Saturday, June 14, 2003

A VERY HAPPY DAY to any fathers who happen to read this. Never underestimate the role you play in the life of your kids. You model for your children the goodness of God, and they know God better because they know you. CarrieTomko@aol.com

IMAM MOUSSA CALLS FOR A HOLY WAR AT GREAT MOSQUE OF ROME in Rome according to an article at Zenit. Fr. Justo Lacunza Balda, rector of the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies responded: "It is a matter of public order which the government must face," said Father Justo Lacunza Balda, rector of the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies. He was reacting to the plea for war made last Friday. Imam Abdel-Samie Mahmoud Ibrahim Moussa exhorted those present to "annihilate the enemies of Islam and guarantee everywhere in the world the victory of the Nation of Islam," the priest recalled. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica published the imam's sermon the next day. "There can be no place for people who encourage hatred and incite to kill," Father Lacunza Balda told the Fides news service. "This is insanity. It is a matter of public order which the government must face. To use institutional places, such as churches, mosques or squares to incite people to violence and war is inadmissible in a civil and democratic country." The priest, a leading expert on Islam, was commenting on Imam Moussa's sermon and expressing his concern about the speech's effects. "This has nothing to do with religious freedom," the priest said. "It must be clearly stated that the Italian Constitution does not allow public incitement to violence and hatred of imaginary enemies whose identity, by the way, is not revealed." CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE STORY ABOUT MIHELICK'S POSITION PAPER on liturgical dance is the main story on the religion page of the Akron Beacon Journal, complete with a 5 x 6 picture of Mihelick with her hands folded in a prayerful posture. CarrieTomko@aol.com

HARRY POTTER IN THE NEWS AGAIN on the front page of the Akron Beacon Journal. Some noteworthy excerpts from the story: "...the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent has found a creative way to use Harry Potter to teach kids moral values such as compassion, love, loyalty and bravery." " 'I teach a class on how to help kids respond to questions concerning Harry Potter as unChristian.' said MacGoekler of Tallmadge, who is known to his Potter pupils as Professor Remus Dumbledore..." "Sixty children between the ages of 3 and 16 are gathered there wide-eyed and robed in wizard costumes." "As a volunteer walks in, dressed as an evil entity, all the kids rise, chanting their spells." " 'It's amazing how some of these kids go in and out of believing that they are actually in Hogwarts,' " "...where students receive their third eye, or wizard vision." " 'This is so fun. I get to learn all of these new things. There's real magic. It's totally real.' " Harry Potter doesn't teach kids how to use magick. No...it's just Christian values dressed up in pagan clothing. That's right... CarrieTomko@aol.com


Friday, June 13, 2003

HERE IS A PICTURE of the Goetheanum which Rudolf Steiner designed. Actually it is the second one. The first one burned down shortly after it was built. Steiner designed the first one as well. This is the international headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society. The tour of the building begins here. Notice the downward turn of the roofline. I've seen the same thing in other examples of anthroposophical architecture. The stage where the mystery plays are performed is included in the tour. CarrieTomko@aol.com

SELECTED PORTIONS OF THE PORTAL OF INITIATION by Rudolf Steiner From he Introduction by Paul Marshall Allen, Feb. 27, 1961, and included in the Centennial Edition of the major writings of Rudolf Steiner... Quote: Through Anthroposophy, the original unity of science, art and religion can be brought about once again, but at a fully conscious level, as befits the character and requirements of our time. To this renewal--so essentil for the present and future well-being of humanity--the Mystery Dramas of Rudolf Steiner can make a significant contribution. There is a further Introduction written by Adam Bittleston, Christmas 1960, from which the following quote is taken: Quote: At the center of the first play stand the figures of Maria and Johannes. The teaching about the realities of the spiritual world, given by the wise and patient initiate Benedictus, is received by Maria as her native element, with which she feels truly and completely at home. In the course of the play, Johannes recognises her soul in its true being, radiant with a beauty akin to that of the Lily in Goethe's tale [of "The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily"]. But she is not a symbolic or didactic figure; on earth, like all the characters in the plays, she is a particular human being with definite limitations and difficulties, which we learn about more in detail later on.... When Rudolf Steiner describes the results of intensive self-knowledge, he has to introduce two figures, which do not appear in the fairy tale. He regarded it as vital for modern humanity to see that evil is not all of one kind. There is the temptation at work particularly in wishes and emotions, and in the exuberant kind of pride; this power he calls Lucifer. But there is also the cold pride of intellect, which leads into emptiness and despair; here the power is active which Goethe called Mephistopheles (though in him appear other qualities as well) and for whom Rudolf Steiner chose the ancient name Ahriman. The first play is concerned with the way in which these powers appear to Johannes; for every human being has his own particular relationship to them, which is to be discovered on the path of self-knowledge.... While traditional Christianity has emphasized the effects of the Fall in human feelings and actions, the original Rosicrucians understood above all the urgent problem of redeeming human knowledge. The following are excerpts from the body of the play. Maria is about to be initiated. BENEDICTUS: So understand the reason why your being must change into its opposite when it streams out from you to other souls. The Spirit in you works in everything which in man's being can grow ripe as harvest for eternity. Therefore much must be killed by it which should belong only to temporal being. And yet these deaths of sacrifice are seeds of immortality. There grows into a higher life the blossom from the lesser death. MARIA: It stands like this with me-- you give me light, but light which robs me of my seeing, and tears me from myself. If I am only medium for a Spirit, and not myself, then will I tolerate no longer to wear a form that is a mask, not truth. JOHANNES: O what is happening to you! Your sight is vanishing, your body's like a pillar. I take your hand, and it is cold-- it is as dead. BENEDICTUS: Son, you have passed through many trials, but now you stand before the hardest one. You see the body of your friend; but for my vision her self wings free into the spirit spheres. JOHANNES: But look! Her lips are moving-- she is speaking-- MARIA: You gave me clarity, but clarity which wraps me up on every side in darkness. I curse your clarity, and you I curse, who made me instrument of these wild arts with which you will deceive mankind. Never before, for a moment, could I have any doubt how high you stand in spirit. And yet one moment now was enough to tear all faith out of my heart. The spirits which you serve I now must know as powers of hell. CarrieTomko@aol.com

RUDOLF STEINER'S MYSTERY PLAYS are being sold by Wallmart... I will post portions of THE PORTAL OF INITIATION as soon as I can get them typed. We have a storm moving in, and I may have to shut down the computer for a while.

PASSIONIST PRIEST FR. THOMAS BERRY wrote a book called The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future. (New York: Bell Tower, 1999, ISBN 0-609-80499-5) In that book he says: This lack of attention to an integral Earth study is one reason for the difficulty humans experience in finding their place within the dynaics of the Earth. Some beginnings in understanding have been made in studies of the Earth in terms of the Gaia hypothesis. This refers to the Earth as having the capacity for homeostasis; that is, for comprehensive inner adjustment and self-regulation in response to changes in the outer world. This concept has led to macrophase biological studies of the landsphere, the watersphere, the airsphere, the life sphere, and the mindsphere as the five macrophase components of the Earth. (jp. 90) In accord with indigenous modes of thinking throughout the world we might give a certain emphasis to the need to understand the universe primarily as celebration. While the universe celebrates itself in every mode of being, the human might be identified as that being in whom the universe celebrates itself and its numinous origins in a special mode of conscious self-awareness. Spontaneous forms of community ritual, such as the Council of All Beings inaugurated by John Seed, have already been developed. So too the ritual programs of Joanna Macy, the solstice celebrations of Paul Winter, and the seasonal festivals of Genesis Farm all give promise of a future with the understanding, the power, the aesthetic grandeur, and the emotional fulfillment needed to heal the damage that has already been wrought on the planet and to shape for Earth a viable future, a future with the entrancing qualities needed to endure the difficulties to be encountered and to evoke the creativity needed. (p. 19-20) For we will recover our sense of wonder and our sense of the sacred only if we appreciate the universe beyond ourselves as a revelatory experience of that numinous presence whence all things come into being. Indeed, the universe is the primary sacred reality. We become sacred by our participation in this more sublime dimension of the world about us. (p. 49) The later realms of being are dependent on the earlier for survival while the earlier realms are dependent on the later for their more elaborate manifestation. The more complex are dependent on the more simple; the more simple are revealed in the more elaborate. Instinctively, humans perceived themselves as a mode of being of the universe as well as distinctive beings in the universe. This was the beginning. The emergence of the human was a transformation moment for the Earth as well as for the human. (p. 57) The naive assumption that the natural world is there to be possessed and used by humans for their advantage and in an unlimited manner cannot be accepted.... To achieve a viable human-Earth situation a new jurisprudence must envisage its primary task as that of articulating the conditions for the integral functioning of the Earth process, with special reference to a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship. (p. 61) We might now recover our sense of the maternal aspect of the universe in the symbol of the Great Mother, especially in the Earth as that maternal principle out of which we are born and by which we are sustained. Once this symbol is recovered the dominion of the partiarchal principle that has brought such aggressive attitudes into our activities will be mitigated. (p. 69-70) Even the incarnation and redemption as these are presented within the Christian tradition must be considered as primarily for the good of the universe even though these have a certain immediate reference to the human. (p. 77) There is more, but that will give you a flavor of the book. CarrieTomko@aol.com

FINALLY AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE BISHOP'S MEETING in St. Louis on the 19th has been released...Our Sunday Visitor has the story... When the approximately 250 members of the hierarchy convene June 19- 21 in St. Louis as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), they will spend well over half their meeting time discussing sensitive matters behind closed doors. This is the first announcement in the Catholic press that I've seen. Apart from this I had only my local paper's announcement that the topic of dance in the liturgy would be discussed. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE CENSORSHIP BOARD OF EGYPT HAS BANNED MATRIX RELOADED, because of its religious content primarily, and also because of violence according to BBC News... "Despite the high technology and fabulous effects of the movie, it explicitly handles the issue of existence and creation, which are related to the three divine religions, which we all respect and believe in." The movie "tackles the issue of the creator and his creations, searching the origin of creation and the issue of compulsion and free will," it said.... One Egyptian critic, Wael Abdel Fatah, said: "The press launched a campaign to stop showing the movie, saying that it reflects Zionist ideas, and promotes Jewish and Zionist beliefs." CarrieTomko@aol.com

HARRY POTTER'S INFLUENCE DOCUMENTED by filmmaker and occult expert... Filmmaker and occult expert Caryl Matrisciana spoke with WorldNetDaily about her documentary covering Harry Potter's influence on children. The video documentary details numerous similarities between the spells and magic used by Harry Potter and those used in the witchcraft of the Wiccan religion.... Mark Matlock, minister with Wisdom Works Ministries and commissioner of the study, told WND there is a relationship between those who are drawn into the Harry Potter craze and those who have experimented in occult-type activities, but he says it doesn't necessarily mean the Harry Potter influence always causes kids to delve into witchcraft.... "My greatest concern is that godly fear that protects mankind from dabbling in the spirit world is being taken away from children who read these Harry Potter books. The terrors and horrors of black magic and occult practice, rituals, ceremonies and demon possession are being normalized," Matrisciana said. "Alarmingly, the Potter books are engaging in pagan discipleship, disciplining our children to spiritual alternatives and also turning them away from the biblical principles and God's protection." CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, June 12, 2003

JAMES LOVELOCK AND LYNN MARGULIS are the inventors of the Gaia Hypothesis or Gaia Theory. It is a concept bound up in New Age beliefs, but these two people are recognized scientists. Since Mark Shea insists I should stop seeing New Age everywhere, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at what these Lovelock truly believes. This is a link to Lovelock's home page where you will find a picture of Gaia, the Greek goddess of the Planet Earth. If you click the "English" link, you will get to a webpage with this quote: James Lovelock is still today one of the main authors in the environmental field. He is the author of " The GaiaTheory ", and " The Ages of Gaia ", which consider the planet Earth as a self-regulated living being, as well as, more recently his "Homage to GAIA", an autobiography published in september 2000. For a C.V. of Lovelock, check this webpage. As you can see he has honorary doctorates from eight universities. To simply write him off as a bit warped isn't realistic. Check out this webpage for holistic science at Schumacher College where Lovelock is listed. This is a New Age envirnomental institution in England. On the webpage you will also find Ifgene, an Anthroposophical organization dedicated to genetic engineering; Goethean Science, which has a connection to Anthroposophy explained better by their website than by anything I could say. You will find Robert Sheldrake and Fritjof Capra, two universally recognized names in New Age circles. You will find the Institute of Noetic Sciences, another New Age institution. There is no room for doubt that Lovelock is heavily involved with New Age institutions. A quote from Lovelock at this website reads: The Gaia theory that James Lovelock began developing in the 1960's suggests that in some sense the Earth is 'alive', but that this is a different definition of Gaian life than that which the Ancient Greeks held. Lovelock writes, "I recognise that to view the Earth as if it were alive is just a convenient, but different, way of organising the facts of the Earth. I have filled my life for the past twenty-five years with the thought that Earth may be alive: not as the ancients saw her-a sentient Goddess with a purpose and foresight-but alive like a tree. A tree that quietly exists, never moving except to sway in the wind, yet endlessly conversing with the sunlight and the soil. Using sunlight and water and nutrient minerals to grow and change. But all done so imperceptibly, that to me the old oak tree on the green is the same as it was when I was a child." (Lovelock 1991) Like Vernadsky before him, Lovelock claims that there is strong evidence to suggest an overall systemic control of the earth's surface temperature, atmospheric composition and ocean salinity. This is where Gaia Theory has gone--according to the University of Wisconsin: Gaia the belief that the earth is a living organism, a sacred world; humans are part of sacred ecology CarrieTomko@aol.com

IT'S A GREY AND RAINY DAY HERE IN NORTHEAST OHIO and there is nothing of interest in the news today either, as far as I can see. The heavy rain we had yesterday bent my volleyball-sized allium down to the ground, joining the remains of the late-blooming peonies with heads so heavy they lay them down on the sidewalk and bloom their little hearts out for all the ants to see and explore. I had hoped the allium would stand back up today, but that wish is not to be realized it seems. Maybe if the sun would come out? It was really pretty before the rain yesterday. That's the breaks with perennial gardening, I guess. Watching the flowers come and go is like watching the pages of a calendar turn. The iris have flowered?...it's May. The allium are blooming?...it must be June. Daylilies are out?...then it's July. Mums in bloom?...late August is here. And so the season passes. I used to plant lots of annuals, but the older I get the more I appreciate perennials. Maybe it has something to do with a more acute awareness of the passing of time, and a desire to appreciate every moment that is left. Or maybe it's just a matter of being tired of impatients. There has been a new bird visitor at the feeder over the last several days. It isn't in my bird book, and I've never seen one like it before. The body is cardinal red, but the head is black as coal. It's about the size of a bluejay. I haven't heard its song yet. Could be someone's escaped exotic pet, I suppose. Whatever it is, it seems to like sunflower seeds. What to do about the chipmunks? They live under a birds nest spruce and borrow holes all over the yard. I bet if I could take a shrink pill and pop down one of their holes, I'd find a whole chipmunk city tunneled out 8 inches below the grass. I've befriended as many neighborhood cats as will have anything to do with me, but still we have chipmunks, and not a single rodent present from any of the felines so far this summer. The little furries must have a cat-tracking station down there in Chipmunk City. Rounding out the morning was an attempt to download the digital pictures from the scan disc (or whatever this little piece of plastic is called). Now I have three empty picture folders on my computer, and apparently at least one of them on the CD. Last time I downloaded pictures, I just stuck the disc into the reader, plugged it in and started clicking buttons. Those pictures transferred. My mistake this time seems to be getting out the instruction book and trying to do it "right". I joined up with the real world--or almost--last night. Rented "Matrix" and sat through it, all the while telling myself, "It's only a movie." "It's only a movie." Why do people find "Matrix" entertaining? If I had any doubts about believing in Christ when I pushed the "play" button, they soon evaporated in viewing the alternative! It taught me to be compassionate toward those who hold the Gnostic world view. One thing doesn't seem to change no matter what worldview is being presented...love conquers all. For the present, anyway. (Let's not give Spielberg any ideas, ok?) My husband tolerated a little less than half of the movie before looking in another room for something entertaining to do. His conclusion when I had finished watching it was that "Drunks in bars are closer to God than anything I saw in that movie!" "Well, yes, but it was the Gnostic worldview being presented there, so what did you expect?" To which he replied "What's a Gnostic worldview?" I told him not to worry about it since we both agree on the interpretation of the movie. My husband is good at reading blueprints, and fixing things, and designing things, and organizing things, and creating things out of wood. He is good in a crisis. But he isn't tempted by metaphysics nor by anything remotely connected with philosophy, and thinks those who are are simply wasting their time. Which gives anyone who is reading this blog a good idea of what he thinks about what I do all day! :) CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

MY ARTICLE ON LITURGICAL DANCE is up at the TCR website. CarrieTomko@aol.com

WAR IN LIBERIA takes on a surreal aspect as "mystical warriors" terrify Liberians. These warriors arrive dressed in a T-shirt or a loin cloth, or nothing at all. It isn't clear from the article how potent their magic is, but their weapons get the killing job accomplished, and it seems that spreading fear is a major part of their offensive. The accounts told by fleeing civilians of the rebel entry into Liberia's capital might elsewhere seem bizarre, but in this war-blighted West African land they are all too familiar harbingers of death and desolation. They saw rebels carrying earthenware pots containing burning coals dosed with magic, which they placed in the road to help them in their combat. Magic has played a big part in Liberia's 14 years of bloodshed even if most of the killing is with assault rifles and knives. The aim of spells is to make fighters strong or invisible -- why some still need to remove their clothes. Africa's modern civil wars are steeped in the mysticism that preceded the arrival of colonialists and missionaries. Congolese warriors believe magic water makes them bullet proof, some of Ivory Coast's fighters drink snake blood for fortification. In parts of the continent, including Liberia, eating the body parts of enemies is also seen as a giver of power. When government troops advanced a little, the rebels fled with their magic pots, but left behind the bodies of fallen fighters or -- more often -- civilians. Anyone who is promoting interreligious dialogue and unity in diversity needs to be aware that not all religions are altruistic. Some, in fact, live by the motto "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Where is there room for diologue with that? CarrieTomko@aol.com

NUMBERS THIS BIG as the $25.7 million figure that settles the lawsuits in Louisville lose all meaning for me in terms of the Sunday collection envelope. How many lifetimes of a widows pittance would be needed to settle a sum this large for dereliction of priestly duty? One thing it does tell me, though, is that there are a lot of contributing Catholics in Kentucky. Which means that those Catholics are at Mass on Sunday, putting their envelope into the collection basket. There would have to be for such a settlement to even be contemplated. Is that the glimmer of light in a sky filled with darkness? I see from the article that Kentucky has gotten out the V-word--Vibrant--to define itself. Maybe they caught this from Cleveland. There are enough of the "vibrant" molecules floating in the air up here. Some folks have even taken to spelling the word with rainbow colors. To the best of my knowledge, the rainbow segment has not yet complained. May we at least hope that such expensive vibrancy will sound the death knell for EarthSpirit Rising Conferences in the dioceses to the south? One hopes, but does not forget to exhale! CarrieTomko@aol.com

SPEAKING OF THINGS ABUSIVE... Let's talk about The Defenders. How many Catholics know that such an organization exists, hiding out in the support group called Dignity and claiming to be Catholic? Ya coulda fooled me when I first accessed this website and sat here staring at the computer screen in a daze. They ARE talking about husbands and wives who prefer leather pajamas, aren't they? I mean, Christianity forbids sex outside of marriage, so they'd have to be. It must be really uncomfortable to sleep in leather pajamas. Especially on a hot summer night. Oh, you mean that isn't what they are talking about? Catholics do that sort of thing? Come on...you're fooling with me, aren't you? CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

JOHN PAUL I CAUSE FOR SAINTHOOD LAUNCHED according to EWTN News. The Congregation for Sainthood Causes has given its consent to begin the canonical process on the holiness of Pope John Paul I. The news was announced Sunday by Bishop Vincenzo Savio of the Belluno-Feltre Diocese, which includes Forno de Canale (known today as Canale d'Agordo), where Albino Luciani was born in 1912. CarrieTomko@aol.com


THERE IS A REVIEW OF THE DA VINCI CODE at Beliefnet, which says: Karen Leigh King, a Harvard professor who is the world�s leading authority on early Christian texts about Mary Magdalene, gives �The DaVinci Code� a thumbs-up--but only as fiction. (�It�s a good read but historically way off.�) �The book certainly fits our times�. Since the 1960s there has been a hostility toward traditions in Christianity that are anti-sexuality,� says King, adding that the novel also plays to interest in women�s issues. But, she says: �there�s no historical information whatsoever that either of them was married, let alone to each other. When there�s an argument from silence, you can jump either way. On one hand, why not? Why shouldn�t they have sex? On the other hand, why every time you put a man and woman together do they have to have sex? �The possibility of Jesus� marriage fascinates people; biblical scholars say they are often asked by audiences and readers about it. In general, only the most liberal scholars even bother to entertain the question. It's good to know that serious scholars don't take this seriously! CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE CHAOS IN IRAQ MIGHT BE INTENTIONAL according to this Washington Times article:��� KUWAIT CITY � A document from the Iraqi intelligence service in Basra � which was captured in April as coalition forces gained control � orders agents to start campaigns of sabotage, looting and murder should Iraq lose the war. ����The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, also orders intelligence agents to infiltrate political parties and religious institutions, should the Saddam Hussein regime be toppled. ����The document, stamped "Extremely Confidential," described itself as an "Emergency Secret Plan" and is signed, unintelligibly, by "The Head of General Intelligence". ����It comprises just one page on official letterhead and uses the terse style typical of other captured security documents. ����The Arabic-language document is noteworthy because it tracks closely with the chaos that has since descended on Iraq, with daily ambushes of U.S. soldiers and mass anti-American demonstrations by Muslim groups.... The article goes on to state that the chaos in Baghdad appears to be the implementation of this strategy which was spelled out on a one-page document written on Iraqi letterhead. The document, Order 549, is dated Jan. 23, 2003, and is described as a continuation of a previous "secret letter 3870" issued on Jan. 19. ����It is typed under the symbols of the government � an eagle � and of its intelligence service � an eye. The document's disclosure comes amid mounting evidence that elements of the old regime are behind the current wave of unrest in the country. An eagle and an eye...? Needless to say, that is a symbolic reference to the material I've been investigating over the last several years! Was that intentional or coincidental? CarrieTomko@aol.com

WILL PARTS OF SCRIPTURE BECOME ILLEGAL IN CANADA? According to an article at the focus on the family website this is a real possibility. Members of Parliament today began the final debate on a private member�s bill that a broad cross-section of family advocacy groups and faith-based organizations, including Focus on the Family Canada, are concerned has the potential to muzzle free speech for all Canadians. Three amendments were proposed during the debate that would potentially lessen the impact of C-250. Liberal MP Derek Lee introduced an amendment that would offer a defense if an opinion based on a religious text was expressed �in good faith�. Canadian Alliance MP Vic Toews introduced two amendments� one that would require the consent of the attorney general to prosecute and a second that limits the definition of �hate propaganda�. Yet Derek Rogusky, Focus Canada�s vice-president for family policy, doubts that the bill will be adequately amended to protect Charter rights. �The difficulty is the way that the courts have interpreted freedom of religion. I�m not sure that you could pass any amendment that would constrain the courts from potentially interpreting hatred in a very wide manner,� he says. �We�ve seen that when sexual orientation and religious rights collide, sexual orientation more often than not is favored by the courts.� Sponsored by New Democrat MP Svend Robinson, Bill C-250 seeks to expand the hate propaganda provisions in the Criminal Code � sections 318 (�advocates or promotes genocide�) and 319 (�incites hatred against any identifiable group�) � to include sexual orientation. Opponents of the bill worry that gay rights activists would use it against anyone who questions their lifestyle � even to the point of trying to have the courts ban as �hate literature� passages in the Bible and other sacred texts that condemn homosexuality. �Gay groups are constantly seeking through the courts and human rights commissions to punish and silence their critics,� wrote Edmonton Journal columnist Lorne Gunter earlier this week. �Bill C-250 will give them one more very powerful club with which to beat down those who dare oppose them.� The bill is not yet a done deal. There have been protests, not just from Christians, but from other faiths as well, and from people coming from no faith tradition. That is giving the legislators pause. The very thought that it has been considered, though, is troubling. CarrieTomko@aol.com

IS THE RETURN TO ORTHODOXY IN THE CHURCH A LASTING TREND or just a passing fancy? The results of a Los Angeles Times poll reported in latimes.com last October seems to indicate the former. Younger Roman Catholic priests in the United States are markedly more conservative than their elders, a Los Angeles Times poll has found, reflecting a global trend toward Christian orthodoxy that is reshaping the world's largest church. Clerics under age 41 expressed more allegiance to the clerical hierarchy, less dissent against traditional church teachings, and more certainty about the sinfulness of homosexuality, abortion, artificial birth control and other moral issues than did their elders, the poll found.... The poll found that overall, 30% of priests described themselves as liberal on religious and moral issues, while 28% described themselves as conservative and 37% as moderate. Among younger priests, however, nearly four in 10 described themselves as conservative, and three-fourths said they were more religiously orthodox than their older counterparts. The shift to orthodoxy has been actively promoted by Pope John Paul II during his 24-year pontificate. In addition to their predominance among the younger generation of American priests, orthodox views are in the ascendancy worldwide as Catholicism's center of gravity shifts from liberal Europe and North America to the more conservative regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to scholars of the church.... As the Catholic population continues to change complexion, with increasing numbers of the faithful coming from immigrant communities, Jenkins and other experts say, ideological conflict between younger traditionalists and an older generation of reformers is bound to increase. In Southern California, for instance, conflict frequently occurs over the role of the laity, said Father Thomas Rausch of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Discomfort "comes out all the time" from younger priests over the issue of treating lay pastoral associates as equal, professional partners, he said. "It's very important that these younger Catholics not become so enamored with tradition that they lose sight of the need for greater inclusion of the laity or a more collective style of decision making," Rausch said. "Laypeople are claiming their ministry and won't have it taken away from them by some conservative cleric." In a recent essay in the national Catholic magazine America, however, Rausch wrote that he had also become more sympathetic to some of the concerns of the younger, more conservative theologians. "After all the confusion and 'Cafeteria Catholicism' in the post-Vatican II climate," he said, referring to the practice of selective adherence to church teachings, "there is a real desire for a greater sense of Catholic identity, more Jesus-centered piety and a rediscovery of the purity of the tradition." In my opinion the majority of the dissent over the last 40 years has been centered in the birth control issue. Yes, I know people haven't been talking about it. But it still has been the elephant in the sanctuary that generated conflict on issues we have talked about. IMHO the laity was willing to tolerate the offensive sexual abuse situation so long as no one bothered them about their sexual practices. Perhaps there has been a deep-seated inkling that those very sexual practices have somehow contributed to the climate that permitted sexual abuse from the priests. The don't ask, don't tell policy existed on both sides of the clergy/laity divide.That is a controversial opinion, I know, and there are plenty of voices who would disagree with me. What is equally troubling to me is that the argument in defense of the Church's moral position on birth control is not convincing. I'm not saying the Church is wrong. I am saying that She needs a better argument. Once NFP became acceptable Catholic practice, the argument prohibiting non-abortifacient barrier methods of birth control simply fell apart, based as it is on mechanics alone. Perhaps the discussions over homosexuality will eventually reveal that better defense of Humane Vitae. It hasn't happened yet, though. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, June 09, 2003

THE POPE'S DOUBLE I made reference in a comment box below to the Pope's double. Here is the website with his picture. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THIS BLOWS MY MIND! James Kushiner at the Touchstone Blog discusses an Episcopalian married priest who separated from his wife, has been living in an openly homosexual relationship for 13 years, and has been appointed the first openly gay bishop. Get this: ... Robinson described accepting Christ "as my personal Lord and Savior" at the age of 12 in a Disciples of Christ congregation in rural Kentucky. He became an Episcopalian while in college, was ordained in 1973, and served his first parish in Ridgewood, New Jersey. In 1975, he and his wife left the parish for New Hampshire. It was in New Hampshire, Robinson said, that he "answered God's call to acknowledge myself as a gay man. My wife and I, in order to KEEP our wedding vow to 'honor [each other] in the Name of God,' made the decision to let each other go. We returned to church, where our marriage had begun, and in the context of the eucharist, released each other from our wedding vows, asked each other's forgiveness, cried a lot, pledged ourselves to the joint raising of our children, and shared the Body and Blood of Christ. Quick...somebody pinch me. I must be having a nightmare. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DAVID KUPELIAN AT WORLDNETDAILY ASKS: "Why Are Christians losing America?" and goes on to explain... Most Americans call themselves Christians. Twice they chose as their supreme leader Bill Clinton � a sexual predator and pathological liar who regarded the "religious right" as enemies and radical homosexuals as friends, and who by any meaningful and historical measure was a traitor. After that, millions of Christians came within a hair's breadth of electing Clinton's partner in crime, Al Gore � another pathological liar, a radical environmentalist who reveres "Gaia" but believes the internal-combustion engine should be outlawed (according to his book, "Earth in the Balance"). Christians have stood on the sidelines during the breathtaking transformation of their once-great Judeo-Christian culture into today's neo-pagan, Sodom-and-Gomorrah-style freak show. Christians have lost the 30-year war to protect the unborn. Even easy victories � like partial-birth abortion, which virtually everyone opposes � have eluded them. Christians have lost the war for America's schools � which have been scrubbed antiseptically clean of the Christian principles and traditions that once guided those institutions, and are now filled instead with every conceivable form of propaganda and perversion. Christians have lost their former influence in politics, in the press, in entertainment, in literature � in virtually every major area of life. And now, Christians are losing the war for their very own institutions � their churches. The clergy sex scandal is the tip of the iceberg. Both the Catholic Church and most of the major Protestant denominations are literally being ripped apart � from within � by double agents who pretend to be "faithful" but actually loathe Christianity's historical precepts and values. It's a harsh indictment � but hey, the truth hurts. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THIS IS A REALLY SLOW NEWS DAY. I've just checked some of the blogs and there isn't a good conversation going on anywhere. Mark's comments are down, as well. It does seem that with the blogs there is always something going wrong. Either the comments go down or the system gets overloaded and it's difficult to post, or the system is being reworked and everything is inaccessible while they play with it. Mine has the overload problem a lot of the time. Amy's was down last week while Blogger redid something on it. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PRIESTS IN THE OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH CONSECRATE VALIDLY if I'm not mistaken. So what happens when they ordain women? Because they are ordaining women at this parish in Orange, Calif. Here is a picture of the ordination of a woman priest, complete with sacred dance in the sanctuary. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, June 08, 2003

THE CARTOON "GET FUZZY" IS JUST TOO FUNNY TODAY. I can relate because I "liberated" a printer ink cartridge last Thursday. CarrieTomko@aol.com

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