The Helmet of Mambrino (III)

Written by P. Alfonso Gálvez on .


3. Where a brief summary of the evolution undergone by the concept of theater in the mind of the Church, from her earliest times to the present day, is made.


The Greek classics looked down upon theater and regarded actors as people of low birth. Plato, for example, was a prominent enemy of the stage.

As for Christianity, it is known that the early Church (Councils and the Fathers in the lead) showed a continuous hostility against theater. Tertullian (De Spectaculis) and Saint Augustine (Enarrationes in Psalmos; De Fide et Operibus; De Vera Religione; etc.) were perhaps, among many others, its most bitter critics. In fact, the enmity (including even that of famous persons such as Bossuet) lasted until after the seventeenth century, despite inconsistent periods of respect and even cooperation.

It should be noted, as an important historical curiosity, that in the Middle Ages Saint Thomas was one of the few theologians who upheld the honor of theater and of the craft of acting, as long as morality was taken into account (S. T., II-II, q. 168, a. 3). The Saint even defended the legality of the stipends received by the actors who acted honestly (S. T., II-II, q. 87, a. 2, ad. 2).

A careful study of the reasons for this current of thought is not relevant here. One can arguably say, generally speaking, that the high degree of immorality reached by theater since the classical era and early days of the Church was the cause of the multitude of prohibitions thrown against it. In effect, the complex and lascivious Dionysian milieu was involved in theater, along with its orgies, its phallic cults, and deeply obscene stage performances. Not to mention the bloody and cruel spectacle of the games at the circus. No wonder the Reformation was no less hostile than the Catholic Church to theater.

Homily August 21st, 2016

Written by P. Alfonso Gálvez on .

XIV Sunday after Pentecost

Mt 6: 24-33

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The Helmet of Mambrino (II)

Written by P. Alfonso Gálvez on .


2. Where we begin to expound the state of affairs and touch upon some background that gave rise to the "show" as an expression and content of faith.


Few people realize that the old problem of substituting appearing (or appearances, if you want) for being  is the core issue here. In other words, we are dealing with an old and extremely serious philosophical quandary.

Some may think that we exaggerate and will bring up the familiar adage it is not a big deal; but this would be merely one way, among many others, of confronting a problem without committing oneself to anything. Therefore, nothing better than presenting an example to counter such way of thinking. Examples are illuminating in themselves and can offer a better understanding of the problem, as a practical tool to center the subject and begin the discussion.

Everyone knows the tendencies of modern theology, most of which, welcomed and embraced by the ecclesiastical Hierarchy, have sent the metaphysics of being to the attic of useless paraphernalia. Today it is not uncommon to find Shepherds who know no philosophy, if any at all, other than Personalism and Phenomenology. There is no sense in denying that modern theology has been invaded by Idealism, which starts with Descartes as its strong point of departure, passes through Kant and Hegel, gives rise to the practical philosophy of Marx, Husserl's phenomenology, and the conciliatory doctrines of Hartmann and Scheler –which, in reality, do not conciliate anything. The adherents to these philosophies, one must admit, are very proud of themselves.

Homily August 14th, 2016

Written by P. Alfonso Gálvez on .

XIII Sunday after Pentecost

Lk 17: 11-19

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The Helmet of Mambrino (!)

Written by P. Alfonso Gálvez on .


1. How can one make what is white appear as black and vice versa.[1]


Objects that are presented to our knowledge and events which we perceive are not always what they seem to be nor do they always seem to be what they are. This happens because of the simple nature of things; we must take into account the limitations of our understanding and perception when we try to comprehend them. We see something, consider it, classify it, and pigeonhole it; but so frequently it happens that we are just plain wrong in our assessment.

More often than not, this deception occurs because of our own stupidity, which seems to have a tendency to adhere to our already limited intellectual capacity.

But the error in our judgment is not always the result of personal limitations or defects which influence our perceptive and intellective skills. In fact, it can also be caused by some external agent foreign to us. Oddly enough, this source of confusion is the one which most frequently affects our lives.

In any case, many who are being deceived have already previously contributed to their deception with something on their own; consequently they are to a greater or lesser degree guilty of their error; for He who doeth truth cometh to the light.[2] It is no exaggeration to say that any victim of deception usually has some complicity with lies. For a Christian, for example, fidelity to the Word of his Lord implies the guarantee of arriving at the knowledge of truth and, as a corollary, attaining authentic liberation (Jn 8: 31-32).

Homily August 7th, 2016

Written by P. Alfonso Gálvez on .

XII Sunday after Pentecost

Lk 10: 23-37

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