Friday, December 03, 2004


There is an interesting discussion over at Amy's blog about the various schools at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Among them is this Swedenborgian school where you can see that Rosemary Radford Reuther is on the faculty.

Emmanual Swedenborg was an occultist. James Webb in _The Occult Underground_, p. 22, describes his conversations with angels:

...he held conversations with angels and spirits. He described the process as follows:"...when angels speak for a man they turn themselves to him and conjoin themselves with him; and this conjunction of angel with man causes both to be in like thought." The angels appeared to speak in his own language; but conversation with them was a rarity, because the state of man had become so changed that "this commerce is no longer with angels, but with spirits who are not in heaven. Even this sort of contact had become uncommon, however, because it was dangerous.

Put another way, Swedenborg was a spiritualist or as we call them today, a channeler.

According to Charles Upton, _The System of Antichrist_ p. 128:

Allan Kardec and Stainton Moses, for example--like Swedenborg before them--channeled entire philosophies of the Spirit World in the early 20th century, and Madame Blavatsky was certainly deeply influenced by the 'philosophical' as well as the magical side of spiritualism.


or subject-subject consciousness is discussed in this PortlandMercury.com article. The term Two-Spirit was coined to describe practices in the Native American tribes. The article explains it thus:

While Two-Spirited people did and do have sexual relations with members of their own sex, Young is quick to offer a broader perspective. "It would be a mistake to characterize these individuals solely by virtue of their sexuality, though it was often a facet of their social existence. These individuals were seen as mediators, healers, shamans, teachers, culture-carriers, and counselors. Sexual relations would happen in the shamanist tradition of 'gifting' such a person. But the important idea is that the social distinction was a part of a larger social role, and the sexuality was a small, albeit important, part of the picture."

He compares Two-Spirit traditions with those of ancient Greece, where "men had women for the purpose of procreation and had berdache lovers for love or spiritual reasons. In many cultures which considered sexual intercourse a method of communication with their god or gods, same-sex-identified men served as sacred whores, as did heterosexual women. Many of the Great Plains chiefs were known to have berdache 'wives,' for example, and berdache were often brought along on hunting and warring parties because they were considered to lend a certain dignity and good blessing on the proceedings.

"There were both male and female Two-Spirits, the men usually taking on the social roles of women and the women generally taking on the social roles of men, including having wives and serving as warriors." Young adds that berdache warriors were often known to be "among the strongest fighters in some tribes."

It seems that even among Native Americans there is a difference of opinion about Two-Spirits:

"I (will) always remember when Randy Burns and the group out in San Francisco established Gay American Indians, and I think they're celebrating something like their 25th anniversary. They set up their little table with their information on gay and lesbian activities and information on things, and a lot of the Indian people wouldn't accept it. They'd say, 'Oh, you people are an embarrassment. Why don't you leave?' and they'd spit on you and cuss at you. And that was from our own people! That homophobia still pervades most reservations. It isn't 'hello la-la land' out there."

Of course they hate the Catholics:

"The berdache, as the culture keepers, were among the first people murdered and worked to death when the white man arrived. Men dressing in women's clothing were a horror to the maniacal missionaries, hell-bent on saving souls for Jesus. These natives were killed when they refused to change their ways or dresses.

The author of the article considers this Two-Spirit concept a traditional Ntive American concept. There is no telling what might pop up under the word "Traditionalism."


I'm going to take the easy way out and copy and paste Michael Greaney's email to me. The first book off the press is a reprint that just might come in handy if you have a hard-to-buy-for teenager on your list.

You may already have heard, but, because of your interest in books with a moral orientation, I thought I'd send you my "canned" notice about our republication of the only novel ever written by Knute Rockne, Notre Dame's famed football coach. This is a "young adult" sports novel, THE FOUR WINNERS: THE HEAD, THE HANDS, THE FOOT, THE BALL, available from Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.

Even though Once-and-Future Books has an interfaith orientation, espousing principles of natural law, our ultimate goal, to which the organization contributes in a small way, is the restructuring of the social order as detailed by Pius XI and analyzed by Fr. William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D. (THE ACT OF SOCIAL JUSTICE, 1942) We believe that popular culture is, in part, formed by the media, and morally-oriented media increase the receptivity to acquiring and developing the moral virtues. Once-and-Future Books was founded to supply morally-oriented entertainment, with the aim of getting people who otherwise do nothing but complain about the quality of available entertainment to "put their money where their mouths are." THE FOUR WINNERS is our "point man" in this effort, which we anticipate will raise the financing for additional titles, such as the novels of Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson and other neglected writers.

Even though we picked THE FOUR WINNERS as our first offering primarily because of name recognition and it's written as a sports book in the "young adult" genre, we've discovered some surprising things as we reread and study it. We've found some interesting insights into Rockne's management style. It seems that the former chemistry professor had an inherent understanding of Justice-Based Management ("JBM") and an instinctive understanding of the principles of social justice. JBM is an integral part of the "Just Third Way" promoted by the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice ("CESJ"; www.cesj.org).

Possibly the most revealing aspect of Rockne's "system" was his emphasis on teaching. You see this to a small extent in Rockne's novel, but Harry Stuhldreher recalled in his book (KNUTE ROCKNE, ALL AMERICAN, 1931) that Rockne held daily lectures after lunch to which the entire student body, not just the football team, were invited. Rockne felt it was important not only to understand how to play football, but the whys and wherefores as well. This comes very close to the act of social charity as described by Fr. Ferree. Rockne was an early advocate of "cross training," and believed that when a player had the whole picture he would always do the right thing. He applied this philosophy to the whole of his life, and worked to form the characters of the young men he trained along the same lines.

Michael D. Greaney
Director of Research
Center for Economic and Social Justice


Between trying to get stuff done for Christmas, while also trying to read through a large stack of books, there seems to be little time left over for web activity.

I'm currently reading Charles Upton's _The System of Antichrist: Truth & Falsehood In Postmodernism & The New Age_. But more about the contents when I've finished it. This is a book recommended by Lee Penn. It is published by Sophia Perennis, Ghent, NY according to the title page. The editor is James R. Wetmore, copyright 2001, and the address of Sophia Perennis is 343 Rte 21C, Ghent, NY 12075

As the regulars here will remember, Charles Upton is the publisher of William H. Kennedy's book _Lucifer's Lodge_ (with a Reviviscimus imprint, South Egremont, MA) and potentially the upcoming publisher of Lee's book. Upton edits books for Sophia Perennis.

According to an email exchange with Upton, he says of his press, "We are a 2-man operation -- apart from some intermittent volunteer help -- both living from hand-to-mouth until I sold my little house in Marin County, California and bought a bigger one in Kentucky. Now I'm out of debt and have something to live on while we try to make an economic go of Sophia Perennis." I got the impression from this that Sophia Perennis was in the early stages of publishing.

Does Sophia Perennis have another imprint in addition to Reviviscimus? The reason I'm wondering is that Sophia Perennis Et Universalis seems to publish the same books that Sophia Perennis publishes. You can see what Sophia Perennis publishes by clicking the name of the author here.

Now go to Amazon.com and look at the books published by Sophia Perennis Et Universalis. Here in the list you will find _The System of Antichrist_ by Upton, _Gurdjieff in the Light of Tradition_ Perry, _Cinderella's Gold Slipper_ by Fohr and _The Order of the Ages_ by Bolton, _Yuga: An Anatomy of Our Fate_ by Glass. All of these books appear on both lists. _Eastern Light in Western Eyes_ by Glass, a book on the Sophia Perennis list, does not appear on the Sophia Perennis et Universalis list. Lee Penn's Upcoming book, _False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion_ also appears on the Sophia Perennis et Universalis list.

Another interesting bit of observation is the number of names appearing on the Amazon list that are not on the Sophia Perennis list, including Paul Chacornac, Jean Borella, Titus Burkhardt, Alvin Moore, Jr., Cecil Bethell, Herbert Schiff, Rohini Schiff, Cynthia MacGregor, Henry D. Fohr, Martin Lings, Charles Le Gai Eaton, and John Herlihy. Sophia Perennis publishes Rene Guenon as does Sophia Perennis Et Universalis. Only the latter publishes Frithjof Schuon.

With so many authors to its credit, Sophia Perennis Et Universalis looks fairly well established. Sophia Perennis, on the other hand, does not, judging by the website and Charles Upton's comment to me in email.

This all comes down to one question -- are Sophia Perennis and Sophia Perennis Et Universalis one and the same publishing house?

* * * *

While I'm on the subject of Sufi Traditionalism, one of the voices that speaks for this subject is Mark Sedgwick, American University in Cairo. He delivered a paper at The fourth Nordic conference on Middle Eastern Studies: The Middle East in globalizing world, Oslo, 13-16 August, 1998. In that paper he gives the history of Traditionalism, mentioning as he does both the Masonic Lodge and Archbishop Marcel Lefabvre. He also mentions the Church of the Theotokos and the Ukranian Autochephalous Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox Diocese of Berkeley.


Ifgene is financed by the Fetzer Institute and the Gotheanum.

Fetzer came up in comments to a post below on Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. The Gotheanum is the world headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society.

Ifgene is an Anthroposophical organization devoted to discussions about the ethics of modern science, particularly focused on genetic engineering.

Has Ifgene turned up in the rumor mill in Kalamazoo Catholic circles, michigancatholic?

Thursday, December 02, 2004


I've just reviewed the statistics that Robert has posted on euthanasia deaths in The Netherlands.

I had read in the past that it had become a problem. But those numbers are much graver than anything I've read. I have Wesley J. Smith's book, _Forced Exit_ here but have not yet had time to read it.

Whatever moral decisions we make regarding end of life issues are rules we will face ourselves in the not too distant future.

One of the negative consequences of modern medicine is that many of us will find ourselves in the position to make moral decisions about the life of a loved one. Anyone who has had to do that knows how much of a burden it can be. In some situations the decision is not a one-time event. It entails a series of small choices that do not lead to immediate death, but may lead to death in the long term.

As medicine advances, we can keep alive, with the use of ever increasingly greater intervention, people who could not live without that intervention. And so we will have to make those decisions.

James Dobson brought up this concern 10 or more years ago, posing the dilemma that it may result in such choices as do we pay Mom's nursing home bill or Johnny's college tuition? How do you make such a decision? What if it comes down to medicine or groceries? As the population shrinks, there will be no escaping it.

A nursing home bill will eat up the entire gross income of the major breadwinner of a family, and still require more cash. Long term hospital intervention can be even more expensive. We have no money trees. We have already cashed in the "emergency fund" in the form of Mom going back to work, which makes home care of sick people a non-option. Health insurance relieves some of the burden, but Medicare is paying ever less of the bill as those bills get higher.

It appears from Robert's statistics that Holland has made the decisions already. Sick people are a drain on the economy, so doctors have been given legal permission to eliminate them. Are their handicapped and elderly citizens now afraid to go to the doctor? Because that is where this logically will lead.

What did God have in mind? Did He not want us to learn how to prolong life? Does He favor letting nature run its course without medical intervention? If we answer no to that question, then must we answer yes to the use of that intervention in any and every case without discrimination? The Church says no and gives guidelines for making decisions that we must interpret when we are in that situation, but it is never black and white. It is not as simple as reading the guidelines and making a choice. There are always the nagging alternatives, and there is always hindsight which is 20-20.

Since we measure everything in terms of money, the financial aspect of medical intervention cannot be dispensed with. No one will talk about it when the life of a loved one is at stake, but it won't go away. What if it exhausts the financial resources of a family? What if a life is prolonged that will only succumb to the inevitable end six months later, while that prolonging used up all available funds? We are all under a death sentence. It isn't a question of "if" but of "when". And frequently when the crisis comes, the loved one is not able to make choices for himself.

What's more, we cling to life. Under the most horrible circumstances we will still cling to life. When treatment can prolong our life a mere matter of days or weeks, some of us will still want that treatment. In fact some people are so desperate to prolong life that they turn to cryogenics.

As Catholics we believe in an afterlife which can take the sting out of death if we will let it. Not everyone does. If there is no hope of heaven, there is good reason to cling to life. In fact, even a Catholic may cling because of the fear of hell.

If we can't go where Holland has gone and where Oregon has gone, where can we go? How can we keep the advances in medicine and still have a moral and ordered society? I haven't seen any good answers out there? Have any of you?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


On Dec. 8, 2004, the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s solemn proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop Thomas Doran of the Diocese of Rockford, Ill. will consecrate his diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In doing so, Bishop Doran joins Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago, who in August announced that he will consecrate his archdiocese to Mary on the same day.

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily for the link.


Novus Ordo Watch has a few goodies on their website tonight. The Cathedral of St. James not only has an 18 ft. puppet, they have a checkerboard floor (as in Masonic lodges?), they have a round altar platform with three steps (Wiccans cast a circle around their altar space - 1 creates an area of protection, 3 creates maximum protection). The altar is at the point of intersection of four aisles (convenient for calling the corners?).

Whatever all the symbolism is there in the cathedral, it doesn't appear to be symbolically Catholic.


The Times Online claims that the Vatican "is giving 'serious consideration' to apologising for the persecution that led to the suppression of the Knights Templar."

The article also claims that the order continued underground after the 1312 suppression, and that the "vast majority of Templars survived the persecution, including most of their leaders, along with much of their treasure and most importantly, their original values and traditions."

Is the Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina behind this? Invariably I think of Rene Guenon Lodge whenever I see the word "traditions" these days.


a name that is being applied in some circles to interreligious dialogue. It seems appropriate for this event at the Cathedral of Mexico City. It could also be called the "Spirit of Fatima". John Vennari connects this type of event with Freemasonry in the article and notes how events like this one are in direct opposition to the words of previous Popes.

With events like this one taking place, what does the First Commandment now mean? Obviously it is being redefined.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


I'm not sure if this is the report at the ALL website is the one referenced by Robert Duncan in a comments box below, but it dramatizes the questionable practices and outright murder that are ushered in via euthanasia laws. (Click "Pro-Life Primer on Euthanasia" at the ALL website.)

Dr. Fenigsen brought the euthanasia program up to date in an article, "Report of the Dutch Governmental Committee on Euthanasia" in Issues in Law & Medicine, Vol. 7, No. 3 Winter 1991. He stated, "It is the first official admission that active involuntary euthanasia is regularly practiced in the Netherlands." ...

The report showed the following:

Annually there are 25,306 cases of euthanasia (19.4% of all deaths). There are 2,300 cases of active voluntary euthanasia, 400 of physician-assisted suicide. There are 1,000 cases of active involuntary euthanasia. There are 5,800 cases of life- prolonging treatment withheld or withdrawn at patient request - 4,756 died, and 25,000 cases without patient consent, of which 8,750 were done with the intent to terminate life. Of the 22,500 patients who died of an overdose of morphine, 8,100 were done with the intent to terminate life, of which 4,941 were done without consent. There were 8,750 cases of life-prolonging treatment stopped with the intent to cause death without cconsent.

There were 59% of doctors who found involuntary euthanasia "conceivable" and 27% have actually performed such acts. Fourteen percent of the patients who underwent involuntary euthanasia were competent, 11% were partially competent, 8% were demented elderly patients and the reasons cited were: low quality of life; no prospect of improvement; family couldn't take it any more. Forty-one percent were killed without family knowledge.

Medical care is expensive, especially at the end of life. We have an aging population, which means that fewer young people are going to be funding the efforts to keep the old folks alive. The temptations are going to mount to legalize euthanasia. This issue is not going away any time soon.


Dear Friends,

Despite Bishop Martino's formal decree suppressing the Society of St. John, the fraud continues.

Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity, whose suspension from ministry forbids him appearing in public as a priest, has been seen walking the streets of Rome in his cassock.

Moreover, the suppressed Society of St. John has just sent out a Christmas appeal to its donors. The appeal arrived in the mail on November 27, two days after Bishop Martino's decree of suppression was published in the Diocesan newspaper. The decree itself is dated November 19, so the SSJ obviously sent out the appeal with full knowledge of the suppression. No doubt the SSJ intends to use the money from this solicitation to finance their exit to Argentina, Italy, France, or perhaps Hell itself.

What is particularly disgusting about this latest appeal for money is that Fr. Daniel Fullerton, one of the SSJ's designated liars, begins the appeal by claiming that the "Society of Saint John is alive and well." Huh?

The picture on the inside of the card shows both Urrutigoity and Fr. Eric Ensey, who is also suspended from public ministry, participating in the mass dressed in their priestly garb.

The final fraud is the address printed on the envelope: "The Priests and Brothers of the Society of Saint John." In case you haven't heard, the SSJ recently put its underlings in Franciscan habits so that they can masquerade as religious brothers.

Pax vobiscum,

Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Here's the homepage.

I've finally gotten time to look at the links KAP posted in the comments box this morning. MID is linked on one of the websites, and she's right, it is seldom boring.

Take this MID website. Right there in their newsletter is an item from Christopher Bamford. Bamford is the editor of Anthroposophic Press, and the author of several Steiner books. I wonder what he is doing in a Catholic publication?

They link the Fetzer Institute, an organization that sponsors Anthroposophical activities. Arthur Zajonc, the president of the Anthroposophical Society, is a fellow of the Fetzer Institute. They link United Religions Initiative. And there are more odd links for a Catholic website.

On their resources page they review Cutsinger's book that I've been reading, _Paths to the Heart_.

On the book reviews webpage I found this:

The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions by Wayne Teasdale. Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Preface by Beatrice Bruteau

That is basically the concept promoted by Guenonian (or Sufi) Traditionalism (Perennialism). It looks like they are just waking up to this new direction in interreligious activity. I presume we can expect more of the same.

There is "Fr. Zen" who is teaching exactly what religion is anybody's guess. Zen Catholicism?

Well, I think I've had enough for one night. Actually, I'm getting jaded. It's all just far too predictable, and it doesn't upset me like it used to. I wonder how the Church defines heresy these days? Oh that's right...they took that word out of the updated Code of Canon Law, didn't they? If I kiss a Buddha, will I get to heaven? Sigh.


in an Oakland, Calif. seminary has the neighborhood in an uproar since the information was broken on broadcast news.

Blogger credit to Crux News for the link.


from Catholic World News:

The leader of the Orthodox world made his comment after receiving the relics of Sts. John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzen, both doctors of the Church and bishops of Constantinople. He said that the Pope's willingness to return the relics to Constantinople was "a very important step toward full unity between our two churches." And he added that the gesture would be "very much appreciated by the ecumenical Patriarchate and by all of Orthodox world."


from Catholic World News:

In a canonical decree that was published on November 25 by the diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Light , Bishop Martino announced that he was suppressing the Society. The bishop's announcement said that after 6 years of operation "the Society has shown no progress in attaining its stated purposes," and had become "principally a debt servicing operation." He also revealed that the Scranton diocese had backed a $2.6 million loan to cover some of the Society's debts.

Bishop Martino's announcement did not directly respond to accusations that the leaders of the Society had molested students at a school run by the group. Father Carlos Urritigoity and Father Eric Ensley were removed from active leadership of the Society by Bishop Timlin early in 2002, after the bishop received complaints about misconduct by the two priests. The Society denied the charges; the cases against the two priests remain unresolved.

In his announcement, however, Bishop Martino suggested that the conduct of the Society's leaders had been, at a minimum, imprudent.


From the Miami Herald:

Three years ago, the Dutch parliament made it legal for doctors to inject a sedative and a lethal dose of muscle relaxant at the request of adult patients suffering great pain with no hope of relief.

The Groningen Protocol, as the hospital's guidelines have come to be known, would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in similar pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities.

The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child's medical team and independent doctors agree the pain cannot be eased and there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents think it's best.

Examples include extremely premature births, where children suffer brain damage from bleeding and convulsions; and diseases where a child could only survive on life support for the rest of its life such as spina bifida and epidermosis bullosa, a blistering illness.

The hospital said it carried out four such mercy killings in 2003, and reported all cases to government prosecutors - but there have been no legal proceedings taken against them.

Catholic organizations and the Vatican have reacted with outrage to Groningen's announcement, and U.S. euthanasia opponents contend that the proposal shows the Dutch have lost their moral compass.


All of the Catholic news I've read so far this morning is.

A reader sent in this link to the circle of women who want to be priests. It's the usual crop of protesters following Sr. Joan Chittister. Anyone want to sign up for the locked chat?

Monday, November 29, 2004


A website sent in by a reader that is dedicated to an upcoming crisis provoked by a declining population in Europe.


From a recent Sunday bulletin at my parish:

St. Anthony of the Desert (4th Century) [Disquisition CXIV]. "Men will surrender to the spirit of the age. They will say that if they had lived in our day, Faith would be simple and easy. But in their day, they will say, things are complex; the Church must be brought up to date and made meaningful to the day's problems. When the Church and the World are one, then those days are at hand. Because our Divine Master placed a barrier between His things and the things of the world." (Quoted in "Voice of Fatima", January 23, 1968).

St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) "Forty years before the year two thousand, the devil will be let loose for a period to tempt men. When all will seem lost, God Himself will suddenly bring all evil to an end. The sign of when these events will occur will be when priests will have discarded their holy habits and dress themselves in lay clothes and when women will dress like men and men like women."


linked over there on the right. The Pope Blog and Liberty and Virtue.

The Pope Blog is sort of self-explanatory. It's about the Pope--his activities and his comments. Liberty and Virtue is unique in blogdom. Charles S., the blogger, is a homosexual who abides by what the Church teaches on sexuality. He blogs about activities in the homosexual community from an authentically Catholic perspective. Go check it out. He has a story posted about the ACLU's latest demands placed on a Kentucky grade school.


Crux News links this story from the IC Birmingham.

A pair of predatory paedophiles who groomed young boys by introducing them to black magic have been jailed for a total of 19 years.

Former army officer Robert Hill, 63, and Michael Dunne, 41, inflicted sustained sexual abuse on five Birmingham youngsters between 1971 and 1995.

The men groomed the schoolboys by introducing them to the occult, palm-reading and 'hands-on' healing.

One of the terrified victims, who were also showered with gifts, even believed that his soul had been sold to the Devil.

Read the rest of the story at the website. Why does this story make me think of some of the stories of abusive priests grooming boys?


given the papal apologies that sooner or later a group representing the Knights Templar would ask for one. A reader sent in the link to this story at the UK Independent, "Knights Templar seek papal apology for 700 years of persecution".

The request is signed by the "Council of Chaplains, for and on behalf of the acting Grand Master", and asks for "an apology from the Vatican for the persecution of our brothers of the Knights Templar and the torture and murder of our leadership, under Pope Clement V during the 14th century AD".

Will the Vatican respond or ignore it? This is, afterall, a branch of Freemasonry, and a positive response from the Vatican would indicate a desire for reconciliation with the Lodge.

The article cites the theme of Templars fleeing to Scotland and fighting with Robert the Bruce, defeating the English at Bannockburn.

That's an interesting last paragraph! Does anyone know if it's true?


According to an interview at Zenit sent in by a reader, we may know where the Holy Grail is located. Janice Bennett, author of St. Laurence and the Holy Grail, Ignatius Press, suggests in an interview that it can be found in its final resting place in Spain.


A reader sent in the link to an interview with Cardinal Cassidy over at Zenit in which he talks about the changes in our view of other faiths.


Q: What sort of progress has the Catholic Church made in the area of ecumenism since the Second Vatican Council?

Cardinal Cassidy: A tremendous amount certainly. I mean, up until then, our attitude in general toward the other Churches was that, well, "they could come home any time they wished … we were ready to receive them."

has changed to:

"No, we have to go out to our other brothers and sisters because Christ wants the unity of the Church."

We are bound, if we wish to be truly followers of Christ, to work for unity. And this doesn't just mean leaving the door open but rather looking for ways to go out and meet the others and to create a relationship by which they are ready then to consider the possibility of entering into full communion with us.

The former, a waiting with the open door, reflected the thinking behind Dominus Iesus...the belief that the Catholic faith is the one true and complete faith. The fullness of truth. We have not abandoned that position.

Further, missionary efforts always "went out" to meet humanity where it could be found, with the hope of drawing humanity to Christ.

The change, it seems to me, is that where once we went out to meet the individual in the hope of drawing him in, we now go out to meet the governing representative of the other faiths. So, the Pope appeases the Patriarch, where once the missionary nun and priest met with the people. The Pontifical Council meets with the World Council of Churches, or the Vatican representative meets with the U.N. Ecumenism seems to have replaced missionary efforts.

Yet the missionary effort is on-going. It just resides in the background, much like relationship with God resides in the background of Catholic thinking. Something we no longer talk about or actively promote. Today the missions are out there struggling on their own to raise funds and help people. And the question arises as we consider whether to send our dollars to the missions, are they drawing people to Christ in an active effort that could undermine interreligious dialogue, or are they just pouring out economic and other help without promoting Christ and Catholicism at all? When I read stories about missionary groups supplying condoms in Africa, I have to wonder.

Has this change resulted from the heterodox liberation theology? A sort of abandonment of what really wasn't working out too well? Have we abandoned missionary effort because geopolitical effort was thought to provide better hope for reconciliation? And has it?

One thing it has provided is a series of scandalous events that have caused Catholics to question the basics of the faith. Does Christ really matter anymore? Is any religion good enough to get to heaven? Are we wasting our time trying to live the more difficult Catholic faith? Can we import spiritual and religious practices from other religions? Is kissing the Koran the same as kissing the Bible? Are interreligious prayer events soul-edifying? Does everyone pray to the same God no matter what they call Him?

Then there is the matter of those encyclicals prior to Vatican II which forbid the very practices that ecumenism and interreligious dialogue promote. How do we weasel out of those prohibitions? How do we dismiss the anathemas of other Popes? And if we find the legal loophole that lets us do it, what consequence does that have for other doctrine--in fact for encyclicals in general--if some of them can be simply dismissed as no longer valid?

What we have gotten from ecumenism and interreligious dialogue is a state of confusion. The more I look at it, the more dismal it appears to be. And the more I look at Freemasonry, the more the similarities override the differences. The Lodge, too, promotes a big happy family of ritual attendees with no dogma and doctrine about a transcendent God in place. It's every Mason for himself where religion is concerned. Pick your own from among a wide variety of equal choices.

Now in coming upon Traditionalism, I'm finding this same thinking given a religious whitewash. There is a good reason Traditionalism has caught on in the Grand Orient Lodges. It is Masonic philosophy that attempts to separate out the more scandalous elements that crept into Masonry with the Paris occult revival. But despite its veneer of religion, it still looks at a variety of religious systems as being equally valid paths to God. Catholicism makes distinctions. Christ is unique.

For me the question it comes down to is how we are to interpret and abide by the First Commandment. Just what is a "strange god" in this age of interreligious dialogue and ecumenism? And how do we avoid having that strange god before us while still living the objectives of Vatican II?

Sunday, November 28, 2004


Just when you think that Hollywood is a hopeless wasteland, along comes a romantic comedy that restores your faith in the value of motion pictures. "Shall We Dance", a romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, is that sort of movie. If art leads culture, this one portends better trends just around the corner.

The right ingredients are here. Committed marriage. Value in those the world deems valueless. Love in a long-term marriage. Wisdom in middle age. The movie has a happy-ever-after ending, following on a wake-up call that didn't involve extramarital sex or any form of violence. No one broke the rules, despite the opportunities and temptations to do so. No one got angry. Hurting souls were healed while playing the moral game.

The appealing good looks of Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopes didn't hurt the story any, either. It's a chick flick--sort of--because it's about love, romance, and marriage. Tears and laughter go with it, neither one in great abundance. But in spite of the sentimental theme, my husband asked if I wanted to stay and see the movie again. I don't think he has ever done that before. We actually talked about it over dinner, a major achievement in an age of movies that are hardly worth remembering until you get to the car.

This one is a masterpiece worth a sequel.

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