Anselm -- Strange Doctor, Stranger man

The Catholic Encyclopedia informs:

Certain ecclesiastical writers have received this title on account of the great advantage the whole Church has derived from their doctrine . . . The requisite conditions are enumerated as three: eminens doctrina, insignis vitae sanctitas, Ecclesiae declaratio (i.e. eminent learning, a high degree of sanctity, and proclamation by the Church). Benedict XIV explains the third as a declaration by the supreme pontiff or by a general council. . . . The decree is issued by the Congregation of Sacred Rites and approved by the pope, after a careful examination, if necessary, of the saint's writings. It is not in any way an ex cathedra decision, nor does it even amount to a declaration that no error is to be found in the teaching of the Doctor. It is, indeed, well known that the very greatest of them are not wholly immune from error . . .--John Chapman, Doctors of the Church, "Catholic Encyclopedia," 1909 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version 2007 by Kevin Knight

St. Anselm is one of the 32 Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church. An online encyclopedia has this to say of him:

St. Anselm was one of the most important Christian thinkers of the eleventh century. He is most famous in philosophy for having discovered and articulated the so-called "ontological argument;" and in theology for his doctrine of the atonement. However, his work extends to many other important philosophical and theological matters, among which are: understanding the aspects and the unity of the divine nature; the extent of our possible knowledge and understanding of the divine nature; the complex nature of the will and its involvement in free choice; the interworkings of human willing and action and divine grace; the natures of truth and justice; the natures and origins of virtues and vices; the nature of evil as negation or privation; and the condition and implications of original sin. --Greg Sadler, Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109, "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy," (C) 2006

In 1492, Pope Alexander VI canonized Anselm and in 1720, Pope Clement XI proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church.

At this point, it may be well to consider a few verses of Scripture:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.--Leviticus 18:22

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.--Leviticus 20:13

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.--1 Corinthians 6:9-10

History and contemporary practice have shown the Roman Catholic Church to be remarkably tolerant of grave sins habitually engaged in by its clerics. It's treatment of Anselm is a case in point. In the Scriptures cited above, it is clear that God considers participation in homosexual acts abominable to the point of issuing a death sentence upon them in Mosaic Law. Witness the divine wrath poured out on Sodom and Gomorrah, two centers of rampant homosexuality. Look to Paul's words in his first letter to the Corinthians, where the Apostle writes that "abusers of themselves with mankind" will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Certainly all men, including Christians, are sinners and continue to sin so long as they live. However, the shed blood of Jesus has made atonement for the sins of those who, called out by God, have responded in faith. Such people, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, will show their new birth by turning aside from habitual sin and seeking to do the will of the Lord.

Though there are indications that Anselm was one of those who "abused himself with mankind," he became an archbishop in life and a saint and doctor of the church after his death.

Anselm is known to have had emotional relationships with Archbishop Lanfranc, his predecessor in the see of Canterbury, as well as several of his own pupils. Following are samples from two of his love letters, which usually were addressed to "dilecto dilitori", his "beloved lover:"

Wherever you go my love follows you, and wherever I remain my desire embraces you...How then could I forget you? He who is imprisoned on my heart like a seal on wax- how could he be removed from my memory? Without saying a word I know that you love [amor] me, and without my saying a word, you know that I love you.--Epistle 1.4; PL 158:1068-69

"Brother Anselm to Dom Gilbert, brother, friend, beloved lover... Sweet to me, sweetest friend, are the gifts of your sweetness, but they cannot begin to console my desolate heart for its want of your Love.--Ep. 1.75, PL 158:1144-45]. (Boswell, John, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, University of Chicago Press, (C) 1980, pp. 218-20)

Anselm, described in contemporary accounts as a gentle and retiring person, sometimes refered to Jesus as mother. Another Middle Ages mystic who held to this idea was Julian of Norwich, who saw the Trinity as being made up of the Father, the Mother and the Holy Spirit. Julian wrote of God's "motherhood:"

I understood three ways of seeing motherhood in God. The first is the foundation of our natural Creation, the second is taken from our nature, and there begins the the motherhood of grace, and the third is the activity of motherhood. And within this an expansion occurs by the same grace of length, width, height, and bottomless depth - all of these are one love .--Jones, Catherine, "The English Mystic Julian of Norwich," Medieval Women Writers., Katharina M. Wilson, Ed., Univ. of Georgia Press, 1984 p. 288)

I should think that referring to Jesus Christ, Whom the Bible declares to be the Son of God (Matthew 8:29, 14:33; Mark 1:1, 15:39; Luke 1:35; etc.) as "Mother" would be considered blasphemy by the church that has declared itself to have been entrusted with the the task of interpreting the word of God.

100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.--Catechism of the Catholic Church, (c) 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

Referring to Jesus Christ as a maternal figure surely must be heresy, and certainly the Roman church has a bloody history of dealing with what it calls heresy. Yet, rather than having been tried by an ecclesiastical court and then turned over to civil authorities for temporal punishment, both Anselm and Julian were declared to be saints, and Anselm is recognized as a Doctor of the Church. Such inconsistency is difficult to reconcile with an ecclesiastical hierarchy that has declared itself to be infallible in such matters.

Was Anselm of Canterbury actively homosexual? Academics are divided on the issue. John Boswell is convinced that he was and Brian McGuire argues that it is appropriate to view Anselm as a homosexual. (McGuire, Brian P., "Love, Friendship and Sex in the 11th Century: The Experience of Anselm", Studia Theologia 28 (1974), pp. 111-155)

As is to be expected, Catholic researchers, such as Glenn Olsen hold to the opposite view. (Olsen, Glenn (1988). "St. Anselm and Homosexuality". Anselm Studies, II: Proceedings of the Fifth International Saint Anselm Conference: pp. 93-141. )

Whether Anselm persisted in acts declared by God Himself to be an abomination is known only to the Lord. However, there appear to be plenty of indications that he did. Given this possibility, how could two popes honor the man with sainthood and election to the status of Doctor of the Church? Do personal morality and the declared position of God carry no weight with those arrogant rulers of the Roman Church? Whether Anselm was actively homosexual or not, his blasphemous writings on "Mother Jesus" and his excessively sensual letters give the appearance of evil, and Scripture addresses that:

As Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

You who are caught up in the Roman church, please do as commanded in Canon

All are bound to seek the truth in the matters which concern God and his Church; when they have found it, then by divine law they are bound, and they have the right, to embrace and keep it--1983 of Canon Law, , Canon 748 1, English translation copyright 1983 The Canon Law Society Trust

Ask yourselves whether the hierarchy of the Roman Church has faithfully discharged the responsibilities it has arrogated to itself to preserve and teach the Word of God and to watch over the deposit of faith it says has been entrusted solely to its care.

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