Saturday, November 24, 2007
A COURSE IN MIRACLES ON OPRAH
Beginning January 1 one lesson from the workbook will be taught each day on the Oprah Winfrey show. According to the "Course in Miracles" website "The spiritual mind-training program of A Course In Miracles is a transformational curriculum in Self-realization." It's a course in pantheism and self-salvation. Marianne Williamson will be the instructor.
What next is Hollywood going to dish up for mass consumption?
Read a review of "A Course in Miracles" from a Christian perspective here, including
1. "If It's Not Love--It Must Be Illusion: Only love is real. All that is negative is illusion. It simply does not exist. If anything negative is in your consciousness, it is real only because you give it reality by holding it in your mind."
2. "The Problem of Evil: You guessed it, The Course also teaches that evil does not exist. It is an illusion that must be overcome by right thinking."
3. "The Problem of Guilt and Sin: A pamphlet published by the Foundation For Inner Peace states, "Sin is defined as a 'lack of love.'" [That sounds a lot too much like something that Benedict might have said in his encyclical. - ct]
4. "Thought-Reversal: The stated goal of The Course is to change how one thinks, to change one's belief system by subtle deception."
5. "Religious Recovery--The Thirteenth Step: Many who become involved in studying The Course are active in self-help groups such as Twelve Step programs. They are seeking to make connections in their lives and discover who they truly are. They are willing participants in this transformation."
Given the research I've done over the last few months, the following from the website doesn't come as any great surprise:
In 1965 a Jewish atheistic psychologist from Columbia University began to channel messages from a spirit she believed to be Jesus. She ultimately produced, or she says Jesus revealed to her, well over a thousand pages of revelation during the next seven years.
According to her testimony, Helen Schucman had a difficult relationship with her department head at the university. In an attempt to move beyond their differences, they set out on a journey to find a base of common agreement. Schucman began having "highly symbolic dreams" and experiencing "strange images." Her colleague encouraged her to transcribe the content of these phenomena so they might understand them better.
As she began to write, she was surprised to see "This is a course in miracles" appear on the paper. She went on to say that this was her introduction to the "Voice." This voice began to give her rapid inner dictation that she took down in shorthand.
Spirit channeling. Forbidden by Scripture. Old Testament.
Kenneth Wapnick, a Jewish agnostic who later became a Catholic monk, founded the Foundation for A Course in Miracles. Wapnick states that The Course and biblical Christianity are not compatible. He gives three reasons why he holds such a view. First, The Course teaches that God did not create the world. Second, The Course teaches that we are all equally Christ. Jesus is not the only Son of God. And third, The Course is clear in its teaching that Jesus did not suffer and die for man's sin.
Atheist. Jewish. Channeler.
How many Catholics are going to tumble when Oprah promotes it?
Is it totally out of the question to see hints of the anti-Christ in this? An anti-Christ who, according to the Early Church Fathers, would come from the Tribe of Dan?
And right at this critical time in history, the Church is about as weak as She can get, here in America She is anyway, thanks to the sexual abuse scandal that JPII ignored.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Moreover, as is well known, there was a certain historical-terminological-ideological continuity between Sabbateanism and Hasidim.
--Yehuda Liebes, STUDIES IN JEWISH MYTH AND JEWISH MESSIANISM, p. 134
At approximately the same time that Chassidic Judaism was developing, another trend which for many years was almost lost to history was bubbling up in the Ghettoes of Eastern Europe in the wake of the Tzvi messianic expectations. Indeed, most older English-language sources relegate this rather substantial movement to a footnote, usually couched in the most unflattering terms. This was a sect known as the Zoharists or Frankists, after Jacob Frank (1726-91 EV), originally named Jacob Leibowicz . Like the Chassidim, the Zoharists were deeply steeped in Qabala and magick and ecstatic religious expression. Like the followers of Tzvi, they were also messianic. Unique to the Frankists was a doctrine of salvation through sexual ecstasy that had not characterized these other tendencies. Indeed, the Zoharists anticipated the sexual magick that emerged a century and more later under the influence of such luminaries as P.B. Randolph, Max Theon and, ultimately, Aleister Crowley. There is a bare chance, in fact, that the Zoharists may have influenced these later exponents of sexual spirituality.
--T. Allen Greenfield, "The Frankist Ecstatics of the Eighteenth Century"
In diametrical and irreconcilable opposition to all such attempts to relieve the tension between mysticism and religious authority stands the extreme case of mystical nihilism, in which all authority is rejected in the name of mystical experience or illumination. ...it seems to me that we possess no more impressive record of an unmistakably nihilistic mysticism than the Polish Book of the Words of the Lord, in which the disciples of Jacob Frank (1726-91) set down their master's teachings after his own spoken words....
For Frank, anarchic destruction represented all the Luciferian radiance, all the positive tones and overtones, of the word "Life."...It goes without saying that from the standpoint of the community and its institutions, such mysticism should have been regarded as demonic possession. And it is indicative of one of the enormous tensions that run through the history of Judaism that this most destructive of all visions should have been formulated in its most unrestrained form by one who rebelled against the Jewish law and broke away from Judaism.
--Gershom Scholem, ON THE KABBALAH AND ITS SYMBOLISM, pp 27-29
FROM SABBATAI ZEVI TO MEDJUGORJE - CONNECTING THE DOTS
Sometimes in doing research all of the pieces suddenly click into place. That has happened in the last several days, and I'd like to share with you what has turned up.
The first dot is Sabbatai Zevi (1626 - 1676), a name that has enough spelling variations to keep a researcher busy for a whole day. I recently read Gershom Scholem's 900+ exhaustive study on Zevi (whom Scholem spells "Sevi"). Zevi was a Jewish manic-depressive rabbi. Many would put the word rabbi in quotes. During his manic phases he became the leader of a Jewish heretical religion called Sabbateanism. He did this with the help of a Jewish mystic named Nathan of Gaza. It was Nathan who first termed Zevi the "messiah". Zevi went along with it.
Zevi adhered to the teaching of the Lurianic Kabbalah, believing that the sparks of God had burst forth into the world and needed to be recovered and returned to God. His methods for recovery were antinomian. Zevi broke the laws of the Jewish religion while in a state of ecstasy and encouraged his followers to do the same.
He caused agitation within the Jewish community in the process. His base of operations was the mideast, particularly Symrna, but his fame spread "from England to Persia, from Germany to Morocco, from Poland to the Yemen." In fact the movement "engulfed "the whole of Jewry" according to the back cover of Scholem's book which quotes Cynthia Ozick of the New York Times Book Review.
The extent of the agitation eventually caused Zevi to be imprisoned and threatened with death unless he converted to Islam. Zevi converted in the way that other Jews in other places have converted under the threat of death. Outward appearances did not agree with inward belief. Zevi lived outwardly as a Muslim and inwardly as an heretical Jew. His beliefs continued to spread.
Jacob Frank burst onto this Sabbatean scene approximately 50 years after Zevi died--another dot.
A short biography of Frank can be read at the Yivo Institute website.
Yivo claims to be the "the world's preeminent resource center for East European Jewish Studies." It was founded in 1925 in Vilna, Poland, and focuses on the culture of Ashkenazi Jewry.
In the Yivo history of Frankism I discovered a number of connecting dots.
Ya'akov (Jakub) ben Yehudah Leib Frank (1726? - 1791) was born in Podolia or Buczacz, depending upon who is being asked. He was taken to the Ottoman Empire by his parents shortly after his birth. Some evidence indicates that his father was involved in the spread of Sabbateanism of the 1720s, and may have immigrated in a run from the Jewish Polish campaign against the Sabbateans. He spent his youth in Smyrna, Constantinople, and Bucharest. On his wedding night in 1752 he was initiated into a Sabbatean group. A year later he established contact with "the most radical branch of the Donmeh (Sabbateans) in Salonika. He made a pilgrimmage to the grave of Nathan of Gaza.
In 1755 Frank returned to Poland, presenting himself as a kabbalist and emissary of the Donmeh. He unified splintered Sabbatean groups. When his followers were "discovered conducting an antinomian ritual in Lanckoronie nad Zbruczem the local authorities arrested them at the request of the rabbis". Frank, a Turkish subject, was released and returned to the Ottoman territories. He converted to Islam.
Meanwhile those in Poland who had engaged in the ritual "were found guilty of breaking numerous halakhic prohibitions. They confessed that they had committed adultery, engaged in wife swapping, studied banned Sabbatian books, and professed the faith of Shabetai Tsevi." The assembly in effect excommunicated them.
The Rabbis contacted the Bishop of Kamieniec Podolski, Mikolaj Dembowski, in whose diocese the ritual had taken place, and informed him that the Sabbatean rites involved magic and utterly immoral conduct, requesting the bishop to join the Rabbis in condemning the Sabbateans. It backfired. The bishop, upon discovering that the Sabbateans were Contra-Talmudists, decided to try to convert them. In 1957 a disputation took place between the Rabbis and the Sabbateans, and the Sabbateans won. Copies of the Talmud were ordered burned. The "court defined the Sabbateans as Contra-Talmudist Jews and equated their rights, privileges, and obligations with those of other Jews living in the Commonwealth", essentially as a new "denomination" of Judaism.
The bishop died in 1757, leaving the Sabbateans in a no-man's-land between Judaism and Christianity, lacking support from either side, and the campaign against the Sabbateans resumed. Many fled to Turkey and joined Frank.
When the new bishop took office, he decided to prove some accusations that Jews used Christian blood for ritual purposes. For this purpose he used the Sabbateans. A letter of safe conduct was issued and the exiled Sabbateans returned to Poland and "established themselves in the estates of Bishop Antoni Sebastian Dembowski. The Sabbateans "called for a unity of all faiths, and promised to prove that Jews used Christian blood for ritual purposes" according to the article.
Advancing the clock, the article tells:
Although there is evidence that the Frankists as a distinct social group existed at least until the 1880s, it is very unlikely that Frank's doctrine was still taught in its original form. In nineteenth-century Warsaw, Frankism became a kind of a mutual aid association, in which the connections initially established within the sect were used to facilitate business enterprises. The gradual evaporation of the religious dimension of the movement made it possible for manuscripts expounding Frank's teachings to begin to surface and become available to scholars....
The only known Frankist manuscripts extant today are housed in the Jagiellonian Library in Krakow and in the H. Lopacinski Public Library in Lublin.
Sayings of Jacob Frank have been translated into English and are available online.
The morphing of Frankism from religious movement to businessman's movement was not the only development in Frankism. There was political action as well, and they play a part in the revival of Gnosticism here in America.
First, the amalgamation of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is reminiscent of the activity of recent popes who unite all three under the "Abrahamic religion". Ideas do have consequences.
There is also the fact that the Masons are essentially a businessman's organization that unites all religions, an expansion of the Sabbatean ideal.
Second, the Frankists have apparently played a role in the history of the Ordo Templi Orientis. At the website of the Scarlet Woman Lodge, T. Allen Greenfield, Bishop of the Gnostic Catholic Church, offers an article on "Hermetic Brotherhood Revisited". Footnote No. 2 reads:
One of the most interesting is G.B. Smith. Smith is highly critical of O.T.O. and of our own work, but curiously provides the best evidence we have thus far found for a direct linkage between the unorthodox ecstatic Jewish sect of the Zoharists and the currents discussed in this paper. According to Smith, Thomas von Schoenfeld, also known as Mosheh Dobruschka and a cousin of Jacob Frank, was both an outstanding leader of the Frankist sect and a seminal figure in the creation of the Qabalistic character of the Fraters Lucis, or Asiatic Brethren. See my paper, “The Frankist Ecstatics of the Eighteenth Century” in Agape V1N2. The Frankists or Zoharists, we should remember, engaged in a form of sacred sexuality as part of their basic custom.
I would suggest that when we look at Rosicrucianism, we are in fact looking at Sabbateanism/Frankism.
In the political realm is Ante Pavelic--the third dot.
I first encountered Pavelic in Dr. E. Michael Jones' book THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION: QUEEN OF PEACE, ETHNIC CLEANSING, RUINED LIVES. Pavelic was the Croatian leader of the Ustasha, a Nazi affiliated organization that worked for Croatian independence in Yugoslavia during World War II. He is sometimes referred to as the "Butcher of the Balkans". Jones recounts the story of the breaking up of Yugoslavia during World War II; the atrocities perpetrated under Pavelic who murdered Jews and gypsies, and ran his own concentration camp. Pavelic had direct ties to the Vatican. Among his soldiers were members of the Franciscans. One priest in particular played a central role in moving the booty taken from the Jews into the Vatican Bank.
Details of his life are presented by Bruce Harris at moreorless.au.com.
E. Michael Jones writes:
In the period following World War II, the Franciscans went from being avid supporters of the Ustasha to being the first religious group to joinDobri Pastir, the communist-sanctioned priest's association. When Archbishop Stepinac was serving his term in jail at hard labor for not collaborating with Tito, the Franciscans had already become members of Dobri Pastir and were eligible for government pensions. Pius XII was so enraged at the behavior of the Franciscans in Herzegovina that he wrote an order excommunicating them, a decision which, for whatever reason, never got promulgated. (THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION, p. 2)
The Church feared the Communists who desired to destroy the Church. In a kind of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" scenario, Church leaders cooperated with Pavelic's Ustasha. It is a blight on Catholic history. The ratlines which were the conduit that facilitated Nazi escape to South America were part of that cooperation. The attempt to enable a Catholic Croatia, would appear to place the Church at odds with God. Geopolitics is a dangerous game. It can explode out of control, and in this case it did. Medjugorje was supposed to be the impetus for promoting the aims of the Church. But as Jones describes in his book, a Catholic Church should never have considered the events of Medj. worthy of belief.
Zevi's prophet Nathan of Gaza was a mystic. The messages he received were neither Jewish nor Catholic. Mystical Judaism promoted the channeling of angels, and Nathan was a channeler. There are fallen angels, and it would appear that Nathan found them, with catastrophic results wherever these messages took root.
At the University of Buffalo Info Poland website the following can be read:
Mickiewicz's mother, Barbara Majewska. is reputed to have been a descendant of a Frankist family. The Frankists were members of a Jewish religious sect founded by J.L. Frank in 1755. Ostracized by both rabbinical and secular authorities, the Frankists found a patron in the bishop of the Lwów-Kamieniec region, bishop M. Dembowski, who offered them protection in exchange for conversion to Christianity. Thus, Jews from the Frankist sect massively converted to Christianity, yet many secretly continued to practice their religion. Records have been found indicating that among the converts was a Majewski family. As Mickiewicz himself used the phrase "z matki obcej" ([born] from a foreign mother) in title autobiographical section of his drama Dziady (The Forefathers Eve) the Jewish origin of his mother is quite plausible. Such critics as Janina Maurer of the University of Kansas and Samuel Scheps of France find further corroboration of this theory in the fact that Mickiewicz married a woman who was also from a Frankist family, that he represented Jewish characters in a very positive light ( e.g.. Jankiel, the patriotic Jew, in Mickiewicz's masterpiece Pan Tadeusz), and that toward the end of his life Mickiewicz was actively involved in raising funds for and organizing the Jewish legion. In his political writings, moreover, Mickiewicz repeatedly referred to the Bible (a rather rare tendency among Catholic writers) and compared Poland's martyrdom and the dispersion of Poles after the November 1830 uprising to the suffering of the Jews and the Jewish diaspora.
George Weigel in WITNESS TO HOPE: THE BIOGRAPHY OF POPE JOHN PAUL II writes:
Karol Wojtyla's first exposure to Polish Romanticism probably came when his father read him the famous trilogy of Henryk Sienkiewicz, in which bold knights charge back and forth across the steppes of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in violent pursuit of glory and defense of faith and fatherland. ...Pan Tadeusz, in visionary poetic dramas like Forefathers' Eve (which had such an emotional impact on its audiences that czarist censors sometimes banned it), and in didactic works like The Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pilgrims, Adam Mickiewicz insisted that history had a deep spiritual dimension in which suffering prepared the soul for glory. It was a familiar Christian theme--redemptive suffering as a personal spiritual discipline. For Mickiewicz, though, redemptive suffering was also the national destiny. Partitioned Poland was a Messiah among nations, a suffering servant whose time on Calvary would redeem the world and show it the path beyond Western materialism into a new, more spiritual form of freedom. ...
In Epic poems like
It was during this last, mystical period of his career that Slowacki [another Polish poet] wrote a poem about a "Slav Pope" who would be a "brother" to all humanity. ...
Karol Wonjtyla memorized Pan Tadeusz and acted in Kordian... (WITNESS TO HOPE, p. 33-35)
Mickiewicz's involvement with Gnostic movements in France is established.
The website Jew Watch News claims Karol Wojtyla's mother was Jewish. Was she also Frankist?
Thursday, November 22, 2007
May your turkey be cooperative!
May your cranberry sauce come out this neatly!
May your guests be this hungry!
And may all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving!
May your cranberry sauce come out this neatly!
May your guests be this hungry!
And may all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
"SPIRITUAL WARFARE: THE OCCULT HAS DEMONIC INFLUENCE"
Bishop Donald Montrose, D.D. has written an excellent article with the above title which is online here. I doubt this bishop would allow his children to read HARRY POTTER, if he had children. Potter's activities are what the bishop condemns in his article. It's well worth the time it takes to read it. From the article:
-- ...to seek knowledge of the future or intimate knowledge about another person, apart from God, and through the help of clairvoyance or spirits is what is meant by forbidden knowledge.[My question, what about interreligious dialogue? - ct]
Forbidden power is a kind of magical power that produces effects apart from God and in a way that is beyond ordinary human means.
-- It is forbidden to seek knowledge of the future by using playing cards, tarot cards, the crystal ball, the study of the hand, the stars, examining the liver of dead animals, shooting arrows, the Ouija board, or any other superstitious means.
-- ...everyone involved in false worship, seeking forbidden knowledge, or using forbidden power should be absolutely avoided. ...
-- Spiritualism involves a communication with the dead or with the spirit world by some psychic or occult means. Great care is to be used because many people are fooled. There can be the use of the Bible, holy water, statues of saints and Catholic hymns. Spiritualists often believe in the Fatherhood of God, doing good to others, personal responsibility for what one does, reward for good deeds and punishment for evil deeds. Many are Christian or even Catholic and profess faith in Jesus.
But there is always a dangerous attempt to communicate with the dead or with spirits in some way. It can be through a seance, or perhaps the person just seems to go into a trance.
Sometimes spiritualists are involved in healing, witchcraft, fortune telling or even blessing homes to protect them. Sometimes they believe in reincarnation as well.
-- It doesn't matter if there are statues, holy water, crucifixes, prayers to Jesus, Mary and the saints, if there is any superstitious practice it is evil.
-- In our day, hard rock music played by "satanic" musical groups presents additional problems. ...The evil is found in the musical combination of words, rhythm and noise. Records or tapes of this kind should not be kept in the home but should be destroyed, even if they have cost a considerable amount of money.
-- Although virtually unknown a few years ago, [the New Age Movement] is gaining in popularity on an international level. On the surface it appears to be a "peace" movement, but in my estimation, it definitely belongs to the occult. ...
Those who join the New Age Movement are entering a movement dealing with occult spiritual power.
-- Our homes should be sacred, peaceful places in which to live. Our homes need to be clean. We should not let them become dirty or allow disorder by having junk and filth accumulate in our drawers and closets. The power of evil abhors cleanliness.
-- Persons who have actually needed exorcism from the power of the Evil One have been cured by sitting in church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour each day, for one or two months. These were very difficult cases.
YET ANOTHER MOVIE
Kerala's Catholic church on wednesday cautioned that "Aquarian Gospel", a new Hollywood production on Jesus Christ showing him visiting the Indian subcontinent during his "missing years", may end up creating confusion and controversy as there is no historical proof to substantiate the claim.
There is no historic proof to show Jesus came to India and the Church has apprehensions that such portrayal could create confusion, Church spokesman Father Paul Thelekat said. The film, purportedly portrays Jesus visiting Buddhist monasteries and speaking against the inequalities of the caste system, which, the Church apprehends, could offend religious sentiments of different communities.
Read the article...
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
THE GOLDEN COMPASS
Tom Gilson has taken on THE GOLDEN COMPASS in his blog "Thinking Christian. If you have children who will be reading this book in school, you might want to check it out.
JOINING THE CABLE GENERATION
For years we resisted subscribing to cable TV. First it was because we had a young person in the house who would have been tempted by MTV. But then it was a simple rejection of television in general. The rabbit ears sufficed for the evening news on the nights we decided to watch it.
Gradually, though, as more and more cell phones started appearing, the reception got worse and worse. It became penance to watch the evening news and the occasional football game my better half wanted to see. One day last summer we decided we would take the plunge, and we made that decision with great anticipation of our expanded entertainment options.
First we tried the Dish Network. The technician climbed up on the roof and sighted through his sighting thing in the direction of the signal...and saw trees. Lots of trees. Tall trees. Trees that interfered with the signal. Trees that belong to our neighbors. He called his boss who came out and did the same thing. Then they delivered the bad news. Dish Network was not an option.
We waited a couple of months until U-verse was installed in our area, and the solicitation arrived in the mailbox. U-verse is cable over the phone lines. Great. We wouldn't need a lot of extra wiring running around the rafters. We signed up. The technician came out and installed a box on the side of the house. A couple of days later another technician came out and installed the rest of the stuff. No signal. He drove off and messed around with the big box a couple of streets away, came back and tried his FCC meter on the line. VIOLATION. No, actually something like 288 violations. The FCC wasn't going to like our U-Verse installation. He fiddled some more and finally said he would get the engineers to change something or other and call us. That was the last we heard from him.
We waited a couple of weeks then called U-verse. Nobody would talk to us about when U-verse would be ready to install in our house. Apparently nobody knew. They couldn't solve the FCC problem. We saw a lot of AT&T trucks in the area, so they were working on it; and we kept getting subscription flyers for U-verse in the mail, but the technician didn't call, and we couldn't get an answer from anyone else.
Finally we called Warner Cable after a few more weeks. They came out and installed the wires which made a great mess to clean up, but at last we had cable. Now to learn how to use it.
"Do you remember how to get the list of programs up?"
"No. I did it last night, though. Let me try."
"You are driving me crazy with flipping the channels. You've been doing that for the last fifteen minutes and we still haven't seen a program!"
"Well I can't figure out how to find out when the program I want will be on."
It got old rather quickly. Finally I found a directory online and made a copy to keep by the TV. We figured out how to get the program guide up and navigate it. Sort of. Now we could watch cable. If we could find something we wanted to watch.
HGTV was interesting for a few nights, but then it registered that they must be sponsored by the granite countertop association or something of the sort. If you don't like granite countertops, you are not going to like the redecorating programs on HGTV, because the folks there insist that you have to have granite countertops or your remodeling project is a failure.
The house makover so you can sell it for big bucks was even more fun. The people who went through at the open house always loved the decorating ideas the homeowners had been persuaded to try. Strangely the comments they made were not the sort of comments we made when we were house hunting many years ago. Not even close! No one said "This looks like a dry basement," or "The roof looks new." I didn't hear a comment about the age of the furnace or the air-conditioner. No one even discussed whether their furniture would fit into the room they were looking at. But oh how they loved the new wall color or the clever corny knick knack shelves that had just been installed. I started to feel sorry for the ignorant home buyers that were getting roped in. The garage that had the spaces for two cars outlined in bright colorful paint on the garage floor was just about the last straw of silliness.
My husband gravitated to the sports channels which drove me to the TV in the basement where I could watch Animal Planet on Friday night--the one and only channel I've found fit to watch so far. "Meerkat Manor" captivated me from my first glimpse. A glimpse that I got just recently, only to discover that the season finale was aired while I was in Philadelphia. Who knew cable seasons ended in November? Sunday night even hubby found the polar bear story on Animal Planet interesting.
But the whole point of this diatribe is that I want to ask you how you manage to tolerate the commercials if you have also succumbed to cable? I have given up in disgust and walked away from the set more times than I want to count. Some shows have more commercials than they have programming. So what's the secret to numbing yourself to the hype?
THE ANGLICAN DISAGREEMENTS
American Anglicans who have separated from the Anglican Communion, taking their churches with them, are engaged in a trial over who owns the property. David Virtue links a Washington Times article that reports on the squabble.
The outcome of this trial may impact the Roman Catholic Church since Pope Benedict is attempting to hammer out an arrangement whereby disaffected Anglicans can join the Catholic Church enmasse.
BUT IS HE AN ABUSER ?
The Baltimore Sun reports on the flap created in the parish of Father Michael Salerno over his removal as pastor resulting from an allegation of sexual abuse 30 years ago. Parishioners are outraged. They LIKED their pastor. You've heard it all before. Many of the removed priests were very well liked. I know from experience. Priests who abuse do not go around advertising their deviance. That deviance is fueled in many cases by their winning personality used not only to make the parish like them, but also to persuade their victims that cooperation is a good thing to do. Here we have another priest with a winning personality. Even the non-Catholics liked him. It puts the victim, if there is one, at a serious disadvantage.
This priest was apparently a great humanist. No where in the accolades do I see any indication that he was holy. His accomplishments are all in the earthly realm, and apparently they are many. But what about God?
There is another interesting feature of the article. All of his pictured supporters are women. Possibly this is coincidental. Or maybe not.
Whatever is the case, I hope that Father Salerno is innocent, and that his innocence can be quickly established. But if he is not innocent, I hope that he will at last have to face what he has done and make restitution. A priest who faces accusations should not be tried by his parish and found innocent before the facts.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES SCAM
If you get an e-mail from "Catholic Charities" asking for donations for a "Benefactor of 2007 Grant Award", hit the spam button.
The scam requests home addresses, telephone numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or bank account information.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette article is here.
STANDING FOR THE FAITH
In a recent column in the local diocesan newspaper, Minneapolis/St. Paul Coadjuter Archbishop John C. Nienstedt concisely explained the Church's teaching regarding both a homosexual's obligation to chastity and the Church's obligation to support and encourage such a chaste lifestyle. The column has caused a backlash of harsh criticism from the 'homosexual community' in what has until recently been known as a notoriously liberal Catholic diocese.
Archbishop Nienstedt's column in the diocesan paper 'The Catholic Spirit' was authored as a sequel to a previous column, written by the paper's editor, Joe Towalski. That article had, according to Archbishop Nienstedt, "addressed the issue of the church's teaching on homosexuality" and "the reason why those who promote homosexual activity or a homosexual lifestyle are not permitted to speak at Catholic institutions."
Both columns stemmed from a recent incident at a local Minneapolis Catholic parish when a scheduled speaking engagement by an openly lesbian woman and her father was cancelled after diocesan officials learned of it. The woman involved, Carol Curoe, is the author of a book entitled 'Are There Closets in Heaven? A Catholic Father and a Lesbian Daughter Share Their Story."
The rest is worth the time it takes to read it.
ACCURATE RENDITION OF THE ZEITGEIST OR PIE IN THE SKY ?
In an opinion piece for BeyondChron, San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily, Tommi Avicolli-Mecca, speaking from the gay perspective, offers the following:
Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley may have thought he was going to intimidate the Catholic Democratic politicians in his state with his comments criticizing their party’s support for keeping abortions legal.
He was wrong. The collective reaction from the state’s Catholic Democratic leadership on both sides of the abortion issue was a big yawn. Even the usually outspoken Senator Edward M. Kennedy didn’t bother to respond.
Apparently, the Democratic Party isn’t worried about Catholic voters turning against its candidates over their liberal stance on abortion. The influence of the church has waned a lot since the days when Cardinals and Archbishops could change legislators’ votes simply by speaking out against a piece of legislation.
I remember those times, and not very fondly. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia was probably the number-one reason for the defeat of the City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love’s first gay rights bill in 1974. A church spokesman’s testimony against the bill ensured that it would never make it out of the Rules Committee and onto the floor of City Council for a vote.
Fortunately, the church doesn’t have as much influence with legislators as it did back then, at least not in the area of abortion and gay rights. O’Malley’s comments no doubt arise out of a sense of frustration with the diminishing political influence of his church.
Is he right? Have we Catholics in America tuned out our bishops because of their miserable oversight of pervert priests? Or do we listen to them in spite of our skepticism when they are speaking Catholic truths? Just what moral authority do the American bishops have left in 2007?
WHEN POLITICS AND RELIGION COLLIDE
Mexico City's cathedral was closed after leftist protesters stormed into the world-renowned religious landmark and church officials said it would not reopen until city authorities can guarantee security.
Dozens of supporters of former leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador entered the building bordering the capital's Zocalo square on Sunday, scuffling with faithful and overturning pews.
The conflict reignited tensions between the church and some members of Mexico's leftist Democratic Revolution Party who accuse Roman Catholic Cardinal Norberto Rivera of overstepping Mexican law by intervening in politics, including supporting President Felipe Calderon's election campaign last year.
Archdiocese of Mexico spokesman Hugo Valdemar Romero said Monday that there have been 24 similar but smaller incidents since the 2006 election, which Lopez Obrador's followers allege was stolen. Election officials deny the allegation.
"The cathedral will remain closed as a security measure, and a sign of protest against the fact that these people entered, attacked parishioners and profaned a sacred space," Romero said.
Read the rest...
Ownership of church property is described in the article. It's not what you would expect from the experience of living in America. The Cathedral belongs to the government, and the Archbishop is claiming the right to close it based on his authority over rites and the profanation of them that occurred.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Monsignor Eugene Costa has been removed from the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI, Kathie Sass, a spokeswoman for the Springfield Catholic Diocese, confirmed Friday.
Costa, 57, the former pastor of St. John Vianney Church in Sherman and Holy Family Church in Athens, has been on leave since January 2005. His laicization came at the request of Springfield Bishop George Lucas, Sass said. Because the action came directly from Pope Benedict, it cannot be appealed.
Costa is not permitted to perform priestly ministries or call himself "father."
"Catholics believe the holy order leaves a permanent mark on the soul," Sass said. "In one sense, he will always be a priest. But this has removed him from the clerical state permanently."
Costa, chancellor of the Springfield diocese under former Bishop Daniel Ryan, was beaten by two young men in Douglas Park on Dec. 21, 2004.
Read the rest...
AN ENGLISH SCHOOL FIELD TRIP
Over at The Tablet website is a story of English school kids on a field trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau that describes what they saw and what they learned from the experience. The story is effective in describing the horror of the camps--bring it down to a human level and making it seem immediate. In reading it, you are there.
YOU HAVE TO SEE 'EM TO BELIEVE IT !
These pictures at the Catholic Church Conservation blog.
IT'S NOT OVER YET
A Catholic priest, who for over 20 years has been a leading advocate of the rights of people sexually abused by clergy, has warned the worst is not over where the issue is concerned.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," US Dominican priest Fr Tom Doyle has said. A canon lawyer and former US air force chaplain, in 1985 he helped draft a report on clerical child sex abuse for America's Catholic bishops. He is a regular visitor to Ireland.
"It [clerical child sex abuse] may not be front-page news, but the nightmare is still going on. We are only starting to see the extent of clergy abuse in non-English speaking countries.
"We'll continue to see victims come forward because the sickness is far deeper and wider than anyone can imagine."
Speaking in an interview with Realitymagazine, he said "the hierarchy have never faced it head on and done something effective to find out why clergy sexual abuse has been so much a part of clerical culture. It's been hidden and denied, but it's there and has been for centuries."
Read the rest...
THE SCANDAL NEWS CONTINUES
A pastor in Baltimore's Little Italy has been removed following accusations he abused a teenage boy.
The Jesuits have agreed to a $50 million settlement with 110 abused Eskimos.
In India a Claretain Missionaries school administrator has been charged with assisting a student to commit suicide.
Meanwhile the Diocese of Joliet relies on background checks to prevent sexual abuse and informs us that "The number of new complaints is down.” "Down", however, implies that some children are still being abused, which, I suppose, means that the diocese has not yet figured out how to eliminate first offenders.
CHURCH RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL WORSE NOW
Days after a delegation of Austrian bishops were turned away from the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Holy See diplomat Archbishop Pietro Sambi has admitted that ties between the Vatican and Israel were better before there were diplomatic relations.
"If I must be frank, the relations between the Catholic Church and the state of Israel were better when there were no diplomatic ties," Archbishop Sambi is quoted as saying in an interview last week with online publication Terrasanta.net.
"The Holy See decided to establish diplomatic relations (in 1993) with Israel as an act of faith, leaving to later the serious promises to regulate concrete aspects of the life of the Catholic community and the Church" in Israel, Sambi told the paper, according to an International Herald Tribune report.
Blaming an "absence of political will", Sambi complained that the Knesset, Israel's legislature, has failed to give necessary approval to various accords that had been signed by both sides, and noted that an impasse over taxes has been discussed on and off for nearly 10 years without resolution.
"Everyone can see what kind of trust you can give to Israel's promises," Sambi said.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE REPORTS ON JOHN SZANTYR
Susana found this article (scroll down 1/3 of the way) at the Catholic News Service website that backs up what Rick Salbato has written at his website linked below.
Lesson seen in group learning spiritual director was suspended priest
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CNS) -- A recently confirmed report that a priest long forbidden to function as a cleric had been heavily involved with a local Springfield private prayer group shows the difficulties Catholics can run into when they support unofficial spiritual groups, according to church officials. It also illustrates the difficulty church authorities have tracking the activities of a small number of priests who continue to defy orders not to exercise their ministry. In early September, the Diocese of Springfield was contacted by Vic Valois, a Catholic and a former member of a group called Seeds of Hope. He reported that Father John J. Szantyr had been the group's long-standing spiritual mentor and occasional sacramental celebrant. Father Szantyr, 76, is allegedly a repeated sexual offender with victims in more than one diocese. He has been forbidden to minister in any way or to publicly present himself as a priest since being removed from ministry by the Diocese of Worcester, Mass., in 1988. Yet, until recently, he has continued to wear clerical clothing and refer to himself as "Father" in violation of the canonical restrictions against clerics who face credible charges of sexual abuse of a minor.
SEEDS OF HOPE MEMBERS
While no names are given in the website, here in their website is a picture of some of the members. Rick Salbato discusses this website and the booklets being offered there in an extensive history of the organization linked in a blog immediately below this blog entry.
SEEDS OF HOPE
Rick Salbato has posted a detailed history of the Seeds of Hope, Neil Harrington's and John Szantyr's involvement with it, and a lot of links to back up what he writes.
Someone named Don Guzman has recently posted a comment on one of my blogs. Since I monitor comments through Halo Scan, I don't know which blog the comment belongs to, but it's interesting and so I'm posting it here.
I was fairly friendly with Malachi Martin. One particular day, we were having lunch in a Lexington Ave. grill. Besides some other laymen, the late Fr. Paul Wickens was present. At one point in the conversation, I asked him about the cause of "The Great Exodus," wherein hundreds, if not thousands quit religious communities. MM replied that it was because Satan had entered the Church. After the release of Windswept House, I asked him about the simultaneous Black Masses. He said that it absolutely happened in St. Paul's chapel within St. Peter's Basilica and in South Carolina. There was a tradition of Satanism there because a Grand Master of the Masons had found the head (Baphomet) and brought it back to South Carolina. There was a coven of Satanists which included Bernadin. He also named another cleric, a now retired Cdl., and former priest of the NY Archdiocese, though the latter was not present at that ceremony. He went on to say that there was a network of Satanists who pomoted each other through the ranks of the heirarchy. Pretty scary stuff.
dom guzman | 11.18.07 - 3:44 pm | #
SEEDS OF HOPE
Susanna sent in a link to this story at the i observe website:
SPRINGFIELD Responding to the concerns that a local
prayer group known as The Seeds of Hope is harmful to
Catholics, Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell has
launched an investigation into the group's activities, the
diocese announced Nov. 14.
"In light of questions and concerns raised about the Seeds
of Hope group, led by Neil Harrington Jr., Bishop McDonnell
has appointed the former judicial vicar for the diocese and
a member of the chancellor's office to investigate this
matter and report back to him," said Mark E. Dupont,
The matter involves a weekly prayer cenacle and activities
surrounding it in which Neil Harrington Jr., a Springfield
resident and leader of the group, claims to have received
messages from the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Francis of
Assisi. Harrington claims that Mary appeared to him and
related messages to him in his parents' Enfield, Conn.,
home from 1991 until 1997.
Harrington distributed these messages for more than a
decade in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., and in the
Diocese of Springfield. In 1995, Harrington was told by the
archdiocese not to distribute messages, but there have been
indications that Seeds of Hope continues to distribute
The Diocese of Springfield's formal inquiries will not be
the first investigation of the group.
Indeed this is not the first investigation. The article goes on to discuss the involvement of accused pedophile priest Father John J. Szantyr. You may recall that Fr. Szantyr has been accused of sexual abuse with a pending trial that has been continued numerous times, most recently on November 13. This is something like the 35th time the trial has been stalled.
Bishops Accountability provides the text from the Boston Herald which indicates in part:
"We did receive conclusive proof that contrary to the instructions from the Diocese of Worcester, he had celebrated Mass in a private home in Springfield," [Springfield diocesan spokesman Terence] Hegarty said. "The bishop informed him that he remains absolutely forbidden to celebrate Mass anywhere, privately or publicly, or to administer any sacramental functions at all."
The Worcester Voice provides more background on Szantyr."Worcester Voice provides more details including a letter from the wife of a member of the Seeds of Hope, and the following:
November 13, 2007
DA Joseph Early allows another continuance in Szantyr case, without prior notification to victims.
In a startling disclosure the Worcester District court reveled today that a continuance has been granted from the court. The actual party to request for the continuance was unavailable.
The Worcester District court, criminal division has recorded the next hearing to be scheduled on December 14, 2007.
No notation was within the docket that recorded ADA Joseph Reilly III requested John Szantyr be compelled to attend the court hearing.
For any victims of sexual abuse to be dragged thought the court system for four long years is archaic and demeaning.
Notification of this latest court action was made to the victims and witness by the Worcester Voice.
November 11, 2007
Neil Harrington Jr. exposed for making disingenuous statements regarding his knowledge of accused Priest.
Within the operation for the Seeds of Hope ministry numerous spurious statements have been presented by Neil Harrington Jr. in regards to his actual knowledge concerning the status Fr. John Szantyr.
On August 29th Neil called Bill Fortin stating:" I know Fr. John, I've known him for a long time. I know his situation".
Matt Abbott has included some good news in his column today. Since Sunday is a day for good news, I'm taking the liberty of posting it here as well:
The feature film Bella is "an award-winning movie directed and produced by Regnum Christi members who wanted to use their talents for a noble mission," according to the movement's Web site.
"...The Regnum Christi team behind Metanoia Films wanted to show the beauty of love and life in such a way that it would change people's lives. What they didn't imagine was that this movie would also save lives. So far, Bella has already given hundreds of women second thoughts about pregnancies they were thinking of terminating. After seeing the film, they took a risk and gave love — and life — a chance...."
"The Bella promotion effort could also be a great way to introduce more people to Regnum Christi; after all, as producer Sean Wolfington himself said, 'Bella is the fruit of Regnum Christi' and it shows in action what the Movement is all about: evangelizing by bringing human and Gospel values to modern culture in the most effective way possible; adapting to the needs of time and place in a media-driven culture; working vertex-to-base with real artistic talent but also person-to-person on the grass roots level (get going on those ticket sales!); helping people to accomplish more by working as a team. Bella is the fruit of Regnum Christi because it fulfills our essential mission: to make the truth shine in all its beauty and to bring souls to Christ."
Regnum Christi, affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ, was founded by Father Marcial Maciel, who was disciplined by the Vatican in 2006.
It's too bad that last paragraph has to be added to the positive message, but I believe that it does. Go over there to read the rest of what Abbott has to say on some other topics.