Saturday, January 22, 2005
CLICKING OUT OF WEEKEND MODE ONCE AGAIN TO POST THIS LINK...
A reader sent in this link--WorldNetDaily reports:
Illinois churches are protesting a new state law that bars them from "discriminating" against homosexuals, contending it robs Christians of their First Amendment freedoms.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the bill into law yesterday amid a demonstration led by the Illinois Family Institute, or IFI, a non-profit group affiliated with Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Alliance Defense Fund.
Go to the website to read the rest...
The Fact Is looks like a promising Catholic news source. Check it out.
(Going back into weekend mode...)
Friday, January 21, 2005
CATHOLIC JEWISH RELATIONS
are beginning to look warm and friendly at least as John Allen describes them in a couple of segments of his column this week. I don't have the time to blog the details. Just go to the website to read them.
And now it's time to sign off for the weekend. Have a good one out there! Till Monday...
CATHOLIC ANGELIC CHANNELER
A story at PittsburghLIVE linked at Spirit Daily, describes a Pittsburgh area Catholic woman who holds "angel gatherings". Carol Ann Ciocco has gleaned her knowledge from the books of West Coast clairvoyant Dr. Doreen Virtue. Virtue has her own set of tarot cards which Ciocco uses to give angel readings for her "angel gathering" guests. She is quick to assure that the deck does not contain any of the "fallen angels" from Judeo-Christian tradition, whom she claims not to work with because they are "non-union."
She claims that she is not a "true psychic medium," but admits that she "can't recall most of the information she's relayed" because she "kind of go[es] into a prayer state." She hopes to be able to teach session participants how to contact the angels on their own.
She goes on to recount how her mother, a "devout Christian" who "prayed the rosary several times a day", introduced her to looking for angels. After her mother passed away in 2002, she moved back into her childhood home to care for her father. After reading Virtue's book "The Lightworker's Way" she began to experience feeling as though she was not alone when there was no one else in a room.
She has reconciled her activities with her Catholicism:
Although she admits many conservative Christians probably would look askance at her gatherings, she said she's managing to reconcile her more recent approach to angels with her long-held Catholic faith.
"I did go through a crisis period, but now, it's like a moot point," she said of dovetailing her angel explorations with Catholic doctrine. "It took me about 10 years to come to this point."
"This is a part of my religion," Ciocco said of her relationship with angels. "This seems to be some sort of gift. It doesn't replace going to church, it enhances your communication with God."
Ciocco also believes animals, especially her pet cat, have guardian angels, and has photographs of the cat with what she claims are angel images in the picture.
Apparently from the article she associates sex with visions. At least she says:
"Even though it's not something sexy like a vision, you still should take it seriously," when speaking of messages angels send her.
As is so often typical, she is turning her experiences into a money-making operation.
The article is especially interesting since Dr. Doreen Virtue's tarot deck plays such a significant role in Ciocco's seances.
Doreen Virtue has co-authored a book with James Twyman, the promoter of the movie "Indigo". Virtue has written her own book on Indigo children as well.
Amazon also sells her angel tarot deck as well as her goddess tarot cards. In fact Doreen Virtue is a very busy lady. Amazon lists 67 entries under her name. And she looks so young!
Illustrations for her tarot cards were created by Rosicrucian artist Cheryl Rose who has done a painting of Indigo Children. Rose has also painted a portrait of James F. Twyman. There is a link on this webpage which will take you to James F. Twyman's website. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the Virtual Gallery you can see that Rose has paintings which are "visions from sacred sites" which will be part of her forthcoming book "Art Through the Eyes of the Soul". There you can see links for The Grail King, Rosslyn Rememberance, Our Lady of Medjugorje, and Mary Magdalene, among others.
Rose and Twyman are both listed at The Light Party Attainment website.
METHODISTS REJECT LESBIAN CLERGYWOMAN WHO OUTS HER LIVING ARRANGEMENT
From the New York Blade Online:
ON DEC. 2, 2004, a jury of Methodist clergymen, in an official church trial, voted that Elizabeth Stroud, the associate pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, had violated the church’s Book of Discipline when she acknowledged to her congregation that she is a lesbian and living in a committed relationship with another woman.
Later the same day, the same jury withdrew Ms. Stroud’s ministerial credentials. ...
Within the Methodist Church, and most other Christian denominations, what Stroud did is a no-no. A gay man or a lesbian cannot be an ordained minister if they acknowledge being in a same-sex relationship.
Like the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military, the Methodists were happy to have Ms. Stroud’s services as long as she was willing to keep her mouth shut and live a lie.
But, ironically, the price of honesty and integrity is the loss of her membership in the clergy club. The message is clear to all gay and lesbian clergy, of which there are thousands, and to all who aspire to joining their ranks.
No, the message is not clear, but some of the fog is lifting. Christianity teaches that sexual relations are confined to a marriage between a man and a woman, and that the purpose of those relations includes the establishment of a family, which is the basic unit of society. Sexual activity outside of this well-defined husband-wife-family structure are prohibited. That means a woman who is not married to a man may not participate in a sexual relationship, and vice versa. That includes single men and women, divorced men and women, widowed men and women. Married men and women who are not engaging in sexual acts with their spouse. Sexual relations have a limited arena for moral use.
The price of this minister's "honesty and integrity" is that her activities have been defined as sinful and ongoing in the Christian moral view, and that this continued sinful activity with no intention of repentence makes her ineligible as a moral leader.
The congregation woke up to the Christian moral law. Somewhat late, but nevertheless it happened. Ideally this would have happened immediately after her living arrangement became apparent to the congregation. There are rules. She broke them. She has every intention of continuing to break them. That is what her "honesty and integrity" demonstrated. In this case coming out was a slap in the face delivered to her congregation. What reaction did she expect?
MORE POLITICIANS TO BE SUED FOR HERESY
(CNSNews.com) - A group of Roman Catholic Canon Law experts and theologians plans to sue several more pro-choice Catholic politicians for heresy.
De Fide, which is Latin for "of the faith," said it will hold a press conference on Monday to update the ecclesiastical lawsuit it filed last June against Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).
The group also said it will detail "new denunciations for Heresy, Sacrilege, and Scandal" to be filed against Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, a Democrat.
Dare one hope that eventually dissenting theologians, bishops and priests might also be sued for heresy?
Thursday, January 20, 2005
HOMOSEXUALS TARGET THE CHURCH
A reader sent in this story from LifeSiteNews:
TORONTO, January 19, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In an editorial appearing on the website of the homosexual activist group, “Equal Marriage,” members of the lobbyist organization, EGALE, (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere) have revealed their intention to make illegal the public practice of Christianity or teaching of Christian moral doctrine.
Bishop Fred Henry, in his recent pastoral letter on homosexuality, openly recognized that the purpose of the “gay marriage” push is the destruction of the traditional family and of any religious opposition. Bishop Henry wrote, “The goal (of changing the definition of marriage) is to acquire a powerful psychological weapon to change society’s rejection of homosexual activity and lifestyle into gradual, even if reluctant, acceptance.”
The authors of the EGALE editorial, Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, in an enraged attack on Henry, admitted that the purpose behind the move to approve Gay “marriage” is the suppression of traditional Christianity. They wrote, “We predict that gay marriage will indeed result in the growth of acceptance of homosexuality now underway, as Henry fears. But marriage equality will also contribute to the abandonment of toxic religions, liberating society from the prejudice and hatred that has polluted culture for too long.”
... go to the website to read the rest of the article.
NEW MONUMENT TO STALIN
A reader sent in this link from ABC News:
Jan 19, 2005 — MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow plans to erect a new statue of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, returning his once-ubiquitous image to its streets after an absence of four decades, a top city official said Wednesday.
Since President Vladimir Putin was elected in 2000, a number of Soviet symbols — including the national anthem and an army flag — have been restored to use, reflecting widespread nostalgia for Russia's communist years.
But rehabilitation of Stalin, who was denounced after his death in 1953 by the Soviet leadership for encouraging a cult of personality and killing millions of real and imagined opponents, has previously been out of bounds. Statues of Stalin were removed from Moscow's public spaces in the 1960s.
ARCHBISHOP'S OFFICES RAIDED BY POLICE
From the Courier Mail:
DETECTIVES investigating a sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church raided the offices of the Archbishop of Sydney.
Letters between Archbishop George Pell and a young man abused by a priest 20 years ago were seized.
The police raid came to light yesterday as the priest, Terence Norman Goodall, admitted sex crimes.
The victim, speaking exclusively to The Daily Telegraph, last night said: "What this priest did was destroy my trust in faith, my trust in religion, and my once deep commitment to God."
The victim in this instance was not a minor at the time of the alleged abuse. He was 29 years old. As the story unfolds in the article, it appears that the charge against the priest who committed whatever action may have been committed robbed the litigant of his faith. Is that a crime in Australia?
I couldn't help but notice the "Mr." Pell in the story. Archbishop Pell stepped down during an investigation into sexual abuse that implicated him. Has he not resumed office, or is this a slap in the face of the Church by the Australian press? This story, if accurate, seems to present a new attitude on the part of society in regard to Catholic clergy.
JEWISH PRESS BELIEVES JEWISH CHILDREN NOT RETURNED TO THEIR PARENTS
Washington Jewish Week
wades in on the controversy over Jewish children hidden by Catholics during the war not being returned to their parents. The editorial objects to the canonization of Pope Pius XII over a letter he is said to have sent to Angelo Roncalli while he was Papal Nuncio to France after WWII.
AUSTRIANS ABANDONING CHURCH
The South Bend Tribune reports that Austrians left the Church in record numbers--44,852 dropouts in 2004. The article attributes this to the scandal in the Austrian seminary.
If I were trying to write a script for destroying the Catholic Church, I couldn't improve on what is taking place in the headlines. We are a sacramental people. Without priests we are unable to practice our faith. Is a day coming in the near future when the Sacrifice of the Mass will cease around the world? When I read articles like this one, I can believe it will.
AUSTRALIA REJECTS SPAIN'S ALLEGED TAKE ON CONDOMS
From the Herald Sun:
THE Catholic church in Australia will not join a rebellion against Rome to allow condom use in the fight against AIDS, senior clergy have said.
The Spanish church this week publicly spoke out against the Vatican's opposition to all artificial contraception, saying condoms had a place in the fight against AIDS.
The secretary-general of the Spanish bishops' conference later backtracked, saying the Spanish church still believed artificial contraception to be immoral.
But the heads of the Catholic church in England and Belgium have also recently suggested that condoms could be morally obligatory in some circumstances.
Self-described Catholic AIDS agency the Australian AIDS Fund yesterday called on the church in Australia to follow the rebels' lead.
INDIGO - THE MOVIE...PUBLICITY
INDIGO is about taking responsibility for the choices we make. It’s about the thin line that separates success from failure, and love from regret. It is a film about redemption, grace and the healing powers of a new generation of psychic and gifted “Indigo” children.
The film tells the story of one family's three fateful choices that result in bankruptcy, jail, and their estrangement and total dissolution. Through the healing and psychic powers of the family's youngest member, Grace, a 10-year-old Indigo child, the family finally has a chance.
From The Citizen Voice
When Twyman first conceived Indigo, he never imagined he would end up as both the writer and executive producer of a feature film. His love of Indigo children spurred him to risk more than a $500,000 to bring Indigo to the big screen.With the assistance and support of his two best friends, Neale Donald Walsch (who co-wrote the script and stars as the Grandfather of an Indigo child) and Stephen Simon (who produced and directed), Indigo will premiere at more than 100 locations across the country on Jan. 29.
The buzz about Indigo has been nothing short of amazing. At the Santa Fe Film Festival the first showing of the film (in a 500 seat venue) sold out in less than four hours, a first for the four-year-old festival.Three more screenings sold out the next day, and the film won the coveted Audience Choice Award over more than 200 other films.
From The Standard-Times SouthCoastToday
For those who consider themselves spiritual but not necessarily religious a new genre of film is emerging called spiritual cinema. To reach this target audience, a new concept in independent film distribution was created to launch the movie "Indigo."
In less than one week, a targeted Internet campaign resulted in 36 sold-out showings and 70 percent of available tickets being sold for the film's Jan. 29 premiere in AMC theaters. "Indigo" also will be shown on Jan. 29 in more than 250 churches and organizations across the United States and in more than 20 foreign countries.
"This unique and unprecedented type of release may be the beginning of a true sea change in the way independent films are promoted and distributed," said Stephen Simon, Hollywood producer and director of "Indigo."
* * * * * *
(In researching the media coverage, it became obvious how often the word "Indigo" is being used in a wide variety of ways. This is the first time I've encountered it, but it appears that it's not going to be the last.)
Catechism of the Catholic Church entry #2116:
All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the homor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
Having an Indigo child would be a Catholic's worst nightmare. This is not from the Trinitarian God.
ST. JOAN OF ARC PARISH WILL SHOW THE MOVIE "INDIGO"
From their website:
Indigo is a new film about redemption, grace and the healing power of a new generation of psychic and gifted “indigo” children. Directed by Stephen Simon. “Indigo” is about taking responsibility for the choices we make. Saturday, Jan. 29, 5pm and 7pm. Childcare is available for the 5pm showing (RSVP to the Parish Center), Sunday, Jan. 30, 2pm in the gym. Cost: $10, children under 12 $5. Tickets at the door.
Thanks to a reader for finding this one!
THE ENTITY CHANNELED BY ALICE BAILEY SPEAKS TO INDIGO CHILDREN TOO
You can read his message here if you're interested.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
NEW THOUGHT MOVEMENT AND UNITY CHURCHES OF CHRISTIANITY ARE ROSICRUCIAN
From a Rosicrucian website in Canada sent in by a reader:
New Thought in America
by M.W. Frater Dr. Claude Brodeur IXo, SRIC
Several twentieth century movements seem to have been influenced by Rosicrucian ideals. These movements were largely religious in nature and offshoots of different Christian denominations, like the New Thought Movement, the Unity Church of Christianity, and Norman Vincent Peale's Christianity of positive thinking.
ANOTHER INDIGO WEBSITE
This one openly speaks about channeling.
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES TWYMAN
At New Visions Magazine:
NVM: When you were a child, could you have imagined in your wildest dreams that your life would be as it is now?
JT: There are two answers. The first answer is "No," because it is impossible to imagine exactly the way things are going to be. At the same time, I did have a sense that there was something brewing like this, although I never would have guessed that it would be quite in the form that it is. I was raised in a very Irish Catholic home and was having deep, mystical experiences when I was young. The way I was raised, that just meant that you were supposed to be a priest. So, that's what I did. When I got out of high school, I entered the seminary and spent two years on that path before I realized "that wasn't quite it" and I began a much deeper search, which led me to where I am today. There has always been that part of me that has been searching and longing. I always knew it would be a very public role. It wasn't until 1994 when I was given the Peace Prayers from the twelve major religions of the world that it all came together.
WORLD INDIGO DAY - JANUARY 29
On January 29th, 2005, tens of thousands of people will join together in hundreds of venues around the planet to send their prayers and support to the spiritually aware children who are focused on creating a new world. Over 300 public events are planned in theaters and churches around the US and Canada, as well as dozens of other countries like Russia, Holland, Germany, Brazil and Australia. Many of the events will begin by screening the highly anticipated feature film INDIGO. in churches and other organizations, the movie will be followed by a discussion led by James Twyman (author of "Emissary of Love") and Doreen Virtue (author of "The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children"). Throughout the same day, we are asking people to focus on the children, and to offer them energetic support for their great work.
Rudolf Steiner would be proud!
Check out James Twyman.
I wonder if he is related to Tracy Twyman? The last names could be a coincidence, of course. Hmmmm.
When you read the passage on James Twyman, don't overlook the reference to "troubador". Just keep that in the back of your thoughts for now.
Read the information at the link for The Beloved Community, where you will find St. John, the Cathars, the Knights Templar, Mary, Mary Magdalene. Notice that it rejects "intermediary priesthood or church" and relies instead on a "personal experience that occurs between the individual and God", connecting it all to world peace. Puts me in mind of the Dagobert's Revenge website.
INDIGO CHILDREN - THE MOVIE
You can even get a list of cities where it will be playing at this website.
The Indigo Children website.
Indigo Children Schools. Notice Waldorf Schools in there along with Charter Schools and Montessori Schools. Charter Schools are taxpayer supported schools.
NEW CABINET POSITION
A new cabinet level position is being proposed. Details are spelled out at The Association for Global New Thought website.
Details of HR 1673 can be read here at this Department of Peace website.
According to the U.S. Department of Peace Coalition website, they are proposing Dennis Kucinich for a leadership position. (I hope they don't expect to get any votes in Cleveland!)
Congressmen behind this proposal according to the Department of Peace website are listed here.
The list of organizational endorsements can be read here. Tikkun?? Now we are talking Kabbalah.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
"DEEDS NOT CREEDS"
That is the motto of Rev. Rachel G. Tedesco, pastor of First Parish Church in Taunton, according to The Enterprise at South of Boston.
Rev. Tedesco has a zeal for social justice. She grew up in a Jewish family, received a degree in political science from Wellesley College, and met her husband David on a grape picket line. She looks up to Howard Zinn, a history professor of Boston University, Richard Leonard, a Unitarian-Universalist minister and leader in the civil rights movement, and feminists Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.
Her master's degree in social work came from Wayne State University, and her master's in divinity from Andover Newton Theological School. She was ordained a Unitarian-Universalist minister at a Unity Church where she was a member for 10 years.
Rev. Tedesco is compassionate and believes in accepting people and looking for the best in them. As an example of what she believes, on the day the state began allowing gay marriages last year, Rev. Tedesco put up a sign outside First Parish Church welcoming same-sex couples to get married in Taunton's historic place of worship.
"Love Makes A Family", the sign read. Rev. Rachel G. Tedesco practices what she preaches.
The Chatanoogan reports:
There are a growing number of children around the world beginning to exhibit unusual and special gifts such as deep compassion and perception, healing, and concern for world peace. They have been called “Indigo Children,” and the movie INDIGO has been created around their special abilities.
On Jan. 29, Unity of Chattanooga is scheduled to show the movie INDIGO on the day of its theatrical premiere. The movie won the coveted Audience Choice Award at the Santa Fe Film Festival in 2003 and premiered there to a sold out audience.
INDIGO is a film about loneliness, redemption, and the healing powers of grace in this new generation of psychic and gifted children.
Coming to a theater or a Unity Church near you?
NCR AND NCR EDITORS DON THE GLOVES
CathNews reports on the flak between the editors of National Catholic Reporter and National Catholic Register over Rome's investigation into the charges against Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, Founder of the Legionaries of Christ.
BELIEFNET ROUND-UP OF STYLES OF MEDITATION
is offered at their website. You can choose to meditate on Jesus' passion and death, use the rosary, concentrate on the 23rd Psalm, or meditate on peace.
You can open your heart to lovingkindness, take up centering prayer, or meet the angel of the day.
You can greet the goddess, take up the Celtic tradition, use breathing exercises, or listen to calming music.
If none of these appeal to you, try the potato chip meditation.
The smorgasboard of paths to divinity is open to the perusal of all seekers at Beliefnet. Choose your path to esoterica over there.
MICHAEL BERG SAYS WE MUST DO WHAT GOD DOES
From an interview with Michael Berg of the Kabbalah Centre with Beliefnet's Rebecca Phillips:
Rebecca Phillips: I have to admit when I first saw the title of your book, "Becoming Like God," I was taken aback. My immediate reaction was: That's not possible. The whole idea seems blasphemous.
Michael Berg: It is a concept that has been around for thousands of years, but people aren’t necessarily aware of it. To underscore the point, I often ask people the meaning of the biblical passage that says that man was created in God’s image. There aren't many ways to explain it, except in that simplest form. It means that every one of us is built with the essence of God. Our soul is the essence of God, and that means that every single one of us has the potential to become like God and to heal, to bless, to do almost everything that God can do.
TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASE AGAINST DIOCESE
Nashua Telegraph reports:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The state Supreme Court says a $68 million lawsuit alleging that the Roman Catholic diocese of Nashville covered up child sex abuse by a former priest can go forward.
The unanimous ruling issued Tuesday overturns lower courts which had said the diocese could not be held responsible for the emotional distress alleged by the plaintiffs.
The high court in its ruling said a defendant can be found guilty of inflicting emotional distress even if its misconduct was not directed at a specific person. The court said its decision broke new legal ground in such cases.
Is $68 million a large enough figure to bankrupt another diocese?
SPANISH BISHOPS APPROVE CONDOM USE
Associated Press reports:
MADRID, Spain - In a substantial shift from traditional policy, the Catholic Church in Spain has said it supports the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS.
“Condoms have a place in the global prevention of AIDS,” Juan Antonio Martinez Campos, spokesman for the Spanish Bishops Conference, told reporters after a meeting Tuesday with Health Minister Elena Salgado to discuss ways of fighting the disease.
Apparently there has been a misinterpretation. Again.
Robert Duncan is attempting to sort this out from his vantage point over there.
The topic is also up for discussion at Amy's blog as well.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
JOAN CHITTISTER LED A JOHN MAIN SEMINAR IN 2004
John Main Seminar 2004
"Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men"
View photos of the recent John Main Seminar led by Joan Chittister OSB.
Unfortunately the link to the photos in the website doesn't work.
I wonder if she discussed her usual topics? Hmmmm.
PILGRIMMAGE TO INDIA
is planned by The World Community for Christian Meditation. I wonder if they had to cancel the Siri Lankan part?
ECUMENICAL AND INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE BLOG (BELOW) - UPDATE
Earlier today I blogged information about The World Community for Christian Meditation which is associated with dissenting speakers Richard Rohr and Mary McAleese, as well as Fr. Laurence Freeman who has appeared on a program at the Temple of Understanding. This organization promotes the John Main Seminars which are associated with the Unity Churches. There are a couple of additional names to add to the John Main Seminar list--names of speakers at the "Paths to the Heart" seminar which I had blogged about yesterday.
Huston Smith spoke at a John Main Seminar in 1999 in Tucson, Arizona, topic: "Return to the Light".
Kalliston Ware spoke at a John Main Seminar in 2002.
Additionally, an article from The Tablet, written by Fr. Laurence Freeman, confirms Ware's involvement and adds more information about John Main seminars. The Benedictines are a part of this. Thomas Merton is cited. The article closes with a reference to "tradition":
Essentially through silence, they are faithfully forming a new kind of Christianity deeply rooted in tradition and bravely open to the very different realities of the present.
It's "different", alright.
Eddie Russell at Blaze Magazine identifies this group as the New Age syncretists they are:
On the weekend of April... in Houston Texas, Father Laurence Freeman, OSB, the director and spiritual teacher of the World Community for Christian Meditation, and Father Richard Rohr, OFM, Founding Director and animator of the Center for Action and Contemplation, will present a conference entitled Seeking Peace: A Dialogue on Jesus.
...Both Father Laurence and Father Richard believe that Jesus is one of the few individuals in history who can be called a universal teacher by all people. Jesus teaches and embodies not just a path of personal spiritual formation, but a way of tolerance and compassion, a unique bridge of the spirit among people of different faiths, between rich and poor, and among those suffering conflict or division. The great social and psychological distresses of modern society call for a new and deeper contemplative response. Each human being, whatever his or her circumstances, is called to a contemplative peace, and is capable of it."
Incredible! - Jesus is not presented as Lord of all, but as a "universal teacher embodying a unique BRIDGE of the spirit to OTHER FAITHS!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE
John Main Seminar 2000 "The Way of Peace"
In addition to the Dalai Lama, Seminar presenters include former John Main Seminar speakers: Laurence Freeman, O.S.B., Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation; President Mary MacAleese; William Johnston, S.J.; Prof. Charles Taylor of McGill University in Montreal; Isabelle Glover, teacher of Sanskrit, Pali and other ancient languages; Prof. Robert Kiely of Harvard University; Sr. Eileen O'Hea, psychotherapist and teacher of Christian Meditation; Derek Smith, Professor of Anthropology at Carelton University in Ottawa, Canada. Plus: Andrew Philips, Founder of the Citizenship Foundation; Rev Malcolm Stonestreet, Anglican priest and Chairman of the United Religions Initiative in the UK;
The history of John Main's meditation techniques can be read at the John Main Prayer Association website. The source is a Hindu monk:
Father John Main, an English benedictine monk who lived in Montreal, Canada, rediscovered Christian Meditation and introduced it anew to contemporary Christians as a very simple, yet deeply contemplative form of prayer.
In Christian Meditation (published by the Benedictine Priory of Montreal, 1977) John Main explains the role of his teacher, Swami Satyananda, a Hindu monk. While in the case of the Swami and John Main there are parallels that may be drawn between Hindu mantra meditation and the Christian goal of prayer, at the time the Swami transmitted the teaching to John Main, the technique involved was one of Hindu meditation, not of Christian prayer. Only later did John Main discover that similar practices within the history of the Christian tradition existed.
Although Swami Satyananda was a Hindu monk, he was educated at a Roman Catholic school and had considered becoming a Christian.
CATHOLIC DEFINITION OF "TRADITIONAL RELIGION"
Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, gives the current Catholic "spin" on the "traditional religions":
Archbishop Fitzgerald explained that "when we speak of traditional religions, we are thinking of ethnic or tribal religions, that is, those that have developed in a specific ethnic group and which, therefore, are different from the world religions, which go beyond national borders."
"When we speak of traditional religions, we often think primarily of Africa," he explained on Vatican Radio. "But they are not only in Africa. There is the whole spirituality of the Indians in Latin America. There is also the African religion that has gone to Latin America."
These religions are also present in Asia. "In India, they are called 'tribal' and they have their particular spirituality, while in the Philippines followers of traditional religions live in the hills and mountains," he added.
"We avoid the word 'animist,' as it gives the idea that animism considers wind, water and animals as inhabited by spirits which demand worship: In reality, it is not so," the prelate said.
"Normally in these religions there is belief in the creator God, a supreme God, but there are also other mediating entities between God and humanity: forebears and other spirits. But it is not worship where a forest, tree, etc., is venerated. Divinity is not there," the archbishop said.
Now remember that next time one of the diocesan websites puts up a prayer to the four directions!
When Christ returns, will there be any faith on the earth?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Crux News has linked a story at Agape Press about the homosexuals in the hierarchy of the Springfield Diocese that needs to be read in full to be believed. Go to the website to get the details including the reference to inaction in Rome.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
IT'S THE VIRGIN MARY AGAIN
A reader sent in the link to these comments about art on display at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City:
While Catholic bashing continues to rear its ugly head in America, it is usually relegated to the lowest common denominator in society, Hollywood and liberal elites striving for a more manageable secular society. I truly could not fathom the notion that this type of hate speech would not only be sanctioned, but peddled, by one of the last vestiges of the Christian faith.
I took my classes to Saint John the Divine Episcopal Cathedral in New York City earlier this year for our annual jaunt through the history of this wonderful structure. Unaware that an art display entitled "Season South Africa" was on display at the sanctuary of the church. After attempting to rush 43 students past this heinous display, with as little explanation as possible, I became enraged. Asking the tour director the nature of this work and why we were not informed of its location, she replied "it's only art." I then decided to take my case to a much higher authority, specifically The Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Here is a copy of my diatribe
Go to the website to read the letter he sent which describes the artwork. Blasphemous? Following his letter is the response in which the Bishop, naturally, washes his hands. Also following is DeStefano's further unsuccessful attempt to tweak a nerve within the Episcopal hiearachy.
He closes with this final comment to which I can only add "Amen!":
America needs to take a long look at the direction our faith is taking. We also need to take a vested interest in protecting the ideals we deem important. Anti-Christian forces control significant segments of our society. Unfortunately, their undercurrent of hatred will continue as an ineradicable presence in our society. All we can hope for is a growing trend to reject the nescient aimlessness of attempts to instill unproductive ire. The secularists need to alter a self-serving lament to a seemingly unattainable level of understanding for all people. I am saddened to now realize that when they target our houses of worship, our religious leaders are holding the doors wide open.
ECUMENICAL AND INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
is the topic of Part II of an interview at Zenit linked by Spirit Daily, with theologian Ilaria Morali. From the interview:
A Muslim friend recently said to me: "We want to dialogue with true Catholics, not with half-way Catholics. From my point of view as a Muslim, a Catholic who rejects some fundamental aspect of his faith in order to dialogue would be like a bad Muslim who does not observe the Koran. One dialogues if one has the courage of one's own identity. How could we really know your faith if you deny, for example, the uniqueness of Christ?"
Exactly! But also difficult to discuss in interreligious dialogue, since all parties at the dialogue table consider themselves to be equal. Morali addresses this in the interview:
...dialogue between Christians and members of other religions can take place at two levels:
-- on political and social topics, for example when we are questioned on the role of religions in the peace process and humanization of the world;
-- in topics relating to religious doctrines, for example, the content of salvation according to the corresponding religious doctrines. In this connection, the declaration "Dominus Iesus" clarifies that, although on the level of persons, insofar as persons, those who form part of the dialogue have the same dignity, the same cannot be said on the level of doctrines. If we are Catholics, there is a necessary difference between the Christian message and the non-Christian message.
He adds further:
The fact that "Dominus Iesus" was badly received in some realms of the Catholic world should not surprise us. It was a physiological fact: there would have been no reason to write such a document if large sectors of present-day Catholicism had not lost sight of the beauty and fullness of the Christian message.
"Dominus Iesus" takes up again, in a certain sense, the same warning of Paul VI in "Ecclesiam Suam," when he put the faithful on guard against the temptation to lose the meaning and value of the gift received with baptism and the Catholic faith.
A lot of what I have posted in this blog has to do with that loss within Catholicism, particularly in the female religious communities where the embrace of ideas not Catholic has become epidemic.
Yesterday I blogged an article on the Pursuit of Happiness as a theme of Christian-Buddhist worship in which the dialogue session is to take place at the Unity Church under the auspicies of Father Freeman of The World Community for Christian Meditation.
The "About Us" webpage indicates that Richard Rohr, OFM will be hosting the John Main Seminar 2005. Presenters at the John Main Seminar which is held annually have included Rowan Williams, Bede Griffiths, Jean Vanier, William Johnston, the Dalai Lama and Mary McAleese.
I think most readers know that Rowan Williams is the Archbishop of Canterbury. Here is a little background on the rest of the players:
Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM appears on the list of Dissenting Authors and Speakers at Our Lady's Warriors website. He is listed under the category "Theology Incompatible with the Catholic Faith", and the specific complaint is "Center for Action and Contemplation, focused on the occult Enneagram."
Here is a website dedicated to John Main's Christian Meditation. It links the World Community for Christian Meditation, so I assume they are working in unison. Nevertheless, the questions asked here are important.
Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB has appeared on a program at the Temple of Understanding, an interfaith center associated with URI.
Here is a picture of Fr. Bede Griffiths. Draw your own conclusions, especially in the light of the statements made on this website about the resurrection. Fr. Griffiths had his own ashram.
Jean Vanier is mentioned on the Celtic Worship website of the Banner of Truth Trust, a British organization with an office in the US. They make this comment about Vanier:
The psychic gifts which often seem to characterise people from the Hebridean islands, are here interpreted in terms of the last gifts inherited from the lost civilisation of Atlantis. These speculations of Steiner throw light on his interest in other places, such as Tintagel and Glastonbury, and help to account for some of the wilder and more esoteric developments of legend around these places in the last century or so.
Donald Meek goes on to point out that George MacLeod was attracted to some of Steiner's ideas about the spiritual dimension of humanity and the spiritual potential of the natural world. He points too to MacLeod's admiration for the work of the Steiner communities with handicapped people, an admiration which has been shared by some of those who have been influenced by the teaching of Jean Vanier in relation to mental and physical handicap. Is it perhaps possible that in the development of Steiner's vast and all-inclusive system, there were at least some genuine and indeed precious insights into some of the less obvious elements in the development of the human person? Insights which may yet prove worthy of inclusion in a Christian understanding of the nature of the human person? That at least is a question which deserves attention and where I and the author might well come to different conclusions.
Hardly a recommendation, though Vanier's work with the handicapped is laudible. How much did Steiner influence Vanier?
A review of William Johnston's book at this website could easily have been written by a Traditionalist. It talks about "ecumenical meditation", "democratic style of mysticism", "wisdom beyond letter and image", "universal age-old features", and the "tyranny of dogma", and a "mystical approach to scripture and theology". Johnston directs the Institute of Oriental Religions at Sophia University. This is syncretism similar to Rene Guenon and Frithjof Schuon's version of universalism.
Mary McAleese is President of the Republic of Ireland. She has written two articles in support of women priests according to the website of womenpriests.org.
The Dalai Lama is well known to be active in numerous occasions of interreligious dialogue around the world. He is a supporter of URI.
With an illustrious cast such as this, is it any wonder the seminar is scheduled to open at a Unity Church? Unity equals love, afterall. What could be better than that? If we love, will we tell someone they are following the wrong spiritual path? Of course not. We will simply affirm their calling. That is what Unity Churches do. Non-judgmental syncretism in the name of love and peace. Mysticism for the masses. Buddhist Christianity. The New Thought Movement in action. Mindful self-dominion. Scrap the dogma. Embrace the light.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
TWO PRIESTS RESIGN
Spirit Daily links the following story at Star Tribune via Free Republic:
Two Minneapolis priests who have led parishes sympathetic to gay and lesbian rights have announced their resignations.
The Rev. George Wertin of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, which has clashed with its archdiocese and some orthodox Catholics in the Twin Cities, announced his retirement Sunday effective July 1. And the Rev. Stephen O'Gara of the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle said last week he's leaving March 1.
Both said the timing of their announcements was coincidental, and they assured parishioners that they weren't pressured by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to leave.
The most curious line in the story is this comment made by Wertin:
He said it's time to move on after 40 years in ministry.
Move on to what? "You are a priest forever according to the Order of Melchizadek."
Monday, January 17, 2005
PATHS TO THE HEART: SUFISM AND THE CHRISTIAN EAST
That is the title of the book edited by James S. Cutsinger, which is compiled out of the essays presented at the Christian/Sufi conference held at the University of South Carolina, October 18-20, 2001, the purpose of which was to find common ground in the esoteric aspects of Islam and Christianity.
"Esoteric ecumenism" is the phrase applied to this approach. Cutsinger, in the final chapter of PATHS, proposes esoteric ecumenism, as the means of escape from the "dogmatic narrowness" of the Christian dogma that Jesus is the unique Son of God and Savior of humanity. (p. 231)
Applying this concept of "narrowness", he suggests:
Christian tradition forbids us to think that the Second Person of the Trinity is the same as the first, or that His Divinity was confined to the historical individuality of Jesus alone. ...
Jesus is most certainly God....But this does not mean that saving power was fully expended at a single moment of history or that we should confuse the uniqueness of Him who was incarnate, the only begotten Son of God, with the human particularity of Jesus of Nazareth. (p. 230)
In so doing he makes room for the Sufi doctrine which teaches that Jesus is a lesser prophet than Muhammed.
Cutsinger packages this concept in a deceptive wrapper, saying:
The solution, however, is not the "false ecumenism" of the liberals which "abolishes doctrine", and which (as Schuon sharply notes) in order "to reconcile two adversaries...strangles them both". No, a "true ecumenism" must honor and uphold the importance of traditional dogmas, irreconcilable as they may appear exoterically, while at the same time appealing, on the basis of prayer and contemplative insight, to "the wisdom that can discern the one sole Truth under the veil of different forms". (p. 228)
Just what is that "one sole Truth"? Whose doctrine do we use to define it? Or is it that only visionaries can hope to know the real Truth? Echoing in the distance of Cutsinger's statement I seem to hear the subtle "You, too, can be a god." Are we to have a unique Savior of the Sufis? Another of the Hindus? One of the Buddhists? The Zoroastrians? The Jews? What, then, of the Catholic claim that Jesus Christ came to save the whole world? How can we assent to both the Truth of our individual faith and this new "Truth" being suggested by Cutsinger when they are mutually exclusive? And what makes Cutsinger the bringer of Truth?
In another essay Peter Samsel presents the same concept:
The shoal on which so much polemical furor and ecumenical fervor has run aground is the assumption that the truth or validity of another faith rests largely on its degree of exoteric identity with one's own. While attractive for obvious reasons, it nevertheless places limits upon God, who is presumed to have revealed Himself once, or at least best, in one's own faith. But God is not exhausted by a given revelatory disclosure, nor does He disclose Himself in the same way twice. In respect of God's distinct revelatory disclosures, we cannot expect to overcome uniqueness and difference, precisely because the disclosures revealed by God are distinct. Only in respect of their Source, God, who is one and singular, can such differences in His revelatory disclosures be overcome. As we cannot stand at such a level, what we may attempt instead is to grasp, through the offered parallels that lie at the heart of His multiple disclosures, a vision of their unique underlying Source. (p. 223-224)
Pluriform Truth? God, whom Samsel asserts is not limited, nevertheless chose to reveal not one single Truth, but rather multiple truths at random. To what purpose? In order to confuse his creation? In order to deceive? In order to promulgate a lie? If God was not limited in His choice, why would He choose to do such things? These concepts at the core of Christianity and Islam, which the premise of the book claims are sources of unrest that man must overcome in order to bring peace, are attributed to God? This makes God evil, and makes man a greater good. Anathema!
Since the proposed path is mysticism, and since the end of that path is a grasping of God's "multiple disclosures" which emerge from a single reality beyond the dogma of each of the world's religions, and since mysticism is not the province of those who adhere to an exoteric dogma, what Peter Samsel is suggesting is an elite core at the center of every faith. Esoterica, with those "in the know" the self-acknowledged superiors of those who are not so blessed.
Twice Samsel refers to "antinomian" concepts (p. 206, p. 207) in an effort to reconcile two mutually exclusive doctrines about Christ--one Christian, one Sufi--suggesting that if doctrine gets in the way of chosen goals of reconciliation in the name of peace, we can simply rise above it.
What do we get when we rise? Light.
The association of light with both God and existence runs throughout the Islamic tradition (p. 221)
Citing Vladimir Lossky and Gregory Palamas, Samsel also places this "light" in Orthodox doctrine:
This union with the energy [of God] is conjoined with its vision, where--as on Mt. Tabor--the vision of the uncreated energy of God is perceived by the spiritual eye as light. (p. 218)
Thus, seen in the "light" of Hesychasm, or Orthodox mysticism, and Sufism, the conflicting doctrines of Islam and Christianity can be viewed as two facets of the same reality. Jesus, then, when seen in this "light", easily morphs into the prophet second only to Muhammed.
In another essay John Chryssavgis asserts:
Alongside the more institutional unbroken "apostolic succession" of the Christian Church, we must also discern a parallel charismatic "spiritual succession" that rejuvenates the Church through the centuries. (p. 112)
"Parallel succession?! That would be a variety of "Enthusiasm"? Visionary experiences? Influx of the Holy Spirit? Channeling? What? This, I presume, is what is meant by "light".
Chryssavgis, too, wants us to rise above doctrine in an antinomian disregard of dogma based on new revelations.
In his essay, Vincent Rossi spells it out:
These three governing principles--apophasis, apatheia, agape--are insisted upon by the Hesychast tradition because the "highest metaphysics" of the Fathers of the Philokalia is grounded in the inescapable reality of the infinite gulf between the Uncreated and the created, and the paradoxical experience--not abstract doctrinal expression, but practical experience--of simultaneously bridging the uinbridgeable gulf in a Person to person relationship, while acknowledging its eternal reality. (p. 110)
In other words, the visionary experience--the phenomenon--trumps revealed Truth. An argument can easily be made here that distancing oneself from revealed doctrine is the equivalent of making oneself one's own god. Once we can convince ourselves that experience has more validity than does revealed Truth, we can invent our faith as we go along, without those inconvenient "Thou shalt nots" to get in the way.
It is only by adhering to doctrine that it is possible to evaluate the visionary experience. It is only through doctrine that discernment of spirits is possible.
If Adam and Eve were standing before us, they could explain the pitfalls of visionary experience. Lucifer is an angel of light, the greatest of the angelic band, who wanted to be a god. He does not cease in his efforts to draw man away from the Trinitarian God. His "light" can indeed bedazzle. Close adherence to revealed truth will reveal his cunning as the evil that it is. Abandoning doctrine will open the visionary to the "light" from the father of lies.
As the biography of James S. Cutsinger at the above-linked website will explain, Cutsinger is a Traditionalist, and the Secretary to the Foundation of Traditional Studies. John Chryssavgis is an Orthodox priest and Professor of Theology at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, according to the information presented in the book. The book also describes Peter Samsel as an independent scholar with a doctorate in physics. This conference, I presume, is a good example of where Traditionalism will lead.
Jesus asks "Who do you say that I am?" and each of us will be required to answer.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
ANOTHER CHURCH SOLD
I've just received email from Lee Penn indicating that St. Ann's in New York has been closed and will be demolished as of yesterday.
The National Shrine of St. Ann, located in the East Village of Manhattan, New
York City, is to be closed, demolished, and sold after the last mass
tomorrow. The building dates from the early 1850s, and was originally a protestant
church, then a synagoge. In 1870 it became the second home of St. Ann's parish
More information on the story of this church is provided here.
What is to happen to the marble and the altar?
In any case, there seems to be another National Shrine of St. Ann in Scranton, according to Our Sunday Visitor. The link doesn't work, however. The Scranton shrine is also named on this Canadian Catholic website. The University of Dayton lists it in Scranton as well. Here is a picture of the shrine in Scranton. Look at the altar. That round platform. Those steps creating additional circles around the altar. Compare that with the altar in New York. Hmmmmm. Hasn't Scranton been the home of some practices that have disturbed the laity?
Irish Elk has a story on the church, including the planned closing, with lots of links. Scroll down to Monday, February 23, 2004 This information indicates that the closing had been postponed indefinitely. I guess "indefinitely" ended yesterday.
IS THE RELIGIOUS GOAL THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS NOW?
A reader sent in this announcement from Tidings News:
"The Pursuit of Happiness: Christian & Buddhist Practices & Perspectives" is the title of a weekend workshop next month in Santa Barbara.
Presented by the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, the Feb. 11-13 workshop will explore ways of cultivating genuine happiness as they are taught distinctly in Christianity and Buddhism, and then examine their common ground. "Each tradition has its own well-springs of insight, and we will see how they can be enriched by each other," said B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D, co-presenter with Benedictine Father Laurence Freeman.
The event will take place on Friday at the Unity Church in Santa Barbara, then move to La Casa de Maria, Montecito for the Saturday and Sunday portions.