Saturday, July 10, 2004
ROD DREHER'S CLARIFICATION
regarding the status of Fr. Clay has been posted in Amy Welborn's blog. (You may have to scroll up to his clarification before reading the comments.)
Can anyone shed any light on this Aramaic Bible? I haven't come across it prior to this. None of the documents listed are familiar.
MOST RECENT CAUSE FOR DOUBT
THE DIVINE FEMININE
A good part of the reason I have been particularly discouraged this week is that recently I landed in a website that was familiar--one that I had printed out several years ago but hadn’t visited lately. A lot of stuff in the website looked new. But after pulling out the old print-out, I discovered it had not changed, but I had. A lot of what I’ve learned since the last visit makes the material it contains more significant.
This is the website. It is the history of the Gnostic Catholic Church written by one of the members. A small portion of this website is quoted below.
With that introduction, here is another “connect the dots”.
Certain gnostic texts describe the Divinity as a “bisexual Power” and state that humanity is a “male-female being.”
-- The Da Vinci Hoax, Olson and Miesel, p. 52
The point of the goddess movement and books is not a revitalization or a renewal of Christianity, as proponents sometimes assert, but a complete transformation involving the removal and destruction of core beliefs about the nature of God, the person of Jesus, the mission of the Church, and the truth about sexuality and marriage. All of this flows from a highly individualistic and self-centered approach to spirituality. “The whole point, for many in the movement...is to discover divinity within the self and to encounter it in female form.”
-- ibid, p. 91
To Gnostics there was one all-embracing feminine wisdom, including both the virgin and the whore, which they called Sophia or the Holy Spirit. They identified her with the vision granted to John on Patmos of “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve start’ (Rev. 12.1) and they invoked her as ‘Lady’. Later the Cathars, who used the name of John to signify the neopohyte undergoing initiation in their rituals, were accused by the Inquisition of using the term ‘Our Lady’ to refer to their own church of love and to the Holy Spirit.
-- The Cult of the Black Virgin, Ean Begg, p. 100
As Pope, Karol Wojtyla nurtured his interest in Russia and the Russians through numerous channels. He read deeply in the writings of Vladimir Soloviev, the late nineteenth-century Russian philosopher and theologian, a prophet of the reconciliation of Eastern and Western Christianity with a marked millennial strain in his thought.
-- Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel, p. 568
I learned with deep joy of the international Conference organized by the Ukrainian Catholic University, in collaboration with the Solovyov Society of Geneva and other cultural Ukrainian Institutions, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov. ...one of the greatest Russian Christian philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries.
-- Message of John Paul II to the Participants in the Conference on the theme: “Vladimir Solovyov, Russia and the Universal Shurch”
For anyone familiar with both the ethical and the metaphysical teachings of Vladimir Soloviev, the points of contact between Kabbala and Soloviev’s doctrine of ..l(Godmanhood) should be clear. Soloviev was by no means a kabbalist, just as he was not a Gnostic, a papist, or a Theosophist, as some have claimed, but he did research Kabbala rather extensively. ...Soloviev himself recognized that the Greek name Sophia, which he adopted for his mystical vision of communion between the Trinity and the self, is a direct translation of the Hebrew term Hokhmah, Wisdom. ...Is it a coincidence that Soloviev’s central vision of Sophia appeared to him in the British Museum, while he read the Zohar or another text of Kabbala? Although Soloviev’s Sophia ultimately is not identical to the Hokhmah of Kabbalah, the resemblance of many basic kabbalistic premises to Soloviev’s statements on the structure of reality, the cosmogonic process, and human institutions all point to Kabbala as a source for his vocabulary and as confirmation of his mystical intuitions about the relationship of God and man. ...Soloviev praises Kabbala as a “whole and unique world view”...
-- The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, Edited by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, p. 82-83
There are probably more people who are not avowed Hermeticists and who are engaged in the endeavour aiming at the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality than there are Hermeticists, properly said. Neither Vladimir Soloviev, nor Nicolas Berdyaev nor Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, nor Carl Gustav Jung, for example, were declared Hermeticists, but how much they have contributed to the progress of the work in question!...Although they did not make Hermeticism their calling, they served its cause and were inspired from the same sources from which Hermeticism is inspired....The Spirit blows where it will, but the task of the Hermetic tradition is to maintain...the ancient ideal of ‘the theleme of the whole world...Its task is that of guardian of the great spiritual work.
Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism, Valentin Tomberg, p. 607-608
Origen in particular... undertook as a Christian to elucidate not only the pagan philosophical wisdom in the light of Biblical revelation, but also the “wisdom of the rulers of this world” (I Cor.ii.6), by which he meant the so-called “secret wisdom of the Egyptians” (especially the Hermetic writings supposedly written by “Hermes Trismegistus”, the Egyptian god Thoth). He also had in mind the “astrology of the Chaldeans and Indians...
-- ibid, from the Afterword by Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, p. 659
What a book...As I mention in my review of a couple of years ago on Aeclectic.net, 'this work ranks amongst the classics of mysticism, gnosis and magic - the three pathways into Hermeticism. In my opinion, it is the most masterful book which utilises the Major Arcana of the Tarot as tools to enter spiritual dimensions.'I ... Some anthroposophists have recognised and seen reflected in this work the same spiritual impulse working itself - though in a different form - as it did in the works of Rudolf Steiner.
-- Engineering Books Online, Customer Review of Meditations on the Tarot.
...during his stay abroad Soloviev had become a mystic, a visionary. Here he found his “eternal companion” and it is to this companion that he devotes all of his life. He sings of her in his poems, he writes of her in his philosophical treatises, he devotes all of his efforts to the task of her incarnation...Soloviev’s manuscripts and drafts were covered with notes and interspersed with strange passages written in a “mediumistic” script and signed “S” or “Sophia”--these passages sounded like “love letters.”
--Vladimir Soloviev and His Messianic Work, D. Stremooukhoff, translation by Elizabeth Meyendoroff, p. 57-58
The Boehmist doctrine has a great influence on Soloviev, as we will soon see. [With the] introduction of Femininity, which entails the necessity of divine manifestation...Soloviev arrives at a system of theosophy which is strikingly reminiscent of his own work on the Cabala. Therefore, he supports the esoteric tradition which...is basically the Judaeo-Christian Cabala...
-- ibid, p. 51-52
The founder of the Gnostic Church was Jules-Benoit Stanislas Dionel du Val-Michel (1842-1903). Dionel was a librarian, a Grand Orient Freemason, an antiquarian and a practicing Spiritist. In his frequent attempts at communication with spirits, he was confronted with a recurring vision of Divine Femininity under various aspects He gradually developed the conviction that his destinity involved his participation in the restoration of the feminine aspect of divinity to its proper place in religion.
-- The History of the Gnostic Catholic Church, T. Apiryon
At one seance, Dionel received the following communication: “I address myself to you because you are my friend, my servant and the prelate of my Albigensian Church. ... it is I whom Valentinus named Sophia-Achamoth. It is I whom Simon Magus called Helene-Ennoia; for I am the Eternal Androgyne. Jesus is the Word of God; I am the Thought of God...
At another seance, in September of 1889, the ‘Very High Synod of Bishops of the Paraclete,’ consisting of 40 Cathar Bishops, manifested and gave their names, which were later checked against records in the National Library and proved to be accurate....[one of the bishops] addressed Dionel and instructed him to reconstitute and teach the gnostic doctrine by founding an Assembly of the Paraclete...The church was to be administered by male bishops and female “sophias,” who were to be elected and consecrated according to the Gnostic Rite.
TODAY'S REASON FOR HOPE
If there is sexual abuse in the priesthood, and satanism as Malachi Martin foretold, we have been here before and it didn't destroy us.
One of the books Sandra Miesel used as a reference for The Da Vinci Hoax is The Murdered Magicians: The Templars and Their Myth by Peter Partner. I started reading it months ago and got sidetracked. Now I've returned to it.
In the chapter "Magic, Heresy, and Conspiracy" Partner discusses the Pontificate of Pope Boniface VIII. He writes:
The most important politician to attract charges of demonic practices was Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303). The latter part of his pontificate was spent in a ferocious quarrel with the French monarchy, pursued both by the pope and by King Philip the Fair in a spirit of intense animosity. ...Pope Boniface was...a far from edifying figure either physically or morally; in 1301 he was described as 'nothing but eyes and tongue in a wholly putrefying body...a devil.'...
...the pope was, after a short struggle, ignominiously arrested. The intention was to take him back to France to face trial by a French-controlled Church Council, but this part of the plan miscarried. Boniface was after a few days freed by a counter-stroke of his supporters, although only a few weeks later he died, a defeated and disgraced man (12 October 1303). His attackers were automatically excommunicated under canon law, although some were singled out for specific and public excommuniction by Pope Benedict XI, Boniface's successor. (p. 51)
On the French side the government refused to let drop the charges of illegality and moral turpitude which it had brought against Boniface. Far from modifying its position, the French government built up a huge dossier against the dead pope, representing him as a heretic, an unbeliever, a simoniac, and also as a magician and the patron of sorcerers. The most emphatically magical accusations were that Boniface had familiar converse with demons, whom he constantly called to his assistance and sometimes worshipped.
The compilation of this dossier against Pope Boniface VIII was complete, so far as the main charges are concerned, by 1307, the year in which the Templars were arrested. Other charges were added to the file later, as more witnesses were found, but the nature of the attack was by this time clear. It was not the first occasion at this time on which a clerk was charged with having had converse with demons: such charges were made against the English Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, Walter Langton, in 1300. As with Boniface, the magical charges against Langton were mixed with other charges of a quite different nature. (p. 52)
Boniface VIII is the man with a double image: the deceiving, heretical, conjuring sorcerer who is the natural enemy of the chaste and the good. In the dossier...drawn up against the dead pope the pontiff's epicurean scepticism, his sophisticated assertion that fornication is no more than rubbing the hands one against the other, his sodomy, his constant turning to a private demon whom he kept in his chamber and consulted in all things, are all typical of the charges wont to be brought in envy against the wicked magician. The anger which breathes through the charges is typical of magical accusation... (p. 53)
In the papal court, the gratest bureaucracy of the medieval west, where promotion went to the strong, the able, and the unscrupulous, the fear of witchcraft was rife. Pope John XXII (1316-34) yielded to no one in his terror of the plots and devilish designs of magicians. His attitude was of especial importance, since he was the last of the great lawmakers of the medieval Church, and his views were to tip the scale in the decision to subsume the crime of witchcraft in the greater crime of heresy. John profoundly feared the plots of magicians, and also frenetically hated his enemies, to whom he readily ascribed devilish associations and practices. A great lawyer, and no mean theologian, he was also a good hater. (p. 55)
Most likely during this time the vast majority of Catholics were not fully aware of what was happening in papal circles. Nevertheless, Partner hardly describes a condition of holiness existing at this time. Yet today the Church is alive all over the world. In short, it survived this period of time when there was corruption and controversy at the top. So, if the Church surmounted her difficulties in 1300, She can surmount Her difficulties in 2004, and that is a reason for hope.
JOHN ALLEN DESCRIBES INNER WORKINGS OF THE VATICAN
First, it's a matter of design that the vast majority of Vatican decisions never reach the pope, even a perfectly healthy one. The Holy See has a president/prime minister structure, where the pope is the head of state but his prime minister, in this case the Secretary of State, is in charge of day-to-day governance. Obviously, the pope has the canonical authority to intervene whenever he sees fit, and the Secretary of State will normally clear matters of importance with the papal household. The point, however, is that most Vatican decisions are made at lower levels.
Second, it has been this pope's style to work around rather than through established Vatican structures. He has pursued certain big-picture objectives -- trips, encyclicals, ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, global statesmanship -- and left the details in many areas of church life to his lieutenants. That means that each Vatican office, called a "dicastery," has enjoyed relative autonomy for 25 years.
Third, the Vatican is highly compartmentalized, so that each dicastery works in relative isolation, without much communication with the others. There is a strong emphasis on respecting the juridical "competence" of each office, so that cardinals and their lower-level aides are often hesitant to intervene outside their area of authority. Documents and policy decisions can be in the works in one dicastery for months, in some cases for years, before anyone else knows about them.
Fourth, there's also a historical logic for the independence of each dicastery. The reform of the Curia carried out by Pope Pius X in 1908 specified that the congregations would be supreme in their own area. The idea was to solve the problem of overlapping jurisdiction that had plagued the Vatican in the 19th century, when appellants who didn't like the answer they got from one tribunal or congregation simply sought out another, with the result being a riot of often conflicting rulings. By putting up high fences around the work of each dicastery, Pius hoped for greater consistency. In fact, while his reform did result in greater consistency on an issue-by-issue basis, it also created the possibility for greater inconsistency at the big-picture level, with different dicasteries pulling in different directions.
Fifth and finally, there is a political reason why officials today sometimes operate at cross-purposes. As a papacy nears its end, there are two camps within the Curia. There are those who realize their service will end with this pope, and are anxious to complete their unfinished business. This camp will seem increasingly hard-line. The other camp would like to continue under a future pontificate. Since it is impossible to anticipate what the next pope will be like, it is safer not to burn bridges. This camp will seem increasingly open to compromise.
Friday, July 09, 2004
AGE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Before I address Oengus's challenge, I want to say that it is not true that I hate charismatics, as Oengus claims. I do believe the entire doctrine and practice of Pentecostalism is a spiritual deception having much more in common with the occult world than with Catholic theology.
Oengus asks for a credal statement that the Holy Spirit comes in a final age and supplants the reign of Christ.
I'm not sure whether he is asking for a statement made by a Catholic theologian or a Protestant statement. In any case, since the Charismatic Movement and Pentecostalism is in the process of forming one body of believers through ecumenism, it really doesn't matter.
Healing is very much a part of Pentecostalism. Here is a statement from a Filipino group. Since the Philippines are 80% Catholic, and since the Catholic groups celebrate religious events with non-Catholics, hopefully this will register a point:
Through their intradimensional dialogue with the Holy Spirit, the Christian Spiritists learned that a new stage of spiritual evolution had dawned. As early as 1909, Juan Alvear announced the dawning of the age of the Holy Spirit in the Doctrina Espiritista, According to Benjamin, the activities of psychic surgeons, for better or for worse, served a hidden agenda; that is, to bring the attention of the world to the Filipino healers and lead humanity to the realization that the age of the Holy Spirit is in progress.
In the Doctrina, Alvear explains that the Spiritualism movement was the first in a series of three spiritist interventions designed to reform and, ultimately, transform the Christian religion. The second spiritist intervention took place in France where Allan Kardec received the Spiritist Doctrine from elevated spirits through trance mediums, which he published in The Spirit's Book and The Medium's Book. The third spiritist intervention is described by Juan Alvear as "the founding of schools of moral evangelism which arose from the knowledge of the Holy Spirit." From these schools came "the true Spiritism in formal mediums followed by the emergence of conferences and evangelical sessions." Once again, awakening the world to the presence of the Holy Spirit is central to the mission of Filipino Christian Spiritism. ...
After centuries of religious persecution, and against all odds, a Christian community in which the Holy Spirit plays a defining role has emerged.
From the Catholic point of view, Msgr. Ronald Knox wrote the book Enthusiasm, a book devoted to explaining the history of the signs and wonders phenomenon. In the chapter titled "A Profile of John Wesley" Knox writes:
He set out on his career a High Church authoritarian; he and Ingham, on their way out to Georgia, studied the writings of the earliest ages 'that we might not lean to our own understandings'. But by 1750 his reading makes him 'fully convinced of what I had long suspected: that the Montanists in the second and third centuries were real, scriptural Christians... (p. 451)
Turning to Vinson Synan, The Century of the Holy Spirit, I find:
Although the Pentecostal movement had its beginnings in the United States, much of its basic theology was rooted in erlier British perfectionistic and charismatic movements. At least three of these--the Methodist holiness movement, the Catholic Apostolic movement of Edward Irving, and the British Keswick "Higher Life" movement--prepared the way for what appeared to be a spontaneous outpouring of the Holy Spirit in America. ...
From Wesley, Pentecostals also inherited the idea of a crisis "second blessing" subsequent to salvation. This experience he variously called "entire sanctification," "perfect love," "christian perfection," or "heart purity." Wesley's colleague John Fletcher was the first to call this a "baptism of the Holy Spirit," an experience that brought spiritual power to the recipient as well as inner cleansing. (p. 2)
From an Orthodox perspective:
THE CONCEPT OF PRELEST, a key one in Orthodox ascetical teaching, is completely absent in the Protestant-Catholic world which produced the "charismatic" movement; and this fact explains why such an obvious deception can gain such a hold over nominally "Christian" circles, and also why a "prophet" like Nicholas Berdyaev who comes from an Orthodox background should regard it as absolutely essential that in the "new age of the Holy Spirit" "There will be no more of the ascetic world-view." The reason is obvious: the Orthodox ascetic world-view gives the only means by which men, having received the Holy Spirit at their Baptism and Chrismation, may truly continue to acquire the Holy Spirit in their lives; and it teaches how to distinguish and guard oneself against spiritual deception. The "new spirituality" of which Berdyaev dreamed and which the "charismatic revival" actually practices, has an entirely different foundation and is seen to be a fraud in the light of the Orthodox ascetical teaching. Therefore, there is not room for both conceptions in the same spiritual universe: to accept the "new spirituality" of the "charismatic revival" one must reject Orthodox Christianity; and conversely, to remain an Orthodox Christian, one must reject the "charismatic revival," which is a counterfeit of Orthodoxy.
If this is a typical position of the Orthodox at the center, rather than far right or left, there is no chance that the Orthodox will accept the Catholic Charismatic Movement. So long as it exists in our midst, John Paul II will fail in his hope to reunite East and West.
Mark, I found the reasons for hope right here. I brought my empty container and asked to borrow a cup of faith. Several people were generousness enough to give me one, and now my container is full again. It's not the various ideas for strengthening faith that are important, so much as it is the fact that several of you believe strongly enough to want to rescue someone who is slipping away from faith. Finding strong faith in others strengthens mine.
Our future lies in the fact that we can come to the Christian assembly--whichever Christian assembly that we belong to--and borrow faith and hope when we are fresh out; and we are almost certain to find some when we need it. I think that is one reason why St. Paul talked about strength in weakness.
The opposition, concentrated on every man and woman for himself, must draw all of their strength from the sole source of their own achievements. It's not enough, and their assemblies quickly fall apart.
That is the main difference between being Christian and being something else. That is at the core of the culture that comes out of Christianity.
I worked in the yard for a while yesterday. Nature, too, is a great restorative. I can't look at all of the wild variety of plants growing out there and fail to recognize there is a Designer. A blade of grass is not a dandelion (though it's trying hard to be in my lawn, I think). A daylilly is not an Asian lilly. If I plant a tulip, I don't get a hyacinth. Multiply that by the hundreds of varieties of weed and the fact that there is intelligence behind it can hardly be overlooked. If there were not a God of order, sometimes the grass would be pink.
His sense of humor, too, is evidenced in His creation. Would a being lacking a sense of humor create liatris or a Jack-in-the-pulpit? A squirrel's cleverness at finding ways to get into the bird feeder speaks volumes about its Creator. Sometimes man, with all of his superior intelligence, can't keep the squirrel out. It took a designer to make the flowers bloom in succession instead of all at once. Crocuses in March, tulips in April, peonies in May, alium in June and on it goes right up through October.
I have some lillies that are taller than I am. All the way up their stem are little seed pods. The chipmunks crawl up the stem and eat them. God is written all over that little backyard scene.
So anyway, this ramble isn't going anywhere. It's just that I'm appreciating all of you readers more than usual this morning, and I wanted to tell you so.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
A REASON FOR HOPE
First of all, thanks everyone, for the encouragement.
When the news gets to me and I begin to doubt the faith, I have two choices. Either I can tough it out in silence, or I can talk about it in places like this one.
Every time I've opted for the latter, what has happened is another Catholic, or a lot of Catholics post the kinds of messages that were posted here. And those messages do make a difference. Which is why I don't just try to tough it out in silence.
Let me see if I can put into words why those messages give me hope. No one here owes me anything at all, so whatever kind words are expressed are truly a gift. A gift always means that someone cares enough about the recipient to give it. In other words, Catholics tend to care about and try to help each other. It's a natural instinct that comes with the faith. And I believe it is that instinct, more than anything else generated by mankind, that will enable the faith to endure through the bad times.
I'm not trying to discount Christ and the actions of the Holy Spirit. There, of course, is where our true reason to hope lies. But sometimes He reaches out to us through a friend. And sometimes we really need that outreach.
By way of contrast, in looking at the occult organizations what comes through loud and clear is that "Do what thou wilt" is not a policy geared to keeping an organization going. Those communities split and split again. They take each other to court individually and collectively. They bicker constantly. It is this more than anything else that defeats them. They have no strength in numbers because they can't agree with each other long enough to generate some. Unlike Catholicism, occultism seems to bring out the worst in its members.
So again, thank you for the messages, and for renewing my faith that somehow we are going to survive these difficult times with a Church we can still call our own. If Mark and Joe can find common ground, surely there is no reason to give up in despair! At least not tonight, anyway.
CONFUSION IN THE PEWS
a book by Cecilia H. Martin. Has anyone read it?
WHY DOES DADDY WEAR A BRA ?
A reader sent a link to this little gem from LifeSite:
An appeals court ruled Wednesday that the same-sex partner of a mother can claim parental status if she is classified as the "presumed father" according to California's Uniform Parentage Act.
The case arose when Kristine Renee H., the same-sex partner of Lisa Ann R., decided to mother a child through artificial insemination. The couple had a court-sanctioned pre-birth agreement that both women would be the child's legal parents. Lauren was born in 2000 -- the couple separated 23 months later, at which time the child's mother, Kristine, sought sole custody of the child.
Ok, who gets to be Daddy when Lisa has a baby? And if they all live in the same house, who calls Lisa "Daddy" and who calls Lisa "Mommy"? Or do they just settle on an arrangement which might actually lead to the phenomenon that at some time in the future "Daddy" has become pregnant? Heck, I'd get a divorce from this confusion, too!
COVINGTON DIOCESE CONSIDERS BANKRUPTCY
while Portland claims it has paid out $53 million to settle 133 claims, with another 60 claims pending, according to the Cincinnati Post
Meanwhile in the Tucson Diocese they sold the cemetaries to pay the settlements. Now bankruptcy is up for consideration.
SR. MARGARET ANN PAHL'S BODY HAS BEEN EXHUMED
From ABC Toledo:
Detectives say about a month ago they exhumed Sister Margaret's body as part of their investigation into her murder. Sgt. Steve Forrester of the Toledo police department says, "The original coroner on this case is deceased so it's beneficial that the coroner now assigned to the case actually view the body."
After investigators removed Sister Margaret's body, they say it was taken to the Lucas County coroner's office for a couple of days for examination. They then returned the body to the grave site, and held a ceremony.
Regarding findings, nobody is talking.
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily
It's no secret heroes are in short supply. And Christ is a good choice for hero. So I should see this development as promising. Right? On the other hand, Christ didn't give us the Ten Commandments, Moses did, with a little help from God the Father. But then the Ten Commandments are under attack in America, so maybe placing them in the mouth of Christ is a good idea?
The company offers politically correct Hero Action Figures. Why "politically correct"? Just scroll down to the final offering on the webpage.
Jesus Action Figures are on the short list. In a class by Himself. Well, naturally... (voice sounds more like Robocop than the Good Shepherd) I note that the company slips out of PC mode here. No Dalai Lama.
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily
in the crosshairs of the American Spectator's George Neumayr, compliments of a blog reader:
Kerry turns his Catholicism on and off like a tap, depending on the political need of the moment. When abortion is discussed, his faith is a private matter; when minimum wage comes up, his faith is suddenly public again as he tries to shoehorn his liberal version of Catholicism into the agenda of the Democratic Party. The most stark example of this tactic was Kerry's urging Americans to read the U.S. bishops' pastoral letter on the economy, an amateur-hour attack on Reaganomics by liberal bishops in the 1980s. "The bishops' pastoral letter is an important document which should be read by Catholics and non-Catholics alike," he said on the Senate floor before placing the letter in the Congressional Record.
Kerry can impose a faked-up socialist version of his faith on the American people, then turn around and say that his Church's teaching on homicide is of no relevance to the public weal. If his Catholicism shouldn't influence his public duties, why does his campaign website biography mention it in the third line?
If a politician can spin his beliefs to this extent, what would stop him from doing the same thing with government policy? Apparently he is an ascended master of double-talk. Projecting the image presented in this article, it does appear that he would be telling the American people he doesn't believe in nuclear war while he places his finger gingerly on the magic button...and pushes.
MEANWHILE IN THE PHILIPPINES...
According to Zenit:
Addressing the conference's general assembly in Pasay City on Monday, Arroyo welcomed the efforts of the Catholic bishops and the business community to help her in the struggle against corruption in the bureaucracy.
Maybe I should post it again...It's a bit difficult to grasp on the first reading.
(Congratulate me...it's taking a LOT of restraint!)
SPINE IN MITER AWARD
See, they can do it right when they want to!
WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Saying that marriage is "under serious attack," the president of the U.S. bishops' conference strongly urged the Senate to vote for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
"Recent actions in various state courts and courthouses have placed the institution of marriage under serious attack and in grave danger," said Bishop Wilton Gregory in a letter to the Senate.
"The Catholic Bishops of the United States strongly believe that marriage is a basic human institution and that, though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate from either the church or state, but from God," he wrote. "Accordingly, the Bishops believe that neither church nor the state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage."
They used the red book again this year according to Zenit.
I wonder how that works? Credit cards? Bank loans? Printing press? Or are suppliers simply expected to write off Vatican bad debt in exchange for the privilege of saying the Pope is your customer?
"CRUISING" WITH THE ORDAINED
Michael Rose has an editorial up on his website about priests who cruise for sex in public parks. He discusses the ones who have solicited undercover police and been charged with sexual misconduct.
What he discloses is nauseating. Emotionless anonymous sex in a public place is truly vile and disgusting especially when a priest is involved. As Rose says it:
Parishioners at Cincinnati’s Our Lady of Visitation Church, where Fr. Larger was pastor at the time of his arrest, are understandably upset. Not only is it an insufferable embarrassment to have one’s pastor arrested for indecent exposure, it is difficult to imagine one’s son (or daughter, or wife) interacting on any level with such a man.
One wonders when reading this piece how often they got away with cruising before the encounter with the police, and how many have not yet been caught and so are still cruising the parks.
One aspect of sexual abuse has received wide publicity, and admittedly it is the most horrendous aspect, particularly where children were involved. But there are several other aspects that remain undisclosed, such as heterosexual abuse of minors, adultery and fornication, priest to priest contact, and now cruising. We cannot assume that all priests are celibate simply because they have not been placed on administrative leave.
Will a time come when the Church becomes "untouchable" so to speak...when She is viewed as a sort of pirates' den where only the corrupt hang out? Assuming, that is, that the Church in America actually survives the financial crisis in Her midst.
I wonder sometimes how foolish I will feel, after contributing to my Church each Sunday, if and/or when the parish property is sold to pay one form of debt or another. Each Sunday it seems as though there are less people at Mass than the week before.
I hesitate now to tell acquaintenances that I'm Catholic, for fear some of the disrepute will come home to rest on me in the eyes of the person I'm talking with. With the Kerry fiasco, I've lost the ability to trust bishops will abide by the teachings of the Church. And there is a new question mark in my mind every time I encounter a priest I don't know personally. Heck, considering how my trust was betrayed by a priest I did know who is now on suspension, there is half a question mark even for those I do. It's a doubt I would like to banish, but can't seem to do it.
Added to the embarrassment of the sexual abuse scandal are the moments when belief suddenly just evaporates. When it seems like there really is no extended history that we rely on, but rather that the faith is just a few generations old, and that something else entirely was believed, or perhaps the whole thing was simply fabricated just before my grandmother was born. Like maybe it's no more than the story in the last video I brought home from the library. No there, there. I never talked to Jesus, after all. And I don't know anyone who did. Did someone just make the whole thing up like a bunch of wannabes made up the Priory of Sion?
In moments like this I have to start over almost from scratch reminding myself why it is more than a mere myth, why there is substance to what I believe. Why it really has a verifiable history. It's a rebuilding process not unlike a town must rebuild after a tornado levels it.
Sure, sure, I can still recover. If nothing else works, I can turn to the occult books I have on the shelf and rediscover the importance of the faith based on the extent of the effort to undermine it. But there was a time when none of this was necessary. When I knew the faith was true just like I knew I had a right and a left hand. When there was no doubt and there were no questions. When believing was the same as breathing. When priests and nuns were holy because that was the nature of priests and nuns, back when they set the example of goodness in the world that cried out for imitation. Once upon a long long time ago.
I no longer know where we're heading. I no longer trust that I will have a Mass to attend next year or next month or next week. If my pastor becomes too ill to say Mass, there is no replacement for him available.
Many of you know that I've spoken very highly of him over the years. He makes no secret of the fact that he doesn't have a computer and doesn't surf the web. Perhaps he has no time to read. It wouldn't surprise me considering his responsibilities. But when he publishes a statement in the bulletin time after time that there are no priests because the laity has smaller families and no longer provides young men who are willing to give their life to God, I think about Michael Rose's book and wonder what planet my pastor is inhabiting. Somehow I don't think the laity deserves the blame for this shortage and I would dearly like to tell him so.
This rambling essay really isn't going anywhere. It's just here to express my own growing frustration with the day to day chore of being a Catholic. So I will end it now, shut down this computer, and go get some much needed sleep. They say the night is darkest before dawn. Does anyone see a glimmer of daylight yet?
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
DISSECTING THE DA VINCI DECEPTION
It makes no demands at all on the reader. Perhaps that is one key to its popularity. The Da Vinci Code has more in common with an hour spent before the television screen than an hour spent in the library. There are no complicated sentence structures requiring a second reading, no subtle inferences that must be ferreted out, no decisions that must be made. Dan Brown tells you everything he wants you to believe.
It’s a story with just enough romance, adventure and suspense to keep the pages turning; while any guilt the reader might feel for wasting time is assuaged by the frequent reference in the book to “scholarly research” coming out of the mouths of its characters. But make no mistake, this book is not a course in continuing education on the Catholic faith.
After this smooth and easy walk down Dan Brown’s cherry lane, a Catholic is left wondering how much is true? Fortunately three writers have answered that question, Amy Welborn, and co-authors Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel.
I read their recently published books back to back in order to get a good perspective on them. Amy’s book, de-coding Da Vinci, is the shorter of the two As a former teacher who brings those skills to bear on this task, I could almost picture her speaking before a class of high school students as I read. Her style is conversational, filled with good questions about Brown’s book which she proceeds to answer in a language targeted to her readers. She tosses out a reference just often enough to reinforce the fact that these are not just her own ideas, but not so often that it will turn off her readers. Her answers are clear and easy to understand. At the end of each chapter are Review and Discussion Questions, and Sources for Further Reading.
Amy is a noted author of Catholic books for young people, and this is an excellent addition to the collection. With a BS degree in history and a Master’s Degree in Church history, she is well-qualified to discuss the material. By the time she is finished, there should be no doubt in the mind of her readers that Dan Brown’s book is “fiction” in more ways than one. If your teenager has read The Da Vinci Code and wants to know what’s wrong with it, get a copy of de-coding DaVinci by Amy Welborn, and you will have all the answers you need.
Recently I had to spend some time in an outpatient surgery unit, and took along The Da Vinci Hoax, by Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel to read while waiting. Soon I had three lab technicians hovering around me.
“I read The Da Vinci Code. What is your book about?” one wanted to know. “Is all of that stuff true?” another asked.
“No,” I assured them. “This book explores the errors, and there are many, many errors.”
One of them told me about a workshop on the book coming up at a local parish, another indicated she hadn’t read the book because she didn’t want to contribute to Dan Brown’s bank account, but was pleased when the first technician offered to loan her a copy.
They went back to their stations and I went back to reading, but before I left the facility one of the ladies stopped me so she could write down the title and authors of my book. I told her where to buy it.
That is the sort of interest anything about The Da Vinci Code generates. If ever there were a book that needed dissecting, this is it. An author should not be able to get away with promoting this kind of fabrication of “historical truth” without being challenged--particularly since Christ, Himself, is the object of reinvention.
The Da Vinci Hoax presents in detail the multiple historical and artistic errors, citing reference sources for the correct information, and quoting those references. There are 114 titles in the Bibliography. Carl and Sandra have put a great deal of research into this refutation.
They begin by devoting an entire chapter to “Gnosticism - The Religion of the Code.” Here you will find some history of the heresy along with its contemporary manifestations, and the various authors who are promoting it.
The book discusses the history of grail quests as they have appeared down through the centuries in tales of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. These stories are specifically Catholic, unlike the versions of it that are appearing today. There is no room in them to turn Mary Magdalene into the Holy Grail. The Grail, most often in historical myth, was a cup that caught the blood of Christ at the crucifixion, or the cup He used at the Last Supper. The Holy Grail holds the Holy Eucharist.
Mary Magdalene and her relationship to contemporary goddess worship and the feminist movement is explored in another chapter, together with the thinking that lies behind the rejection of the Blessed Virgin--the true woman who held the blood of Christ in her body. The use of sacred sex is challenged, along with its relationship to Kabbalah.
A chapter is spent explaining Constantine’s impact on the faith, and how the faith did not borrow from Paganism so much as Paganism borrowed from Christianity. The details of the Priory of Sion hoax are revealed. This organization was the fabrication of one man with delusions of royalty. The Merovingian kings are discussed in detail, and the book spends a chapter outlining the history of the Templars.
Lastly, “The Code Puts on Artistic Errors,” a chapter devoted to truth about the paintings discussed in the novel, puts an end to speculation that Dan Brown may have stumbled upon some repressed history. The authors even deal with the charge that “the winners write history,” pointing out specific texts that are used to make the claim, and the much earlier texts that Christians use to convey the truth.
Last but not least by any means, the book has an index, making it useful as a reference source. Considering the contemporary religious scene, I suspect I will be using this book as a reference on many occasions. I did so once just recently.
The closing passage of The Da Vinci Hoax, sums up succinctly the reason why both of these books are so important:
Our hope is that readers will not only consider the truth about specific topics and issues but will agree that Truth does exist and needs to be respected. “Truth, once it is rightly apprehended,” wrote Ronald Knox, “has a compelling power over men’s hearts; they must needs assert and defend what they know to be the truth, or they would lose their birthright as men.”
There is no need to doubt the faith as a result of reading Dan Brown’s fabrication. Learning the truth behind the fiction truly is time spent in continuing Catholic education.
CAN ANYONE GIVE THIS A CATHOLIC SPIN ?
Would this be Buddha Jesus?
What was I saying about small groups yesterday...hmmmm. So far it's a slow newsday, but Novus Ordo Watch is certainly entertaining!
SAY WHAT ?
Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish Has a Mass on Wednesday to satisfy the Sunday obligation. (click the "Mass Schedule" link)
Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch
CARDINAL LAW REHABILITATED IN ROME
From the Boston Globe via Novus Ordo Watch: ROME -- In the Eternal City, where two millenniums of Catholic triumphs and tragedies are etched into underground caverns and soaring churches, Cardinal Bernard F. Law is quietly reclaiming a portion of the influence and prestige he once enjoyed as archbishop of Boston.
He is playing an active role in governing the world's largest religious body, serving on an unusually high number of Vatican congregations charged with, among other things, the appointment of bishops and the oversight of priests around the world.
He is the titular head of two significant churches here: the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the four patriarchal basilicas of the Catholic Church, and Santa Susanna, an ancient parish now dedicated to serving Americans in Rome.
He is seen about town with some frequency, patronizing some of the same restaurants he preferred when Rome was just a place he visited, and sitting in the front row at important Vatican events.
Business as usual. Why am I not surprised? No mention of a mosque?
PRAVDA ASKS...IS BUSH THE ANTI-CHRIST ?
If Jesus Christ was in Bush"s place and he was the president of the United States, would he have taken any of the actions that Bush has taken, including the unwarranted and immoral attack against another sovereign nation? In other words, is Bush following the teachings of Christ? "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:20.
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily
RICH CHURCH POOR CHURCH ?
From the San Francisco Examiner: "Vatican tied to Mississippi insurance scam"
Firefighters searching the rubble found Frankel's pornographic videos, jewel-encrusted mobile phones, Ouija board and "Things to Do List." No. 1 was: "Launder more money NOW."
The financier, who initially fled to Europe, was extradited and pleaded guilty in 2002 in Mississippi to stealing $208 million in five states.
But that did not end the case for Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale.
While unraveling Frankel's web of trickery, Dale found a thread that led into the secretive halls of the Vatican. And he is determined to follow it, even though, as he says, "This step meant some soul searching."
In a lawsuit Dale filed, which is moving toward a jury trial in U.S. District Court in Jackson, he claims Vatican officials violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Damages, if Dale prevails, could be more than $600 million.
Sort of looks like the Vatican Bank scandal never did get cleaned up. Perhaps it's time to re-open the investigation into the death of John Paul I.
We seem to be witnessing the unmaking of 2,000 years of Christianity during the reign of a single papacy.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
There is a description of the religion here. A portion of the Zoroastrians (also called Parsi) have taken up occultism:
As a reaction to the pro-Western and rationalist position of the reformists, many Parsis were also attracted to theosophy and a Parsi theosophical movement emerged. This movement emphasises the occult significance of the ancient traditions, especially the use of the Avestan language in ritual and prayer. New symbolic rites have been created as a result of this movement.
A similar reaction to that of Parsi theosophy took the form of an exclusively Zoroastrian occult movement known as Ilm-i Kshnoom. In this movement ritual significance is also emphasised; salvation coming through an esoteric knowledge of the universe, made effective through the reciting of prayers in Avestan.
The Catholic Encyclopedia offers an interesting interpretation of Zoroastrianism:
The English word magic is derived through the Latin, Greek, Persian, Assyrian from the Sumerian or Turanian word imga or emga ("deep", "profound"), a designation for the Proto-Chaldean priests or wizards. Magi became a standard term for the later Zoroastrian, or Persian, priesthood through whom Eastern occult arts were made known to the Greeks; hence, magos (as also the kindred words magikos, mageia, a magician or a person endowed with secret knowledge and power like a Persian magus.
THE VIEW OF CONVERSION
from the Hindu perspective, expressed in this letter to Pope John Paul II from Swami Dayananada Saraswati. Just a taste...
During the years of your papal office, you have brought about certain changes in the attitude and outlook of the Church. On behalf of the non-aggressive religions of the world, the Hindu, the Parsi, the Jewish and other native religions in different countries, I request you to put a freeze on conversion and create a condition in which all religious cultures can live and let live.
I wonder if a letter such as this would have been written to Pope Pius XII? Somehow I suspect the world knew that he would not have been receptive.
If we are going to abandon evangelism, then it's time to call all of the missionaries home. Religious ceremonies such as Assisi are merely window dressing. The missions is where the rubber meets the road.
This Hindu makes one particularly significant statement:
Further, in many religious traditions, including the Hindu tradition, religion is woven into the fabric of the culture. So, destruction of a religion amounts to the destruction of a religious culture. Today, for instance, there is no living Greek culture; there are only empty monuments. The Mayan, Roman, and many other rich cultures are all lost forever, and humanity is impoverished for it. Let us at least allow humanity to enjoy the riches of its remaining mosaic of cultures. Each one has some beauty, something to contribute to the enrichment of humanity.
I wonder how he would feel about living next to a culture that practiced human sacrifice? Or how about cannibals? He is right, though, culture cannot be separated from religion. That is what makes it so offensive to have the religious practices of non-Christian cultures thrust upon us at Mass.
CRISIS MAGAZINE - E-LETTER
A Little Hard To Believe
July 6, 2004
I know, I know... The big story today is Senator John Edwards. But I want to call your attention to something else. It passed quickly through the news cycle, so you may have missed it.
On Sunday, John Kerry told Iowa's Telegraph Herald that he personally opposes abortion and believes that life begins at conception. The exact quote is as follows:
"I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."
You may recall the e-letter I sent you in February that covered this very issue. In it, I had assembled several past Kerry comments that seemed to show that Senator Kerry does NOT really oppose abortion -- publicly or personally. For example, compare his recent statement with the remarks he made at last year's NARAL Pro-Choice America Dinner:
"I think that tonight we have to make it clear that we are not going to turn back the clock. There is no overturning of Roe v. Wade... There is no outlawing of a procedure necessary to save a woman's life or health and there are no more cutbacks on population control efforts around the world. We need to take on this President and all of the forces of intolerance on this issue. We need to honestly and confidently and candidly take this issue out to the country and we need to speak up and be proud of what we stand for."
Did you catch that? Not only should abortion be available to all American women, all the time, but it should be used as a population control valve around the world. And this is something we should "be proud of." Not what you'd expect from someone who claims he doesn't like abortion.
And this isn't an isolated comment...
From the Boston Herald on January 23, 2001: "I will not back away from my conviction that international family planning programs are in America's best interests. We should resist pressures in this country for heavy-handed Washington mandates that ignore basic choices that should belong to free people around the globe."
Kerry's support for "international family planning programs" -- a standard euphemism for "abortion" -- is an issue he's advocated for some time. If Kerry is telling the truth about being "personally opposed" to abortion, why is he trying to spread it worldwide?
But perhaps the most outrageous quote comes from the 1994 Congressional record: "The right thing to do is to treat abortions as exactly what they are -- a medical procedure that any doctor is free to provide and any pregnant woman free to obtain. Consequently, abortions should not have to be performed in tightly guarded clinics on the edge of town; they should be performed and obtained in the same locations as any other medical procedure... [A]bortions need to be moved out of the fringes of medicine and into the mainstream of medical practice. And by the same token, if our children are to be safe from the danger of fanaticism, tolerance needs to spread out of the mainstream churches, mosques, and synagogues, and into the religious fringes."
Abortion is simply "a medical procedure"? If that were true, then on what grounds could he possibly be personally opposed to it? He certainly doesn't seem to be struggling with the issue here. And how exactly does he propose to "spread tolerance" to the "religious fringes"? Presumably, he's referring to the people who, as an article of faith, believe abortion to be immoral. But didn't he just claim to be one of those very people?
John Kerry says he believes that abortion is wrong and that life begins at conception. And yet he vows to do everything he can to make sure that women have the freedom and right to end that life.
You can say a lot of things about a position like that. But you certainly can't say it's Catholic.
I'll talk to you soon,
To subscribe to the FREE CRISIS Magazine e-Letter, and get the latest news, views, and responses to current issues, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and write "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.
"ARE YOU CHARISMATIC OR CATHOLIC?"
a paper by Raymond Taouk at Catholic Apologetics Info:
* Montanism, a heresy that claimed the Holy Spirit superseded the revelation of Christ and was supplementing the revelation of Christ, such that they were acting under a "new outpouring of the Spirit." This heresy takes the name of its founder, Monatanus, who began to be carried away by “inspiration”, by which would fall into a sudden seizure and start raving in his speech, speaking with a strange tongue. Pope St. Zephyrinus (199-217) denied them communion with the Church.
MONTANISM AND PENTECOSTALISM
a paper by K. Neill Foster, Ph.D. titled "The Dehereticizing of Montanism":
One of the curious events of the twentieth century has been the well-illustrated academic passion to restore the Montanist heresy of the second century to orthodoxy in the twentieth and the twenty-first. This current propensity flies in the face of the persistent habit of the ancient Church to anathematize the Montanists.
Obliquely under consideration in all discussion of the Montanists is the validity of the Montanistic-like movements of this generation. That is why any discussion of Montanism rivets many of us. The implications are vast. And we shall not escape this subtext as this paper proceeds.
Both Marcion and Montanus were famous as heretics of the early Church. Marcion would have cut away offending passages of Scripture, whereas Montanus seemed to want to expand the body of inspired text through “New Prophecy.” These erosive currents still plague the Church today.
SETTING A PRECEDENT IN PORTLAND
For the first time ever an American diocese is declaring bankruptcy:
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Portland Archdiocese said Tuesday that it will file for bankruptcy because it can't afford to pay the potential cost of sex abuse lawsuits, becoming the first Roman Catholic diocese in the nation to seek such court relief.
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy action, planned for Tuesday afternoon, freezes the start of a priest abuse civil trial involving the late Rev. Maurice Grammond, who was accused of molesting more than 50 boys in the 1980s. Grammond died in 2002.
Plaintiffs in two lawsuits involving Grammond have sought a total of more than $160 million. The archdiocese and its insurers already have paid more than $53 million to settle more than 130 claims by people who say they were abused by priests.
Dozens of other claims are pending, and at Tuesday's news conference, church officials said they "could not afford what the plaintiffs are asking."
"The pot of gold is pretty much empty right now," Archbishop John Vlazny said.
Harbinger of things to come? Boston and Arizona nearly did it. This time it looks as though it will, or perhaps I should say has happened. How much access to the inner workings of the Church will this give to the government? Enough to get the records of abuse that no one wants the public to see?
JOHN PAUL II AT THE ZOROASTRIAN COLLEGE
There is a picture of John Paul II (in younger days?) on the Zoroastrial College website. Sigh. (Scroll down.)
What sort of message is this supposed to send to the faithful from the author of Dominus Iesus? I guess I'll file it in the Do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do file.
Are Zoroastrians Communist?
Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch.
RED FLAGS OVER BAGHDAD
The Iraqi Communist Party is strongly represented in the new interim government in Baghdad and is getting U.S. taxpayer support thanks to a U.S. group led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by WND.
Communists celebrate transition to new government in Baghdad No group in Iraq was more vociferous in its celebration June 28 of the transition of power from the U.S.-led coalition that the ICP. Outside the party's office in Baghdad, a dancing cheering crowd waved red flags as sympathetic passing motorists sounded their horns.
Iraq's biggest left-wing party has received a surprising amount of support and credibility even while U.S. troops fight Islamic terrorists and remnants of Saddam Hussein forces.
While the ICP welcomed Saddam Hussein's removal from power, it opposed the war that made it possible, arguing that diplomatic means had not been exhausted.
Gee, where have I heard that before?
The communist network includes ties to other Iraqi ethnic groups. They are known to have excellent connections with the Assyrian and Chaldean minority and with the Kurds. Their ties with Kurdish communists were boosted and became significant following the first Gulf War and the creation of the Kurdish enclave in the north.
One of the questions following the resurface of the communists is where the funding comes from. This question is of particular interest since the old Soviet Union is gone.
The answer is financial support comes from diverse sources, all of which are anti-West, particularly anti-American.
Most are linked to global interests, which do not coincide with those of the U.S.
Intelligence analysts say European communist parties are responsible for some of the funding, but countries such as North Korea and Iran are at the forefront of funneling funds to their preferred communist branches. Iran has a long-standing obligation to the Workers Communist Party of Iraq for its support, including providing vital intelligence during and after the Iran-Iraq war. The North Koreans are interested in pinning down in Iraq as many U.S. troops as possible to keep them away from the Pacific and the Far East. In addition, funds are being funneled by Syria as part of her anti-U.S. agenda. Other funds come from large communist parties in Asia, predominantly from India.
"If my requests are heard, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. Otherwise, great errors will be spread through the world, giving rise to wars and persecutions against the Church; the good will suffer martyrdom and the Holy Father will have to suffer much; different nations will be destroyed; but, in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity."
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
It's a expression made famous by Dietrich Bonhoffer, who established the Confessing Church to oppose the Nazi Holocaust, and died for his efforts in a Nazi camp. Today The Confessing Church Movement of the PC(USA) is attempting to uphold the sanctity of marriage.
THE VALUE OF THE MEDIA
When bishops refuse to do the right thing...a story at Crux News:
A priest in the Cincinnati Diocese, cruising for sex, in a park 50 miles from his parish, got more than he wanted:
Father Raymond Larger made that startling discovery the hard way. This summer, the Cincinnati priest was arrested and charged with two counts of public indecency in Dayton, Ohio’s Triangle Park, some 50 miles from his parish. Fr. Larger made the mistake of soliciting sex from an undercover police officer. His method: groping the man’s groin and exposing himself.
Triangle Park has long been a popular meeting ground for anonymous homosexual encounters. Fr. Larger was not there by accident. In fact, according to the arresting officer, Fr. Larger told the detective that he’s a frequent visitor to the park. In other words, the priest regularly "cruises" for public sex, a far cry from fitting behavior for any grown man, let alone for a pastor of a Catholic parish.
Fr. Larger pleaded no contest to sexual misconduct charges, was convicted, and given a 30-day suspended jail sentence and one year of unsupervised probation. He was also temporarily stripped of his priestly faculties and suspended indefinitely by Cincinnati’s Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk. It is instructive to note that the convicted priest was not immediately placed on leave. It was only after reporters from Cincinnati’s Channel 9 News confronted the archdiocese about the priest’s arrest and conviction that the archbishop addressed the issue. An archdiocesan spokesman told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the archbishop’s decision to place Larger on paid administrative leave was "a response to loud and numerous complaints from Larger’s flock."
We know that a percentage of our priests have abused minors, and that the percentage is small. What we don't know is the percentage of priests who are sexually active, either with women, with other priests, or with strangers such as this priest demonstrates.
Rod Dreher and the Dallas Morning News are being castigated because they have exposed the irregular status of Fr. Clay. Defenders of the decision to allow Clay to say Mass in the Fort Worth Diocese insist that Dreher should have gone first to the bishop. It seems to me that the above story indicates to us just how seriously the bishops take the responsibility to live up to the rules they, themselves, have made. Were it not for the media, nothing would change.
If the bishops who have significantly contributed to the current scandal want us to trust them, they must first demonstrate that they are worthy of trust. Stories like this one do just the opposite.
ROSICRUCIANS IN THE NEWS AGAIN
at ContraCostaTimes, which unfortunately requires registration, though you may be able to access the story once without registering.
A Japanese man in a suit trains his camera on a white stone sphinx. A woman from London holds her hand above a waist-high marble pyramid. "You can feel the energy," she says.
Under sunny skies and a loudspeaker droning an Egyptian chant, men and women from 70 countries and throughout the United States mill around a reflecting pool, greeting old friends with a handshake and the invocation, "Peace profound."
They are Rosicrucians, among 2,100 members of an organization dedicated to ancient metaphysical knowledge practices who are in San Jose this week for their biennial meeting. Some South Africans traveled two days by land to board a plane to America.
Participants have been shuttling between the Fairmont Hotel, for classes and presentations, and San Jose's Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Park on Naglee Avenue, the order's North American headquarters.
For Rosicrucians, the trip to the "2004 World Peace Conference" is something of a pilgrimage. The park is where the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis got its U.S. start -- and a jump-start worldwide.
A reader sends this article from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, "Greek Pagans Rile Church."
On a green meadow at the foot of Mt Olympus, famous in mythical literature as the home of the Zeus and the Hellenic gods, a group of men and women stand dressed in togas in a circle, heads covered with wreaths of leaves, right hands held up as they repeat lines in Classical Greek.
A ritual of baptism has begun, at the end of which about a dozen members of the group will formally cast aside their old Christian beliefs and accept new Hellenic, pagan names.
In a nation where 98 percent of the population is at least nominally Greek Orthodox, this is not sitting well. Confrontation with the Church has already been documented, and at least one wedding party that passed through the Pagan ceremony on the way to church hissed the word "idolators."
Along with the Druids in England, this Greek Pagan revival says a lot about European culture, and perhaps hints at why the EU refused to acknowledge the Christian roots of Europe. This is a movement of the upper eschelon of Greek society:
The man leading the ceremony, 59-year-old Tryphon Olympios, taught philosophy at Stockholm University for 25 years before rejecting traditional Christian beliefs and starting a campaign to revive the pagan cult that dominated Greek life thousands of years ago.
Yet Greek nationality is closely tied to Greek Orthodoxy. That seems to be in flux as the Pagan movement grows.
Is this movement perhaps a motivator for the Greek EU coin of the woman riding the beast? I expect we will know sooner than we want to find out. I have only one question, did historical Greek Pagans offer human sacrifice?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Monday, July 05, 2004
E-MAIL FROM DR. BOND
The Times Leader published an article yesterday entitled "What does Timlin know? It's hard to tell."
The article delves into the contradictions in the deposition of ex-bishop James Timlin in the federal lawsuit filed against Carlos Urrutigoity, Eric Ensey, the Society of St. John, James Timlin, the Diocese of Scranton, the Fraternity of St. Peter, and St. Gregory's Academy:
While reading this article, it is worth remembering that when Timlin was deposed years ago in the infamous Caparelli case, the attorney who deposed him said, "Timlin is the biggest liar I ever deposed."
Let me add, having dealt with Timlin in person concerning that Society of St. John scandal, that you can tell if Timlin's lying because his lips are moving.
Read the article and you will agree.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
"NOW LET'S ALL BREAK OUT INTO SMALL GROUPS TO DISCUSS THIS..."
Anyone who has been around Catholic Parish Community circles over the last 30+ years has heard it. A lot of Catholics cringe when they hear it.
It happened most recently to me when the "Townhall Meetings" of Bishop Anthony Pilla's "Vibrant Parish Life" program took place in my parish. We had nice round tables to interact around.
Paul Proctor discusses this small group phenomenon in an article titled "Changing Society" at NewsWithViews.com from which the following quotes are taken. In discussing "Small Groups: The Movement to Change Society," from "Christianity Today," he says:
One of the trademarks of this movement is a vague and duplicitous language. Its participants regularly employ terms that mean one thing to biblically literate Christians and often something else to “seekers,” secular society and the enemies of Christ.
...the article’s author applies the same biblical word [conversion] to advance an unbiblical notion; that a “small group” or “community” must also be converted in order to change society.
God saves men and women individually, not collectively, though many may receive Christ at the same time during a church meeting or revival gathering. They weren’t redeemed as a group or because of a group; nor were they saved in stages ending in a group conversion, but as individuals, once and for all by the power of God.
Not only are we not saved as a group, we do not face the Judgment Seat as a group. Each of us will have to stand before the God as individuals. We should not, therefore, allow ourselves to be coerced in our thinking by bending to group dynamics. Small group dynamics belong to the field of psychology not the field of religion.
Expressing our feelings and opinions rather than learning the Word of God is the rotten fruit of this practice.
Small groups lead to "groupthink." Sometimes a set of conclusions is drawn up to present to the larger group. The ideas desired are included, while the ideas to be rejected are not included. That was my experience with Vibrant Parish Life. For example, I raised the issue that our greatest need was for priests--that we are a sacramental faith and without priests our faith cannot thrive. The facilitator at my table was opposed to this concept and did not include it in the list that he delivered to the whole assembly. When the floor was opened to comment, I presented my concern to the entire assembly. I was immediately ridiculed by another participant. The facilitator at my table was of the opinion that parishes can function quite well with lay ministers when there are no longer any priests to say Mass for us.
A word that is being overused today is "transformed." Michael Berg of the Kabbalah Centre uses it frequently, but so do many others. Proctor says of this word:
However, by applying the word “transformed” to “small groups” and “community,” the article’s author introduces the reader to another agenda; a social transformation; (changing society) validating it by use of a biblical term intended specifically for the individual and his or her own spiritual need, not the social needs of a community. Here, the only “transformation” going on is the transformation of Christianity into socialism; the implementation of strategies, tactics, techniques and training programs that utilize the Hegelian dialectic – the tool of transformational Marxists.
Feelings and sentiments are not the number one priority of the Christian life. Living the Word of God in our individual lives is number one. Yet we are subtly coached through a reference to "justice" issues that we must not offend another's feelings with our inconvenient dogma.
Small groups keep people in check, largely in the dark and less concerned about the overall direction of a church body and thus more manageable by its leadership and those guiding them from without.
Consider how the Renew programs were handled. All small groups.
Proctor brings up an interesting point, particularly in light of the fact that "salt and light" issues have been quite popular since Vatican II:
Another point that needs to be made here is that in spite of the church growth movement’s “global vision”, it is not the job of the Church to “change society” but rather to call sinners out of it. Jesus did not come and die on a cross to change the world but instead to save you and me from it. ...
...if we take our eyes off of Him and look to the world with a view to change it, in our pride, we will instinctively set our own agenda, make our own plans, implement our own schemes and devices and concentrate our efforts on getting results rather than being obedient.
He even applies the word "occult" in his article:
The CGM is attempting to fabricate the “Kingdom of God” here on Earth; ultimately joining in the uniting of the world’s religions and cultures, slowly and incrementally, under an interfaith guise of tolerance and understanding; the same utopian philosophy and dream global elites and occultists have been working toward for centuries, now cloaked in something called “evangelization.”
I could suggest another way of cloaking it..."unity in diversity." Alice Bailey used it. John Paul II uses it.
You see “God” is just another of those ambiguous terms that means different things to different people. And, it is out of respect for this universal “God” that divisive doctrine is readily discarded for the sake of world unity and truth is exchanged for a manufactured peace.
Yes, indeed! Just ask Lee Penn or Bishop William Swing. That is precisely what United Religions is all about! And there is another place where you will find this idea of universalism...the Masonic Lodge. Proctor continues:
Remember, this is a religion of relationships at work here and church growth leaders are systematically bringing us all together using our feelings and emotions in preparation for a new world under an ecumenical God.
It's a very insightful article. Thanks to a reader for sending it in.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
FOLLOWING THE DOTS AGAIN...
This is the website at the end of my trail of dots, titled "The Spirit Bade Me Go: Pentecostalism and Global Religion" by Margaret M. Poloma, Department of Sociology, University of Akron. The website belongs to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. The following quote comes from this website. It concerns the percent of America that subscribes to Pentecostalism:
The Pentecostal movement, however, is not a simply a new denomination but, as we shall see, an example of a restructuring of Christianity. In order to access less obvious facets of the movement, the researchers asked two other questions which yielded higher figures. When respondents were asked whether they spoke in tongues, a classic litmus test for Pentecostal "spirit baptism," the figure rose to 8.7%. When queried about identification with the spirit-filled movement, including charismatic groups that tend to place less doctrinal emphasis on glossolalia than older Pentecostal denominations, 4.7% claim to be "Pentecostal", 6.6% identify as "Charismatic", while 0.8% claim both Pentecostal and Charismatic identification, for a total representing 12% of the U.S.A.
The American growth of Pentecostalism is small compared to the rest of the world as Vinson Synan's history of the movement indicates. This article echoes what he posits. From the website:
Although the various streams of Pentecostal expression have moved beyond their source to cross class, racial, and ethnic divides, the movement has experienced only a small steady growth in Western nations when compared to the phenomenal growth in two-thirds countries of the world.
I don't have a quotation handy, but it's no secret that JPII has no use for Western civ., and is focused on Third World countries. It is also no secret that the Papal Household Preacher is a Charismatic. Back to the website:
According to the well-known statistician of Christianity, David Barrett, there were an estimated 74 million ‘Pentecostals/Charismatics’, or 6% of the world’s Christian population in 1970. In 1997 he estimated that this figure had reached 497 million or 27% of the Christian population, more than the total number of ‘Protestants’ and ‘Anglicans’ combined, and only 27 years later. Barrett projects that according to present trends this figure is likely to rise to 1,140 million or 44% of the total number of Christians by 2025 (Anderson 1999).
It's no secret that the Pope is a phenomenologist, and that he will not enforce discipline by the rules. He writes and mouths the doctrines of the faith, his actions are heterodox on some occasions, and he refuses to govern. Pentecostalism is the epitome of phenomonology judging by this passage from the website:
...in conjunction with their holiness heritage, Pentecostals are concerned with truth, but not just propositional truth. Pentecostals were historically anti-creedal.
They have to be anti-creedal in order to merge the denominations. But how does one know the experience can be attributed to God and not some deceiving spirit when there is no creed?
There is much more to the article, but I promised you I'd follow the dots. This was the last website in my trail of dots. The one before it, that brought me here is this website:
The Specialized Book Study WebLink Collection: A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying and How a New Faith is Being Born - John Shelby Spong"
It's a list of links to various materials on the topic. Several of the books are Spong's. Other authors include the Jesus Seminar authors, Karen Armstrong, Allan Watts, Paul Tillich, Karen King, The Gospel of Thomas, the Journal of the Centre for Progressive Christianity.
Organizations linked here include the World Council of Churches, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Faith Futures Foundation.
Scroll down on this website to the link for "The Spirit Made Me Go" to find the website that talks about Pentecostalism and global religion.
The name that led me to this dot is Ken Wilber. He is listed only once on the "Spong" website. He's up near the top.
Retracing the steps to the third dot from the end. I was attempting to verify that Ken Wilber is a Charismatic. Google brought up 37 hits for "Ken Wilbur" and "Charismatic", and it was this website that made me wonder about Ken Wilber.
which promotes the "management" technique of Appreciative Inquiry, a technique that was used in my parish under the guidance of Bishop Pilla, for the Vibrant Parish Life program. Basically Appreciative Inquiry will permit only positive statements. No negativity allowed. Which in essence precludes any comment about what is wrong with any idea offered by a participant. Another link here indicates Ken Wilber founded the "Integral Institute." Most to all of the links on this website concern various programs intended to work as "change agent methodology."
If you scroll down here to "Ken Wilber - Basic Concepts" and click the link you will land here:
Ken Wilber - basic concepts
where Wilber tells us, among other things, that he believes in "levels of Consciousness" that includes "Unity Consciousness" otherwise commonly known as pantheism. This is the doctrine of the New Age. All is one.
It was the discussion about Alinsky methodology, and the Dephi Technique from a comments box that prompted me to search for evidence that Appreciative Inquiry is the same sort of change agent methodology as Alinsky and Delphi. I did not expect to end up in Pentecostalism. But I'm not surprised.
Delphi Method and Appreciative Inquiry are both mentioned at this website of the Union Institute & University, and their course work for a "Certificate in Science and Spirituality." It's part of Vermont College.
It would seem to me that the Pope, associated as he is with Pentecostalism, and promoting Steubenville University, sometimes called "Charismatic Central" by providing the students of Steubenville with a Papal audience as Justin attests, is promoting the birth of a new global religion that discards doctrine, supplanting it with personal experience. That would match the evidence that he has not kept order in the Church since Vatican II. It would also match the fact that while his written material is orthodox, his actions often are not. In the future, it is actions that will define this religion being born. Doctrine will be discarded. So it matters not what is written in the doctrine. The doctrine is "fundamentalist." The future will be exclusively experiential. This, I might add, is the nature of the Gnostic heresy.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Sunday, July 04, 2004
BISHOP TIMLIN - THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS - ROD DREHER
Since the DMN released the story about Fr. Clay, a priest from the Scranton Dioces who has been saying Mass at an Anglican Use parish in the Fort Worth Diocese apparently without the proper procedures for such an arrangement being followed, Rod Dreher has been castigated for his part in the report by several posters on Mark Shea's and Amy Welborn's blogs. At least some of these posters are parishioners in the church where Fr. Clay was helping out. They believe that Dreher should have gone through proper channels in the RCC in an attempt to get a resolution, before bringing this story to the attention of the DMN. Specifically, they believe that the Bishop of the FW Diocese should have been notified so that he could rectify the situation.
But would that have rectified it? Or would Fr. Clay have moved on to yet another diocese and continued to operate as a priest while his standing remains questionable?
Fr. Clay is under the jurisdiction of the Scranton Diocese, where an ongoing sexual abuse investigation concerning the Society of St. John shows no signs of resolution. Fr. Clay has allegedly participated in this scandal. Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond, President of the College of St. Justin Martyr, once but no longer affiliated with the SSJ, has been attempting to focus attention on the scandal. Today he sends the following e-mail which I have pasted here with his permission:
Eighth Open Letter to Bishop James Timlin
Last week your name surfaced once again in connection with the Society of St. John scandal that you created in the first place. There you were in print claiming that a priest accused of homosexual abuse was nonetheless fit for duty simply because the police had not charged him with anything.
You still do not comprehend the damage you have done to young souls. Hence, I thought you should read the letter below sent to me by one of the victims of Fr. Robert Caparelli, the priest with AIDS who raped two altar boys while he was a pastor under your watch. Note that the author of this letter, who asked me to withhold his name, was able to find it in his heart to forgive Fr. Caparelli, but not you.
Two years ago I exposed your handling of the Caparelli case and the parallels to your covering up for the Society of St. John (see http://www.saintjustinmartyr.org/news/BishopTimlinOpenLetter4.html), but nothing written by me could ever express adequately the sense of betrayal felt by those young souls whom you failed to protect.
Read the letter below, Bishop Timlin, then weep and repent.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
January 1, 2004
I read with interest the notice on your web site that Bishop Timlin is to be replaced. I also had a tremendous amount of relief. I myself was an unknowing victim of his lies, deceit, and denial in the Fr. Caparelli case. Fr Caparelli had molested myself and my brother off and on for several years, between the late 70's and the summer of 1984. The last time it happened was well before the the abuses which had him arrested. It finally stopped when my family had moved away and he was no longer able to get to us. However, you were wrong about a few points. Yes, Fr. Caparelli was able to groom his victims. He just started at a very young age. As I recall he would say to his young victims "only a priest can touch you there [on the penis]" I had to have been in the third or fourth grade when it first started. If a young child hears this enough he will believe it. He also knew how to cultivate the parents of his victims. He did this by becoming close with the families of the victims through social activities while he was at College Misericordia, Kings College and the Mercy Center. If my memory serves me correctly, my family was first introduced to him through a family prayer group that would use all three facilities. My older brothers also went to Bishop O'Reilly High School where he taught at the time. The many family oriented activities there were fertile ground for establishing seemingly innocent friendships. I can only imagine how many boys he abused during his tenure there. My older brothers had heard rumors of his improprieties, but they were never accosted themselves. I believe once that I asked one of my brothers what he knew, and he said that all he heard was that a boy was expelled for punching Fr. Caparelli, but it wasn't known why he punched him. I believe he said that this boy was on the football team. One can only guess.
I do not blame my parents in the least because the were duped just like everyone else, nor do I blame Fr. Caparelli. In fact, knowing that he had this problem for so long makes me realize that he must have been powerless to control his urges. Once hearing of Fr. Caparelli's fate I felt a chapter had been closed. I was able to forgive him in my heart, and regret that I was not able to visit him in prison before he died, if only to tell him to his face.
I cannot, however, say the same for bishop Timlin. Knowing that he was aware of Fr Caparelli's actions as early as 1968 and did nothing infuriated me. Years of pain for myself, family and others could have been needlessly avoided. I have never felt the need to file charges. Hearing that has been doing the same thing with the Society of Saint John, however, makes my blood boil! I know exactly what the shame and guilt of the victims is like and carry the same emotional scars as them. This travesty cannot go on one day longer! I don't know how, but If I can assist in even the slightest way please let me know.
Name withheld upon request
Fr. Clay, the parish in Fort Worth, the alleged victims of the SSJ, the SSJ priests, and the Society of St. John all remain under a cloud of suspicion while this scandal is unresolved. For the sake of justice for all of these, something must be done.
I personally commend Rod Dreher, and the Dallas Morning News for their investigation of this affair. Hopefully they can bring the light of truth on the activities in Scranton.
H A P P Y - I N D E P E N D E N C E - D A Y !
On June 14, 2004, [Marc A.] Balestrieri boldly exercised his right to file with the Boston Archdiocese a sworn document described as "a Denunciation for the Public Ecclesiastical Crime of Heresy, Diabolical Scandal Leading to Heresy, Immediate Formal Cooperation in Heresy, Abjection of the Sacred Species, Diabolical Scandal Leading to Murder, and Grae Harm to Public Morals and Contempt for the Faith and Ecclesiastical Authority" and "a Criminal Complaint for Reparation of Harm" resulting from the crimes listed....
The relief demanded is a declaration of excommunication and the imposition of additional penalties and punishments against Kerry, including barring Kerry from receiving Holy Communion or any other sacrament until Kerry publicly repudiates his heretical support for abortion or, in Balestrieni's words, "the Right-to-Murder heresy."
Balestrieri alleged that he personally had been gravely injured by Kerry's "continuous attack on an disturbance of the pacific possession and unity of [his Roman Catholic] faith, a...right to all Catholics," and invited "all other individuals who have been gravely scandalized, offended, angered or aggrieved as a direct result of [Kerry's} actions or omissions" to join his suit.
Balestrieri noted Kerry's support for abortion in his first speech in the United States Senate more than nineteen years ago and Kerry's perfect pro-abortion voting record, including opposition to even partial birth abortion.
In addition, Balestrieri vigorously objected to Kerry's public receipt of Holy Communion several times this year and asserted as fact "an urgent need for the elimination of Scandal whereby a life-threatening heresy attacking a Dogma of Divine and Catholic Faith is growing substantially within the Church."
The article also notes that the Bishops' recently adopted policy, which allows each Bishop to determine for his diocese whether Communion will or will not be withheld, in effect allows each bishop to make a decision to disobey a "canon law that might be problematic to enforce." Will this new selective enforcement also be applied to other provisions of Canon Law?
If Balestrieri's suit is rejected in American ecclesiastical courts, he has the right to appeal to Cdl. Ratzinger, according to the article which predicts that Cdl. Ratzinger is "virtually certain to be receptive to any such appeal."
It's certainly getting interesting out there...The days of two-faced Catholicism may be numbered.
ACTIVITIES OF WORLD-CLASS FINANCIER GEORGE SOROS
through his Open Society Institute are detailed at Catholic Online in an article from Zenit.
They include funding to promote abortion, contraception, euthanasia, decriminalization of marijuana. Recent changes in funding strategy have turned the organization toward national politics. According to the article, the overthrow of Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze was the work of George Soros.
His sights are currently trained on the Republican Party and the ouster of George Bush. According to the article:
Soros also has his heart set on seeing another president out of office: George Bush. "It is the central focus of my life," Soros said in a Nov. 11 report in the Washington Post. The financier declared that seeing Bush defeated in the next presidential elections is "a matter of life and death."
The Open Society Institute engages in a number of worldwide charitable ventures concentrated on social justice, particularly concerning Third World countries.
Soros is also behind the funding for the anti-Bush group MoveOn.org. In a CNN article describing the group's primrily web-based activities, the funding is spelled out:
It also has attracted powerful allies. In November, billionaire philanthropist George Soros and his business partner, Peter Lewis, pledged a $5 million matching grant -- a dollar for every two raised by MoveOn members -- to create a $15 million advertising campaign to defeat President Bush. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman George Allen responded with an online petition denouncing Soros.
The organization has the ability to act quickly via the internet, and has grown to 2.3 million members in six years. And the organization opposes Christianity, as this WorldNetDaily article demonstrates. That is really no surprise considering the agenda of Soros's Open Society Institute.