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Who is Shift?

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  • Stolzi
    Here s something interesting, with a clever (I have to say) title: ========================= PUZZLED [John J. Miller] In my Friday article on Narnia, I
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 11 6:12 PM
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      Here's something interesting, with a clever (I have to say) title:
      =========================
      PUZZLED [John J. Miller]

      In my Friday article on Narnia, I suggested that C.S. Lewis--in his
      depiction of the ape Shift, a character in The Last Battle--intended to
      satirize Roman Catholicism. A distinguished emailer replies:

      Shift is a too-clever-for-his-own good atheist who despises & cynically
      manipulates the Narnians who believe in Aslan (read Christians) & allies
      himself with the Calormenes (read Muslims) and eventually gets carried
      off--presumably to Hell--by their demon-god Tash (read Allah). I wouldn't be
      at all surprised if some French politician ended up this way, but I don't
      see that it has anything to do w/ the pope.

      In defense, I will simply quote from A.N. Wilson's biography of C.S. Lewis:

      The Ape's pretense that the people can only speak to Aslan through him
      reflects the Ulster author's view of the papacy. "I'm a Man. If I look like
      an Ape, that's because I'm so very old: hundreds and hundreds of years old.
      And it's because I'm so old that I'm so wise. And it's because I'm so wise
      that I'm the only one Aslan is ever going to speak to. ... He'll tell me
      what to do and I'll tell the rest of you."

      I find Wilson's interpretation persuasive. As a Roman Catholic myself, I
      don't exactly like it. But I do believe that's the effect Lewis was going
      for.
      ================================

      Discuss.

      Personally, I distrust A.N. Wilson deeply, and in a zillion readings of LAST
      BATTLE, the interpretation suggested never occurred to me. I think Shift
      says what he says because he is a proven and inveterate LIAR and portrayed
      as such.


      Diamond Proudbrook
    • juliet@firinn.org
      ... ... I m with you. Shift and Roman Catholicism have some things in common, and Lewis likely meant to point out that anyone who claims to be the only
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 11 8:53 PM
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        On Mon, Jul 11, 2005 at 08:12:45PM -0500, Stolzi wrote:
        > Here's something interesting, with a clever (I have to say) title:
        > =========================
        > PUZZLED [John J. Miller]

        <snip>

        > ================================
        >
        > Discuss.
        >
        > Personally, I distrust A.N. Wilson deeply, and in a zillion readings of LAST
        > BATTLE, the interpretation suggested never occurred to me. I think Shift
        > says what he says because he is a proven and inveterate LIAR and portrayed
        > as such.
        >
        I'm with you. Shift and Roman Catholicism have some things in common,
        and Lewis likely meant to point out that anyone who claims to be the only
        way to God should be highly suspect--but to call Shift a satire of Roman
        Catholocism seems overly exclusive. There are many people besides the
        Pope who claim to be the mouthpiece of God. The Pope is at least probably
        more sincere than most. Shift, as you point out, is not the least bit
        sincere.

        I also think people who assume the Calormenes are Muslims aren't reading
        very carefully. That all just sounds like people trying to read their
        own ideas into the story and missing the deeper truths Lewis is trying
        to discuss.

        Julie
      • Carl F. Hostetter
        ... These supposed claims attributed to the Pope come as a surprise to this lifelong Catholic. Neither the Pope nor the Church has ever claimed or taught that
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 12 4:34 AM
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          On Jul 11, 2005, at 11:53 PM, juliet@... wrote:

          > Shift and Roman Catholicism have some things in common, and Lewis
          > likely meant to point out that anyone who claims to be the only way
          > to God should be highly suspect--but to call Shift a satire of
          > Roman Catholocism seems overly exclusive. There are many people
          > besides the Pope who claim to be the mouthpiece of God. The Pope
          > is at least probably more sincere than most. Shift, as you point
          > out, is not the least bit sincere.

          These supposed claims attributed to the Pope come as a surprise to
          this lifelong Catholic. Neither the Pope nor the Church has ever
          claimed or taught that the Pope is either God's "mouthpiece" or "the
          only way to God" (indeed, the Church has taken flak from some of its
          members for quite specifically _denying_ that it claims to be "the
          only way to God").

          > I also think people who assume the Calormenes are Muslims aren't
          > reading very carefully. That all just sounds like people trying to
          > read their own ideas into the story and missing the deeper truths
          > Lewis is trying to discuss.

          How ironic.
        • Patrick Wynne
          ... If I might play Devil s Advocate ... ;-) In 1302 AD, Pope Boniface VIII wrote the following _ex cathedra_ (i.e. infallible) statement in the bull _Unam
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 12 5:15 AM
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            On Jul 12, 2005, at 6:34 AM, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

            > These supposed claims attributed to the Pope come as a surprise to
            > this lifelong Catholic. Neither the Pope nor the Church has ever
            > claimed or taught that the Pope is either God's "mouthpiece" or "the
            > only way to God" (indeed, the Church has taken flak from some of its
            > members for quite specifically _denying_ that it claims to be "the
            > only way to God").

            If I might play Devil's Advocate ... ;-)

            In 1302 AD, Pope Boniface VIII wrote the following _ex cathedra_
            (i.e. infallible) statement in the bull _Unam Sanctam_:

            "Furthermore we declare, state, define, and pronounce that it
            is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature
            to be subject to the Roman pontiff."

            (Cited by Henry Bettenson, Ed., _Documents of the Christian
            Church_ (London: Oxford University, 1963), p. 116.)

            This was later reaffirmed by the First Vatican Council in 1869-70,
            and seems pretty close (at least to this Lutheran's ears) to saying
            that the Pope is "the only way to God". However, I gather from
            what Carl has told me in conversations on this topic that the
            modern Catholic Church no longer holds to this teaching. When
            was it specifically changed, I wonder? At Vatican Two?

            -- Pat

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ginger McElwee
            I agree with Carl. Additionally I see no evidence in any of Lewis’ writings that he misunderstood Catholicism so profoundly. Granted he had issues with the
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 12 5:24 AM
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              I agree with Carl. Additionally I see no evidence in any of Lewis�
              writings that he misunderstood Catholicism so profoundly. Granted he
              had issues with the church, but I think he understood the church�s
              position well enough not to equate it with a weak and manipulative ape
              whose main characteristics are selfishness, stupidity, and disbelief.

              Ginger McElwee

              -----Original Message-----
              From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              Of Carl F. Hostetter
              Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 6:34 AM
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Who is Shift?


              On Jul 11, 2005, at 11:53 PM, juliet@... wrote:

              > Shift and Roman Catholicism have some things in common, and Lewis
              > likely meant to point out that anyone who claims to be the only way
              > to God should be highly suspect--but to call Shift a satire of
              > Roman Catholocism seems overly exclusive. There are many people
              > besides the Pope who claim to be the mouthpiece of God. The Pope
              > is at least probably more sincere than most. Shift, as you point
              > out, is not the least bit sincere.

              These supposed claims attributed to the Pope come as a surprise to
              this lifelong Catholic. Neither the Pope nor the Church has ever
              claimed or taught that the Pope is either God's "mouthpiece" or "the
              only way to God" (indeed, the Church has taken flak from some of its
              members for quite specifically _denying_ that it claims to be "the
              only way to God").

              > I also think people who assume the Calormenes are Muslims aren't
              > reading very carefully. That all just sounds like people trying to
              > read their own ideas into the story and missing the deeper truths
              > Lewis is trying to discuss.

              How ironic.




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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Carl F. Hostetter
              ... That is an accepted translation of the text of the Bull ( _Declaratio quod subesse Romano Pontifici est omni humanae creaturae de necessitate salutis_ ),
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 12 1:32 PM
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                On Jul 12, 2005, at 8:15 AM, Patrick Wynne wrote:

                > In 1302 AD, Pope Boniface VIII wrote the following _ex cathedra_
                > (i.e. infallible) statement in the bull _Unam Sanctam_:
                >
                > "Furthermore we declare, state, define, and pronounce that it is
                > altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be
                > subject to the Roman pontiff."

                That is an accepted translation of the text of the Bull ("_Declaratio
                quod subesse Romano Pontifici est omni humanae creaturae de
                necessitate salutis_"), but is itself open to interpretation: namely,
                as to whether the Bull is stating that 1) every individual human
                being is _de facto_ subject to the authority of the Pope with respect
                to and for the purposes of achieving salvation through Christ's
                Church; or 2) that every individual human being must submit himself,
                knowingly, to the authority of the Pope, in order to achieve his own
                salvation, and without doing so he will of a certainty not be saved?

                The latter interpretation would seem to forbid even an appeal to
                "invincible ignorance" as hope for salvation for any non-Catholic but
                otherwise righteous person. But that would itself contradict the
                constant teaching of the Church (see <http://www.catholicculture.org/
                docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=1203>) that those who are invincibly
                ignorant _may_ be saved; and so it would seem to me to not be the
                correct interpretation (if it were, it would "prove too much", as
                they say: namely, that invincible ignorance is no excuse of
                culpability, which is contrary to Catholic teaching).
                To my eyes, a plain reading of the text of the Bull in question in
                its entirety and in its context of a time of looming schism, and of
                revolt by King Philip IV, make it clear that the subject of the Bull
                is the primacy of the Church, and thus of its head the Pope, over
                every other worldly authority; in particular, over that of kings,
                princes, and soldiers. From both the text and the context of the
                whole Bull, what I see is a restatement and definition of what the
                Catholic Church has always taught: that to it and to it alone has
                been given supreme worldly authority (through the Keys of Peter and
                Apostolic Succession), that this authority was granted and guaranteed
                to the Pope and the Church by Christ for the purpose of securing the
                salvation of all mankind, and that the Pope and the Church are not
                subject or subordinate to any other worldly authority:

                "Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the
                spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be
                administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former
                in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and
                soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.

                "However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and
                temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power. For since the
                Apostle said: "There is no power except from God and the things that
                are, are ordained of God" [Rom 13:1-2], but they would not be
                ordained if one sword were not subordinated to the other and if the
                inferior one, as it were, were not led upwards by the other."

                "Hence we must recognize the more clearly that spiritual power
                surpasses in dignity and in nobility any temporal power whatever, as
                spiritual things surpass the temporal. This we see very clearly also
                by the payment, benediction, and consecration of the tithes, but the
                acceptance of power itself and by the government even of things. For
                with truth as our witness, it belongs to spiritual power to establish
                the terrestrial power and to pass judgement if it has not been good."

                "Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the
                spiritual power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be
                judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all
                err, it can be judged only by God, and not by man, according to the
                testimony of the Apostle: "The spiritual man judgeth of all things
                and he himself is judged by no man" [1 Cor 2:15]. This authority,
                however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man),
                is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and
                reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter
                confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, "Whatsoever you shall
                bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven" etc., [Mt 16:19].
                Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists
                the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2], unless he invent like Manicheus two
                beginnings, which is false and judged by us heretical....
                Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely
                necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the
                Roman Pontiff."

                (Note the prominent "therefore" underpinning both the negative and
                the positive statements, both of which must be understood in light of
                all the preceding indicated by that "therefore".)

                (<http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/B7UNAM.HTM>)
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