Saturday, August 02, 2003

FIRE BAPTISM otherwise known as "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," and "baptism of fire," is a concept relied upon in the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement which has enjoyed a home in the Roman Catholic Church since 1967. Its roots are not Catholic. "Fire baptism" was coined by Benjamin Hardin Irwin, a former Baptist Minister, who became a member of the Iowa Holiness Association. He proposed that there was a distinction between the baptism of the Holy Spirit first proposed by John Fletcher, an associate of John Wesley, and the "baptism of fire" which brought down power to the believer. He founded the first Fire-Baptized Holiness Church which later merged into the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and the Fire-Baptised Holiness Association following a split with the leadership of the Iowa Holiness Association. Irwin emphasized experience over doctrine, casting dogma aside and turning away from Scripture and Tradition. Essentially, "fire baptism" designates the manifestations that accompany baptism in the Spirit according to Harold Hunter, Director of Archives and Research Center, International Holiness Church. Hunter says: Quote What exactly was the experience of "fire baptism" to which Irwin and his like minded colleagues gave such critical importance? While it is risky to speculate on the nature of anyone's subjective experiences, I believe that what the first "Fire baptized" believers were undergoing was a phenomenon common in all the world's religious traditions and practices - and among many of the parallel movements which we have examined so far Certainly, Irwin's mention of falling into a "trance" is significant, as it suggests the pseudo-mystical, psychosomatic euphoria which could also be termed the "spiritual high"-though it is not spiritual, and has nothing to do with the heavely heights at all. This experience consists generally of a kind of "spiritual warmth" which spreads throughout the body, causing a feeling of exhiliration and euphoria, of empowerment, an explosion of spiritual energy, somewhere midway between mere auto-suggestion and a true preternatural phenomena. It can be seen being produced by stage hypnotists and among audiences at rock concerts. It takes place quite frequently in the possession cults of the Caribbean, and in the studio audiences of televangelists. Of course, it would be unfair to imply that all of the early Pentecostals or Charismatics had this type of experience. At the same time, however, it does seem rather curious that so many so called mystical states (irregardless of denomination or religious belief) coincide in the matter of their psychophysical concomitants-and that they virtually all talk about a trembling of the body, a sensation of spiritual power tingling in their torso, and of a very convincing feeling of empowerment and of an intense heat. No doubt the first experiences of the "Fire Baptized" and those of the first Pentecostals were extremely similar, as is implied by this personal testimony of a follower of the Azusa Street revival in 1906: "I now began to go to the altar and earnestly seek for the Lord to have His way with me. Soon the power of God began to work with me. The Holy Ghost showed me that I must be clay in the Potter's hands, an empty vessel before the Lord. I laid aside all doctrine, all pre-conceived ideas and teachings and became absolutely empty. The Holy Ghost now settled down on me, and I could feel the power going through me like electric needles. The Spirit taught me that I must not resist the power but give way and become limp as a piece of cloth. When I did this, I fell under the power, and God began to mold me and teach me what it meant to be really surrendered to Him. I was laid out under the power five times before Pentecost really came. Each time I would come out from under the power, I would feel so sweet and clean, as though I had been run through a washing machine. I now had come to the place where I was completely submitted to the whole will of God. I had been seeking about five weeks, and on a Saturday morning I awoke and stretched my arms toward heaven and asked God to fill me with the Holy Ghost. My arms began to tremble, and soon I was shaken violently by a great power, and it seemed as though a large pipe was fitted over my neck, my head apparently being off. I was now filled with the Holy Ghost. I cannot describe the power I felt. The nearest description that could be given would be the action of a pump under terrific pressure, filing me with oil. I could feel the filling in my toes and all parts of my body which seemed to me to swell until I thought I would burst. I do not know how long this continued but it seemed to me a long time. The ressure was now removed and my soul and spirit seemed to leave the body and float in the air just above. My body seemed hard and metallic like iron. This was undoubtedly the baptism into the death of Christ." (The Apostolic Faith Edition 3, copyright 1999 by Dunamai) This "fire baptism" heavily influenced the Pentecostal "Baptism in the Spirit," and it is from the Pentecostals that Catholic Charismatics received their initial layong of hands. Adopting Protestant Pentecostal practices for the Catholic Chraismatic movement raises some questions about doctrine and heresy. Many more questions are raised upon discovering that these practices are also part of the occult Ecclesia Gnostica, or Gnostic Catholic Church. A description of this practice within the Ecclesia Gnostica indicates: Quote In the beginning of the 20th century the Church also included a 'Inner circle", an ' Esoteric Section ' reserved exclusively for the Clergy. According to John Cole " This section was initiatic, earlier in this century, this section varied somewhat in different geographical areas where the Church operated. This initiatic work centered very heavily on Kabbalah, Alchemy and Theurical techniques, very interesting and powerful work". One of their Theurgical practises was known as the "Fire Baptism" (or "Baptism of Fire"). This "Ceremonial prayer" was practised to "obtain the 'Beatific Vision of Jesus Christ", as it was known to the Elus Cohen. Within the history of the Gnostic Church there's some talk of a certain group called the "Chevaliers de Saint Montsegur", it seems reasonable to think that the "Knights of Montsegur" are the Initiatic inner circle of the Ecclesia Gnostica. Popes have repeatedly condemned Masonry and Grand Orient Freemasonry in particular. Why then have we taken up a practice that was theirs long before it became ours? This above linked history of the Gnostic Catholic Church makes clear its connection to Grand Orient Freemasonry, the Cathars, Bogomils, Albigensians, Theosophists, Spiritualists, and Arcane Orders. Its founder, Jules Dionel, "proclaimed that the Gnostic Church was intended to present a system of mystical Masonry." During a s�ance, Dionel received the following prayer from his channeled spirit: Quote " The One has brought forth One, then One. And the Three are but One: the Father, the Word and the Thought. Establish my Gnostic Church. The Demiurge will be powerless against it. Receive the Paraclete ". What spirit is this which is made manifest by violating the First Commandment? Has God rescinded His command that we honor Him exclusively and started to spread Himself around the religions that were once branded heretical? The religions that have been called enemies of the Catholic Church by Popes who served as the Vicar of Christ on earth? More likely this "Paraclete" is a deceiving spirit wandering about the earth seeking the ruin of souls. CarrieTomko@aol.com

IT'S AN OLD RUMOR that appears to be proving true as we read GOODBYE, GOOD MEN! and other reports of the scandal in the seminaries and priesthood. Chuck Morse, a self-proclaimed Jew, asks the question, "Did Communists Infiltrate the Catholic Church?" and gives his answer: As a traditional Jew, I'm deeply concerned over the plight of the Roman Catholic Church, which I consider to be the largest and most influential repository of conservative Judeo-Christian values in America today. I believe that those of us who care about the furtherance of a moral society have a stake in the future of the church as a moral force. The American church is under siege today, not only from the usual external forces but also from the weight of its own internal contradictions. The scandal of corrupt homosexual priests violating the innocence of minors in their care is, to put it mildly, a contradiction in Christian and Catholic practice and faith. When did this corruption inject itself into the system and why was the situation allowed to deteriorate to such a degree? Much has been written regarding Communist methods of infiltration. The standard method was to "bore from within" which involved Communists disguising themselves as loyalists to an organization they sought to undermine. Once gaining entry, they would gradually and subtly change the values and principles of the targeted organization. The process of "change" can take a generation. Communists have exhibited unlimited patience and supreme confidence in the ultimate attainment of their goals. Examples in America include substantial inroads by Communists into organized labor, academia, the legal profession, race relations, cultural institutions, and the government itself. His closing message sums it up: As a radio talk show host and avid listener to talk radio in Boston, I've listened intently to comments by Catholics as the crisis has unfolded. Much has been said regarding the left dominance of the seminaries and a prevalence of the ideas of "liberation theology" which is a biblically contradictory Trojan horse within the Catholic gates. Establishment organs, such as the Boston Globe, continue to wring their hands over the homosexual activities of priests while supporting a homosexual agenda everywhere else. Hopefully, the Catholic flock will wake up and sweep the corruption out of their church in the same way that their founder, Jesus of Nazareth, swept the moneychangers out of the Temple. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, August 01, 2003

WHAT KIND OF BOOKS DO PAGANS READ Here's a booklist. CarrieTomko@aol.com

WORLD TRANSHUMANIST ASSOCIATION met in conference at Yale University. Topic on the agenda: Can an intelligent robot made of human and machine parts be granted citizenship? The three-day gathering was hosted by an entity no less reputable than the Yale Interdisciplinary Bioethics Project's Working Research Group on Technology and Ethics; the World Transhumanist Association chairman and co-founder is Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom. Dismiss it as a Star Trek convention by another name, and you could miss out on the culmination of the Western experiment in rights and reason. It may sound shocking to the guy in the street, but the academics who were doing the conferencing were blase about it. "It's like arguing in favor of the plough. You know some people are going to argue against it, but you also know it's going to exist," says James Hughes, secretary of the Transhumanist Association and a sociologist teaching at Trinity College in Connecticut. "We used to be a subculture and now we're becoming a movement." Maybe the chairman of the Sociology department could find Dr. Hughes and friends a few extra classes to teach this fall. They seem to have a problem keeping busy. My mother would have said "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." CarrieTomko@aol.com

PRIEST WHO SAVED 7 CHILDREN DIES Fr. Stefano Gorzegno had 50 children in his care during a day trip to the Adriatic coast. When an undertow nearly swept 7 of them away, he jumped in to save their lives, but collapsed and died after rescuing them. We still have priests to be proud of. CarrieTomko@aol.com

JESUS CHRIST IS OUT--QUETZALCOATL IS IN if you're looking for government money from the state of California to fund your project. Is Quetzalcoatl a god of choice in the homosexual community? CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE BATTLE LINES HAVE BEEN DRAWN For some time there have been skirmishes over the Church-opposed "morality of homosexuality." Now we have open warfare, with General Pope John Paul II in the leadership role on the Christian side, and Admiral George Bush his second in command. (And just the other day they were at loggerheads!) The opening engagement is taking place in the Episcopal Church. Will the next engagement take place at the U.N.? Meanwhile New Zealand is already having difficulty distinguishing between men and women. Perhaps they plan to skip the battle over homosexuality and opt for androgyny. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... Another Liberal Movement Slowly But Surely Gains Supporters Among Episcopal, Other Anglican Bishops Report/Analysis By Lee Penn The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC) July 30, 2003 * "I specifically invoked Hekate and Hermes by name, and Bishop Swing was right there raising his arms in invocation with the rest of the Circle! We have, indeed, come a long way." * SUPPORT FOR IT has been indicated by Anglican bishops like Michael Ingham of Vancouver, Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Frederick Borsch (formerly of Los Angeles), Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, and the head of his church's ecumenical office, Christopher Epting - among others. Do we speak of same-sex unions, or gay bishops-elect, both issues at the center of controversy at the Episcopal General Convention, which opens today in Minneapolis? Not in this case. Rather, all the bishops named have expressed support for another, but little-noticed, movement linked to the U.S. Episcopal Church (ECUSA): the controversial United Religions Initiative (URI), which California Episcopal Bishop William Swing founded in 1996. The URI hopes to bring together on a regular basis representatives of the major *and* minor faith systems, including those of the New Age/pagan/occult genre, to help resolve conflicts in the world. However, some of its critics believe the interfaith initiative envisions or could lead to a one-world religion. In its Charter, the URI describes itself as "a growing global community dedicated to promoting enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, ending religiously motivated violence and creating cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings...The URI, in time, aspires to have the visibility and stature of the United Nations." In November 2002, URI Executive Director Charles Gibbs hailed the growth of the movement: "Since 1996, the URI has grown from a small group of 55 visionary people to a global organization�engaging over 15,000 interfaith activists from 88 faith traditions and 46 countries." The URI says that over the next three years, it "fully expects to grow from 15,000 members to more than 30,000�We hope to engage 3 million people and many partner organizations in a global action research project--Visions for Peace Among Religions, designed to create peace among religions for the 21st century." Worldwide, the URI now has 202 chapters (which they call Cooperation Circles) Moreover, a majority of URI Cooperation Circles are where one would least expect them, the largely conservative global South--Asia, Africa, Latin America--along with the Middle East, and the non-English-speaking nations of the Pacific Rim. Nineteen of the 37 members of the URI Global Council, its board of directors, are from the same regions. Thus, the URI's base has expanded well beyond Western liberals, who have been the usual backers of interfaith movements. URI allies include the United Nations (in particular, UNESCO and the UN Environmental Program), Mikhail Gorbachev's star-studded State of the World Forum, and the Earth Charter movement, led by Maurice Strong, a wealthy Canadian advocate of world government. The URI also enjoys tacit support or active cooperation from most other interfaith organizations, including the Council for the Parliament of the World's Religions, the World Conference on Religion and Peace, the Temple of Understanding, and the North American Interfaith Network. The Vatican, the Eastern Orthodox, and Evangelical Protestants oppose the URI. THE URI'S AGENDA goes well beyond its stated goal of ending religiously motivated violence. URI leaders and their allies repeatedly equate evangelism with manipulative "proselytizing" and violence. If the URI vision prevails, Christian evangelism based on the unique, saving identity and acts of Christ would be ruled out. As Bishop Swing has said, "In order for a United Religions to come about and for religions to pursue peace among each other, there will have to be a godly cease-fire, a temporary truce where the absolute exclusive claims of each will be honored, but an agreed-upon neutrality will be exercised in terms of proselytizing, condemning, murdering or dominating. These will not be tolerated in the United Religions zone" - which evidently covers the whole world. URI leaders say "proselytizing" is the work of "fundamentalists," and Paul Chafee (who was a URI board member at the time) said at a URI forum in 1997, "We can't afford fundamentalists in a world this small." Though the URI insistently denies that it intends to mix the world's religions or to start a New Religion, URI worship ceremonies and the writings of URI leaders point in that direction. At the 1995 interfaith service where Bishop Swing first publicly announced his desire to establish the URI, "holy water from the Ganges, the Amazon, the Red Sea, the River Jordan, and other sacred streams" was mixed in a single "bowl of unity" on the altar of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. Bishop Swing made the meaning of the ritual clear: "As these sacred waters find confluence here�may the city that chartered the nations of the world bring together the religions of the world." In June 2000, 275 interfaith activists from around the world gathered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to sign the URI Charter. Rowan Fairgrove - an avowed Wiccan long active in the URI - reported that the URI conclave began with this chant: "Gathered in here in the mystery of the hour / Gathered in one strong body / Gathered here in our unity and power / Spirit draw near." At the same meeting, Bishop Swing said, "This is the spirit's property�and no one owns it. Fifty years from now, people from all over the world will flock to Pittsburgh in tribute of this signing." No one named the "spirit" that they had thus invoked. Wiccans and Neopagans are part of the religious mainstream in the URI. One Neopagan leader, Donald Frew, was elected in 2002 as a member of the URI Global Council. Frew has written that at the URI Charter-signing meeting in June 2000, he was asked to perform a "traditional Wiccan foundation blessing" at the closing ceremony. Frew said, "I specifically invoked Hekate and Hermes by name, and Bishop Swing was right there raising his arms in invocation with the rest of the Circle!" In The Coming United Religions, Bishop Swing has written, "The time comes...when common language and a common purpose for all religions and spiritual movements must be discerned and agreed upon. Merely respecting and understanding other religions is not enough." Since the purpose of religion is the service of God, Bishop Swing's call for "all religions and spiritual movements" to have "a common purpose" is, in effect, a call for all to worship a common god. THE URI'S DESIRE, as stated in its Charter -- to "manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community" -- does not extend to the lives of the unborn. Bishop Swing has likened "the insane expansion of population" to exponential growth of algae in a lake. In 2000, two high-level URI executives - Canon Charles Gibbs, URI Executive Director, and the Rev. William Rankin, an Episcopal cleric who was then the URI Vice-President - signed a manifesto issued early that year by the Sexual Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS). This "Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing" opposed "unsustainable population growth" and favored "blessing...same-sex unions," the ordination of women, artificial contraception, abortion, and "lifelong, age appropriate sexuality education in schools, seminaries, and community settings." The URI supports efforts by Catholic dissident Hans K�ng and others to create a new Global Ethic, and has endorsed the push by Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev, founders of Green Cross International, for an Earth Charter. Gorbachev views the Earth Charter as "a kind of Ten Commandments, a 'Sermon on the Mount,' that provides a guide for human behavior toward the environment in the next century and beyond." The "Green Cross Earth Charter Philosophy," prepared in Moscow and Geneva in 1997 by Gorbachev's environmentalist organization, makes clear the intent of these proposed codes: "The protection of the Biosphere, as the Common Interest of Humanity, must not be subservient to the rules of state sovereignty, demands of the free market or individual rights." Bishop Swing has said, "The United Religions will not be a rejection of ancient religion but will be found buried in the depths of these religions." If United Religions were "buried in the depths" of Christianity, countless martyrs could have avoided death by burning incense before the statue of the Roman Emperor, and today's martyrs in Sudan and China could apostatize with a clear conscience. Maybe martyrs are pass�, anyhow: former URI Vice President Rankin said in 1998, "The United Religions Initiative exists to bring people together from all the religions of the world, to create a world where no one has to die because of God, or for God, any more." Organizations should be known by the company they keep. Enthusiastic URI supporters include New Age authors Robert Muller (former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN), Neale Donald Walsch (author of the best-selling Conversations With God books), and Barbara Marx Hubbard. They draw inspiration from Theosophy, an occult movement started in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.Theosophy has had significant influence on the New Age movement worldwide. Its teachings include praising Lucifer as the bringer of light to humanity, denouncing orthodox Christianity and Judaism as "separative" and "obsolete," and forecasting a coming age of enlightened, spiritual collectivism - after the cleansing of earth to remove those who do not accept progress. The Rudolf Steiner Foundation, which promotes theosophical schools, has made a grant to the URI, as has the New York-based Lucis Trust, which spreads the teachings of American theosophist Alice Bailey. MEANWHILE, BISHOP SWING HAS BOASTED, "No diocese in the country is more in sync with the national Episcopal Church than the Diocese of California�We have a high doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ, so we are good team players at every turn." His loyalty has been repaid. Within ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, public supporters of the URI far outnumber public opponents, largely because the URI still travels under the radar a good deal of the time. (It is unknown the extent to which the URI's Anglican supporters understand or accept the more radical aspects of the URI agenda.) The URI obtained a low-key endorsement from Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold in mid-1999. When he visited San Francisco for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the California diocese, Griswold said "determined farsightedness is a characteristic I particularly associate with this diocese and many of its bishops across the years...as well as your present bishop's vision of the potential force of the world's religions to bind up and bring together, rather than divide and turn the people of the earth against one another." (Griswold appears not to have publicly spoken about the URI since then.) In addition to Bishops Swing and Griswold, and Bishops Borsch, Ingham, Tutu and Epting, mentioned earlier, a number of other Anglican prelates support the URI: --- Joseph Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles - Borsch's successor --- Celso Franco de Oliveira, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Rio de Janeiro --- Bishop J. Clark Grew, of the Diocese of Ohio - and during 2000, one of 11 members of the "Council of Advice" for the ECUSA Presiding Bishop --- Bob Gordon Jones, the retired Bishop of Wyoming --- Samir Kafity, former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East --- Robert L. Ladehoff, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon --- The Most Rev. Alexander Mar Thoma, the Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church in Kerala, India. --- Richard Millard, retired Bishop Suffragan of Europe, and assisting Bishop of California --- James Ottley, the Anglican Observer at the United Nations from 1995-99, and currently an Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Southeast Florida. --- Mano K. Rumalshah, the former Bishop of Peshawar, Pakistan --- K. H. Ting, who has served as President of the China Christian Council (CCC), the state-approved Protestant church in China, and as Chair of the Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement --- David Young, CBE, the former bishop of Ripon and Leeds in the UK Episcopal dioceses that have acted in support of the URI include: --- Central Gulf Coast --- Diocese of Los Angeles --- Western Massachusetts Current and former Episcopal cathedral deans and rectors who publicly approve of the URI include: --- Sanford Garner, former Dean of the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington DC --- Alan Jones, current Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco --- James Parks Morton, former Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City --- H. Lawrence Whittemore Jr., the Dean Emeritus of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Members of Washington Bishop John Chane's diocesan "Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Ministries" participate in the URI in the capital city. Numerous Episcopal parishes across the country have also supported the URI - including Trinity Cathedral Church, in Sacramento, California. The world's Anglican bishops, meeting at the 1998 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, unanimously endorsed a URI call for a global religious cease-fire for December 31, 1999 to January 2, 2000. The Lambeth resolution matched the text that the URI had adopted at its '98 global conference, stating that the 72-hour cease-fire "will allow the world to end the old age in peace, and to begin the new millennium in the spirit of reconciliation, healing and peacemaking." A report associated with the Lambeth resolution named the URI as the coordinator of the cease-fire project. Bishop Swing introduced the resolution, and the North American and Caribbean bishops unanimously placed the cease-fire call in a package of non-controversial "agreed resolutions." The entire Conference then adopted all the "agreed resolutions" without debate on the last day of the meeting. The URI has since used this endorsement as evidence of its own global influence. In other respects - such as sexual morality and interpretation of Scripture - Lambeth '98 upheld traditional Christian teaching. How many of the Lambeth bishops knew that they had supported a URI initiative? Canterbury has been silent about the URI since its birth. Neither Archbishop George Carey nor his successor, Rowan Williams, have said anything publicly about the URI, though Dr. Carey pursued or participated in other interfaith endeavors. However, the Church of England newspaper criticized the URI in October 1999 and July 2001. One Anglican bishop - Archbishop Harry Goodhew, of Australia, who retired in 2001 - publicly criticized the URI in 2000; the retired Bishop of South Carolina, FitzSimons Allison, did the same. No other Anglican bishop recognized by Canterbury has stood publicly against the URI and Bishop Swing. But Bishop Charles Murphy of the Anglican Mission in America, consecrated in 2000 in Singapore by two conservative Anglican Archbishops, denounced the URI as part of the "crisis of faith" in ECUSA. At the Episcopal General Conventions in 1997 and 2000, there were no resolutions, favorable or negative, about the URI. No press reports on either convention indicated that either the URI or Bishop Swing have suffered any public criticism from Episcopalians, other than from Bishop Allison. In the October 2001 Pacific Church News, Swing wrote that he saw a positive change in the attitude of the ECUSA House of Bishops, who met in Burlington, Vermont a week after the 9/11 attack. "The profound change that took place at this meeting was the full arrival of interfaith awareness...For the first time in the history of [ECUSA], we have an interfaith officer, Bishop Christopher Epting, working daily at the national office. By popular request, I was asked to teach a class on the work of the [URI]. Last year I volunteered for the same task, but not one bishop showed up." In recent years, most conservative Episcopal laity have been occupied by the gay issue, and the URI movement continues to enjoy surprising anonymity. But even some who are aware of the URI prefer not to hear about it. As one observer wrote on a large, conservative Anglican listserve: "I would prefer you not send any more of this stuff to me�We at [snip] can't even keep our parish together�There are many more wolves closer to the shed. What Swing does is also seen by God, and He will judge. If URI is the instrument by which the Revelation come true [sic], I say, Come Lord Jesus!" The Catholic Church speaks for all orthodox Christians in rejecting the Utopian fantasies fostered by the URI: "The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can be only realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment...." ---- The foregoing is based on a chapter in a book-length analysis of the United Religions Initiative and the New Age movement, to be published later this year by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, a research organization that monitors international organizations' activities from a pro-life, Catholic perspective. Sources used for the article are available upon request. ---- Permission to circulate the foregoing electronically, or reprint it, is granted, provided that there are no changes in the headings or text and the story includes this notice. To learn more about THE CHRISTIAN CHALLENGE magazine, which has covered Anglican affairs since 1962, write to CHRISTIAN.CHALLENGE@ecunet.org CarrieTomko@aol.com

ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH A reader sent this link to a website about her. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE DA VINCI CODE REVIEWED by the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He thought the book was a good read. So did I. Both of us brand it heretical, of course. CarrieTomko@aol.com

UH OH CarrieTomko@aol.com

ANNA KATHARINA EMMERICK TO BE RAISED TO THE ALTAR according to Zenit. Mel Gibson's movie is based on her visions. Rev. R. Gerald Culleton gives some of them in THE PROPHETS AND OUR TIMES. Here are a couple of passages: "I wish the time were here when the Pope dressed in red will reign. I see the Apostles, not those of the past, but the apostles of the last times, and it seems to me, the Pope is among them." "I was likewise told, if I remember right, that he (Satan) will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000." There is an article from THE WANDERER at Petersnet which addresses the authenticity that her writings have been given. The complete text of her writings in English used to be online. At the moment I can't find it. If anyone has a link to them, please email it to me. CarrieTomko@aol.com

VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL IN THE NEWS AGAIN From the National Catholic Register: SOME ATTENDING VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL MEETINGS FIND THEY HAVE NO VOICE "It was a power play," Gordon said. "I protested to the local coordinator about our exclusion. The response was that I was not really a member of Voice of the Faithful in spirit. And a little further along in the article: A Voice of the Faithful spokeswoman, Luise Dittrich, attributed such clashes to the "growing pains" of the young organization. She added that some people have joined in order to disrupt meetings. One wonders how they would define "disrupt" when considering how they define "members." I notice also that word "spirit" came out again. In certain circles the word gets a lot of use. Looks like Flynn got it about right... It wasn't that they were really interested in their voice being heard but in demanding that their political philosophy be accepted." CarrieTomko@aol.com

IT HAS THE BISHOP'S APPROVAL Christ's face in the Eucharist CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

OCCULTISTS AND NEW AGERS BORROW THINGS including the Blessed Virgin Mary. In his doctoral thesis, "Christaquarians? A Sociology of Christians in the New Age," Daren Kemp mentions the Centre for Creation Spirituality in St. James Church, London. Since Matthew Fox founded a center with the same name, and since the linked section of the dissertation emphasized heavily the players in the Theosophical Society, I was curious, and looked it up on the web. Here is how they describe the Blessed Virgin: The Marian Association became a separate charitable Trust in 1995. It was established to develop the work of Jungian psychology and healing as an integrated approach to the whole-person and to client-care. The term 'Marian' is not linked to any particular denomination but to various aspects of the 'creative feminine'. These include Mary, as Our Lady; the Magdalene, Sophia and Isis. Professor Jung believed that the masculine nature of the Trinity needed completion by the fourth element of Mary, representing the divine feminine as well as embodiment through the world of matter. They also practice liturgical dance and the "healing arts," among other things. Sounds like there is another Grace Cathedral/Cathedral of St. John the Divine across the pond. The website refers to the time in the eighties when the church received a "great deal of television and media coverage, together with regular 'Zoo' visits from other organizations and church groups." At least they know they are "different." They publish a journal--"Stella Maris"--"of Marian and Jungian Studies" and have a forum for debate on issues relating to the creative feminine called by the same name. Looking at this website, I feel a little bit like a kid who has a disobedient younger brother who won't listen to correction, and I'm just savoring the moment when Mom finds out what he has done. I wonder if the Blessed Virgin is into disciplining unruly children? If she is, this one is a good candidate! CarrieTomko@aol.com

A PILGRIMMAGE IN HONOR OF ST. SERAPHIM SAROV is taking place in Russia with the state's approval. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ANTI-CATHOLICISM FESTERS WITHIN the Church according to Russell Shaw, in this article from Our Sunday Visitor. Catholic anti-Catholicism also exists on the Catholic right. But it does. Catholics on both ends of the spectrum now join in decrying "the bishops," with no distinctions made. It is as if African-Americans or Jews, buying into anti-black or anti-Semitic stereotypes, had turned on the authority structures of their own communities and were bent on destroying them. Here, perhaps, is a disturbing symptom of collective Catholic self-hatred. Bad as it was, the anti-Catholicism of the past came from outside the Church. And being under siege may even have strengthened the Catholic community in some ways. Today, attacks from the outside are still taking place. But the Church also finds itself under attack from within. "We have met the enemy, and he is us," the cartoon character Pogo announced. Maybe so � but this new anti-Catholicism is no laughing matter. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, July 28, 2003

BILL CORK HAS WADED INTO THE DEBATE ABOUT PENTECOSTALISM in his blog You have to scroll down to Friday, July 26. He says: Joining a cross-blog conversation on Charismania ... Here's an article I wrote ten years ago: "A Protestant Looks at the Catholic Charismatic Renewal," published in the May 1992 issue of New Covenant. It has even been translated into Vietnamese (I've never been able to figure out who translated it, or why ... but the Vietnamese friends I've shown it to get a kick out of it). I was still a Lutheran pastor when I wrote that article, as the title indicates; I was reflecting on experiences I had at the Priests, Deacons and Seminarians Conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, which I had attended twice. On the whole, my reflections at the time were fairly positive (had to be for New Covenant to pick up the article! But I had misgivings nonetheless, and I think these have deepened since becoming Catholic, instead of decreasing. And there is more. His perspective is particularly good since he is a former Luthern pastor who became Catholic. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DO SEXUAL ABUSE AND CHARISMATICS GO TOGETHER? Phil Kronzer seems to think so. And Medjugorje is part of the package. CarrieTomko@aol.com

WITH NO TRANSCENDENCE IN THE LITURGY and little in the theology that is emphasized today--with a heavy emphasis on the here and now aspects of Catholicism centered in the social Gospel, and with Pentecostalism/charismatic movement struggling to fill the void with the Pope's blessing, what the RCs have ended up with is a syncretistic blend as represented by this website which comes out of England. It defines itself in this vision statement: Meta-Net has grown out of a series of Round Table discussions initiated in 1995 including over 25 existing networks and groups in the United Kingdom.� Its vision statement, ratified by participants on 9 November 2002, is: Linking networks - Christian and others - which develop and promote contemporary expressions of spirituality, and sharing in that development and promotion. This web-site is the first collective effort of the Round Table discussions, seeking to link individuals to the member organisations.�� Here are the member organizations which make up Meta-Net. Some are liberal (dissenting?) Roman Catholics. Others are decidedly not Catholic. Activities such as this are tailor made to blend Catholicism with New Age. Something that Rome claims it doesn't want to see happen. Yet is there anything being done to prevent it? We have Dominus Iesus, but it hardly seems to be adequate in light of this sort of activity, the Charismatic movement, and much of the interreligious dialogue. And Rome remains silent about it, while the Preacher to the Papal Household is an active Charismatic who speaks in tongues, and uses an Eastern Catholic image without any roadmap defining what we should make of it. Is there a message here that I'm not getting? CarrieTomko@aol.com

NEW YORK TAX DOLLARS AT WORK The city is opening a full-fledged high school for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students - the first of its kind in the nation, The Post has learned. Operating for two decades as a small alternative program with just two classrooms, the new Harvey Milk HS officially opens as a stand-alone public school with 100 students in September. The school, located at 2 Astor Place, is undergoing a $3.2 million in city-funded renovations approved by the old Board of Education in June of last year. It will eventually take in 170 students by September 2004, more than tripling last year's enrollment. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE TREE OF LIFE is a Byzantine symbol, according to Justin's comment on my previous post. If it's Byzantine, then chances are it's also Orthodox. And if it's Orthodox, it is likely to be older than the founding of Theosophy. And Theosophy has come to us compliments of a Russian mystic. So I went looking for an example on the web, and found this example of a Byzantine Tree of Life which looks similar to the one on Fr. Cantalamessa's sermon website. Here is another one. But there is a danger in this when this iconography is used in Roman Catholicism. The danger is that our theology will be altered by concepts we don't know enough about to be able to sort out what is truly Catholic and what is Gnostic. I think this website is a good indication of what I'm talking about. It blends Judaism, Byzantine Catholicism, and Gnosticism into a theology that appears to be unacceptable to a Roman Catholic; but not knowing Byzantine symbolism renders me unable to sort out the various doctrines involved. Being unable to sort it out, I think that Roman Catholics have a tendency to take it up whole, and become New Agers in the process. And after reading Fr. Seraphim Rose's book on the coming New Age religion, it seems to me that learning to sort it out is critical for the preservation of the faith. If Roman Catholics in large numbers take up New Age, thinking they are taking up Byzantine Catholicism/Orthodoxy, they will quickly overwhelm the legitimate theology of the East by sheer force of numbers. We need guidelines to sort out Blavatsky's Theosophy, and I think we need them now. I know we need them before we are presented with images such as Fr. Cantalamessa has presented to us. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PARADE has done a story on Archbishop Anastasio's efforts to help the refugees in Albania. Their website has the story done in pictures which is worth a look. Technically it's one of the best websites I've visited. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, July 27, 2003

THE STORES ARE GIVING STUFF AWAY or at least that's the way it seemed when I was at the mall the other day. And no wonder. The racks of clothing are still full, and it's time for the fall stuff to come in. I've never seen prices this low in the department stores. Some of the racks of slacks and blouses had prices under $10. So I'm wondering if this is typical or simply a regional phenomenon? Is this a hint of the global economy that seems to be in our future--the great equalization that will have to take place? We haven't had any serious deflation in America in my lifetime. But there's always a first time just waiting for the perfect moment. Maybe this is it? Not only are clothing prices cheap, grocery prices seem to be getting more expensive, and jobs are non-existent in the "help wanted" column. Yet in spite of all of this, all I hear in the news is that the economy has bottomed out, interest rates are going to start to rise, and signs of an end of the slow-down are turning up. Wonder who paid for the optimism in the newsrooms of America? CarrieTomko@aol.com

I'VE GOTTEN WAY BEHIND ON MY ANDREW GREELEY NOVELS Just finished reading The Bishop and the Beggar Girl of St. Germain. Surpsie, surprise...Greeley took up my challenge (which I doubt he even knows I made) and wrote a story about a chaste young couple in love. He even has them sleeping in the same room together chastely, just for good measure. Young and innocent can still be done, and this one is a Cindarella story. It's also a story about a woman who poses as a priest. For five years, no less. And gets away with it. I guess if you want to make a point about women being capable of doing the job, you might as well be completely outrageous about it. Only I wasn't convinced about his woman priest. My nagging little imp kept standing to one side with her head cocked and saying "Yeah sure, that would be possible. Like maybe in your dreams!" And without the Baileys no less. Come on, Andrew...there is more to being a woman than physical attributes easily covered up by a Dominican robe. At the very least the nuns for whom he was chaplain would have labeled him gay. The chaste young couple were much more believable and much more charming than this idea. One thing that does come through for me in all of Greeley's novels is the God of love. The God who makes it all ok. The God who will arrange good things for those who trust Him and do His will. Daddy. That's really what the Wabash Street Irregulars are all about...an image of Divine Providence working all things out for good for those who love Him. And that's what keeps me coming back for more. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE TREE OF LIFE is an occult symbol familiar to anyone who explores the occult even briefly. It figures in Kabbalah and Theosophy studies as this website indicates. It is also described in this websitewhich speaks of the English Cabala. Here is a picture of the Tree of Life in its simplified occult form, resting on the Masonic pavement in the open doorway at the B.O.T.A. (Builders of the Adytum) website. Click the picture and you will get to the website which talks about "Mystery School Tradition," "Tarot," "Trestleboards" (Masonic Lodge furniture). There is also a link to the Masonic history of founder Paul Foster Case. Blavatsky speaks of the Tree of Life in The Secret Doctrine Vol. 2, p. 97, where she relates it to the Tree of Eden, the Hellenic tree of life, the Holy Tree made by Ahura Mazda, the Kabalistic Sephirothal Tree and others uses of the symbol. The tree of life is depicted in a number of other designs at this website, and at this website, and this website; and there are many more on the web. What I'm not used to seeing is the tree of life used as a Catholic symbol. Nevertheless, that does seem to be what is being represented at this website which features a sermon by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household. He seems to have used an image from the Cabala to illustrate a Catholic concept. (Fr. Cantalamessa, incidentally, is a charismatic. Is that related?) In this sermon he discusses the Catholic relationship with the Jews, and seems to take it for granted that there will be no attempt to convert the Jews to a belief in Christ, but does say that we should pray that they will accept Jesus as their redeemer. In his book Eliphas Levi: Master of Occultism (University of Alabama Press) Thomas A. Williams discusses the tree of life on p. 81: A great deal of Cabalistic thought is concerned with the question of the nature, power, and functions of the various Sephira taken singly and in every possible combination with the ten others. The En Sof is said to have sent forth the first Sephira, known as the Crown, the Aged, the Primordial Point, the Long Face, the White Head [of the other Sephiroth], etc. The first Sephira contained the nine others: Wisdom (Chokmah), Understanding (Binah), Mercy (Chesed), Severity (Geburah), Foundation (Netzach), Glory (Hod), Security (Tiphereth), Foundation (Yesod), and Kingdom (Malkuth). Together the ten Sephiroth constitute the Archtypal Adam, after whose model man was fashioned. The Sephiroth are also said to constitute the "Tree of Life." The tree of life in simplified form appears on p. 123 of Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn: A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic. Aleister Crowley was a member of Golden Dawn prior to founding his Ordo Templi Orientis lodge. You will find a link for the tree of life at this occult website, which also links New Group of World Servers, Theosophical University, Alice A. Bailey's books, and other occult topics. Seeing the tree of life pictured with a Catholic sermon delivered to the Papal household is most curious. What is Fr. Cantalamessa trying to say when he chooses a symbol of the Cabala to illustrate a sermon? Have I missed something here? CarrieTomko@aol.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com