Saturday, August 12, 2017

Game of Thrones and Theology: Varys and St. Callistus I

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“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.” Varys -Game of Thrones

It is matter of doubt, moreover, to no one, that the church of the apostles is the mother of all the churches, from whose ordinances it is not right that you should deviate to any extent. St. Callistus I

 Game of Thrones (GOT), like many good dramas from John Ford's 17th Century blood-tragedy T'is Pity She's a Whore to Deadwood, offer pot-holed paths to God.  

This is a Vale of Tears and so is HBO's Westeros.   As if things are not normally bad enough, Winter is Coming, or Here Already: GOT's Army of the Dead is on the march and our Kardasian Kultur is trying to get its head around Kim Jong Un.  Obama NSA Chief Susan Rice says, “History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea — the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War,”  I mean, Dennis Rodman likes him and Seth Rogan made a movie about how funny he is - what's Trump's problem? Leave him alone.

Back to our fictional world of Westeros and one its more interesting characters - Varys.

Varys, AKA The Spider, is a former slave, eunuch and sorcerer's apprentice who ammassed political power and position by becoming a One Man Drudge Report - Varys gets the News before it is fit to print and acts accordingly.  He is the ultimate City Hall insider of any City he happens to glide through.  With venom and honey, Varys proves that knowledge is power, until knowledge shifts.  Enemies like Little Finger and the goatish old Grand Maester Pycelle.

Varys, like so many Mandarins at City Hall, the County Buildin, or the White House, uses information to remain viable, necessary and alive.   Most people find these deep state types - off-putting. Truth becomes an expendable expedient with them and they come up with convenient 'truths' like Chicago Values.

Varys reveals himself to be a very good hearted Mandrin.  Varys wants peace, justice and order and will create chaos to bring this about, all the while doing what he can to protect the brilliant and ethical dwarf Tyrion Lannister, as well as dim Samsa Stark.

Sexually ambiguous, Varys has flocks of "little birds'  orphans and street urchins who are his information highway and to whom he owes much of his power.

Most of the people of Kings' Landing assume he satisfies his desires with his "little birds" but this seems unlikely as Varys has never shown any malice or desire towards his spies, and he has himself stated that he would never seek to harm a child. Varys admits that, after his castration, he did sell himself sexually for a while in his struggle to survive the slums of Essos. However, he took no enjoyment from it- and, after witnessing so much cruelty take place in Westeros and Essos as a result of desire, he claims to be relieved that he can no longer experience it.
That is a core quality.  Core qualities, like core truths are anathema to the current secular PC morality, driven by class envy, race hate, gender victimization and academic fraudulence.   Core truth is was brings human being together and ultimately to God.

At the turn of the 2nd Century AD,  there lived a Roman slave by the name of Callistus.  He was brilliant and his master put him charge of a bank.   Like the Gospel of Matthew ( 25:14-30), Callistus invested 'creatively' seeking to increase his master's wealth and that of bank clients.  Unlike the gospel message, things did not pan-out for Callistus.

The bank went bust and Callistus tried to make things good by getting the people he made bad loans to pay up, he incited a riot at a synagogue was sentenced to the mines - Sixteen tons and deeper in debt.

With bribes and broken promises Callistus weasled his way out of the mines and found work tending the Christian cemetaries for Pope Zephyrinus, not the brightest Pontiff in the drawer.  Soon Callistus became an Archdeacon and Bishop, much to anger of right-living ecclesiastical pharisses like the historian Tertullian and anti-Pope Hippolytus, both contempraries hated his guts and wrote his obituaries:
During the subsequent reign of Pope Zephyrinus, Callistus became a deacon and the caretaker of a major Roman Christian cemetery (which still bears his name as the “Cemetery of St. Callistus”), in addition to advising the Pope on theological controversies of the day. He was a natural candidate to follow Zephyrinus, when the latter died in 219.
Hippolytus, an erudite Roman theologian, accused Pope Callistus of sympathizing with heretics, and resented the new Pope's clarification that even the most serious sins could be absolved after sincere confession. The Pope's assertion of divine mercy also scandalized the North African Christian polemicist Tertullian, already in schism from the Church in Carthage, who also erroneously held that certain sins were too serious to be forgiven through confession.
Considered in light of this error, Hippolytus' catalogue of sins allegedly “permitted” by Callistus – including extramarital sex and early forms of contraception - may in fact represent offenses which the Pope never allowed, but which he was willing to absolve in the case of penitents seeking reconciliation with the Church.
Even so, Callistus could not persuade Hippolytus' followers of his rightful authority as Pope during his own lifetime. The Catholic Church, however, has always acknowledged the orthodoxy and holiness of Pope St. Callistus I, particularly since the time of his martyrdom – traditionally ascribed to an anti-Christian mob - in 222. 
Callistus was a generous soul who forgave human frailty, but was resolved to bring all Christians together.

Like Varys, Callistus was sneered at and slighted by his less talented rivals.  Both men were born slaves, suffered many indignities, served cruel masters and retained their core virtues and lived for others.

Game of Thrones is a fine Cliffs Notes aid to learning how to get back to God,  Winter is  Coming.

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