relevance of the philosophical school of phenomenology for
theosophy and other spiritual traditions is a prominent
theme on the Alpheus web site. To bolster the argument I
sometimes refer to the fruitful way religious thinkers have
used phenomenology for deepening the self-understanding
of their own tradition.
not far from the Theosophical Society in America is the
very Calvinist Wheaton College, which has a strong ‘continental’
philosophy department lead by Prof.
Bruce Benson, a phenomenologist of repute. He wrote
some deep studies on the experience of prayer and musical
improvisation. He is also the co-founder of The
for Continental Philosophy and Theology, with ‘Continental’
here basically meaning phenomenology and allied schools
like existentialism and post-modernism.
also have a strong voice in their midst in favor of phenomenology
and that is nobody less than Karol Wojtyla, the late Pope
John Paul II. He was a trained philosopher in the phenomenological
tradition and was the author of “The
Acting Person: A Contribution to Phenomenological Anthropology,”
which was published in Poland
in 1969 and is considered his most important philosophical
work. The Dutch publisher D. Reidel & co. published
the English translation in 1979. I found the work by looking
into the philosophical publications of Reidel, as my father
was their VP and I had become aware of the many important
phenomenological studies Reidel had published. After studying
a little bit of Wojtyla’s
as his strand of thought was named, my perception of him
was radically changed from seeing him as merely a somewhat
enlightened pope to an endearingly loyal Catholic with a
deep philosophical understanding of personhood and responsibility.
top of that, that perception might have to be calibrated
with some very intriguing information regarding Wojtyla’s
mentor in both acting and phenomenology during his formative
years, Wadowice Kotlarczyk, who apparently had an interest
in Theosophy and might have transmitted also some un-orthodox
ideas regarding he origin of religions to the future pope.
This information came to me thanks to the vigilance of a
In Action, which would obviously find reason for concern
in finding such a connection. They stated, and provided
sources, that it
that Kotlarczyk was inspired by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,
the Russian founder of modern Theosophism. Blavatsky,
like Wojtyla, taught that the religions are very similar
to one another, all coming from the same first source.
This early, indirect influence
of esotericism on his life might provide the historical
background of the rumor that Wojtyla was a secret member
of a Rosicrucian organization, which is not too far-fetched
as there is a persistent allegation that the Vatican harbors
its own Masonic lodge, named appropriately Lodge Ecclesia.
Of course, officially, the Catholic Church is anti-Masonic,
but in the grey underground milieu of semi-secret esoteric,
religious and political societies, there is a busy going
to-and-fro of infiltrators, counter-infiltrators, hostile
take-overs, secret conversions, double agents, etc., etc.
rumor of a Rosicrucian connection exists regarding
Angelo Roncalli, aka Pope John XXIII of Vatican II fame,
and both popes are said, according to different Ascended
Master groups, to have been secret initiates of the Occult
Hierarchy on the inner realm, both even having gone through,
after their demise, the 5th initiation of the
Ascension. Quite a stretch, but not impossible, as we still
know very little on how the Masters actually work on occult
levels with their agents and emissaries in this world and
how they try to guide humanity securely through its petulant
influenced by theosophist Helena Blavatsky
John Paul II meditating on the Tarot?