Race Issues 1a: Catholic Thoughts On The Curse of Ham Extending Back Two Centuries
Let's start from the beginning.
The Curse of Ham. Shall we believe it, or shall we not believe it?
And the sons of Noe who came out of the ark, were Sem, Cham, and Japheth: and Cham is the father of Chanaan. These three are the sons of Noe: and from these was all mankind spread over the whole earth. And Noe, a husbandman, began to till the ground, and planted a vineyard. And drinking of the wine was made drunk, and was uncovered in his tent. Which when Cham the father of Chanaan had seen, to wit, that his father's nakedness was uncovered, he told it to his two brethren without. But Sem and Japheth put a cloak upon their shoulders, and going backward, covered the nakedness of their father: and their faces were turned away, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noe awaking from the wine, when he had learned what his younger son had done to him, He said: Cursed be Chanaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said: Blessed be the Lord God of Sem, be Chanaan his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Sem, and Chanaan be his servant.
The passage actually sounds more like The Curse of Canaan, doesn't it? However, "Curse of Ham" is the running title of this legend, so we'll go with that.
More importantly, when we say "Curse of Ham," what are we talking about here? Are we talking about a literal curse being put on someone? Yes. There can be no doubt. There is definitely a curse being sown in this passage. And it's a pretty severe curse. It basically is a curse, by Noah, aimed at what would become a significant portion of the global population.
Current Modern Thought
A local Tulsa Protestant preacher, Apostle Frederick K.C. Price, says the following in his very affordable book The Truth About Race: Did God Curse Black People:
There are approximately 203 verses in the Bible where the words curse, cursed, cursedst, curses, cursest, curseth, cursing and cursings are found. In all those verses, I have yet to find one reference to a man, a group of men or a nation that was cursed eternally or in perpetuity, leaving no possiblity of that curse being lifted, not one.
All of this mess about the curse of Ham is a bunch of foolishness. It's solely a case of color and ethnic prejudice.
Such a curse as "The Curse of Ham" is on the same level as the curse of Cain and his progeny, the predicament of Ishmael's progeny, the dilemma of Isaac and Esau, not to mention the stern decree that God pronounced on all men and women when He kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.
Such permanent arrangements have occurred before.
The real heart of the matter is this: Does the curse that Noah placed on his offspring explain black skin and other physical and mental features of the world's various black people?
Being the Traditionalist that I am, I tend to go along with the historical current of thought. I tend to agree with Church Fathers, the philosophical wisdom of antiquity, and so on. Therefore, perhaps the better question to ask is: Based on the perceptions of historians and scholars, shall we give any consideration to what is known as "The Curse of Ham?"
If you go to Wikipedia, you can readily observe that most modern thinkers are eager to relegate the concept of Ham's Curse to the dustbin of history. Not a small number of thinkers are evolutionists, and not a small amount of thinkers harbor animosity toward the Biblical narrative.
It therefore makes sense that these people would happily do their best to discredit the traditional line of thought that Ham's line was cursed. As of the date of this blog post, Wikipedia reads:
"Nevertheless, most Christian denominations and all Islamic, Jewish denominations now strongly disagree with such interpretations due to the fact that in the biblical text, Ham himself is not cursed and race or skin color is never mentioned."
What do the Wikipedians care about this curse being illegitimate among Christians? They're atheist liberals, for the most part.
The trend of thought, at least on Wikipedia, is that the Curse of Ham has been utilized to justify slavery. It is stated that in Medieval Europe, serfs were descended from Ham, and so their station in life were justified by Ham's curse, while nobles were descended from Japeth, and free men from Shem. Wikipedia's authors relate how The Curse of Ham narrative was co-opted by racist participants of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to legitimize their business.
In this blog post, we will not yet go back so far as the Medieval European view on this matter. We will first examine strictly Catholic views on black etiology, going back to the beginning of the 19th century.
Nuns and Priests
Indeed, it is true, the last two centuries gave way to a lot of people, including black Christians themselves, who believed that the etiology of blacks stems from a cursed line that descended from Ham. As recently as the mid-1800s, you had missionaries such as Blessed Maria Theresa Ledochowska, a religious sister who genuinely believed that the cursed black race could also be redeemed by God.
Irish Catholic priest, Father James L. Meagher, had much to say about the three tribes that descended from Noah. In the following passage from his 1906 book, How Christ Said the First Mass, there is a particular section that contrasts the three branches that came from Noah. He extols the children of Japeth, who he regards as the white peoples of the earth who would accept Christ. The sons of Shem, excluding the line that produced Jesus Christ, he regards as stunted, citing them as stagnant, conservative, and unprogressive. He claims they've hardly improved since the patriarchs because, for whatever reason, they were not blessed with the grace of change.
The children of Ham, however, are regarded as cursed, due to Ham's transgression.
The Holy Ghost drew back the curtain hiding the future and revealed the Crucified when Noe blessed and cursed the nations—the races—in his three sons. The mighty movements of mankind then begun have continued till oar day.
Noe, the second Adam, father of mankind, high priest and image of Jesus Christ, planted a vineyard, pressed the grapes and made wine. Not knowing its effect he took too much, lay naked in his tent, an image of our High Priest stripped of his garments, crucified, dead on the cross. Ham, Noe's second son mocked his father as the Jews mocked the dying Christ. His two other sons, Sem and Japheth with a cloak, covered their father's nakedness.
Rising from his sacrifice, Noe blessed and cursed, as Christ was to rise from the tomb after his sacrifice and bless his followers with the gift of the Holy Ghost, while the curse of his blood rested on the Jewish nation.
"Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." He could not curse Ham, for God had blessed the three sons and the curse rested on Canaan's children. Ham's sons settled Palestine, which they cursed with the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. But Ham's tribes settled Africa, and find their vocation as slaves and servants waiting on the white men. Cursed in the passion their father mocked in Noe, the African race love to serve as servants to the other races. Living since in deepest degradation, among them never rose religion, literature, invention, genius, or progress. The other races will not receive on an equality one in whose veins flows their tainted blood.
Prophetic words the Holy Ghost pronounced through Noe on the sons who covered him. "Blessed be the Lord God of Sem, let Canaan be his servant." Thus he determined that the " Lord God," Jesus Christ would be born of Sem's race, the Jews. Christ's genealogy shows him as son of Sem.* He is the glory of the Jewish Semites.
Such was the opinion of this particular Irish priest.
The Cuckservative Bishop
In his book Cuckservative: How "Conservatives" Betrayed America, Vox Day remarks:
Of late, evangelicals in particular have embraced transracial adoption as a new Christian virtue, with the amount of virtue endowed by the adoptee primarily dependent upon the color of his skin.
If that is the case, then it can be said that Bishop Auguste Martin of Louisiana was possibly one of the first major cases of Cuckservatism in the United States.
This particular bishop wanted to cite the Curse of Ham in order to justify bringing blacks into America. In an 1861 pastoral letter that was later discredited, the bishop argued that God had arranged to have good Catholics
snatch from the barbarity of their ferocious customs thousands of children of the race of Canaan, upon whom the curse of an outraged Father continues to weigh heavily, almost everywhere. He commits them to the care of the privileged ones of the great human family for His own purposes and these people must be their shepherds and their fathers rather than their masters.
Father Napoleon Joseph Perchr, coadjutor of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, actually gave his imprimatur for the bishop's pastoral letter to be published in the local Catholic newspaper.
However, in 1864 Bishop Martin was later countered in a point-by-point argumentative letter by a priest who quite disagreed with him, Fr. Vincenzo M. Gatti. In order to fulfill the task entrusted to him by the Most Reverend Secretary of State for the Vatican, Cardinal Barnabo, he argues (emphasis mine):
The Bishop supposes that there exists a natural difference between the Negroes, whom he calls the children of Canaan, and the Whites, when he says that the latter are the privileged ones of the great human family and the former are still now lying under the curse of Noah. And he makes it the latter's duty to be the Negroes' sheperds, fathers, and masters...we also must observe that both the ancient and the modern supporters of the theory of slavery advanced as one of the reasons for its acceptability the fact that the Negroes have been subjected to others by the curse of Noah. But those who oppose this theory, besides denying its validity, at least after the Christian era when the curse would not be valid any longer, deny the fact itself, i.e., that the Negroes descend from Canaan. For from Sacred History we deduce that the children of Canaan lived in "Cananea," and that in Africa the other children of [C]ham spread out--such as Chus, Mesrains and Phut, who were not cursed by Noah. Noah cursed only Canaan, from whom the Canaanites descend, and who were later driven out or killed by the Hebrews when they conquered Palestine, or were reduced to slavery. To them belonged the Gabonites, though they saved their lives by fraud...
The Bishop calls the Negroes poor children, while they are not such. As I stressed above, Noah did not [sic]curse Canaan...but even if they were cursed by Noah, they are not cursed any longer after the coming of Jesus Christ when, as the Apostle says, there is no distinction between Jew and gentile, between freeman and slave, between man and woman, since we are all sons of the same divine Father. In contrast, Bishop Martin seems to consider the opposite teaching to be the teaching of the Gospel. Did Jesus Christ say: "Go snatch them by force from their native country, drag them to your countries, and convert them?" No, He did not.
Bishop Martin was repudiated by Father Gatti, the Congregation of the Index, and the pope* himself. This is well and good, for the Church has long condemned slavery.
St. Patrick, St. Bathilde, St. Anskar, St. Wulfstan, St. Anselm. St Thomas Aquinas, and even Pope Paul III condemned slavery as a sin, and it is even an excommunicable practice. In 1839, Gregory XVI condemned slavery in his apostolic letter, In Supremo Apostolatus. It is just and right that slavery was condemned again in this instance.
And to his credit, Bishop Martin backtracked and started an apostolic mission to care for freed slaves.
However, note that Fr. Gatti limits his historical knowledge to only the Holy Scriptures. He gives himself a little wiggle room when he writes: "but even if they were cursed." Just in case it turns out that he is wrong.
Yet, shall it then be assumed that there is nothing more to the "Ham Curse" than the fact that the Bible states that Noah cursed Canaanite people? Shall Holy Scriptures serve as the be-all-end-all authority on what went down on that day between Noah and his son? Shall we exclude the possibility that more happens in Biblical history than the Bible actually covers?
So far, I have mentioned a beautified religious sister, a priest, as well as a bishop who cited the Curse of Ham as the primary etiology of black people But there was even a pope who attributed the source of the black races to Ham, and that was Pope Pius IX. This is his 1873 prayer for the conversion of blacks in Central Africa:
Let us pray for the most wretched Ethiopians in Central Africa, that Almighty God may at length move the curse of Cham from their hearts, and grant them the blessing to be found only in Jesus Christ, our God and Lord.
This was the pope's 1873 prayer for the conversion of blacks in Central Africa. And yet, in spite of this acknowledgement of the curse, only ten years earlier...he was the very pope who repudiated Bishop Martin*.
Apparently Fr. Gatti's letter of repudiation did not convince the pope of a contrary origin of black people.
A Mystic Saint
Finally, I'll conclude with a well-known saint, who had a vision of what happened between Noah, Ham, and his son. Her name is Venerable Catherine Anne Emmerich, a 19th century stigmatic who suffered in this life, but whose body remains incorrupt to this day.
There is much debate about her visions. Solange Hertz warns about the recording of her visions by writer Klemens Maria Brentano, stating that:
How we react to her is in some wise an indication of how we shall react to the other signs and wonders our Lord predicted would arise to try us in the latter days.
While not doubting Brentano's sincerity in the matter, Hertz cites his disjointed collection of dictations, subsequent editors who finished his work after his death, and contradictions with other visionaries--not to mention the collection of apocryphal books they found after he passed away.
On the other hand, who is to say that Brentano wasn't inspired to go out and research ancient Biblical history after being inspired by Emmerich's visions?
A writer who calls himself Samuel Sinner, in his article, Some Further Perspectives on Anne Catherine Emmerich, counters that the suspicions against Brentano are overblown.
From a comparative philological and literary view, the contention that Brentano "fabricated almost all" the Emmerich material is exaggerated and false. Editorial work there certainly was, but Brentano's accounts agree with the basic picture of Emmerich found in the firsthand written accounts of Dr. Franz Wilhelm Wesener (Emmerich's medical doctor) and author Luisa Hensel. Moreover, as the internationally renowned and critically reserved Germanist Dr. Anton Brieger states, the Emmerich visions recorded by Brentano have all the marks of a woman's psychology and a feminine attention to detail. Additionally, Fr. Joseph Adam, the author of Emmerich's new official positio accepted by the Roman authorities, has demonstrated that the former charges made by Fr. Winfried Humpfner (whose activities led to the 1928 reponatur), namely that Brentano was guilty of wholesale fabrication, were "rabid attacks" against a pious Catholic, and were furthermore "hard and pre-emptory." Although recognizing at times their problematic nature and that they were adapted and edited, Adam nevertheless characterizes the Brentano Emmerich writings as exhibiting simultaneously "a deep piety and a solid ecclesiastical spirit."
Sinner states that before condemning her legitimacy, Emmerich's critics should first do diligence and conduct research, updating themselves on the most recent German, Latin, and Italian documents. He notes that she can be a polarizing figure--most likely because of the passage that is included below.
When it comes to visions, caution is understood. Not everyone can digest such material--just as not everyone can digest everything that comes off of this blog. I've already given my two cents about those who disregard prophecy and visions. But for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and who are capable of taking such information with the proper grain of salt, her account is truly intriguing, if not inspiring.
And with that, I give you the vision of the Venerable Catherine Anne Emmerich. Her account of Noah and his children begins with Cain, the son of Adam and Eve. This vision takes place before the Deluge, and we are offered a window into the antediluvian world. It is interesting to note that when Cain is cursed by God for murdering Abel, his skin also turns dark.
CAIN. THE CHILDREN OF GOD. THE GIANTS
I saw that Cain conceived on Mount Olivet the design to murder Abel, After the deed, he wandered about the same spot frightened and distracted planting trees and tearing them up again. Then I saw a majestic Figure in the form of a man refulgent with light appear to him. ''Cain," He said, "where is thy brother Abel?" Cain did not at first see the Figure; but when he did, he turned and answered: "I know not. He has not been given in charge to me." But when God replied that Abel's blood cried to Him from the earth, Cain grew more troubled, and I saw that he disputed long with God. God told him that he should be cursed upon the earth, that it should bring forth no fruit for him, and that he should forthwith flee from the land in which he then dwelt. Cain responded that everywhere his fellow men would seek to kill him. There were already many people upon the earth. Cain was very old and had children. Abel also left children, and there were other brothers and sisters, the children of Adam. But God replied that it would not be so; that whoever should kill Cain should himself be punished sevenfold, and He placed a sign upon him that no one should slay him. Cain's posterity gradually became colored. Cham's children also were browner than those of Sem. The nobler races were always of a lighter color. They who were distinguished by a particular mark engendered children of the same stamp; and as corruption increased, the mark also increased until at last it covered the whole body, and people became darker and darker. But yet in the beginning there were no people perfectly black; they became so only by degrees.
God pointed out to Cain a region to which he should flee. And because Cain said: 'Then, wilt Thou let me starve?"—(the earth was for him accursed)—God answered no, that he should eat the flesh of animals. He told him likewise that a nation would arise from him, and that good also would come from him. Before this men ate no flesh.
Cain went forth and built a city, which he named after his son Henoch.
Abel was slain in the valley of Josaphat opposite Mount Calvary. Numerous murders and evil deeds took place there at a subsequent period. Cain slew Abel with a kind of club that he used to break soft stones and earth when planting in the fields. The club must have been of hard stone, for it was shaped like a pickaxe, the handle of wood.
We must not picture to ourselves the earth before the Deluge as it is now. Palestine was by no means so broken up by valleys and ravines. Plains were far more extensive,
and single mountains less lofty. The Mount of Olives was at that time only a gentle rising. The Crib Cave of Bethlehem was as later a wild cavern, but the surroundings were different.
The people of those early times were larger, though not out of proportion. We would regard them with astonishment, but not with fright, for they were far more beautiful in form than people of a later period. Among the old marble statues that I see in many places lying in subterranean caves, may be found similar figures.
Cain led his children and grandchildren to the region pointed out to him, and there they separated. Of Cain himself, I have never seen anything more that was sinful. His punishment appeared to consist in hard, but fruitless labor. Nothing in which he was personally engaged succeeded. I saw that he was mocked and reviled by his children and grandchildren, treated badly in every way. And yet they followed him as their leader, though as one accursed. I saw that Cain was severely punished, but not damned.
One of Cain's descendants was Thubalcain, the originator of numerous arts, and the father of the giants. I have frequently seen that, when the angels fell, a certain number had a moment of repentance and did not in consequence fall as low as the others. Later on, these fallen spirits took up their abode on a high, desolate, and wholly inaccessible mountain whose site at the time of the Deluge became a sea, the Black Sea, I think. They were permitted to exercise their evil influence upon men in proportion as the latter strayed further from God. After the Deluge they disappeared from that region, and were confined to the air. They will not be cast into Hell before the last day.
I saw Cain's descendants becoming more and more godless and sensual. They settled further and further up that mountain ridge where were the fallen spirits. Those spirits took possession of many of the women, ruled them com-
pletely, and taught them all sorts of seductive arts. Their children were very large. They possessed a quickness, an aptitude for everything, and they gave themselves up entirely to the wicked spirits as their instruments. And so arose on this mountain and spread far around, a wicked race which by violence and seduction sought to entangle Sethi's posterity likewise in their own corrupt ways. Then God declared to Noe His intention to send the Deluge. During the building of the ark, Noe had to suffer terribly from those people.
I have seen many things connected with the race of giants. They could with ease carry enormous stones high up the mountain, they could accomplish the most stupendous feats. They could walk straight up trees and walls just as I have seen others possessed by the devil doing. They could effect the most wonderful things, they could do whatever they wished; but all was pure jugglery and delusion due to the agency of the demon. It is for that reason that I have such horror of every species of jugglery and fortune-telling. These people could form all kinds of images out of stone and metal; but of the knowledge of God they had no longer a trace. They sought their gods in the creatures around them. I have seen them scratch up a stone, form it into an extravagant image, and then adore it. They worshipped also a frightful animal and all kinds of ignoble things. They knew all things, they could see all things, they were skilled in the preparing of poisons, they practiced sorcery and every species of wickedness. The women invented music. I saw them going around among the better tribes trying to seduce them to their own abominations. They had no dwelling houses, no cities, but they raised massive round towers of shining stone. Under those towers were little structures leading into great caverns wherein they carried on their horrible wickedness. From the roofs of these structures, the surrounding country could be seen, and by mounting up into the towers and
looking through tubes, one could see far into the distance. But it was not like looking through tubes made to bring distant objects into view. The power of the tubes to which 1 here allude, was effected by satanic agency. They that looked through them could see where the other tribes were settled. Then they marched against them, overcame them, and lawlessly carried all before them. That same spirit of lawlessness they exercised everywhere. I saw them sacrificing children by burying them alive in the earth. God overthrew that mountain at the time of the Deluge.
Henoch, Noe's ancestor, opposed that wicked race by his teachings. He wrote much. Henoch was a very good man and one very grateful to God, In many parts of the open fields, he raised altars of stone and there the fruits of the earth flourished. He gave thanks to God and offered sacrifice to Him. Chiefly in his family was religion preserved and handed down to Noe. Henoch was taken up to Paradise. There he waits at the entrance gate, whence with another (Elias) he will come again before the last day.
Cham's descendants likewise had similar relations with the evil spirits after the Deluge, and from such connection sprang so many demoniacs and necromancers, so many mighty ones of the world, so many great, wild, daring men.
Semiramis herself was the offspring of demoniacs, consequently she was apt at everything save the working out of her salvation.
Later on, there arose another people esteemed as gods by the heathens. The women that first allowed themselves to be ruled by evil spirits were fully conscious of the fact, though others were ignorant of it. These women had it (the principle of possession) in them like flesh and blood, like original sin.
NOE AND HIS POSTERITY. HOM AND DSEMSCHID, LEADERS OF THE PEOPLE
I saw Noe, a simple-hearted old man, clothed in a long white garment. He was walking about in an orchard and pruning the trees with a crooked bone knife. A cloud hovered over him and in it was a human Figure. Noe fell on his knees, I saw that he was, then and there, interiorly instructed upon God's design to destroy mankind, and he was commanded to build an ark. I saw that Noe grew sad at the announcement, and that he prayed for the punishment to be averted. He did not begin the work at once. Again the Lord appeared to him, twice in succession, commanding him to begin the building, otherwise he should perish with the rest of mankind. At last, I saw Noe removing with all his family to the country in which Zoroaster, the Shining Star, subsequently dwelt. Noe settled in a high, woody, solitary region where he and his numerous followers lived under tents. Here he raised an altar and offered sacrifice to the Lord. Neither Noe nor any of his family built permanent houses, because they put faith in the prophecy of the Deluge. But the godless nations around laid massive foundations, marked off courts, and erected all kinds of buildings designed to resist the inroads of time and the attacks of an enemy.
There were frightful deeds upon the earth in those days. Men delivered themselves up to all kinds of wickedness, even the most unnatural. They plundered one another and carried off whatever suited them best, they laid waste homes and fields, they kidnapped women and maidens. In proportion to their increase in numbers, was the wickedness of Noe's posterity. They even robbed and insulted Noe himself. They had not fallen into this state of base degradation from want of civilization. They were not wild and barbarous; rather, they lived commodiously and had well-ordered households—but they were deeply imbued
with wickedness. They practiced the most shameful idolatry, everyone making his own god of whatever pleased him best. By diabolical arts, they sought to seduce Noe's immediate family. Mosoch, the son of Japhet and grandson of Noe, was thus corrupted after he had, while working in the field, taken from them a poisonous beverage which intoxicated him. It was not wine, but the juice of a plant which they were accustomed to drink in small quantities during their work, and whose leaves and fruit they chewed. Mosoch became the father of a son, who was named Horn.
When the child was born, Mosoch begged his brother Thubal to take it, and thus hide his guilt. Thubal did so out of fraternal affection. The child, with the stalks and sprouts of a certain viscous root, was laid by his mother before Thubal's tent. She hoped thereby to acquire a right over his inheritance; but the Deluge was already at hand, and so her plans were fruitless. Thubal took the boy and had him reared in his family without betraying his origin. And so it happened in this way that the child was taken into the ark. Thubal called the boy Horn, the name of the root whose sprouts lay near him as the only sign. The child was not nourished with milk, but with the same root. If that plant is allowed to grow up straight, it will reach the height of a man; but when il creeps along the ground, it sends up shoots like the asparagus, hard with tender tops, It is used as food and as a substitute for milk. The root is bulbous, and from it rises a crown of a few brown leaves. Its stem is tolerably thick and the pith is used as meal, cooked like pap or spread in thin layers and baked. Wherever it thrives, it grows luxuriantly and covers leagues of ground. I saw it in the ark.
It was long before the ark was completed, for Noe often discontinued it for years at a time. Three times did God warn him to proceed with it. Each time Noe would engage workmen, recommence and again discontinue in the hope that God would relent. But at last the work was finished.
I saw that in the ark, as in the Cross, there were four kinds of wood: palm, olive, cedar, and cypress. I saw the wood felled and hewed upon the spot, and Noe bearing it himself upon his shoulders to the place of building, just as Jesus afterward carried the wood of His Cross. The spot chosen for the construction of the ark was a hill surrounded by a valley. First the bottom was put in.
The ark was rounded in the back and the keel, shaped like a trough, was smeared with pitch. It had two stories supported on hollow posts, which stood one above another. These posts were not round trunks of trees; they were in oval sections filled with a white pith which became fibrous toward the center. The trunk was knotty, or furrowed, and the great leaves grew around it without branches. (Probably a species of palm,) I saw the workmen punching the pith out with a tool. All other trees were cut into thin planks. When Noe had carried all the materials to the appointed spot and arranged them in order, the building was begun. The bottom was put in and pitched, the first row of posts raised, and the holes in which they stood filled up with pitch. Then came the second floor with another row of posts for the third floor, and then the roof. The spaces between the posts were filled in with brown and yellow laths placed crosswise, the holes and chinks being stuffed with a kind of wool found on certain trees and plants, and a white moss that grows very abundantly around some trees. Then all was pitched inside and outside. The roof was rounded. The entrance between the two windows was in the center of one side, a little more than halfway up. In the middle of the roof likewise was a square aperture. When the ark had been entirely covered with pitch, it shone like a mirror in the sun. Noe went on working alone and for a long time at the different compartments for the animals, as all were to be separate. Two passages extended through the middle of the ark, and back
in the oval part, concealed by hangings, stood a wooden altar, the table of which was semicircular. A little in the front of the altar was a pan of coals. This was their fire. Right and left, were spaces partitioned off for sleeping apartments. All kinds of chests and utensils were carried into the ark, and numerous seeds, plants, and shrubs were put into earth around the walls, which were soon covered with verdure. 1 saw something like vines carried in, and on them large yellow grapes, the bunches as long as one's arm.
No words can express what Noe endured from the malice and ill will of the workmen during the whole time that the ark was building. They mocked him, they insulted him in every way, they called him a fool. He paid them well in cattle, but that did not prevent their reviling him. No one knew why he was building the ark, therefore did they ridicule him. When all was finished, 1 saw Noe giving thanks to God, who then appeared to him. He told him to take a reed pipe and call all the animals from the four corners of the globe. The nearer the day of chastisement approached, the darker grew the heavens. Frightful anxiety took possession of the whole earth; the sun no longer showed his face, and the roar of the thunder was unceasingly heard. 1 saw Noe going a short distance north, south, east, and west, and blowing upon his reed pipe. The animals came flocking at the sound and entered the ark in order, two by two, male and female. They went in by a plank laid from the entrance to the ground. When all were safe inside, the plank also was hoisted in. The largest animals, white elephants and camels, went in first. They were restless as at the approach of a storm, and it took several days for them all to enter. The birds flew in through the skylight and perched under the roof on poles and in cages, while the waterfowl went into the bottom of the vessel. The land animals were in the middle story. Of such as are slaughtered, there were seven couples.
The ark, lying there by itself on the top of the hill, shone with a bluish light. At a distance, it looked as if it were descending from the clouds. And now the time for the Deluge drew nigh. Noe had already announced it to his family. He took with him into the ark Sem, Cham, and Japhet with their wives and their children. There were in the ark grandsons from fifty to eighty years old with their children small and large. All that had labored at its construction and who were good and free from idolatry, entered with Noe. There were over one hundred people in the ark, and they were necessary to give daily food to the animals and to clean after them. I must say, for I always see it so, that Sem's, Cham's and Japhet's children all went into the ark. There were many little boys and girls in it, in fact all of Noe's family that were good. Holy Scripture mentions only three of Adam's children, Cain, Abel, and Seth; and yet I see many others among them, and I always see them in pairs, boys and girls. And so too, in / Peter 3:20, only eight souls are mentioned as saved in the ark; viz., the four ancestral couples by whom, after the Deluge, the earth was to be peopled. I also saw Horn in the ark. The child was fastened by a skin into a bark cradle formed like a trough. I saw many infants cradled in a similar way, floating on the waters of the Deluge.
When the ark rose on the waters, when crowds of people upon the surrounding mountains and in the high trees were weeping and lamenting, when the waters were covered with the floating bodies of the drowned and with uprooted trees, Noe and his family were already safe inside. Before he and his wife, his three sons and their wives entered the ark, he once more implored God's mercy. When all had entered, Noe drew in the plank and made fast the door. He left outside near relatives and their families who, during the building of the ark, had separated from him. Then burst forth a fearful tempest. The lightnings played in fiery columns, the rains fell in tor-
rents, and the hill upon which the ark stood soon became an island. The misery was great, so great that I trust it was the means of many a soul's salvation. I saw a devil, black and hideous, with pointed jaws and a long tail, going to and fro through the tempest and tempting men to despair. Toads and serpents sought a hiding place in the crevices of the ark. Flies and vermin I saw not. They came into existence later to torment men.
I saw Noe offering sacrifice in the ark upon an altar covered with red over which was a white cloth. In an arched chest were preserved the bones of Adam. During prayer and sacrifice, Noe laid them on the altar. I saw on the altar, likewise, the Chalice of the Last Supper which, during the building of the ark, had been brought to Noe by three figures in long white garments. They looked like the three men that announced to Abraham the birth of a son. They came from a city that was destroyed at the time of the Deluge. They addressed Noe as one whose fame had reached them, and told him that he should take with him into the ark a mysterious something that they gave him, in order that it might escape the waters of the Deluge. The mysterious thing was that Chalice. In it lay a grain of wheat, large as a sunflower seed, and a vine branch. Noe stuck both into a yellow apple and put it into the Chalice. The Chalice had no cover, for the branch was to grow out of it. After the dispersion of men at the building of the Tower of Babel, I saw that Chalice in the possession of one of Sem's descendants in the country of Semiramis. He was the ancestor of the Samanenses, who were established at Canaan by Melchisedech. Hither they took the Chalice.
I saw the ark driving over the waters, and dead bodies floating around. It rested upon a high rocky peak of a mountain chain far to the east of Syria, and there it remained for a long time. I saw that land was already appearing. It looked like mud covered with a greenish mold.
Immediately after the Deluge, fish and shellfish began to be eaten. Afterward, as people multiplied, they ate bread and birds. They planted gardens, and the soil was so fruitful that the wheat which they sowed produced ears as large as those of maize. The root from which Horn received his name was also planted. Noe's tent stood on the spot where, at a later period, was that of Abraham. In the plain and in the surrounding country, Noe's sons had their tents.
I saw the cursing of Cham. But Sem and Japhet received from Noe on their knees the Blessing. It was delivered to them with ceremonies similar to those used by Abraham when giving over the same Blessing to Isaac. I saw the curse pronounced by Noe upon Cham moving toward the latter like a black cloud and obscuring him. His skin lost its whiteness, he grew darker. His sin was the sin of sacrilege, the sin of one who would forcibly enter the Ark of the Covenant. I saw a most corrupt race descend from Cham and sink deeper and deeper in darkness. I see that the black, idolatrous, stupid nations are the descendants of Cham. Their color is due, not to the rays of the sun, but to the dark source whence those degraded races sprang.
This blog post was a reflection of Catholic thought on the Curse of Ham, going back 200 years. In the next post on this topic, I will cover the matter over a greater span, predating Jesus Christ's birth. The material I have provided here should be sufficient for today.