Update: 03 The Father Byers Kryptos: Rules for the Treasure Map (Solution found!)

sixtus v

Question: Before moving on in this series to the intrigue, mayhem, violence, death, exhilaration, public and private revelation from on high, can anyone, say, in a sentence or two, summarize what the treasure of the treasure map is, and how it is that we are supposed to get to that treasure with the treasure map?

Solution found! Scroll down the comments. I refer to the contribution of elizdelphi. After that, the discussion gets quite refined. Great! But elizdelphi nailed it.

Following up on the first posts of this series (see the category The Father Byers Kryptos), these are my own, pedantic translations of the decrees of the 4th session of Trent, not breaking up the sentences, but letting the flow of thought be manifested as it is in Latin. Let the words swirl about in your heart and soul and mind just as Our Lady “threw about” the words of her Son in her own heart, as the Holy Gospels repeat often. Take in the relationship of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church. It is glorious. This is THE STATEMENT of the Counter-Reformation that Sixtus V will later take up in such a way that the gift of infallibility will shine forth. Yikes!

Sacrosancta – The first, dogmatic decree of the Council of Trent.

“The Most Sacred Ecumenical and General Tridentine Synod, convened legitimately in the Holy Spirit, with the three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, is itself proposing for perpetuity in plain sight, so that, having cast down errors, the very purity of the Gospels may be conserved within the Church… [The purity itself of the Gospel…] which, before promised through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth, and moral discipline; and seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten Traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Spirit dictating, have come down onto us, transmitted almost as if by hand… [The Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament — seeing that one God is the author of both — as also the said Traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. [At this point, the list of books is provided.] If anyone, however, will not receive as sacred and canonical these same integral books with all of their parts, [Box (A) – original languages] as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and [Box (B) – the mere translation] as are had in the Old Latin Vulgate edition, and will hold in contempt the aforementioned Traditions knowingly and with considered judgment: let him be anathema.”

Insuper – The second, disciplinary decree of the Council of Trent.

The words in bold italics are Box (C). Only this first sentence is especially important, since the rest of the decree speaks of the how to go about publishing a less than perfect edition of the Vulgate until such time as the normative edition is approved, Box (D).

“Moreover, the same sacred, holy Synod, considering that no small utility may redound to the Church of God, if, out of all Latin editions, it is known which of the sacred books in circulation is being held to be authentic, establishes and declares that  [Box (C)] this same ancient and vulgate edition, whose usage is proved along all centuries in the same Church, be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions, held as authentic, and that no one dare or presume to reject it for whatever pretext.”

An attentive reading of the two decrees of the fourth session of the Council of Trent will bear out the following distinctions. Usually, (B) is ignored by falsely equating it with both (C) and (D).

trent session 4 treasure map

1. Of three equivocations, only number ➁ is valid.
2. Boxes (A) and (B) are from Sacrosancta, the first decree of the fourth session of the Council of Trent. This is a dogmatic decree.
3. Boxes (C) and (D) are from Insuper, the second decree of the same session. This is a disciplinary decree which does, nevertheless, have dogmatic content.
4. (A) refers to that which God has inspired in whatever original language, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc. That which is inspired is canonical. However, this is not to be found all in one manuscript, but, with the passage of the centuries, spread throughout many manuscripts, one phrase here, one there.
5. (B) refers to words and phrases used in the Latin Vulgate from the beginning until the publication of the decree. The Latin, a mere translation, is not inspired, but because of constant use by the Church, has a text which is more easily known, and can act as a sieve for the original language manuscripts.
6. (C) has the same content as that found in (B).
7. (D) does not have the same content as (B) and (C). Permission is given to print the best edition possible (see “potissimum”) to date. This recognizes that the project may be continue for a long time.
8. What is in (B) is a help to discover what is in (A); it would be advantageous to make good use of (B).
9. One cannot yet be sure what is in (B), as there are many manuscripts yet to consider.
10. Translations should be made only after the textual extensions of (A) and (B) have been duly studied.
11. Translations should be made from (A), noting that a correct sense of (A) can be found in (B).

It has to be in the original language manuscripts, and those always have to have been read, but also in the same way in the very unique Vulgate mentioned here. The use was in the Latin in the commentary of the Fathers, in preaching, in the Liturgy, that is, not only Holy Mass, but in the very extensive Liturgy of the Hours, etc. The idea is that God will not abandon that which He has inspired in the words of the Word of God, and it’s use is manifested in the Latin Vulgate, words of the Word of God used in Holy Mass, in the Sacrifice of the Word of God Himself.

The Fathers of Trent knew they didn’t have THE VULGATE spoken about in the decrees, and begged for this as time went on since they were using the Vulgate to issue their dogmatic decrees. The first to attempt this was Sixtus V in 1590 (44 years later), and he failed. The second to attempt this was Saint Robert Bellarmine, who thought he had burned all copies of what Sixtus V had attempted throughout Europe, with only two remaining, locked in vaults in the Vatican and the Pontifical Biblical Institute, with myself seeing those copies in both places, hand corrected by Sixtus V himself…

People lose their faith in the face of all this because they cannot take being an abstract, impersonal, legalistic “religion of the book” who don’t even have that book 100%. But we are not that as Catholics. We are a family of faith with Scriptures issuing from inspiration, sure, but also from inside the family of living faith, which has that revelation already by way of Sacred Tradition, that is, those traditiones which are the articles of faith, if you will, but actually the very revelation of God Himself to His little flock by way of supernaturally infused faith, which is provided with supernaturally infused charity. If we are certain about 99.99% of what’s in the Scriptures, with the other remaining bits being uncertain for now so as to help us look to the earthly Holy Father of the Family of Faith, that’s O.K. Belong to the family of faith! That’s important.

Just to say, there a gabillion conflicting original language manuscripts and a gabillion conflicting Latin Vulgate manuscripts. Work is being done to establish both, but more on that ludicrous fiasco in the future.

By the way, a most beautiful quasi definition of Sacred Tradition is at hand here in the first decree saying “almost as if by hand”, that is, but not that way, though it seems so, as the faith is univocal for all and it seems as if it is passed on as if by hand, and is certainly occasioned by things we mere humans do, but it is, in the end, the work of the Holy Spirit, who provides for us faith with charity and necessarily hope.

After figuring this out a bit more, we will move on to step 4 concerning Sixtus V. That will involve calendars. Not easy! Not easy at all!


Filed under Holy See, The Father Byers Kryptos, Vulgate

36 responses to “Update: 03 The Father Byers Kryptos: Rules for the Treasure Map (Solution found!)

  1. Monica Harris

    Yes, I wondered if the treasure map was a logic diagram, and now these rules confirm it somewhat.

    I have read that Fr St. Bellarmine said: “We shall endeavor to demonstrate that the Scriptures without the traditions are neither sufficient, nor simply necessary”

    It is useful to ponder all this, with the aid of the Holy Spirit!.

  2. Father George David Byers

    You will be agape and agog at what Bellarmine will do…

  3. Father George David Byers

    Also, the thing about treasure maps is that they are all logic diagram, saying one thing but not another, pointing to this, but not to that. The problem is that some also bait their adherents to fall into this trap or that if they are not the person who is supposed to find the treasure! Not to worry, I don’t do that in this particular instance!

  4. Father George David Byers

    Also, just to say, the rules are what they are, pedantic, because there is plenty written which totally misinterprets what’s going on here, and this, it seems to me, for malicious reasons in regard to ecumenism, that is, a mistaken ecumenism, so that the decrees represent no Counter-Reformation, and this by “great” Catholic biblical scholars and also some not so great. Because this is the “consensus”, a hateful word, no one but no one goes against the consensus. Well, except me, and those few I listed previously in these series.

  5. Monica Harris

    I may be off base ( in answer to above question) but:

    Treasure=Word of God
    “For those who infuse into their efforts the spirit and strength of the Word of God, speak “not in word only but in power also, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much fulness.”” ( PROV. DEUS)
    -using the treasure map to establish what is truly authored by God, versus what is merely man-authored?

  6. Father George David Byers

    @ Monica Harris – Yes, exactly. Now, to get to that last bit, using the treasure map, has does one go about that?

  7. Monica Harris

    Well, I keep coming back to “they have accustomed to be read” in A, with the double bars. Whatever the language or text, whatever is the old Vulgate version, you can’t “discover” a new way to read meaning into what was already an accustomed understanding of a certain phrase/handed down knowledge? after april 8, 1546. So, establishing the closest to the “accustomed interpretation” seems to be of primary importance, provided it is of the ecclesia catholica, so from the time of Jesus Christ on earth and His explication, onward-> 1546?

  8. Father George David Byers

    @ Monica Harris – We need to do a paradigmatic shift. This isn’t about getting to know what it means, but what it is, that is, physically, the actually ink on papyri kind of thing… That’s the treasure in the first place. We have to have it in hand. How is that to be done using the decrees, that is, the treasure map? It’s right there!

  9. Monica Harris

    um, the actual original Latin Vulgate manuscript then?

  10. Father George David Byers

    Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician… but NOT Latin. Latin is part of the path to get to the treasure.

  11. Monica Harris

    I have a question: re: (A)–Is there not already a Magisterium of actual “accustomed to be read” documents-such as the previous Councils and the Creed–at this point? So, can’t what is used most for the Magisterium be the basis for (B)? Or, am I thinking upside down again?

  12. Father George David Byers

    @ Monica Harris – They want to repeat this because Luther threw out 7 books of the Old Testament and another 7 from the New. Also, they are not talking just about books, but parts of books, the Aramaic bits of Daniel, phrases in the passion of Christ in the Gospel of Luke, the pericope of the adulterous woman in John 7:53–8:11, the Johannine comma, and an on with a thousand other things. The accustomed to be read may be found in this papyri but not that one in the original language manuscripts and also the same problem for the Vulgate. The Fathers of Trent used a Vulgate common in use in Northern France, good, but not perfect, and they knew it. O.K. so, with that situation…

    How is it that Sacrosancta is telling us, dogmatically now, how it is that we are to discern also those little bits and pieces?

    And it’s not just about age or popularity of a papyri. The oldest and most popular could be rubbish. So…

  13. Monica Harris

    OK, one more stab-> “whose usage is PROVED”–what is the definition of proved/probata, then? Since we are using C as B equivocation ?

  14. Father George David Byers

    There wouldn’t be a time when it would have been rejected or when, early on, it didn’t exist, but was only added later, such as the “for thine is the kingdom power and glory bit, which is merely 5th century fluff added by a copyist because that’s what he said with that and every other prayer as was the practise at the time. Not good enough.

  15. Monica Harris

    So, is the treasure to be found only in the overlap of A AND B? So, if someone says X and it can’t be supported by both, it is not the treasure? But if Y is in A somewhere but not in B, also Y not the treasure. Is that what is meant by “and” in sacrosancta? Or can A stand alone?

  16. Father George David Byers

    A cannot stand alone. Conclusion?

  17. Monica Harris

    The treasure must be both A AND B. Neither is sufficient and both are necessary?

  18. Father George David Byers


  19. Monica Harris

    those little words, I guess are very important! Now I see why the mayhem…..

  20. Father George David Byers

    Who gets to decide what’s in Scripture is the point. Sola Scripture! No Pope! was the battle cry of the new Protestants. So, what’s the logic of the map? :-)

  21. Monica Harris

    Venn diagram, with 2 circles A and B, and the treasure is the overlap of the two. But what is really confusing is C and sometimes D thrown around in there for B, and B depends on A, and A depends on B to some extent. I don’t know how to map that out!

  22. Father George David Byers

    THE treasure is what is in A. Only A is inspired and canonical.

  23. Monica Harris

    I am still confused, will have to think about this some more.

  24. Monica Harris

    I have decided to leave it, erase the Venn diagram. I can’t figure out how to draw it or put it in mathematical terms. God’s logic :)

  25. Father George David Byers

    O.K. I’ll write something on this… Thanks for trying. Very encouraging for me. ;-)

  26. Monica Harris

    I have a feeling the Coriolis effect is involved in this somehow……

  27. Father George David Byers

    Laughing out loud! Hey, could be, you know…

  28. elizdelphi

    I finally had a chance to read through this and I certainly understand more now but I would have to read it another time or two. Monica is very intelligent!

    What is in box A can be deduced in part by identifying the old Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts that correspond correctly with what has been in the old Vulgate since the beginning? [[Yes.]] Because of this, study of the Old Vulgate remains important and achieving a more ideal version of D is actually necessary for finding out the content of A [[Yes.]] (while the Nova Vulgata is approx. irrelevant for that)? [[Absolutely irrelevant in, oh my, so very many different ways.]] And also therefore a better version of D is necessary for translations of A to have the correct sense as understood by the Church. [[I would write this: “A better version of D, indeed, brought to be identical to B and C, is necessary for a presentation of A to have the correct textual extension that is inspired and canonical, with the Old Vulgate providing merely “a” correct sense of the great richness of the original inspired texts.]]

    This makes it seem like the Nova Vulgata, and the role it has in the Church’s liturgy today, is significantly misguided. [[Yes, totally misguided. Excellent, elizdelphi!]]

  29. elizdelphi

    I can see what you are saying in “I would write this:”. You have thought this through awfully well. I am fascinated by all this, and to me it seems you are pointing to unavoidable doctrinal and practical truths.

    I assume the Pontifical Biblical Institute is hardly free to take this seriously? It absolutely seems like it would take a Pope to straighten this out, and probably a religious order to take on the project of the correct version of (D), like a Pope asked the monastery of Solesmes to take on the project of Gregorian Chant or like the Dominicans have been working on the Latin critical edition of the works of St Thomas since a Pope asked them to in the late 19th c. But this is something much deeper.

  30. Father George David Byers

    Yes. Pius X got a special Monastery just up from the Vatican for this. All their work was destroyed in favor of niceness in the 1960s.

  31. elizdelphi

    It makes me think of the fake ecumenism of “Eucharistic sharing” of Catholics and non Catholics for some reason. We can share the RSV/RSVCE for instance. What matters is to meet everyone where they are so that all can participate equally just as they are. I sacrificed/fundraised what was to me lots of money to get really nice MTF/Ignatius “Didache Bible” RSVCE Bibles for my 6th gr Catechism class because I was told the diocesan evangelization & catechesis office prefers the RSVCE. Now, none of this makes me think I made a particularly bad choice of what Bibles to get, since the goal is to introduce kids to the Bible, it just tempers any thought of this as an “ideal” choice.

  32. Father George David Byers

    @ elizdelphi – The RSVCE is a good “Western” text. You might be interested in the last couple of comments at KRYPTOS:


  33. elizdelphi

    Well, the palimpsest of the Word of God would seem to be: the foreground text (of D), printed text of the Old Vulgate which currently requires further critical study in order to become a fully accurate reflection of the Old Vulgate, because we need these letters to be accurate in order to see through them the Old Vulgate (B and C having the same text content regarded from the doctrinal perspective that it truly reflects the Sacred Scripture that has always been read in the Church, and disciplinary perspective that it is the Church’s approved text of Sacred Scripture), and through the long-obscured letters of the Old Vulgate to glimpse the original text on the sacred page (which is of course A), the inspired word of God in its original form, as it was first read in the Church in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. This is the treasure, which we desire that we may contemplate Christ the eternal Word our ultimate only Treasure through those inspired words. “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” -St Jerome.

  34. Father George David Byers

    Perfect. You got it. Flores for the Immaculate Conception?

  35. Christopher

    Thank you for this elegant presentation, Father. While I am in fundamental agreement with the Tridentine teaching, may I raise an objection?

    It may be taken in two parts. First: ‘those integral books with all of their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church’ does not seem to refer directly to Hebrew (or Aramaic) scriptural traditions, but rather to the scriptural texts written in or translated into Catholic liturgical languages (Greek, Latin, Syriac, etc.). This is because (correct me if I’m wrong) no Hebrew or Aramaic scriptural traditions survive which ‘have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church’. The definition does not require us to believe that all the translations are themselves inspired, but does require us to accept the Catholic scriptural traditions in these languages and use them as a yardstick to assess the texts in the inspired languages. So this definition can lead us towards true texts and interpretations of the Hebrew scriptures, but it does not itself refer to them.

    Second: an unwary reader might imagine that that which ‘in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt’ (A) might, with regard to the Latin Church, be substantially the same as the (authentic text(s) of the) Old Latin Vulgate edition (B). However, anyone who has tried comparing lectionaries to bibles (and remember we’re talking about pre-Tridentine texts) knows that they are not at all the same thing: lectionary readings often make quite substantial adaptations to the corresponding biblical texts. An obvious example would be the reading ‘Ecce sacerdos magnus’ (from Sirach) at Mass of Confessor Bishops. Nor should one make the mistake of imagining that all medieval lectionaries are the same as one another. So perhaps it would be better to say that Trent is including both biblical and lectionary traditions (as well as the unwritten traditions it goes on to mention) in its definition, without specifying the theological priority of one over the other.

    I would be interested in your reaction to this view.


    [[[ Thank you, Christopher. Obviously, such adaptations, not only liturgical, but even those done out of malice or whatever, are discounted as that which hasn’t always been the case, such as right at the beginning. The rigors of the logic of the Tridentine presentation are absolute, ruling out the consideration of very many words and phrases. The project is enormous and must involve all of us together, avoiding a politically correct dumbing down of the text such as happened at the time of the Second Vatican Council. I must point out the rather mysterious adverb “prout”, a text having as its context that which is inspired by the Holy Spirit, avoiding pretext by its historical use. Again, the project is enormous. Much has been done. Much remains to do. It is an outrageous statement of ecclesiology? Absolutely! Praise the Lord! — Father George David Byers ]]]

  36. Christopher

    Well, we can agree that much remains to be done!

    I’m not sure I find ‘prout’ so very mysterious, although I think I see your point. [[(Also see the comment at end of this paragraph.) The adverb prout in this context modifies the “how it is done” of the verb, which has as its subject that which is sacred and canonical, inspired by the Holy Spirit (not translations). The “how it is done” part refers to all usage, including that of the Greek and Latin Fathers since the beginning, as long as this was held as valid by the Church. This also includes the Vulgate (but not only by any stretch of the imagination). The adverb prout (“as”) also jumps by way of the conjunction to that which is not altogether redundant, that is and specifically to that which is had in the old Latin Vulgate edition, which is also mirrored in “C” with that usage which “is proved along all centuries in the same Church.” That’s why I call this a treasure map! Almost all commentators simply dismiss Insuper (“C”) as saying nothing valuable, since it is “merely” disciplinary, not recognizing that that which is disciplinary may be based on that which is more than disciplinary.]] But more seriously, I’m not sure why you say that medieval liturgical adaptations must be dismissed. [[It’s the “proved along all centuries” thing. We take seriously the bit about inspiration for the text to be sacred and canonical.]] Trent doesn’t say anything about accepting only liturgical practices that demonstrably go right back to the apostolic age. [[But it does! “all centuries”]] Of course yes, we must try to identify and eliminate changes introduced through malice (as alleged by Justin Martyr for instance). [[and any other changes for whatever even good intentions. Liturgical changes were not trying to change Revelation and are to be discounted. And if they were trying to change Revelation even for a good reason, they are to be discounted. The Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus put it best, if abruptly: “Show me just what [anyone] brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman,” as this would work against Revelation, which is catastrophic. See Benedict XVI’s discourse at Regensburg.]] But ‘legi consueverunt’ means ‘as they have been/become accustomed to be read’. So it would seem to include any generally-accepted liturgical reading. [[Nope. See: “all centuries”. This is about textual criticism, about all centuries, about inspiration and canonicity, about revelation, not about democracy of the copyists or anything else. I recall a Jehovah witness, actually the head of the JW, telling me in New York that he was right, you know, because he had personally printed 25 million editions of his bible and his content was prevalent and therefore right!]] Note that I’m not saying that that makes these versions the authentic original text of Sacred Scripture, because my first point (which disagrees with your point 4 above) was that the words following ‘prout’ do not refer to the inspired text itself [[ The words following prout (“as”) refer to that which must have a foundation in the inspired texts in order to be legitimate, and the whole purpose of that which follows is to go back to that which is inspired and canonical, acting as a kind of sieve for the original language texts. ]] but instead describe the criteria for its recognition. [[not “instead” but “prout” and “and” and “all centuries.” Get it?]]

    There is in any case be a major practical problem with dismissing liturgical adaptations outright [[Innovations are gone! Easy!]]: different kinds of manuscripts have their own copying traditions – so a reading copied in a lectionary may be removed by centuries from the time at which an earlier scribe copied/adapted it from a biblical manuscript. Therefore, in those instances where textual criticism can’t unambiguously determine exactly what is or isn’t a liturgical adaptation, some of the lectionary readings out there could potentially represent older readings than seemingly older bibles. [[Lots of hard work, but the point is: “all centuries”. Pretty cool, huh? This was my project presented in a rather sneaky way to the powers that be at the time. But that drama is an entire book on it’s own, maybe three. The beauty of what Trent is doing is this: God will not abandon His Church. God will not allow that which is inspired and sacred and canonical to disappear. We will ALSO use that which was used in the Sacrifice of Praise, words also used in the Sacrifice of the Word of God Himself.]]

    But I fear that I have perhaps read too much into the Tridentine text [[You’re too humble. You actually missed what was clearly written there to take out: “all centuries”]]: perhaps the anathema only intends to define the extent of Sacred Scripture in terms of the inclusion of so many chapters and verses, but does not provide criteria by which we are to choose between variant readings at a finer level. [[That would be oh so very wrong. Even the iota subscript that was inspired to have been written by the Holy Spirit has immense truths to bring to us, and we must respect that which has the blood of the very Word of God gushing from those pages and words and letters and subscripts as gushing from His Sacred Heart.]] What do you think? [[That should be clear! Be of good cheer. There is much, much more to say about this as the decades and Reformation/Counter-Reformation centuries move along, with wildly clear interventions yet to come.]]

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