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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Foundation Course: Spiritual Discernment, Religious Feeling, Sacramental Action
GA 343

XI. Insights into the Mystery of Golgotha, Priest Ordination

1 October 1921 p.m., Dornach

Prayers were said from various sides before the start of the lecture, and a particular wish was expressed to hear more closely about the battle of Luther's soul.

Rudolf Steiner: Yes, my dear friends, if I want to continue exploring which what we started, in various directions, it is important that I firstly touch on what existed in ancient Christianity, and then what unfolded out of the various forces working from ancient Christianity leading to the rise of the Evangelical-Protestant experience. We must be quite clear that during the time in which the Mystery of Golgotha took place, those people who would at least have a tendency to accept Christianity, were still of a totally different soul constitution, than what was later the case. The Mystery of Golgotha took place in the human evolution during a time in which it had basically nothing at all to do with, I could call it, pursuing the objective course of the world in a spiritual-scientific way. This is quite extraordinary. When you try to deepen yourself particularly into the objective course of the world, as it is presented in its totality, incorporating the physical, soul and spiritual, you have a strong impression regarding the development in the 8th century before Christ. Once again, you will get this strong impact—this can already be noticed in outer knowledge—regarding the time which I've often spoken about, in the 15th century.

The time epoch stretching from the 8th century BC to 15th AD creates roundabout an epoch in which humanity's development, if you follow this development spiritual-scientifically, was unfolding and can be called the Mind- or Intellectual Soul; in other words, it was the epoch of the Mind- or Intellectual Soul development. In its purest form it comes out of the Greek people's evolution. I call it Mind Soul but ask you, please, not to connect an intellectual concept to this term. Should you want to study the Mind Soul today, as it had developed out of Greekdom, then you need to study such individuals who had in a certain sense some kind of clairvoyance, not schooled clairvoyance but an atavistic one; inherited clairvoyance which can still pop up in some people at present. You can see that the content of the world appears to such people as imaginative, made up of images. If you should ask them to describe their pictorial impressions—of course only if no physical deformation disorder is involved, but when the whole thing is pure—you discover an extraordinary amount of understanding in the images thus depicted. They describe some processes in the spiritual world in pictures. They receive the images, but they get the sense of them as well. They can't help it if they include understanding in the images they receive because they take place together. Up to the 15th Century the soul constitution of many people were still not as developed as the mind is today, but they were inspired by their minds, they could have revelations in the mind. Only after the 15th Century did intellectualism develop which means that the mind had to be actively laboured with inwardly in the soul. Logic had to be developed, it was something to be worked at; it was not, so to speak, just given to the soul. That is the essential difference in the soul constitution of more modern people in comparison with those in this earlier epoch.

When you go still further back, to the evolutionary period of mankind, before the 8th century BC, then you arrive at an epoch where such pictorially filled imaginations initially developed as involuntary imaginations. You get to an epoch which reached back to the 3rd century and find that just this reading in the cosmos which I've described for you this morning, unfolded and appeared in the human soul as pictorial imaginations, still existed in the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, in naive and simple mind natured people. By contrast we have an epoch since the 15th century in which human consciousness must veer to freedom, and this can only happen when people create their own thought forms, out of themselves.

If we simply study world processes objectively, we initially have no reason to believe in the Mystery of Golgotha. We need to attain intuitive knowledge in the sense in which I've depicted in my book "Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its attainment," and then you get the idea that the Mystery of Golgotha can be seen as falling out of the entire remaining course of the world view. (Writes on the blackboard.) If I namely have 8 centuries BC before here, the 15th century, then we have a particular process which must be considered as flowing together, and now gives a particular impact in our years of one or zero.

Image 343_02_01

To a certain extent we can research from the oldest times the evolution of the earth and man, and we will reach a certain stage in the development, but we do not arrive at seeing the Mystery of Golgotha within this research. We definitely come through research of this evolution, if we do not look at the Mystery of Golgotha, to the feeling: we are moving to the end of the earth, as human beings we must find our grave in the earth.—This way we arrive at quite a decisive conclusion of the earth dying away. Then we can turn our gaze to the Mystery of Golgotha and so we will find that the earth was renewed, fructified by the Mystery of Golgotha, that a new seed from the expanse contained up to that moment evolutionary streams, and that this new seed, having arrived through the Mystery of Golgotha, forms the foundation for the renewal of the earth. This is primarily the meaning of the Gospel's words which I mentioned yesterday when I said: The spiritual beings who remained on the earth would have perished with the earth (if the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place): The demons screamed when they saw the Christ, because he stripped them of their rulership. This is certainly a real process. You can be quite certain it isn't merely about accepting some or other event given in the Bible, but it is about a clear observation of the processes.

The Mystery of Golgotha does not even fall in the middle of these time slots (between 8 BC and 15 AD), because the middle of this time is in about the middle of the 4th century. Therefore, this event doesn't even fall into the middle, so one could say: The event of Golgotha is something which took place in contrast to the world of necessity, taking place through divine freedom entering into the earth. It is a deed of freedom coming out of the divine worlds, it certainly was given to humanity from outside, as a gift from the divine world order. As a result, it can't be understood by those who want to observe the continuous historic processes, they may not be able to discover something within it like the Mystery of Golgotha.

To suggest that, I often express it this way: If, let's say, a Mars inhabitant came down to earth, he would find much he can't understand, but he would be able to start understanding something when he looks at something like the painting of the last supper of Leonardo da Vinci. To this extraordinary image and what is intended with the Christ, he would be able to see something which would indicate the central point of earthly events to him. That is obvious only through comparison, but it is a comparison which I've often had to make to indicate what is important here.

Particularly for those who had a strong feeling for the sense of the Mystery of Golgotha as fallen out of the ordinary earthly course, like all that the Roman Catholic Church has gradually become, still a kind of departure came about from the original meaning of the Mystery of Golgotha. It has crystallized into an historic anecdote. When Leonardo da Vinci was appointed to paint the Last Supper, he worked slowly, for a long time. Actually, he needed more than ten years. Then a new Prior arrived and wanted this painting chap to finish off the thing at last. The painting had been completed up to the figure of Judas when the new Prior asked when it would at least be complete. Leonardo said that up to that point he had not been able to complete the painting because he had no model for Judas. Now however, he had in the Prior a model for Judas, and he could complete the painting.

With this anecdote there is definitely a crystallization of the feeling which in the Roman Catholic Church had as a departure from the original sense of the Mystery of Golgotha, how one would far rather take a Prior and make a Judas out of him than anyone else.

This attitude of mind can be studied up to the middle of the 4th century, and then again, how it prepares itself for intellectualism from the middle of the 4th century onwards. For example, you can already see, when you study the writing of Scotus Eriugena, how in the 10th century on the one hand, the tendency plays in towards intellectualism that would later fully emerge, and on the other hand in what one could call the gifts of understanding out of higher worlds. This appeared strongly in that time in which it prepared itself from the middle of the previous epoch up to the 15th century of our present epoch. It is conclusively quite different before the middle of 4 AD; it continues into the 5th century, the times are not so strictly separate. You always find strong experiences towards the Mystery of Golgotha present in the first centuries after the event, as the supersensible spiritual plays into the earthly. This permeation of outer spiritual into the earthly became ever more difficult for the ordinary state of mind. We are just seeing in the centre of this previously mentioned period, a personality wrestling with every possible thing, just to get along. It is with such a turn that the one side of the human state of mind really changed, and on the other side a new kind of understanding necessary for the Mystery of Golgotha. This personality, as you know, was Augustine.

Within his soul, Augustine just couldn't come to terms completely with how the spiritual worked into matter. Augustine for instance sought amongst the Manichaeans for a possibility of how to recognise the spiritual in the material. He didn't manage; he actually only managed by withdrawing completely into himself, in order to depend on the self-assurance of his human I, which made him one of the precursors of the famous Descartes declaration: "Cogito, ergo sum." (I think, therefore I am.) This principle is found with Augustine already. However, on the other hand he was confronted with a certain doubt about the teaching, and this doubt was eating him up. One can certainly understand out of the configuration of the time, why Augustine felt this way. How the old heathen point of view of the church fathers, namely Clemens von Alexandria, was still completely accepted, so that in the oldest Christian times they were totally overtaken by the pagan in Christian teaching, and this Augustine could no longer accept, because in his human soul constitution it was no longer appropriate. The teaching content was also shaped in such a way that, essentially in the time of the Council of Nicaea, it had been brought as abstract dogmas which could then be absorbed by intellectualism. So the human soul in Augustine's time, I can mention, was already driven towards intellectualism. From then on Augustine could do nothing other than accept the dogmatic Catholic Church content, in order to find a teaching content.

Through this, a great crack came about in the Catholic Church. What appeared from the ceremonial of course could not correspond to a soul content. Humanity didn't come in the same way to the undermining of the ceremonial content, as it came to the drying up of the soul content. So it happened in the Catholic Church that the soul content dried out dogmatically, while the ceremonial content actually sustained itself. This ceremonial content of the Catholic Church didn't come out of Christianity, but it came out of far older ceremonial processes. Out of such times it stirred, from a time in which people still had a living reading of the cosmos in which, as a sacrificial offering, it could be accomplished from the reading in the cosmos. What was drawn from the ancient ceremonies of the mysteries, was then Christianized. The Mass offering is also certainly taken from the ancient mystery ceremonies and Christianized. However, what remained as symbolic in the act of sacrifice, is what actually continued within the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church was actually on this point always consequential, also when it became a worldly establishment under Constantine, as it went over into the political field. It was, one could say, really ironclad in its consequentiality. It has maintained its ceremonies in the most conservative way and in order not to go under, suffocated its soul content with dogmatism. No wonder that the ceremonial content became more and more strange as an experience, because people had no lively relationship to it anymore, and the dogmatic content was experienced as something obsolete—while it had been lively knowledge in olden times, knowledge experienced by a different soul constitution. The dogmatic content could not hold true compared with what came out of purely worldly knowledge. However, the Catholic Church had to remain absolutely consequential, and it has remained in its conserved state right up to the present. It has remained conservative by not participating in the state of mind/soul constitution residing in the present day. It has remained so, that it demands faith in preserved dogmas, which corresponds to a knowledge of an earlier soul constitution so that what is learnt about the Catholic Christ in the Church today is completely bound up with a dogmatic content which believes it presents a level of knowledge which mankind had actually reached at the end of the 14th century AD.

What Anthroposophy wants to developed is regaining the supersensible substance of knowledge; the kind of supersensible knowledge which has died in dogma; Anthroposophy wants to enable the achievement of a new understanding for the Mystery of Golgotha, because the dogmas of the Catholic Church can no longer penetrate into an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. This is extraordinarily important, that the dogmas of the Catholic Church no longer can allow the understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha to come through. The ritual of mass lets the souls penetrate to something different, to taking an interest in the symbols of the ritual. It is already so, that the Roman Catholic Church has remained in line with its ironclad consistency even into the 19th Century. Some things appear as quite strange if you examine the dogmas instituted by the Catholic Church before the 19th Century. I would like to give you an example so you can see what a kind of abyss exists, in order for you to reach an insight as to how such an abyss can once again be bridged over.

Once I had a conversation with a very learned theologian regarding the Conceptio immaculate, the immaculate conception, which was only instituted in the 19th Century. You perhaps know that this doesn't deal with the immaculate reception of Jesus himself, but of the immaculate conception of Mary; that means St Anna conceived Mary in an immaculate conception. This is actually the dogma laid down in the 19th century. The other dogma—that of the immaculate conception of Jesus—had existed already for a long time. As a "singular grace" it can be seen by those who can even see the emergence of dogmas from the imaginative content, even if they can't approve of it at all because its content is deadened by it—but one can see it.

So, in my conversation with this theologian, I said to him that it was impossible to reconcile the idea of the immaculate conception with modern conscious. I said to him, one isn't compelled to lead the modern consciousness over into dogma in relation to the individual case; one is not compelled to apply logic in an individual case because the singular also, according to scholastic opinion, evades follow-up. The moment you assume a series of facts, in other words a backward looking of a series of facts, where you rise up from the immaculate conception of Mary to the immaculate conception of St Anna, it is necessary to continue and then you, out of necessity, must accept an entire generation line of immaculate conceptions.—Now the theologian turned to me and said that is not correct, because then we come back to David—this is how he expressed it—and then the story would be quite disastrous, and that could not be allowed.

You see, with today's consciousness this has a certain stroke of frivolity, but it certainly is something which can be made known, how within the Roman Catholic Church the entire relationship to the truth is something quite different.

In this depiction of our conversation I wanted to firstly stress the kind of perception of truth we lived in during the middle of the 15th Century. The Catholic clergy was not experiencing the perception of truth like modern consciousness does, but a truth-conception corresponding to an earlier time epoch. They were not aware of the view of truth that reckons with the consequences of truth for the inner life of a human being. Quite a different attitude to the truth existed, and as it had changed from olden times, was not clearly understood. We need to look back at the evolution of humanity which means that the soul constitution essentially has changed. Basically, there is no incorrect expression other than that nature had made no leaps. Nature in fact makes continuous jumps. Take for example a green foliage leaf to the coloured flower petal—that is a jump. In the same way we have leaps in the course of time, apparently quite a sharp advancement from one soul state into another. However, people don't always grow in the same degree but allow old points of view to continue and as a result their souls atrophy, as we are able to notice if we look at the enormous leap which has come about in modern human soul constitutions and which has not been participated in by a large number of people.

Now we must clearly see that such an inner kind of experience, as can be describe as an historical consciousness, which can be acquired, stands out particularly strongly in a person who, through a certain education in the Church, it can especially be applied, when we think of a case like Luther's. If you want to understand Luther's soul then you must be clear that be comes out of the after effects of Augustinism, and that it is precisely in his time, just a bit after the beginning of the intellectualist age, that he is confronted with one of the most serious soul conflicts imaginable. Why was this so? You must just imagine: Augustine had come to an agreement on the recognition of the Christian-Catholic dogma, but for him this was connected with his living within something which was still alive, and even more alive among the Manicheans with whom he had met. What was still full of life in his time was the observation of original sin, in general the consideration of higher processes taking place in relation to lower earthly processes. People still have trouble today to make such things comprehensible.

If we position ourselves at the beginning of earth evolution, we can gradually enter into an imagination of the origins of what we today call a human being. There were higher beings who were in a certain way connected with earthly evolution. The Old Testament indicates one such higher being having become the snake, a being who we call Lucifer today. This higher being, so it is described in the Bible, actually initiated the original sin. In the beginning of earthly existence, this being was there and the original sin was actually due to the calculation of man's precursors of his ancestors, who then appeared as the serpent of paradise. What this pre-human being had begun by the seduction in paradise was transferred on to the human beings. During that time, what played into human thoughts, existed there as primal guilt, within which man got trapped and later dragged it along, because he originally had become entangled and then in fact he now transferred it from one generation to the next through the blood.

As a result of this primal sin the Christ appeared on the earth—I am speaking in the consciousness of this time period—in order to gradually heal people from their dying through what Lucifer had done to them. That we outwardly know so little about the constitution of consciousness, is a result of the really innumerable things proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church, which is based on this ancient tradition. Above all, everything Gnostic was eradicated and also later the reproduction of anything that still had an older soul constitution was made exceedingly difficult. You know the writing of Scotus Eriugena had been lost and only later rediscovered, and for centuries people knew nothing about Scotus Eriugena because all copies of his writing which one could get hold of, had been burned. It is certainly so that it deals with looking again at an event which took place in the supersensible world and into what human beings had become entangled.

Among the impulses of such observations, I could say something worked behind human events, active through superhuman events of other beings who actually were also involved with human evolution, in order for Augustine's teaching regarding predestination, to develop. Augustine saw the incarnation of people on earth as something much rather, if it could be expressed it would be by saying: The human being is actually the result of the battle of superhuman beings.—This meant individuals had no intrinsic worth; that only happened in the middle of the 15th century. Augustine believed it quite possible to think of human development as beyond their will, accomplished by the destinies of superhuman beings. His teaching could only be alive in him if a part of the human being, not the sinful part, but a part, be destined for demise and another part of the human being destined for bliss, the teaching which is not usually presented in all its meaning, when it is to be experienced. Today this can't be experienced in devotion, which was possible for Augustine. Into this soul constitution something also played that one can call original sin, which is balanced out by the Mystery of Golgotha. People in Luther's time still expressed it in this way, but they lived in another time of a soul constitution as in the time of Augustine. It was quite impossible to find one's way into these ideas with all of one's soul. In this way Luther experienced the illumination through his soul, as an Augustine monk.

Now I must speak to you about my conviction which is based—even though it is called a conviction—on knowledge. For me it certainly is knowledge. I am not in the position to speak in the same way about chance or coincidences like other people because coincidences also belong to an order of things which is usually ignored. I can't attach it to an actual incident in Luther's life, I can't be indifferent to a lightning strike in a tree beside him, but I can see it, according to my knowledge, only as the effect of a truly supersensible intrusion. You can think about it in any way you like, but if I speak sincerely and honestly, I certainly regard part of Luther's soul constitution as this pointing in, if I may call it so, of God's finger, not out of belief but out of recognition. Luther's state of mind or soul constitution became something quite different under the influence of such a deed; it happened so that certain inner sources were opened. These sources, or better said, the effectiveness of these sources, had already been prepared through the wrestling with misunderstood lore. It could not rise up, it was like a turning point in the soul itself, but it could not consciously show itself. Then it rose up into consciousness and became a turning point for only that which was happening. If I want to express myself roughly, the body has been softened, so to speak, and what had been prepared in Luther for a long time, permeated through a soft body.

Now Luther gradually became aware of all the dangers in which modern man lives. It isn't easy to say in how far this went into Luther's clear consciousness, and it's also not that important. In any case this position of modern man played into Luther's soul on the one hand as a streaming from earlier times, and on the other hand, what man should be since the middle of the 15th century. The entire dangers of modern man flooded Luther's soul. What did this consist of? It consisted of—I'm speaking in a Christian way—man being afflicted with the deeds or the sequences of deeds of superhuman beings in which he had become entangled. Through what had been an entanglement of original sin in the lower human being as inherited traits, man entered into the next epoch in a different manner than he would have if there had been no original sin through the Fall. As a result, that which should appear in humanity as intellect came through in a far more abstract measure than how life used to be in former times, when it was afflicted with something subhuman through original sin. To a certain extent, what man was to experience intellectually became diluted, more abstract, which in earlier life had been more dense, more natural, than it should be for mankind. It was only now that man was basically condemned to fall away from God through his intellectualism. The whole danger of intellectualism which pushes too far to greater abstraction, lived itself out in Luther's soul, and Luther really experienced it with such vehemence as described in his vicious battle at Wartburg Castle.

We have two opposite poles which can clearly be determined in the newer evolution of mankind. On the one hand is Luther, positioned in the great spiritual battle after the middle of the 15th century—of course a little later—and now as a result, while he wanted to loosen himself from intellectual dangers, first renounces the intellect and seeks justification outside the intellect which can lead him to the divine, as it were, beneath the intellect.

The other pole is Faust. He took on the intellect with all his senses, resulting in his deteriorating into the dangers of the intellect, as he entered into all the individual dangers of the intellect. It is not for nothing that these personalities are a kind of landmark for modern mankind: on the one side Luther and what he connected to, and on the other side Faust, and what he associates with. It was truly no small deed of Goethe when he wanted to reshape Faust in such a way that he would not perish. Lessing already thought about it. If freedom is to be achieved for humanity, the intellect needs to be engaged with, but humanity should not be pushed away from the divine. The Faust fragment of Lessing ends with the words (of the angels to the devil): "You shall not prevail!" which Goethe remodelled. He said to himself there should be a possibility not to be separated from the divine when mankind engages with the intellect—but he needs it for the development of freedom. In this terrible battle Luther stood. He saw how the intellect contained within itself the danger that man also strangulates his soul from the divine, how man succumbs to the death of the soul. That which is devoured by the intellect—in anthroposophy we call it "becoming Ahrimanic"—which totally enters into the intellect, becomes devoured, it is cut off from the divine. This is what Luther felt for modern man.

Historically it was so that on the one hand there was the Catholic Church where people were absolutely not within the intellect, it even wants to save people by preventing them from entering into the intellect, it wanted to preserve them from progress made in the 15th century onwards by conserving such dogmas like the one which claims infallibility, such as the dogma regarding the immaculate conception, as I've mentioned earlier. They couldn't manage consequently in the Roman Catholic sense without the infallibility dogma because they even deny its intellectual meaning, declaring it unfit for development and incapable of understanding the spiritual world. A reinforcement was needed for what people had to believe, indicating the sovereignty of the Papal Command for the Truth. There is nothing more untimely, but basically nothing greater than this determination of the dogma of infallibility, to completely contradict all consciousness of the time and all human desires for freedom. It is the last consequence of the secularization of Catholicism in an iron clad consequence of tremendous genius. One must say if you take, on the one hand, the ironclad consequence of the Roman clerics in their determination of the infallibility dogma, and on the other hand the kind of polemics of a Dollinger, the latter is of course philistine in the face of tremendous ingenuity—you could even call it devilish—something is carried out, because it was once the consequence to that which Rome has come to since the secularization of Christianity by Constantine.

So it happened that in the bosom of the Roman Catholics, two souls could live next to one another. On the one hand was the submission to the rigid dogma, which no human being could touch save the infallible Pope—because the Council had lost its power since the determination of the infallibility dogma—and on the other hand the unhindered care of outer science as an external manipulation to which one is devoted and partake off, but don't attribute any meaning to the actual content of religious doctrine. Just consider from a modern consciousness, what the justification of the Roman Catholic doctrine looks like. I suggest you read for instance such writing as "The Principle of Catholicism and Science" by Hertling, the previous German Imperial Chancellor.

Firstly, you'll discover that it was a world historic mistake for this man to have become the Imperial Chancellor but on the other hand you will learn something about the unusual thoughts modern people had and how these two souls could justifiably live in the same bosom. It is also remarkable that this writing on the principle of Catholicism appears in French. It is therefore extraordinarily interesting that the writer of this work, whose name doesn't come to my mind at the moment, has a perpetually logical conscience and therefore he has to make a differentiation between the Roman Catholic teaching material and what constitutes the content of outer science. That is why he proposes two concepts next to each other, the idea of truth and the idea of science, which he always sees as two disparate ideas. He says something can very well be scientific, but truth is something else; what is true does not need to be scientific. In some or other way he comes to the conclusion that science doesn't have anything to do with what one acknowledges directly as containing truth. So on the one hand things worthy of contemplation are mentioned, but are already beaten, on the other hand the most grotesque somersaults are being beaten in order for these two souls to become reconciled with one another.

So, on the one hand we have the continuation of symbolism, the symbolism that led to the enormous upswing of art in the Renaissance period in central Europe. Art Historians need only dig deep enough to discover that without the Catholic symbolism the entire artistic development of Giotto, Cimabue, from Leonardo to Rafael and Michelangelo would have been impossible, because the artistic development is certainly a propagation of Christian artistic subjects and belongs so strongly in Christianity that people can't, for example, understand why the Sistine Madonna looks like she does.

Look at the Sistine Madonna, she is magnificent. As far as one can see there are images of clouds which transform purely into angelic heads, and how the Madonna herself, with the Child, condenses out of the angles who reside in the clouds. It is as if the angelic forms have condensed out of the cloud images and have descended down to the earth, yet everything is wonderfully lifted into the spirit. Then the two curtains (he sketches on the blackboard) and below that a coquettish female figure and a terrible priestly figure, all things which absolutely do not belong to it. Why is this so? It is simply from the basis of Raphael having initially intended with this image, to give a soul experience with the picture of Mary on a certain feast day of Mary—now this is on the Feast of Corpus Christi—where people walk around in a procession with a picture of the virgin Mary that is carried under a canopy and comes to the altars where people kneel down. This is why there are these curtains (points to sketch on blackboard) with the kneeling female and male forms in a chapel, in front of the picture of Mary. Well, that is the kind of elementary school way of looking at what Raphael painted. What is actually meant here stands right in the Roman Catholic cult—absolutely right inside it.

Basically, everything contained in this Roman Catholic ritual is what Luther saw in Rome. Isn't it tremendously symbolic, historically symbolic, historically symptomatic, that Luther saw only corruption in Rome, not being actually touched deeper by what flowed out into depictions in art, how he was not deepened inwardly by art, but that he only saw moral corruption? Here we see how the soul in fact was positioned through his particular development in the historical becoming of mankind, he was like a soul at war, thrown this way and that, searching for a way out. Despite all this, like the doom of Lutherism in particular, comes the big problem: How do we as human beings absorb intellectualism, so that we are not doomed but that we overcome the fear of becoming doomed, because it is necessary for human freedom to integrate us?

Modern intellectualism presses strongly into our human consciousness. The evangelical church reckoned with it for centuries, the Catholic Church kept itself completely distanced from it. The evangelical church gradually withdrew back on to faith because with intellectualism, as it developed in the world, it didn't agree, so it increasingly withdrew from knowledge by depending on belief; it now rests within a faith in which the doctrine content is to be sought. The Catholic Church had doctrine content, but it was allowed to dry up. From the intellectual point of view the way to individuals can't be found, who see themselves isolated from those superhuman forces which could still be felt as being connected to Augustinism.

Basically we in humanity stand right in this battle today, only, if I could put it that way, we have come to the cutting edge, so that we simply stand there and say: We need a pure concept of faith so that we have a religion opposite intellectualism, because we can't take up the old Catholic doctrine, for it has dried out.—With this dried out dogmatic content the evangelical church rejected the ritual in the most varied forms. This is what started with Luther, putting us today on the knife edge; we must become aware of the seriousness of this position. It is a struggle for the power of faith in the soul, who wants to save the faith at the cost of not having the existing doctrine content at all. However, without content we can't learn, and it appears impossible to simply rediscover a bridge to what Catholicism has secularised.

Now my dear friends, I come to the question of how we should proceed. It is like this: you see, with all this there was also an evangelical consciousness introduced in the evolution of humanity, in the individual human development, because the earlier evangelical consciousness to a certain degree entangled man in the supernatural, superhuman processes and acts of superhuman beings. With Augustus it was expressed somewhat differently, that the progress of humanity was permeated with the superhuman element ... (gap in notes). People saw the superhuman battle raging as something like Christ fighting against the enemy who wants to lead him into the temptation of appearing super human; that the one who drew near to the Christ was one to whom original guilt was traced back to, and it is shown how Christ turns against the original sin. This understanding has now come to an end. Earlier, this understanding had been adhered to, for what was supersensible-divine permeated earthly matter, and there already has been an intention present for specialization to make a dividing border between the supernatural, and that part of man entangled in sensuality.

This dividing border is done through consecration. Consecration is actually the separation of the human being, or that part of the human being, from being entangled in the earthly. The ordination of the priesthood is only one part because there are also implements and so on; everything possible is consecrated. Once during a war, the Pope consecrated the bullets but that is only due to the secularization of Catholicism.

Do you see that consecration is really the dividing boundary between two worlds, and there is certainly the awareness in Catholicism—even if it is not present in individual priests—that a consecrated priest is active in another world when he does something, that he is also speaking from another world when he speaks of the Gospels, even though all his ordinary actions are in the earthly world. This differentiation could not be understood since the 15th century. In historic Catholicism, throughout, was this strong differentiation where, in circles of ordained priests, it was consciously stressed. Only now and then some bishop, by mistake, will bring something non-Catholic into Catholicism, namely modern consciousness, and that leads to absurdities. There was for example a pastoral letter written which claimed that the priest in the fulfilment of the sacrament at the altar would be more powerful than Christ Jesus, because he forces Christ Jesus to be present in the sacrament; Christ Jesus has to be present when the priests demands it; the result is that the priest is now more powerful than Christ.—This is the content of a pastoral letter of not long ago. You can come across such things when out of modern consciousness something is understood which should be understood in quite a different mood, namely that which lies beyond the earthly sphere and separated from it by the consecration.

The principle of consecration comes from far, far back. It already existed in the oldest oriental religions and it was particularly developed on (the Greek island of) Samothrace. Catholicism took it over from ancient times but for the newer consciousness it was totally lost.

Tomorrow I will try to add further elements to it, so that you can come to a full understanding of the principle of consecration, and also priest ordination, without which the apostolic succession won't be comprehensible