Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,
Glory to Jesus Christ!
One of the most important Biblical principles for our times might be called “the Romans 5:20 Principle.” In his letter to the Church in Rome, St. Paul reminds the faithful that “where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20). By this God-breathed statement, the Holy Ghost binds Himself to pour out His grace superabundantly wherever sin proliferates, so that evil will never be able to triumph over goodness in the ultimate scheme of things. We can see this principle at work in the world in our own time, as, in the midst of the apostasy of so many Catholic intellectuals who exalt fallible human science above the Word of God as understood and handed down to us from the beginning, God has brought to light some of the most remarkable scientific confirmations of the truth of His Revelation.
Besides the Holy Shroud of Turin, which we have mentioned elsewhere, the private revelations of the Catholic mystic and victim soul, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, have also shed abundant light on the historical and geographical accuracy of the Gospels, as well as on the traditional Biblical chronology of the creation of man and the universe. Since the publication of the complete notebooks of Clemens Brentano, Blessed Anne Catherine’s secretary, in 2009, Dr. Robert Powell, a mathematician with a background in astronomical chronology, has carefully examined Blessed Anne’s references to days of the week, dates in the Hebrew calendar, and astronomical details. As reported in Appendix I of Volume III of The Visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich recently published by Angelico Press:
Powell’s initial reading of Anne Catherine’s visions gave him an overpowering sense of their extraordinary internal consistency—and hence reliability—in regard to the thousands of temporal references found therein. However, as a scientist, Powell was not content simply with this sense of authenticity: he sought a way to know for sure whether or not the visions were true. To this end, he scrutinized the visions line by line and found that Anne Catherine made references to days of the week, dates in the Hebrew calendar, as well as indications regarding the phases of the moon and positions of the sun. Without a background in astronomical chronology, one might not notice such details, but Powell possessed precisely such knowledge.
On one occasion, for example, Anne Catherine said, “Jesus taught in the synagogue at Ainon . . . That evening, after the close of the sabbath . . . was the commencement of the Feast of Tabernacles . . . “ Now, the Feast of Tabernacles commences on the fifteenth day of the month of Tishri in the Hebrew calendar, so that the fifteenth day—falling in the middle of a lunar month containing 29 or 30 days—coincides with the Full Moon. Moreover, since the Hebrew sabbath extends from dusk on Friday evening to dusk on Saturday evening, it must have been Saturday evening “after the close of the sabbath.” This event, then, must have happened on a Saturday evening at a Full Moon in September or October (month of Tishri).
Powell collected all references of this kind and found to his astonishment that they tallied exactly with the Hebrew lunar calendar for the period from the year 29 to the year 33. As a former professor of statistics and probability theory, Powell applied his knowledge in this field to the results his studies had yielded and found that the probability that the dates indicated by Anne Catherine were random was one in four hundred and thirty-five billion (or authentic with 99.9999999999977% certainty)! Powell had his work reviewed by two other mathematicians, who came to the same result.
It can be said, therefore, that it has proven possible for the first time in history to establish the true dates of the life of Christ, primarily from the baptism in the Jordan onward (but also from shortly before the baptism) up until the crucifixion and resurrection, and shortly thereafter. And by extension, we can feel confident that when we read Anne Catherine’s account of the life of Jesus Christ we are on a secure foundation. One cannot of course claim that every single word recorded of her visions is the absolute truth; but from the extraordinary accuracy of her temporal indications . . . and from what Powell’s meticulous research has established, the conclusion is inescapable that the dates in the life of Christ as indicated by Anne Catherine through her visions—or rather, as has here been determined on the basis of her descriptions—are the actual historical dates.
While the editors of this work rightly caution readers not to place Blessed Anne’s work on the same level as the inerrant Scriptures, the work of Dr. Powell demonstrates that her chronological data is remarkably consonant with the astronomical data, the Hebrew calendar, and the Gospel accounts. The chronological accuracy of her accounts, as recorded by her secretary Clemens Brentano, has a special significance for the work of the Kolbe Center, since Blessed Anne was specifically shown a discussion between Our Lord Jesus Christ and a group of Pharisees about the age of the universe. During Blessed Anne’s lifetime, Enlightenment thinkers had launched an all-out assault on the historical truth of Genesis and the Biblical history of the world. As the skeptics of her day embraced pagan conjectures regarding the origins of man, the Earth, and the universe, Blessed Anne, in her visions, saw Jesus conversing with the Jewish scholars of his time, defending the accuracy of the Mosaic account, and exposing serious errors in the Egyptian chronologies. She told Clemens Brentano:
... I beheld Jesus teaching at Aruma. Jesus, speaking before the Pharisees of the call of Abraham and his sojourn in Egypt, exposed the errors of the Egyptian calendar. He told them that the world had now existed 4028 years. When I heard Jesus say this, he was Himself 31 years old.
What is particularly interesting about this account is that the Septuagint chronology—which appears to have systematically added hundreds of years to the genealogies in the original Hebrew text of Genesis—was composed in Alexandria, in Egypt, and was in all likelihood influenced by the inflated chronologies of the Egyptians which Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, and other Church Fathers mention in their writings. It makes sense, then, that Our Lord would make such a definitive statement in defense of the chronology of the world derived from the Hebrew text of the Old Testament in a conversation with the Pharisees about the errors of the Egyptian calendar. Moreover, Our Lord’s words confirm the truth of the chronology of the world that was accepted by all of the greatest Catholic commentators on the Bible after the Council of Trent.
It is beyond the scope of this newsletter to say anything more about Blessed Anne Catherine’s visions, except to say that they provide a striking confirmation of the historical accuracy of the Bible at a time when the overwhelming majority of Catholic Scripture scholars seem to have traded their birthright-belief in Scriptural inerrancy for the “pottage” of a watered-down “limited inerrancy” in matters of faith and morals. Moreover, I am happy to report that Catholics who want to avail themselves of this treasure will no longer have to purchase it from Amazon. We hope that by arrangement with Angelico Press, the Kolbe Center will be able to make Volume III available through our web store in the near future at a price lower than what is charged on the Amazon website.
Through the prayers of the Mother of God, may the Holy Ghost guide us all into all the Truth!