Biden's mortal sin, the Eucharist, and the wounds of Christ

By promulgating abortion, Biden is in a state of mortal sin and ineligible to partake in the sacrament.  He would seem ignorant of Church doctrine that the bread and wine are concretely the body and blood of Christ; the Eucharist is the Redeemer again offering Himself in death.  The ritual of the Eucharist takes part in the Passion, the redemptive shedding of blood and sacrifice of His life.  This is true symbolism — not merely a signifier or metaphor, but, by participating in the thing it represents, the thing itself.  This understanding has been lost to the modern mind, ritual and symbol devolved to habit and superstition.

Apropos of this current controversy, I'd like to alert AT readers to the recent publication of The Vulnerary of Christ — an exposition of the symbolism of the wounds of Christ sustained during the Passion in Christian art.  It is both illuminating and illuminated with the author's woodcuts.  The story of his life and work is also fascinating, and I hope to pique your interest by relaying it in a little detail here.

Louis Charbonneau-Lassay, born in Loudun, France in 1871, was a keen and admired archaeologist in his locale — publishing many articles on archaeology, Christian art and symbolism — and an erstwhile member of the Brothers of St. Gabriel.  Over the years, he amassed in his home — a former commandery of the Knights of Malta — a large collection of artifacts, his own woodcuts of Christian symbols, and copious notes. 

Encouraged to make this store of knowledge and insight more available for the edification of the faithful by gathering his materials into a book, in 1936 Charbonneau-Lassay completed The Bestiary of Christ, whereby he showed, in the style of medieval bestiaries, how hundreds of animals partake in the pattern of Christ and thus symbolize Him.  This universal approach to the conundrum of defining the indefinite is quite opposite to the early theological apophatism, whereby the divine is described exclusively in negative terms.

Forces conspired against the dissemination of his knowledge: by the time publication was arranged in 1940 in Belgium, Nazis controlled the border, and moving books across it was fraught.  Ultimately, only 250 copies were sold.  The remaining 250 and Charbonneau-Lassay's woodcuts were destroyed in a warehouse fire.  The Bestiary was not republished until 1974, posthumously.

Undeterred, inspired by a Catholic surgeon's experiments simulating crucifixion with bodies donated to science, Charbonneau-Lassay wrote The Vulnerary of Christ and thought it an important contribution, containing "things completely forgotten today, even by members of the clergy."  Having published some excerpts in articles, he died in 1946.  Happily, nearly two decades later, his family determined to publish, and it seemed the world would benefit from his insights after his death.  The manuscript was collected by a prospective publisher.  Those materials were never seen again.

That might have been that had it not been for Gauthier Pierozak, who, in creating an online database of the works of French metaphysician René Guénon, was commissioned by Guénon's children to assist with his archives.  Guénon was a friend of and correspondent with Charbonneau-Lassay and letters between the two revealed the structure and much of the content for The Vulnerary, enabling Pierozak to start reconstituting the book.

Pierozak also learned that Charbonneau-Lassay had bequeathed his archive of "about 50,000 files, notes, drawings, engravings, pictures" to the grand master of the Knights of the Paraclete, a Christian confraternity he'd revived in the 1930s.  The archives had passed among members of the Knights until their dissolution and were now lost.

Wonderfully, Pierozak was told of the whereabouts of these archives in Italy, invited to verify, consult, and ultimately purchase them.  With their aid, Pierozak faithfully reconstituted and published The Vulnerary, 71 years after Charbonneau-Lassay's death. 

Image: Angelico Press.

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