its doings.

They are as a drunken man

Staggers around in vomit.

Neither head nor tail,

Palm branch or reed,

Will be able to do

Something for Egypt.”

Now Isaiah attacks the wise sages of Egypt since he calls them stupid. Isaiah mentions the capital cities of Egypt, Zoan in the north and Memphis in the south. The princes and the wise men in these places were giving stupid advice. These wise sages had no idea what Yahweh was planning for them since they were like deluded fools. They were supposed to be the cornerstones of their tribes, but they were really in confusion. In colorful language, Isaiah says that they were like drunkards staggering around in their own vomit. Nobody could do anything for Egypt, head, tail, palm branch, or reed. The rulers were the head and palm trees, while the tail and the reed represented the ordinary people. They were all getting foolish stupid advice from their so-called wise sages.

Against the sacred trees (Isa 1:29-1:31)

“You shall be ashamed

Of the oaks In which you delighted.

You shall blush

For the gardens

That you have chosen.

You shall be

Like an oak

Whose leaf withers.

You shall be

Like a garden

Without water.

The strong shall become

Like tinder.

Their work shall become

Like a spark.

They shall burn.

Their work shall burn together

With them.

No one will quench them.”

Here Isaiah attacks the pagan practice as well as the practices in Samaria, outside of Jerusalem. These were the places where people worshiped at sacred trees. He wanted them to be ashamed of their oak trees and their wonderful gardens that so delighted them. These worshipers were like dying trees or gardens without water. Soon there would be no water, as the oak leaves would wither away. These strong trees would be like tinder kindling wood. They and their works would burn together in a fire that could not be put out. Thus he called for the destruction of the oak tree idol worship and their worshipers, preferably by an unquenchable fire.