Saturday, November 22, 2003

BEST COMMENTARY I'VE READ ANYWHERE ON THE MA DECISION comes from Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. at Catholic World News: It wasn't what you think You know, the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court didn't do what so many people said it did. It did not reverse the discrimination that prevented homosexuals from getting married. In fact, homosexuals have been able to get married all along; no law prevented that. That's because marriage is the union between a man and a woman and gays and lesbians have always been able to marry someone, as long as he or she is the opposite sex. What the Mass. court did was change the meaning of the word "marriage." Of course, saying something is so, doesn't make it so. The court could decide to redefine the meaning of "mother" to include men, but all the judicial rulings in the world won't allow me to bear children. This is why people are saying that the court's ruling, taken to its logical end, simply removes all meaning from the word "marriage" so that by meaning nothing, it means everything: polygamy, polyamory, incest, bestiality. If marriage doesn't mean what thousands of years of human civilization says it means, then it means anything. This is the extreme of judicial activism: No longer content to redefine law or write new ones, something which is clearly outside their constitutional jurisdiction, the courts are now re-writing language and re-defining the foundations of civilization. Unless the people-- the vast majority of whom do not agree with judicial activism, but remain like silent sheep nonetheless-- wake up and demand action, then we continue the slide into oblivion. But if the people do act, we can still salvage what remains of civilization. CarrieTomko@aol.com

S. M. HUTCHENS at Mere Comments has blogged these comments on growing old on the outside but not on the inside: Thursday, November 20 THE WEIGHT OF YEARS Our youngest daughter wrote to tell us that the approach of her twentieth birthday is causing some apprehension she did not expect, for when it comes she will no longer be a teenager, but has left forever the time of life when any kind of irresponsibility might excused on the basis of her nonage. Not that she hasn�t been a good and responsible teenager, mind you, for she has been�only that this anniversary is adding weight to her shoulders that she didn�t carry before. And there is some resentment for this. One hardly feels that it is deserved, since one wakes up on one�s birthday the same person as on the day before. Ah yes, I told her, it is the same with your parents. As you grow older, you are the same person you always were; you just add layers, and with each layer, weight on the soul. Just wait until you�re forty and you let out the nineteen-year old You for a brief refrigerium in the world, to the horror and chagrin of your fifteen-year old daughter. You�ll quickly shut her back up inside and keep her there, probably until you die. But she�ll still be there, young, happy, and beautiful, waiting for God to let her out again someday. That�s one of the things dying is good for. �S. M. Hutchens Ohhhh yes, so very true! I'm working on a formula for Thinsalite layers, meanwhile carrying around the lead ones that seem to go with the human condition. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE ANTI-CATHOLIC LEAGUE Looks like William Donohue has his hands full. I see the League's phone number at the bottom of the website. I wonder if there is an Pro-Defamation League? CarrieTomko@aol.com

KENNEDY Forty years ago America endured an event that will not be forgotten until this generation passes into history. Do you remember what you were doing when Kennedy was shot? I was in a tenth grade classroom...history, I think. I had a cold, and watched the news coverage on television that weekend with a handkerchief under my nose. NPR, "All Things Considered," yesterday had a segment on how this event changed news coverage permanently. This was the first time extensive live news coverage was used. Cameras still weighed over 100 lbs, and large vehicles were required to tote all of the equipment to the news site. Using commercials during the coverage was considered and rejected by the media. So, what's your favorite conspiracy theory? Who killed Kennedy? And Who killed his brother? My own personal theory is that the Mafia did it. CarrieTomko@aol.com

IDENTITY TRACKING IN THE UK From the Guardian Unlimited: If you are planning to renew your passport, change the address on your driving licence or even turn 16 in 2006, you may be in for a shock. Home secretary David Blunkett said last week that mandatory national identity cards would not be introduced for a decade - and only then with parliament's agreement. But his first phase plans, effective from 2005 or 2006, will mean tens of thousands of us will have to report to a government station and have a biometric measurement taken. Included will be anyone updating either a passport and probably also a driving licence, all foreign nationals here for more than three months, and anyone turning 16. What will the process involve? A biometric is a measurement of part of the human body, and the Home Office is testing three options: face recognition, fingerprints and iris scans. A one-off fee of around �35 will be charged, on top of any usual passport or licence renewal fee, falling to �10 for those on low incomes and nothing for 16-year-olds. In return, you will get a national identity card, which will replace the National Insurance card. The Home Office says there would be financial penalties for non-compliance - although these are not expected to apply until the scheme is fully rolled out. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DEFENDING THE FAITH CAN BE EXPENSIVE DOWN UNDER From Crosswalk.com: Now a local Christian councilor in a small city on the edge of Melbourne is preparing to defend himself in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against complaints brought by a witch. The episode began early this year in Casey, a city of 210,000, when Olivia Watts, a transsexual naturopath, stood as a candidate in city council elections. She was not elected. Three months later, Watts publicly identified herself as a witch, in an article in a local newspaper. Soon thereafter, city councilor Rob Wilson issued a statement in which he named Watts, raising concerns that local Wiccans may have been involved in a plan to plant someone on the council who was sympathetic to their cause. Wilson attributed recent scandals in the council to the influence of such elements, saying the incidents had "all the hallmarks of being linked to the occult." He urged a local grouping of church leaders to hold a special day of prayer against "the forces of evil." Casey's mayor, Brian Oates - also a Christian - then backed up Wilson, suggesting that people with links to witchcraft may have wanted to get an agent elected to the council, in order to push through building permit for facilities for such groups. Wilson and Oates pointed to an earlier, failed attempt by a "Satanic cult" to get permission to build a "place of worship" in an adjoining area. Between this article and recent judicial decisions in the U.S., I'm getting the eerie sense that speaking up in defense of the faith--any faith--could be grounds for a lawsuit in the near future. From a nation that promoted religious liberty, could we morph to a nation that brands religious speech illegal? Given the opposition built into religions, is it possible to live peacefully side-by-side when the lawsuits start to fly? CarrieTomko@aol.com

JOHN ALLEN'S INSIGHT ON ROMANITA that frustrates Anglo-Saxons: One way to express the cultural gap between Rome and the Anglo-Saxon world might be to say that Anglo-Saxons cook with a microwave, Rome a crockpot. That is to say, Anglo-Saxons want immediate results, while Romans are more content to let things simmer.This tends to make meetings in Rome especially interesting for the Anglo-Saxon contingent.A conference on depression sponsored last week by the Pontifical Council for the Health Care Pastoral offered a case in point. The Anglo-Saxon style is to move from identification of a problem, to consideration of possible responses, to consensus on a strategy, all in one setting. Anything else feels like wasting time. The Roman approach is to talk one�s way around a problem, to consider it from all angles, and then to go home and think about it. Eventually a response will �mature.� Romans tend to smile at Anglo-Saxon impatience, and at the hubris of demanding quick solutions to long-term challenges. Further along in his Friday report he also adds this comment to a discussion on another topic: Some of the most powerful figures in the Vatican aren�t on the payroll. They are consultors, outside experts called upon to offer opinions of particular theologians, issues or ecclesiastical situations. A trusted consultor can sometimes carry more weight than a room full of bishops. Jesuit Fr. Karl Josef Becker of Rome�s Gregorian University, a consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since Sept. 15, 1977, offers a classic example.Becker enjoys the respect and trust of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the doctrinal congregation. More than one theologian in trouble has been advised to �go see Fr. Becker.� It is widely believed, for example, that Becker was involved in the Vatican�s investigation of fellow Jesuit Fr. Jacques Dupuis and his work on religious pluralism. CarrieTomko@aol.com

SATANIST ALLEGEDLY TERRORIZES GIRLS according to the Flint Journal: Burton - Two girls and their mother spent six years in constant fear, hiding from a devil worshipper who had allegedly raped the girls hundreds of times while he baby-sat them. Hopscotching around Genesee County, the mother yanked her daughters out of schools and moved at least four times after David Lindensmith, 40, used county records to find their new address. The final straw came on Halloween when the family received an anonymous "Friday the 13th" videotape depicting two sisters being killed. Fearful that Lindensmith would kill them, the girls finally went to police and detailed a horrific story of molestation that began in 1992 when they were 4 and 6 years old. The girls, now 14 and 16, told police that at one point Lindensmith pointed a semi-automatic pistol at them and threatened to kill them if they went to police. "He robbed these girls of their youthful innocence," said Genesee County Sheriff Robert J. Pickell. Pickell said Lindensmith met the girls in 1992 when he became their mother's boyfriend for a short time. The girls told their mother of the alleged assaults in 1997, but the mother didn't go to police because she feared reprisals from Lindensmith, Pickell said. The mother pulled the girls from several different schools during their moves around the county, but each time, Pickell said, Lindensmith would find them. Police arrested Lindensmith last week on six counts of sexual assault. He is being held in the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bond. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for today before District Judge Christopher Odette. A search of Lindensmith's Bergin Avenue home turned up 300 DVDs and four computer hard drives with images of child pornography, Pickell said. CarrieTomko@aol.com

COUNTERING THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT is a newly formed organization dedicated to left-leaning values. From the New York Times by Lynette Clemetson: WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 � In an effort to counter the influence of conservative Christian organizations, a coalition of moderate and liberal religious leaders is starting a political advocacy organization to mobilize voters in opposition to Bush administration policies. The nonprofit organization, the Clergy Leadership Network, plans to formally announce its formation on Friday and will operate from an expressly religious, expressly partisan point of view. The group cannot, under Internal Revenue Service guidelines, endorse political candidates, and it will have no official ties to the Democratic Party. But the driving purpose of the organization, according to its mission statement, is to bring about "sweeping changes � changes in our nation's political leadership and changes in failing public policies." The Rev. Albert M. Pennybacker, of Lexington, Ky., chief executive officer for the organization and the chairman of its national committee, said: "The Christian Right has been very articulate, but they have been exclusive and very judgmental of anyone who doesn't agree with them. People may want to label us the Christian Left. But what we really are about is mainstream issues and truth, and if that makes us left then that shines even more light on the need for a shift in our society." The organization seeks to counter groups like the Christian Coalition of America and newly influential groups like the Family Research Council and the Traditional Values Coalition. There are other liberal religious-based advocacy groups in Washington, like the Interfaith Alliance, a nonprofit group that lobbies Congress on policy issues. But the Clergy Leadership Council will be the first national liberal religious group, its organizers say, whose primary focus is electoral politics and partisan political organizing. Tony Perkins, a former Louisiana state representative who is president of the Family Research Council, said such an approach could be counterproductive when dealing with churches. "Trying to take a purely political message into church communities has not been very successful for either ideological side," said Mr. Perkins, a Republican whose group usually supports Republican initiatives. "We've learned that if you come with a party message you may prevent some people, people who agree with you on some issues, from hearing your message." CarrieTomko@aol.com

SOLOVIEV--RUSSIAN PHILOSOPHER AND ECUMENIST Fr. Ray Ryland, Steubenville Univ., an expert on Soloviev who recently edited a version of Soloviev's book "The Russian Church and the Papacy," was interviewed by Zenit. A few interesting comments from the interview: During the last two decades of his life, Soloviev became deeply interested in Christian unity. In 1886 he submitted to a Croatian Catholic archbishop his own proposal for bringing the Russian Orthodox Church back into communion with Rome. The archbishop arranged an audience with Pope Leo XIII in the spring of 1888. At that audience, the Pope gave Soloviev the papal benediction for his efforts at reconciling the Russian Church to Catholic communion. In 1896, Soloviev made a profession of faith before an Eastern Catholic priest, and was received into Catholic communion. He did not regard this as abandoning his ties with the Russian Church, but rather as their fulfillment. There is an unsubstantiated report that he received last rites from a Russian Orthodox priest, which would have been permissible had there been no Catholic priest available. But to the end of his life Soloviev recognized the Pope as "supreme judge in matters of religion.... Q: Why did Soloviev believe that union with Rome was the only way the separated Eastern Churches could become truly Catholic? Father Ryland: Repeatedly, Soloviev pointed out once the Russian Church abandoned the jurisdiction of Rome it had inevitably fallen under the control of the government. That, he said, is the fate of all purely national churches. The only way a national church -- like the Russian Church -- can avoid being subject to the authority of the state is to have a center of unity outside the state. That supranational center of unity can only be Rome. Apart from Rome, the Russian Church's concept of the universal church is purely a logical concept. "Its parts are real, but the whole is nothing but a subjective abstraction," Soloviev said. Eastern Orthodoxy is only a loose federation of like-minded traditions. In the East, said Soloviev, there are only isolated national churches. Only if they return to the divinely appointed center of unity can they be truly catholic. Q: What did Soloviev propose as the proper relationship between the Pope and the Eastern patriarchs? Father Ryland: In the centuries before the split between East and West, the popes consistently recognized the authority of the patriarchs with their own jurisdictions. Soloviev reminds his readers, however, that repeatedly in the early centuries Easterners created heresies that they could not handle. Heretics consistently enlisted the power of the emperor in their behalf. The patriarchs were able successfully to combat the heresies only when they appealed to the Pope for his resolution. They thereby clearly acknowledged his supreme authority. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, November 21, 2003

HARRY POTTER IS SETTING RECORDS LONDON (Reuters) - The world's most famous boy wizard set a new record Monday -- sales of the Harry Potter books have hit a quarter of a billion. And avid young Potter fans can rest easy: J.K. Rowling has started work on the sixth book in the saga set in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rowling's agent, Christopher Little, told Reuters worldwide sales of the first five books have now reached 250 million. They have been sold in more than 200 countries and translated into 60 languages, ranging from Gujarati to Ancient Greek. The latest, launched in India this month, was in Hindi. Harry has made Rowling a wealthy woman: The Sunday Times put her earnings over the past year at 125 million pounds ($211 million), which was calculated as being the equivalent to 388 pounds for every word of her latest Potter saga. "She is a money-making machine. The temptation to keep writing after the last of her seven planned Potter adventures must be irresistible. She could be the first billionaire author in history," said Philip Beresford, who compiled the Sunday Times pay list. ($1=.5919 Pound) The alchemists who inspired Harry Potter would be proud. None of them were able to alchemically manufacture gold as well as she has. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE ARCHBISHOP AND THE DISSENTERS CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter November 21, 2003 ********************************************** Dear Friend, Yesterday I promised you I'd look into the Boston Globe article that claimed Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston was considering lifting the ban on Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) chapters in his archdiocese. The Globe piece entitled "O'Malley to reconsider policies against lay group," quoted VOTF President Jim Post and archdiocesan spokesman Rev. Christopher J. Coyne at length. In the article, both observed that the VOTF meeting with the archbishop "was considerably more cordial" than past meetings with other leaders, and both men were hopeful that relations between the group and the archdiocese would improve in the future. Frankly, I was surprised by the tone of the article -- it made it sound like support for VOTF from the archdiocese was practically a done deal. Then this morning I saw an Associated Press (AP) article -- "O'Malley has 'positive' meetings with Voice of the Faithful" -- that was even more enthusiastic about the meeting. In it, O'Malley is described as being on the brink of accepting funds from VOTF's fundraising arm, Voice of Compassion, and open to a discussion about removing the ban altogether. If that was unexpected, the closing lines of the piece nearly knocked me out of my chair. It reads, "Coyne said the church does not consider Voice of the Faithful members dissidents." This I could hardly believe. How could Coyne claim to be speaking for the entire Church? Surely, that's a bit beyond his jurisdiction. By giving such a sweeping statement to AP, it sounds like the Church has now awarded an imprimatur to the group. As far as VOTF members not being dissidents, it's true that some are indeed faithful Catholics who simply want to address the sex scandal and make sure it never happens again. We all want that, and I don't blame them for looking for ways to address the problem. But the VOTF leadership appears to be out of step with some of their members. If you recall last year's special CRISIS E-Report, "When Wolves Dress Like Sheep," you know all about that. (http://www.crisismagazine.com/eletters/august8.htm) And yet Coyne's comment makes it sound like the Church itself has approved the group. They're portrayed as a harmless organization that was unfairly silenced by evil bishops who felt threatened by discussions with the laity. In both articles, VOTF comes out smelling like a rose. I knew there had to be more to the story. For one, I noticed that O'Malley is never actually quoted in either piece. All of his comments are paraphrased by Coyne or Post. I decided to speak with Father Coyne this afternoon to get his side of things. I'm glad I did -- Coyne said his comments were completely misrepresented. "I was asked a question to characterize the meeting of Voice of the Faithful with the archbishop," Coyne told me, "and I responded by saying that they [the members of VOTF] told the archbishop that they were not dissidents. In making the statement, I did not in any way express the position of the Church or the archdiocese in Boston regarding Voice of the Faithful" (where the bans against them are still in effect). Now that's a big difference. According to Coyne, he wasn't giving his own opinion, let alone the Church's position. He was merely telling the reporter what VOTF told the archbishop. But that brings up another point: Why would he simply repeat back to newspaper reporters what VOTF had told him about their organization? Coyne made a classic media gaffe in allowing VOTF to define itself through his own mouth. Because Coyne said it in a major media organ, his credibility will now be used to give VOTF legitimacy. What if, for example, Sen. Ted Kennedy met with Archbishop O'Malley and told the archbishop that he was pro-life? If O'Malley or Coyne repeated that, without comment, to the media, it would look like they themselves accepted the truth of the statement. It's the same case here. If Fr. Coyne had investigated VOTF himself, he would have found plenty to question -- their inviting known dissidents to speak at conventions, for one, or the fact that Jim Post has recently gone on record saying that the laity should have a role in electing bishops (The Arizona Republic, September 17, 2003). But Coyne inadvertently let VOTF's spin go unchallenged, and now it appears that he -- and the Church -- have signed off on them. Coyne told me that he was going to talk to the AP reporter about the sentence claiming that the Church supports VOTF, and I'm grateful that he took the time to speak with me and clarify his position. I told him to try and have the statement corrected nationally, through AP itself if possible. It's the only way to make sure the article won't be used by VOTF to claim fidelity to the Church. And what about Archbishop O'Malley? Does he support VOTF? Highly-placed sources close to this issue (who can't be named at this time) have told me that it's highly unlikely O'Malley will be lifting the ban -- at this point he's merely listening to their concerns. He's going to look more closely at the group before he makes a decision, but from what I've been told, I'm betting those bans will stay firmly in place. It's vital for Church leaders to understand that most Catholics (and non-Catholics) get their information about the Church through the mainstream media. People are bombarded with information from television, radio, the newspapers, Internet, etc. If our priests and bishops don't learn how to use those tools effectively to their own purpose, they'll be used against them. In the current issue of CRISIS, Fr. Raymond de Souza has an excellent article on that very subject. We've made the piece available on our website, so if you haven't read it yet, you need to. You'll find it here: http://www.crisismagazine.com/feature2.htm That's it for this week. I hope you have a great weekend, and I'll write you again in a few days. Deal To learn more about CRISIS Magazine, visit http://www.crisismagazine.com/subscribe.htm CarrieTomko@aol.com

MODERN ART AS TORTURE DEVICE Anarchists and the fine art of torture Spanish art historian says they put enemies in disorienting cells Giles Tremlett in Madrid Monday January 27, 2003 The Guardian A Spanish art historian has uncovered what was alleged to be the first use of modern art as a deliberate form of torture, with the discovery that mind-bending prison cells were built by anarchist artists 65 years ago during the country's bloody civil war. Bauhaus artists such as Kandinsky, Klee and Itten, as well as the surrealist film-maker Luis Bunuel and his friend Salvador Dali, were said to be the inspiration behind a series of secret cells and torture centres built in Barcelona and elsewhere, yesterday's El Pais newspaper reported. Mike King makes the connection of the Bauhaus with spirituality: Johannes Itten was employed by Gropius in the early years to teach at the Bauhaus but eventually left as directions changed. Lipsey comments: "He [Itten] viewed the Bauhaus as a "secret, self-contained society" with spiritual goals. In his classes, he offered students the opportunity to practice relaxation, breathing, and concentration exercises intended, as he later wrote, "to establish the intellectual and physical readiness which makes intensive work possible." ... Itten precipitated the crisis of 1922 by embodying the esoteric and romantic aspects of the Bauhaus so militantly that he threatened to sever the school from its moorings in mainstream society [8]. Itten himself made the following comments about the spiritual underpinning of his work in Design and Form, one of the coursebooks to emerge from teachers at the Bauhaus: "I had studied oriental philosophy and concerned myself with Persian Mazdaism and Early Christianity. Thus I realised that our outward-directed scientific research and technology must be balanced by inward-directed thought and forces of the soul. ... It is not only a religious custom to start instruction with a prayer or a song, but it also serves to concentrate the students' wandering thoughts. At the start of the morning I brought my classes to mental and physical readiness for intensive work through relaxing, breathing, and concentrating exercises. The training of the body as an instrument of the mind is of the greatest importance for creative man. ... Besides relaxation, breathing is of the greatest importance. As we breathe, so do we think and so is the rhythm of our daily life. People of great, successful accomplishments always have a quiet, slow and deep breath. Shortwinded people are hasty and greedy in thought and action [9]." King associates Kadinsky with Theosophy: Let us turn back now to Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art as a turning point for Modernism. It was published in 1911, and was deeply influenced by Theosophy. Kandinsky had 'snapped up' a copy of Thought Forms (a work by the Theosophists Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater purporting to show pictures of the 'auric' form of thoughts and emotions) in 1908 and joined the movement in 1909. Kandinsky's Improvisations series from around 1916 is considered to be directly influenced by the illustrations in Thought Forms (see figs 3, 4 and 5). The January 1997 issue of Theosophy World, in an article by Judy D. Saltzman, Ph.D. titled "H.P.B.: A Woman Genrations Ahead of Her Time, associates Theosophy with modern art: The occult dynamics of Theosophy are also evident in the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, the Bauhaus mystics, as well as Piet Mondrian, the liberated Calvinist, and Nicholas Roerich. Moreover, the music of Scriabin, Sibelius and Mahler would not have been written without the inspiration of Theosophy. Dr. Duncan Stroik, Chair of the Architecture School at Notre Dame University, in an article for Adoremus Bulletin tells the story of modern church architecture. He says: The Benedictines in the US were the equivalent of the Dominicans in France, being great patrons of Modernist art and architecture, as well as being liturgically progressive. At Collegeville, Minnesota they hired Marcel Breuer, originally of the Bauhaus, and at St. Louis they commissioned Gyo Obata, designer of the St. Louis Airport, for new abbeys (Figs. 3, 4). These buildings were sleek, non-traditional, and critically acclaimed by the architectural establishment. One amusing story from the article which ties it with the Guardian story of modern art as a torture device is this: Also under the patronage of Father Couturier, the French architect Le Corbusier designed perhaps the two best-known churches of this century: the pilgrimage church, Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp and the Dominican Monastery, Ste. Marie de la Tourette. Le Corbusier made it very clear from the beginning that he was not a religious man and undertook the projects because he was given freedom to express his ideas within an open landscape. Ronchamp is the epitome of the church as abstract sculpture and was likened by Le Corbusier to a temple of the sun. La Tourette, on the other hand, is a severely orthogonal building with a tomb-like concrete chapel and a cloister that can not be used. The monastery had many problems, including a high incidence of depression due to its prison-like cells and oppressive spaces which forced it to close. (For a time it became a retreat center for architects). Father Couturier, believing that all "true art" is "sacred art," argued that it was better to have a talented atheist making Christian art or designing churches than to have a pious artist who was mediocre. This premise was the opposite of the historic view of the church as a "sermon in stone," a work of faith by architect, parish and artisans. CarrieTomko@aol.com

A MESS IN MASSACHUSETTS CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter November 20, 2003 ********************************************** Dear Friend, I want to mention a couple things quickly before I get to the main point of this letter... First, last night the Senate passed by unanimous consent Resolution 313, awarding the Congressional Medal of Freedom to Pope John Paul II. This is nice news, and I'm pleasantly surprised that it passed without objection. Second, the spokesman for Archbishop O'Malley of Boston released a statement yesterday giving at least indirect support to Voice of the Faithful. This is pretty troubling and we're going to try to find out what's going on there... I'm going to shoot you an email tomorrow to fill you in on what we discover (so be on the lookout for it). But the main reason I emailed you today is this... As you probably already know, the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided on Tuesday that it was unconstitutional to exclude homosexuals from marriage. This wasn't much of a surprise. With the current social fashions prevailing in our courts today, it's almost a foregone conclusion that justices will be dealing loose and free with the Constitution, inserting rights that they're sure the framers would have included had they only been as enlightened as the judges. Well, this battle may be over, but the war rages on. I spoke with Dan Avila and Maria Parker at the Massachusetts Catholic Conference yesterday to see where we go from here. This is what they told me... First of all, while the justices said that marriage should be open to homosexuals, they limited their reading to include couples only and added some language against incest. At least that puts to rest the case for polygamists... for now, anyway. Of course, the decision to recast marriage in these terms is totally arbitrary; otherwise, why would the court reject some distinctions and embrace others? The language of the court's opinion implies that restricting marriage to a man and a woman is the product of outdated prejudice that should be abandoned. The majority stated that �the marriage restriction is rooted in persistent prejudices against persons who are (or who are believed to be) homosexual,� and that �the Constitution cannot control such prejudices but neither can it tolerate them.... The law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect.� Forget thousands of years of history or the core teachings of the world's major religions. Nope, marriage restrictions are rooted in our own backward prejudices. Or so the four Massachusetts judges in the majority have determined. It's becoming more and more common that speaking out against homosexual marriage will now get you labeled a bigot and extremist. I said as much in a column for CRISIS a few months back titled �Are We All Bigots Now?� After Sen. Rick Santorum drew fire for his statements expressing concern over homosexual acts, it became all too clear that traditional Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) morality was no longer tolerated in the political sphere. There are few options that the state legislature has at this point. The court gave the legislature 180 days to change the laws dealing with marriage, but not much can happen in such a short time frame. They can still work to pass a marriage amendment to the state constitution, explicitly defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The problem is, that's a long process that couldn't even begin until 2004. Voting on the amendment might not occur until 2006, at the earliest. By that point, countless marriage licenses would already have been issued and the institution of gay marriages and families will be deeply entrenched... and hard to fight. Not only that, but now that opposition to homosexual marriage has become an issue of discrimination, the law will not tolerate those who disagree with it. For example, institutions will now have to change their employment policies and benefits packages to recognize homosexual partners. The Catholic Church, with all its schools, hospitals, and charities, would be no different. And yet to recognize these unions would go directly against our beliefs. The decision goes far beyond merely recognizing same-sex couples legally; those who disagree with the validity of same-sex marriages can be censored for their beliefs. So what do we do now? Well first of all, we can't give up fighting. The members of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference have dedicated themselves to doing everything in their power to fight for a constitutional marriage amendment. I felt confident after talking to Dan and Maria that they won't leave a single stone unturned. Additionally, the Massachusetts Family Institute, headed up by Ron Crews, is working overtime. The public policy research organization is the leading group sponsoring the marriage amendment. This morning, Crews, told us that he thinks the votes are there to pass it and that they've actually gained support since the court ruling. Mayor Mitt Romney has also pledged to work for the amendment. He said, �I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman... and our constitution and laws should reflect that.� It's encouraging to know that he stands firmly against the latest decision; I hope he'll work alongside the Catholic Conference and the Massachusetts Family Institute to get the job done. In order for the amendment to pass, it must receive the support of 101 of the 160 senators and representatives currently serving. Records show that a majority of those legislators are Democrats... and Catholics. Now is the time for Catholics in Massachusetts to appeal to those legislators to vote in favor of the amendment. And it's never too early for us to start pushing for similar amendments in our own state. Massachusetts may be the first to welcome gay marriage, but unless we act, it certainly won't be the last. Deal To learn more about CRISIS Magazine, visit http://www.crisismagazine.com/subscribe.htm CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, November 20, 2003

BYZANTINE PREPARATION FOR CONFESSION, the sacrament that Catholics haven't talked about for 30+ years. Lee Penn sent this link to the teaching of St. John of Kronstadt. CarrieTomko@aol.com

WAS TERRI SCHIAVO BEATEN? The question is being asked by the Advocacy Center for Persons With Disabilities, Florida's advocacy program for the disabled, as reported by The Village Voice. What gives this investigation the potential for a dramatic reassessment of previous court decisions on the legitimacy of Michael Schiavo's guardianship is in the lead of Jeff Johnson's story: "The Schindler family [Terri Schiavo's parents, who are fighting for her life] has found a new ally in the battle�one it did not seek out�in the person of a famed New York forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden." Former chief medical examiner for the city of New York and co-director of the Medicolegal Investigation Unit of the New York State Police, Dr. Baden is often quoted in news reports and interviewed on television. In one such interview on Fox News Channel's On the Record With Greta Van Susteren, I heard Baden agree with a panel of lawyers that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, and will not recover. But on a subsequent October 24 appearance on that program, Dr. Baden had a different perspective on the origins of the Terri Schiavo case. Baden had now seen a 1991 bone-scan report that cast considerable doubt on a claim in Michael Schiavo's successful medical malpractice suit, that Terri's brain injury was caused by a potassium imbalance that led to a heart attack depriving her brain of oxygen. Dr. Baden, who has written three books on forensic pathology, told Van Susteren: "It's extremely rare for a 20-year-old to have a cardiac arrest from low potassium who has no other diseases . . . which she doesn't have. . . . The reason that she's in the state she's in is because there was a period of time, maybe five or eight minutes, when not enough oxygen was going to her brain. That can happen because the heart stops for five or eight minutes, but she had a healthy heart from what we can see." (Emphasis added). Dr. Baden then addressed the 1991 bone-scan report on Terri Schiavo, which was completed on March 5 of that year by Dr. W. Campbell Walker in order to "evaluate for trauma" that may have been caused by a suspected "closed head injury." In the report, Walker wrote: "This patient has a history of trauma. The presumption is that the other multiple areas of trauma also relate to previous trauma." (Emphasis added). Here we get to what focused Dr. Baden's attention. On cnsnews.com, Jeff Johnson reported, "Walker listed apparent injuries to the ribs, thoracic vertebrae, both sacroiliac joints, both ankles and both knees." In his interview with Greta Van Susteren, Dr. Baden noted "that the bone scan describes her having a head injury . . . and head injury can lead to the 'vegetative state' that Mrs. Schiavo is in now." But, Baden continued, the bone scan "does show evidence that there are other injuries, other bone fractures that are in a healing stage [in 1991]." Those injuries could have happened, Baden continued, from "some kind of trauma. The trauma could be from an auto accident, the trauma could be from a fall, or the trauma could be from some kind of beating that she obtained from somebody somewhere. It's something that should have been investigated in 1991 . . . and maybe [it was] by police at that time." (Emphasis added). Why not see if there was a police report on those traumas to Terri in 1990? The Advocacy Center for Persons With Disabilities should look into this during its investigation of possible incidents of abuse and neglect of Terri. Moreover, Pamela Hennessy, spokesperson for Terri's parents and her brother, told cnsnews.com, "This is what the family and their doctors have been saying for a number of years." I asked Hennessy to clarify that statement. "From the beginning," she told me, "they had serious doubts as to the reason for Terri's collapse. Then, when they first heard about the bone-scan report in November of last year, they tried to file a report with the police on a possible battery on Terri. But the police wouldn't help them." CarrieTomko@aol.com

OHIO LEGISLATURE DEBATES DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE MARRIAGE The Battle Over Traditional Marriage Comes to Ohio By Wendy Griffith CBN News Sr. Reporter November 20, 2003 So far, 37 states have passed DOMA-type legislation protecting traditional marriage. CBN.com � COLUMBUS, OHIO � Thirty-seven states have passed laws to protect their states from what many saw coming long ago: gay marriage. Ohio could be next. The state legislature is currently debating the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a bill that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman only. With the recent high court decision in Massachusetts calling for the legalization of gay marriage, supporters of DOMA say the timing could not be more critical. CarrieTomko@aol.com

HOMOSEXUALS ATTACK PRIESTS AT CATHEDRAL IN BUENOS AIRES Gays attack cathedral The famous Catholic cathedral in central Buenos Aires was attacked last week during a demonstration by transvestites, transsexuals and homosexuals. As participants in a �March for Gay-Lesbian-Homosexual Pride� in the Argentine capital passed the Metropolitan Cathedral in Plaza de Mayo, they suddenly began attacking the priests on duty there and painted obscene slogans on the colonnade and front of the building. The Archdiocese of Buenos Aires lamented the attack, pointing out that it took place in an overwhelmingly Catholic country and therefore the religious sensibilities of the majority would be offended by the attack. �If most of the inhabitants of this land are Catholic, the insulting slogans painted on the exterior of the cathedral are an attack against the religious sensibility of the Argentine people,� said the archdiocese in a statement. �In a pluralist society, when minority groups express themselves, it would be logical if they did so respecting the religious sentiment of the majority.�� CarrieTomko@aol.com

FATIMA According to an editorial at Spirit Daily, the Fatima Shrine will remain a center devoted to the Blessed Virgin. According to Total Catholic, "a top Vatican official has quashed rumors that the world-famous Fatima shrine is to be turned into a multi-faith pilgrim centre. Devotees of the revered Portuguese shrine were shocked and dismayed this week at the reports, which a leading UK devotee said would be a 'total abandonment' of what the shrine stands for. But Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue which has responsibility for such matters, told The Universe directly that the fears were unfounded and he reassured devotees that Fatima would definitely remain a place of prayer centered on Our Lady." CarrieTomko@aol.com

???????? This website contains a list of "Current Catholic Bestsellers." Scroll down to the paperbacks and look at No. 7: "Rosary Novenas to Our Lady" by Charles V. Lacey. Now take a look at this website which contains a list of Rosicrucian books. Scroll down to this entry: "Rosary Novenas to Our Lady" by Charles V. Lacey. Curious...no? Immediately above Lacey's book on the second website is one by Sheldon Cohen: "The Rosary" You'll find the same book at Just Catholic. Why is that, I wonder? CarrieTomko@aol.com

The following paragraph taken from a lecture delivered at the most recent Golden Dawn Conference sums up what I think is happening within Christianity. From Basilides to Boehme The Rev. Martin Hauser As the Christian Church makes its way toward the new millennium, the mystical and ecumenical ideal of the 17th century Lutheran Pietists, �Theosophists,� and Rosicrucians is beginning to reappear in the Church. Enlightened theologians of all the major Churches are urging us to set aside the minor and accidental differences of doctrine, discipline, and Church government that have plagued us throughout the centuries and to rediscover our unity in those ancient mysteria that are common to all the Churches. Anglicans, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics have begun to practice again the ancient mystagogical disciplines that prepared the candidate for the sacrament of Christian initiation, in which the mystical union with Christ was achieved. All of the truly Christian Churches are coming to recognize that Christianity is neither a system of morality nor a collection of beliefs about God, but rather the promise of union with God through baptism into the eucharistic assembly. Can the two streams of thought be synthesized? Considering they have been branded a heresy by the Catholic Church, I don't see how Catholics could ever come to accept this synthesis. But I would have said that Catholics could never accept Pentecostalism, until they did it. It's hard to overlook the fact that the word "Mystagogia" has become a part of the RCIA program as it has been created since Vatican II. Many pronouncements by prior popes have simply been jettisoned in order to make room for new thinking about the faith. Have we simply "baptized" heresy or have we "opened the windows for a breath of fresh air in the faith"? With regard to how hermeticism/Rosicrucianism fits into Freemasonry, these paragraphs taken from Trevor Stewart's presentation at the Golden Dawn Conference, "The Quest for 'That Which Was Lost' " explains the Golden Dawn opinion. I imagine this opinion may not be shared by Grand Lodge of England Freemasonry. In examining the claims which might be made on behalf of speculative Freemasonry that it has a legitimate place within the Western Mystery Tradition, Trevor Stewart begins his paper by drawing a clear distinction between those elements of the phenomenon which might be labeled "Hermetic" (largely a matter of individual isolated study of texts and similar remains) and those practices provid�ing a Hermetic "lived-through" experience corporately/collectively (for instance in Lodges). He also offers two contrasting and complementary models of Freemasonry for investigators: the more usual, 110+ year-old historico-chronological model used within the so-called "authentic" school of Masonic historiography (which searches for origins and which depends mainly, therefore, on the earliest known physical evidence) and a "symbolic" model, popular within other circles, which searches the texts of the Craft rituals for possible Hermetic content as well as former practices that present prima facie evidence of hermetic approaches being used among certain groups of freemasons. The diffi�culties of using the historico-chronological model are explained and then accounted for in detail and the model discarded as inappropriate now. He suggests an alternative, symbolic model derived from Antoine Faivre�s analysis and outlines the reasons why this might be more useful in helping to achieve a better understanding of how Freemasonry, clearly an English cultural construct of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, might relate generally to the Western Mystery Tradition at the end of the 20th century. Trevor Stewart then proceeds to outline the differences in the approaches used by present-day freemasons within the English-speaking Constitutions on a daily basis within their Lodges and those used by freemasons within the major Continental rites such as the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, the Rectified Scottish Rite, and the Swedish Rite with which he has some personal acquaintance in Europe. Some reasons for these significant differences in the "lived-through" experiences are sug�gested in detail. Then details are given of the very few English Masonic ventures which do involve their members with Hermetic interpretations. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

GLOSSOLALIA AND ENOCHIAN MAGIC As I mentioned yesterday, Dr. Raymond Moody, an authority on near-death experiences, named his Memorial Theater of the Mind after Dr. John Dee. Dee, a well-known alchemist, pioneered the Enochian language, supposedly the language of angels. A member of Thelesis O.T.O. speaks of Dee in relation to glossolalia: The discovery of the Enochian language actually came in stages. The earliest utterings of �Enochian� by Dee actually resemble Speaking in Tongues or glossolalia. The recordings of this language show no signs of an actual language or any kind of syntax at all. This comprises Liber Logaeth or �Book of Speech from God�.� It was not until the first of the forty eight calls was dictated that the language we use today surfaced. Each of the calls use definite words repeated throughout with a real grammar. The pronunciation of these calls was very similar to English or at least the English spoken four centuries ago. The later pronunciation key invented by the G.D. is an attempt to come up with a system of pronunciation for both the Calls and the various names of the angels as pulled from the watchtowers and other assorted tablets. These names often appear to be randomly assembled letters (which they more or less are) and need special pronunciation because of the long strings of either vowels or consonants without any breaks. The same quotation appears here at this website which has a biography of Dr. John Dee. Books by and about John Dee are listed at this website, including the "Enochian Tarot." The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn also sells Dee's Enochian Magic book. The booklist of G.D. offerings includes one by R. A. Gilbert, The Golden Dawn Scrapbook. R. A. Gilbert has spoken at Canonbury Masonic Research Center on the subject of "Freemasonry and Esoteric Movements." (Essentially He believes they are not compatible.) Gilbert is Editor in Chief of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, a publication of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, the premier Masonic Research Lodge. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is located in Florida and claims that it preserves the body of knowledge known as hermeticism or the Western esoteric tradition. The original Golden Dawn was founded by Dr. William Wynn Westcott in 1888, and ceased to exist under that name in 1903. Aleister Crowley was a member at one time, but broke with the G.D. and founded his own Lodge. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn has updated their website. They now openly claim to be a source of Rosicrucian and Freemasonic knowledge, among other things. Check out the artwork links-- The Archangel Michael I don't want to ask who the man on the great seal is supposed to represent. The eyes on this Jesus the Christos icon are way over the top.� Looks like "nobody there." Reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code is this drawing of the "Golden Ratio." Explanation of Rose Cross Lamen. I like to check out the links list as well It's usually a good indication of what the group in question is into. The G.D. links page. CarrieTomko@aol.com

MORE ON THE DA VINCI CODE From Christianity Today, a refutation of Brown's claims. CarrieTomko@aol.com

GLBT PENTECOSTALS Speaking Sunday to about 75 congregants, the former Tammy Faye Bakker, the famous and fallen televangelist, delivered a message about forgiveness to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender congregation of the Pentecostal church. Hmmm yes...Pentecostalism. CarrieTomko@aol.com

OOPS! LOOKS LIKE THE WHITE HOUSE HASN'T DONE ITS HOMEWORK A Bush form letter congratulating the Metropolitain Community Church, Los Angeles, on its 35th anniversary says in part: Faith plays an important role in the lives of many Americans, offering strength and guidance for the challenges of each new day. By encouraging the celebration of faith and sharing the measure of God�s love and boundless mercy, churches like yours put hope in people�s hearts and a sense of purpose in their lives. The Metropolitain Community Church Founded by homosexual sado-masochist Troy Perry, MCC promotes acceptance of homosexuality, transgenderism and sexual promiscuity, using distorted interpretations of Biblical passages. Some MCC churches have conducted sex workshops featuring sadistic sex �dungeons� and �drag king� events, as reported by the Culture & Family Institute. CarrieTomko@aol.com

MORE CONTROVERSY OVER THE OSSUARY OF "JESUS BROTHER' Father Fitzmyer is an expert in the Aramaic language spoken by Christ and by many first-century Jews and Christians. He is a retired theology professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Lemaire, in an article published in the November/December issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, points out the weakness of the committees that the Israel Antiquities Authority appointed and the way they reached their conclusions, said Father Fitzmyer. The Jesuit noted that the Israel authority excluded non-Jewish scholars, ignored the finding of the Israel Geological Survey and did not ask experts gathered in Toronto, where the ossuary was examined recently. He called for a new, expanded group of scholars to examine the ossuary and the inscription. Father Fitzmyer said that "there is no question that the ossuary is authentic, only whether the writing dates to 60 A.D. or it is wholly or partly faked, and whether the names on it reflect Christian-Jewish history." "My area of expertise questions how to interpret the Aramaic," he said. Father Fitzmyer said he concludes that the Aramaic word for "brother" used in the inscription does not conclusively prove that Jesus is being referred to as the full brother of James. He cited differing Eastern and Western traditions in Christianity. Orthodox Christians believe James was the stepbrother of Jesus, Catholics in the West traditionally have believed that James was a cousin of Jesus, and Protestants today tend to identify James as a full brother of Jesus, he said. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE DA VINCI CODE REVIEWED by Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for Crosswalk.com is linked at catholicnexus.com this morning. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

UNIVERSITY OF MAINE FACULTY MEMBER Dr. Kyriacos Markides, Professor, has some unusual interests. I see that Dr. Raymond Moody has given a short review of Homage to the Sun. More on Dr. Moody below. CarrieTomko@aol.com

IS SCRYING GOING MAINSTREAM? Dr. Raymond Moody, M.D., Ph.D., author of best selling Life After Life which has sold over 10 million copies, has released his new book Life After Loss. The subject of these books, concealed behind the innocuous-sounding concept of "conquering grief and finding hope," is mediumistic communication with the disembodied. It is Dr. Moody who coined the term "near-death experience" according to his website. The website lists his up-coming seminars. Dr. Moody uses the word "paranormalists" to replace "medium" and doesn't speak of "channeling" though that is what he is teaching. If attending one of his lectures is not an option, he provides distance learning courses. Take a look at the description of the "Nonsense Workshop," #2 on the list at the "courses" link. "Nonsense--i.e. language that is unintelligible due to lack of meaning--is a foundational concept of both Western and Eastern thought." On the "Reflections" page, "nonsense" link he further elaborates this "nonsense:" For example, nonsensical utterances were among the means attendants used at the ancient Greeks psychomanteions for evoking the spirits of the deceased. The attendants spoke meaningless, polysyllabic words as a way of helping prepare visitors for visionary encounters with the departed. Dr. Moody is creator and founder of the "Dr. John Dee Memorial Theater of the Mind." The Pensacola News Journal covered his appearance at the 2003 Spirit of Light Expo. Dr. John Dee is well known in occult circles. Such a phenomenon is well-known in Catholic circles as well. We call it "speaking in tongues." A New Age website discusses it with these words: Spiritism, Guidance by the Holy Spirit As foretold by Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit or the Spirits of Truth are now extending their divine guidance and instruction to everyone. Their objective is to facilitate our enlightenment and further our spiritual development.� In this school, instruction is not only based on the second-hand information or hearsay evidence contained in the Bible and other revered writings. Instead, each student is afforded the special opportunity to prove the theoretical teachings by drawing from his own personal experiences.� Those who are so inclined are aided in the development of their spiritual faculties. Those who prefer to serve in other ways are similarly assisted. Although Spiritism is not for everyone, those who genuinely aspire to get to heaven should seriously consider attending this school. In their conclusion, they offer: From the various books on positive thinking to personal psychic experiences and travels to worlds beyond: from UFO sightings to �Life after Life�s� "Beings of Light;" from the evangelists� prayers for healing and the 700 Club�s words of knowledge to the bare-handed operations of psychic surgeons; from the teachings of the gurus and the Ancient Wisdom of Theosophy to the dissertations of Lobsang Rampa; from the speaking in tongues and the Marian apparitions and messages to communication with Spirit guides and Holy Spirits, the Truth is on the march.� Scripture gives somewhat different instruction: Let there not be found among you...a fortune-teller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead. Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord, and because of such abominations the Lord, your God, is driving these nations out of your way. You, however, must be altogether sincere toward the Lord, your God. Though these nations whom you are to dispossess listen to their soothsayers and fortunetellers, the Lord, your God, will not permit you to do so. Deut 18:10--14 The CCC clinches it with: #2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to concilitate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ARCHBISHOP MILINGO IS IN THE NEWS AGAIN along with another woman. Amy Welborn has it blogged. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, November 17, 2003

ROWAN WILLIAMS RECEIVES CATHOLIC AWARDTHE Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday received one of the top honours awarded by the Catholic Church. Former Archbishop of Wales Dr Rowan Williams is the first Archbishop of Canterbury to be made Knight Grand Cross - the highest grade - of the Royal Order of Francis I. The award is for developing and encouraging dialogue between Protestants and Catholics both in his time as Archbishop of Canterbury and in his previous positions, the ceremony's organisers said. Why now of all times? CarrieTomko@aol.com

BRITISH CHILDREN WILL NO LONGER BE SPANKED Parents' right to smack their children would finally be abolished under a historic attempt to outlaw physical punishment within the home. The Government is expected to include new laws on protecting children from abuse in the Queen's Speech next week, in response to the death of Victoria Climbi�, the little girl who was killed in London by her great-aunt after social workers missed glaring signs that she was in danger. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DON WILDMON OF AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION issues this alert: The Federal Communications Commission has approved the use of the "F" word for use on any TV show or radio program, ANYTIME DAY OR NIGHT! The FCC said the word can be used whenever desired except in sexual situations! That means that real soon you will be watching a sit-com on TV, or news, or any drama or movie-ANY PROGRAM-and it is ok! Hollywood is rejoicing! A little early Christmas present from our government--a new low in tackyness for the American culture. Just what we needed to brighten up the holiday season. CarrieTomko@aol.com

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH SEVERS RELATIONSHIP WITH ECUSA MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) - The Russian Orthodox Church is freezing relations with the Episcopal Church in the United States, the External Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church reported on Monday. Gene Robinson's ordination as a bishop of the church was cited as the reason for this decision, the department said. Gene Robinson is the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop. The Russian Orthodox Church believes "homosexuality to be a sin, which isolates man from God."... The Russian Orthodox Church had maintained good relations with the Episcopal Church in the United States for almost 200 years, including during the Cold War period, "when Christians retained mutual understanding in a world divided by military blocs," it says. "However, the bishopric of a homosexual makes impossible any contacts with him and his electors in clerical dialog and the humanitarian, religious and public spheres," the statement says. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THEOSOPHY AND FREEMASONRY IN INDIA is the subject today at the Sociology of the Esoteric and Science News website. Some of the goals of both of these organizations are summarized in these two paragraphs from the article: Creeds and modes of worship may differ but the idea that God is one is common to the whole race. And in the love of God, common to humanity is to be found that harmony which it is the mission of the Universal Religion not only to preach but which it strives to make an actuality of life.... Saints, therefore, ask you to look beyond yourselves-to a centre that is within yourself, and it is only when the seed of goodness will have been sown there that it will fructify into what is called Universal Brotherhood, Universal Love, and Universal Religion. (speech delivered at the Social Reform Association, Mangalore, 1900, in The Speeches and Writings of Sir Narayen Ganesh Chandavarkar, 88.) An important goal of the Hindu reform movements looked at here was not only to modernize society, but to elaborate a universal religion which could serve as the basis for a new, universal polity, although for practical purposes this meant a unified Indian/Hindu nation (whether Hindu or Indian was not always made clear) whose diverse elements would be harmonized by a latitudinarian spirituality which stressed fraternity. "Universal Religion." "God is one" though creeds and modes of worship may differ. Sure sounds like some of the ideas emanating from the Catholic ecumenical movement. Sounds like the ideas coming out of URI as well. CarrieTomko@aol.com

SPIRIT DAILY CONTINUES TO COVER THE FATIMA MAKE-OVER with pictures of the shrine as it looks now, along with the pictures of the planned....(words to describe it elude me.) CarrieTomko@aol.com

ALEISTER CROWLEY IN THE LIBRARY NEWS of the Woburn Advocate, Concord, MA: Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), a British author of occult and magic books, was the founder of Ordo Templi Orientis. His face is one of many on the album cover of the Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Is "The Beast" becoming a household pet? CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, November 16, 2003

FR. GINO CONCETTI'S COMMENTS ON COMMUNICATION WITH THE DEAD as reported for the London Observer Service by John Hooper: He said the Church remained opposed to the raising of spirits, but added: "Communication is possible between those who live on this earth and those who live in a state of eternal repose, in heaven or purgatory. It may even be that God lets our loved ones send us messages to guide us at certain moments in our life." His comments were first made in support of an American theologian, the Rev. John Neuhaus. Neuhaus had described how a friend had seen a ghost. He said there were various explanations, but "the important thing is not to deny such things a priority." This appears to be the same article I linked below that had been picked up by an occult news website. The Australian Skeptics have picked up Fr. Concetti's comments: 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.' At the "Campaign for Philosophical Freedom" website I found this quote: It is no Longer a Sin to Contact the Deceased Through a Medium by Michael Roll One of the most competent theologians of the Vatican, Father Gino Concetti, writing in the "Osservatore Romano", the daily paper of the Holy See, says that, "According to the modern catechism the Church has decided not to forbid anymore to dialogue with the deceased ... this is as a sequel of new discoveries within the domain of the paranormal." (November 1995) This u-turn from the Vatican came as no surprise to those who have known for many years that the Roman Catholic Church has been carrying out scientific experiments with their own mediums. This scientific approach was predicted many years ago by the outstanding medium Ena Twigg. This coincided with her breakthrough in persuading the Lord Bishop of Southwark, the Rt. Rev. Mervyn Stockwood, to let her demonstrate her gift in Southwark Cathedral. At this time it did look as if the Anglo-Catholic Church was going to take the lead in getting the proof of survival after death through to everybody in the world. However, Ena Twigg's etheric contacts surprised people by making it very clear that the new Renaissance would start in the Roman Catholic Church! With the benefit of hindsight this paradox does start to make sense, because the Vatican learnt the hard way what it is like to be on the losing side when it backed Hitler and the Nazis. This time they have decided to join the winning side. However, there are a few more u-turns the Vatican will have to make before the metamorphosis is complete. The Roman Catholic priests will be getting the same instructions as everybody else who has bothered to make contact with etheric people through mediums. It does not matter whether the scientist--seeker after knowledge--is a Christian or an atheist, the message from the etheric wavelengths is always the same: "You all survive death, there is no place here just reserved for Christians or anybody else. The only thing that counts is how you have behaved during your short stay on Earth." A case of words being stretched until they are transparent, or a real sea change? Hmmmm. They seem to have completely missed RCC teaching on the particular judgment. Fr. Concetti is on the right side regarding cloning, invitro fertilization, euthanasia and homosexuality. He is no radical by any stretch of the imagination. So I tend to believe he does not have the contact through mediums in mind with the Communion of Saints either. In an interview for The Catholic Telegraph, Fr. Concetti said: Jesuit Father Gino Concetti, chief theological commentator for L�Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, wrote in that publication a few years ago that "communication is possible between those who live on this earth and those who live in a state of eternal repose, in heaven or purgatory. It may even be that God lets our loved ones send us messages to guide us at certain moments in our life. "While some psychics have hailed this statement as an indication that the church may be more receptive to the work of mediums, Father Concetti told The Catholic Telegraph this month that this is not the case and that the statement has been wrongly interpreted. He points to The Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 954 and 958, two paragraphs which he says summarize "Catholic teaching on the relations between the pilgrim church (the living) and the church �being purified� or the church �triumphant� ( the dead). "Father Concetti also notes that the Old Testament has clear reference to necromancy (the conjuring of the dead) in 1 Samuel 28, when Saul consults "the witch of Endor," asking her to conjure up Samuel, with disastrous results. The footnote in the New Jerusalem Bible says observes that necromancy was practiced in Israel although it was forbidden by law. Is it possible, The Catholic Telegraph asked Father Concetti, that the church risks making a mistake akin to that which was made with Galileo, by not investigating further the connection between paranormal abilities and science? Pope John Paul II himself has said that "science can purify religion from error and superstition, and religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes." "With regard to mediums, there is no fear that the church will repeat the error she made with Galileo, because the facts and reality are different," the theologian said. "Many studies have been carried out in this field in Italy, but none of them hypothesizes a substitution of God or an absolutization of what the medium has invoked." John Edward is familiar with this theological argument. "A priest I have come to know puts it this way: �According to the church, there�s only one medium, and that�s Jesus Christ. He�ll tell us everything we need to know.� " "Not everyone embraces my work," he says, "even if they believe in the afterlife. Even thought the afterlife is a key tenet of my own Catholic Church, and many Catholics openly include spirit communication in their own lives, the church itself frowns on it." I see that they call him a Jesuit. Every other article indicated he is a Dominican. CarrieTomko@aol.com

FROM ESOTERIC AND SCIENCE NEWS an interesting juxtaposition of Freemasonry and The Da Vinci Code as well as a comment about impact Islam has had on Freemasonry: My own decision to cover the subject more in depth and truthful is upon reading a book in 2000, �Des Maurers Wandeln, es gleicht dem Leben� in this case two german authors who �really� studied the history of many different Masonic groups and pointed out how little is currently known about their accurate history. Not only are books published as �non-fiction� �Holy Blood, Holy Grail� by Baigent, are in fact fictional, books like� the �Da Vinci Code� and written in line with the previous book by Dan Brown, �Talisman, the Sacred Cities and the Secret Faith� even less based on historical accounts. Although Masonry is a much more readily found in areas of the world where Christianity is present than those where Islam is the major religion. Partially, this is a result of Masonry's historical development, having taken its symbolism from the streams of thought that were present in or entered Western Europe. Islamic thought was purged along with the expulsion of the Spanish Moors, to surface only in the esoteric literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century Rosicrucians and Freemasons. The Islamic contribution to Masonry is recognizable in references to cosmology and the creation of sacred space. CarrieTomko@aol.com

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