Saturday, January 24, 2004

THE GIFT OF TEARS is described at this Byzantine Forum website. It describes the gift of tears as the treasure of a monk. In reading it, it struck me what a contrast this is to the "happy-happy" requirements of Roman Catholicism, where we are sometimes told that if we cannot laugh, we don't know Christ. Tears are not an element of our spirituality, but rather they are seen as an absence of true religious perception of our salvation. Is this the difference between practicing the faith in a nation that has suffered persecution and practicing the faith in a nation that has welcomed the faith? I can't think of a better explanation. Even more sharply does this contrast with the activities and spirituality of the two priests who have been in the news here in the Cleveland Diocese for the last couple of days. Yet the state of the Roman Church in America calls for tears and would be better served if we could cry them instead of responding with laughter as I have responded when yet another priest makes the headlines. Christ surely is not laughing. CarrieTomko@aol.com

FR. ARKO is once again the subject of discussion at Amy's blog. She has this article linked. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, January 23, 2004

MOTHERHOOD or "Recovering Motherhood" to be more accurate, is the topic of Laura Garcia's article which was sent to me by a reader. It's been sitting in my mailbox for some time, waiting for the moment when a positive article about Catholic values was absolutely essential. The news of the last several days makes this the moment. Why does the world turn its back on motherhood? I've been wrestling with this question for decades. I mean, it's not like the world can do without mothers. Well, it could, but only for a short while. Society is forced to somehow make a place for this role, and does it grudgingly. If we are to believe the culture mongers, we must accept that the role of motherhood is a calling several rungs below that of vagrant. A mother has no status. She is invisible. She is inconsequential. Nonexistent. I have even heard a mother who doesn't have a job she is paid for called a "parasite." Ok ladies, if you don't believe me, next time you're out with your husband at a dinner party or business event and someone asks you what you do, tell them you are a mother and homemaker and see how quickly they dismiss you by moving their eyes to someone else at the table. It's just assumed that you have nothing to say. I remember many years ago when I was sitting at a dinner table with three other couples, all colleagues of my husband and their wives. The deadly question came up, and the dismissal was right on schedule. Not long after that a topic was being discussed that caught the men's interest. A subject that for some reason I knew something about. Apparently the rest of the ladies at the table didn't, because they lapsed into silence. About half way into the conversation I was suddenly stunned to realize that I was talking and everyone else at the table was listening to me. I nearly forgot everything I wanted to say, it was such a shock! Sometimes I'd like to tell the world that it is actually possible to qualify as human even if all you do all day revolves around the few people in the world who are most dear to your heart. It isn't necessary to spend the day in the company of co-workers and strangers in order to qualify as a member of the human race. But you didn't check in here to read another rant. The Lord knows I've been overworking my indignation factor lately, although this passage from the article says it as well: Mercedes Wilson, Guatemalan delegate to that conference, [United Nations Conference on Women] reports that every attempt to add the word "mother" to the list of professions that should be open to women was soundly defeated by the Western delegates. Many women today see motherhood as a threat to women's participation in sectors of society outside the domestic sphere. Motherhood cannot liberate women, in their view, it can only frustrate and enslave them. But then so does this one: What can today's women - especially those working outside the home and those in positions of leadership - learn from this first-century housewife of Nazareth? Everything, according to Pope John Paul II. It's safe to say that no other pope in the history of the Church has written so extensively and so eloquently about women, from his early encyclical on "The Mother of the Redeemer" through "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women" and, most recently, the beautiful "Letter to Women" of last summer. He's right, of course. Our role model is Mary. But I confess that looking to her can be awfully intimidating. With the best intentions in the world I fall so very far short of the ideal. Mary is all woman. She looks feminine in all those flowing clothes. And I look in the mirror and see blue jeans. You just know that Mary's hair is long and lovely, while mine is short and windblown from my trip to the grocery store. Somehow Mary would never get annoyed when Jesus tracked mud across the floor. While the wet rug from the snow my husband brought in on his shoes was really annoying when I stepped on it with nothing but socks on my feet. Mary never had dirty dishes piled up in the sink. She never burned the dinner. And she certainly never spoke with a sharp tongue. I fail to measure up on a daily, and sometimes on an hourly basis. And another thing Mary never did. She never got angry with God. Even when she had to give up her home and move to a distant town because someone wanted to kill her baby. She never said, "God, what on earth do You think You are doing? I've just had a baby for goodness sake, and that's a long trip. We don't have a home there. We don't even have relatives there. And you expect me to just pick up and go? I think you have lost your wits!" No, Mary never did that. But I have done that sort of thing. Much too often. I've looked up to the heavens and asked, "Are You paying attention at all to what's happening here?" So I don't like to look to Mary as a role model. Better to pick on St. Anne who was at least human and thus sinful. Much more like me. I can relate to St. Anne. Or St. Elizabeth, maybe. But not Mary. I can, however, take a quick glance in Mary's direction every now and then to keep the goal in sight, to keep a perspective on life that is built into my womanly nature. In short, to keep in mind what God believes makes up the most wonderful woman the world has ever known. CarrieTomko@aol.com

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS vs. UNCHANGING TRUTH If we argue that the whole disagreement over the Pope's opinion of Gibson's film is about political incorrectness, aren't we implying that it is no longer politically correct to hold the crucifixion as part of our theology? But no Catholic would subscribe to such a revision in the name of political correctness. We are talking about an historical event here. It really did happen in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. And some far off Jews were part of the cadre demanding the death sentence. If that is going to disrupt ecumenical efforts with the Jews, is there really any hope for those efforts to succeed? We can't exactly say, "Well let's just forget about that unfortunate incident." And even the best political spin artist is not going to be able to find a way for the Pope to apologize for the crucifixion so as to make nice smooth relations with the Jews in the interests of peace. We go forward with ecumenism by sticking to the truth (see Dominus Iesus), and trying to find some way to live with the truth of another's religion. We don't make progress by changing the theology of our own faith in order to salve the feelings of those we dialogue with. Yet doesn't this disagreement revolve around these very issues? CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, January 22, 2004

YOGAPRIEST AND FR. GREENHOUSE Both Envoy Encore and Amy Welborn's blog have covered the stories about the Akron area priests--stories that are also up at the Free Republic website which a reader sent. Fr. Greenhouse was on the evening news, wearing his new orange vestments and sitting docilely in custody. His garden was there as well, decorating the empoundment closet. Nice plants. Seems that he has a green thumb. It's not entirely clear whether his talents extended to the other green stuff his garden provided, or whether the matching paper was handled by his associate. A very shocked lady I knew many years ago was interviewed, and vouched unhesitatingly for our gardener's character. It seems that he was much loved and respected. Meanwhile Yogapriest assures us that yoga is spiritual but not religious, expecting us to believe there really is a difference. Could I say that he is bending over backwards to put a good spin on these activities? Maybe he has just made one too many visits to Fr. Greenhouse. They are practically neighbors. And the Cleveland Diocese blunders on... Update... CALL SHAKESPEARE--THE SEQUAL TO "COMEDY OF ERRORS" IS WAITING FOR HIM IN AKRON Make that Fr. YOGA Greenhouse. A reader found this one at "Visions of the Nile". Our flexible father with the green thumb is mentioned all the way down at the bottom of the page where the lady in clothes tells us how she landed on the website with the ladies in uhmmmm...well...see for yourself. From the website: Her major influences for teaching and practicing Yoga began with her first teacher certification with Jan Hauenstein, CYT with Try for Life Yoga School. Her steadfast and by far the most enriching and education teaching experience has been with Yoga Fr. Rick Arko from Sacred Ground Yoga. Susan has been with Fr. for six years and feels "there's no better feeling when you finally find your teacher/Guru." Through Fr. Rick's introduction, Susan was led to the teachings of Yoga Amrit Desai which she is currently studying and practicing Yogi Desai's teaching for future certifications in Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Nidra program. "My intention for the future of Yoga is to bring these ancient and healing teaching to anyone who is interested in enjoying a healthier, happier life." Ok, now will someone please check out the spare bedrooms of Yogapriest's rectory in case some housekeeping is needed before the police arrive! Wouldn't want any blue uniforms finding stray "Visions of the Nile" practicing Yoga amid the greenery in there. This seems to be the sort of thing he does when Fr. Arko takes time out from his other activities to be a priest. Some folks do say that drugs enhance spirituality. But perhaps we should ask Fr. Arko about that since he seems to be in a position to know. Someone should tell Bishop Pilla that the Cleveland Diocese is not meant to compete with Laugh-In. CarrieTomko@aol.com

"JESUS - MARIA !" is a favorite expression of my Polish mother-in-law. She uses it whenever events seem to be spiraling out of control; and when she uses it we all know she is upset and disgusted with whatever is going on. I never knew where it came from or what exactly prompted the use of the expression. Until today. But let me begin at the beginning. It seems that the Pope's five little words, "It is as it was." have sparked an international controversy. Did he say it? Did someone lie? Just what is going on over there? Rod Dreher and Peggy Noonan are at the center of the controversy. Rod will be appearing on ABC News in an interview tonight. Discussion of this topic has been heavy in Amy Welborn's weblog. At this moment there are 87 posts in the comments box, and the number continues to climb. Could it be that what lies at the heart of this confusion is that the continuing ecumenical efforts of John Paul II to the Jews would be thwarted by this comment about Gibson's movie? In attempting to learn more about the thinking of the Pope, I have come upon the expression "Polish messianism" coined by J. M. Hoene-Wronski which explains a lot about the Pope's attitude toward Judaism. A good explanation of this concept is given at the George Fox University website where a paper by Waldemar Chrostowski titled "The Suffering, Chosenness and Mission of the Polish Nation" under the sub-heading "The Jewish Complexes of Poles" describes the Polish mentality with this description of historical revisionism: In the first half of the 17th century the Franciscan Rev. Wojciech Dembolecki (c. 1585-1647) gained renown for his "complete" reconstruction of the genealogy of Poles in order to increase the national splendor. He even Polonized Adam and Eve by stating that the first parents had spoken Polish in paradise. He recognized Polish language as the first language of the world. Other languages appeared as a result of the corruption of the Polish spoken in paradise. The kings of Poland are the descendants of the ancient Slavs, the first rulers of the world. The Polish nation deserves primacy over other nations....Poland is a chosen nation whose destiny is political domination over the world. This messianism has much in common with the political claims of popular Jewish messianism.... To a certain degree the "redemption" of Poland was also a Jewish cause. This may not be as extreme as it seems on first reading. As Chrostowski states, "Toward the end of the 17th century the Jewish community in Poland comprised three-fourths of world Jewry." Yet we think of Poland as Catholic--as always having been Catholic, though Poland became Catholic only in the second half of the 17th century. The Catholic identity has been growing ever since. Certainly nationhood and religion are intermingled in Poland. The Poles have come to see their country as a "Christ-nation" suffering for the world of nations as Christ suffered for all of humanity; or as Chrostowski puts it, "The philosophy of history of the chosenness and mission of Poland has much in common with the biblical idea of the chosenness and mission of Israel." and "Poland is sui generis the chosen nation...The mission of Poles is the renewal of Europe and the conversion of the Ukraine and the East." It's a vision and a challenge that John Paul II has risen to and focused on unrelentingly. But just defending the faith on the homefront has been especially difficult for Poles: In the last three decades of the 18th century Poland was divided among her neighbors--Russia, Prussia, and Austria--in three successive partitions (1772, 1792, 1795). In the face of humiliations and the loss of political independence the image of the sufferings of Christ became ever more suggestive, to which the Poles added their own highly emotional input... The theological explanation of the sufferings and fall of Poland was the work of the romantics. In contrast to their ideological kinsmen from the West they did not draw from ancient pagan literatures but from the Bible, especially from the New Testament....Participation in the suffering and Passion of Christ is expressed in the sufferings of Poles. In the first half of the 19th century specific analogies between the lot of the Savior and Poland became part of the Polish religious mind... What becomes part of the religious mind in Poland is also part of the national identity. One brotherhood that formed to defend the faith took as their catchword "Jesus-Mary" according to the article. That, I suspect, is the source of my mother-in-law's favorite phrase. This brotherhood used a cross sewn on their clothes, and on their ensigns they used the image of the Mother of God, Queen of Poland. But the heart and soul of the Polish national image was formed by the Polish poets of the early to mid 1800s, A. Mickiewicz, J. Slowacki, and C. K. Norwid among them. These poets were the influence on the early life of John Paul II. As George Weigel puts it in Witness to Hope: Karol Wojtyla deepened his understanding of this singular way of reading history in his adolescent encounter with the great poet/dramatists of Polish Romanticism, including Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, and Cyprian Kamil Norwid. p. 34 In fact, Slowacki even predicted the election of John Paul II: Like other Polish Romantics, [Slowacki] was convinced that partitioned, suffering Poland played a unique role in the drama of world history. In Slowacki's case, this meant that the "Spirit" which had created the world and shaped each succeeding phase of history now resided in Poland. There, it would give birth to a figure who would lead humanity beyond its present sufferings into a new and better future. It was during this last, mystical period in his career that Slowacki wrote a poem about a "Slav Pope" who would be a "brother" to all humanity. The major work of this phase of his life was the unfinished epic King-Spirit, a poem that "presents the wandering of the Spirit as it informs...leaders, kings, and saints throughout the centuries of European civilizations." Here, Slowacki most powerfully displayed that mystical bent in which according to Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, "he raised historical events to cosmic dimensions and saw in history superhuman, mystical forces shaping the fate of mankind." (ibid. p. 35) This goes a long way toward explaining why the Pope's first visit to Poland had such an enormous impact on the Polish people. They saw in John Paul II the fulfillment of the prophecy of their national hero. If the Jews are the Chosen People, and Poland is the Chosen nation, the obvious logical move would be to unite the two. There is one problem...they do not share the same faith, and both this people and this nation draw their identity from their faith. And so John Paul II labors to find common ground, to see in the Jewish religion the history of his own, and to dialogue with Rabbis in the hope that he can help them see in his religion the fullfillment of Judaism. Which brings us to Gibson's movie. If the Pope's comment, "It is as it was" will put a burden on the Jewish people that will hamper ecumenical efforts, he does not want to be associated with the comment. On the other hand, he may believe Gibson's depiction is accurate and wish to state that belief for the sake of Christians who will want to know what he thinks. What to do about this dilemma? Make the statement, but quickly retract it in order to safeguard his ecumenical efforts? It's a possible explanation, though not necessarily one that Catholics would be comfortable with. And there are probably others. In any case, what has resulted are charges of lies going the rounds, and blame being placed, and a new sense of doubt sprung up in the relations between the Vatican and the press. Or as my mother-in-law would say..."Jesus-Maria !" CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I CAN DESTROY YOUR CHURCH - CONCLUSION ALEISTER CROWLEY "Do with them what you will." The words of Satan in Pope Leo's vision ring out today from the many pages of occult literature which quote Aleister Crowley's axiom "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." The coincidence-if indeed it is merely coincidence-is striking. Born in England, into a wealthy brewing family, in 1875, the year that Levi died, and the year that H. P. Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society, Alexander Crowley was raised by strict fundamentalist Christian parents of the Plymouth Brethren sect. During his early years he received a thoroughly Biblical education, developing at the same time a contempt for Christianity. His father died when he was 12. Intellectually brilliant at an early age, he studied the liberal arts at Trinity College of Cambridge University. He also pursued a self-directed program of mysticism, esotericism, alchemy and magic, as well as writing poetry. Crowley joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania Temple in 1898, where he befriended Allan Bennett. His inherited fortune permitted him to remain unemployed. A major schism between the London and Paris Golden Dawn temples, a schism that revolved around Crowley, resulted in his leaving the Golden Dawn. He next studied Yoga in the Orient with Allan Bennett. Returning to England, Crowley married Rose Kelly. The couple honeymooned in Cairo where a discarnate being named Aiwass, whom Crowley believed was his guardian angel, dictated The Book of the Law to Crowley. That book became the scriptures of Thelema, Crowley's philosophy-religion, which he indicated represented the birth of a "New Aeon" dedicated to individual freedom and joy. The Age of the Egyptian god Horus, son of the sun-god Osiris. Among his many titles, Crowley was pleased to be called "the wickedest man in the world," "the Beast," and "666" out of the Book of Revelation. Claiming to be the reincarnation of Eliphas Levi who died the year Crowley was born, he lived a bi-sexual lifestyle, frequently using prostitutes for his temple rituals. He was also an admitted drug user. Both of his two wives went insane. Five mistresses committed suicide. Scores of his concubines became alcoholics, drug addicts, or entered mental institutions according to Martin Gardner in his book On the Wild Side. During his lifetime, Crowley's poetry and numerous books were considered too hot to handle by the publishing houses. Crowley spent his inheritance on self-publication. Today the books, having entered the public domain in 1998, are widely available in reprints. Crowley had a reputation as a Satanist, although Martin Gardner says it would be more accurate to say that he worshipped himself. Crowley became the head of an Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) Lodge and set up headquarters at the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily, which was considered an unsanitary hovel. A devotee died at the Abbey, and the devotee's wife went to the London tabloid press which carried reports of black magic rituals and other scandalous occurrences. With the rise of Mussolini, Crowley was expelled from Sicily in 1923. According to the report at The Biography Project.com, Thelema mixes Christianity, Gnosticism and Masonry into its magical rituals. Crowley is also credited with practicing Tantra, a form of sexmagick. Numerous groups today trace their roots to the influence of this man who was, himself, influenced by the occultic teaching of Eliphas Levi and of Theosophy. Gerald Gardner, the Father of modern Wicca, was a student of Crowley, as was Satanist Anton LeVay. Charles Manson and others involved in the Sharon Tate murder were followers of Crowley. The Gnostic Catholic Church today still uses the Gnostic Mass that Crowley wrote. The ritual is online, and bears some resemblance to the Roman Catholic Mass. However, there is a priestess as well as a priest and two children altar servers. Crowley practiced homosexual sex magick with a student, Victor Neuberg, according to James W. Revak in an online article, "Aleister Crowley: Tarotist of the New Aeon." They attempted to confront the demon of chaos, Chroronzon. The demon appeared, attacked Neuberg in the form of a naked savage, attempting to kill him. Neuberg invoked God and counter attacked with a magical dagger and the demon was contained. Crowley wrote The Book of Thoth late in life. The book explains the meaning of each of the 78 cards in his tarot deck created with the help of an artist. He advocated the integration of spirituality with sexuality. In The Book of the Law, he wrote: "We refuse to regard love as shameful and degrading, as a peril to body and soul." His tarot deck reflects that belief. Crowley died in 1947, in poverty, yet his message lives on. Today the O.T.O. still remains an active organization. There are lodges in 19 states plus the Grand Lodge which moves from place to place. Worldwide there are lodges in 21 countries, several located in the Balkans and Scandinavia. Additionally, British journalist Gavin Baddeley, who specializes in the occult, rock music and trash culture, traces the roots of black metal and death metal music to Crowley and the O.T.O. in his book Lucifer Rising. Crowley is very much with us still today. H. P. BLAVATSKY Most of the Western Christian Kabalists-pre-eminently Eliphas Levi-in their desire to reconcile the Occult Sciences with Church dogmas, did their best to make of the "Astral Light" only and pre-eminently the pleroma of early Church Fathers, the abode of the Hosts of the Fallen Angels, of the "Archons" and "Powers." (Blavatsky, p. 196) Discussing and explaining the nature of the invisible Elements and the "primordial fire"�Eliphas Levi calls it invariably the "Astral Light." It is the "grand Agent Magique" with him; undeniably it is so, but-only so far as Black Magic is concerned�" (ibid. p. 254) Those are two of the many citations of Eliphas Levi's writing that Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB) makes in one of her two greatest works, The Secret Doctrine. Founder of the Theosophical Society and codifier of its doctrines, Blavatsky was born in Southern Russia in 1831, daughter of a novelist who promoted women's causes and a father who was a Colonel in the Russian army. Her grandmother was a princess. From her early years she was a disruptive force in the household and exhibited psychic tendencies. At seventeen she married an older man, though some say the marriage was never consummated, then left him to begin her world travels. She was seldom long in one place. She spent a brief period of time in America, establishing the Theosophical Society in 1875, the year Eliphas Levi died, and Aleister Crowley was born, with the help of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and William Quan Judge; then she departed for the Orient. She visited Tibet-some say only in her imagination-where her religious-philosophical beliefs took on distinctly Eastern qualities. She visited Ceylon where she and Colonel Olcott became officially Buddhists. Today the international headquarters of the Society is located in Adyar, India. In her last years she returned to England at the request of the English Theosophists and founded the monthly magazine Lucifer whereby she intended "to bring to light the hidden things of darkness" as she stated on the magazine's title page. The purposes of the Theosophical Society at its founding were: 1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color. 2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and Science 3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature, and the powers latent in man. In 1890 Blavatsky established the European Headquarters of the Theosophical Society at St. John's Wood, London. She died in 1891. Horace Greeley was among her followers as was Annie Besant, who took over the presidency when Olcott died. The Liberal Catholic Church is closely associated with Theosophy. It traces its apostolic succession via the Old Catholic Church of Holland, and incorporates Theosophical principles while promoting intellectual freedom. It claims to have rediscovered Ancient Wisdom while abandoning the stultifying dogmatism of traditional orthodox Christian churches, though it does not yet ordain women. C. W. Leadbeater, one of the founders of Co-Masonry, was a bishop in this church. Another follower of HPB was Rudolf Steiner, who founded the German branch of the Theosophical Society in Berlin, 1902. From its inception, the German Branch took a somewhat different tack. Steiner, a Rosicrucian, was convinced Christianity could not be eliminated from Western culture. Robert A. McDermott, in his book The Essential Steiner, explains Steiner's reasoning: For Eastern initiations must, of necessity, leave untouched the Christ-principle as the central cosmic factor of evolution. Yet without this principle the Theosophical movement must remain without any decisive effect on Western culture, which has the life of Christ at its point of origin. In the West, the revelations of Oriental initiation would have to live as a mere sectarian alongside the living culture. Their only hope of affecting evolution would be if they could eradicate the Christ-principle from Western Culture. This, however, would be identical with extinguishing the essential meaning of the earth, which lies in the knowledge and realization of the intentions of the living Christ. To make these intentions known in their full wisdom, beauty, and deed-forms is, however, exactly the deepest aim of Rosicrucianism. As to the study of the Eastern wisdom, one can only be of the opinion that this study is of highest value, for the Western peoples have lost a sense for the esoteric, while the Eastern peoples have retained it. About the introduction of the appropriate esotericism for the West, there can again be but one view-that this can only be the Rosicrucian-Christian, for this has given birth to Western life and through its loss mankind would deny the earth its meaning and purpose. Only in this esotericism can blossom the harmony of science and religion, whereas any melding of Western knowledge with Eastern esotericism can only breed such infertile hybrids as Esoteric Buddhism. (McDermott, p. 22) Steiner coded all Theosophical principles in Christian terminology while retaining his belief in reincarnation and evolution. This was not compatible with Eastern religions. A schism was inevitable. In 1913 Steiner broke with the Theosophical Society and founded his own Anthroposophical Society in Berlin. Today Anthroposophy is most visible in the growing number of Waldorf Schools internationally. The first Waldorf School was founded by Steiner in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. Anthroposophical principles are integral to Waldorf education. The international headquarters of Anthroposophy is located in Dornach, Switzerland at the Goetheanum, a building designed by Steiner. Biodynamics, another of Steiner's methodologies, is prominent in organic gardening. The method combines spiritual principles with concrete organic methods. Steiner wrote a series of mystery plays which are performed in Dornach. They have taken on greater popularity recently. Wall Mart sells a paperback edition of one of them. He also helped to found a church which accommodates Anthroposophy. Called The Christian Community, they observe seven sacraments including The Consecration of Man, and ordain women to the clergy. They have no doctrine, assuming that each member will come to their own conclusions about the spiritual world. Esoteric or Egyptian Rite Freemasonry has come out of the Secret Societies and now stands in the glaring sunlight in the form of the New Age Movement, and as the New Age Movement grows, Freemasonry seems to be shrinking. Perhaps its purpose has been served? Did Our Lady of Fatima attempt to tell us something with the miracle of the sun? It does seem ironic that the index to Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma lists 76 entries for "sun." Pike, the Scottish Rite guru, describes sun worship in all of its various forms in this book dedicated to explaining the 32 degrees of the Scottish Rite, a branch of French Grand Orient Freemasonry. In explaining the 32nd degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Albert Pike writes: The Occult Science of the Ancient Magi was concealed under the shadows of the Ancient Mysteries: it was imperfectly revealed or rather disfigured by the Gnostics: it is guessed at under the obscurities that cover the pretended crimes of the Templars; and it is found enveloped in enigmas that seem impenetrable, in the Rites of the Highest Masonry. Magism was the Science of Abraham and Orpheus, of Confucius and Zoroaster. It was the dogmas of this Science that were engraven on the tables of stone by Hannoch and Trismegistus. Moses purified and re-veiled them, for that is the meaning of the word reveal. He covered them with a new veil, when he made of the Holy Kabalah the exclusive heritage of the people of Israel, and the inviolable Secret of its priests. The Mysteries of Thebes and Eleusis preserved among the nations some symbols of it, already altered, and the mysterious key whereof was lost among the instruments of an ever-growing superstition. Jerusalem, the murderess of her prophets, and so often prostituted to the false gods of the Syrians and Babylonians, had at length in its turn lost the Holy Word, when a Prophet announced to the Magi by the consecrated Star of Initiation, came to rend asunder the worn veil of the old Temple, in order to give the Church a new tissue of legends and symbols, that still and ever conceals from the Profane, and ever preserves to the Elect the same truths. It was the remembrance of this scientific and religious Absolute, of this doctrine that is summed up in a word, of this Word, in fine, alternately lost and found again, that was transmitted to the Elect of all the Ancient Initiations: it was this same remembrance, preserved, or perhaps profaned in the celebrated Order of the Templars, that became for all the secret associations, of the Rose-Croix, of the Illuminati, and of the Hermetic Freemasons, the reason of their strange rites, of their signs more or less conventional, and, above all, of their mutual devotedness and of their power. The Gnostics caused the Gnosis to be proscribed by the Christians, and the official Sanctuary was closed against the high initiation. Thus the Hierarchy of Knowledge was compromitted by the violences of usurping ignorance, and the disorders of the Sanctuary are reproduced in the State; for always, willingly or unwillingly, the King is sustained by the Priest, and it is from the eternal Sanctuary of the Divine instruction that the Powers of the Earth, to insure themselves durability, must receive their consecration and their force. (Pike, p. 839-840) There is only one conclusion I can draw from looking at both Catholic prophecy and occult history, and that is: Our Lady of Fatima pray for us. St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and Thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits, who wander about the world seeking the ruin of souls. * * * * * * * * RESOURCES Baddeley, Gavin, LUCIFER RISING: SIN, DEVIL WORSHIP & ROCK 'N' ROLL, London: Plexus Publishing, Ltd., 1999, ISBN 0 85965 280 7 Blavatsky, H. P., THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Pasadena, CA: 1999, ISBN 1-55700-002-6 Crowley, Aleister, THE BOOK OF THOTH, New York, A Lancer Book. Dillon, DD., Mgr. George E., GRAND ORIENT FREEMASONRY UNMASKED: AS THE SECRET POWER BEHIND COMMUNISM, Palmdale, CA: Christian Book Club of America, 1999 Fisher, Paul A., THEIR GOD IS THE DEVIL: PAPAL ENCYCLICALS AND FREEMASONRY, The American Research Foundation, Inc., 1991 Gardner, Martin, ON THE WILD SIDE, Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1992, ISBN 0-87975-713-2 Levi, Eliphas, TRANSCENDENTAL MAGIC: ITS DOCTRINE AND RITUAL, Arthur Edward Waite, Translator, London: Rider & Company McDermott, Robert A., THE ESSENTIAL STEINER: BASIC WRITINGS OF RUDOLF STEINER, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1984, ISBN 0-06-065345-0 Pike, Albert, MORALS AND DOGMA OF THE ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY, Richmond, VA: L. H. Jenkins, Inc., 1871 Pelletier, A.A., Joseph A., THE SUN DANCED AT FATIMA, New York: Doubleday, An Image Book, 1983 Ryan, O.P., The Most Reverend Finbar, OUR LADY OF FATIMA, Westminster, Maryland: Newman Book Shop, 1944 Williams, Thomas A., ELIPHAS LEVI: MASTER OF OCCULTISM, University, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 1975, ISBN 0-8173-7061-7 WEBSITES http://www.stjosephschurch.net/leoxiii.htm http://www.wf-f.org/Michaelmas.html http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09169a.htm http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18840420_humanum-genus_en.html http://www.antropodium.nl/Masks.html http://www.moonlovers.com/pages/detail3.htm http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/ts/bio-hpb.htm http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/b/blavatsky_helena_petrovna.html http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/longseal.htm http://members.tripod.com/~LiberalCatholic/history.htm http://www.liberalcatholic.org/faq.html http://members.tripod.com/~SRLCC/lcchist.htm http://www.thechristiancommunity.org/founding.htm http://www.co-masonry.org/English/Masonic_history.html http://www.popsubculture.com/pop/bio_project/aleister_crowley.html http://www.villarevak.org/bio/Crowley_1.html http://www.hermetic.com/egc/ http://www.religioustolerance.org/thelema2.htm http://homepage.ntlworld.com/matt.lee7/razorsmile/articles/wicm1.htm http://www.templarhistory.com/levi.html http://www.srmason-sj.org/web/journal-files/Issues/may02/calloway.htm CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

FUTURE CHURCH COMMENTS ON THE SCANDAL AND BISHOP PILLA Sr. Christine Schenk, in her role as Executive Director of FutureChurch expresses her political opinion on the scandal and the Bishop. (Scroll down.) You can learn a lot about someone by finding out what company the person keeps. With friends like this, an orthodox bishop would hardly need enemies. This is interesting: Bishop Pilla is one of the few remaining "pastoral" bishops who were appointed under Archbishop Jean Jadot. If he doesn't outlast the Pope we can expect to have our next Bishop be less open to lay participation in decision making than Bishop Pilla. It will be a given...and something we need to prepare for, IMHO. In any case, why rush things, I say? I wonder how many of the musical bishops can be traced to the Nuncio, Archbishop Jean Jadot? CarrieTomko@aol.com

VOWS OF SILENCE: THE ABUSE OF POWER IN THE PAPACY OF JOHN PAUL II The book will be out in March. I've pre-ordered a copy. Here are the editorial reviews from Amazon: Review Carl M. Cannon White House correspondent for National Journal Vows of Silence is a must read -- investigative journalism at its best, tracking abuses that were decades in the making and go far beyond the American clergy, with responsibility at the highest levels of the Vatican. Jason Berry and Gerald Renner are tough-minded, but fair; the book is painstakingly researched, beautifully written and gives sweeping historical context on issues of specific, current relevance. If this were fiction, it would be a chilling narrative. Alas, it's contemporary human history, brought to you by the two American authors who know more about this subject than anyone else writing about it. Book Description Going deep behind the headlines about scandals in the Catholic Church, Jason Berry and Gerald Renner's Vows of Silence follows the staggering trail of evasions and deceit that leads directly to the Vatican -- and taints the legacy of Pope John Paul II. Based on more than six years of investigative reporting and hundreds of interviews, this book is a riveting account of Vatican cover-ups and the tumult they have caused in the church worldwide. Both a profound criticism and a wake-up call to reform by two Catholic writers, Vows of Silence reveals an agenda of top-down control under John Paul II and a hierarchy so obsessed with secrecy as to spawn disinformation. Vows of Silence is not a book about sexual abuse; it is a book about abuse of power, throughout the Vatican. The book cuts between the life story of Father Tom Doyle, who sacrificed a diplomatic career with the Vatican to seek justice for sex-abuse victims, and Father Marcial Maciel, an accused pedophile and founder of the militaristic religious order, the Legion of Christ. One of the most mysterious and powerful men in the Catholic Church, Maciel has built a network of priests, lay people, and elite prep schools in more than twenty countries, using the Legion as a fundraising machine to position himself as a favored figure of John Paul II. In addition to accusations against Maciel of sexual abuse and of using Legion money for his own extravagant lifestyle, many ex-Legionaries claim that the order uses mind-control techniques to isolate seminarians and even priests from their families. And yet, because he enjoyed the protection of Pope John Paul II and members of the Roman Curia, charges against Maciel for sexual misconduct -- all of which he denies -- were blocked in the Vatican court system. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Father Doyle and with ex-Legionaries who filed a canonical suit against Maciel, as well as interviews with Vatican insiders and an array of sources in Mexico, Ireland, Canada, and Australia, the authors provide a penetrating account of a hierarchy directly in conflict with its followers. With keen insight and scrupulous reporting, Vows of Silence is a powerful narrative that chronicles the church's struggle between orthodoxy and reform -- going straight to the heart of one of the world's largest power structures. Jason Berry's first book on the scandal was excellent. I expect this one to be as well. CarrieTomko@aol.com

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO COMMENTS ON VATICAN LOYALTIES in this article for Frontpage Magazine.com As those of you who are regulars here know, I tend to agree with him. He tells me he wrote a similar piece for the Jerusalem Post. CarrieTomko@aol.com

CLERGY ABUSE IN CLEVELAND A reader posted a link to this story in the comments box. It comes from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. According to the report, Cleveland may top Boston in numbers and cost of sexual abuse. Some quotes from the story: * The top financial officer of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese has warned church leaders to expect "shocking" numbers when local figures are released as part of a nationwide report on the extent and cost of child sexual abuse. * Bishop Anthony Pilla is expected to provide an advanced look at the Cleveland diocese's numbers in the next several weeks. So he plans to give us advanced damage control? Great scott, is it going to be that bad? * The Chief Financial Officer of Catholic Charities, Joseph H. Smith, spoke of the millions of dollars the diocese had spent on settlements with victims" will be greater than any figures reported in the media, and indicated "People are going to be shocked. * Smith said he had been working on the study when he was suspended by Pilla on Jan. 6 after questions of financial wrongdoing were raised against him. So, are the "questions of financial wrongdoing" manufactured accusations to get a man with loose lips out of the limelight? Considering the deviousness that is endemic to these abuse scandals, the question is reasonable. It's also reasonable considering the fate of the Diocesan lawyer just reported yesterday. * Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason concluded a seven-month investigation of the diocese that found more than 1,000 people claimed to have been victimized as children by priests and church figures. He also found evidence of accusations against nearly 500 possible sexual offenders, of whom 145 were priests. Those numbers are among the highest in the country. Perhaps I'm supposed to be thankful the number of accused priests--145--has not risen in the last year. And naturally I should never think that such a scandal could touch the hallowed hem of the man in Rome who is clearly above all of this "small and disgusting disgrace incidental to those materialists in America who are best ignored until they get notions concerning guns." Perhaps that man in Rome should have considered that this was inevitable: * Smith's gloomy assessment for the Catholic Charities board included warnings that donations are in decline and church attendance has waned in the wake of the sex-abuse scandal, several members said. * I really love this line: But Smith also reported to the board that all of the diocese's costs related to sex abuse have been covered by insurance and accounting procedures. followed by assurances that no Catholic Charities funds nor diocesan general funds were used to pay abuse-related bills. Creative accounting and other sources of income? A printing press in the chancery basement, for goodness sake? I would remind the bishop that one end of the prostitution ring, as reported in the Plain Dealer Dec. 5, 2002, is the Parmadale home, financed by Catholic Charities, I believe. But of course I shouldn't be cynical about my bishop. No, no, I should be loving and forgiving. I should listen to everything the bishop proclaims and believe it as though the Lord God Himself had said it. I should shut up and fork over the cash to pay for the results of the stuff that I've already helped to finance with the cash I forked over in previous years. We need bishops. Our religion's safeguards are built into our system of hierarchy. We need TRUSTWORTHY bishops. We don't have them. David Clohessy's question at the end of the article is certainly valid. Too bad there is no one we can trust to give an honest answer. CarrieTomko@aol.com

I CAN DESTROY YOUR CHURCH "I can destroy your Church." "You can? Then go ahead and do so." "To do so, I need more time and more power." "How much time? How much power?" "75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service." "You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will." This exchange took place at the foot of the altar. Pope Leo XIII had just finished saying Mass when Cardinals and Vatican staff members in attendance observed him to stop at the foot of the altar and stand there, ashen faced, as if in a trance, for approximately ten minutes. In his vision, Satan was speaking to God. Pope Leo immediately returned to his room and composed the prayer to St. Michael, promulgating it with the instruction that it be said after all low Masses everywhere. And so it was said until the Second Vatican Council when the liturgy was changed. The date of this vision was October 13, 1884. Thirty-three years later to the day Our Lady of Fatima appeared to a large throng in the Cova da Iria, presenting evidence of heaven's power over the natural elements, the miracle of the sun. Fr. Finbar Ryan, O.P. notes a curious coincidence. Speaking of the Fatima, sun sign, and referring to the historical time frame when St. Dominic gave us the rosary, he says: It is not necessary to say much here of the founder of the Order of Preachers. What is commonly referred to as the Albigensian heresy was ravaging the body politic� It denied the omnipotence of God, the Divinity of Our Lord, the sanctity of the Church, the use of Sacraments. It demanded of its neophytes a detailed retraction of their baptismal promises and hopes of life everlasting. It despised life, and called suicide a virtue; marriage, which perpetuated life, was a crime. Human dignity was made naught, the family degraded, the foundations of social life torn up. (Ryan, p. 85-86) Like the Albigensians, we have come to devalue marriage via divorce and annulment. Birth control enables us to child-proof our marriages and other sexual encounters. Euthanasia proposes that it is proper to commit suicide when we are incapacitated. Many voices in the Church today focus on brotherhood to the all but exclusion of God's transcendence. The Sacrament of Penance has been nearly universally abandoned, and Confirmation is neglected. We retract our baptismal promise to reject Satan by refusing to believe that he exists. Progressive voices question the Divinity of the Son of God. How did we get here? Have we been listening to the voice of those over whom Satan asked for and got greater power? Those who gave themselves over to his service according to Pope Leo's vision? If we are to understand the signs of our times, we must ask these hard questions. Six months before Pope Leo had the vision which sparked the St. Michael prayer, he promulgated his encyclical Humanum Genus. Two quotations from that encyclical give a clue to our situation: At this period, however, the partisans of evil seem to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. �to bring back after a lapse of eighteen centuries the manners and customs of the pagans, is signal folly and audacious impiety�In this insane and wicked endeavor we may almost see the implacable hatred and spirit of revenge with which Satan himself is inflamed against Jesus Christ. -So also the studious endeavor of the Freemasons to destroy the chief foundations of justice and honesty, and to co-operate with those who would wish, as if they were mere animals, to do what they please, tends only to the ignominious and disgraceful ruin of the human race. The Lodge. The local eating and good fellowship society. The Shriner down the street who goes to church on Sunday and plays ball with the neighborhood kids. What could the Masons possibly have to do with an effort to destroy the Church? There must be some other cause. So the argument goes. We are conditioned to think of Freemasonry as harmless. Yet eight popes have condemned Freemasonry, and the prohibition against Lodge membership has never been revoked. Surely eight popes could not be wrong. We have just witnessed an unprecedented rejection of moral theology by clergy who have been aided by their bishops. Paul A. Fisher, quoting Pope Leo says: Pope Leo was particularly concerned about penetration of Masonry among the clergy, and spoke of plans "to soften the opposition of the lower clergy with their promises�" Masons, he said "wish to win over the clergy by cajolery; once the novelties have confused them, they will withdraw their obedience to legitimate authority." He added: "�far too many of our compatriots, driven by hope of their personal advantage or by perverse ambition, have given their names or support to the sect." (Fisher, p. 27) Fisher tells us that St. Maximillian Kolbe said, "Freemasons follow this principle above all: "Catholicism can be overcome not by logical argument, but by corrupted morals." (ibid, p. 40) We have seen corrupted morals within the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Leo tells us that Satan asked for 100 years. Msgr. George E. Dillon, D.D. quoting from the Masonic "Alta Vendita," tells us that: "The work which we [the Masons] have undertaken is not the work of a day, nor of a month, nor of a year. It may last many years, a century perhaps, but in our ranks the soldier dies and the fight continues." (Dillon, p. 90) Pope Leo XIII was elected pope February 20, 1878 and died July 20, 1903. A look at other events preceding, during, and after that time period sheds light on his teaching. Beyond the Blue Lodge in Freemasonry, there are higher degrees. In America one path for acquiring higher degrees is through the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, an element of Grand Orient Freemasonry. The magazine published by Scottish Rite Freemasonry went by the title "The New Age Magazine" from 1904 until it was changed to "The Scottish Rite Journal" in 1989. In addition there is a branch of Freemasonry which accepts men and women on an equal basis into their lodges. Called The American Federation for Human Rights, headquarters for American Co-Masonry is located in Larkspur, Colorado and was founded in 1994. The organization's website indicates "American Co-Masonry traces its lineage to 1879 when twelve dissatisfied lodges separated from The Grand Orient of France and formed the Grande Lodge Symbolique de France�.Eventually the young Order became an international Order through the efforts of pioneers of the Theosophical Society. Henceforth, wherever they took Theosophy they also introduced Co-Masonry." These obediences take a Mason beyond the degree of Master Mason and provide "esoteric" knowledge said to relate to the spiritual world. In order to understand these upper degrees it is necessary to explore the occult revival in Europe and America, the foundation of New Age beliefs. ELIPHAS LEVI Alphonse Louis Constant, son of a shoemaker, was born in France on Feruary. 8, 1810. A fragile child given to meditation, drawing, and painting, he entered the little seminary of Saint-Nicholas de Chardonnet where he fell under the influence of a pious priest and teacher who dabbled in Mesmerism and Martinism, a type of Gnostic Freemasonry. Constant was taught by this priest the "Christian ideal of pure and selfless love in the structure of society" according to his biographer Thomas A. Williams. The link between faith and social action occupied Constant's thoughts for the next 15 years. Constant's priest and teacher was relieved of his duties and reprimanded because of his unorthodox ideas, resulting in Constant losing his illusions of utopia. In a confused state of mind Constant entered the seminary of St. Sulpice where he retreated into himself, seeking to rise to "divine unity, to the great religion of the future�in short, to the pantheism�that is, in reality, the last word�of Christ and his apostles." (Williams, p. 11) It was inevitable that his line of reasoning would bring him into conflict with Church authorities. He rejected the dogma of hell because he could not resolve it with his belief in the all-loving nature of God. During this time of confusion Levi was put in charge of a young girl's religious instruction. He became emotionally attached, in a way that he found to be incompatible with ordination, and thus he left the seminary shortly before becoming a priest, never to return. In the ensuing years he supported himself with his art. While at seminary, Constant had found time to study the works of quietist heretic Madame Guyon. After leaving he wrote The Bible of Liberty, among other books, in order to raise money for food and rent. He gained notoriety in radical circles and learned to revere women, coming to believe that Mary the Mother of God, would redeem man-a theory he developed into a book, claiming that what was wrong with society was the absence of love. He began to have visions and to develop his own occult science while continuing to publish. A political pamphlet he wrote led to a period of imprisonment. He married, but the marriage ended in estrangement. His one child died at age 7. Between 1848 and 1854 he was inducted into an esoteric cult or lodge, and he further developed his interest in the Jewish Cabala. At some time in the 1850s he changed his name to Eliphas Levi. Levi is best known for his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic which was printed in 1856--a book widely read in French and English literary and Theosophical circles. He wrote poetry as well, and he is also credited with the drawing of the Baphomet--a goat head situated on a human body with female breasts, a phallic object on its lap, horns, a pentagram on its forehead, cloven feet, and wings--supposedly based on a gargoyle which appears on a building owned by the Templars, the Commandry of Saint Bris le Vineux. At the Templar History website Stephen Dafoe claims this figure is based on the Celtic stag god, Cernunnos, or the Horned One. The Baphomet has one hand pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, and the other pointing down to the black moon of Geburah. Two occult principles are depicted in this object, the so-called original andrygony, and the principle "as above so below." According to Dafoe, Levi believed that the rearrangement of the letters in the word Baphomet to Tem Ohp Ab would represent in Latin what in English amounts to "The Father Of The Temple Of Peace Of All Men," a reference to King Solomon's Temple believed to have had the sole purpose of bringing peace to the world. Levi died on May 31, 1875, and according to some he died reconciled to the Church. Dafoe indicates that A. E. Waite incorporated the Baphomet in his Tarot deck as the devil card. Occult author Julian Vayne calls Levi the grandfather of contemporary occultism, saying that Dogma and Ritual de-coupled magick from a specifically religious viewpoint. The adepts of the magical fraternity called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn built on Levi's work. Among his followers were Aleister Crowley and H. P. Blavatsky, two names at the forefront of the contemporary occult revival. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, January 19, 2004

CLEVELAND CATHOLIC MAFIA? The Ceveland Diocese vs. Charlie Feliciano. This is encouraging: you know that Bishop Pilla has had a very bad habit of killing the messenger. That is part of the dynamic of who he is.� Yeah, real encouraging... Whatever they're covering up, whatever Charlie Feliciano knows, must be awful to treat a person the way this article describes Charlie has been treated. And so once again I ask... Why? And when are we going to be told the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I'm not holding my breath. They're gonna make an atheist out of me yet! CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, January 18, 2004

IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO DISMISS a story like Fr. Scott/St. Anne tells in this article from MichNews.com except that Fr. Kunz's murder is documented. And except that we know the bishops have been seriously negligent in protecting the laity's children. And except that Stephen Brady has released information about bishops that is unbelievable but also true. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PERFORMANCE OF HYPNOTIST CANCELLED BY BISHOP A hypnotist scheduled to appear at two Catholic high schools in Essex County was told to stay away after the bishop of the London diocese raised fears the performance could induce "immoral acts." Ottawa-based hypnotist Blair Robertson was set to appear at Cardinal Carter and Villanova high schools in November, until he was told by the principal that the performances were cancelled.... In a letter to school board directors, Bishop Ronald Fabbro said he had learned that some high schools were inviting hypnotists to entertain students and staff. "This has become a matter of concern for some, including myself," he said in a letter to school board directors. Fabbro quoted from the Catholic Almanac ? a source of information on Catholic doctrine ? which forbids the practice of hypnotism "for the sake of amusement" because "hypnotized subjects may be induced to perform immoral acts which, normally, they would not do." In response to Fabbro's letter, Michael Moher, director of the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, wrote his own memo, supporting the bishop's position and asking principals to "do the same."... The hypnotist was scheduled to invite students on stage, hypnotise them, then get them to do and say silly things for the entertainment of the rest of the student body. A sort of comical dog and pony show. Rev. Larry Brunet, pastor of the Catholic board, said the church does not oppose "legitimate" uses for hypnotism, as a method of helping people quit smoking or lose weight. "But for entertainment, it's a serious violation of our human dignity. It takes away our freedom and our capacity" to make sound choices, Brunet said. Sounds like a Bishop with conviction and the commitment to use it to uphold Church teachings. Good decision. (But where did the reporter come up with "Catholic Almanac"?) Hopefully it will make the students think about other choices they might make that would also take away their human dignity and capacity to make sound choices such as alcohol and drugs. This is the sort of leadership in opposition to worldly values that we hope to get from our Catholic Schools and our Bishops. CarrieTomko@aol.com

PRIEST ACCUSED OF ABUSE WAS A CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT LEADER ALBANY -- Lawyers for the Albany diocese, the Rev. John Bertolucci and a man Bertolucci molested as a child met Thursday behind closed doors to discuss settling a lawsuit accusing the Roman Catholic priest of harassing the victim's parents.... Bertolucci was among the first priests removed by the diocese when the sex abuse scandal erupted in 2002. He had retired before that, and had been a national leader of the charismatic Christian movement. Bertolucci's appearance at the conference sparked controversy. Bertolucci wore a dark suit, like that worn by priests. Aretakis and a victims' advocates group said such wearing of clerical garb was in violation of the church's rules on priests removed from ministry for sexual abuse of children. Diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb said there was no violation because Bertolucci was not wearing his white clerical collar. "He was wearing the black suit, but maybe he has only one suit," Goldfarb said. CarrieTomko@aol.com

COMMENTS I've attempted to reinstall the comments with HaloScan. According to their website it may take awhile before they come up since they are importing over 5,000 BlogSpot comments into their system. Hopefully the comments will be back soon. CarrieTomko@aol.com

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