Saturday, October 08, 2005


This page in the Taize website describing the theology at Taize sounds Catholic.


It's very odd the policy on adult visitors. Why are adults made to feel so unwelcome? Is there something they don't want adults to know? This page in the website also presents a lot of restrictions on adult visits.

Thewebpage devoted to groups of young people is very welcoming--very different from the pages devoted to those over 30. Additionally, this webpage makes clear that if the group of young people contains members under 30 and members over 30, the group will be split.


The Bennett J. Sims Institute for Servant Leadership links Taize, The Center for Progressive Christianity and United Religions Initiative on their Resources webpage.


links Taize on their "Links to Resources on this Website" webpage.


wilsondaily.com, a North Carolina publication called The Wilson Daily Times, offers Taize chants as part of the alternative worship service at First Christian Church.


And from another website:

This annotated Bibliography represents titles which I have found most useful in providing a foundation for designing rituals, integrating feminist process, feminist theology, folk traditions and women's spirituality. It is based on the emerging christian feminist tradition. With few exceptions, most are readily available : either in public libraries or bookstores.

What do they include? The following among other items:

Equal Rites : Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations. Ed., Kittredge Cherry, and Zalmon Sherwood. Louisville, Ky. : Westminster/John Knox Press, 1995. ~ A wonderful collection from various gay and lesbian contributors (primarily MCC). Noteworthy : Coming-out liturgy; Celebration of the Feminine Divine [Baptism liturgy]; AIDS healing services; house blessing; blessing of animals ; Yom haShoah liturgy which includes recognition that homosexuals were victims of the Holocaust; Holy Union / Commitment ceremonies; a Taize-style service. This is not a source just for lesbians and gays, but for us all. It is testimony to the power of contemporary rituals.

Look at the rest of the stuff linked at that website! Anyone out there wondering just how much inclusiveness is a bit too much about now?


A FutureChurch website offers a form to fill out for those who want to "Add your Group to futurechurch.org.nz". They want those applying to "Tick those that most reflect the passions of your group." Lots of categories to check there. How about "alt worship" or "charismatic" or "creation spirituality"? There is "emerging church," "feminist theology," "contemplative spirituality." Oh, how about "post christian" or "post church"? You can even check "sexuality." I wonder if that one gets a check on most applications?

Now what do you suppose that "taize style worship" is doing in there, huh?

One of the members of futurechurch nz which is identified as "progressive christian church" offers Taize on the lst Sunday of the month. Interesting that futurechurch and Taize have made friends with each other. This is an Anglican Church.


Lee made a statement in email that has ruffled some feathers. I had hoped he would check back and address the matter, but he must be busy with other things, so I will quote a passage from his book which speaks to this. The quoted material concerns the "Global Ethic" of Hans Kung which B16 addressed in his conversation with Kung recently, and on which they apparently attempted to reach an agreement.


The Catholic Church has warned strongly against such efforts to create a new, utopian "Global Ethic" divorced from Christian tradition and teaching.

In Mit Brennender Sorge, his 1937 encyclical against Nazism, Pope Pius XI warned that a New Morality without a basis on Christian faith couldn't succeed:

It is on faith in God, preserved pure and stainless, that man's morality is based. All efforts to remove from under morality and the moral order the granite foundation of faith and to substitute for it the shifting sands of human regulations, sooner or later lead these individuals or societies to moral degradation. The fool who has said in his heart 'there is no God' goes straight to moral corruption (Psalms xiii), and the number of these fools who today are out to sever morality from religion, is legion. They either do not see or refuse to see that the banishment of confessional Christianity, i.e., the clear and precise notion of Christianity, from teaching and education, from the organization of social and political life, spells spiritual spoliation and degradation....To hand over the moral law to man's subjective opinion, which changes with the times, instead of anchoring it in the holy will of the eternal God and His commandments, is to open wide every door to the forces of destruction. The resulting dereliction of the eternal principles of an objective morality, which educates conscience and ennobles every department and organization of life, is a sin against the destiny of a nation, a sin whose bitter fruit will poison future generations."

In his 1939 encyclical Summi Pontificatus, Pope Pius XII said,

Many perhaps, while abandoning the teaching of Christ, were not fully conscious of being led astray by a mirage of glittering phrases, which proclaimed such estrangement as an escape from the slavery in which they were before held; nor did they then forsee the bitter consequences of bartering the truth that sets free, for error which enslaves. They did not realize that, in renouncing the infinitely wise and paternal laws of God, and the unifying and elevating doctrines of Christ's love, they were resigning themselves to the whim of a poor, fickle human wisdom; they spoke of progress, when they were going back; of being raised, when they groveled; of arriving at man's estate, when they stooped to servility. They did not perceive the inability of all human effort to replace the law of Christ by anything equal to it; 'they became vain in their thoughts' (Rom. 1:21).

Pius XII also warned that those who "divorce civil authority from every kind of dependence upon the Supreme Being" will

accord the civil authority an unrestricted field of action that is at the mercy of the changeful tide of human will, or of the dictates of casual historical claims, and of the interests of a few. Once the authority of God and the sway of His law are denied in this way, the civil authority as an inevitable result tends to attribute to itself that absolute autonomy which belongs exclusively to the Supreme Maker. It puts itself in the place of the Almighty and elevates the State or group into the last end of life, the supreme criterion of the moral and juridical order, and therefore forbids every appeal to the principles of natural reason and of the Christian conscience.

This totalitarian peril remains, since prominent proponents of the Earth Charter say that "The protection of the Biosphere, as the Common Interst of Humanity, must not be subservient to the rules of state sovereignty, demands of the free market or individual rights. The idea of Global Sovereignty must be supported by a shift in values which recognize this Common Interest.


That quoted passage appears on pp 209-210 in FALSE DAWN.

That is how Lee sees Hans Kung's "Global Ethics" idea, as a totalitarian peril because it departs from the foundation of the values and rules imposed by the Trinitarian God. That is how Popes have seen such an attempt. How is it that now Benedict is reversing the teaching of those popes by getting together with the creater of this Global Ethic to talk shop? Perhaps Benedict is hoping to bring Kung back into the Catholic fold so that he will exert his influence on this Global Ethics. If that is his goal, it's laudable. If, however, Benedict's goal is merely to suggest some minor revisions while going along with a Global Ethics that is founded on bits and pieces drawn from the world's religions, he is acting contrary to the Tradition of the Catholic Church which sees Christ as the salvation of mankind.

Does that mean that the Pope is a Nazi in Lee's opinion? No, it doesn't. But it does mean that the road he is traveling is a dangerous road. Perhaps he can negotiate it successfully while being true to Christ. But the possibility for failure, and thus the appearance of complicity with the overthrowing of the Church, is real.

What I suspect is that the person who raised objections has not read the book and so doesn't really understand why Lee would make that statement. In fact there are 24 references to Nazism in FALSE DAWN, and those who wish to take issue with what Lee has written owe it to him to read all that he has written before attacking his character.

Friday, October 07, 2005


This retreat center has been in the news since Bro. Roger died. It has captured Catholic attention because there were questions about the distribution of communion which George Weigel tried to answer by referring to the Antidoron.

Taize has Benedict's approval.

A sampling of Taize chant can be heard here. It sounds like pre-Vatican II Catholicism. George Weigel indicated in his recent article on Taize that "Since the 1970s, all eucharistic celebrations at the Church of the Reconciliation at Taize are Catholic liturgies, presided over by priests or bishops."

Why, then, is the Enneagram often presented by organizations that also offer Taize prayer? How has the spirituality of Gnosticism gotten intertwined with the spirituality of Catholicism?

The Enneagram was created by Russian occultist G. I. Gurdjieff. It has been labeled divination. Fr. Mitch Pacwa, in an article titled "Tell Me Who I Am, O Enneagram", explains:

Gurdjieff relates that while in Afghanistan, around 1897, a dervish (a type of Muslim mystic or Sufi) introduced him to an old man of the Sarmouni sect he had been searching for. As the story goes, this man arranged for an expedition to take Gurdjieff to the Sarmouni monastery in central Turkestan, where he learned their mystical dancing, psychic powers, and the enneagram. For the Sarmounis the enneagram was important as a means of divination to foretell future events as well as a tool to represent life processes, such as personal transformation.[3] They also used it as a symbol of the conscious and unconscious states in human beings.[4] These uses would become part of Gurdjieff's spiritual teaching when he founded his own school for attaining enlightenment.

The Vatican Document on New Age titled "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life" places the enneagram into the category of Gnosticism:

Gnosticism never completely abandoned the realm of Christianity. Instead, it has always existed side by side with Christianity, sometimes taking the shape of a philosophical movement, but more often assuming the characteristics of a religion or a para-religion in distinct, if not declared, conflict with all that is essentially Christian”.(6) An example of this can be seen in the enneagram, the nine-type tool for character analysis, which when used as a means of spiritual growth introduces an ambiguity in the doctrine and the life of the Christian faith.

Some examples of the Taize-Enneagram mix:

At the Mother of God Monastery the Benedictines hold a Taize Prayer Service on the third Saturday of each month. They also offer retreats. One of the "personal growth workshops" which are "optional, but recommended" is the Enneagram.

Among the spirituality resources listed on a Churches of Christ Conference Center website is the Wellspring Centre.

Wellspring also runs retreats, prayer days, workshops and meditations on a variety of subjects. Examples of the workshops are: Dreams, Enneagram, Taize worship services, Interfaith dialogue and Art and Spirituality.

The Bethlehem Retreat Centre offers a Taize service on Wednesdays. Their retreat schedule for 2005-2006 includes the November program titled "Enneagram Wisdom Through Story Telling" which is being taught by Mary Ann Gisler OSB.

The calendar of the Diocese of Oakland, CA lists a "Taize Prayer Around the Cross"an ecumenical candlelight retreat. It also lists a "Growing Spiritually: A Beginning Enneagram Workshop" on January 24.

That's just a sample of what I mean. There are many more examples. How has Gnostic Christianity insinuated itself into Catholic spirituality? And a companion question, is the Taize service closer to Catholicism or to Gnostic Christianity? Or is it that the New Springtime combines both?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


On 9/24, B16 met with Hans Kung, the dissident theologian who supports the United Religions Initiative and the creation of a new "global ethic." They did not discuss the long-standing theological differences between the two of them -- such as on papal infallibility, etc. -- differences that led John Paul II to take away Kung's right to teach as a Catholic theologian in 1979. Instead, they focussed on areas of agreement between them.

Here's John Allen's report:

World: Benedict, Kung set aside differences for a chat

Key quotes, with emphasis added by me:

"A Sept. 26 statement from the Vatican did not say who had requested the meeting, but said that it took place in a 'friendly climate,' and that Benedict XVI offered special support for Kung's efforts to build a Weltethos, or a moral framework based on values shared among religions that can also be recognized by secular reason.

That statement, Kung told NCR, was prepared personally by the pope and shown to Kung for approval prior to release.

Both parties agreed, according to the statement, that it did not make sense to go into the 'persistent doctrinal questions' between Kung and the magisterium of the Catholic church."


"At one level, the meeting was a reunion of old friends who taught together at the famous German theology faculty of Tubingen during the 1960s. In fact, it was Kung who hired then-Fr. Joseph Ratzinger at Tubingen, luring him away from a position in Munster. The two men served together as periti, or theological experts, for the German bishops at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), where they were part of the broad progressive majority. At Tubingen they had a standing weekly dinner appointment on Thursday evenings to discuss a journal that they edited together. ...

At another level, however, the Sept. 24 meeting represents an encounter between the two leading symbols of the Catholic left and right in the post-Vatican II period."

[ my comment -- just as the Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 1939 represented an encounter between the two leading symbols of the political left and right in the 1930s. ]


"In terms of substance, Kung said the two men found agreement on matters of social policy, the relationship between faith and reason and between science and religion, and the need for Christianity to collaborate with other world religions in building what Kung has termed a 'global ethic'."

"It's not that we agree on everything," Kung said. "But the pope has great empathy for the problems of the world, and wanted to give a positive sign."

Kung said the pope is obviously aware that the meeting would attract attention, and consciously chose to use it as a gesture of "openness."

And here is the Vatican press release cited above, the one that B16 and Kung agreed upon, and was released by the Papal press secretary (and Opus Dei numerary) Navarro-Valls:

KATH.NET - Katholischer Nachrichtendienst

Key quote, with emphasis added by me:

"The discussion thus concentrated on two subjects that have lately had particular importance in Hans Kung's work: the question of 'Weltethos' (world ethics) and the dialogue between the reason of the natural sciences and the reason of Christian faith. Professor Kung emphasized that his project of 'Weltethos' is by no means an abstract intellectual construct, rather it throws light on the moral values around which the great religions of the world converge, despite all their differences, and which may be considered as valid criteria - given their convincing rationality - by secular reason.

"The Pope welcomed Professor Kung's efforts to contribute to a renewed recognition of the essential moral values of humanity through the dialogue of religions and in the encounter with secular reason. He stressed that the commitment to a renewed awareness of the values that sustain human life is also an important objective of his own pontificate."

Put this together with the selection of Levada as the new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and it's evident that Ratzinger is getting ready for the hour of the United Religions and the New World Order.

Just as a reminder of what the "Global Ethic" is all about ... read pp. 206-210 of False Dawn ... or for an older, shorter essay on the matter, see this:

United Religions Initiative - Promoting a politically correct "Global Ethic" and population control



Am I the only one who is uncomfortable with this picture? These robed figures are kneeling, and there is something on the stage that must have symbolical meaning, but what meaning? There are candles apparently decorating it. Apparently there was song and prayer. Chant? Christian prayer? And there is all that red!

If I came upon that picture with no caption or any other explanation of what I was looking at, my first thought would be Druids and my next thought would be the Hieros Gamos in "Eyes Wide Shut."

Yeah, I know...the Pope approves of Taize, and so as a good Catholic I'm not supposed to be thinking this way. But there it is.

More Taize pictures. Not so creepy but certainly ecumenical.

Taize service at First-Plymouth Congregational Church.


As regular readers know, I've remarked more than once that I couldn't find "heresy" in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

I made reference to that point again today in Dom's blog, and he has responded with the passages in the Code that address it. Here they are.

Can. 751 - Heresy is the obstinate denial or doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith. Apostasy is the total repudiation of the christian faith. Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

Can. 1041 - The following persons are irregular for the reception of orders:

1° one who suffers from any form of insanity, or from any other psychological infirmity, because of which he is, after experts have been consulted, judged incapable of being able to fulfil the ministry;

2° one who has committed the offence of apostasy, heresy or schism;

3° one who has attempted marriage, even a civil marriage, either while himself prevented from entering marriage whether by an existing marriage bond or by a sacred order or by a public and perpetual vow of chastity, or with a woman who is validly married or is obliged by the same vow;

4° one who has committed wilful homicide, or one who has actually procured an abortion, and all who have positively cooperated;

5° one who has gravely and maliciously mutilated himself or another, or who has attempted suicide;

6° one who has carried out an act of order which is reserved to those in the order of the episcopate or priesthood, while himself either not possessing that order or being barred from its exercise by some canonical penalty, declared or imposed.

Can. 1184 - §1 Church funeral rites are to be denied to the following, unless they gave some signs of repentance before death:

1° notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics;

2° those who for anti-christian motives chose that their bodies be cremated;

3° other manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral could not be granted without public scandal to the faithful.

§2 If any doubt occurs, the local Ordinary is to be consulted and his judgement followed.

Can.1364 - §1 An apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication, without prejudice to the provision of Can. 194 §1, n. 2; a cleric, moreover, may be punished with the penalties mentioned in Can. 1336 §1, nn. 1, 2 and 3.

§2 If a longstanding contempt or the gravity of scandal calls for it, other penalties may be added, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


A Survivalist website has a report titled "The Church of England Investigates Mediumship" on its website. According to the website, the investigation was completed and then suppressed. The following is a passage from the report:

Nevertheless, it is clearly true that the recognition of the nearness of our friends who have died, and of their progress in the spiritual life and of their continuing concern for us, cannot do otherwise, for those who have experienced it, than add a new immediacy and richness to their belief in the Communion of Saints. There seems to be no reason at all why the Church should regard this vital and personal enrichment of one of her central doctrines with disfavour, so long as it does not distract Christians from their fundamental gladness that they may come, when they will, into the presence of their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ Himself, or weaken their sense that their fellowship is fellowship in Him. It is claimed by Spiritualists that the character of many events in the Christian revelation, as recorded in of the Gospels, is precisely that of psychic phenomena, and that the evidence for the paranormal occurrences which Spiritualism has adduced strongly confirms the historicity of the Gospel records, in the sense that they also are records of paranormal occurrences, including instances for example, of clairvoyance (in the story of Nathaniel) of materialisation (in the feeding of the five thousand, and above all in the narrative of the Resurrection appearances). The miracles of healing are acclaimed as closely parallel to the healings performed through mediums. It is strongly urged that if we do not accept the evidence for modern psychical happenings, we should not apart from long tradition, accept the Gospel records either.


An Irish priest defrocked by a Church court has been reinstated by the Vatican.

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.


"I've been speaking at local parishes, and here's what I kept telling the people," he says. "I say, look, we are responsible not only for our individual actions to God, but in addition to that we are also citizens of a nation and in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, it says that a nation has a destiny and we are responsible whether we cause it or not for the course of morality in that nation. We are responsible as citizens for the sexual attitude, disregard of family rights, drug addiction, the killing of 45 million unborn babies, the scandalous behavior of some priests -- so we have to understand that certainly the Lord has a right to chastisement. If you ask me if the Lord knew of this, this was the greatest storm in the history of the nation. He is the creator. He certainly permitted this. It would be as silly as asking if Henry Ford knew how a car worked."

According to Hannan, people who experienced it "are beginning to react according to that concept of morality." He says that when he preached on the topic last Sunday in the devastated area of Mandeville, where 1,000 attended Mass, "people loudly applauded. They want to be told the truth."

"We have reached a depth of immorality that we have never reached before," he says. "And the chastisement was Katrina as well as Rita.

"I keep telling people, you have got to talk about this chastisement, you've got to let not only your children and grandchildren, but other people know about it -- the others who have not gone through it, how much of a penance it was. To come back to your home and find it destroyed is an enormous shock, not only to the father and the mother, but to the children. Because this is the worst storm in our history, it should become part of our heritage. We should tell our descendants just how terrible it was so they will understand that it was a chastisement and should improve our morality."

Archbishop Hannan says he was asked by the sheriff to speak to police about the connection of immorality to such events, "how this thing was so strong that it is the movement of God and that they should behave accordingly."

"The politicians really have mentioned God a lot," he told Spirit Daily. "They didn't mention chastisement, but said we had to ask God to help us and we have to do better. What's paramount for the recovery is a tremendous sense of charity and being helpful towards our neighbors."

"I think it's up to us to preach very strongly and candidly and directly to say that this was a chastisement from God," says the archbishop. "God gave us our rights and therefore He gives us our duties too. We have got to pay attention to this chastisement. The Old Testament and the New. God has told us from the very beginning that we are responsible. To me it's inescapable if you read any Scripture at all."

"Everyone I know, priests and bishops, believe that too," he says. "This storm was so disruptive, so destructive, that if you believe there is a Creator, He certainly knew or permitted it to happen. He certainly knew."

Those are the words of New Orleans Archbishop Emeritus Philip M. Hannan given in an interview with Michael Brown of Spirit Daily. Wise man, the Archbishop. Too bad so many people are trying to destroy his message by claiming it isn't so.


Not to be outdone by the Spiritual Cinema Circle producers who marketed their movie about Indigo Children to the Unity Churches, Disney intends to market it's new movie "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" to churches as well, and has hired the "Passion" marketers to do it.

Read the news clip here...


Richard Owen reports:

Calvi's family has long insisted that he was murdered in 1982. They claim Mafia involvement (SYGMA)

ROBERTO CALVI, the Mafia-linked financier known as “God’s banker”, made a desperate last appeal to Pope John Paul II to save him from financial ruin shortly before he was found hanging from scaffolding under Blackfriars Bridge nearly a quarter of a century ago.
The disclosure emerged on the eve of the opening today of the trial in Rome of four people accused of murdering Calvi in June 1982. The first inquest, held a month after his death, ruled that Calvi, 62, had committed suicide. A second inquest, a year later, reached an open verdict.

But Calvi’s relatives — above all, his son, Carlo, a banker in Canada, and his widow, Carla — have maintained that he was murdered by Mafia gangsters to cover up the extent to which the Vatican Bank, which funded anti-communist causes in Eastern Europe and Latin America, was entangled with organised crime.

They also claim that an illegal masonic lodge, P2, to which Calvi belonged, was involved in the conspiracy.

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


LONDON (Reuters) - Opus Dei, the conservative Roman Catholic group which gained international notoriety in "The Da Vinci Code", is too secretive for its own good, says the author of a new study on the controversial organisation.

The tightly knit movement has taken to talking more in public and posting on its Web sites rebuttals of charges now spread around the world because of the best-seller.

But John Allen, a Vatican reporter who has just published a new study of Opus Dei, thinks the group still has a way to go.

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.

Lee Penn is going to have an investigation of his own on Opus Dei in the fall SCP Journal, last I heard. It should be out soon and interesting.


I don't know whether to assume that Ruth Gledhill of the Times has twisted the words of the UK bishops, or whether the UK bishops have abandoned Absolute Truth. Either interpretation is possible, and so, I suppose, are others I haven't considered. In any case, the entire article must be read to be assessed, so I'm not posting any part of it.

Diogenes has his own interpretation which includes a quote from Screwtape. Maybe Screwtape got it right!


Apparently the bishops meeting in Synod are concerned that we will learn what they are saying, and so the blackout has been imposed. What do they have to say that they don't want us to hear, I wonder?

Read the article...


Spero Forum reports on statements made at the Fourth General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which began at 4:30 yesterday. This statement was especially interesting to me:

BISHOP RIMANTAS NORVILA OF VILKAVISKIS, LITHUANIA. "Without the will or the possibility of sacramental reconciliation, it becomes impossible for Catholics to experience the most profound union with Jesus Christ and the Church, favored by the Eucharist. Thus Christians reach a point where they cannot appreciate the value of the Eucharist as a source of grace and, little by little, they lose their bonds with the parish community and their closeness to the whole Church. At the same time, without the practice of reconciliation, subjectivism tends to increase, and it becomes more difficult to evaluate personal behavior and religiosity. The decline of the practice of this Sacrament is very obvious throughout the world. ... Alongside the decrease in the practice of Penance, tendencies opposed to Christian faith often emerge. Religious necessity and past experiences of religious life tend to lead towards the search for new and broader paths. As we can all see, in today's societies, especially Western societies, esoteric, magic, occult and New Age tendencies have all become widespread. All this enables people to create new community and social ties, distancing them from the Church and Catholic thinking and weakening the faith. Looking further ahead, we see a deformation of consciences, changes that touch the whole personality. For the positive formation of conscience and Catholic understanding one of the best - I would say privileged - instruments is reconciliation and spiritual guidance. ... This will also help us all to approach the Eucharistic Jesus, and will help create deeper bonds with the Church. Penance brings us close to Christ; while the lack of Penance distances us from God."

Is there a direct correlation between the abandonment of the Sacrament of Penance and the embrace of "esoteric, magic, occult and New Age tendencies"?

Bishop Norvila recommends spiritual direction as a cure. What happens when the person giving spiritual direction is also infected with "esoteric, magic, occult and New Age tendencies"? That, unfortunately, is the condition of our sources of American spiritual direction as seen in parish retreats and monastic retreats as well.


Another article on the discussions at the Synod. There are passages in this one, too, about the need to concentrate on the Sacrament of Penance.

Sandro Magister wades in as well, quoting Benedict:

For Benedict XVI, everything hinges on this. In the homily for the Mass on October 2 in St. Peter’s Basilica, he explained that the opposite of the Eucharist is the devastation of “the Lord’s vineyard”: excluding God from public life in the name of a tolerance which in reality is “hypocrisy,” injustice, “the dominance of power and interests.”

And Christians are not exempt from blame, he warned. Especially the Christians of Europe and the West: “The Lord cries aloud into our ears, too, the words which in Revelation he addressed to the Church of Ephesus: ‘I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent’ (2:5). Our light can also be taken away, and we do well if we let this warning resound in all its gravity within our souls, and cry aloud to the Lord: ‘Help us to convert! Give us all the grace of true renewal! Do not permit your light in our midst to be extinguished! Strengthen our faith, our hope, and our love, that we may bear good fruit!’”

Wow, it sounds like a warning!

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


My husband was convinced that a long weekend in the country was just what we both needed, so we packed up and took a ride, planning to stay at a B & B far enough away to forget about home for a while, but near enough to avoid spending a lot of time on the road.

Expecting the usual hassle in the search for a church, we began on Saturday night by asking the inkeeper for directions. He invited us to attend his nondenominational church instead, but directed us to a little town down the road when we indicated we wanted to attend a Catholic Mass. Then we took a ride.

No church. After asking several of the locals and getting a wide variety of directions, all of which produced no church, we drove back to the B & B in the dark.

Sunday morning we got out the phone book and attempted to call the rectory, a long distance call which we would not have been permitted to make without a calling card. Fortunately my husband had one in his wallet. The recording gave us the Mass times, but no directions. We started down the road, hoping to find someone this time who might know, and we lucked out by finding a Catholic who could direct us right to the church, but who was not going to attend himself, though he didn't say why. He asked us to say a prayer for him.

It appeared to be a new church, built on the top of a hill with a nice view. The people milling around were dressed mostly in blue jeans, with some shorts here and there, and a rather skimpy top on one young body, which struck me as odd because I had seen the innkeeper's little girls ready for church in their pretty dresses and his wife in a dress as well. Apparently country Sunday morning style is just as varied as the city variety.

The first hint of trouble came when we entered the church. It looked like a theater both in shape and decoration. Though there were small statues of the Holy Family off to one side, and it may have had stations on the wall (I honestly don't remember them) Catholic symbolism in this church was nearly non-existent. There was a banner proclaiming the name of the church and the year it was established, 1995. We stood at the back to take in what we had gotten ourselves into. Should we genuflect? Perhaps yes, there seemed to be a tabernacle hiding behind some greenery at the side of the altar, but only about half of the people we watched genuflected.

There were no kneelers. No pews, in fact. But there were nice comfy upholstered red movable chairs lined up in nice straight rows, and they were filling up fast. Edward Sovik would surely have been gratified. Should we leave?

We played it safe and sat in the back row in case it was necessary to escape.

The bulletin had a curious segment titled "fred's inkling!" which very much resembled a pastor's message, but who was fred? None of the staff listed on the front of the bulletin were named "Fred" or "fred". It consisted of the usual "forgiveness" lecture that is making the rounds since the depth of the scandal has become apparent. fred quoted Henri Nouwen, SJ, whom I haven't read, mostly because the pastor of my former liberal parish that turned me into a refugee used to quote Henri Nouwen in his pastor's messages.

The sanctuary up in front was a couple of steps up and would have made a good stage if it had been just a step or two higher. I studied the archway for evidence of a stage curtain, but didn't find any. Wouldn't have taken long to clear out the furniture if a little production number was desired since it was sort of bare up there.

It was loud in church. There wasn't much praying going on that I could see, but everyone must have been getting caught up on the events of the week--and not in whispers, either. Off to the side I could just see the end of the neck of two guitars and five or so heads. Looked like the music was going to be coming from up front.

Two servers appeared--a girl and a boy--and gathered up the candles for the entrance procession. A man in an alb and a green stole appeared. After a few moments he announced that since there was no priest to say this Mass, we would have a communion service with the hosts blessed by the priest who had said the earlier Mass. Then he asked all of us to greet our neighbors, as though the neighbors hadn't already been doing that for the last ten or fifteen minutes. Finally he requested a moment of silence to get ready for the service.

He walked to the back of the church and began the entrance procession. From this point to the creed, you would have been hard-pressed to notice any real difference between a Mass and this event, except that the Liturgy of the Word lasted an inordinately long time.

At one point during the Liturgy of the Word the two men with guitars moved up to the pulpit. One of them had a very nice singing voice and played his guitar with stylish extra flourishes. I'm not sure what language he was singing in. Only half caught a word now and then. It sounded vaguely Jewish. Not bad as entertainment, though. The congregation remained silent through this whatever it was. Might have been the Responsorial Psalm.

When it was time for the Canon to begin, the man in the alb--Was he the deacon? Is the dalmatic improper when no Mass is being said?--led the Our Father then moved right into the "Lord I am not worthy." Next he received the Eucharist himself, gave it to the EMs, then all moved to their communion stations to distribute. There was no communion cup anywhere in evidence. A few of the people bowed before receiving. Everyone waiting in the rows of chairs was standing. Those returning from communion sat down. The communion hymn wasn't familiar though I think I may have heard it before somewhere.

I kept listening to them sing the words "You and I are the bread of life" while I stood there waiting until it was time for the last row to receive. While I was standing there I thought about this congregation who thought they were the bread of life, who prepared for Mass by having a gabfest, and whose priest--if they actually had a priest--had supposedly consecrated this bread at an earlier Mass. I thought about bowing before receiving this bread, or this Body of Christ if that is what it was, and I thought about idolatry. When it came time for me to go up to receive, I decided to pass, and my husband and I left instead.

When we got to the car, hubby commented, "I know why you stayed. I expected you to want to leave but then it hit me--you're going to blog it aren't you?" (Sometimes I wish he were not quite so wife savvy!) The real question is why he stayed with me instead of waiting it out in the car which would have been more his style not long ago? I wondered if he has become so completely indifferent to whatever takes place in church that he no longer cares what goes on, but didn't want to ask him because he might say "yes." Mostly he goes to Mass to accommodate me, but next time we're on a trip and have difficulty finding a church, chances are he's going to remind me of this experience as a way to justify not bothering.

While I was standing there trying to decide what to do about communion, I thought about how little meaning this event had for me. How empty this service was without a priest or a consecration. How Protestant it was. And I thought about the invitation from our inkeeper to attend services with his family which I wasn't willing to consider at the time because liturgy is so much more fulfilling than just listening to a minister read Scripture and talk. Had I known that I would get exactly that in my Catholic church, would I have taken him up on it? If all I was going to get was the religion of man, would his version of it have been better than the one I was getting? Those words "You and I are the bread of life" from the communion hymn just kept repeating in my head. "You and I" was all I had gotten out of this service, and any old "you and I" would do just as well as any other, especially when all of the "you and Is" were strangers.

Theoretically this bread wasn't "you and I" but rather the Body of Christ, if these hosts really had been consecrated, of which I had no assurance, but of which this congregation was telling me it wasn't so by the song that they were singing. As it was I left feeling as though I had just seen a group of people play Mass.

It could not have been more empty, but no one in attendance seemed to care at all that no Mass took place. I got the impression that this was not the first time it had happened, and it was not a big deal. I also got the impression this congregation did not know when there would be a priest and when there would not be a priest. I even suspected that some of the people in the congregation didn't really notice that what took place was a seriously deficient Sunday morning liturgy.

Walking out of church I was overwhelmed with a sense of sadness and loss--such a sense that this is the future of which I had just had my first glimpse. And I thought about a young man I had dated when I was in college. He was a Catholic but he had become disillusioned. He wrote a poem about seeking God on a windy hill instead of in a church. For him the Church no longer had meaning. For me the Church will no longer have meaning either if what I took part in at this country church is all that we are going to have left. Once we had thriving parishes with three or four priests. How could we have come this low in 45 short years?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


A reader sent in this article about a forum at Georgetown University on conciliarity:

If the papacy is to be exercised in a way that serves Christian unity better, the Catholic Church must become more conciliar, with broader participation at all levels in church governance, several ecumenists said at forum Sept. 26 at Georgetown University.

"Hierarchy without conciliarity is tyranny. ... Conciliarity without hierarchy is anarchy," said Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, a veteran ecumenist and dean emeritus of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y.

Justin often tells us that the Orthodox frown on ecumenism. I guess they have a liberal contingent as well.

There is no doubt that this conference was coming from our liberal contingent. The evidence is right there in the last paragraph:

Moderating the forum was theologian Monika K. Hellwig, who taught at Georgetown for more than 30 years and is now a research fellow at Woodstock Theological Center.

Monika likes liberalism.

Woodstock likes Teilhard. Well, hey...it's Georgetown afterall. It's Jesuits.

There is enough in the rest of the article to make your hair fall out--or rather your Catholic fall out.

Forum title was "Re-envisioning the Papacy." As, I suppose, in "We can't tolerate the current vision so let's see how we can tweak with it to make it accommodate our own brand of religion a little better."

Episcopal Bishop Mark Dyer would see the pope as one who "intentionally lifts up all people's gifts." Would that be as in "active homosexuals make good bishops," one wonders?

The article tells us that "conciliarity" and "synodality" have become synonymous. We need to keep that in mind. We already have "synodality" in our Bishops Synods, so now we know that "conciliarity" is a done deal.

Lutherns want to get rid of "the extent of papal jurisdiction, the reach of the papacy." Rev. Ickert sees the papacy as less of an obstacle if the local churches are given "greater freedom in the selection of bishops." Well, it's true Rome hasn't done such a stellar job over the recent decades, but I doubt the people in the Catholic pews would have done better. Just think about how many parishes defended their abusing priests and ostracized the whistleblowers among them.

Protopresbyter Hopko wants the Pope to be the Dalai Lama equivalent for the Christians. Mostly the Dalai Lama jets around the world from interreligious dialogue conference to interreligious dialogue conference, making nice and smiling a lot. Come to think of it that's pretty much what John Paul II did. Just don't call him "bishop of bishops" of you want Protopresbyter Hopko on board.

Franciscan Fr. John J. Burkhard wants the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople inserted into the Euchristic prayers. So, are you going to slight the other Patriarchs by leaving them out of the canon, Fr. Burkhard? Patriarch Alexi might not like that!

Director of the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches Ann K. Riggs left her personal convictions as a Quaker at home but packed her theologian's credentials so she could speak for the Pentecostals, Baptists, evangelicals and others outside of the mainstream ecumenical churches. She wanted the Forum to know that "The conceptual traditions of the Catholic Church are almost incomprehensible to members of those churches." Apparently they don't like sacraments and need them to disappear for ecumenism to include these denominations. (Don't tell it to the Charismatics who are joining up with the Pentecostals to have prayer events all the time. The Charismatics are consumed with denying that the sacramental system of the Roman Catholic Church is being undermined by their activity.) Instead Riggs wants everybody to do mission. One wonders, though what this mission is? Perhaps the mission is the ushering in of the Gnostic Christ?

From the perspective of this person in the pew, it looks like the Mad Hatters Tea Party. What do you suppose Pio Nono is thinking about this effort to put the Church into the hands of the heretics? Maybe he's thinking what I'm thinking about now--that Freemasonry and Catholicism have become synonymous...ahhhh, make that conciliar.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


compliments of Novus Ordo Watch. Be patient. Picture loads slowly.


Dear Friends,

Deacon Joseph Levine, former Superior General of the suppressed Society of St. John, who was recently removed from his assignment at Mother of Divine Providence Parish in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is now staying at Villa St. Joseph in Dunmore, PA, which serves as a home for retired priests of the Diocese of Scranton.

As readers of this newsletter will recall, Levine became the Superior General of the Society of St. John after its founder, Carlos Urrutigoity, was exposed as a homosexual predator priest. Levine himself has never been accused of abusing anyone, but Levine used his office to praise and defend Urrutigoity's spiritual leadership of the SSJ long after it was manifest that Urrutigoity was guilty. Levine also used his authority to attack and defame those who accused Urrutigoity, an action for which Levine is being sued. (See http://www.saintjustinmartyr.org/news/DefamationComplaint.html)

The Diocese of Scranton is now likely to do one of three things with Deacon Levine:

(1) Levine may be assigned to a parish in the Diocese of Scranton. Although the Archdiocese of Philadelphia removed Levine from his parish assignment when it learned of his past connections to the Society of St. John, nevertheless the Diocese of Scranton may decide otherwise. After all, the Diocese of Scranton's history of protecting predator priests has not been publicly exposed by a Grand Jury report such as the one recently released in Philadelphia.

(2) The Diocese may try to ordain Levine quietly and then give him an assignment either in Scranton or elsewhere.

(3) The Diocese may realize that Levine is a liability and seek to laicize him.

The third possibility is the only acceptable course of action, yet we do not expect the Diocese of Scranton to take this step. Why? In order to recognize the fact that Levine is unfit to be a priest, the Diocese would have to recognize that Bishop Timlin and his toadies are also not fit to be priests, for they defended and protected the homosexual predator priests of the SSJ just like Levine did. They cannot condemn Levine's actions because they will not condemn their own.

Many of you have already written or called the Diocese to register your concerns about Levine's possible ordination. Based upon the number of people who sent me copies of what they wrote or said to the Diocese, it is fair to say that Levine's file is literally overflowing with complaints. If you have not yet written or called the Diocese, or if you are inclined to write again now that Levine is back in the Scranton Diocese (and possibly awaiting a new assignment), then please contact Bishop Joseph Martino. Bishop Martino's address is 300 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503. His telephone number at the Chancery is (570) 207-2238, or you can fax him at (570) 207-2236. Even if you are unable to speak directly with Bishop Martino, please register your concern with whomever you do speak.

Pax vobiscum,

Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond


The question of who received communion at Brother Roger's funeral and the controversy that developed in the blogs and elsewhere has ruffled some feathers in Rome, and George Weigel would like the truth to be told and the errors of the New York Times reporting to be corrected.

The first falsehood here is that Brother Roger believed in open and "indiscriminate" intercommunion, which he did not. The second falsehood is the suggestion that Cardinal Kasper (who presided at the funeral at the request of the Taize Community) distributed holy Communion "indiscriminately, regardless of denomination" --- which he did not.

The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity has prepared a note describing what took place.

The note explains that the celebration of Brother Roger's funeral "followed the usual practice at Taize," which had developed during the 1970s, in conversation and agreement with the Vatican, "for the singular circumstances" of this ecumenical monastic community and the pilgrims who spend time there. As the note put it, "everything possible is done to ensure that the Eucharist is celebrated in a way that excludes confusion regarding Church membership, or is against the rules in force."

Since the 1970s, all Eucharistic celebrations at the Church of the Reconciliation at Taize are Catholic liturgies, presided over by priests or bishops. "For those who...cannot or do not wish to receive Communion in the Catholic Church, a special arrangement enables them to receive the 'blessed bread.' After the Gospel reading...a basket of small pieces of bread is blessed by the celebrant and set on a table next to the altar. At the moment of Communion, the distribution of the Eucharist and the distribution of the blessed bread are done in a way that clearly indicates the difference. In this the Orthodox and Easter-rite Catholics recognize their traditional practice of distributing the 'antirodon,' namely parts of the altar bread that have not been consecrated. At Brother Roger's funeral, in accordance with the usual practice at Taize, those present could receive either the consecrated Eucharistic species or the blessed bread."

Actually, assuming that this time the accurate information has made it to press, it sounds like a good policy to use this blessed bread in an ecumenical setting. If I remember the explanation of this given to me by an Eastern Catholic, the blessed bread is a portion of the loaf, the rest of which will later be consecrated. Some of it is removed prior to consecration. Justin, correct me if my memory is faulty.

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