Saturday, July 19, 2003

ST. MICHAEL'S RUSSIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH in New York City has a website with several icons and a picture of the iconostasis that is quite striking. The door seems to be only a half door. Look all the way down at the bottom to find that the webmaster is Gerard Serafin! CarrieTomko@aol.com

ROD DREHER TALKS ABOUT TURNING INTO A MARRIED MAN in this piece from 1999 that Rod discovered on the web and Fr. Wilson sent to his mailing list. Since it's light-hearted and amusing while conveying a basic truth, and since it's time for some good news, I'm posting it here for your reading pleasure. Rod, you haven't been cloned by any chance, have you? I have this young single daughter... ;-) CarrieTomko@aol.com

A RAVE MASS IS MATTHEW FOX'S VERSION OF LITURGY also called a "Techno-Cosmic Mass." Techno-Cosmic Masses feature guest performers, or leaders of liturgy. The performers for the upcoming "Laughing the Soul Alive" mass are Swami Beyondananda and Judith-Kate Friedman. This is where "multi-culturalism" and "liturgical dance" leads, apparently. The key words on this Techno-Cosmic Ritual website "Diversity" and "Ecumenism" are on the tongue of many leaders in the Roman Catholic Church. There is also a nice description of the ceremony here. Up in the top right corner of the website is a logo for a multiplicity of religions. That's what you get with the Techno-Cosmic Mass, compliments of a defrocked priest. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ECUSA'S BISHOP SWING DENOUNCES DRUGS AND DOGMA Report/Analysis By Lee Penn The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC) July 19, 2003 After grappling recently with reports of illegal drug use at one of his parishes--a story which THE CHRISTIAN CHALLENGE first uncovered--liberal California Episcopal Bishop William Swing has issued an important policy statement barring any such practices, while also implying that "dogma" is as destructive as drug use. As TCC revealed early this year, the San Francisco parish of St. John the Evangelist, and ultimately the whole Episcopal Diocese of California, were rocked in the winter of 2003 as reports surfaced of illegal drug use and a non-fatal drug overdose during all-night "rave" dances held at St. John's since 1996 by a parish group called the Divine Rhythm Society (DRS). Until recently, St. John's had a cutting-edge liberal rector, the Rev. Kevin Pearson, and its own "Bishop in Residence," Otis Charles--the openly gay retired Episcopal Bishop of Utah--both of whom were claimed by some witnesses to support the DRS and its alleged notions about using drugs as "entheogens," i.e., as ways of enhancing or achieving religious experience. In the fall of 2002, parishioners' discontent with the activities of the rave-oriented DRS and with Fr. Pearson's leadership led to a vestry member's dossier detailing evidence in the matter, and an appeal for Bishop Swing to intervene. Swing's response, seemingly accelerated by coverage of this story by TCC and subsequently the San Francisco Chronicle, was to obtain the resignation of Fr. Pearson from his post; to secure the resignation of the entire vestry so that the congregation could elect an entirely new one in February 2003; and to direct that the DRS would have no further "rave" meetings at any ECUSA facilities anywhere in his diocese. Now, St. John's is seeking an interim rector; Bishop Charles is no longer active in the parish altar party; most adherents of the DRS have left the parish; and parish liturgies once again follow the norms of the 1979 Prayer Book and the 1982 Hymnal. Swing has now followed up his decisive action at St. John's with a stern anti-drug message for the whole diocese, published in the Spring 2003 issue of the diocesan magazine, Pacific Church News. The liberal bishop's message was generally remarkable for its clarity and firmness of purpose. In "Drugs and the Diocese of California," Bishop Swing said, "The time has come for us to be as specific as possible about drug use. Some teaching is heard among the theologically trained and ordained in our Diocese that certain drugs taken in appropriate quantities can be beneficial to spiritual growth. In former days Timothy Leary would tout the use of LSD. Today people are touting 'Ecstasy' or 'entheogens' as the threshold that opens human beings to supernatural realms. The Hopi Indians and their use of peyote are cited as beneficial models. "What are not mentioned in these endorsements are the ravages of countless lives that trusted in drugs as a path to paradise. There are probably some very sincere pilgrims of the Spirit who have gone on a quest for the Transcendent, and certain drugs may have seemed to advance them. Their individual quests, as vivid as they may have been, will not be given an official platform in the Diocese of California. We have seen too many drug disasters, too many drug-imprisoned souls� "Rumor has it that the Diocese of California is liberal about matters. Not always so. On the use of drugs in our buildings, at our functions, this is absolutely forbidden. No wink, wink. Drug use in our churches will be absolutely forbidden," Swing wrote. "There is a higher path to God, i.e., the path of Jesus Christ. The cross is not a needle. The bread and wine are ordinary, not a hallucinogen. Ecstasy is a path, not a pill. Our drug policy will reflect this." However, Bishop Swing, founder of the controversial United Religions Initiative, which critics see as syncretistic, was not quite able to leave well enough alone. In the same column, Swing equated "dogma" to use of mind-bending drugs. He said, "When human beings are alert, we yearn for an experience of the Divine, with the Divine. That is not the problem. That is to be encouraged. The question then is how to have a transcendent experience without having your brain fried�by drugs or dogma?" (The ellipsis was in Swing's original document.) The bishop's comment leaves an open question for enquiring minds: which articles of the Creed and which dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Councils of the Church cause the brain to fry? Swing went on, moreover, to laud "creation spiritualist" and radical liturgist Matthew Fox, whom Swing received as a priest after Fox was ousted from the Roman Catholic Church. "It is possible to get high on healthy religion," Swing wrote. "My hero and pioneer in all of this is the Rev. Matthew Fox. He took the old `Rave Mass' and converted it to a `Techno Mass.' No drugs. Period. Yet there is an openness to new forms of liturgy and common life that allow young people to tap into the brilliance of being with God." Swing's intervention on behalf of the ordinary parishioners of St. John the Evangelist has borne good fruit. However, Swing's continued support for Matthew Fox's liturgical and doctrinal radicalism, and his promotion of the URI--which critics believe is aimed at producing a one-world religion--leave Swing and his diocese planted firmly in the liberal camp. ---- Sources included Pacific Church News, Spring 2003, Vol. 141, No. 2, p. 5; The Washington Post, February 22, 2003, page B09; The San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2002, page A-15. ---- CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, July 18, 2003

KNEELING AFTER COMMUNION APPROVED BY CDL. ARINZE According to the newsletter, Cardinal Arinze's response, received in June, said that the relevant norms were intended "to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture" but at the same time "to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free." The newsletter explained that No. 43 of the general instruction calls for the people to stand during Mass "except at those places indicated below." It goes on to spell out specific times when the people sit or kneel, ending with "and, as circumstances allow, they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed." No alternative posture during the Communion rite itself is listed. CarrieTomko@aol.com


Comments....Oh comments...where are the comments? CarrieTomko@aol.com

IS FREEMASONRY A DYING ORGANIZATION? When I bring up the subject of Freemasonry, people...editors...try to tell me it's an anachronism. That the big news these days is New Age. Freemasonry isn't fading out so much as it is changing. New Age was the name of the magazine published by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Today it's called the Scottish Rite Journal of Freemasonry. There are pictures of the old covers of the magazine at this website. But the shift in perspective from a fraternal organization to a "spiritual" organization is taking place in many pockets of Masonry. Catholics are becoming more familiar with the name of Michael Baigent who wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail.. He is, or was, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Canonbury Masonic Research Center, which is located in London, as the picture indicates. There is a picture of him at their website. Here are some of the topics that Canonbury researches. One of the authors they list is John Hamill. Hamill is very much a "regular" Mason. In fact he is, or was, the Librarian and Curator of the United Grand Lodge of England. Masonry doesn't get any more "regular" than UGLE. But notice that Manly P. Hall is on the last as well. Hall wrote about the esoteric side of Freemasonry. The side that was labeled "fringe Masonry" or "irregular Masonry." He seems to have been rehabilitated. At least at Canonbury. Arthur Edward Waite is on the list. Waite is associated with the Golden Dawn, No. 1 among the esoteric groups, the seedbed of Aleister Crowley's ideas, the source of O.T.O. lodges, from which Satanism developed. There is a link provided here to the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, an offshoot of Grand Orient Freemasonry. Take a look at the public lectures offered by Canonbury. At the webpage for the 2002 Canonbury Conference, the first topic listed is "From Enlightenment to Illuminism." "Martinism" is on the agenda. On the public lectures page, the first topic is "Prentice at the Temple Door" - Alchemical Light from the 16th Century Splendor Solis." Look through the topics on the Past Events page to see the trend of Freemasonry today. It's not your father's organization. Anyone who believes Freemasonry is dead in the water is out of touch. Like a phoenix, the Craft is rising stronger than ever. Can esoteric Freemasonry exist side-by-side with Christianity? It's a question we will have to confront as we never have before, because the Craft has moved out of the Lodge, and into our livingrooms, via. Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code the television set with its esoteric programming, the local theater with it's Matrix movies. Masonry has gone mainstream, and there is no indication it has changed it's view of the Church. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, July 17, 2003

The Theosophical Society seems to like what James Somervillehas to say. A brief bio. can be found at the end of the article. It reads: James M. Somerville taught philosophy for many years at Fordham University, where he was chair of the department and co-founder of the journal INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY. He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a Quest Book author (contributing to THE GODDESS RE-AWAKENING, 1989). His most recent book is THE MYSTICAL SENSE OF THE GOSPELS (Crossroad, 1997). Xavier and Fordham...two Catholic colleges. Hmmm. CarrieTomko@aol.com

NICE ICON Take a look. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Ok, I've changed to Blog-Out comments. So far they seem to be working. I had SquawkBox working earlier this evening and then it quit again. Bummer. Now if I can just get this thing to publish. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

WICCANS PROTECT ABORTION CLINIC WITH THEIR BODIES AND THEIR MAGIC MELBOURNE, Florida - Patricia Baird-Windle, founder and executive director of Aware Woman Center for Choice, has been in the national media spotlight recently. A featured guest on Good Morning America and the subject of a Rolling Stone magazine article, she has gained her notoriety through being portrayed as the embattled owner of Brevard County, Florida's only abortion clinic. Rolling Stone portrayed Windle as a suffering saint and "one of the most persecuted women in America." Local pro-lifers were painted as a movement led "almost entirely by white men" who "fit the Son of Sam profile."1 Media coverage hasn't been exactly unbiased. In resisting the abortion industry in the state of Florida, some local pro-life activists have repeatedly come across statements from residents in the Melbourne area linking Patricia Baird-Windle to witchcraft. Area pro-lifers claim that Windle has stated: "You practice your religion and let me practice mine." When asked what her religion was, Windle is alleged to have remarked: "My religion is a holy ritual of child sacrifice." If comments made by Windle were off-the-cuff, then most people would dismiss these allegations as the "hysteria of the religious right." However, further investigative research has shown that there is a strong connection between the Aware Woman abortion clinic and a cult of witches called Wicca. As we view the ties between the Wiccan organization and the abortion industry, the conclusion will become obvious: The promotion of abortion is not just a political issue for members of Wicca; it is part of a religious agenda - the religion of witchcraft and child sacrifice.... The city of Melbourne is just one example of the growing national connection between the abortion industry and the religion of witchcraft.... This particular issue, published the same month that Operation Rescue's IMPACT team began its training course in Melbourne, alerted area Wiccans and Pagans to the spiritual warfare that they would soon be facing.... Readers of Open Circle are exhorted to become "clinic escorts" - pro-abortion activists who eagerly escort pregnant women entering the abortion clinic.... Wiccans are also encouraged to work their magic on the area surrounding the clinic: "Finally, many individuals and groups have been helping to magically (sic) protect the building and property ... This has been done by magical and psychic shielding being put on and around the property...." Wiccans have a philosophy, "An it harm none, do as thou wilt." Which sounds really good, until you discover the definition of "none." As in the following passage: The phone number of Aware Woman is given and the following guidelines are suggested: "If you want to do magical work to protect the clinic, please, please, do it with perfect love and trust. Our goal is to protect the clinic, the staff, and the patients from those who want to force their views on them. Please keep in mind the Harm None Clause and make your work defensive in nature." Too bad we can't interview the baby so see what he thinks about their charity. Or as the article puts it: Christians whose actions uphold the moral law of God found in the Bible (You shall not murder) are "those who want to force their views" on society. Since the pro-life people are also thwarting their plans just as the baby is, are the pro-life people the next targets of their "magic"? I think this passage from the article goes a long way to explain why the abortion industry is having success in America despite all of the efforts for pro-life. Remember, at the same time that abortion is increasing, Paganism is also growing: Whenever pagan sexual immorality is accepted, abortion and child sacrifice becomes a necessity in covering up the fruit of sin. As we look at revivals of paganism in historical perspective, the connection between abortion and witchcraft becomes even more apparent. It is impossible to understand ancient and medieval Europe without having an understanding of the pagan rituals that accompanied everyday life. Paganism and Witchcraft played an important part in these periods, affecting the lives of all classes of people. The article goes on to give the history of the link between paganism and abortion, and the papal edicts against it. And there is this... History tells us that neo-Paganism has experienced sporadic revivals, but also that the Church has had great success in openly confronting witchcraft and the practice of child sacrifice. But whenever the Church has compromised with pagan culture, she herself has become paganized eventually committing the same practices that she was commissioned to destroy. CarrieTomko@aol.com

NEW TRENDS IN SO-CALLED FRINGE MASONRY United Lodge of Theosophists If you have Adobe Reader, go to this webpage in the above linked website. Here the Theosophists explain themselves. They believe their wisdom is perennial. As they say, It should be clearly recognized that there is a wide difference between the Theosophical movement and any theosophical society or organization. Theosophy has existed eternally throughout cycles upon cycles of the past, and will ever exist throughout the infinitude of the future, because Theosophy is synonymous with EVERLASTING TRUTH - established Truth, recorded in various ages, in various climes, throughout an untold series of incessant observations. On the other hand, a society formed for theosophical work is a visible organization, an effect, a machine for conserving energy and putting it to use; it is not, nor can it be, universal, nor is it continuous. Organized theosophical bodies are made by men for their better cooperation, but, being mere outer shells, they must change from time to time as human defects come out, and as the great underlying spiritual Movement compels such alterations. The real unity and prevalence - the real internationalism - of the Theosophical Movement are, therefore, not to be looked for in any form of organization, but are to be found in the similarity of aim, of aspiration, of purpose, of teaching, and of ethics, among those in the world who are working for it. All who love Brotherhood are parts of that great whole denominated The Theosophical Movement, which, though aided by working organizations, is above them all. When Theosophy was a forbidden teaching, it hid out in the Masonic Lodges. Gradually members of the lodges forgot the esoteric part. They never lost sight of the brtherhood, which is what you will find in the Blue Lodges over the recent decades. Now that New Age has become an acceptable philosophy, they no longer hide. As New Age grew in popularity, there appears to be a commensurate decline in Blue Lodge membership. Whether this is coincidental or commensurate with more freedom to espouse these beliefs is something I have not been able to determine. Lee Penn did an extensive investigation into Freemasonry for the Journal of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project. It appeared in two issues: "The Age of Masonry" and "The Masonic Quest" which give an extensive outline of the Masonic Lodge development, and the Theosophical Movement that is connected with it. "The Age of Masonry" details the growth of Grand Lodge of England, it's spread around the world, and its involvement in American politics. The article has 192 footnotes some with multiple citings. No. 192, for example cites 6 passages from 3 different books which make the same claim. In "The Masonic Quest" the connection is made between Theosophy and the Masons, as well as other esoteric groups including the Ordo Templi Orientis, this one with 257 footnotes. On p. 54 of the Journal, Penn says: The Theosophical movement, founded in its modern form in 1875 by Helena Blavatsky was steeped in fringe Masonry and revolutionary Grand Orient Masonry from its start. In addition, the Theosophical movement was intertwined with American and British leftist and "free-thinker" movements. Blavatsky was profoundly influenced from her childhood onward by Masonry. At her grandparents' home, she studied the occult library of her maternal great-grandfather, Prince Pavel Dolgorukii, "a prominent Rosicrucian Freemason in the years before Catherine II closed the lodges. In her adolescence, she admired Prince Aleksandr Golitsyn, a magician and Freemason who encouraged her growing interest in esotericism." Blavatsky visited Paris in the early 1850s, and "astonished the Freemasons there with her knowledge" of the secrets of Scottish Rite and Egyptian Rite Masonry." In her travels through Europe, America, and Asia, "everywhere she was involved with Freemasonry, Oriental secret societies, occult fraternities, and with the spiritualists who constituted, as it were, the exoteric 'church' from which doors opened to the more esoteric circles." Blavatsky was a friend of John Yarker, who was the author of the Memphis Rite rituals and Grand Master of the "Ancient and Primitive Rite of Freemasons." Blavatsky hoped for Masonry to return to its Egyptian, occult roots, and praised Grand Orient Masonry for allowing atheists to join their Lodges. Nine popes, including John Paul II, have condemned Freemasonry. Nine popes can't be wrong. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

ROSICRUCIANS ARE CHANNELERS at least at the upper levels. They make clairvoyant contact with something called the "Akashic Record," as in Steiner's case, or with an actually spirit in Blavatsky's case. Here is the entity, Djwhal Khul, channeled by both Blavatsky and Annie Besant who followed Blavatsky in the leadership of the Theosophical Society. Catholics fall for this as well. Here is an article presented by Judith Hensel, at the Theosophical Society website, who according to the website "has been Associate Professor of Arts and Humanities, St. Xavier University, Chicago, and has headed a fourteen-state literacy program for adults and children, and is writing a book on the subject of this article." She claims in the article that animals have a soul. Obviously this is Theosophical not Catholic teaching. Did she teach her Catholic students a little Theosophy on the side? There have been rumors on top of rumors that the problems in the Church result from Freemasonry. Nine popes, including John Paul II, have forbidden Catholics to join the Lodge. So is Theosophy Masonic? It isn't regular Masonry, certainly. It falls into the category of "clandestine" or "irregular Freemasonry." It has roots in Grand Orient Freemasonry. The founders of Theosophy also founded Co-Masonry. They practice their rituals in what they call the Liberal Catholic Church. The history of the Liberal Catholic Church lies in the Old Catholics. This website spells out the history for anyone who is interested. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ROSICRUCIAN CHRISTIANITY There's an interesting discussion going on at one of the AOL Catholic Message Boards. Unfortunately you have to belong to AOL to view it. A poster is arguing that the psychic John Edward is using natural abilities which some people have in order to conduct psychic sessions in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Tickets cost $50 each, and Catholics are lining up. The orthodox Catholics on the message board are trying to convince one of Edward's admirers that what he is doing is not Catholic. (Edwards professes to be a Catholic.) They are having little success. The poster believes that what Edwards is doing is no different from what Padre Pio did, from what we do when we pray to a saint. Poster claims that we practice necromancy when we pray. I've seen the "natural abilities" argument before, in conjunction with a defense of Harry Potter. It is the teaching of Rosicrucianism. A branch of this philosophy has been couched in Christian terminology, but the concepts applied to the terms cross the line into occultism. The other branch of this has clothed itself in the terminology of Eastern religions. Specifically, they are Anthroposophy (Christian terms) and Theosophy (Eastern terms). Essentially these teachings stem from either H. P. Blavatsky, a Russian mystic who founded the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875, or Rudolf Steiner, a member of the society who founded the German branch, quarreled over the use of Eastern terminology, left the society and founded Anthroposophy in 1913. The metaphysics are the same. Only the terminology changes. A Rosicrucian believes he can have direct access to God, and thus the need for a teaching hierarchy is eliminated. Because he believes he has direct access to God, he will not listen to any argument presented from teaching authority. A Rosicrucian teacher merely "opens up the possibilities" to the seeker so that the seeker can find his own path. The seeker must learn to access spiritual worlds for himself. Steiner called this "spiritual science" and denied any connection with religion. Today "spiritual science" is considered a "natural ability" by those who are agitating for an acceptance of this in the Church. Max Heindel is a source of Rosicrucianism "wisdom". Here is a sample of his teaching. From the Catholic perspective, this is the Gnostic heresy revisited. In Rosicrucian cosmology there are "Ascended Masters" or what Blavatsky called the "Great White Brotherhood." These are people who were adepts at accessing spiritual worlds while on earth and who have "passed over." Thus Padre Pio is one of their saints. Mother Teresa is another. Here is a list of Ascended Masters. As you can see, some are Catholic. Some are occultists. The Blessed Virgin is there. So is Krishna and J. C. Penny. Theosoophist Alice Bailey and her husband Foster opened a press so that her books could be published. It was named "Lucifer Press" but then changed to "Lucis Press" because they thought the name "Lucifer" might have bad connotations. Today the followers of Bailey have formed an organization called Lucis Trust. Lucis Trust uses the term "New Age" and has a symbol for it. Through their subsidiary group World Goodwill, they have an organization called New Group of World Servers. Click the "Religious" link. On the next webpage, look at the third entry down on the list, Center for Global Ethics. Here is the Center for Global Ethics. Notice "Leonard Swidler" on the website along with Hans Kung? Here is another activity of Leonard Swidler, the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DEAL HUDSON WRITES... Is Natural Family Planning Useless? CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter July 14, 2003 ********************************************** Dear Friend, I wanted to let you know that I'm following up on the "secret meeting" that took place in Washington, DC last week. I'll email you with more on that soon. One quick and important correction, though: In Friday's e-letter, I mistakenly imply that Peggy Steinfels is pro-choice. She is not. I actually caught the error and corrected it in the draft, but unfortunately, the uncorrected version was sent out. All of us here apologize to Peggy for the error. That's one of the challenges of an email newsletter. With a magazine, there are layers and layers of checks and balances, and mistakes are rarely made. But with an email newsletter, you hit the wrong button once and that's all she wrote. If you've ever done it, you know what I'm talking about. But we're certainly going to make sure this doesn't happen again. There were a couple of other news items from last week that I wanted to point out to you briefly. One involves the latest attempt to discredit natural family planning (NFP). A study at the University of Saskatchewan recently announced that a new understanding of a woman's menstrual cycle will change the way we look at fertility and finally lay to rest those arguments in favor of NFP. Originally, it was thought that egg sacs (or follicles) would grow at one particular time in a woman's menstrual cycle. From those sacs, one egg would be released and the rest would die, resulting in a specific time every month when a woman would be fertile. This new study, however, shows that the follicles actually grow in waves, rather than all at once. According to the researchers, this means that eggs could be released at different times throughout a woman's cycle, making the old idea of one window of fertility per cycle outdated. Researchers say this proves that NFP isn't effective. Senior author Dr. Roger Pierson joked, "We all know people trying to use natural family planning, and we have a word for those people. We call them parents." But the studies' findings might not be so clear cut as that. Dr. James B. Brown, commenting for the Billings Ovulation Method Organization (WOOMB), says that scientists have known about this "wave" pattern of follicle growth for years. Citing its importance in helping women determine their periods of fertility, Dr. Brown verified the findings from the University of Saskatchewan. However, Brown explains that it does NOT mean that fertile ovulations can occur more than once during the menstrual cycle. From WOOMB's own research of millions of women using NFP methods, the vast majority ovulate only once per cycle. Even the University of Saskatchewan's own research should have told them something similar. Out of the 50 women they examined, all but two ovulated only once during their cycle. The two who ovulated more than once actually had abnormal (infertile) cycles during which conception couldn't occur. So out of research showing that 96% of women ovulate only once per month, and the 4% who ovulate more than once have infertile cycles, the University of Saskatchewan concluded that multiple ovulations spelled the end for predicting fertility and, consequently, NFP. Seems to me they jumped the gun on this one. Dr. Pierson might want to take his findings -- and his NFP jokes -- back to the drawing board. There's one final thing I wanted to mention briefly before I go. You might recognize the name of Rev. Lawrence Biondi, SJ, president of St. Louis University in Missouri. Father Biondi came under serious fire a few months ago when it was discovered that the university was asking for promiscuous students to participate in a herpes drug study. Many Catholics were shocked and outraged that a Catholic school would in any way encourage promiscuous activity among its students. Well, now it seems that Father Biondi is in even deeper waters. Biondi is currently on the Board of Directors for Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a national chain of hospitals that performs abortions. Tenet refuses to disclose the number of its hospitals that provide abortions, but the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has said that 166 abortions were carried out in a Tenet-owned hospital in Framingham in the year 2000. Without a doubt, abortions are being performed in these hospitals, but we don't know where or how many. Father Biondi, however, should know, since he sits on their Board of Directors. The fact that he does so with knowledge of this is inexcusable. He should have pushed for change or stepped down a long time ago. Instead, he's now up for re-election. Looks like one more priest conveniently setting aside the faith when it interferes with a cushy job. If you're tiring of this kind of duplicity, you can write to Father Biondi and his superiors and urge him to step down from the board and not pursue re-election on July 23. Biondi can be contacted by writing to 221 North Grand Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63103. The current Missouri Jesuit Provincial is the Very Rev. Rank Reale, SJ, who can be reached at 4511 W. Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108-2191. Thanks to the Cardinal Newman Society for breaking this story. Let's not let this thing go unnoticed. Talk to you soon, Deal To learn more about CRISIS Magazine, visit http://www.crisismagazine.com/subscribe.htm CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, July 13, 2003

JOHN ALLEN ASKS THE QUESTION I'VE BEEN ASKING FOR A WHILE NOW at a roundtable discussion in Rome with Cardinal Stafford, head of the Pontifical Council for Laity, and others as reported in last Friday's column: I simply noted that as Catholic laity peel off into groups defined by spiritual and ideological preferences, the sociological reality of the church�s self-description as a communio becomes harder to find. Where are the public spaces in which Catholics of different outlooks and experiences today meet for dialogue? Parishes are �progressive,� �traditional,� �Neocathecumenate,� etc., the Catholic press is ideologically stratified, and even Catholic colleges often seem unable to foster conversation across our differences. The movements are neither the cause of this phenomenon nor a necessary contributor to it, yet they are part of the picture. Hence my open question: How can the movements foster, rather than diminish, communio? Fr. James Puglisi, a noted American ecumenist, spoke on the ecumenical impact of the movements. He noted that many include people from other Christian churches among their members, which can be very positive. At the same time, Puglisi warned that sometimes the movements seem to pursue ecumenical activity not for its own sake, but as means of glorifying themselves. Fr. Dario Vitali, an Italian ecclesiologist at the Gregorian University, argued that the movements will be judged by how well they cohere with local parishes and dioceses. Having done my time in a parish where the charismatic movement managed to make two parishes our of one church, I find these questions and comments insightful.. Historically the Pentecostal movement is notorious for splintering congregations. And my own experience with the charismatics was quite negative. Add to that the atomization of the RCC which seems to be taking place before our very eyes. We are a religion in search of itself. This was not true prior to the Council. Back then we were split along nationality lines, but not along doctrinal lines. I find the latter much more troubling. It looks to be a sickness at the very heart of the Church. We need to practice a little ecumenism between the diverse groups within our own Church, and something needs to be done about the groups within, which are dedicated to policies in contradiction with the Magisterium. CarrieTomko@aol.com

I've put a test comment in each of today's comments boxes except this one. There was no problem posting the test. Now we'll see if the comments are registered on the blog. CarrieTomko@aol.com

SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT BILL O'REILLY With this column he's got my vote. Scroll down to the "God and Country - Bil's New Column" link. CarrieTomko@aol.com

TIS THE SEASON FOR CLOSED DOOR MEETINGS At this year's closed door meeting in St. Louis, apparently the bishops scheduled next year's closed door meeting in Denver. But there are arguments against a plenary council. They include its size � variously estimated at between 1,000 and 2,000 participants � the fear that such a gathering might be manipulated by outside groups and some bishops� belief that they should conduct their business within the framework of the USCCB. A final decision is not expected until a special, closed assembly of the bishops a year from now in Denver. Some were inclined to criticize the bishops� critics. "Real problems within the Church have been magnified to discredit the moral authority of the Church," said Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, papal nuncio to the United States. But some Catholics, who in different circumstances might resonate to that theme, are not prepared to let the bishops off the hook. When � and whether � they will is anybody�s guess. Have you heard of that shell game, "Guess which miter the bishop is under"...? CarrieTomko@aol.com

THEY'RE DUSTING THE SAUNA AT BOHEMIAN GROVE to get ready for the summer invasion of the Mucky-Mucks, and the protesters are touching up the paint on their signs. Business as usual apparently. Still I wouldn't be a bit surprised if one of the topics on the agenda this year is how to go about publicly claiming the meetings will be discontinued while privately picking the secluded cushy spot for next summer. Most likely we'll never know. Seems like the bishops and the politicians are operating in an similar manner this summer. Out of the public eye and off the public record. But ummm...that would be business as usual. There has been a rumor that at Bohemian Grove some of the guests perform a Druid ceremony. I wonder if the similarities between the politicians and the prelates run that deep? One would hope not, but in the present climate, I wouldn't bet the farm. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE BISHOPS HAD A MEETING...A SECRET MEETING and for the most part no one is doing any talking of substance. The Boston Globe presents an unbiased view of the meeting. Deal Hudson, editor of Crisis Magazine, offers a rather different picture of the same event. Did the liberals get to lay out their plan for the future of the Church? Did the bishops tell the liberals their time has come and gone? Was O'Malley present? Inquiring Catholics would like to know! CarrieTomko@aol.com


HAS SOMETHING HAPPENED TO AMY WELBORN? She hasn't posted to her blog since Thursday, July 10. And there is that picture she posted of the water across the street in golflake. I've said a prayer for her, just in case... CarrieTomko@aol.com

NOW WHERE WERE WE? The comments boxes all come up when I click them this morning, but whatever comments were there are gone now except for the discussion on Transnational Progressivism. The comments on TP are still there, even though the "No Comments" appears on the blog. The last comment concerned the anti-semitism of Transnational Progressivism and its hatred for Israel. I hesitate to even wade in on that because, first of all I'm not especially politically savy; and second, because the charge of anti-semitism is so quickly leveled against anyone who would say anything that sounded the least bit anti-Jewish. It does seem to me that Israel hasn't cornered the marked on infallibility, so I presume they make political errors at about the same rate as any other nation. Maybe we can continue the discussion in the comments for this post. [There is one more thing I should add. I don't care who disagrees with whom, so long as the disagreements are kept civil. I have a personal vendetta against ad hominem. So long as we stick with idea bashing and not personality bashing, fire away. You don't have to agree with me, but you do have to treat everyone in this forum with respect. I'm not suggesting anyone has violated the rules, because no one has. Just thought I'd clear the air. since someone brought the topic up in a comment. Ok, I'm putting my soapbox away now. :) ] Back to Transnational Progressivism. CarrieTomko@aol.com

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