Friday, January 30, 2004

IS THIS THE LEGACY OF THE PAPACY OF JOHN PAUL II ? From Seattle Catholic: The symptoms of the decline of Christendom, diagnosed in his first book, are repeated in the second: the crisis of confession, of the family, the lack of conversions, apostasies, the Magisterium's loss of authority, the absence of metaphysics in the formation of the faithful, liturgical disorder, the breakdown of the priesthood, the ambiguity of Episcopal collegiality vis-�-vis the primacy of the Pope, the collapse of certainty in the moral law, etc. "One is face to face with a crisis of the faith and of personal faith," writes His Excellency, "rather than one of moral consistency," a crisis which "disturbs, strikes, and wears out" the Church "from within" (p. 26). How much responsibility for this crisis falls onto the shoulders of our Pope? If there is one supreme shepherd of the Catholic Church in the world, it is the Pope. Preservation of the faith is job 1. We were taught by Christ to judge by fruits. In reaction to this widespread disaster, will we destroy the hierarchical structure by attempting to put the laity in charge? The Protestants prted from the Pope and have ended up with thousands of denominations. We are afflicted presently with schism fever via the SSPX. Whether we argue that they are right or that they are wrong, they are in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church and the direction of the leadership. If we destroy the papacy, the bishoprics, what will we replace them with? No other worldly structure holds any other religion together. Only the Catholic Church has been able to maintain Herself as a Witness to Truth for 2,000 years. The Rock of Peter--the Papacy--is central to that solidity. It would be ultimate folly to see in our present crisis a justification for rejecting our hierarchy, though the temptations to do so are immense. We must hold on, clean up doctrine, ritual, and priesthood from within the present structure. We must not succumb to the desire to form a new church. No matter the saintliness or sinfulness of the Pope, he remains the Rock of Peter upon which Christ built His Church. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us. St. Michael pray for us. St. Athanasius pray for us. St. Catherine of Sienna pray for us. All you holy angels and saints pray for us. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ECUMENISM WITH THE ORTHODOX MAY BE DEAD IN THE WATER if this article linked at Seattle Catholic is accurate. The report comes from Reuters: MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian Orthodox Church ruled out Tuesday any prospect of a meeting between its head and the Pope -- something long-sought by the Catholic pontiff -- just weeks before a Vatican envoy was due to visit Moscow. The frail 83-year-old Pope has long had his sights set on a visit to Moscow to help reconcile the two churches, divided since the Great Schism of 1054. "The Patriarch cannot meet the Pope," said Metropolitan Kirill, who is in charge of the Russian Orthodox Church's external relations, at a Moscow ceremony. CarrieTomko@aol.com

WHERE IS THEIR BISHOP ? Where are you going, Sisters of Mercy of Baltimore and St. Louis? Is the new spirituality limited to just your Mount Saint Agnes Theological Center for Women? That home page looks Catholic enough. But let's see where it goes when programs come to fruition. Holy Week 1999 Service. The first verse of Stabat Mater is kosher. If you think the rest are, a lot of people need to start praying for you! More importantly, why are you picking up your theology from China Galland, an author who was once Catholic, embraced Buddhist and Hindu meditation, culminating in goddess worship via Black Madonnas. From your website: �Isis becomes a great winged bird, then an old woman, a healer, then a goddess. Her story is a story of transformation. Isis searches, Isis investigates�she finds all the places where the pieces of the body of Osiris [her husband] are hidden. He has been betrayed and murdered by his brother, cut into pieces, his body scattered up and down the Nile. She collects the pieces of the body. She puts the body of Osiris back together. �For me the story of Isis is symbolic. It contains the meaning of the reconstruction of human history. Isis tells us that we cannot go forward with only one step, we have to keep going back and finding more pieces.� To remember is literally to collect the members, the pieces, the parts�to put them back together again. ... �Remember� is related to �record,� from the Latin root recordari, ... which means literally �to pass again through the heart.� �When Noni was kidnapped, I was hopeless. I knew I wouldn�t find her alive. but in spite of everything, I didn�t stop looking. I didn�t give up. Isis came to me, many times, and she stayed with me as a sign of hope. More than God. More than God, she gave me hope. She helped me. �The mythic face of Isis is hope. She goes such a long way to find the body of her husband, Osiris. It is not over in just three days. I know very little of the Bible and religion but for what I know from my good friends. Except for the resurrection of Christ. That is a different thing. Christ rose from the dead in three days. Si. His mother suffered, but only for three days. but there is nothing like this work of Isis that goes on and on, outside of time. We are always rebuilding, reconstructing. � �The difference is that Isis could bring Osiris back to life, whereas we can�t. Our reality is limited. We have to accept the difference between myth and reality. It means accepting the limitations of being human and knowing that you are not God. This makes you lose your arrogance. �Until the last moment of my life, I will want to know what happened to my children and where they are. I want a full memory of my children, to remember them whole, integrated. There are different ways to compose a body and give it life, to reconstruct a body. Mine is to remember.� China Galland, The Bond Between Women, A Journey to Fierce Compassion. Penguin Putnam Inc., New York, 1998, 217-219 China Galland, who destroyed at least one marriage in the process of having her goddess tantrum. This is not even remotely Catholic. Did you also use king of prelest Robert Lentz's icon in conjunction with your reading of Laura Bonaparte's interview? Your litany is not Catholic. Your closing hymn is a call to paganism. You break the First Commandment with such tripe. God help all of us if you are offering such nonsence to Him. His wrath will be terrible to behold. Who is their bishop? Why has he not shut down this website? --------------------------------------------------- UPDATE Another page in their website...their Programs page. Notice the roses? The rose is a symbol of Rosicrucianism. It is a symbol of Sophia, another word for "wisdom" which has morphed in the pagan communities into the "fourth person of the trinity," the woman goddess. Here in the Scottish Rite Journal's website is a description of the use of the rose as a symbol. The following is taken from the article by C. James Graham: As Scottish Rite Masons, the rose is an important symbol in the 18th Degree, Knight of the Rose Croix. In a Masonic context, there are other possible interpretations, aside from those noted above, associated with the rose symbol. We use light and darkness as important symbols of good and evil. We are taught that, although our lives will have times of sorrow and misfortune, ultimately there will be light and goodness for the virtuous. Albert Pike, in Morals and Dogma (p. 291) said that the rose �is a symbol of Dawn, of the resurrection of Light and the renewal of life.� Most of the year, the rose bush is simply a collection of green, scraggly stems covered by thorns. Most of the time, the rose bush is neither beautiful nor fragrant, and to touch its thorns will cause pain. But with patience, careful cultivation, and proper watering, the ugly, thorny bush becomes filled with beautiful blossoms that captivate the senses and fill the soul with joy. It is such a strong parallel to the Masonic symbol of light and darkness! Our lives will have times of darkness, of struggle, and of pain, but with the careful cultivation and practice of hope, faith, and charity, we will find that light, goodness, and love of which the rose is such a powerful symbol. Notice the program: The God Context: Fundamentalism in Three World Religions, presented by Mary Aquin O'Neill, RSM, Ph.D., Wednesdays, March 3-31, 2004 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This is the program description: This course will present the outline and main ideas of Karen Armstrong's magisterial work, The Battle for God, as a way of helping participants understand rising religious fundamentalism and its impact on world events. Due to the volume of material, lectures will run almost the whole hour. Karen Armstrong is a syncretist. Here is a reference to her work in Common Dreams News Center: Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community: Armstrong says that the Crusaders were not a fringe group in Europe. She says that they were "central" to forging the Western identity, which remains today. It was on November 25, 1095 that Pope Urban made the devastating call for the first crusade against Islam. Armstrong notes that "Before the Crusaders arrived in Jerusalem in July 1099 and savagely butchered some 40,000 of its Jewish and Muslim inhabitants, Jews, Christians and Muslims had lived together there under Islamic rule in relative harmony for 460 years." When the Muslim Saladin reclaimed Jerusalem in 1187, the conditions had been radically altered by the European crusaders in which the suspicions between the three religious groups had become intensified and which made harmony all the more difficult to achieve. The legacy of all this is clearly problematic up to the present day. But what I find intriguing about Christian churches is the lack of historical perspective. It is likely that church leaders don't want the masses apprised of this history as it might challenge the church's considerable influence and control in some circles. The controversy and scandals surrounding the distribution of the Dead Sea scrolls from Qumran and the Nag Hammadi scrolls from Upper Egypt, which were found in the 1940's, is a case in point. In their book the "Dead Sea Scrolls Deception" Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh describe the attempts on the part of the Catholic Church, in particular, to prevent the distribution of the Dead Sea Scrolls to scholars throughout the world. Elaine Pagels, author of "The Gnostic Gospels", describes how the suppression of the Nag Hammadi scrolls was due to scholarly jealousies and a vast array of political issues. Syncretists cannot abide a teaching that one religion is the bearer of absolute truth. They demand that all religions--all gods--are the same god. In order to marginalize any person who believes that there is only one specific God, they use the word "fundamentalist" and paint the person so described as an opponent of world peace. The doctrine comes straight out of Freemasonry. Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh were used as sources for Dan Brown's anti-Catholic book The Da Vinci Code. In fact, the article makes the link: In "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln describe how it was highly likely Jesus was married. Speculation from both the New Testament Gospels and recent scroll analysis is that the most likely person to have married Jesus would have been Mary Magdalene. What is most fascinating, however, is the speculation that Jesus and Mary had a child. This issue has received national attention lately with Dan Brown's recent and popular fiction "The Da Vinci Code". Brown refers to the speculation of Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene and the historical European response to this. Lest there be any confusion, Michael Baigent is editor of Freemasonry Today. Sandra Miesel and Carl Olson have documented the lies DaVinci I won't even attempt to explain them here. Their review in two parts is up on the EnvoyEncore website. We are talking here about the leading edge of anti-Catholicism. And the nuns of the Sisters of Mercy of Baltimore and St. Louis are promoting it. Again I ask, where is their Bishop? CarrieTomko@aol.com

COMMENTS ON PARISH LIFE FROM CHIESA I've indicated my own experience with a charismatic community in my former parish. This article from Chiesa says it clearly: But with John Paul II, this specialization of the Italian parish has been pushed to the breaking point. The support this pope has given to the religious movements has permitted them to attain an overwhelming importance, far beyond their numbers and their (modest) capacity to evangelize the alienated. Of the 10 percent of Catholics in Italy who volunteer for religious service, one third of them are active in the parish, another third in Catholic Action, and only 6-7 percent belong to movements like Communion and Liberation, Opus Dei, Focolare, the Neocatechumenal Way, etc. When a parish is overtaken by one of these movements, it is no longer of all and for all; it identifies itself with the group and its leaders, it loses its universalist nature. It is in part as a reaction to this tendency that the Italian bishops have placed the question of the parish at the top of their agenda. It is also to restore to the parish its missionary power. And it is to restore the splendor of the Sunday Mass, defined by the Second Vatican Council as the �summit and source� of Christian life. It's not working in Italy either, yet the Pope continues to foster these movements. Strange. Why would the Pope who recognizes there are serious problems especially with the parishes in Europe determinedly promote a movement that is disrupting parish life? One would think he wouldn't be able to remove this obstacle to parish life fast enough. One would think... There is a longer analysis in the article under the heading "The Risk of Franchise Catholicism": If in practice, as much as it is weakened, the fourth orientation is still the most widespread, especially in northern Italy and along the Adriatic, the proposals seem instead to garner great agreement for the third model, a sort of compromise between the bureaucratic soul of the old parish and consent to the proliferation of the �secondary extensions.� This seems almost to legitimize a sort of �franchise Catholicism,� with the parish conceded to one of the movements. The ecclesial community finally coincides with a determined group, the sacraments become a service that is sometimes outsourced and sometimes produced from within, the parish pastoral council becomes a place for the groups to negotiate over the scarce remaining resources in the parish, intraecclesial associations lose their specific meaning, episcopal authority becomes evanescent (eventually replaced by the movement�s authority), while papal authority is hailed as identifying, but is far removed and practically innocuous. At times, even administrative services (at the diocesan level as at the regional and national levels) tend to take on the movement�s form. These destructive movements, undermining parish life in Europe, appear to be setting up a new church of their own, something apart from the Catholic sacramental church of 2,000 years. As the article puts it: This question must be faced as gradually as possible. But it is also so radical as to preclude indecision or hesitation. A further crisis in the parish would change the form, the importance, and, in perspective, even the consistency of Italian Catholicism. When the movements close to the Pope's heart raise bishops concern to this level, they need to be put under a microscope. And it appears to me that the Italian bishops are considering doing just that. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, January 29, 2004

RUSSIAN MESSIANISM A short time ago I blogged some websites dealing with Polish Messianism which sees Poland as a nation destined to suffer for the sins of the world and ultimately be the nation which redeems the world. Poland is not the only nation with this mindset. This website reviews a book on Russian Messianism and a "Third Rome" theory which is quite similar in that it considers Russia to be the suffering nation that will redeem the world. I'm not planning to read the book. The concept, however, is intriguing to me because it is shared by Poland and Russia. A website dedicated to Orthodoxy and Ecumenism offers this view of the Third Rome from the writing of Nikolai Berdyaev: After the fall of Byzantium, the Russian people felt itself the only representative of the right-belief . On this basis developed the idea of Moscow as the Third Rome. They began to call the Orthodox faith the "Russian", to identify the ecumenical Church with the Russian. The Church became nationalized through and through, and they began to ascribe an almost dogmatic significance to national peculiarities. They contrasted Russian faith and Russian Rites against not only Latinism, but also against the Greek faith. They saw patriarch Nikon not as the representative of the Russian, but of the Greek faith. The true Orthodoxy however was the Russian, not the Greek faith. If the Russian Orthodox Church sees itself as a Third Rome, how is there any liklihood of a unity with a Roman Catholic Church who sees herself as the Church Christ established on the Rock of Peter? If Russia is to be the world's salvation, and if Poland is to be the world's salvation, it does sound like the two are on a collision course which can only devolve into chaos. What sort of scenerio can be drawn from this information that will accommodate the charismatic movement in the ecclesial communities? I ask because these are initiatives that John Paul II constantly promotes. Berdyaev draws Soloviev into the picture with this essay. Here is addressed in the following paragraph a divergence of doctrine that would be difficult to synthesize. Notice the final sentence concerning Soloviev. It is no secret that John Paul II is influenced by the writings of Soloviev. He has mentioned this philosopher several times. Catholicism identifies the Church with a city of God, with a realm upon the earth. This tendency further still comes from Blessed Augustine, who recognised the Church as the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ upon the earth. The whole of papism arose out of this confusion of the Church with a city, a realm. This pretension to be the realisation of the City of God, the Kingdom of Christ within the Church, the hierarchic churchly structure, impedes within the Catholic world the engendering of the apocalyptic consciousness of the City-to-Come, and obscures the prophetic future. The Catholic world does not seek for the City-to-Come, it has its own city in the hierarchic structure of the Church and in its pretensions to be the kingdom. But sacerdotal hierarchism is an hierarchism that is angelic, and not human. It is impossible upon sacerdotal hierarchism alone to construct the kingdom based on God-manhood, for in it there is still yet no anthropologic revelation about the City. Therefore the pretensions of the Catholic priesthood to be the kingdom of a Divine humanity upon earth beget a demonic deviation, for it creates an order not Divine-human, but rather angelo-beastly. Orthodoxy has not confused its kingdom with the City, for Orthodox hierarchy had not the pretensions to be an human kingdom, and in Orthodoxy was no sense of having realised the City. Therefore in the Orthodox East it is easier to have a thirst for the City-to-Come, an apocalyptic consciousness. For us the prophetic spirit is greater, than in Catholicism. And the prophetic spirit of Solov�ev was not a Catholic spirit. Russian Orthodox Messianism does not seem to leave room for the idea that "Rome is Home." CarrieTomko@aol.com

25 YEARS AGO C. Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer published a prophetic book titled Whatever Happened to the Human Race? BP News takes a look at the claims they made back then, reflecting that we should have listened to them. "We seem to be in danger of forgetting our seemingly unlimited capacities for evil, once boundaries to certain behavior are removed." Many of the boundaries were removed, and we are reaping the disaster. "Each era faces its own unique blend of problems," they argued. "Our time is no exception. Those who regard individuals as expendable raw material -- to be molded, exploited, and then discarded -- do battle on many fronts with those who see each person as unique and special, worthwhile, and irreplaceable." Every age is marked by both the "thinkable" and the "unthinkable," they asserted -- and the "thinkable" of late-20th-century Western cultures was dangerously anti-human. The lessons of the century -- with the Holocaust at its center -- should be sufficient to drive the point home. The problem, as illustrated by those who worked in Hitler's death camps, was the inevitable result of a loss of conscience and moral truth. They were "people just like all of us," Koop and Schaeffer reminded."... By the last quarter of the century, life and death were treated as mere matters of choice. "The schizophrenic nature of our society became further evident as it became common practice for pediatricians to provide the maximum of resuscitative and supportive care in newborn intensive-care nurseries where premature infants were under their care -- while obstetricians in the same medical centers were routinely destroying enormous numbers of unborn babies who were normal and frequently of larger size. Minors who could not legally purchase liquor and cigarettes could have an abortion-on-demand and without parental consent or knowledge." Long before the discovery of stem cells and calls for the use of human embryos for such experimentation, Schaeffer and Koop warned of attacks upon human life at its earliest stage. "Embryos 'created' in the biologist's laboratory raise special questions because they have the potential for growth and development if planted in the womb. The disposal of these live embryos is a cause for ethical and moral concern." They also saw the specter of infanticide and euthanasia. Infanticide, including what is now called "partial-birth abortion," is murder, they argued. "Infanticide is being practiced right now in this country, and the saddest thing about this is that it is being carried on by the very segment of the medical profession which has always stood in the role of advocate for the lives of children." Long before the formal acceptance of euthanasia in countries like the Netherlands, Koop and Schaeffer saw the rise of a "duty to die" argument used against the old, the very sick and the unproductive. They rejected euthanasia in the case of a "so-called vegetative existence" and warned all humanity that disaster awaited a society that lusted for a "beautiful death." The article goes on to cite the rejection of the Judeo-Christian worldview as the cause of our changing values. It was Scripture that taught us that all human life has inherent dignity because we are made in the image and likeness of God. This concept is uniquely Christian. Our worldview is at the heart of the culture we enjoy. And many of the good things we have here, that other nations envy and try to copy, come from that Biblical concept of the world around us. If we continue to abandon it, we will reap the consequences of the worldview we take up, so it would behoove us to look around the nations and see what appeals, because there is nothing new under the sun. The past 25 years has been a period of even more rapid technological and moral change. We now face threats to human dignity unimaginable just a quarter-century ago. We must now deal with the ethical challenges of embryo research, human cloning, the Human Genome Project and the rise of transhuman technologies. Even with many Christians aware and active on these issues, we are losing ground. We are literally in a fight with the powers of darkness to determine the framework of our children's future. Can anyone afford not to join the battle? CarrieTomko@aol.com

ZENIT QUOTES JOHN PAUL II ON IMMINENCE OF GOD VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A believer can be consoled knowing that God follows his steps lovingly and is on the side of good "with his word and action," says John Paul II. The Pope expressed this conviction at today's general audience in Paul VI Hall. The meditation focused on Psalm 10(11). "The Lord is not a remote sovereign, enclosed in his golden world, but a vigilant Presence aligned on the side of good and justice," the Holy Father told the 4,000 pilgrims present. "He sees and provides, intervening with his word and action." Oh yes, it is certainly true that God sees all and consoles in unexpected ways. That does not, however, excuse us from pursuing justice. I wonder how a man abused by a priest in his adolescence would read these papal comments? CarrieTomko@aol.com

DOES IT EXPLAIN THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT? A reader writes: I read something in this book that I finished today that I thought you might find interesting. It's from James Hitchcock's The Recovery of the Sacred (unfortunately out of print...I was able to find a used copy online). "Liturgists were drawn in theory to a puritan idea of worship. In practice, however, it has proved unsatisfying and has given rise to all manner of extravagant emotionalism. The suppression of the imagination in worship has given play to many ungoverned religious fantasies. Whatever may be said about the charismatic movement, it is doubtful that it would have gained so much strength in Catholicism if so many traditional devotional outlets had not been systematically closed. A religion richer in folk piety than perhaps any in the world has been reduced to borrowing its most notable contemporary folk idiom from fundamentalist Protestants, a fact which in itself strongly suggests that something is drastically wrong with the renewal of prayer life in the Church." Stacey CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

FR. SERAPHIM ROSE ON CHARISMATICS Fr. Seraphim was a Russian Orthodox monk who wrote the book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future (St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1975). He writes: In the Roman Catholic Church likewise, the "charismatic renewal" is occurring precisely in "liberal" circles, and one of its results is to inspire even more their ecumenism and liturgical experimentation ("guitar masses" and the like): whereas traditionalist Catholics are as opposed to the movement as are fundamentalist Protestants. Without any doubt the orientation of the "charismatic revival" is strongly ecumenist. A "charismatic" Lutheran pastor, Clarence Finsaas, writes: "Many are surprised that the Holy Spirit can move also in the various traditions of the historic Church...whether the church doctrine has a background of Calvinism or Arminianism, this matters little, proving God is bigger than our creeds and that no denomination has a monopoly on Him" (Christenson, p. 99). An Episcopalian pastor, speaking of the "charismatic revival," reports that "ecumenically it is leading to a remarkable joining together of Christians of different traditions, mainly at the local church level" (Harper, p. 17). The California "charismatic" periodical _Inter-Church Renewal_ is full of "unity" demonstrations such as this one: "The darkness of the ages was dispelled and a Roman Catholic nun and a Protestant could love each other with a strange new kind of love," which proves that "old denominational barriers are crumbling. (p.120-121) He goes on to criticize the movement because it arises outside of the Orthodox Church. His reasons for concern are the same as my own. In order to accept it, we must dispense with the doctrine of our own Church. We believe the Holy Spirit acts through Catholic sacraments. Those sacraments are the signs and symbols of His sanctifying grace being transmitted to a believer. Historically, once the Church was established and the sacraments were in place, the charismatic gifts ceased. But what happens when a Catholic becomes involved in Pentecostal/Charismatic Renewal? Catholic sacraments are not available to the Protestants, and so services must be structured that do not include the sacraments in order to avoid offending Protestant members of the group. But everyone in these communities is looking for signs and symbols or signs and wonders. And the response they expect to receive becomes a pseudo sacrament suitable for an ecumenical gathering which cannot include Catholic sacraments. Once a believer is accustomed to these pseudo sacraments, do the Catholic sacraments pale by comparison? If the answer is no, why then is the Baptism of Fire necessary? But if it is believed to be necessary in order to rejuveniate the Church, what does that say about Catholic sacraments--that they are not effective since something else is sought? Do we really want to say that our sacraments are ineffective to build up our Church? How clever a deception that would be. Someone seeking more of God is subtlely let away from His Church, while all the while believing that he is delving deeper into it. It's interesting, then, that Fr. Seraphim places this movement squarely in the liberal camp. Due to the sexual abuse crisis, we have come to see liberalism as a corrupting factor, or at least that seems to be the message of Fr. Groeschel's tapes. Yet no one is indicating that the Charismatic Movement may in fact be part of that very liberalism which has corrupted the Church. All in the name of God and deepened faith. While the Charismatic will almost invariably say he believes that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ, his actions say that all who believe in Christ can form a unity that circumvents the Church Christ established. The theology is at odds with itself. It doesn't match our Traditional theology, and it doesn't draw us in deeper but rather leads us away. And so in testing the spirits, I conclude that this spirit does not have Christ's Church in focus, but rather some new church in the borning. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THEOSOPHY'S BLACK MADONNA This link will take you to a website of the Theosophical Society in America. This particular webpage is devoted to "Our Lady of the Dark Forest" otherwise known as the very Catholic Black Madonna at Einsiedeln to whom the Benedictine monks sing the "Salve Regina." The description of this image ends with the words of the prayer "Hail Holy Queen." This description contains references to Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled, to China Galland's Longing for Darkness, to Jung and to the "Cult of Mary." The essay is written by Karen McCormick. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us! CarrieTomko@aol.com

BEAUTIFUL BUT DEADLY We had an ice storm here yesterday. The ice still coats the trees, and the sun is out, making every twig and branch sparkle as though they were covered with millions of tiny shimmering lights or white fire. Standing at the window appreciating the sight, I watched the wind whip through the upper branches. The trees sway and the branches shake. The sun melts the ice, and large chunks are blown loose in the wind, cascading down to hit the snow below with a sound that can be heard through the double pane windows. Thunk, thunk, jagged knife-pointed ice penetrates the snow or contacts it sideways and bounces. Anything below the trees could easily be impaled. Perhaps that is why the bird feeders are empty and the squirrels that usually take turns feeding below them are nowhere to be seen. CarrieTomko@aol.com

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN... The time when the meeting of international power brokers takes place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. WorldNetDaily provides commentary: As a result, it is considered one of the most important meetings � one that you don't want to miss. It should be noted that the World Economic Forum is a non-governmental organization with the United Nations and, as such, helps to spread the philosophy of the U.N. as the world's foremost powerbrokers. Yearly, the WEF provides participants with a book that contains the biography of all those in attendance. I have found � as I have tallied the various organizations and schools that the participants are part of and have graduated from � that about 10 percent of those attending form an "inner core" of people who foster world government, which some describe as "an open society" or an "interdependent world." They are members of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Tri-Lateral Commission and other organizations such as the Aspen Institute and the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. Furthermore, most of them have been schooled at Oxford, Yale, Harvard, Cambridge and Princeton, as well as the London School of Economics, which upholds socialism and the tenets of communism � open borders and world government through control. What do these movers and shakers have planned for our future, for the future of our children? And why do I have the nagging suspicion that it won't be anything good? Our Lady of Fatima pray for us! CarrieTomko@aol.com

POEM OF THE MAN-GOD Someone asked in a comments box whether this has been condemned. The following comes from EWTN: In 1959 when the "Poem" was put on the Index of Forbidden Books, it was described as "a badly fictionalized life of Christ" (L'Osservatore Romano, quoted by Cardinal Ratzinger in a letter to Cardinal Siri, 31 January 1985). Catholics were warned that it was not to be considered as revealed by God, and in fact, under the rules of the Index, no one, not even a priest, could read the volumes without a serious reason (e.g. to refute its errors) and the permission of the bishop or religious superior. Despite Roman judgements against the work its promoters have continued on their merry way, publishing and promoting it without interruption. There is more to the article at the website for those who are interested. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

ONE OF FR. GROESCHEL'S BOOKS A Still, Small Voice, is described here at the Marian Book Reviews, at University of Dayton. This book concerns visions and apparitions and how to discern them. He recommends caution and indicates that even saints make mistakes. The review also indicates that Fr. Groeschel's preferred sources are everyday events as opposed to signs and wonders. He speaks about being charismatic on one of the tapes in the 4-tape set. I understood him to say that he is a charismatic. However, a commenter in a comment box below sayd that he is not. I should listen to the tape again to get a precise quote. CarrieTomko@aol.com

FR. GROESCHEL, HELEN SCHUCMAN, AND A COURSE IN MIRACLES Most Catholics know this book is anything but Catholic. A reader, confused by the following, has linked this website in a comments box. I find this incomprehensible as well: Mrs. Schucman, a Columbia University professor and psychologist, was an acquaintance of Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. (seen on EWTN). Fr. Groeschel gave a eulogy at her funeral. Fr. Groeschel wrote (2), "This woman who had written so eloquently that suffering really did not exist spent the last two years of her life in the blackest psychotic depression I have ever witnessed." Fr. Groeschel is a holy, practical, wise, no nonsense priest, and psychologist. During an October 1994 lecture on "Discernment" given at Holy Cross Church, Rumson, N.J., Fr. Groeschel stated that he believed that Helen Shucman's experience with the channeled "spirit" was possibly a true diabolic manifestation. Fr. Groeschel's experience as a psychologist and priest included being called upon by his Bishop to investigate reported diabolic manifestations in his New York City diocese. In the lecture Fr. Groeschel described one experience � called as an exorcist � where he witnessed objects unexplainably being thrown about a room. At the end of a lengthy discussion he attributed that particular experience to paranormal manifestations � but not diabolic in nature (3). Fr. Groeschel is not easily inclined to attribute any experience to the diabolic. The possible diabolic origin in the spirit channeling of Helen Schucman was one exception given by Fr. Groeschel. Fr. Groeschel's suspicions find support in Sacred Scripture. Helen Schucman's "channeled spirit" denies that our Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth in the flesh. I'm reluctant to comment. Fr. Groeschel's tapes sound solidly orthodox. He appears on EWTN. He is much loved by Catholics who are trying to be faithful to the Tradition of the Church. There must be a reasonable explanation for Father's appearance at this lady's funeral. Perhaps he heard her confession before her death? CarrieTomko@aol.com

JOHN PAUL I, MARTYR OF THE CHURCH'S PURIFICATION a book by Father Jesus Lopez Saez, which appears to be written in Spanish, makes the accusation. But is the organization--The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 21st Century--a reliable source. That seems to be the organization offering this book. It seems to be involved with the Abbe de Nantes. I think I've seen the claim that he is sedevecantist. Has anyone read the book, or has anyone got information on the organization? From the website: �WHEN Albino Luciani, having become Pope John Paul I in 1978, died in the same month as his enthronement, no answer was forthcoming to the most elementary questions: What did he die from? What was his real character? �Usually these two questions went hand in hand. For example, people would say: �He was a poor man who died overwhelmed by the burden of the papacy�, or else, as Cornwell makes out today: �He let himself die because he did not feel capable of being Pope.� �Against these views, and along with many others, we affirm: �He was a martyr of the purification and renovation of the Church.� The difference is obvious, radical, fundamental.� The author of these statements is a Spanish priest, Father Jesus Lopez Saez, who has a licentiate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. He has followed David Yallop�s enquiry and developed his own accusations. In the very first pages of his book Se pedira cuenta, he writes �You will be held to account.� �Facts, clues and signs abound everywhere. Today, if one wishes to know the truth, there exists such a wealth of evidence that no judge on earth could disregard it, and what is more this evidence is in the public domain. It reveals John Paul I to have been a martyr of the purification and renovation of the Church. Like John the Baptist, under whose patronage he was baptised, John Paul I met his death at the opportune moment, alone and defenceless, surrounded by a darkness deliberately maintained to protect covert interests. �As Our Lord said, an account will be demanded (Lk 11.51). What is more, it has already been requested. God speaks in diverse ways in human history. When all the facts presented in this book are taken together, one gains a perfect understanding of Psalm 79, the psalm read out in all the churches on 4 October 1985, the anniversary of John Paul I�s burial and the day when my first work on his death and person was published. �They have left the corpses of your servants to the birds of the air for food�, and �let this be known among the nations�. �The Church and the world have a right to know the truth. It is a question of rendering justice to John Paul I, of proclaiming his witness, a brilliant light for our times which should be placed on a lamp stand, be it only to illuminate a house that is dilapidated and full of cracks. CarrieTomko@aol.com

CONTROVERSY IN YORK OVER LATIN MASS is being reported at the York Daily Record. Dr. David Drew of West Manchester Township, an anesthesiologist, started the mission about two years ago with a core group of believers. The church is dedicated to restoring the Latin Rite, and worship in what they believe is the only true way. They are traditionalists, part of a movement gathering momentum nationwide. The most visible follower is Mel Gibson, whose movie �The Passion of The Christ� � to be released in theaters Feb. 25 � has already stirred protest for its gory treatment of Christ�s death and unfavorable portrayal of Jewish people. They worship knowing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg forbids it, and they risk excommunication. In the Jan. 9 issue of �The Catholic Witness,� the diocese warned that the group was in schism and that celebrating Mass there would not fulfill the Sunday obligation for Catholics. The same warning appeared in many church bulletins. Of course no one did any of the things that is scandalizing American Catholics on a daily basis. All these people did was find a retired priest to say Mass for them. You'd think, given the reputation that bishops have earned for themselves, that there would be silence from the chancery. But that is not to be. The bishop is determined to exert his authority here it would seem. I don't know who the bishop is or where this diocese stands with regard to sexual abuse or poor catechesis in the schools. For all I know this is a model diocese. Still, it looks like tilting at windmills to get all worked up over 100 people attending a Tridentine Mass in a church they have bought with their own funds. Sort of like the cops spending their time issuing parking tickets while ignoring a run of armed bank robberies. A question of priorities it would seem. CarrieTomko@aol.com

A DISABLED POPE was the subject on the mind of Orlando Sentinel columinist Mark I. Pinsky. Since I found the article linked at the Catholic Nexus news site, I decided to read it. (Besides it appears to be a slow news day.) Then I got to this line: By Roman Catholic tradition, a pope is "fine" until he is "dead." The reason for this logic is simple: The Vatican believes that a disabled or incapacitated pontiff is a recipe for church instability. Now let's see...we have priests on trial for sexual abuse. We have bishops resigning their positions. We have Cardinal Gagnon admitting there is a schism within the bosom of the Church (Lead Us Not Into Temptation - Berry, p. 338). We have Catholic populations of entire countries converting to Pentecostalism. We have stories of African priests raping nuns, and we have Catholics promoting condoms to 8th graders in Africa. We have at least one priest encouraging Gaia Worship. We have chaos in the liturgy in many places. We have abysmal catechesis in the U.S. We have a priest growing a cash crop in the closet...but this reporter thinks an "incompacitated pontiff is a recipe for church instability." Well, I suppose it could always be worse. I mean, there is no open satanism practiced in the parishes. Yet. But it honestly wouldn't surprise me at this point. So if this is "stability," what would "instability" look like? I mean, I ought to be able to tell the difference, don't you think? CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, January 26, 2004

FR. GROESCHEL'S TAPES Some of you may know about the 4-tape series offered by Crisis Magazine of one of Fr. Groeschel's seminars. In this series he addresses the crisis in the Church, and he lays out reasons to hope. I'm halfway through tape 3. He says some interesting things: * The dioceses are too large. This makes it impossible for the bishops to know their faithful and impossible for the faithful to know the bishops. He would like to see a primate chosen for America, who has oversight faculties and can keep bishops responsible. He made it sound like the role of a Patriarch, though that is probably not what he means. * The scandal began when priests left the priesthood to get married. * The real problem is not homosexuality, it is the gay clergy. Or as he explains, the gay lifestyle, the indulgence of homosexual acts, membership in the gay scene, lack of repentence for homosexual acts, a commitment to a lifestyle that is opposed to Church teaching. And he recommends "clean up your act or get out". * Things got out of hand not when Church lawyers were confronted with lawsuits over abuse. Things got out of hand when the insurance lawyers got involved. Insurance lawyers practice aversarial law. This is what turned the abuse victims into the "opposition" in chanceries. * The clergy feel that the bishops have not protected them. An accusation, no matter how spurious, can deprive a priest of his reputation and his office. * The scandal is a systemic infection - all areas of the Church are infected--liberal and conservative. Conservatives are more illogical. * Greater than the problem of abuse is the lack of doctrinally accurate catechesis - False teaching is the source of the scandal. * We need a housecleaning in the interpretation of Scripture * The Jesus Seminr is Unitarian. He talks about the Catholic second man in charge of the Jesus Seminar, John Dominic Crossan. * The scandal is a clear call for reform of the Church, and he expects a reform to result. The role of the faithful is to "Open your mouth." He is not, however, complimentary of VOTF. Fr. Groeschel very much believes in the current structure of the Church. * He gives an amusing description of liturgical dance that is worth the price of the tape set if you're interested in the subject. He calls it silly and says the kids can tell it's silly. Now I suppose some of you are thinking that I don't know that Fr. Groeschel is Charismatic. Well, you'd be wrong. Somehow I have a hard time picturing Fr. Groeschel falling victim to the stranger antics of Charismatics. Anyone who likes classical music would have a hard time barking like a dog. He might be a visionary, though I don't know whether he is or not. In any case, I hope God plans to leave him among us a while longer. We need priests like Fr. Groeschel and don't have nearly enough of them. CarrieTomko@aol.com

OUR BRAVE NEW WORLD OF ACADEMICS A GOVERNMENT adviser on genetics has sparked fury by suggesting it might be acceptable to destroy children with �defects� soon after they are born. John Harris, a member of the Human Genetics Commission, told a meeting at Westminster he did not see any distinction between aborting a fully grown unborn baby at 40 weeks and killing a child after it had been born. Harris, who is a professor of bioethics at Manchester University, would not be drawn on which defects or problems might be used as grounds for ending a baby�s life, or how old a child might be while it could still be destroyed. Harris was reported to have said that he did not believe that killing a child was always inexcusable. He gets one thing right: "...he did not see any distinction between aborting a fully grown unborn baby...and killing a child after it had been born." The trouble is that his conclusion is not that the unborn child should not be killed, but rather that the already born child should be. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE REAL LIFE STORY of "Silence of the Lambs" is a story about the "Monster of Florence" murders in Florence, Italy, that police are now speculating were committed by Satanists, including a pharmacist who had pornographic videos in his home. A dermatologist, a businessman, and a lawyer are being questioned. CarrieTomko@aol.com

FR. HARDON WRITES ON VISIONS AND VISIONARIES For the present, it is enough to note that what are commonly called mystical phenomena may be produced by persons and forces that are not only not spiritual or supernatural. They may be abnormal indeed, but either the result of natural, psychic powers, or even demonic in their origin. In God's providence, I have had occasion to deal professionally with persons who in my judgment were authentic mystics. They were people who had reached a high degree of sanctity. I remember the woman bedridden with agonizing pain for over 17 years. She was totally resigned to God's mysterious providence in her life. She saw the divine will in her sufferings and was a personification of peaceful and loving acceptance of the divine will. But I have also met and again dealt with professionally those who had the reputation of being mystics. But in my judgment they had neither reached Christian perfection nor were they gifted contemplatives. They had powerful imaginations, far above normal. They were so immersed in what they thought were either visions or locutions from God or specially inspired revelations from on high. Nothing I could say could change their complete conviction that they were specially chosen agents of the Most High with a special mission to the people of our day. "She saw the divine will in her sufferings and was a personification of peaceful and loving acceptance of the divine will." That is the result of the infusion of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Serenity. Which is a sharp contrast to what takes place at Toronto Blessing events. In this essay, Fr. Hardon describes what we are to look for in mystical experiences. Among the criteria is #3: What is called passive purification of the senses. This presumes that a person has faithfully practiced mortification of his natural desires not only of the senses of the body but of the emotions of the soul. This, too, defies the Toronto Blessing experience. As does the following: Authentic mystics may have a continual awareness of God. Sometimes this awareness is accompanied by suspension of their faculties, by a deep, filial fear of God, by a great love of suffering, extraordinary spiritual sensations, flights of the spirit, leading to ecstasy, agonizing wounds of love and interior communications from the mind of Christ to the mind of the mystic. The "happy-happy" laughter, rolling on the floor, jerks and tremblings, unrecognizable language and animal sounds do not match this description of a mystic. Reverent awe comes much closer to this experience of the Transcendent than does anything in Toronto Blessing. The mystical experience is outward focused rather than being merely for the edification of the mystic. Can it be said of Charismatics that they exhibit the qualities listed? The heights of mystical phenomena are reached in what the saints call total death to self. In practice, this will mean the exercise of heroic virtue; the experience of deep joy in persecution and such zeal for the salvation of souls as St. Paul describes in his letters to the faithful. If the experience of joy in persecution is a sign, I fail to see how the anger aroused in Charismatics when they are challenged qualifies. Look at the list of physical manifestations of the mystic: They are: levitation of the human body in space, sudden appearance or disappearance of a person from human sight, speaking in a language that a person had never learned, surviving without food or drink for months and even years, the ability to see events or hear words that may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away, making statues to weep or to move in space, speaking in one language and having people of different languages understand what is being said, foretelling future events in precise detail and then having these events fulfilled, causing the sudden movement of the earth or suddenly stilling a violent storm. These are just examples of what most literature on the subject has in mind when it writes about mystical phenomena. Notice that the word "language" and not "tongues" is used. And note the reference to xenoglossia - "having people of different languages understand what is being said." This is not the non-language of glossolalia. This, rather, is the miracle of Pentecost. The need for discernment is not only because some enthusiastic people may consider something as supernatural which is actually, not only natural but even pathological. If there is a "need for discernment" there is clearly a possibility of spiritual deception. Caution is mandatory. When discerning what we witness, here is one criteria Fr. Hardon offers: A basic norm for identifying an authentic revelation is its full consistency with the Catholic faith. This consistency does not, of course, prove that the revelation is supernatural. It does, however, indicate whether what is supposedly revealed is credible. God never contradicts Himself. "God never contradicts Himself." Yet contradicting Himself is precisely what He would be doing if He gave His gift of spiritual phenomena to Proterstants who then gave it to Catholics. The only way this could be legitimate is if we concluded that Roman Catholicism is not the One True Church of Christ. That Protestant churches are equally valid sources of the favor of the Holy Spirit. In other words, it would make a deceiver out of the Third Person of the Trinity. CarrieTomko@aol.com

I THINK MY BLOG HAS ARRIVED or so a friend tells me. Apparently Stephen Hand reads it. She sent me the quote. (Scroll down to "Unreliable Catholic Guides".) Of course he doesn't care for it. (My opinion, that is.) But that was to be expected, considering the serious case of indigestion my article on Masonic Symbolism in Catholic Churches gave him. That's the article he is talking about in his comments. BTW, if you want to read the article, you can find it here. (August 24, 26, 27, 28 - it's a 4-part series) I especially liked this sentence in his critique: "When we, hoping to ease Ms. Tomko's mind, sent her similar designs from the early church or some other significant period, she would maintain her position, utterly unhampered by facts." "We"??? I thought only the Pope could use a singular "we" in that context. Guess I was wrong. Apparently his email with "similar designs from the early church" didn't get through. He did talk about them in email, though. Sandra Miesel and I have exchanged email about them as well. It's no secret they are there. In Europe. But I fail to see how that has any bearing on renovated American Catholic churches that have elements of Lodge symbolism in them. Stephen and I will simply have to agree to disagree. Or at least I will agree to it. A word to the wise...it seems that attending the Novus Ordo every Sunday can get you branded a "prejudiced Fundamentalist and integrist." Who knew? God bless and keep you, Stephen... CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE NEW SPRINGTIME Continuing with the theme of my earlier post this evening, in the words of a Catholic beholder of Toronto Blessing phenomena is a reference to the "New Springtime": I had attended several meetings of the Vineyard churches (John Wimber) and other independent charismatic churches and had learned of a new move of the Lord which was being accompanied by unusual and powerful manifestations of the Spirit. The manifestation which most often appeared has come to be known as "holy laughter" and affects not just a few people as in the past but many times whole congregations. It seems the Lord may be telling those of us who will listen to "lighten up". And this was not just a local or national phenomenon but reports were coming in worldwide. Call it a renewal, a refreshing, a revival, or whatever ..the Lord was and is clearly on the move. The New Springtime, as prophecied by Pope John Paul ll, was actually getting started outside the Catholic Church! In fact, Ralph Martin, one of the founders of the Charismatic Renewal, has no difficulty with the idea that God will act outside of the Church Jesus Christ established: Ralph Martin, the founder of the Fire Rallies, goes on to say that "many aspects of the Christian message may be better understood and more faithfully practiced these churches and communions in a given time and place than they are in the Catholic Church at a given time and place... the Catholic Church is always in one way or another, in need of renewal and reform. 'Ecclesia semper reformanda' is a principle embraced by the Catholic Church and not just the churches of the Reformation" (Renewal Min. 1/95). Should be a warning flag! But no. It seems that Toronto Blessing is welcome at Steubenville: John Wimber was well received at the recent Stuebenville Conference on Healing and Deliverance and the latest Charisma magazine (July '94) has as its cover story CATHOLICS and PROTESTANTS -- CAN WE WALK TOGETHER? Those passages come from this book. At Catholic Reason, Mark Connell writes on "The New Apostles" saying: "I think one of the hindrances to God's sending the revival we've been praying for has been that the government of the church has not been properly in place. And now that the government of the church is coming into place, we're already seeing God trusting the body of Christ with things we were totally unaware of previous to this. Once the government comes into place, then God can do what He wants with the body of Christ, and one of the things most of us agree on is that He wants to send the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we would call the worldwide revival." Read that again: "Once the government comes into place, then God can do what He wants with the body of Christ." Are we to understand God's government is not in place now, so therefore God can't do what He wants with His body? Yes, this is exactly what Wagner is teaching. As a Catholic, I find this unsettling. I don't think a Lutheran or Baptist should take great delight in Wagner's words either. He is saying that your tradition, up to this golden age of the 'restored' apostles, has been unable to be used effectively by God. Think about it. After 2000 years of Church history, after the promise of Christ that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, we can at last have hope because Wagner and his latter day apostles have been incarnated and are filled with gnosis. Gnosis? Oh really? It took God 2,000 years to get His act together? And now, just at this particular historical time when you and I happen to believe, the golden age is dawning? With gnosis? As in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? We are getting seriously sidetracked into something not Catholic here! Phenomenology is the study of the everyday experiences of the common man. Like this passage from "The New Apostles" article: The command goes out from the podium to quit thinking and just 'receive'. The apostolic church service needs to be 'relevant', and how much more relevant can you get than MTV? Wagner holds up as laudable the following test of 'experiential worship'. Rudolf Steiner says it this way: They [symbols - ct] serve the purpose of detaching the human soul from sense-perception and from the brain instrument to which the intellect is bound at the outset. This detachment cannot occur in man prior to his feeling the following: I now visualize something by means of forces in connection with which my senses and my brain do not serve me as instruments. (_An Outline of Occult Science_, p. 273) Steiner, the Anthroposophist, prescribes detachment from intelligence and sense perception. Nowhere does God recommend that we detach ourselves from the brain He gave us. To do so is an invitation for the sort of invading spirit that Steiner seeks. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, January 25, 2004

COMPANIONS OF THE CROSS one of the New Ecclesial Communities. This one is located in Ottawa, Ontario. The priests in this organization are pictured here along with other male members of the community who all appear to be sharing a household. They sell books and tapes. They have St. John Bosco's ship of churchand the two pillars on their website. They were founded in 1988, and appear to be traditional in beliefs and practices. They are devoted to the Magisterium and Eucharistic Adoration. They are charismatics: We are charismatic. We actively use the Corinthian gifts in ministry. We seek the wisdom of God and his power. We place emphasis on spontaneous praise, which includes singing in the Spirit and appropriate gestures. We engage in spiritual warfare when it is indicated. We hold the ministry of inner healing to be very important. Fr. Roger Vandenakker, one of the members of the Companions of the Cross (St. Mary's Rectory) attended the1994 Catch the Fire Conference held in Toronto according to the Catholic Thought website where Sylvia MacEachern reports on charismatic activities associated with Toronto Blessing, and Catholic involvement with it. It's an interesting report. Passages like the following give a clue as to what we are talking about: Even when anticipated, the animal and sundry sounds emitted during "ministry" are startling. Throughout three days of ministry sessions, people were variously shrieking like banshees, wailing like paid mourners, crying like babies, barking like dogs, clucking like chickens, crowing like roosters, hissing like snakes oinking and grunting like pigs, and roaring like lions. Someone even emitted sounds akin to sparks sizzling and snapping from an electric wire. For three days, both the visual and auditory senses were alternately stimulated, entertained and offended during "ministry." Large numbers of people twitched, tremored, jerked and gyrated. Sometimes these contortions started without any visual form of human aid, at other times it initiated when individuals were prayed over by a ministry team (teams of two � a pray-er and a "catcher" were dispatched throughout the crowd). As the praying continued, the jerking and twitching accelerated. "More! More! More! Give him moreLord Fill. Fill. Fill. Fill him Lord," was the familiar prayer refrain. There were lots for the eye to see. One astounding scenario involved a man walking to the front of the hail to "minister." Suddenly, he pitched forward and fell down. Promptly upon hitting the floor, he broke out into gales of "holy laughter." Another man was passing by. The one on the floor reached up; they touched hands. Down went the second man beside the first (he actually cracked his head on a baby walker as he went down!). Both were now laughing hysterically. Along came a woman. The first man reached out; he barely touched the woman�s ankle. Down she went beside the two. And, yes, she too promptly broke out into gales of "holy laughter." Then there were those who were "pogoing." And the woman who appeared to be having the sexual experience of her life. There was the young man who looked and sounded ever so much like The Lion King. He alternated between emitting deep guttural lion roars, to trying to extricate himself from the floor, to discovering he was pinned down, to breaking out laughing when he couldn't get up, to roaring again. Eventually, between the "holy glue," the laughing, and the roaring, he managed to sort of crawl to the wall. By now he was "inebriated." He looked and acted drunk, very drunk. The poor fellow tried desperately to get to his feet by bracing his tottering body against the wall. Up he�d get, maybe half way, then, in a "drunken" stupor, pause to take stock of the situation; down he�d go again, slithering awkwardly back onto the floor. Scattered throughout the disorderly throng, there were those who were getting batted around by some unseen force. They were literally being hit, each invisible blow sending their bodies or parts of their bodies reeling in a new direction. Smack! � the upper torso reels forward. Smack! � the torso is slammed backed. Smack! �the torso reels to the left. Smack! �the head is slammed forward. One young attractive woman with dark flowing hair was getting batted around at an unbelievable rate. At times all that could be seen through the crowd was a mane of long hair flying through the air. First it would whip through the air in one direction. Moments later, the hair was seen whipping off in another direction. All the while, her ministering team members were beside themselves with laughter! The two of them could barely stand up! In short order, there were bodies in the aisles, bodies over chairs, and bodies under chairs. Chairs were quickly stacked and removed to facilitate the growing numbers of those being prayed over, "resting in the Spit,"soaking" and literally littering the floor. By Saturday afternoon things had reached a fever pitch. Virtually everyone was reduced to a state of constant laughing, twitching and gyrating � including the ministry teams. Those who were pray-ers and "catchers" were off somewhere in La La Land. They couldn�t stand still. It defies description. The article describes one such heresy: One popular Vineyard theory accuses the early Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church of squelching the spiritual gifts such as prophecy and healing. The theory goes that it was St. Augustine who started this move and laid the groundwork for what they call Cessationism. It continues by saying that the focus on redemptive sufferings prompted by desert ascetics caused the "ministry of healing" to be downplayed! The final crunch came according to the theory, when St. Thomas Aquinas developed a solid system of logic which refuted the subjective transmission of knowledge, thereby deeming "dreams, visions and spiritual gifts" as unacceptable. Those who have read Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE should recognize that argument in a heartbeat since he used it as well. Then there is this Vineyard teaching: Another core teaching is that of "birthing." Birthing, we are told, is a reference to St. Matthew 24:8 and "the beginning of birth pangs" signifying end times. According to Vineyard teachers, these birth pangs, or contractions started with Luther and "each spiritual contraction resulted in a major basic truth being restored to the church." I haven't heard that one before! This is certainly an eyebrow raiser: The time is over when we can just continue to be led by tradition. Tradition is fine. Tradition can be very good. It can be incredible stepping stones from looking at the past...but there comes a time when it doesn't matter whether tradition is 500 years old, 50 years old, or even five months old, there comes a time where if tradition replaces the leading of the Holy Spirit, it can actually be a demon thing." Well, I guess that if Tradition indicates you are engaged in heresy, you need to get rid of it. And so the Pope must go: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." (St. Matthew 16:18) Vineyard folk don't quite see it that way. They talk of needing new wineskins for their new wine....Vineyard teaching makes it abundantly clear that this movement is about them--not Christ--building "a church" upon the rock, which is Christ--not Peter! I guess they like "creative Scripture." But this is the little gem from the article. After tracing the roots of the Vineyard to John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards, MacEachern offers: ...the beginning of the end of a revival known as The Great Wakening (1735-1742) came when Jonathon Edward's uncle cut his own throat and died instantly. As one report says: "The town was aghast; the spell was broken and the revival over." Wesley could never quite decide if the manifestations he observed were diabolical or from God. If Wesley was preaching, he concluded they were from God. If they occurred in another church, he concluded they were diabolical. Not exactly an unqualified endorsement of Baptism by Fire. Then there were the: Veiled threats directed at those who don't climb aboard the Holy Laughter bandwagon: "I also sensed from the Lord an extreme danger for leaders who continue to [resist] the Holy Spirit." "I know this isn't a new revelation, other people have said this, but I do believe that it's true, that God is going to be taking some leaders up to heaven rather than to continue to allow them to mislead God's people." Perhaps there is a need for a metal detector at the door? When you start dabbling in non-Catholic Christian theology, there is no standard by which to measure it. Flame Ministries International, "A Neo-Pentecostal Catholic Organization of Lay Evangelists/Preachers founded in Western Australia" also speaks of the Toronto Blessing on their website: At our 5th Annual Congress God moved in a new and awesome way bringing "The Baptism of Fire" and "The Toronto Blessing" manifest in one place. Those who were prepared to let God be God experienced this New Revival Anointing. Yet there were those present who experienced nothing. They just witnessed the phenomenon happening to those around them. In fact, on this page of their website, Eddie Russell seems to be claiming not one new sacrament but two: This fire will come even without the laying on of hands. It will be seen in great numbers as people who are gathered in prayer turn their hearts to me. Even where there is only two, it will be seen. Even though they have not prayed for it, it will come. You have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is now time for the Baptism of Fire. Be ready and be prepared." The Toronto Blessing website claims Catholics have experienced "Holy Laughter" in Philadelphia: November 11, 1997 - According to a report on the November 1997, Charisma magazine, Laughing Revival evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne has brought his phenomenon to the Presentation Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Philadelphia. More than 1,200 Catholics, many from far distances, attended the meeting in August. Charisma magazine noted that "Catholics laughed hysterically after they were hit with what Howard-Browne refers to as 'the joy of the Holy Ghost.'" The church's priest claims that the "revival" began at his Catholic church in 1994. Howard-Browne plans returns visits. The Latter Rain doctrine is being preached in Pensecola, Florida as well. An Apologetics website says: The Latter Rain doctrine of a united, global church is behind the movement's desire to unite all churches, and their disapproval of what they call a ''denominational spirit.'' ''If and when we finally lay down these petty doctrinal and traditional differences and JOIN TOGETHER as an awesome UNITED body and force, all hell will finally retreat into the abyss, and, together, we will bring back the king! ... When will we realize that the enforcement of Christ's Victory is UP TO US? (Jack Hayford) Jack Hayford no doubt means well, but since when are doctrinal beliefs about the person of Christ, the role of the church, or how one is saved ''petty'' ? These things have eternal consequences. And where in the Bible does it say we are supposed to ''enforce'' Christ's victory? Where does it promise that any actions we take can cause ''all hell to finally retreat into the abyss'' ? Friends, these are extra-biblical doctrines, there is no scriptural basis for them whatsoever. Don't let your faith be misled. Greg DesVoignes describes the Toronto Blessing phenomena as something similar to Voodoo rituals: brought back a remembrance of a study I did several years ago on Voodoo [which originated in Africa]. Voodoo rituals mix aspects of Catholicism and the occult. Their rituals start out with a Catholic type service. They sing Christian songs, and say prayers. After this is completed, the Voodoo rituals start with repetitive music and drumming. Some people go into what the Voodoo practitioners call "Trance". Another word they use for possession of the Loa, or Voodoo deities. This trance state can happen automatically to some when they are under hard situation. What happens in this trance? According to Kyle Kristos in his book, Voodoo, this trance puts a person in contact with spiritual forces. The trances are indicated by trembling, convulsions, a feeling of emptiness, and fainting. During this trance there is no self control; legs tremble, and there is rapid eye movement under closed eye lids. While in this trance, some crawl on the floor and staccato sounds come out of their mouths. The Hungans [which means priest or witch doctor] watch and try to catch people as they fall to the ground. Why are these same experiences and manifestations going on in churches? The Roman Catholic Church seems to have caught a critical case of prelest. CarrieTomko@aol.com

JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH ! Move over Dan Brown... Move over J. K. Rowling... Madonna is here and she wants the spotlight! THE ENGLISH ROSES Madonna hangs up her material-girl cloak to teach children the importance of looking beyond a surface sheen. In The English Roses, the superstar's children's book debut, four little girls (the roses in question) "play the same games, read the same books, and like the same boys." Nicole, Amy, Charlotte, and Grace all love to dance the monkey and the tickety-boo� and they all are horribly jealous of Binah, the perfect, beautiful, smart, kind girl who lives nearby. Binah. As in Cabala? Apparently so. Madonna says she drew her inspiration for The English Roses not just from her daughter�s experience, but from the �spiritual wisdom� she found studying the Cabala. The Arizona Republic agrees: The book also draws on Madonna's study of the mystical Jewish cabala teachings. Proceeds will go to the Los Angeles-based Spirituality for Kids Foundation. Apparently the Jewish community, or at least this member of it, is not amused: So Madonna has written a children's book, The English Roses, which is based on kabala and features as its lead character a girl named Binah. Should the Jewish community not embrace her as our savior and princess, the woman who helped make Judaism sexy? No. And here's why: The fact that Judaism is becoming increasingly dependent on depraved pop cultural icons to make it appeal to the masses is a sign of desperation rather than achievement, failure rather than success. Will this one be a runaway bestseller like Rowling's books. According to this Press Release for Amazon.com, it already is: NEW YORK, September 25, 2003. For Immediate Release�.One week after its release in 30 languages and more than 100 countries around the world, The English Roses, Madonna's first book for children, is a global bestseller. The book will enter The New York Times' best-seller list in the October 5, 2003 edition of The New York Times Book Review in the No. 1 position for children�s picture books. Today, the book debuts on the USA Today best-seller list at No. 7 among all books sold in America last week. The book is the No. 1 children�s bestseller on the BookSense list, reflecting the strong support for The English Roses by America�s independent booksellers. The English Roses is No. 2 on the Amazon.com children�s best-seller list and the No. 1 children�s bestseller on bn.com, Barnes & Noble�s online bookstore. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us! CarrieTomko@aol.com

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