Saturday, July 22, 2006
Last Sunday I visited an unfamiliar Roman Catholic church for Mass. In the church were two banners with symbols, one of which included a crown, a lily/dove, and white flames. In attempting to understand the symbolism of this banner, I found that the crown imitated the crown symbol of the Celebration Church. Several possibilities surfaced for the lily/dove, one of which is the Holy Spirit, as it rises above what appears to be flames, though Holy Spirit flames are red or red and yellow.
There is, however, a concept of white flames or white fire within mystical Judaism. According to Rabbi Marc D. Angel:
Rabbinic tradition describes the Torah as consisting of black fire on white fire. The black fire is the ink, the words, the stories and the commandments. The white fire is the parchment beneath the ink. It symbolizes feelings and thoughts that are too deep for words, that it is, with all its vicissitudes and challenges; the white fire represents eternity, or the world at its ultimate fulfillment.
Several other Jewish websites speak of this same concept of black fire and white fire.
Another Jewish concept of white fire associates it with feminism. In the case of Rabbi Malka Drucker's book WHITE FIRE, these women may be lesbian, black, or Asian; or they may be ordained from non-establishment seminaries.
Lastly I found white fire in a book and card set titled ORACLE OF KABBALAH, by Richard Seidman. Here the black and white fire of the Torah become letters on which one concentrates in order to practice divination. As the review of the book explains: "Jewish mystics describe the black letters on the white page of the Torah as "black fire on white fire." Visualize the letters in this fiery way and they come to life with vibrant energy."
"Vibrant energy." "Vibrant Parish Life." And now I have come full circle, from a banner in church that depicted white fire, through a divinatory practice of mystical Judaism, and back again to the Catholic church bulletin where the Vibrant Parish Life flyer promoted the Catholic program.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Friday, July 21, 2006
is described at the Home Temple Center as "Martinist, Rosicrucian, Elus Cohen, Fratres Lucis, Holy Order of Mans, Great Western Brotherhood, and T:.H:.G:." Everything at this Keizer temple is stored in the yurt. Does that mean that their congregation and program is not a large one? Or does it mean that there are other facilities not being mentioned here?
They offer a Caduceus Institute, dedicated to alternative medicine. This would be consistent with Rosicrucian Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophical Medicine. How close do these people come to practicing medicine without a license?
It's a question worth asking as we watch alternative medicine shops spring up in our cities. There is one within walking distance of my home. What exactly does a "Clinical Homeopath" do? Since our Roman Catholic nuns are into homeopathy, the question also impacts our spirituality. Holy Apostles Catholic Church in London offers homeopathy every Tuesday from 10 to 1 according to their calendar. In looking through their website, it appears they are Roman Catholic, but I'm not absolutely sure. What is Anthroposophy doing in a Roman Catholic Church? Rosicrucianism has been condemned by the Church. So has Theosophy. Steiner's Anthroposophy is a combination of the two.
Does anyone recognize the bishop's seal in the upper left corner? These don't usually appear on parish websites. They are quite common among wandering bishops. You can see one here.
The Keizers also offer a program of study in the Home Temple Priesthood. This program includes keeping a Kabbalistic, Messianic Shabbat Seder of Mar Yeshua. (Is this anything like the seder that has become popular in American Catholic churches?) The program of studies includes courses adapted from Jewish and Christian seminaries.
Once the priest or priestess is ordained they are free to "operate their own independent ministries in compliance with the Home Temple Code of Ethics." "They are empowered to use any liturgy, theology, vestments, or other orientation that seems best to them--Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Jewish, Hindu, Taoist, Theosophical, etc.
A "Fast Track Program" is offered to "persons already ordained as Deacons, Priests, or Bishops in valid lines of Apostolic Succession." There is also a provision in the website that candidates must not have "impediments to Ordination" such as criminal activities, non-disclosure of previous abuse of clerical authority, etc.) Hmmm.
Some priests of the Home Temple are pictured here. There are even a couple of ghostbusters. Rev. Loren's Gnostic Catholic Church of the Holy Grail and the Hidden Chapel of Mary Magdalene" are pictured.
In addition to that there is the Home Temple School of Sacred Studies. Programs offered here are non accredited and meant for "Christian or interfaith ministry." Degrees offered are not academic degrees or professional certificates. "Pastoral hypnotherapy" is included in the course of studies. Here is a curious provision found under "Clergy of Other Denominations: "If you are a Priest, you must have permission of your Bishop to proceed, but you will remain under his/her jurisdiction."
There is a Spanish translation available of the Home Temple Mass for those serving bilingual communities. (Pentecostalism? It is big in Spanish-speaking countries.)
This group makes as much of the diaconate as does the Roman Catholic Church since Vatican II. Prior to the Council, we did not hear of the diaconate since it was an office limited to seminary training.
Fees are spelled out throughout this website. The handbook used for pastoral counseling is published by Paulist Press.
In the Bachelor of Divinity Degree, the candidate is immersed "in the historical teachings of Mar Yeshua, the Master Jesus--as opposed to ecclesiastical dogma and theological doctrine offered by Christian churches. Through a study of the Aramaic language, vocabulary, Jewish Kabbalistic and Messianic concepts used by Jesus we arrive at a new, unique and profound understanding of the Master's teachings."
Dogma and doctrine are rejected, however, when providing a study of the parables of Yeshua, clergy must follow specifically defined rubrics. What is the difference between "rubrics" and "dogma and doctrine," one wonders. Could it be that Roman Catholic dogma and doctrine constitute what is opposed, while Gnostic writings are defined as "rubrics"?
In the Master of Divinity degree world religions are among the topics. Other topics include astrology, Magdalenic studies, the western mystery tradition, Kabbalistic theurgy, Myan wisdom, and more. A lot of this can also be found in Pike's MORALS AND DOGMA.
Near the end of this website it is stated that "faculty mentors of the Home Temple Synod of Bishops...are also international Grand Masters of these initiatic orders and associations." Now we are talking about a much larger organization, possibly including the OTO? In other words, this is the newest "academic" coat of many colors of esoteric Freemasonry.
Whatever they are about, "initiatic" is central to the concept. According to the website, acceptable initiatic paths include Templar, Martinist, Illuminist, Great Western Brotherhood, Pansophic Freemasonry. For the Doctoral degree, the dissertation must be a minimum of 200 pages which is read by a Committee of three Home Temple Bishops. At $100 per bishop. This, combined with the statement about mentors, would indicate that there are more bishops in the Home Temple than we are told in the website.
Mike O'Brien's comment--"he reminds me one of the highly placed bad guys in Martin's "Windswept House"--may be spot on.
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES
The Book of Joel
Chapter I (Douay Rheims) describes the plight of God's chosen people, particularly the priests:
9 Sacrifice and libation is cut off from the house of the Lord: the priests, the Lord's ministers, have mourned: 10 The country is destroyed, the ground hath mourned: for the corn is wasted, the wine is confounded, the oil hath languished.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, O ye priests, howl, ye ministers of the altars: go in, lie in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: because sacrifice and libation is cut off from the house of your God.
The Sacrifice of the Mass cut off? The state of the priesthood today?
The prophecy continues in this vein, describing fields dried up, streams no longer flowing with water, and fire devouring the beautiful places in the wilderness.
Monasticism and winderness go together. A "fire" has invaded monasticism in the RCC. Also in the Orthodox Church? Is this the "fire" of Pentecostalism? Is this "fire" associated with the monastic priesthood drying up? Is it associated with the sexual abuse scandal?
Joel Chapter II describes the day of the Lord:
1 Blow ye the trumpet in Sion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain, let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: because the day of the Lord cometh, because it is nigh at hand, 2 A day of darkness, and of gloominess, a day of clouds and whirlwinds: a numerous and strong people as the morning spread upon the mountains: the like to it hath not been from the beginning, nor shall be after it even to the years of generation and generation. 3 Before the face thereof a devouring fire, and behind it a burning flame: the land is like a garden of pleasure before it, and behind it a desolate wilderness, neither is there any one that can escape it. 4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses, and they shall run like horsemen. 5 They shall leap like the noise of chariots upon the tops of mountains, like the noise of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, as a strong people prepared to battle.(bolding mine - ct)
6 At their presence the people shall be in grievous pains: all faces shall be made like a kettle. 7 They shall run like valiant men: like men of war they shall scale the wall: the men shall march every one on his way, and they shall not turn aside from their ranks. 8 No one shall press upon his brother: they shall walk every one in his path: yea, and they shall fall through the windows, and shall take no harm. 9 They shall enter into the city: they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up the houses, they shall come in at the windows as a thief. 10 At their presence the earth hath trembled, the heavens are moved: the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining.
11 And the Lord hath uttered his voice before the face of his army: for his armies are exceeding great, for they are strong and execute his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible: and who can stand it? 12 Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. 13 And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. 14 Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly,
16 Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bride chamber. 17 Between the porch and the altar the priests the Lord's ministers shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? 18 The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people. 19 And the Lord answered and said to his people: Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations. 20 And I will remove far off from you the northern enemy: and I will drive him into a land unpassable, and desert, with his face towards the east sea, and his hinder part towards the utmost sea: and his stench shall ascend, and his rottenness shall go up, because he hath done proudly.
21 Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice: for the Lord hath done great things. 22 Fear not, ye beasts of the fields: for the beautiful places of the wilderness are sprung, for the tree hath brought forth its fruit, the fig tree, and the vine have yielded their strength. 23 And you, O children of Sion, rejoice, and be joyful in the Lord your God: because he hath given you a teacher of justice, and he will make the early and the latter rain to come down to you as in the beginning. 24 And the floors shall be filled with wheat, and the presses shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 And I will restore to you the ears which the locust, and the bruchus, and the mildew, and the palmerworm have eaten; my great host which I sent upon you.
26 And you shall eat in plenty, and shall be filled: and you shall praise the name of the Lord your God, who hath done wonders with you, and my people shall not be confounded for ever. 27 And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: and I am the Lord your God, and there is none besides: and my people shall not be confounded for ever. 28 And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Moreover upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved: for in mount Sion, and in Jerusalem shall be salvation, as the Lord hath said, and in the residue whom the Lord shall call.
It almost sounds like the three days of darkness followed by a restoration that has been predicted by saints down through the centuries.
The prophecy is repeated in Acts II, immediately following the account of Pentecost.
16 But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: 17 And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come.
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know:
Is Pentecost the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy, or is there another "latter rain" yet to come?
Pentecostalists and Charismatics see themselves as the "latter rain".
Thursday, July 20, 2006
PATRIARCH MICHAEL, AMERICAN TEMPLE, EXPLAINS USE OF ANGELS
at the Message Board of www.YourAngels.com:
I AM QUITE INTERESTED IN THE WORKINGS OF THE TEMPLE OF MOSES AND SOLOMON AND THE USE OF ANGELS AS PART OF THE TEMPLE RITUALS. WE USE THE CHERUBIM AND INVOKDE THEIR PRESENCE MUCH AS DOES THE ORHTODOX CHRISTIAN RITUALS OF THE COMMUNION AND ORDINATION RITES. ANGEL PRESENCE IS HELPFUL IN CHURCH WORK AND USED IN MOST RITUALS. AS I WORK WITH ILLUMINATION AND SELF REALIZATION I ALSO USE THE HOSTS OF ASCENDED MASTERS AND BEINGS OF THE WHITE BROTHERHOOD AND SISTERHOOD. THE AMERICAN TEMPLE IS THE NAME OF THE NATIONAL STRUCTURE I WORK IN BUT LIGHT WORK IS REALLY DONE ON A LOCAL BASIS WITH STUDENTS AND PRIESTS. I AM A REKI MASTER AS WELL AS HOLD MASTERY IN THE HOOM TRANSMISSION AND SUFI WORK. THE USE OF ANGELS IS SO IMPORTANT AND BECOMING AWARE AND WORKING WITH THEM WILL HELP THE WORLD WE LIVE IN AND HELP US ALL REOPEN THE TEMPLE WORK AGAIN IN OUR AGE. LOVE AND LIGHT +++PATRIARCH MICHAEL, AMERICAN TEMPLE,
SAN JOSE, CA USA - Monday, June 07, 1999 at 03:58:19 (EDT)
HOOM EXPLAINS ITS REACTIVATION IN THE AMERICAN TEMPLE Note the following in the website:
This was a time when the focus was on the householder priesthood and priests and teachers were based around their own homes.
CHECK OUT THE SYMBOLS FOR THE AMERICAN TEMPLE
Angel (Good or fallen?)
Mercy coming from the Angel's heart (The Heart Doctrine?)
Three stars (Star of David? Trinity?)
AMERICAN TEMPLE INTRODUCTION
Would this introduction to the American Temple be equally at home in a modern Roman Catholic Church in America?
Is this John Paul II's New Springtime?
Images of Mother Mary.
(Keep in mind as you look at the Holy Order of Mans, the American Temple, and Pansophic Freemasonry that we are looking at a network, not an organization. All of this is a creature of cyberspace. It is the computer that will make possible the final hookup of all of these separate organizations into the religion of the antichrist. All of the organizations provide distance learning. Freemasonry is the traditional opponent of the Roman Catholic Church. It has been condemned repeatedly by the Church since 1734. How has it gotten inside?)
"If my request is heeded, there will be a period of peace granted to the world. If it is not heeded, Russia will spread her errors around the world." I'm paraphrasing, but you know what I mean. The news media is starting to talk about World War III. Has the consecration been done?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
THE HOLY ORDER OF MANS HAS MORPHED
into the American Temple. They make it clear that what they are promoting is a universal religion, and that is what HOOM also advocated. Further it is what Freemasonry advocates.
KEIZER'S PANSOPHIC FREEMASONRY
Includes the HOOM or Holy Order of MANS
Read the history of HOOM here.
The HOOM came up in the past. I blogged on it May 25, 2006, here.
HOOM also came up in an August 15, 2005 post about the Order of Christ Sophia.
I've also noticed that in the first link under the description of Keizer's Pansophic system T:.H:.G:. "advancement to Second Order" includes Tantra.
DR. LEWIS KEIZER IS A MARTINIST, AN EXPERT ON THE TAROT, AND MORE...
He belongs to the Martinist Order of the Temple +M*O*T+ according to historian Milko Bogaard at hermetics.org Scroll down to the heading "1994 Cadre Vert (Belgium)" and start reading. (In the print-out this is on page 85 out of 105, so it's near the bottom.)
He has his own Masonic Obedience, "Pansophic Freemasonic Lodges," of which, I presume, he is the Grand Master, and which he says has lodges in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
He has his own internet academy of sorts.
Tarot expert Christine Payne-Towler cites him here and here.
His Wisdom Seminars are being offered to Seniors at the Retirement Living Information Center.
He runs a crematorium which is not affiliated with any funeral home. (A man who contacts spirits of the dead runs a crematorium? Hmmm.) It is associated with the Trident Society.
He ordained Master Ken David Keach who teaches classes in the Western Tradition and is available for spiritual guidance and counseling in the Seattle, WA area. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin Madison in International Business and Personal & Industrial Relations. He has served on the Graduate Business Faculties of Seattle University and the University of Puget Sound. He holds Masonic degrees as well.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PRIESTS FROM THIS CHURCH VISIT A NURSING HOME ?
This is the Reformed Catholic Church St. Sebastian Mission in Columbus, Ohio, formed in 2003. According to their website, they "visit several nursing homes in the area". When Reverend Mel Westover, the Curate of St. Sebastian, turns up at a nursing home, do the residents think he is a Roman Catholic priest? Is this what is being done to our parents in the last years of their life?
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION OF DR. LEWIS KEIZER
Keizer claims Apostolic Succession through Joseph Rene Vilatte (Fond du Lac), and also through Arnold Harris Matthew, James I. Wedgewood and Herman A. Spruit, all of whom provide Apostolic Succession for the Theosophical Liberal Catholic Church. According to the website his Apostolic Succession derives from the Ancient Lineage of Melchizedek from the Master Jesus. He is also in the line of succession of Michael Bertiaux of the Martinist Order based now (or in the past) in Chicago.
At the John Main Seminar. (Does the cover of that book by Joan Chittister have an eye on it? I can't tell.)
John Main Seminars are the work of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.
"The Way of the Heart" at Dr. Lewis Keizer's Home Temple/Gnostic Catholic Church of the Holy Grail website.
WHEN WE USE THE SAME WORDS DO WE MEAN THE SAME THING ?
The following is an announcement from last Sunday's bulletin - the one that included the flyers I've been writing about this week:
PROGRAMS AT ST. JOSEPH CHRISTIAN LIFE CENTER - INNER HEALING: An Affair of the Heart Saturday, August 5, 8 am - Sunday, August 6, 1 pm
Directed by Deacon Leo McNulty
Most, if not all people, experience hurt, loss, pain and rejection sometime in their life. Many times this loss occurred long ago but it still impacts and limits their freedom and happiness years later. Inner Healing, An Affair of the Heart is an overnight retreat where you gently and lovingly get in touch with your hurts, pains and losses and experience the healing presence and touch of Jesus. Led by Deacon Leo McNulty it is an experience filled with sharing, learning, music and above all healing. It is a time to get in touch with the beauty of your inner child and experience the healing that you deserve. Join Deacon Leo on this overnight retreat and take a very important step on your journey to wholeness. The cost for this retreat is $80, includes meals and accommodations, double occupancy. TO REGISTER FOR THIS PROGRAM CALL 216-531-7370x0 or FAX: 216.531.0629. Register Online: www.enterthecenter.org.
That is not religion. That is psychology. Can one practice psychology without a license?
In any case...the jargon:
"Inner healing" "get in touch with your hurts, pains and losses"
The phrases are used at the Starwood XVII website "Speakers and Workshops." There you can read about the "Inner Healing Message Workshop" where you can "get in touch with past traumas and abuse."
I have reported on Starwood before. This is the Pagan festival that takes place at a campground in New York. It is coordinated out of an office in Cleveland Heights, Ohio by the Association for Consciousness Exploration. The same office promotes the WinterStar Symposium, held in Delroy, Ohio, where "Catholic priestess" Dagmar Braun Celeste said mass. Both events are attended by Robert Anton Wilson, co-author of the ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY with Patricia Monaghan's deceased husband Robert Shea--Monaghan being the author of Pagan books and a professor at DePaul University. The ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY includes a black mass.
If the language denotes the beliefs of Paganism, why does it also denote the beliefs of Catholicism? If the language denotes merely psychological beliefs, why does the Catholic Church present it as a "retreat" which is spiritual?
At the website of The Gnostic Center of Enlightenment, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mara Sophia Ellen Weis R.O., ThD.D., in an essay titled "The Christ Complex" says:
The psychological paradigm of emergence theory of the inner child asserts (as a friend of mine explained) that the inner child acts as the portal of the soul during spiritual awakening. As adults we view the soul through a darkened glass. But, as we grow spiritually, spiritual development allows us to realize our full potential behind the innocence of the child we once were.
"Journey to wholeness"
The phrase "Gnostic journey to wholeness" appears in "The Gnosis of Remembering: A Homily for All Soul's Day" at the website of the "Gnostic Homilies of Rev. Steven Marshall"
If the language denotes Gnostic concepts of religion, why does it appear in a Roman Catholic bulletin? Was the concept part of Roman Catholicism prior to Vatican II?
There is a Gnostic “Heart Doctrine” which opposes the “Eye Doctrine”. I don’t know enough about it yet to know whether this is the same concept that is represented by “An Affair of the Heart”, the title of this St. Joseph Christian Life Center Inner Healing retreat.
You can read about the Heart Doctrine here and here. Two things are certain, the Heart Doctrine concerns psychological concepts. Most Gnostic doctrine is channeled.
The Institute for Global Spirituality refers to the Heart Doctrine in the quotes on the left side of the website. They also use quotes from Hermes Trismegistus, H. P. Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner, Helena Roerich, Alice Bailey, and Dione Fortune there on the left.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
HOLY TEMPLE PRIESTHOOD
The Presiding Bishops of the Gnostic Catholic Church of the Holy Grail that I linked below also provide ordination into the Holy Temple Priesthood. To work toward ordination one needs to study via the Wisdom Seminars. A Catalog of seminars can be seen here, including the seminar on "Rosslyn Chapel and Esoteric Freemasonry," and "Fundamentalism: Assault Against Democracy."
Before dismissing this website as just a couple of kooks who are playing church, consider this ecumenical list of independent churches which includes them and includes the SSPX as well. These are small churches. Will they still be insignificant if they become unified? If the progressives in the various Christian denominations join them? If the 70% of Catholic priests who are homosexual join them since most independents welcome all and refuse to judge? If the Masonic Lodges join them?
The Hidden Chapel of Mary Magdalene features a minora in the center. The tenets of Freemasonry have a Jewish base. William H. Kennedy's LUCIFER'S LODGE speaks of the Desposyni in the course of explaining satanic ritual abuse in the Catholic Church.
Benedict XVI is an ecumenist.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish - A Roman Catholic parish which uses a symbol of the Holy Spirit on the home page to depict a parish dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
Gnostic Catholic Church of the Holy Grail - A Gnostic Church which uses a symbol of the Holy Spirit on the hope page to depict a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene.
Audio chant is featured on the home page of the Roman Catholic parish.
THE SHAMANIC ART OF HARMONIC INTONING AND CHANT is discussed in the website of the Gnostic Catholic Church of the Holy Grail.
CHANGING THE STRUCTURE OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM
The church I attended last Sunday had fliers enclosed in the bulletin. One of them concerned the arrangements for getting the youth group to The FEST by bus in cooperation with another parish. This flyer was addressed to "Youth, Adults (young, old and in between) and Families." It isn't clear whether the bus is for everyone or for youth groups from both parishes. In any case the flyer directed the reader to www.a-full-life.com which appears to be a recruitment ad for the seminary where The FEST is being held.
Then there is the Vibrant Parish Life II flyer titled "What's the Local Church?" which presents three true or false propositions, together with an analysis of the answers they presume the laity has given:
The basic unit of the Catholic Church is the parish.(emphasis in original)
My local church is our parish.
A diocese is a regional office of the Roman Catholic Church, which is headquartered in Rome.
If you are like most Catholics, you answered "true" to all three statements. But all three statements are false. In the Catholic Church, the basic unit is the diocese, not the parish. In Catholic theology and terminology, "the local church" means "the diocese." And far from being a "branch office," each diocese is properly called a "church".
Well, at least they didn't capitalize it. The rest of the 2-sided flyer elaborates on that theme, starting with the Early Church and moving forward with an argument for the diocese being the area of focus rather than the parish. Near the end there is a drawing of the Church organization they are proposing--a large oval with a small oval in the center where the word ROME appears in bold letters. Surrounding the ROME oval are many more ovals with diocese names in them, such as Sofia, Dubrovnik, Prague, Washington, Kingston, Los Angeles, Madrid, Chicago, New York, and more, including of course Cleveland. Strangely enough those are the only American cities included in this drawing--New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, and Cleveland. I didn't see Lincoln (Bruskewitz), for example. Nor Denver (Chaput). Sydney (Pell) didn't make the list either, though Perth did. And Vienna.
The brochure closes with a request that all of the church members in the Diocese of Cleveland come together like family to support each other. In other words this is propaganda to get us ready for closed parishes. Oh joy.
Interestingly enough, FutureChurch talks about parishes closing and merging on their website as well. There you can read:
In the past 20 years, bishops in Cleveland, Milwaukee, Albany, Seattle, Baltimore and Los Angeles have issued pastoral documents aimed at preserving viable parish communities rather than close or merge parishes.(Once again we are given a curious list of parishes which places Cleveland among the liberals. This is not a list an orthodox Catholic delights in seeing their diocese a part of.--ct) They chose creative solutions permitted by canon law, such as entrusting the pastoral care of several parishes to one priest, to a team of priests, or to competent lay ecclesial ministers, deacons and religious, with a nonresident priest serving as the canonical pastor.
Once again the list of dioceses doesn't include Lincoln or Denver. Maybe that's because their seminaries aren't empty and they don't have a priest shortage. And we know why, don't we?
Moving on...FutureChurch presents a link to Vibrant Parish Life in the Cleveland Diocesan website under the heading "Discerning An Appropriate Response" in the FutureChurch website. They offer guidance if the parish under threat of closure wants to protest. They link the Cleveland Diocesan/Vibrant Parish Life website under "Organizing a Prayer Vigil or Service" as well. There you will find talk about a canonical appeal even to the Apostolic Signatura, and a 24-hour prayer vigil, making me wonder how involved FutureChurch will be in whatever protests may develop in the Cleveland Diocese over parish closings, and also making me wonder if there is some sort of cooperation between FutureChurch and the Cleveland Diocesan program Vibrant Parish Life. Obviously protests are devisive, though the protests would tend to serve orthodoxy if the churches to be closed are of the old cruciform construction and those to remain open are of the newer circular or semi-circular construction.
My introduction to Vibrant Parish Life in my parish occurred on the Sunday following our weekend for Eucharistic adoration that we have every fall--essentially 40 hours devotion--when the Euchrist is displayed in a monstrance on the altar. At the moment I can't remember the official name for this event, but it is well-publicized and long-standing. The Sunday following this Eucharistic event when I arrived at Mass, there was the Vibrant Parish Life "monstrance" logo attached to the front of the altar cloth, bringing immediately to mind the monstrance that had resided just inches away the previous Sunday. It looked at the time somewhat like that strange symbol attached to the front of the altar at The Hidden Chapel of Mary Magdalene which I linked yesterday. I nearly had a heart attack. The following Sunday it was gone.
This series of connect the dots further fuels my conviction that the structure of the local church is being morphed into something a pre-Vatican II Catholic would not recognize. Is a mega-church slated for the Ceveland diocese? Will it resemble the Celebration Church as it seems to be doing in Fond du Lac? Will it resemble something Catholic?
What should one make of the fact that the heretical FutureChurch was left to operate out of a diocesan parish until just recently, when one discovers that FutureChurch is promoting protests over parish closings, and linking the Diocesan website to do it? Are the protests part of the engineered process? They do create a kind of chaos--out of which something new can be born?
If the churches that are closed are the ones whose interior confirms Catholic faith, and the churches that are allowed to remain open are the churches that express a universal faith denuded of Catholic symbolism, I guess we know that the church closings are part of an engineered process. As Michael Rose says:
Church buildings, as we know, play a key role in creating an atmosphere conducive to worship. If this atmosphere clashes with the mood that liturgists and so-called experts wish to produce, something has to give.(THE RENOVATION MANIPULATION, p. ii)
The churches that are large enough to house a combined congregation are the churches that have departed from the cruciform, for the most part. As Rose further states:
The Council of Trent called for a return to the cruciform basilica plan of the early Church, since that model was understood to be most conducive to the catechesis and preaching it considered essential to battling the various heresies of the day.(ibid. p. 1)
So of course if you didn't want to battle the heresies of the day, you would not want to use the cruciform. Today we have the same old heresies surrounding us and seeping in. The cruciform churches are older and thus require more money to maintain them. And as I keep seeing at my parish, those $-signs are being used to suggest that the parish is not "vibrant" because we can no longer afford the upkeep.
The reason our church interiors contain so many symbols of the faith is that our ancestors were illiterate, and so the symbols conveyed the faith to them. Symbols still do that unless they are symbols of a different faith. When the symbols are incomprehensible, we must hold on to a suspicion that they convey a different faith.
In the Celebration Church the crown that can be a symbol of Christ the King has become a crown that represents the religion of man. The change is subtle. What would have been a depiction of a jewel--a circle suspended above the base--has become the head of a person doing the celebrating. That subtle change represents a paradigm shift in thinking from God-centered to man-centered religion. Symbols are that important.
Up above I've mentioned a flyer in last Sunday's bulletin titled "What's the Local Church?" in which a drawing rendering the structure of the church is depicted, with an oval in the center marked ROME and multiple ovals surrounding it.
It happens that in the same website which offers that odd "monstrance" on the front of the altar at The Hidden Chapel of Mary Magdalene" which reminded me of the "monstrance" in the Vibrant Parish Life logo, there is another webpage with a picture of a temple-room here. (Scroll way down 3/4ths of the way for this picture.) The picture appears under the "ANTAHKARANA-BUILDING EMPOWERMENT" heading. Look at the floor of the temple and you will know what these ovals in the parish bulletin look like. Imagine drawing a large oval on the floor that encompasses many of these small ovals.
Antahkarana is Alice Bailey's rainbow bridge over which the initiate "walks" in order to contact the spirit world.
Monday, July 17, 2006
WHILE I'M ON THE SUBJECT OF SYMBOLS...
Consider the monstrance. What resides at the center?
Consider the logo for the Cleveland Diocesan program Vibrant Parish Life. What resides at the center?
Consider the altar at The Hidden Chapel of Mary Magdalene. What resides at the center?
LET'S PLAY WITH THE SYMBOLS
Even a cursory reading of Gnostic websites will turn up the fact that the Gnostic religion--an "underground" religion--has been carried forward through the centuries via symbols. A symbol can have more than one meaning, and that fact has been central to Gnostic beliefs. It is also central to Masonic philosophy which also is carried forward in symbols. The advantage of this method of transmission is that the true meaning can be conveyed to the esoteric and the "acceptable" meaning can be delivered to the exoteric, thus averting the threat of legal repercussions. If what you believe is culturally unacceptable, you don't proclaim it from the soapbox.
So, with that background, with the knowledge that something has crept into Roman Catholicism that is not Catholic, and with Malachi Martin's warnings and the warnings of Pope Leo XIII ringing in our ears, let's play with the symbols on the two banners flanking the sanctuary in the church where I attended Mass yesterday.
First the banner on the left depicting a lion, an eagle, a bull, and an angel--one in each of the four squares the banner had been divided into--each with a banner or scroll beneath it where a name or an explanation could have been placed, but which had been left empty.
First the Roman Catholic interpretation that I linked in a comments box last night. Ok, we can read the symbols in an acceptable manner. But they can be read another way as well.
The eagle can easily become Horus for those in the know. Yes, the beak is different. Horus is a falcon. But if you don't want to tilt your hand by giving away your secret, the esoterics can simply be informed of the alternative meaning. In Freemasonry the eagle is a well-known symbol. Macoy describes its use:
EAGLE, Knight of the American. A quasi-military degree in Texas, and the Western States.Ordre de la Sincerite.
EAGLE, Knight of the Black. The name of a Prussian Order founded in 1701; also of the 38th degree of the Rite of Misraim, the 66th of the Metropolitan Chapter of France, and of the 27th degree of the Primitive Scotch rite.
EAGLE, Knight of the Red. A title in the French
The double eagle is emblazoned on the cover of Albert Pike's MORALS AND DOGMA.
Next the bull. This is the most common depiction of the Cult of Mithras, but there are others. The god Mithras slays a bull. Thus for those in the know who would want to convey and camoflage the Mithraic cult, a bull is a good representation.
Another possible meaning for the lion. The lion in Narnia represents Christ. The lion is also associated with the Gnostic tarot deck (scroll down) and represents strength. Once again the symbol can have a double meaning.
Lastly the angel. I know of no better depiction of the angel as a symbol for Gnosticism than the angel used on the website of the Canonbusy Masonic Research Center. It is their logo, and they are the Masonic research lodge that investigates the Gnostic teachings of Freemasonry.
The banner hanging on the left in the church I attended yesterday can convey more than one meaning.
Now lets consider the banner on the right, the one that is incomprehensible as a Catholic symbol. First the crown at the top of this symbol. I know of no Catholic meaning for a crown other than Christ the King. There is another meaning for the crown, however. Celebration Church. The crown you see there is the crown that appears on the side of the building that can be seen from the Akron expressway. Below the crown are the words "Celebration Church." As you can see from the logo, the Celebration Church is about people mostly. It is man-centered.
Below the crown on the banner are the letters "A" and "V". One superimposed on the other. The only Catholic meaning I could come up with for those letters was Ave Maria which requires a stretch to turn the A and the V into an "M." It's a fuzzy interpretation. AV can remind me of "aviation," but that doesn't seem to make any sense. Standing alone, the AV is incomprehensible, so let's combine it with the crown that appears immediately above it. Now the AV can represent audio-visual, or perhaps "audio-video." It's no secret that the creative arts are important to Gnostic belief systems. Just check out Waldorf Schools. We Catholics have also been treated to the visual images of liturgical dancers prancing around, various experimentations with musical instruments, and in a European Catholic church a tightrope walkers event in the sanctuary. Cardinal Mahony has been a leader in this area of the Church morphing. Combine the crown with the letters and you get "audio-visual."
Next the image of a bird-lily. I couldn't find a Gnostic lilly. In Freemasonry the Lily of the Valley is a side degree in the Templar system of France according to Robert Macoy's A DICTIONARY OF FREEMASONRY. Let's go with a bird interpretation. Now the meaning is Gnostic.
Even more so if you consider this lamen (logo) of the EGC which features not only a dove but also the Eye of Thelema, a variety of the Eye of Horus. Or this.
Below the bird-lily is something resembling a flame but in white. Take a look at this image that Google brought up when I asked for a "bird" and "Gnostic". Is it a Waldorf School? Most of the links are broken so there is really no way to determine what it is. There are flames and a bird there. There is a Gnostic bird here as well, but no flames. You can see the phoenix here. In the banner at church the bird-lily rises above the flame like a phoenix. Here is a Catholic interpretation of a phoenix. There is the Gnostic Church of the Holy Grail that uses a dove in its symbolism. The Gnostic dove is explained here.
Consider for a moment Aleister Crowley's Mass of the Phoenix. To understand my associations you have to read the text at that website. If you are new to Gnostic practices, you will probably find this difficult to read.
When you've read it, consider the reports we have been given about priestly behavior associated with the sexual abuse scandal. How often we have noted that rape of altar boys has taken place in the sacristy, and even at times in the sanctuary. Think about that in conjunction with that last linked website.
I don't know what the banner I saw in church yesterday means. I can't give it a Catholic meaning without stretching the AV into an M. I can give it a Gnostic meaning.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Sunday, July 16, 2006
PROTESTANTISM IN CATHOLIC CHURCHES
How ironic that this topic came up today of all days.
My husband would like his mother to move from her present house to senior housing that is closer to him and to his sister. Right now, at 88, she is located too far from either of them to make helping her realistic. He's been looking around for a suitable place and thought he may have found one. Today we attended the nearby church, because without a suitable place to worship, there will be little to no chance of selling her on the idea.
The church has been around for quite a while and looks Catholic on the outside. It had been a while since I was last in it for Mass. Protestant was the first thought that came to mind when I looked around. Where was the Catholic symbolism? The interior is cruciform, and the sanctuary is still located at the head. What had once been the sanctuary alcove has become the choir "loft" I guess, because it was full of chairs behind a screen of sorts made of wood lattice. The altar platform area is projected out into the main part of the church.
There is a wooden cross in front of the screen that covers the choir "loft", but no image on the cross. Plants surround it. The altar itself is typical. On the left side (Blessed Virgin's side) of the altar a tapestry hangs on the wall with four symbols embroidered on it--a lion, an eagle, an angel, and a bull. All four have a banner below them, with nothing on the banner. I'm guessing that these are the symbols for the four evangelists, but don't know for sure. My husband just looked at me, looked at the banner, and looked back at me with raised eyebrows. He had no idea what it was supposed to represent, but the bull definitely didn't look like something he expected to find in church.
On the opposite side there is a complimentary banner as well. This one offers a crown topping the letters V superimposed over an A, hovering above an abstract image that could equally easily be a lilly or a bird. Beneath the bird is what might be white flames. I couldn't connect it with anything Catholic, but that crown looks just exactly like the crown on the outside of the Celebration Church that I wrote about last week. Over there on St. Joseph's side, would the AV stand for Ave Maria?
The windows--you can't ignore the windows no matter how much you might want to--are abstract pictures broken up into small pieces and parts as though someone smashed them with a hammer. I did find a key in one of them and the Host and ciborium in another. Some of them were completely incomprehensible. The stations of the cross were also abstract.
The church has two redeeming features, both of which look out of place. One is a lovely statue of the Holy Family, with a bank of vigil candles beneath it. The other is a beautiful large classic tabernacle with two angels guarding it, located off to the side where you can only see it from a portion of the church. (Once again I realized after doing it that I had not genuflected to a tabernacle.)
The Mass was said according to the rubrics, except that the words of the Agnus Dei were changed. The homily, delivered by the deacon, would be equally at home in either a Catholic church or coming out of Billy Graham's mouth.
At the end of Mass an announcement was made that the image from the crucifix had been sent to Italy for repainting and would be replaced on the cross soon. Why then, did the processional crucifix disappear into the nether regions behind the screen instead of remaining on display during Mass?
The large church has three Masses on Sunday, and was about half full. Many of the parishioners were dressed in shorts and blue jeans.
My conclusion at the end of Mass? I would have a hard time selling my M-I-L on this church. I think they are trying to make it--or keep it--Catholic, but they have an uphill battle in overcoming the interior decoration. That decoration looks relatively new. It would probably take me a year to lose my faith attending Mass in that church. Maybe two. And judging by the empty pews, I wouldn't be alone.
TRIDENTINE VS. NOVUS ORDO
A reader sent in a link to "Thoughts on the Old Rite of Mass by a Priest" that offers a slightly different perspective on the morphing of Catholic thinking. It resonated with me because more and more often I wonder just how much my Catholic perspective has been damaged by the last 40 years of turmoil. It is easy and tempting to pick and choose amidst the array of choices presented by all sides in the contemporary Catholic debate. In fact at times there is no other alternative.
It just may be possible that, as Father says: "An added danger for cradle Catholics is that, with perhaps centuries of Catholic ancestry behind them, it does not occur to then, that they could possibly lose their faith. And so they, can graduallv come to have a totally Protestant understanding of our religion and still be convinced they are true Catholics." As much as I lament the lack of cradle Catholic representation in St. Blogs, he has a point. Converts have their own unique perspective.
I do know that the confusion, the scandal, and the rancor we are now experiencing is taking a toll on our beliefs. There just may come a point of frustration when the struggle no longer seems worth the price it exacts.
Nostalgia will not fix anything. Catholicism is linear. Somehow we must move forward.