Saturday, May 08, 2004
CONFUSING NATURE OF DISSENT
Just when we think we can recognize what dissenters will say and support, along comes a dissenter with a whole new bag of tricks. I ran into this man several years ago, and have been checking his websites off and on ever since.
Meet Dr. Colin James Hamer (he's pictured on the right), and his Neith Network Library + Primordial Wisdom.
Dr. Hamer is a fan of the Traditional Latin Mass. On one of his websites he links the Latin Mass Society.
And then there is Our Lady of Guadalupe at this website. (He has a lot of websites.) The Pope is pictured on this one as well. You will find Our Lady here on this website, too, which was very slow to load for me. It will also give you a hint that Hamer is not exactly a traditional Catholic.
In fact, he promotes Joan D'Arcy Cooper on his website and Meditations on the Tarot which was written by an Anthroposophist turned Catholic. Google brought up a UK porn site when I asked for Joan D'Arcy Cooper.
Hamer also promotes the ideas of Blavatsky and Steiner, among others. See the book review of Prokofieff's The Spiritual Origins of Eastern Europe and the Future Mysteries of the Holy Grail at this website.
He sponsors something called Creativity House and the Rainbow Programme within it. I haven't been able to learn much about either of them. It's probably buried in his multiple websites somewhere, but I'm not going to read all that stuff.
Albert Pike describes Neith in Morals and Dogma:
The Supreme Being of the Egyptians was Amun, a secret and concealed God, the Unknown Father of the Gnostics, the Source of Divine Life, and of all force, the Plenitude of all, comprehending all things in Hi8mself, the original Light. He creates nothing; but everything emanates from Him: and all other Gods are but his manifestations. From Him, by the utterance of a Word, emanated Neith, the Divine Mother of all things, the Primitive Thought, the Force that puts everything in movement, the Spirit everywhere extended, the Deity of Light and Mother of the Sun. --Morals and Dogma p. 281
Check out this one in the Neith Network. None of the links worked when I checked them last month.
Apparently Hamer is a laicized Catholic priest according to the Danish Pedophile Association. Check out what they have to say at this website.
I haven't been able to verify the report of the Danish Pedophile Association, but one thing seems clear. Dr. Colin James Hamer has a very strange conception of how one goes about being Catholic.
Friday, May 07, 2004
A DECLINING POPULATION PLAGUES SINGAPORE
according to Michael Rose's editorial sent in by a reader:
The problem is Singapore�s sliding fertility rate, the average number of children born to each woman of child-bearing age. According to statistics for 2002, Singaporean women give birth to 1.37 babies in a lifetime, down from 1.87 in 1990. Since a replacement level of 2.1 is required to keep a country�s natural population stable, Goh Chok Tong elevated baby-making to a national priority. If the declining fertility rate continues, increasingly fewer people must support a growing elderly population, straining available resources for health care and other social services. Singapore is concerned about its fertility rate not only in terms of an impending economic crisis, but also in terms of a national security risk. In fact, Singapore recently introduced female soldiers as a way to fill a minimum number of spots in its armed forces.
As far back as the 1980�s the Singapore government has been attuned to its increasingly dire fertility stats. In 1984 it formed its Working Committee on Marriage and Procreation, an agency specifically charged with the task of stimulating fertility on the island. Its most notable achievement has been Singapore�s "baby bonus" packages: financial incentives to encourage couples to have two or more children. This is, by the way, a top-down reversal from the government�s 1970�s-era "Two is Enough" campaign designed to curb family size in the small nation.
In recent years the Committee�s work has included government-sponsored matchmaking efforts through its Social Development Unit (SDU, nicknamed by Singaporean cynics as "Single, Desperate, and Ugly"). Working in conjunction with Singapore�s Public Education Committee on Family, the SDU turned out a set of seventy recommendations designed to produce babies.
JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO'S ARTICLE IN FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE
is up at their website. His topic is the Ford Foundation funding of Catholics for a Free Choice.
PML LINKED THIS WEBSITE IN A COMMENTS BOX
Council on Spiritual Practices
I decided to see what was there and where it would lead. It didn't actually lead anywhere since I had to sign off when the thunder started, but I'll post what I found anyway because this might be new to some of you.
The first thing I see over there on the right is a book with a Foreword by David Steindl-Rast. David is a Catholic Benedictine monk. He is also a member of Lindisfarne Associates, the group formed by William Irwin Thompson, based for a time at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. This is a very New Agey group.
Notice that James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis are also members. These two were the creators of Gaia Theory, from which we get the worship of Gaia.
Look at the rest of the Lindisfarne list. You are seeing the names of many movers and shakers of earth-centered religion that is taking hold in America.
Here is William Irwin Thompson's bio. He was born to a Roman Catholic mother. In this bio Thompson refers to James Park Morton as the Chair of the association. Morton, long time dean of the Cathedral, is associated with the New York Interfaith Center.
Robert McDermott is a member of Lindisfarne. An Anthroposophist, McDermott is (or was) president of the California Institute of Integral Studies, the New Age think tank with accreditation. Elaine Pagels is there. Elaine has given us the book The Gnostic Gospels. The founder of Esalen Institute is a member. And there are so many more glittering stars of the New Age Movement. Brother David is keeping company with an impressive group. They're not even remotely Catholic, nor do they want to see Jesus Christ honored, but hey...
William Irwin Thompson dabbles in the occult. Check out the company he keeps. Under "Esoteric History Bibliography" he is No. 51.
Going back to the Council on Spiritual Practices, over there on the right is a book by Huston Smith. Smith is an expert on comparative religions. National Catholic Reporter has done a review of his book. Grace Cathedral has a paper by Smith up on their website.
A priest in the Liberal Catholic Church (Theosophical) quotes him in a reference to Yoga. He is on the Editorial Board of the World Scripture of the Unification Church. America magazine writes about him. He appeared on a program in my diocese some time ago, but the evidence of that is no longer online.
CHANGING VATICAN POLICY ON IRAQ
ROMA � Welcoming in St. Peter�s Square, on April 29, a retinue including the relatives of the Italian hostages in Iraq, John Paul II both prayed and asked for prayers. But he also thanked �those working to reestablish in Iraq a climate of reconciliation and dialogue in view of the restoration of the country�s full sovereignty and independence, in conditions of security for the whole population.�
These brief words synthesize the Vatican�s current political position on the Gulf: no flight or retreat, but rather support for the allied military forces that bring security to the people and help to construct a free and permanently �reconciled,� democratic Iraq.
The word �democracy� is used sparingly by Vatican authorities in regard to Iraq and to Muslim countries in general. There are still those who maintain that the pretext of exporting democracy to these countries is �particularly offensive to the Islamic community� (see �La Civilt� Cattolica� of last February 2). But the prevailing opinion within the secretariat of state is one of support for the development of democracy in Iraq and the Middle East � even, when necessary, with the use of armed forces on �missions of peace.�
If this is so, we are witnessing a shift in the geopolitics of the Vatican, following the recent shift in U.S. geopolitics.
Can anyone offer an interpretation?
THE GUARDIAN MISQUOTED THE SPANISH NUNCIO
LifeSite News reports:
MADRID, May 7, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - English media outlets around the world took a report from the UK Guardian newspaper which claimed that the Papal Nuncio to Spain called for recognition of homosexual unions. Spanish-speaking LifeSiteNews.com readers informed LifeSiteNews.com that the story was false. In fact, Spanish Papal Nuncio Monsignor Manuel Monteiro de Castro specifically said that the legalization of homosexual unions is totally against the doctrine of the Church.
PADRE PIO'S PROPHECY
Did Padre Pio predict the election and short reign of John Paul I, and the election of John Paul II? An article at Spirit Daily indicates that he did.
PITTSBURGH PRIEST EXCOMMUNICATED
The Rev. William Hausen knows just what he'll do when he gets the letter notifying him of his formal excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church: Frame it.
The Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese announced Thursday that Hausen "has incurred automatic excommunication" by starting a splinter church. The diocese sent Hausen notification of the pronouncement via certified letter, said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, diocesan spokesman.
Hausen, 66, of Sewickley, said he received notice of a certified letter but didn't have time to pick it up from the post office; he was going to the Andre Rieu concert last night at Mellon Arena.
Hausen on Sunday led the first service of Christ Hope Ecumenical Catholic Church in a rented ballroom at the Sewickley Country Inn. Excommunication was a self-imposed consequence of that act, Lengwin said.
Diocesan officials still hold out hope for reconciliation, should Hausen abandon Christ Hope and return to the Catholic faith.
Blog credit Spirit Daily
BAD WEATHER IN NORTHEAST OHIO TODAY
Which means that if there are no new blogs here, it's because I don't want my computer fried.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
ANOTHER CHECKERBOARD FLOOR
Readers who have been around this blog for awhile know how much I hate to see a checkered floor in a church because a checkered floor is symbolically used in many Masonic lodges and is supposed to be in all of them.
Here is another church with a checkered floor. This time it's in the sanctuary, if you can actually call that altar area a sanctuary. And what's with the circles?
Blogger credit to those RadTrads at Novus Ordo Watch.
PADRE SERRA PARISH
This is a photo of the interior of the church. What is that thing in the aisle? Baptismal pool? Is this an NC-Way parish? There is also a very strange crucifix in this photo series. Click the arrows below the picture to progress through the series.
BISHOP PILLA AND FUTURECHURCH
and awards for pro-abortion activists are the subjects of two blogs by Brother Solanus at The Cleveland Catacombs website.
SLIDE SHOW OF VATICAN CITY
The first photo is worth the effort it takes to click on the link. It's a birds eye view of St. Peter's Square shot over the roof of St. Peters. There are 11 more photos in the series, including one of the restored ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Take a look.
DEMOGRAPHICS AND THE FUTURE OF RELIGION
The Friday Fax at C-Fam indicates the future lies with religion demographically:
An article in the current issue of the prestigious quarterly �Foreign Affairs� warns that, since religious people are having so many more children than nonreligious people, the future actually �belongs� to the religious.
Phillip Longman, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, describes the steep demographic decline now taking place in both the developed and developing worlds, and asks the question, �So where will the children of the future come from? The answer may be from people who are at odds with the modern environment� of urbanization and economic and materialistic advancement, notably those people with strong religious convictions who �reject the game altogether.�
�Does this mean that the future belongs to those who believe they are (or who are in fact) commanded by a higher power to procreate?� wonders Longman. �Based on current trends, the answer appears to be yes.�
Longman claims that �there is a strong correlation between religious conviction and high fertility. In the United States, for example, fully 47 percent of people who attend church weekly say that the ideal family size is three or more children, as compared to only 27 percent of those who seldom attend church.�
Longman even asserts that people with strong religious convictions are now beginning to enjoy a profound �evolutionary advantage� over nonreligious people, since the �clean living� of the religious boosts fertility and overall health. He writes that, �Current demographic trends work against modernity in another way as well. Not only is the spread of urbanization and industrialization itself a major cause of falling fertility, it is also a major cause of so-called diseases of affluence, such as overeating, lack of exercise, and substance abuse, which leave a higher and higher percentage of the population stricken by chronic medical conditions. Those who reject modernity would thus seem to have an evolutionary advantage, whether they are clean-living Mormons or Muslims.�
Longman sees little reason for hope that a worldwide demographic catastrophe can be avoided. �Once,� he writes, �demographers believed that some law of human nature would prevent fertility rates from remaining below replacement level within any healthy population for more than brief periods�Today, however, it has become clear that no law of nature ensures that human beings, living in free, developed societies, will create enough children to reproduce themselves. Japanese fertility rates have been below replacement levels since the mid-1950s, and the last time Europeans produced enough children to reproduce themselves was the mid-1970s.
Nor can immigration resolve fertility decline. According to Longman, �if the United States hopes to maintain the current ratio of workers to retirees over time, it will have to absorb an average of 10.8 million immigrants annually through 2050.�
Copyright � C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
[The Friday Fax is reported and written by C-FAM Vice President Douglas A. Sylva.]
The Mormons and the Muslims are having children. Christians, on the other hand, are not to the same extent. That would seem to indicate that the future belongs to the Mormons and Muslims, at least according to this Friday Fax.
THE TECHNO-COSMIC MASS
If your computer will suport videos, check out the this website where "Techno Cosmic Mass with Visionary Artist Alex Grey" is displayed in all of its image and sound activity. A clip here shows the fire dancers casting the corners, along with Matthew Fox and some of Grey's images. The communion service around the dining table is part of the presentation, as is a creature that looks like something straight out of hell. You can get a much better sense of what this event is all about by listening and looking at this.
The figure in red on the Alex Grey website, the one with all of the eyes, bears an uncanny resemblance to the cover of the book Lucifer Rising But Grey's image is not Lucifer but rather a detail of his drawing "Cosmic Christ."
The titles of some of Matthew Fox's articles offers insight into his thinking, though I haven't taken the time to read them yet.
This is a page in Alex Grey's website. He is attempting to build a "Chapel of Sacred Mirrors" as a permanent art galley for his work.
He was in San Francisco last month, teaching at the California Institute of Integral Studies, according to the Events page in the website.
Check out the paintings link. Is that a visual depiction of channeling? The blue image behind the artist seems to be staring at the canvass through the artist. Grey uses eyes in many of his paintings.
On the links page he links the Theosophical Society. He also links the Edgar Cayce Association for Research and Enlightenment. He links a website devoted to therapeutic touch. Several of his links are devoted to psychedelic drugs.
YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS !
Best thing I've read in several days!
IT'S THE MATTHEW FOX SHOW!
Give the man the blogosphere award of the month!
Thanks to a reader for sending it in.
BEACON JOURNAL EDITORIAL
A reader sent in an article from this morning's Akron Beacon Journal, on the subject of political strategy related to Kerry's Catholicism.
I don't subscribe to the daily paper, so this is the first I've seen it. [What kind of journalist doesn't read the local daily paper? you might ask. Well, the kind that doesn't get paid for what they are writing, I guess. :) ] Anyway...
Politics is not my strong suit. Nevertheless, this comment is interesting:
But even the most liberal bishops are concerned over the severity of what they see as an abortion-rights litmus test imposed in Democratic politics. ``There's a frustration that the Democratic Party doesn't have much room for anyone who dissents from the most unrestricted access to abortion,'' Komonchak said.
Conservatives with a powerful interest in Bush's re-election are playing to this frustration. One of the leaders in the attack on Kerry's abortion stand is Deal Hudson, publisher of the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis. Hudson has also advised the Bush campaign on winning Catholic support. Hudson is neither the first nor last Catholic whose political interests coincide with the case he is making inside the church. But most Catholic leaders -- who lean to the more liberal side on social justice and foreign policy issues -- are uneasy with dragging the country's fierce partisan divisions into the church.
The last name I ever espected to find in the local paper is Deal Hudson. It's a shrinking world! An opposition argument that the Catholic Church is meddling in politics and therefore doesn't deserve tax-exempt status is a possibility if we don't watch out!
But back to the article:
The bishops should be wary of allowing the church to be torn up by this year's rancid electoral campaign. Both parties need to ponder the cost of imposing rigid litmus tests on abortion.
What if I changed just one word...what if the passage read:
"The bishops should be wary of allowing the church to be torn up by this year's rancid electoral campaign. Both parties need to ponder the cost of imposing rigid litmus tests on murder."
Does anyone seriously think that such a warning would ever be issued? What a difference those few critical minutes in the delivery room make. An innocent young person can go from being an "abortion rights litmus test" to being a valued human being defended by both parties in mere minutes. What a difference a breath makes!
CONFUSION IN THE PEWS
is reaching the point of open conflict in the Toldeo diocese where a scuffle developed between those celebrating the release from jail of Fr. Gerald Robinson, alleged killer of Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl, and a woman from Cleveland who attended with the idea of defending the nun.
At the Beliefnet website Ben Witherington and Elaine Pagels debate the Gospel of Thomas and Gnosticism. Witherington's comments are those we would expect, coming as he does from the Christian perspective. Pagel's presents a creative argument for authenticity. For example she says:
You conclude that these are all taken from written New Testament sources?which brings you to an early second century date. However, I tend to agree with Harvard scholar Helmut Koester (Ancient Christian Gospels) and others: whoever put together the Gospel of Thomas apparently had access to the kind of sources Matthew and Luke used to write their gospels. Koester suggests that the Gospel of Thomas comes from about the year 50, and so is the earliest of the New Testament gospels. I hold to a more conservative dating, since I think Thomas also includes what looks like later sayings tradition, parallel with the Gospel of John. I think a date of 90?100 fits both the sources and the papyrus evidence, although these dates are only educated guesses, as you know.
A further indication that Thomas is not "Gnostic," by your own definition, is that it does use the Old Testament in a very positive way?just as the Gospel of John does. Both frame their views of the gospel with midrashic interpretations of Genesis 1. Recognizing this has led scholars far beyond what you learned as a graduate student from Bruce Metzger, and what I learned in graduate school. That's why those of us working in this field have come to recognize these texts not as "Gnostic"?whatever that fuzzy term meant?but as early Christian, and immersed, like all the early Christian sources we know, in the Hebrew Bible.
Early Christian sources?bishop Irenaeus, for example?tell us that the Gospel of Thomas is one of those that some Christians revered; that's why we think that the movement was much more diverse than any of us were taught, or than anyone imagined before the 1945 discovery of these texts. Indeed, the Nag Hammadi texts were originally copied and read by Christian monks in one of the first monasteries to be established in Egypt.
Second: As you say, the New Testament books focus on "belief in the atoning death of Jesus." The Gospel of Thomas, indeed, is different; it begins with the words, "these are the secret words which the Living Jesus spoke." It's true that the teachings of Thomas are not about "belief in the atoning death of Jesus." Here, instead, the "Living Jesus" encourages his disciples to "seek, and you shall find," adding that "the one who seeks should not stop seeking until he finds; and when he finds, he will be troubled; and when he is troubled, he will be astonished..." This collection of teachings urges not "speculation," as we were taught, but seeking God?and suffering through the process of discovering one's relationship to "the living Jesus" and to God.
Like you, I was taught a generation ago that this kind of teaching was antithetical to what we find in "the real gospels." Since that time, however, many scholars have realized that the Gospel of Thomas would make no sense to anyone who was not already familiar with the account of Jesus' activities, his death, and resurrection as, for example, the Gospel of Mark tells it. Like John's gospel, Thomas' apparently assumes that the reader already knows about Jesus, and knows about his public teaching. Otherwise, offering his "secret teaching" would make no sense at all. But for those who already have accepted the public teaching, certain disciples are ready to learn the "secret teaching" which goes beyond this. John's gospel, of course, relates such intimate teaching in chapters 13?18, in what we call the "farewell discourses" that Jesus directs to his disciples alone.
Though her arguments are clever, a source closer to the actual time of Jesus life and death is more reliable. And we have just such a source in the Scriptures upon which we rely for authentic Christian theology.
We can live as Christians quite consistently with the instruction contained in the New Testament. There is no need for consideration of new material in order to complete what is already completed. Taking up once-rejected sources is risky to the faith we hold dear.
An article from ZENIT, carried on the EWTN website, discusses Polka Masses:
After our piece on "Polka Masses" (April 20) a priest from North Dakota wrote the following commentary "The tradition of having 'Polka' Masses is very much alive ... scheduled to coincide with a community's annual 'Polka Fest.' When I ask people who attend them for their reaction, they respond by swinging their hips and saying something like, 'I wanted to get up and dance.' I have never heard anyone say that it brought them closer to God or his people. A few people respond, 'It was hard to pray.'"
I think that the commentary speaks for itself. What is important is not if the people like the music (they probably do) but whether it helps them live the Mass (it probably does not).
While the recently published instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum" says little about music, it does say in No. 78: "It is not permissible to link the celebration of Mass to political or secular events, nor to situations that are not fully consistent with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, it is altogether to be avoided that the celebration of Mass should be carried out merely out of a desire for show, or in the manner of other ceremonies including profane ones, lest the Eucharist should be emptied of its authentic meaning."
Thus, linking the Eucharist to an annual "Polka Fest" or other analogous celebrations in this manner is not advisable.
This does not mean that all expressions of national or ethnic traditions are excluded from the Mass. But they must be specifically religious in content and contribute to living it with fervor.
Although such folkloric music is excluded from Mass it may be offered to the congregation after Mass in the parking lot or parish hall, especially in communities with strong ethnic ties.
Certainly sounds sensible. Ethnic celebrations could be true to their heritage without including profane activities in the Mass. There are many Polish hymns, for example, which could be included in a Mass that is part of a Polka festival. I've heard them sung at graveside services several times. They capture the heart of Poland just as surely as the polka does, and they are reverent and proper to a prayerful environment.
There is a thriving Polish community in the Cleveland Diocese, and consequently the Polka Mass tends to make the evening news every year during the polka festival. As a Catholic I find the idea of a polka Mass embarrassing, but the sight of those who are celebrating, dressed in costume, praying reverently and singing hymns in Polish would be a positive rather than a negative image, though it most likely would not be sensational enough to make the evening news.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
THE UNIVERSITY OF CREATION SPIRITUALITY AND ROBERT LENTZ
This is Matthew Fox's university, located in Oakland, California, and associated with NAROPA University. On the left is a link for Fox's Techno-Cosmic Mass. It appears they have some sort of certification from the Board of Behavioral Sciences of the State of California. Fox is listed as a teacher for some of the courses listed at this webside.
On the links page they link the 2004 EarthSpirit Rising Conference. (I see that Connie Barlow is appearing again, but that story will have to wait for another day.)
Brian Swimme, a Catholic and co-author with Fr. Thomas Berry, is listed among the faculty. So is Rupert Sheldrake, well known New Ager. Jeremy Taylor is on there as well
Looking at the 2004 Workshops webpage of The University of Creation Spirituality I see that on April 20 there is a program by Robert Lentz. This is an excerpt from the workshop webpage"
Presenter: Robert Lentz is a Franciscan friar who lives and works on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. He is a master iconographer trained in the school of Photios Kontoglou. He has conducted workshops on art and spirituality throughout the United States and in Italy, and has trained apprentices for the past 12 years. His innovative icons are known throughout the world.
Robert Lentz has his own website where he offers icons for sale. You can see some of his icons here. The much more interesting icons, in an heretical sort of way, must be searched for. I'll make it easy. Here are the links.
Lord of the Dance (known more commonly as the horned god Cernunos)
Jalal Ud-din Rumi
We-Wha of Zuni
Martin Luther King
Fr. Mychal Judge
These images break with the tradition of iconography. Many of them are not saints. I would think that this is insulting to the Orthodox who hold their icons in great reverence.
It appears that he is in good standing with his order according to his bio given here. I also note that two Orthodox churches and a monastery display his work. In addition he lists Grace Cathedral, the home of Bishop William Swing, founder of Untied Religions Initiative, among those who display his work; as well as some Catholic institutions.
Saint Anthony Messenger speaks approvingly of Lentz.
The Orthodox Catholic Church of America displays his icon of Mychal Judge on its website.
The Catholic Weekly speaks favorably of him.
Sisters Online promote Lentz's book of his icons.
The nuns of the Order of Saint Benedict promote Lentz in their newsletter.
This Franciscan-Anglican website promotes his Christ Sophia icon. It appears to be an Episcopal website. They have a picture of Bishop William Swing on their Pacific Church News page.
CINCINNATI DIOCESE HAS NEARLY RUN OUT OF PRIESTS
A reader sent the link. Right here on top, I'll mention that the Cincinnati area was home to the EarthSpirit Rising Conferences. Whether or not there is a connection, I'll leave up to your judgment.
From The Enquirer:
For decades, as the number of priests dwindled, Catholics worried about the future of their church.
That future is now.
In Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, parishes that served generations are closing or merging with others. Catholic school kids are being taught by lay teachers. "Sunday celebrations" without priests are replacing traditional mass. And that's just a start.
As early as this summer, the pace of change will quicken, potentially affecting more than half a million Catholics - one in every five people in the region. The changes represent the most dramatic shifts in the church in 40 years, requiring priests and lay Catholics to rethink their roles.
"For everybody, it will be difficult," says Catherine Ampfer, a member of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Fort Thomas. "It's sad, and what's going to happen is people are going to have to get out of their comfort zone."
The changes are assured because the church no longer has enough priests to serve every parish or to preside at every wedding, funeral or baptism.
In just 30 years, the number of priests in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has tumbled from 466 to 291, the lowest in at least a half-century. Only 205 priests are active, and the archdiocese predicts that only 100 will be left at decade's end.
ROOTS OF SPIRITUAL SPRINGTIME
The Vatican website is one of the links. Take a look at the website and tell me what you think.
KARL KEATING ASSESSES THE CONTEMPORARY CHURCH
in an E-Letter reflection on the funeral of Bishop Ken Untener, sent to me by a reader. From the letter:
The Church in this country suffers from a "generation gap." When we hear that phrase, normally we think of the elders being conservative and the youth being liberal. Here it is the reverse. Young Catholics, if active in the Church, are almost universally orthodox, even if not yet well formed in their faith.
The most radicalized segment of the Church in America is populated by folks near or past retirement age. Sure, there are twentysomethings who admire what Kenneth Untener stood for, but they are so few that at meetings of Call to Action they are trotted before the audience to prove the organization is not yet moribund.
An encouraging view of our situation, if we set aside that caution "if not yet well formed in their faith."
Youth are easily led by someone who knows the jargon. What I think is surfacing in the dissenting community is a turn toward "orthodoxy" presented in the disguise of adherence to the faith, but also clothed with visionaries of a new breed. And while this is happening, John Paul II is extolling the merits of the "Third Age":
"The so-called 'third age' is above all a value in itself, by the very fact that life continues, and life is a gift from God. It is also the transmitter of special talents, thanks to the heritage of experience, knowledge, and teachings of which the elderly person is custodian," John Paul II emphasized. "In all cultures, old age is a synonym for wisdom and balance. By their very presence, elderly persons remind everyone, especially youths, that life on earth is a parable with a beginning and an end. In order to reach its fullness it needs to refer to values that are not transient and superficial, but solid and profound."
To the silly prayers cited in Karl Keating's E-Letter I would like to add a serious one of my own: "Lord deliver us from lusting after signs and wonders."
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
TECHNO COSMIC MASS
Episcopal (Former Catholic) priest Matthew Fox's innovative prayer service entertainment has borrowed an element from witchcraft. Calling the corners is standard ritual for the opening of any Wiccan ceremony. A reader sent in Fox's website with pictures of fire dancers calling the direction South and invoking the fire element.
SPANISH PAPAL NUNCIO APPROVES OF GAY PARTNERSHIPS
From The Guardian:
The Pope's ambassador to one of Europe's leading Catholic countries has hinted that the church should "acknowledge" gay partnerships - a significant crack in the Vatican's resolute opposition to "evil and deviant" gay relationships.
Monsignor Manuel Monteiro de Castro told a conference of Spanish bishops at the weekend: "The new political situation in which we are living in Spain sets new challenges in the spreading of the gospel and we must meet those challenges in an appropriate manner."
Departing from his prepared speech, the papal nuncio added that although the law in Spain, and many other countries, defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, "there are other forms of cohabitation and it is good that they be recognised".
The uncommonly outspoken remarks, reported in the Spanish press, will cause extreme annoyance within a papal circle desperate to stop the encroachment of what it sees as decadent sexual morality.
Although he insisted that same-sex unions could not be regarded as marriages, the envoy implied that they were at least worthy of compassion.
"Worthy of compassion." Is heterosexual cohabitation, then, also "worthy of compassion?" And adultery, perhaps? While we're being compassionate about sin, shall we include murder in the mix? Robery? There is no telling what our compassionate prelates will think of next!
GETTING THE FACTS STRAIGHT
From Yahoo News:
MANILA, (AFP) - The Philippine government is risking a "possible explosion" of the AIDS (news - web sites) virus by pandering to the Catholic Church's strict birth control policy, Human Rights Watch has warned.
The US-based watchdog said that while HIV (news - web sites) and AIDS infection was relatively low in the country, failure to promote the use of condoms could bring about disaster.
"The Philippines faces a possible explosion of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)," said the summary of a Human Rights Watch report.
The report criticised the administration of President Gloria Arroyo for not challenging the Catholic Church, which opposes all birth control, and slammed some local officials for banning condoms from health centres.
The response to AIDS in the mainly Catholic Philippines, which is holding presidential elections next week, is inadequate, said report author Jonathan Cohen.
Not quite! Adhering to the Catholic Church's strict moral policy will prevent AIDS better than condoms, as a recent report on Uganda demonstrated.
Our Lady of Death. Recently I linked a story about this haunting figure of the Mexican slums. At the time no one knew where this cult originated. There is another story about her on the web tonight. This time the source of the cult is cited:
The thriving death cult can be traced back to the Aztecs, who founded the modern city amid the blood and bones of thousands of sacrificial victims. Banished by the Catholic Church in the Conquest, it then went underground.
Almost unheard of until a decade ago, the macabre cult is now booming. Around 30 shrines have sprung up across the capital recently and Mexican communities in the US and South America now contain adherents.
One of the leading experts on the phenomenon is the Mexican writer Homero Aridjis, a former president of the international writers' group PEN, whose novel about the booming cult became an instant bestseller on publication earlier this year.
"Santa Muerte is the goddess of the desperate," Aridjis said. "Belief in her is bursting out of this den of thieves and into society at large as people become less trusting of bureaucratic and corrupt governments and an authoritarian Church.
"You can ask favours of Santa Muerte that you couldn't ask of the Virgin.
A reader sent the link.
Catholicism was more desirable when it was assumed that we can carry our crosses, and that grace will be sufficient to see us through.
Today, it seems, we are encouraged to "celebrate our brokenness", rather than to pick up what's left and carry on. I believe the victims can heal. I believe they can move beyond what has happened. I do not believe it is easy or that it can be done without grace. To drag out our greatest pain and display it to an audience of strangers is to appeal to the infantile in all of us, which is better suppressed and overcome if healing is the desired result.
That we all will have crosses to carry at one time or another, is a given. Self-pity does little to move us forward, and healling is not an overnight thing. But the person who does find a way to forgive for the gravest of offenses committed against him, is stronger for having been through the process.
Little of value in life comes to us without suffering, and those things which come too easy are mostly taken for granted.
I don't see this listening session as constructive. But then I was not a victim of a priest's abuse. Surely more positive results could be had by getting the abuse victims together to share the stories with each other. Tears from one who has also been through the trauma are genuine. This looks like little more than a performance. With grace victims can help each other to move ahead. We owe the victims of sexual abuse more than this trite form of condescension. But more importantly, "sacred" is not an appropriate word to describe the activities of man; and by elevating our own activities to the level of the sacred, we destroy the image of God as the healer. Man cannot heal a crisis of faith. Only God can do that.
SISTER MARGARET ANN PAHL
A reader sends the link for a Toledo Blade story about the nun, herself...her story as told by her younger sister. She was an old school nun, the kind I remember and have always thought so highly of.
What a contrast to the feminist nuns who challenge and harrangue. Sr. Margaret understood the concept of worship. That comes out in her concern that the Good Friday service had been shortened, and she thought God had been cheated.
Her sister is probably right that the clearing sky as the mourners left her funeral Mass was a consolation sent from above.
Psychiatric expert Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons makes some long-sought-after statements in this interview at EWTN:
Fitzgibbons: The John Jay report has revealed clearly that the crisis in the Church is not one of pedophilia, but of homosexuality. The primary victims have not been children, but adolescent males....
Therefore, my professional opinion -- and also that of many other mental health professionals -- is that consideration should be given to a re-evaluation of the Dallas Charter's policy of "one strike and you're out."
I've seen indications that it was the attraction of the male environment that led homosexuals to seek out the priesthood in the first place. Is it reasonable to now impose celibacy on those who entered for this reason? Or perhaps what I really want to ask, is it reasonable to believe they desire to comply?
Fitzgibbons: The most pressing need is not for programs for elementary school children but for human and spiritual formation programs for priests and seminarians on the topic of the crisis in Church, priesthood and sexuality....
Seminarians would benefit from formation programs on growth in affective maturity that address the emotional conflicts that lead to homosexual and heterosexual temptations. Seminarians should learn the truth about homosexuality, specifically that there is not a genetic cause and that it is preventable and treatable.
Seminarians with same-sex attractions should work to face and resolve their emotional conflicts in psychotherapy and with a spiritual director. They should not be ordained until these conflicts have been healed and they no longer identify themselves as being homosexual.... The Church should not take the moral risk of allowing someone who identifies himself as a homosexual to enter the seminary.
Does this mean that the rainbow stoles have gone out of fashion?
In our experience, there are some dioceses and religious communities that rely upon the work of mental health professionals who actively disagree with the Church's sexual morality. Given the specialized nature of evaluating candidates for seminaries we recommend that the psychologists and psychiatrists who engage in this important work be required to participate in ongoing educational programs given by those loyal to the Church's teaching on sexual morality.
Sister Seminary Admissions will not be pleased.
Fitzgibbons: Since the primary victims of the crisis were adolescent males, not children, the Church should consider developing a specific program for males in grades seven through 12.
The first principle in such a program should be to first do no harm; that is, it should protect the emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being of teen-agers. This conference should also present the Church's teaching on human love and sexuality. Unfortunately, most programs in use today fail to meet such standards.
The development of an educational program for adolescents should involve their parents as primary educators of their children.... Also, there should be no fear of presenting the problem underlying the crisis -- that is, homosexuality. The new pamphlet of the Catholic Medical Association, "Homosexuality and Hope," which presents the truth on the possibility of healing, would be of great value.
Fitzgibbons: I am very concerned about this issue. Since 80% of the victims of clergy abuse were adolescent males, it is not clear that programs are necessary at this time for young children.
Also, a serious worry of many parents and Catholic mental health professionals is that programs presently in use or proposed for children on this issue fail to protect the innocence and emotional health of children, as well as ignore and disagree with the Church's teaching on human love and sexuality.
Other serious weaknesses in these programs are that they impose premature sex information on children that can damage them psychologically and rob them of their innocence; they teach in a public setting intimate matters that belong to the family; they usurp parents' involvement and supervision of the program; and they fail to address the root cause of the crisis -- homosexuality.
Oh my goodness! Just when I had despaired of hearing a voice of reason in this generation....
HERALDING THE GRAIL
National Catholic Reporter carried this story on Oct 3 of last year. It's a story about symbol and sacrament, the Holy Grail, and the relationship of these things to sexual abuse. This part is interesting :
America's bishops appear puzzled by reactions to their administrative handling of the still weeping wound of the sex abuse crisis that they can neither diagnose or recognize as a symptom of a more basic, if long developing, sacramental crisis of whose contemporary form they are the authors. Ironically, they were made bishops because they are men of files, law and ledgers rather than of myth, mystery, sacrament or even spirituality, and yet they do not see that Catholics' canonical "right" to the sacraments (n. 213) obliges bishops to provide the sacraments.
"There," they say, replacing the Eucharist with services too bland to challenge the separation of church and state, "what is the next item on the agenda?" They cannot understand that, for Catholics, being offered these lifeless "as if" sacramental services is equivalent to being told to eat the menu and forget the meal. The best hearted bishops do not understand that through this sacrilegious "solution" they are abusing the Body of Christ, an unmistakable symbol of the blanched sacramental sense that obscured what it gave rise to, the abuse of the bodies of thousands of innocent children by corrupted sacramental ministers.
Why do I have the sense that this is the pot calling the kettle black? The article goes on:
Forfeiting this sacramental sense in order to maintain hierarchical control, they shatter the wholeness of creation in general and of the human person in particular. This wrenches sexuality out of human personality as brutally as an Aztec priest's cutting the heart out of a young girl, both sacrifices of wholeness to the blood appetite of meagerly imagined gods. This gutting of human personality destroys its sacramental integrity, bringing a darkness at noon, the murky light in which the sacramental is devoured by the literal.
Shades of C. G. Jung, that become blinding light by the end of the article. But here is the part that caught my attention...
The loss of a once sure sacramental sense plunges Catholics into a previous but parallel era of sacramental suppression that called forth the great myth of the search for the Grail, the legendary eucharistic cup or chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper. Joseph Campbell describes how the official Church Triumphant muffled religious mystery and so summoned the original myth of the Grail from the depths of the human longing for sacrament....
That secular triumph produced a church that concretized faith, paving over the sacramental with the literal, replacing the lyricism of the spiritual life with the off-key chords of law and precedent, and scoffing at the notion that religious mystery might be borne by story or symbol. The Roman Empire became the model for the dioceses with bishops placed as proconsuls, inheriting the same commission to carry out the decrees of the Roman authority who had sent them to far-flung posts and who might yet reward their dutifulness by sending them to greater places still. Today's conquerors are not Roman emperors raising flags of imperial triumph but Romanized officials holding aloft the minutes of meetings, policy drafts and resolutions, banners proclaiming victory for the Church Administrative.
The myth of the Grail aches again to be reborn, a pure response from within creation, whose very groaning St. Paul had heard, to this smothering administrative mantle. The deadening "as if" sacramental substitute services mark a climactic moment in this reprise of this tale of loss that accountant bishops have misentered as gain in their ledgers, resulting in a world of absent sacrament and suppressed symbol, the condition that defines the basic sacramental crisis, or abuse of the Body of Christ, and its twisted growth in the abuse of the bodies of children by supposed sacramental ministers.
So...does this mean that NCR and Dan Brown have common ground? Does it mean that NCR would recommend to us the occult search for the Grail? Would they go so far as to argue that the Grail is Mary Magdalene? The article diagnoses our present situation:
There is almost always a link between sacramental disorder and sexual disorder, as, for example, in the infamous 17th- century episode of supposed satanic possession and real perverse sexuality at the French convent in Loudun.
Sadly the crisis of the sexual abuse of persons manifests itself in tandem with that of the abuse of the Body of Christ in the vanishing Eucharist, the abuse, as we may say, of the Mystical Body of Christ, of the community of the faithful, the people who are the church, a violation, therefore, of all of us.
The reason that bishops cannot restore trust by administrative actions is found in the nature of this violation of intimacy and relationship. Such wounds as these related abuses inflict on all Catholics resemble those suffered by the trusting victims of clerical predators. It savages the inner lives of the people who are the church, its pain intensified because inflicted by father figures they trusted, and it will not heal until the bishops identify what they find difficult to understand: How their own actions so subtly and so profoundly injured their people.
Excuse me? Liberal Catholicism wanted to dispense with everything transcendent. Liberal Catholicism stripped our churches of sacred images. Liberal Catholicism reduced our sacraments to merely human rites of passage. Liberal Catholicism took the poetry out of our liturgy. And NCR has been a leading publication of liberal Catholicism.
Now comes liberal Catholicism to tell us that someone else is responsible for the disaster? That those who hold office are to blame, but the pied piper they followed for 38 years bears no responsibility for the outcome? You buy that and I've got a nice tropical iceberg to selll you!
NCR can follow this path. It might lead to a reconciliation between left-leaning and right-leaning Catholics, provided previous heresies are not resurrected. But they sure can't do it without some major mea culpas uttered before embarkation. I didn't see any sign of remorse in this article.
And there is a snake in the grass, but I'll let you go discover it for yourself. Here's a clue:
This twofold sacramental crisis is, simply put, a crisis of misunderstanding sexual human beings.
Saints preserve us from the eighth sacrament, especially in the sanctuary!
EUROPEAN ECUMENICAL GATHERING
set for May 8:
More than 150 different Christian groups will come together in Stuttgart, Germany, for an ecumenical gathering on May 8.
At a press conference in Rome on April 22, Andrea Riccardi-- the founder of the St. Egidio community, and a major organizer of the event-- explained that the "Together for Europe" conference is designed to stimulate unity and spiritual renewal for a united Europe.
Monday, May 03, 2004
Remind me never to visit California!
The slow motion shots at the end went on way too long, but the ending was guaranteed to make you take a look at what you value and reprioritize.
Why do people watch disaster movies?
Why did I watch this disaster movie???
A BIT OF HUMOR MAKING THE EMAIL ROUNDS
A college professor, an avowed Athiest, was teaching his class. He shocked several of his students when he flatly stated he was going to prove there is no God. Addressing the ceiling he shouted, "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you 15 minutes!"
The lecture room fell silent. You could have heard a pin drop. Ten minutes went by. Again he taunted God, saying, "Here I am, God. I'm still waiting."
His count-down got down to the last couple of minutes when a Marine, just released from active duty and newly registered in the class, walked up to the professor, hit him full force in the face, and sent him flying from his lofty platform. The professor was out cold!
At first the students were shocked and babbled in confusion. The young Marine took a seat in the front row and sat silent. The class fell silent...waiting. Eventually, the professor came to, shaken. When he had regained his senses and could speak he looked at the young Marine and asked, "What's the matter with you? Why did you do that?" The Marine replied, "God was busy. He sent me."
One Nation Under God. . .
If you have been watching 10.5, you might like to read what Michael Brown has to say about it.
NEVER CAN TELL WHERE YOUR NAME WILL TURN UP
Like over at "Quenching the Fires of Hell - The Rad-Trad Creed."
Thank goodness for "Christian Mildness." The poem would never fit into the comment box. (Scroll down to St. Basil's Holy Bucket Brigade.)
JUST RECEIVED THIS FROM A FRIEND
and I don't know how accurate it is, but it's making its way around the web, so take it for what it's worth.
Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman.
It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle). This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.
Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.
! ! ! ! SO MAYBE I'M THE LAST TO KNOW ?
Karl Rahner and Luise, an article from May 2004 "Catholic Family News."
Remember how some writers have speculated that perhaps bishops didn't condemn the sexual activities of other bishops because of the fear of blackmail? And remember how you wondered how far up the chain of command this little difficulty might have risen?
Father Karl Rahner, the progressivist Jesuit who "set the direction for the Second Vatican Council," carried on a secret 22-year "romance" with German writer Luise Rinser.
This revelation came to light in 1994 when Rinser published her autobiography which contained her half of the correspondence between herself and Rahner, a correspondence that lasted from 1962 to Rahner�s death in 1984. The book was entitled Gratwunderung, loosely translated as "a walk on the edge". Published in Germany, it has not yet been translated into English.
The Jesuits have never denied the truth of the Rinser-Rahner relationship, but refused to allow Rinser to publish the letters Rahner sent to her, claiming that Rahner's letters are the property of the Jesuits, not Rinser.
Wouldn't one assume that the letters Karl Rahner sent to this woman would be in her possession? So why exactly did she ask permission to publish? Anyway...
The subject of Rahner's bizarre romance received little press in the English- speaking world. England's Tablet published a brief 1995 report about Rinser's book. The National Catholic Reporter ran a story about it in late 1997, which was not the result of NCR's own investigative reporting, but spotlighted the work of Pamela Kirk, Associate Professor at Saint John's University in Jamaica, New York, who is described as a Rahner specialist....
Luise Rinser, who died two years ago, met Rahner in 1962 when she was a widow and two-time divorcee. She initially wrote to Rahner to consult him on a theological matter for an essay she was working on. Rinser visited Rahner at Innsbruck early in 1962, and afterward "their theological exchange became suddenly more personal".
At this time, when Rahner was being praised by the liberal Cardinal Frings as the "greatest theologian of the 20th Century," and as he was becoming the prime progressive theologian of Vatican II, he began the heavy correspondence with Rinser, sometimes writing to her 3 to 4 times a day.8 In all, Rahner would write her more than 2200 letters, 758 of them written from 1962 to 1965, the years of the Second Vatican Council, while he was steering the Church into its brave new future.
According to Rinser, theirs was a non-physical romance. Rahner said that he wanted to be "faithful" to his vow of celibacy, but this did not prevent his kneeling before her in a protestation of love. Rinser speaks of the incident in a letter to him dated August 12, 1962....
The story becomes more bizarre when we learn that Rinser and Rahner were two parts of a love triangle that also involved an unnamed Benedictine Abbot referred to as "M.A.". All three were at Vatican II. Rahner was the liberal theologian directing the Council's course; Abbot "M.A." was a voting member at the Council and an expert on Eastern Orthodoxy; Rinser covered the Council as a correspondent for the German newspaper, Die Welt am Sonntag.
There are more details in the story.
Perhaps it's time for a new TV Soap, a sequel to "Days of Our Lives," called "Days of Our Council." All some enterprising director needs is access to the Rahner set of letters!
A priest in a sinful state still confects the sacraments. Does a theologian in a sinful state still enjoy the benefit of the guidance of the Holy Spirit? And if he does not?
CONTEMPORARY SPANISH THEATER
is flouting the same bigotry that has captivated American audiences.
The final night of a Spanish play entitled In God We Shit was in jeopardy yesterday after a week of controversy culminated in attacks on the performers and an attempt to burn down the theatre in the middle of the performance....
At one point in the play, the protagonist argues that religion, like tobacco and alcohol, should be illegal for minors.
The run reached an unexpected climax on Saturday night when a young man leapt from the stalls shouting: "Long live Christ the King!"
He then tried to set fire to the set with a cigarette lighter but was tackled by the lead actor, Fernando Incera, before he could reach the swaths of toilet paper that were decorating the stage.
Watching from the wings, the play's author, I�igo Ram�rez de Haro, was apparently the only person who understood what was happening. He jumped on to the stage to help his colleague. "People though it was part of the performance," he told La Razon newspaper.
A second protester joined the fray, assaulting technicians and vandalising equipment before kicking and punching the players.
At that point, the cries for help from Ram�rez de Haro and Incera finally convinced part of the audience that this drama was not part of the entertainment.
Not unexpected, of course, but still uncommon enough to catch attention is this line from the story:
He said hysteria had been whipped up, obscuring the play's true purpose. "At no point in this production have we had any intention of offending anyone," he said.
I think this Spanish playwright has been taking American lessons.
OUTSOURCING THE MILITARY
According to a Guardian article by Peter Singer (I don't know, is he?), those torture pictures that are so shameful were the work of contracted military personnel:
The reports of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners during interrogations are horrifying. Fortunately, there is a clear and proper legal response. Those accused will be court-martialled and, if found guilty, they will be punished.
But the story, sadly, does not end there. Also playing a role in this deeply disturbing episode - in which Iraqi prisoners were beaten, raped and forced to perform simulated sexual acts - were private contractors, hired to serve as interrogators.
That private contractors are serving in US military prison camps should be surprising enough. This takes our experiment with the boundaries of military outsourcing to levels never anticipated. That a loophole in the law has given a free pass to the contractors alleged to have been involved is outrageous.
In an attempt to fill the gap between the demand for professional forces and the limited number deployed, an array of traditional military and intelligence roles have been outsourced in Iraq, all without public discussion or debate. There are up to 20,000 private contractors operating in Iraq, carrying out military roles from logistics and local army training to guarding installations and convoys.
Some readers will be familiar with the resultant stories of Halliburton's overbilling scandals and the deaths of British and American private military personnel in battles in Falluja, Najaf and Kut. The industry has been deployed to such an extent that a number of executives have called it the "Iraqi gold mine".
Among the most stunning decisions taken is the handover of the interrogation of prisoners of war to private firms. Employees from the firms Caci and Titan now reportedly fill such roles as interrogators and translators. The work can be quite lucrative. Titan just won a $172m deal to supply "analytical support" for US military operations; its employees can make over $100,000 a year.
One of the disturbing pictures that hit the headlines showed a woman mocking naked prisoners. Does this mean that she was contracted? A feminist soldier of fortune embarrassing the very image of womanhood?
We women have come a long way indeed, but surely we should have checked the road sign before starting down this left hand path.
But in any event, what strikes me about this story is that outsourced personnel are making $100,000 a year while military personnel--those soldiers who are risking their lives on the front lines--are making how much exactly? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this discrepancy will inevitably cause dissention in the ranks. And this works toward the stated goal of getting an Iraqi government established and getting out, exactly how?
Yeah, I know. I don't watch TV. But I did last night. And it didn't exactly promote restful sleep.
Even worse, the conclusion is being aired tonight. And of course I have to see how it ends. Which means that tomorrow is going to be a v-e-r-y long day.
Wouldn't you Californians be happy living somewhere that doesn't rest on a fault line?
TEMPLE OF UNDERSTANDING
A reader wrote to ask if the Temple of Understanding really exists.
Yes, it does. Unfortunately I couldn't find a photograph of it on the web. There used to be one. It even has (or had) a Catholic presence as this article of Lee's indicates:
Sister Joan Kirby also supports the URI. (254) Both Fr. Dolan and Sr. Kirby are active in the Temple of Understanding.
EMAIL FROM LEE PENN:
While researching a story on the Apocalypse, I found this gem from the Fifth Lateran Council:
Fifth Lateran Council 1512-17 A.D.
SESSION 11 19 December 1516 [On how to preach]
"There are those who make attempts to impress and win support by bawling everywhere, not sparing even those who are honoured with pontifical rank and other prelates of the church, to whom they should rather be showing honour and reverence. They attack their persons and their state of life, boldly and without discrimination, and commit other acts of this kind. Our aim is that so dangerous and contagious an evil and so mortal a disease may be thoroughly wiped out and that its consequences may be so completely swept away that not even its memory remains.
Fostering everywhere the peace and mutual love so much commended by our Redeemer, let them not rend the seamless garment of Christ and let them refrain from any scandalous detraction of bishops, prelates and other superiors and of their state of life. Yet these they rebuke and hurt before people generally, including the laity, not only heedlessly and extravagantly but also by open and plain reproof, with the names of the evildoers sometimes being stated by them .
If any persons dare to carry through anything contrary to any of the above, it is our will that, in addition to the punishments set down against such persons by law, they incur the penalty of excommunication from which, except at the imminent approach of death, they can be absolved only by the Roman pontiff . In order that others may not be urged on by their example to try similar acts, we decree that the office of preaching is forbidden to such persons for ever; notwithstanding constitutions, ordinances, privileges, indults and apostolic letters for religious orders and the aforesaid persons, including those mentioned in Mare magnum, even if perchance they have been approved, renewed or even granted anew by us, none of which in this matter do we wish to support at any point in their favour."
My comment: heh.
I guess I am a bad boy, and even more so, are the brave journalists and priests who have named names in the current Scandal.
So tell me again, are Church councils infallible????????????
THE HOLY FATHER ASKS
"How can globalization and solidarity be mutually integrated so that they can initiate worldwide dynamics that result in harmonious economic growth and, at the same time, a just development?"
In an article at the Zenit website titled "Globalization Needs a New Ethical Path, Says Pope - Cites the Widening Gap Between Rich and Poor Nations"
Well, Holy Father, maybe it can't. Maybe globalization is really a bad idea that will only make life worse for all of us, and maybe we shouldn't be promoting it in the first place.
Just what is this "solidarity" that must be mutually integrated anyway? I don't think I know what he is asking of the world here. Solidarity between Westerners and poverty stricken third worlders? Is that reasonable? Is that likely? How does the American family man who walks out of his mortaged house, gets in his leased car and goes to work every day, maybe in a three piece suit; who worries about gym memberships and portfolios, and spends a lot of his evenings going to his kids activities at school, have solidarity with someone whose kids don't even know what a school is? Someone who maybe hunts wild creatures for his livlihood. Someone he will never meet. Someone he will only know about if he picks up the evening paper or listens to the news? Maybe even someone he has tried to help by making contributions to this or that charity, only to be solicited again and again for the same someone who seems never to be any better off for all the contributions that are sent?
Families are struggling to have solidarity with each other within the family unit. And largely failing to achieve this goal on a regular basis, due to schedule conflicts and other factors. But the Pope wants us to have solidarity with people on another continent.
When I read his comments like this one, the first thought that comes to mind is just what he wants to take away from Western civ to give to third world nations, and what he thinks will be accomplished when he does it. Are we all supposed to be reduced to third world poverty? Will that be the solidarity he seeks? Does he think there is some way to bring third world countries up to Western standards without reducing Western standards? Well, if that is what he intends, I sure wish he would lay out his economic plan for all to see, instead of sloganeering with statements like this one.
I doubt that most of us want to have our standard of living at the expense of the African bushman. If we had a magic wand, we would wave into existence a nice multi-room house for every bush family. We haven't gotten our standard of living by taking away the bushman's livlihood. Most of us would say that we got here by our own hard work. At least some of us would say that the culture we enjoy is a direct result of centuries of Christianity in the West. World views have consequences. Some of them work out better than others for the average man in the street.
Besides, who is to say that we have the best system? We have our own flaws and failings to deal with. A lot of people believe that the African bushman is better off because he doesn't have to pay the mortgage and the lease on the car, and he doesn't have to spend his days doing what someone else thinks he should be doing.
I don't know where this rant is going. It's probably isn't going anywhere. I'm just really tired of getting all of the blame for whatever isn't working in the world. I'll bet that when the paintings in the Vatican need to be cleaned, it's to the decadent Western culture that the curators look to secure the funds to clean them. It's Western funds that make the Pope's sloganeering possible. He isn't getting his dinner from third world countries. Maybe he should be a little more reluctant to bite the hand that feeds.
Sunday, May 02, 2004
THE GNOSTIC EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
by Peter Jones. This book was cited in a website that I linked last Thursday concerning C. G. Jung and charismatics, titled "Resurrecting Pagan Rites". I'm linking it again because of the concluding statement which is a quote from Jones' book:
"We stand again on Mars Hill, surrounded by a host of unfamiliar and doubtless unfriendly gods. At some time in the future, perhaps more quickly than we think, true Christianity could well be reduced to a small minority. Christian ministry in the New Age of Aquarius will not be for the fainthearted. The defeat of ancient pagan Gnosticism and its so-called Christian counterpart was only gained by deep spirituality, hard theological work, and often physical martyrdom. But those called by Christ must stand, for they can do no other, even it if does involve similar kinds of personal sacrifice. The orthodox Christian church needs courageous leaders, not clerics of leisure and compromise. Without an extraordinary degree of prophetic commitment and self-sacrifice from a new generation of leaders, the church of Jesus Christ is no doubt headed for a period of significant persecution. If we do not speak out now, speaking out later promises to be very costly!"
Is he right?
A WOOLY RENEGADE
has the world's attention. Shrek, the merino sheep who managed to evade his shearers for 6 years by hiding out in a cave, was captured and shorn of his 60 lb. coat by a champion New Zealand shearer, in front of a television audience.
CNN has before and after pictures and a video of the defleecing. Here is where Shrek and his less creative rangemates grow up.
The sheep has turned into a worldwide celebrity and introduced the world to the Icebreaker product line. It seems that this wooly can move from his cave hideout to the bright lights of the TV studio without getting flustered enough to shake off his new manmade coat. This is the kind of publicity only dreamed about by New York ad men!
There should be some sort of pun or parable in this story, being the story of a sheep and all, but I can't think of one. Anybody else?
ORIGEN ACCORDING TO THE THEOSOPHISTS
The following comes from the Wisdom World website, an article from their Great Theosophists series, this entry discusses Ammonius Saccas:
Origen's work for Christianity commenced with a deep and profound study of the Hebrew Scriptures. Dissatisfied with the translations which were then extant, Origen determined to make his own translation. He brought out what is known as the Hexapala, or six-fold edition of the Old Testament, in which he set forth, in parallel columns, the various versions of the Scriptures, including his own. In addition to this, he brought out three Greek versions of the Psalms. Some notion of the magnitude of Origen's work (which occupied twenty-eight years of his life) is gained by an examination of some recently discovered manuscripts. One may be found in the Abrosian Library in Milan, and another in the collection of palimpsests discovered in Cairo.
Origen's knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures convinced him that the orthodox Church was making a fatal mistake by denying the authenticity of certain documents. He openly rebuked the Church for rejecting the Book of Enoch, which contained the history of the early races of mankind and completely destroyed the Jewish chronology. He also called attention to the esoteric doctrines of Moses which the Church had failed to notice. He discovered that Moses, in addition to the teachings of the Covenant, had communicated some very important secrets to the seventy elders, enjoining them to disclose these facts only to the worthy.
Origen's fearless attitude toward the accepted Scriptures of the Christians, as well as his openly-professed interest in Neoplatonism, aroused the wrath of the Patriarch of Alexandria. Origen was banished from the city in the year 232. But his thirty years of study had convinced him of the truth of Neoplatonism, and in the School which he subsequently founded in Caesarea, Origen openly taught the doctrines that he had learned from Ammonius Saccas.
I thought the Book of Enoch was still valued in Catholic theology.
Another Theosophical website, Blavatsky Net, discusses Origen in the context of reincarnation. This one is the writing of William Q. Judge, a well-known Theosophist. He says:
St. Paul also gives the theory of reincarnation in his epistles where he refers to the cases of Jacob and Esau, saying that the Lord loved the one and hated the other before they were born. It is obvious that the Lord cannot love or hate a non-existing thing, and that this means that Jacob and Esau had been in their former lives respectively good and bad and therefore the Lord--or Karma loved the one and hated the other before their birth as the men known as Jacob and Esau. And Paul was here speaking of the same event that the older prophet Malachi spoke of in strict adherence to the prevalent idea. Following Paul and the disciples came the early fathers of the church, and many of them taught the same. Origen was the greatest of them. He gave the doctrine specifically, and it was because of the influence of his ideas that the Council of Constantinople 500 years after Jesus saw fit to condemn the whole thing as pernicious. This condemnation worked because the fathers were ignorant men, most of them Gentiles who did not care for old doctrines and, indeed, hated them. So it fell out of the public teaching and was at last lost to the Western world. But it must revive, for it is one of the founder's own beliefs, and as it gives a permanent and forceful basis for ethics it is really the most important of all the Theosophical doctrines.
There are a number of other Theosophical websites that discuss Origen.
Interesting subject. Can the devil be saved? I think we could all agree that God is not constrained by human conceptions of Him and predictions about how He will act. Within the concept of God's mercy, surely it is not out of the realm of possibility that He will act out of generosity.
That, however, is not something to be counted on. For He is also a God of justice, and justice also requires that He do what He says that He will do. And so we must expect the devil to remain forever in hell, but also must not be disturbed if we one day get to heaven and find that he is also there. That, it would seem, is the lesson of the parable of the vineyard workers.
I did some web searching to see what would turn up for universal salvation. One thing that did is this website on World Scriptures - Universal Salvation.
It's part of the website of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, so take it for what it's worth to you. What it presents is justification for universal salvation from the various scriptures of the world's religions. I presume that the quotations are accurate.
Dr. Andrew Wilson, who is associated with the Unification Church, presents the same sort of material here at this website of United Communities of Spirit, which is the work of Bruce Schuman. This is the scripture of United Religions Initiative, I believe. Lee, correct me if I'm wrong.
It would be much easier to dismiss, if there were not Catholic organizations promoting it. (It's the last link on the website.)
Schuman's website is significantly expanded since the last time I visited it a couple of years ago. Schuman has been an associate of Ingrid Schaffer in the formation of a religious discussion list - Bridge L - as Schaffer's resume indicates. Look at item 8 under the heading "Internet and World Wide Web Internet Discussion Lists" where you will find:
8. Quiet Co-Owner (with List-founder Bruce Schuman): Bridgefirstname.lastname@example.org (public forum for discussion of psychology, religion, and spirituality) (1995-98).
Schaffer is also a close associate of Leonard Swidler. He is mentioned several times in her resume and is one of her references listed there. Schaffer is Leonard Swidler's webmaster. If you look under the heading "websites" in her resume, you will see ARCC listed.
Here is a Schaffer website. Several Catholic organizations are linked here, including Swidler's Global Dialogue Institute and his Center for a Global Ethic. (His name is not included with the Center for a Global Ethic, but if you click the link, you will see his name on the website.) His Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church is listed under the heading "Christianity/Catholic." Links for Pax Christi, Call to Action, America Magazine, and San Francisco Bay Catholic are all there. So is a link to the World Scripture Archive. So it's fair to say that Catholic organizations are playing around with the idea of composing a World Scripture.
Here is a website on "How to Pray as a Catholic" where you will find this:
Another source of insight from various traditions is found in World Scripture. Note the sections on prayer and meditation.
The point of all that is that this syncretistic approach to religion will include the concepts in the World Scripture, and the World Scripture proclaims universal salvation. So what happens when a poorly catechised Catholic meets the World Scripture? I am very much afraid this is what happens.
Now think for a moment about the pictures of Cdl. Mahony's cathedral that I linked yesterday. All of the symbols of Catholic faith have been relegated to the basement--the catacombs--but upstairs is a large enclosed space with movable furniture and a minimum of symbolism that could easily be eliminated if the nature of the worshipping body's symbols should change. And change they certainly will, if the World Scripture as embodied in the United Religions comes to be the one world religion. It almost looks as though the new world religion houses of worship are already being built. And that snake in the garden is given a permenant symbol cast in concrete.