Saturday, October 18, 2003

TERRI SCHIAVO has been refused Viaticum. Check in at the Envoy blog for latest developments in Florida from Pete Vere. They are looking into Terri's rights being violated by this refusal. Of course if she can swallow the Host, she can swallow food. And if she can swallow food and they aren't giving her any, it's murder by the hospice caregivers, plain and simple. CarrieTomko@aol.com

A CLARIFICATION About the next several posts... This and the next few posts would make a lot more sense if they were in reverse order. I've been doing a little research tonight on electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and Instrumental Trans Communication (ITC), otherwise known as "mediumship." Discoveries have been posted as I find them, and so are in reverse order. Most recent discovery on the top. CarrieTomko@aol.com

CAMPAIGN FOR PHILOSOPHICAL FREEDOM website has a letter "from Michael Roll to Victor Zammit, May 1, 2002, which contains this passage: On the BBC Radio 4 programme last night it all came out. Just confirming everything I already knew - "The Vatican's Scientists" 30th April 2002. Even the Astronomer Royal, Professor Martin Rees, confirmed that he is part of the Vatican's team of scientists. Just after they murdered Giordano Bruno in 1600 they set up their Science Department in 1603. These clever people knew they had to get on the winning side mighty quick, but their only chance of survival was to set the agenda. This they have done with incredible efficiency. They date everything from 1543, Copernicus, the Roman Catholic priest who said the Earth goes round the Sun. They are of course very careful not to let the public know that Copernicus came across the work of the great Greek scientist Aristarchus 280 BC! The Vatican has now embraced Darwin hook, line and sinker. However, again they are very careful not to mention Alfred Russel Wallace who was the co-author of the Theory of Evolution. He has been written out of our Christian history books because he put forward the secular case for survival after death as a branch of physics - that we are dealing with natural forces in the universe. All the time orthodox scientists have gone down the wrong path - the Big Bang and Einstein's Theory of Relativity they are no danger whatsoever to the power of the priests. It makes the priests the only alternative, they keep the mystery going and their lucrative monopoly on the vast life after death industry. Prof. Paul Davies came on TV a few weeks back talking incredible tripe about an infinite number of Elvis Presleys all living in an infinite number of universes. As you know he received a million dollars from the Church - The Templeton Prize! CarrieTomko@aol.com

UH-OH From the website: Vatican 'blesses' contact with the dead London Daily Mail, 29-Nov-96 Roman Catholics were given the Church's blessing yesterday to 'contact' loved ones beyond the grave. Leading Vatican theologian Father Gino Concetti said it was no longer a sin, providing mediums, fortune tellers and palmists were not involved. The pronouncement came after Italian magazine claims that contact with the spiritual world had produced miracles. Father Concetti dismissed that, but added: 'We can pray for our loved ones. They will repond in dreams and inspiration. In one example, a grandmother advised a girl about her marriage choice in a dream. The girl did not heed the counsel and a grave problem developed. If we pray seriously in a quiet place, with our hearts and our voices, the departed will express themselves and advise us.' Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) - The Vatican & the EVP Recently Father Gino Concetti, one of the most competent theologians in the Vatican, has said in an interview: 'According to the modern catechism, God allows our dear departed persons who live in an ultra-terrestrial dimension, to send messages to guide us in certain difficult moments of our lives. The Church has decided not to forbid any more the dialogue with the deceased with the condition that these contacts are carried out with a serious religious and scientific purpose' (printed in the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano - cited in Sarah Estep's American Association Electronic Voice Phenomena, Inc Newsletter, v.16 No, 2 1997) Now all I ask for is a chance to have a little real-life voice communication with Fr. Concetti! (I'll settle for e-mail!) I see that this thing comes from Germany. No surprise there! I should have paid more attention in German class when I was in college! CarrieTomko@aol.com

MORE EVP There are enough links for material on EVP at this website by people who appear to have credentials to keep a curious person busy for a year! Can anyone out there explain "String Theory" to the scientifically challenged author of this blog? CarrieTomko@aol.com

EVP OR ITC that is Electronic Voice Phenomena or (Video) Instrumental Trans Communication, has replaced the seance as method of choice for contacting a deceased person. All types of recording devices are being used, including tape recorders, telephone answering machines, and video cameras. The newest technology of choice is the computer. The American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP) was founded by Sarah Estep in 1982 to "provide objective evidence that we survive death in an individual conscious state" as their newsletter clearly states in a repeated message across the bottom of the pages. The practitioners consider this to be not about religion, but rather about scientific investigation. Video recordings of spirits which were shown to the International Spiritualist Federation Congress in Toronto, Canada are included in the AA-EVP newsletter and can be viewed at the above link. According to the newsletter French research in this area is attempting to contact people while they are sleeping in the hope that they could one say contact people who are considered insane by "recording the entity who is disturbing them." Phyllis Delduque and Paulo Cabral, two Brazilian researchers, believe "ITC is related to spiritual mediumship" For some reason the other side likes mirrors. Three people engaged in EVP taping were each told on separate occasions to get a mirror, according to the newsletter. Sarah Estep, Dan McKee, and Mercedes Shepanek all acquired mirrors which made their entities happy according to them. However, it doesn't seem to be clear to any of the three what purpose the mirror serves, unless its purpose was to prove to the experimenters that there was intelligence on the other side that could work in syncronicity. The newsletter's author sees creatures in Erland Babcock's photographs which are visible on the computer screen as well. Personally, I'm not convinced. They look like inkblots to me. Authors of this newsletter speak favorably about the Physical Mediumship and Trance classes they attended at the International Spiritualist Federation Congress. Probably the most interesting line in the whole newsletter, though, is this one: Victor [Zammit] called EVP objective evidence and said that it is taking place in many different countries and even in the Vatican.� Now wouldn't it be interesting to know just who in the Vatican is into EVP?! CarrieTomko@aol.com

CARL OLSEN AND SANDRA MIESEL CRITIQUE THE DA VINCI CODE in an extended article for Planet Envoy. The first part of their reviewis up at the website and well worth a read for those who are interested in the popularity of this book and the errors contained in it. It's good to see Catholics take up thge challenge to discredit this novel which is full of errors in historical data. CarrieTomko@aol.com

SPIRIT DETECTION IN DAYTONA BEACH In the ongoing world of ghost hunting, four women spent the night in the oldest home on the beachside in Daytona Beach which is said to be haunted. Using night vision cameras and electronic voice phenomena detection equipment, they believe they have uncovered the presence of an actual spirit that haunts the house. According to the article, this is turning into big business. People are naturally curious about survival after death, and this new "scientific" approach to ghosthunting feeds the curiosity. CarrieTomko@aol.com

CATHOLIC PROPHECY I've been interested in it for years. There is a lot of it. Some of it appears to be far off the mark because it doesn't come to fulfillment. Then there is prophecy like Fatima, the fulfillment of which can be documented in news reports. Michael Brown of SpiritDaily takes prophecy seriously, reports on it, compares it to what is happening in the world. Because he believes Medjugorje is a legitimate apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I believe it is a false apparition, I don't link his comments here, though many of the stories from his website are in my blog. This time, though, I have to admit that Brown has my attention with this comparison of the prophecy of Anne Catherine Emmerich to events unfolding in the daily news. Emmerich is up for beatification, making her predictions more significant, IMHO. Take a look at Brown's report. My pastor has been putting the Prayer to St. Michael in the bulletin every Sunday for a year or so. And on a few occasions he has alluded to the fact that something has gotten into the Church wrecking havoc. It does seem as though there are some significant matches between current events and the prophecies presented in Brown's essay. CarrieTomko@aol.com

WHY THE ECCLESIAL MOVEMENTS? Why have they been inflicted on American parishes, where they have been divisive, at least at times in the past, and where they do not seem to be fostering an improvement in devotion, but instead seem merely to be encouraging syncretism. A reader sent an interesting comment from Cardinal Mahony. Reporters at the North American College asked him what problems cardinals will need to focus on in the coming years. He responded The "uneven situation of the church throughout the world," ... "in many places our churches are filled to overflowing," while elsewhere, such as across much of Europe, attendance is at record lows. He continued to elaborate on this situation in the churches with this remark: The cardinal explained that a few years ago he was with a group having lunch with the pope as the discussion turned to movements such as Opus Dei and charismatic renewal. "We were asking him why (the church in Europe) favors movements so much," Cardinal Mahony said. "And he said to us, 'You must remember that these movements are primarily here in Europe because there is no life at the parish level.'" What an odd situation. No life at the parish level? This is true in Italy, the locus of the Vatican and the Pope, himself? How did that happen? What factors brought it to fruition? People don't just abandon their religion for no reason. Something...some new way of seeing Church...must have been the impetus to that abandonment. And what is it about the ecclesial movements that draws them in? What was missing from the parishes that is found in the ecclesial movements? CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, October 17, 2003

DEAL HUDSON'S E-LETTER Four Names You Should Know CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter October 17, 2003 ********************************************** Dear Friend, First, I'm very sorry I didn't send you an e-letter last week. I've been doing a lot of traveling lately, and just wasn't able to sit down long enough to write anything. As it is right now, I'm in Rome for John Paul II's anniversary, and the beatification of Mother Theresa. It's been amazing, and I'll give you a full report as soon as I get back next week. (A couple things have happened that I think you'll find very interesting...) Today, I wanted to bring something else to your attention. Don't worry, it's good news. But to get there, I'll have to start with a little bad news... If I asked you to name the first Catholic politician who came to mind, who would it be? Most people would probably say Sen. Ted Kennedy, since he's the biggest "Catholic" name in politics today. It's pretty sad, really. The most recognized Catholic politician in our country is one who has sold out his faith for anti-Catholic and pro-abortion legislation. Not very encouraging for the future of Catholics in politics. That's why I wanted to tell you about a few up-and-coming Catholic politicians who you'd be proud to know were on our side. They don't have big names -- yet -- but what they do have is a commitment to their faith that equals their political enthusiasm. These are men of principle, energetic and articulate leaders who could change the way we think about Catholics in politics. And best of all, these men are young -- they'll be around a long time after Kennedy's star fades. So without further ado, here are a few names to be watching in the months and years to come... You may have already heard of Bobby Jindal. A 32-year-old Louisiana native, Jindal already has an impressive list of accomplishments under his belt. He served as the head of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals at the ripe old age of 24 and is widely credited for solving the state's Medicaid crisis while in office. He was a Rhodes Scholar, president of the University of Louisiana system, and an assistant secretary for planning and evaluation of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Not bad for someone barely into his 30s. Currently, Jindal is running for governor in Louisiana, and people are impressed with his enthusiasm and original ideas for dealing with everything from education to the economy, infrastructure to health care. He has a highly developed plan for implementing these ideas. (Right now, the governor's race is a dead heat.) But perhaps the most impressive thing about Jindal is his faith. Raised a Hindu by his Indian parents, Jindal began exploring Christianity while in college, eventually making his way into the Catholic Church. He's now a member of St. Jude Catholic Church in Baton Rouge (along with his wife and one-year-old daughter). But Jindal doesn't attempt to separate his religion from his day-to-day life in politics, and he's made faith and family issues an important part of his platform. "Religion is not an exclusively private matter," Jindal explains, "and people of faith should not be required to separate their faith from their daily lives, their professions, or from public discourse." To that end, Jindal promises to advance a number of important causes for faith and family, first among those being the protection of life, from conception to natural death. And more than just mouthing pro-life beliefs, Jindal has a number of plans in the works to shore up the distance between faith and practice: promoting adoption instead of abortion, offering crisis pregnancy assistance, and supporting abstinence education programs. While Jindal is certainly one rising Catholic political star, there is another: the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Michael Steele. A father of two and devout member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Landover, Steele has been widely recognized by his peers as a man of sterling character and an effective politician. He was selected as Maryland State Republican Man of the year and the Chairman of the Maryland State Republican Party. President Bush appointed him to the Board of Visitors of the United States Naval Academy. Even his Catholic parish honored him as their Man of the Year in 1998. In addition to these honors, he's made numerous media appearances, where he's displayed a commanding presence and a wickedly quick wit. Steele isn't afraid to speak out on tough issues, even if it means going against the status quo. In March of this year, Steele broke with convention by attending the Annapolis March for Life rally. Those involved in the rally said it was one of the only times a political figure has ever publicly supported their cause. The fact is, Steele has shown a great commitment to stand up for the truth, no matter what the cost. I was lucky enough to see this myself at our meeting with the bishops on September 8th. Steele was present and really impressed me with his courteous nature and insightful comments. He stood up before the bishops and told them that real leadership means proclaiming the truth and fighting for what is right, even when it seems unpopular. This is exactly what he called the bishops to do... to act like leaders. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of Michael Steele in the future. Two others who belong in the company of Steele and Jindal are Washington state senator Dino Rossi and chairman of the Republican party for Oregon, Kevin Mannix. Both are strong pro-life Catholics. I had the opportunity to meet them during my recent travels in the Northwest, and was truly impressed with both. And of course, these aren't the only signs of hope among Catholic politicians. In fact, just as younger Catholics tend to be more faithful in their beliefs than their parents, so too do the younger Catholic politicians tend to be more Catholic in their political positions. This bodes well for the future. So while it might be easy sometimes to despair when "Catholics" like Ted Kennedy actively oppose the teachings of his Church, just remember that there are plenty of faithful Catholics working outside of the spotlight who, with God's grace, will be around long after Kennedy leaves the scene. I'll write more next week, Deal P.S. By the way, if you know of other faithful Catholics involved in politics (particularly if they're not well known) please drop me a quick email. I'd love to hear about them. ************************************************************** To subscribe to the FREE CRISIS Magazine e-Letter, and get the latest news, views, and responses to current issues, send an e-mail to e-letter@crisismagazine.com and write "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE GNOSTIC MASS This is the text of the gnostic mass ritual. Aleister Crowley's mass. The Ordo Templi Orientis IX deg. according to some accounts. I presume this is the event Malachi Martin describes in the opening pages of Vatican. Yes, there are two children who take a role similar to altar servers. Other descriptions of this rite which I've seen on the web at other times have not specified that one child be black and the other white. WARNING It's graphic. The similarities to our sacrament, and the departures from it, are disturbing. I don't recommend you read this after dinner. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PETE VERE and apparently others protesting the death sentence for Terri Schiavo are talking more and more about civil disobedience. The word from Pete is that it MUST be non-violent in order to be consistent with a non-violent end for Terri. Is this what it will finally come down to? Will it make a difference, or has it been done too often in recent years to have an impact? CarrieTomko@aol.com

ENVOY CONTINUES COVERAGE OF TERRI SCHIAVO with a link to a story at LifeSite: In another call Pickup received regarding Terri's case, a frail voice of an old woman said, "I saw you on T.V. today. You're trying to get that disabled lady (Terri Schiavo) out of America before they kill her?" Pickup replied, "That's right." The woman continued, "I have been disabled all my life. I was born disabled in Germany in 1940. My parents had to hide me for 3 years before they snuck me out of the country. The government would have killed me." Taken aback, Pickup stuttered, "I'm sorry." The old woman said, "Things have not changed. Now you're trying to get a disabled person out of the country before the government kills her." Euthanasia Prevention Coalition spokesman Alex Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews.com: "This is a classic case of euthanasia. We are not talking about a slippery slope but actual euthanasia upon a disabled woman. To make it worse, her death sentence has been given to her without any attempt at rehabilitation and without any opportunity to re-train her to eat with her mouth. Nothing I could say would top what LifeSite has written. Lee Penn has been warning we would come to this. Meanwhile Christians in Kosovo face an uncertain future. Amy Welborn has linked this story from which the following passage is taken: "They killed two of our boys recently," he said, in the clipped sentences of a dignitary accustomed to an interpreter. "Shot them while they were swimming in a river." He shook his head mournfully, and his acolytes murmured their revulsion. "We asked parliament to have a minute's silence in their memory. They refused. They refused!" The emphasis in the little old man's last words was disconcerting. Until that moment, he, Bishop Artemije--Serb Orthodox bishop of the Kosovo region of the former Yugoslavia--had seemed only to whisper. Now he appeared to want to be heard. The boys were Serbs, his parishioners; their killers were Kosovar Albanians, Muslim separatists who are hell-bent, Bishop Artemije believes, on driving the Serbs out of Kosovo, where they now constitute only a small minority in a demographic sea of Albanians--the same Albanians who dominate Kosovo's parliament, where a technicality, that the rulebook only allows silence for dead legislators, was used to frustrate Bishop Artemije's plaintive request for a formal, public mourning for the murdered Serb boys. In 1999, when the conflict in this area of the world was making the news on nearly a daily basis, I was just getting acquainted with the Ordo Templi Orientis, Aleister Crowley's pet organization which uses the motto "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." It was then that I learned that Charles Manson was a member of an O.T.O. Lodge at the time of the Sharon Tate murder, which gives you some idea of what will be tolerated by these Lodges. On October 30, 1999, I found a website listing "O.T.O. Lodges Worldwide," printed it out, and didn't save the web address, unfortunately. I still have the printout. At the time of the war in Bosnia, there were 68 O.T.O. Lodges worldwide, 33 of which were in the United States in addition to the Grand Lodge. Bulgaria had 1, Croatia 7, Macedonia 1, Slovenia 4, Yugoslavia 3, for a total of 16 in this small area. At the same time the home of the birth of heavy metal or black metal music--death metal music--Scandanavia, had 13 Lodges, and members of these 13 Lodges were also members of the death metal music scene. Gavin Baddeley made the O.T.O. connection with death metal music, facism, and satanism in his book Lucifer Rising: sin, devil worship & rock 'n' roll. Baddeley is a British journalist specializing in the occult, rock music and trash culture. In researching the book he was made a priest of the Church of Satan by Anton LaVey. These groups are the culmination of the Pope's culture of death. And their attitudes permeate a culture. How many teenagers have grown up on death metal music? Those teenagers will be in charge when those of us in our 50s are old and incapacitated much as Terri Schiavo is incapacitated, and expensive to care for. And for the most part those of you reading this blog are also Christian. The list indicated an Akron and a Cleveland address for O.T.O. lodges. Ohio had only two at that time. Arizona had 5 in 1999. Texas had 3. Canada had 9. Recognized O.T.O. historian P. R. Koenig has documented the history of the O.T.O. in Yugoslavia. Rudolf Steiner is said to have been a member of Crowley's O.T.O. Lodge by some historians. Others deny his membership. In any event, these are magical lodges, occult lodges, and Steiner was an occultist. Now think about the quotes I've posted from Steiner's book on Freemasonry which indicate its opposition to Christianity. Think about 8 Popes condemning Freemasonry for its opposition to Christianity. And think about Malachi Martin's books. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, October 16, 2003

LEE PENN'S ANALYSIS OF THE GREAT SCHISM is up at the M+G+R website. He concludes it with this statement: The Great Schism was, clearly, the result of BOTH sides failing to act as Christians. Another of Lee's articles, this one on the use of hallucinogenic drugs as a way to God, is up on that website as well. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE POPE A slide show brought to you by the Daughters of St. Paul. The Pope's comments about the state of the world: Pope John Paul, in a major document released on his 25th anniversary, has issued a ringing indictment of rich nations and says a "war of the powerful against the weak" seems to be embroiling the world."In many areas the world resembles a powder-keg ready to explode and shower immense suffering upon the human family," he said in the 192-page booklet published on Thursday. and about the American scandal: Pope John Paul said bishops must act swiftly in cases of �grave lapses�, particularly if crimes involve the moral behaviour of priests.... In a section of the document [his exhortation to the bishops] on the need for chastity in the church, he said bishops must encourage priests to remain faithful to their vocations �and to the requirements of an exemplary life in the exercise of the ministry�. �In cases of grave lapses, and even more of crimes which do damage to the very witness of the Gospel, especially when they involve the church�s ministers, the bishop must be firm and decisive, just and impartial,� he wrote. Meanwhile, the politicing begins: Egan downplayed reports that churchmen were appraising one another in anticipation of the day when they will have to elect a new pope. For one thing, he said, John Paul is still clearly in command. "And these kinds of events really don't give you that much opportunity for exchange." Others, however, predicted that discussions this week over wine and pasta would inevitably serve as a foundation for more formal discussions of a papal successor in the future, particularly since so many cardinals are strangers to one another. This may be their last gathering before the time comes to be locked in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope. "Cardinals actually have very few opportunities to gather as a group," said John Allen, author of "Conclave: The Politics, Personalities and Process of the Next Papal Election" and a correspondent for National Catholic Reporter. "Hence, this is an important opportunity to make impressions, all the more so this time because of the obvious physical weakening of the pope. Those cardinals who deliver impressive talks, who make incisive comments during discussions, who give interviews to the Roman press that turn heads, will be considered by their peers as potential popes." Which inevitably leads to the issues that divide the electors: Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, mentioned as a possible candidate for pope, said he was coming to celebrate, "but at a party people can also discuss other things." Danneels and other prelates made clear they didn't expect meetings in Rome would be turned into lobbying sessions to prepare a new papacy, but they also acknowledged some simmering issues. Even before the princes of the church began arriving this week, Scotland's newly appointed cardinal, Archbishop Keith O'Brien, caused a stir with remarks on celibacy, contraception and homosexuality. CarrieTomko@aol.com

AN ABUSIVE NUN is being exposed (though the name is being withheld) by Hollywood screenwriter Elizabeth Anderson, who suffered the abuse at an exclusive Catholic girls school when she was 7 years old. She has written a book and hopes to get it published. Michael Rose has linked the announcement at CruxNews. CarrieTomko@aol.com

TERRI SCHIAVO If anyone wants to follow the story, Pete Vere in Florida has joined the demonstration outside the hospital and is reporting up to the minute coverage at the Envoy blog, EnvoyEncore. There's a link on the right. There is also a discussion going on in Amy Welborn's blog which is linked on the right. CarrieTomko@aol.com

CARDINAL ARINZE SPOKE ON LITURGICAL RENEWAL in a speech to the Liturgical Association. Some of his comments are gems, particularly on inculturation and being creative with the liturgy. Unfortunately the link goes to a pdf file which means I can't cut and paste. I started typing up the comments and had several ready to blog when AOL froze and threw me off. So you'll just have to go read it for yourself if you're interested. This passage simply must be quoted, however: The truth is that genuine inculturation has nothing to do with the product of the over-fertile imagination of an enthusiastic priest who concocts something on Saturday night and inflicts it on the innocent Sunday morning congregation now being used as a guinea pig....Moreover, it should be noted that in religious matters, people's sensitivity and piety can easily be hurt by ill-considered and hasty novelties. In religious practices, most people are understandably conservative in the good sense and unwilling to endure frequent changes. Even when we give the hasty innovator the benefit of the doubt, that the motivation is a sincere attempt to bring the liturgy home to the people, it remains true that the results are generally disastrous. Unapproved innovations distract and annoy the people. They often draw attention to the priest rather than to God. They generally do not last long. They are often superficial. And they scandalize because they run against Church norms and regulations. If many lay people had only one request to make, they would ask that the priest celebrate Mass, or other rites, simply according to the approved books....The Roman liturgy is not a free-for-all experimentation field where each celebrant has the option to tag on his cherished accretions. He makes some comments about church layout that I certainly hope Fr. Richard Vosko reads and takes to heart. Lots of excellent comments here. The whole document is worth quoting. A real gem. Cardinal Arinze, you have my vote for pope! Thanks to a reader for the link. CarrieTomko@aol.com

CARDINAL ARINZE SPOKE ON LITURGICAL RENEWAL a speech to the Liturgical Association. Some of his comments are gems, particularly on inculturation and being creative with the liturgy. Unfortunately the link goes to a pdf file which means I can't cut and paste. I started typing up the comments and had several ready to blog when AOL froze and threw me off. So you'll just have to go read it for yourself if you're interested. This passage simply must be quoted, however: The truth is that genuine inculturation has nothing to do with the product of the over-fertile imagination of an enthusiastic priest who concocts something on Saturday night and inflicts it on the innocent Sunday morning congregation now being used as a guinea pig....Moreover, it should be noted that in religious matters, people's sensitivity and piety can easily be hurt by ill-considered and hasty novelties. In religious practices, most people are understandably conservative in the good sense and unwilling to endure frequent changes. Even when we give the hasty innovator the benefit of the doubt, that the motivation is a sincere attempt to bring the liturgy home to the people, it remains true that the results are generally disastrous. Unapproved innovations distract and annoy the people. They often draw attention to the priest rather than to God. They generally do not last long. They are often superficial. And they scandalize because they run against Church norms and regulations. If many lay people had only one request to make, they would ask that the priest celebrate Mass, or other rites, simply according to the approved books....The Roman liturgy is not a free-for-all experimentation field where each celebrant has the option to tag on his cherished accretions. He makes some comments about church layout that I certainly hope Fr. Richard Vosko reads and takes to heart. Lots of excellent comments here. The whole document is worth quoting. A real gem. Cardinal Arinze, you have my vote for pope! Thanks to a reader for the link. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

MARRIAGE AMERICAN STYLE� "Aren't they cute, Mom?" my daughter, who had come home to attend a wedding, whispered to me as we stood in line at Subway. "Who?" I asked, looking around.� When the words "they" and "cute" appear in my sentences, it usually refers to "they" who are under age five.� There were no children in the restaurant. "That old couple behind us in line."� she responded.� The old couple, small, frail, gray, debating which sandwich to order, were obviously married.� My confused expression prompted an explanation.� "Young people love to see old couples like them." "Why?" I asked, remembering that young people have no patience with senior drivers in the car ahead of them or in the line at the bank. "Because...it means that marriage can survive...that it doesn't have to end in divorce...that it really can work sometimes...that there is hope, I guess." Sometimes my daughter's comments astonish me.� Yes, they were "cute" in just the way she pointed out. Not long after this incident we were at the wedding.� Another baby I saw baptised was joining the world of responsibility and would soon be baptising babies of her own.� We haven't seen each other much in recent years.� Our schedules seldom meshed.� She hasn't exactly grown up before my eyes, but rather somewhere off over my left shoulder while I was looking right.� Yesterday she was a baby, today she was a bride.� It seems I blinked and she was grown. In some ways weddings haven't changed.� In other ways they have.� We still put the spoon to the glass demanding evidence that love survives.� The dance floor tells a different story. All those bodies gyrating to a beat too loud for normal conversation.� There was little to do but dance or observe.� An old friend walked up to me.� "When," he asked, "did men and women stop dancing together?� I thought I was dancing with my wife, but suddenly she was gone.� All these people are out there dancing alone."� And so they were.� The wedding dance is very much a solitary affair.� This one event, out of all events, should be about connections.� But the connections on the dance floor were temporary ones.� And it was the women who were making them, connecting with each other, while the men were doing something else somewhere else.� Somewhere out of sight.� It seems that the women no longer need the men for dance partners and perhaps for anything else at the reception, and it seems that the feeling is mutual in a lot of cases.� At least at weddings.� There is something not quite right about that in spite of all the smiles and congeniality. The line dances foster this independence.� Every dancer on the floor needs everyone else.� A line dance is not a solo.� But there is no essential "someone."� Each dancer is a world unto himself.� Or more likely herself.� Whole and self-centered, needing no special person to complete the picture.� Needing only the group, be they composed of friends or strangers.� Anonymously we all fit in like cookies on a sheet ready for baking. In talking with people over dinner, another trend surfaced.� In too many marriages, the wife holds the steady job that keeps the family financially solvent while the husband looks for work, drifting from job to job, but never finding stability in employment.� This was true of well-educated men.� I suspect this trend is causing women to lose respect for their husbands.� To believe they can get along nicely without them, thank you.� And so they dance alone on the wedding dance floor, while the rejected men find solace in each other's company somewhere else.� Somewhere, perhaps, where they can talk about how it was when they had jobs that gave them self-respect, or watching a sporting event that reassures them that men can still be in charge, can still command the respect of women. Receptions today are often held in party centers, and this reception was at a large one. Several wedding events were taking place simultaneously, and so a traffic director was needed at the entrance. "Brown reception? Top of the stairs, second door on the left." "Wannamakers? Down the hallway to your right." "Overhaults? Right through those doors over there." "The Jennings wedding is downstairs." One man remarked that he would like to open the door that had the best tasting food. Somehow you just know that the same thing is happening behind each of the doors. Production line receptions for the bride on a tight budget, with stars and wonder in her eyes. This day which will be unlike any other, which she will remember in intimate detail for the rest of her life, is stamped out for her like pieces of a car on a Ford assembly line. At the end of the evening her wedding will have been "processed." Most likely all the buffet tables will include chicken and rigatoni, all of the DJs will spin records of chicken dances and hokey pokey, and the line dancers will dance alone. That, for the most part, is what can be found behind doors one, two, and three on a Saturday night in suburbia. That, and little old couples who have had the good fortune to find a way to overcome all of the impediments to the survival of marriage will order sandwiches at Subway. Together. CarrieTomko@aol.com

LEON PODLES COMMENTS But men see Christianity as feminine and feminizing, and stay away. The black pastor of a leading black church in Baltimore said that his church had given up its prison ministry in frustration. They were unable to reach the men there. If the men were at all open, it was to Islam, a militaristic, masculine religion in which women are far more subordinate than in any Christian society. An interesting perspective from the Touchstone blog which he tacked onto a segment on "Father Absence." Male absence. I see too much of it. Where are the men at church? Why does the faith no longer appeal to them? Why are so many of our priests homosexual? Questions that nag. And the answer seems to be that the women have taken over...have taken up the male role, edging out fathers in families and male priests in religion. Are we moving toward matriarchy? Or perhaps I should ask if it is already here. Professor Bryan Sykes a geneticist at Oxford University echoes Leon Podles comments: Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics at Oxford University, caused a stir with the publication of his book Adam's Curse: A Future Without Men. He elaborates on his theory: "I predict that the Y chromosome will be so damaged by that time that males will only be 1 per cent as fertile as they are now." The Y chromosome, which carries the genetic switch to turn babies into boys at six weeks of gestation, is doomed, he argues in his book. "The Y chromosome is a genetic ruin, littered with molecular wreckage . . . a graveyard of rotting genes. It is a dying chromosome and one day it will become extinct." CarrieTomko@aol.com

SOME JEWS WILLING TO SURRENDER TEMPLE MOUNT according to the Jerusalem Post: Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount and the so-called Palestinian "right of return" within newly drawn borders of Israel would both be relinquished, in a new grassroots peace plan known as the "Geneva initiative," hammered out this weekend in Jordan by politicians, intellectuals, retired military personnel, and activists on both sides of the conflict. The agreement, more than two years in the making, was penned by Shahar Party leader Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian Authority minister Yasser Abed Rabbo. Copies of the plan will be mailed to all Israeli homes after it is signed in Geneva in the near future. Participants did not represent either government, but the document is believed to have the support of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat and PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. The Israeli government reacts negatively to this initiative: The Israeli Right and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon attacked the Israeli participants, saying they are pathetic and harming Israeli interests. "There is a road map, and it is not helpful to make people think there might be something else," Sharon told The Jerusalem Post. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY speaks about the crisis in the Anglican Communion: Parts of Western Christianity were locked in a struggle to survive, and the issues of homosexual ministers and same-sex unions would prove the turning point, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, said yesterday. In his address to the annual synod of the Sydney Diocese, Dr Jensen reaffirmed his opposition to female ordination, while pointedly making no mention of last week's decision by the Melbourne Synod urging its archbishop to appoint a woman bishop. Dr Jensen also emphatically rejected the recognition of same-sex unions and forecast that if this trend continued it would dismember the Anglican Church in Australia and the world Anglican communion. "The reality of the Anglican Communion has been put to its severest test this year over the issue of blessing of same-sex unions and the endorsement of unrepentant homosexual ministry," he said. "Indeed it is no exaggeration to suggest that parts of Western Christianity are at an acute phase of the struggle to survive as Christians in our sort of culture, and that this issue is the turning point." He concludes with this prediction: Eleven parishes had seceded from the diocese of New Westminster in Canada after the bishop, Michael Ingham, blessed same-sex couples. People in the dissenting parishes needed the support of the rest of the communion. Dr Jensen said that if the Uniting Church national assembly did not reverse its position on the issue, then he could see no prospect of an "evangelical covenant" between the Uniting and Anglican churches. Dr Jensen said the holiness of churches in the Anglican communion had been put at risk by developments in Britain, the United States and Canada, and it was "absolutely inevitable that major divisive consequences will follow". In their activities, "our good name is at stake; our capacity to preach the gospel is imperilled". CarrieTomko@aol.com

PENTECOSTALISM A long article on the topic from the New York Times is linked at Amy Welborn's blog. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, October 13, 2003

SURREALISM'S OCCULT FOUNDATION is the topic of a book by Nadia Choucha. From the website: Many people associate Surrealism with politics, but it was also permeated by occult ideas, a fact often overlooked by art historians. This occult influence goes beyond general themes to the movement's very heart. This occult influence goes beyond general themes to the movement's very heart. The antinomian stance of Surrealism can be traced directly to the influence of radical nineteenth century magi such as Eliphas L�vi, whose Dogma and Ritual o High Magic was widely read by Surrealism's ideologues. Amongst these we find its progenitor Andr� Breton. The book shows how many Surrealists and their predecessors were steeped in magical ideas: Kandinsky, with his involvement with Theosophy, the sorcery of Salvador Dali; the alchemy of Pablo Picasso and the shamanism of Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington. Surrealism did not establish itself in Britain until the 1930s but a select few felt something in the air. Almost ten years before the Surrealist experiments with automatic drawing, an obscure English artist, Austin Osman Spare had perfected the technique. Nadia Choucha shows, convincingly, that occult and surrealist philosophies were often interchangeable. Surrealism and the Occult is seminal reading for art historians and occultists alike, while artists will find it a vital guide to the unlocking of the imagination. Simon Hinton places Salvador Dali and the surrealists in the occult circle: Grant's findings are recorded in a fascinating series of books known as the Typhonian Trilogies in which he demonstrates most convincingly that a common magical current of energy was instrumental in the work of such diverse characters as the American science fiction writer H.P.Lovecraft, surrealist painter Salvador Dali, rocket scientist Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare, Dion Fortune and many others. Most of Grant's book are still in print and are usually available in serious esoteric bookshops. Dali even created his own version of the Tarot--the "Universal Dali Deck". Two of the pictured arcana are interesting because of their winged figures. Those figures are reminiscent of Rosicrucian art, as is his Meditative Rose. In fact Dali painted two Crucifixion scenes (Christ St. John of the Cross, and Crucifixion), also an Ecumenical Council, and other work of a religious nature. The Crucifixion painting is interesting because of the black and white checked floor. Massimo Borghesi includes that painting in his description of Manicheaism, **the Religion of "Light": Salvation through gnosis** at the 30Days website. That black and white floor is prominent in Masonic Lodges as I indicated in the comparison of Lodge interiors with renovated Catholic churches, a short time ago. It represents darkness and light, good and evil. In short, the theme of Manicheaism according to Borghesi. Steiner, of course, links Gnosticism and Manicheaism with Freemasonry, as prior quotes from his book indicate. Dali's wife and mother were Catholic, but he did not practice the faith. I found it interesting as well to learn from the Borghesi essay that Simon Weil was a great admirer of Cathar documents. CarrieTomko@aol.com

A BAN OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN growing out of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been forecast for several years by those watching UN activities with a potential to impact Christianity. Dr. James Dobson was predicting it in the early 90s. Now EnvoyEncore carries a link to a National Post story indicating this concern is coming to fruition. Canada has been requested to write a ban of corporal punishment into its laws. A lawyer speaking for such a ban says: "If you hit an adult, it is an assault, but if you hit a child in the context of discipline, it is justified under our current law," said Cheryl Milne, the lawyer who argued the case. "The UN committee ... agrees with that very strongly -- that countries should be prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment of children." Now wait a minute. The kind of assault against an adult which would land a person in court, and corporal discipline of a child are not the same thing at all. The sort of illegal assault against an adult which would lead to a court appearance would probably get a parent thrown into jail and his child put into foster care if it were practiced against a child. Corporal punishment of children is not assault. This is an apples and oranges argument. To make such an outlandish comparison is to discredit the argument before it has been made. The notion, as one spokesperson put it, that a child should be allowed to burn his hand on a hot stove rather than having that hand pushed away is the argument of a fool. Would the same argument be made about the child who runs into traffic? In other words, just let the kid run out in front of a car. When the car hits him, he will learn not to do that. The U.S. has not yet signed on to this treaty. We can only hope that our nation will continue to have more sense than others which have. CarrieTomko@aol.com

END OF THE WORLD TO BE DISCUSSED AT TOUCHSTONE CONFERENCE Chicago, September 22 -- Will the world end soon? And if it does, what will happen to you? Drawing on the interest raised by the best-selling "Left Behind" series of novels, eight noted authors will answer these questions at a three-day gathering sponsored by *Touchstone* magazine. "The Time is Near: The Apocalyptic Imagination in an Age of Anxiety" will bring together Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christians from around the nation. It will be held October 16-18 at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. Protestant scholar Alan Jacobs of Wheaton College, Orthodox writer Vigen Guroian, Southern Baptist leader Craig Blaising, and Catholic historian James Hitchcock are among the ecumenical array of speakers. Patrick Henry Reardon, an Orthodox priest serving a church in northwest Chicago, will also be speaking. "Anyone watching the evening news knows that things could go very wrong very fast," says the editor of *Touchstone*, David Mills. "A dirty bomb could take out Washington, the economy could crash, terrorists could set loose a virus that could kill tens of millions. "People worry about this happening, and they want to know what will happen to them if it does. The conference will explore this feeling and talk about what Christianity says about the end of the world." CarrieTomko@aol.com

HEIGHTENED TENSIONS IN JERUSALEM OVER COLLAPSE OF WALL ON TEMPLE MOUNT Another damaged structure on the Temple Mount is raising fears once again that a serious international crisis could be just a burst water pipe away. Two weeks ago, a section of a wall that is part of the Islamic Museum on the Temple Mount collapsed, leaving a gaping hole of dirt about 120 square feet, located just to the right of the Mugrabi Gate. The hole is visible from the Western Wall plaza. The collapse is another in a series of instances of structural damage that critics say have resulted from the Israeli government's decision to yield to the Waqf, the Palestinian Authority-appointed Islamic religious authority that has day-to-day control over the Temple Mount. In its attempt to avoid an international incident by abrogating its authority on the Temple Mount, they say, Israel is risking a far greater danger by neglecting its duty to supervise unauthorized construction. In the minds of some critics, a major catastrophe that could damage the Islamic holy sites is bound to occur, for which Muslims would blame Israel. The repercussions could be deadly, with riots across the Muslim world, a wave of violence in Europe or even a full-blown Arab-Israeli war. "We have been warning [about] this very point from the very beginning," said Eilat Mazar, a spokeswoman for the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, which has been decrying for years the lack of archaeological management at the site. "We were asking for supervision, professional supervision, as is normal and customary all over the state. You must have supervision." Adnan Husseini, director of the Waqf in Jerusalem, was quoted in news accounts saying the wall collapsed "as a result of Israeli interference in our work and preventing us from fixing this wall after we had found that it needed urgent work to prevent it from collapsing." But Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman said the Israeli police did not interfere. "In the clearest terms possible, no request was made to the Israel police by anybody in the Waqf regarding restructuring or rebuilding that wall," Kleiman had said two weeks ago. The Temple Mount problems began in 1996, when Israeli authorities opened a second entrance to the Western Wall tunnel and the Waqf expelled inspectors from the Antiquities Authority, which by Israeli law is responsible for supervising any construction work carried out at holy sites. A series of projects were then started by the Waqf without the authority's approval, and although authority officials could sometimes gain access, they were not allowed to photograph or document anything they saw. The last paragraph in the article explains what lies under the concern for the collapse of this wall: "We are very worried about the whole area of the platform, the area of the Temple Mount, which is built over a very, very large cistern," she said. "It's hollow underground, it's not supervised, and it's not preserved, and in the current construction, tractors and trucks are crossing the area. So it's just a matter of time � and it seems soon � that there's going to be a disaster." If I were writing fiction, I would create a scenerio in which the platform holding up all of the structures on the Temple Mount collapsed, sparking a war between Israel and the Arab nations, won by Israel, after which Solomon's Temple would be rebuilt somewhere in the area, and the anti-Christ would then appear to be seated in the Temple. CarrieTomko@aol.com

EPISCOPALIANS MOVE A BIT CLOSER TO SCHISM A convention in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida was halted in mid meeting over the escalating divide associated with the election of Gene Robinson: "In light of the rapidly unfolding events that surround us, I ask that we break and reconvene," Bishop John B. Lipscomb told 500 delegates attending the diocese's meeting Saturday in Punta Gorda. The diocese plans to finish the convention in what they termed a "timely fashion," possibly six to eight weeks. The diocese is scheduled to give $428,000 this year to the national church, but some at the halted convention were opposed to that because of the gay issue. "Now is not the time to declare our lives cut off from one another," Lipscomb said. "What we do need is constructive engagement with one another. Our primary concern must remain the mission of the church at home and abroad." CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE SECRET SCROLL OF KIRKWALL proves that the Knights Templar morphed into the Freemasons according to Cambridge author and historian Andrew Sinclair, of the Rosslyn Chapel Sinclairs. The scroll is located in the Masonic Lodge at Kirkwall, and Sinclair has written a book about it. Some interesting bits from the website: - There is "a strange hermaphordite figure, both Adam and Eve at once", on the scroll along with a Tree of Life. Which sounded almost exactly like Rudolf Steiner's comments about the single sex that existed before the two sexes split off from each other. - The scroll presents "a message that conveyed the hidden religious wisdom of an heretical tradition that has been suppressed by the Church for two millennia." Apparently Sinclair said it first and Dan Brown merely reitterated it in the
Da Vinci Code.
- Sinclair ties in the Grail Quest, bringing Mary Magdalene into the picture, but admitting that there really "is not one Grail, but many" and goes on to list some of them, including a green meteorite, a silver platter with a severed head on it, and the Ark of the Covenant. He also mentions some of the ideas that belong to the Gnostic heresy which he claims lies behind Templarism/Freemasonry, saying "official worship is at best a delusion, at worst the work of Satan" with the central tenent being "that its adherents can come into direct and intimate contact with God without the intervention of a priest or a church." He alludes to the possibility that Rosslyn Chapel is a copy of the Temple of Solomon, and claims that the scroll dates from the 14th century. But not all agree. Brian Smith, the archivist for Shetland Islands Council, asks, "The Not-So-Secret Scroll - Priceless Relic or Floorcloth?" in an essay which attempts to refute the claims of Sinclair. Smith refers to Sinclair's quotes of George William Speth, a Freemason and founder of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, saying Sinclair neglects to cite a reference, implying that perhaps he doesn't have one. He also mentions another Freemason, William Reginald Day, who also wrote about the scroll for Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, the publication of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, in which he mentions specific aspects of the scroll which date it to some time after the founding of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients in 1751. A technical detail that will unmake Sinclair's claim. In any case, a movie has been made covering Sinclair's premise which was screened in London in July 2000. The Earl of Caithness introduced the film at the British Film and Television Academy. Amazon.co.uk offers The Secret Scroll for sale. CarrieTomko@aol.com

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