Saturday, April 30, 2005


Fr. Rolheiser’s comments about “sacramental sex” posted yesterday lead me to ask the question. E. Michael Jones provides the answers in the book The Medjugorje Deception.

He describes the atmosphere at Notre Dame, where professors had been persuaded to join the Rockefeller Foundation’s promotion of birth control, and thus put themselves outside of the teaching of the Catholic Church. Students at the University were being given a kind of theology that was focused on man, not on God. From this they, or at least some of them, lost their faith. At the same time America was going through the sexual revolution of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The combination of a loss of faith and indulgence in sexual practices, together with the chaos in the Church following Vatican II produced an atmosphere known to occultists as chaos magick, though Jones doesn’t name it as such.

Jones writes:

The sexual constitution of a culture is so basic, so fundamentally important that it determines the broad trajectories of behavior in fundamental ways. …When a culture gets moved… from being congruent with the moral order to being a culture based on sexual liberation, the disruption is profound…The [Rockefeller and other] foundations…understood that a sexually liberated culture was one which they could dominate through the powerful new media. If sex became a matter of opinion, rather than a function of decrees established by God, they could manipulate that opinion to their own advantage and turn sexual liberation into an instrument of political control….what followed was the rise of the charismatic movement throughout the world. Chaos creates a need for order, and if the Church seems overcome by revolution itself, the faithful will look beyond the Church for the stillpoint in the turning world not in ritual and doctrine sanctioned by centuries of tradition, but in religious ecstasy and prophesy directly from the mouth of the Holy Spirit—in short, in religious enthusiasm which banishes the uncertainties of everyday life in an orgy of intense if necessarily ephemeral experience. (p. 37)
At this point Jones introduces Fr. Philip Pavich, an American of Croatian descent who entered the Franciscan seminary in Chicago when he entered high school in the early ‘40s. By the ‘50s he was serving as assistant novice master, and providing spiritual direction for seminarians without the educational background for it. He entered Loyola University in Chicago in 1962 where he encountered Carl Rogers-style of non-directive therapy which provided a new way of interpreting Christian love that had a tendency to get people into sexual trouble.

Pavich became sexually intimate with a divorced woman, and seriously considered laicization. When he finally decided to remain a priest he was transferred to Cleveland, where he encountered the charismatic movement and fell in love with a woman he met in a prayer group. Jones writes:

As Monsignor Knox could have predicted, the charismatic movement became a front for lots of illicit sexual activity, and many of the priests who had resisted the siren songs of the secular ‘60’s succumbed to the seduction of the charismatic spirit in the ‘70s. …

Pavich eventually went on to become a leader in what came to be known as the Charismatic Renewal….[He] suddenly quit the charismatics in 1975. At the time he was working with an Assemblies of God minister in the Cleveland area and was head of a prayer group, but in retrospect he sees the Charismatic Renewal, especially its ecumenical aspect, as another form of seduction.
(p. 42-43)

While Pavich was struggling with his own sexual demons, Marijan Pehar, another Franciscan living in Herzegovina, was engaged in a similar struggle. As Jones describes it:

Pehar had never heard of the human potential movement, Carl Rogers, sensitivity training or the Charismatic Renewal, but he had heard of prayer, and he knew that as a Franciscan priest he was supposed to do (sic) pray regularly and most probably with other Franciscans so he became involved in the prayer groups that were being formed in Herzegovina at the time. He was, however, troubled by the behavior of his fellow Franciscans at the prayer groups he was attending. Instead of just kneeling down and praying the Rosary or something traditional like that, Pehar’s fellow Franciscans would wander around the room with their eyes closed bumping into each other and then confessing their sins, but not in the secrecy of the confessional. The prayer groups were led by two Franciscans a few years older than Pehar, Jozo Zovko and Tomislav Vlasic. (p. 43)

Pehar was uncomfortable with this practice and left the prayer meeting. The following is his description of later events:

”Later on, about two or three hours later, they [the Franciscans who remained at the meeting] came out, and there was some very good friends of mine, and they were different people. They were crying and everything. And I said, ‘Well, what happened inside?’ Well, it was some kind of public confession or something like that. Whatever happened in the past, whatever sins they had, they were talking openly.[“]

Pehar walked out of a similar meeting in Zagreb for the same reason: he didn’t like the manipulative atmosphere.

“They read some part of the Bible, and they were meditating about half an hour and praying alternatively, and all of a sudden one guy in the middle, he start talking something like old Greek or Latin, and after him there were three or four guys talking in tongues. I left that meeting too because later on I found out that some of those people went in hospital, in mental hospital. That’s what I said that time that I feel sorry for these people because there is something going on.”

Something indeed was going on. Father Zovko was experimenting with an explosive mixture of charismatic prayer and sensitivity training. W. R. Coulson, who worked with Carl Rogers doing sensitivity training, recognized the techniques immediately.

“The exercise, for example, of milling around the room and looking in somebody’s eyes, I mean that’s been known for years that it works very effectively. It’s been known since the mid-‘60s…It’s probably found in the basic book of values clarification, practical strategies.”

Coulson is right about the technique, but wrong about the book. However, it is mentioned in Will Schutz’s book
JOY. Schutz, who made encounter groups a household word while at Esalen in Big Sur, California, discussed not only the technique but the effect it had on people as well. “Blind milling,” he tells us, “helps to open up the area of conflict between being alone and being together….This can be done by having everyone stand up, shut his eyes, put out his hands and just start milling around the room. When people meet they explore each other in whatever way and however long they wish.”

Anyone who has taken part in encounter groups can testify to the manipulation that takes place in them. The normal barriers between people fall in this artificial environment, and a synthetic euphoria which is much like being in love follows.
(p. 44)

“Boundaries were broken,” Coulson said. “In fact, there’s another game in question called “Boundary Breakers.” When boundaries are broken, you’re open to all kinds of invasive maneuvers from God-knows-where. That’s what can happen. If someone wants then to plant a suggestion, that’s the right time to do it. Warm them up with a sensitivity exercise, and then suggest to them whatever you want. (p. 45)

In this case, apparently speaking in tongues was the result of putting critical thinking out of gear and opening the mind to outside influence. That is precisely the requirement repeatedly made in occult literature, for becoming a channel.

Considering that “boundary issues” have been brought up repeatedly in the priestly sexual abuse scandal, this matter of encounter groups and the implied relationship with the Charismatic Renewal cannot be ignored.

Considering what Dr. Jones presents in this book, it should not come as a surprise that Fr. Ron Rolheiser talks about sacramental sex in one of his articles, and that Fr. Rolheiser is a speaker at an event of the Cardinal Suenens Center--an event that is directed at seminary leaders. If this is still taking place, as the evidence of the confererence at Mundelain indicates it is, our sexual abuse problem is not soon going to go away.

Jones continues with this analysis:

When combined with the normal charismatic tendency of praying for a passage or getting a word of prophecy, especially when this is done under an authority figure like a priest, [encounter groups] can be especially effective in producing what otherwise would be known as mystical experiences in the participants. In fact, Schutz, who can hardly be characterized as particularly well disposed toward things religious, has experienced the same sort of thing himself. "When the encounter gets more advanced," Schutz wrote, "say to include meditation, then mystical experiences begin occurring even more frequently. Combining the encounter group with the religious experience has helped me to elevate my aspirations for the encounter group." Michael Murphy, the founder of Esalen, saw the spiritual side of encounter groups almost immediately. In fact, according to Walter Truett Anderson's account in THE UPSTART SPRING, a history of Esalen, "Murphy found the workshop as much of a mind-blower as psychedelic drugs. In fact, he wrote an essay about the similarities between the group experience and the drug experience and concluded that, of the two, sensitivity groups were more powerful and effective. [Sensitivity] groups, he decided, would be one of the new American yogas--a path of union between the individual and the cosmos."

The impression that Father Zovko and his charismatic prayer-group-cum-sensitivity-session made on Pehar never really wore off. In the alleged apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje were happening, he was immediately suspicious.

"Was Zovko doing this type of thing at St. James Parish in Medjugorje?" I asked Pehar.

"Yeah," he replied, "that's what I heard later on. And when I heard about that case, I said, "Something must be wrong."

"So these girls," I said referring to the seers, "could have gone to one of these meetings like that?"

"That could happen."

"And he could have suggested something to them at one of these meetings."

"That's what I think. That's what my opinion is."

In 1976 Marijan Pehar was living in a sort of co-ed monastery in Zagreb with an (sic) number of nuns and fellow Franciscan priests, including Father Tomislav Vlasic. Then one day in late 1976, Sister Rufina, one of the nuns, just disappeared. Gradually it became clear that she had got pregnant and was living in Starnberg in Bavaria, West Germany....

After doing some detective work on his own, Bishop Zanic finally tracked her down and went to visit her. In addition to talking to [her], the bishop got to see her son, who bore, he would later remark, a distinct resemblance to Father Vlasic.

(p. 46-47)

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Friday, April 29, 2005


Fr. Ron Rolheiser attempts to answer that question in an article published in "Tidings", Southern California's Catholic weekly paper. The article is titled "Finding God in comunity."

"God," Fr. Rolheiser writes, "is not, first of all, a formula, a dogma, a creedal statement or a metaphysics that demands our assent. God is a flow of living relationships, a trinity, a family of life that we can enter, taste, breathe within and let flow through us. ...God is community, family, parish, friendship, hospitality and whoever abides in these abides in God and God abides in him or her."

God, then, is the community of man. One gets the impression that Fr. Rolheiser doesn't look at God as totally "other." Rather God and man are inseparable in his theology.

"God," he says "is Someone and Something that we live within and which can flow through our veins." God, apparently then, is us. Or at least "God is a flow of relationships to be experienced in community, family, parish, friendship and hospitality. When we live inside of these relationships, God lives inside of us and we live inside of God."

Fr. Rolheiser has the charism of hospitality mastered.

"God is more domestic than monastic...It means, too, that in coming to know God, the dinner table is more important than the theology classroom, the practice of grateful hospitality is more important than the practice of right dogma." Why is "right dogme" so inconvenient for Fr. Rolheiser?

That is where antinomianism leads--into making it up to suit yourself. Will substituting the hospitality gospel for the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John get us to heaven? According to Fr. Rolheiser:

"Such a concept [as the hospitality gospel] blurs all simple distinctions between 'religious' and 'purely secular' experience....God is inside of community, we should be there, too, if we wish to go to heaven. Simply put, we can't go to hell, if we stick close to family, community and parish."

That is the heart of the Charismatic Renewal. It becomes one big social event. Party time at the Catholics'. Even Mass turns into party time. The hospitality gospel is the best excuse for celebration going. All of those contemplative nuns before the Blessed Sacrament are simply missing the boat. All of those desert monks have failed to get the picture. The Catholic God is about good times and happy faces. Forget the cross. Break out the chips.

Prior to Vatican II there were no "charisms." There was grace. There were the seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost--wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. In the entire 603 pages of the Catechism of the Council of Trent not one "charism" is to be found. Not a single reference to hospitality within them.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Rockingham News reports a story of a family plagued by paranormal activities ever since they started digging the foundation for a horse-riding arena. Since they are Catholic, their priest gave them holy water to spread around the property. It helped for a little while, but when the manifestations came back, they turned to Wiccans who cleansed their property, bringing some relief.


Fr. Rohr and Fr. Ron Rolheiser were both on the program at a conference for rectors and key seminary personnel on "Affective Conversion" last July according to "Tower Topics":

Father Benedict Neenan, president-rector, Father Peter Ullrich, chaplain, and
Father Duane Reinert, director of counseling services, participated in a special
conference for rectors and key seminary personnel on “Affective Conversion” July
11-16 at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, Ill. The event, sponsored by the
Cardinal Suenens Center at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, included
among its presenters, Father Robert Barron, Father Richard Rohr, and Father Ron Rolheiser, whose columns are featured in Tower Topics.

"Tower Topics" is a publication of Conception Abbey, a Benedictine seminary and retreat center. Fr. Rolheiser is a regular contributor. There is a picture of him on their website. As with Fr. Rohr, it would be difficult to connect him with the Catholic priesthood by any clues in the picture.

This is not the only place to read Fr. Rolheiser's writings. New Oxford Notes reviewed an article of his which appeared in Catholic San Francisco (Dec. 7, 2001). The review says in part:

Bishops are busy men, and no doubt sometimes so busy that they aren't
of what's being published in their own diocesan papers. We hope that
the hideous column that appeared in Catholic San Francisco (Dec. 7,
2001), the
paper of Archbishop William Levada of the San Francisco

The column is about the "cosmic Christ." It's by Fr.
Ron Rolheiser, who takes his inspiration from Teilhard de Chardin, who went out
of fashion a couple decades ago but is now, with the popularity of the New Age
movement, making a comeback. Now, Rolheiser is no flaky Frisco priest, let that
be clear. Flaky, yes, but he's billed as a "theologian" and "award-winning
author" who "serves in Rome as general councilor for Canada for the Oblates of
Mary Immaculate."

Rolheiser tells us that the cosmic Christ means that
"the mystical and the hormonal, and the religious and the pagan are part of one
thing, one pattern, all infused by one spirit, all drawn to the same end, with
the same goodness and meaning."

Getting more specific, Rolheiser tells
us that "everything — be it…the instinctual hunt for blood by a mosquito…or the
genuflection in prayer or altruism of a saint — is ultimately part of one and
the same thing, the unfolding of creation as made in the image of Christ and as
revealing the invisible God," adding that "God's face is manifest everywhere."

Really catching his bliss now, Rolheiser says that "what's inside of
God is also manifest in the…morally ambivalent, but undeniable, beauty manifest
in…the colorful and lively sexual energy that bubbles inside the culture."

One would be hard pressed to differentiate between Fr. Rolheiser's theology and the theology of Pantheism.

Fr. Rolheiser has his own website. Some of the articles there are interesting. "The Descent Into Hell" speaks of Christ's descent after He died on the cross. He uses these images to romanticize suicide:

I am sure that when the young woman, whose suicide I mention, woke up on the
other side, she found Jesus standing inside her fear and sickness, breathing out
peace, love, and forgiveness, just as he did in the darkness and chaos that he
descended into in his death. I am sure too that she, sensitive young woman that
she was, found in his ordering, forgiving breath a peace that was, for all kinds
of reasons, denied her in this life.

Lodge that concept firmly in the mind of someone contemplating it, and I can almost guarantee the suicide will take place. Whether the promised appearance of Christ will as well is something we can't know this side of the grave. Suicide remains an offense against God in the teaching of the Church.

His conclusion in "Multi-Citizenship - Wide Loyalties" is a bit startling:

We are citizens of the world before we are citizens of a country; women and
men of faith before we belong to some religion; Christians before we belong to a
particular denomination; baptized before we are priests, bishops, cardinals, or
popes; and we are all bound together in a way that makes our signing-on to
Kyoto, or any other global project, more than a issue of individual

That is the sort of thinking that comes from Deep Ecology, a radical ecological movement of the Brian Swimme/EarthSpirit Rising variety.

Then there is "The Inclusive Embrace of Catholicism" in which he compares the faith of Mel Gibson to Michael Moore, telling us that "We cannot build either a society or a church with just liberals or just conservatives." He moves on to Pentecost and the upper room where the Apostles were given "a courage which enabled them to speak different languages, languages of both the left and the right, languages of both the liberal and the conservative, languages that both Mel Gibson and Michael Moore could hear and take to heart."

Ummm, I believe the Holy Spirit is in the habit of giving the language of truth and isn't all that enamored of liberal and conservative designations, unlike Fr. Rolheiser; but then he sounds so friendly and inclusive, and that's really what he would like us to believe Catholicism is all about, apparently.

How about this one--"Pagan Beauty." As if citing Teilhrd de Chardin is not enough of an offense against Truth, he tells us:

What takes your breath away takes your breath away! Never pretend
otherwise. God and pagan beauty are both real, but they are not in our lives as
two warring parties that must be brought to a neutral table for a negotiated
settlement, but are two storms on a collision course. Be true to both and see
what happens. Let the storm takes its course, trusting that the Author of all
beauty, pagan and divine, will, while respecting both your struggle and the
legitimate reality of pagan beauty, gently lead you into that great harmony
within which nothing is lost and everything has its proper place and value.

Is this supposed to be an argument for the worship of Cybele or Dionusos? Maybe he had Lucifer in mind, since he seems to be tying Pagan Beauty to the substance of Earth.

One can almost imagine him visualizing an illicit sexual relationship here. He knows just what to do with it, too, and he tells us all about it in "In Praise of Skin," my own personal favorite exposition of heresy.

Here he pulls no punches. In here he says that "skin meets skin, in sacramental sex, and temple commingles with temple." He knows he's being outrageous because he says "Not an easy thing for us to accept." (Um, yeah, ya got that right!) "Untouched skin is rife with fever spots...we don't get touched enough." But he doesn't quit there:

It seems too earthy to be spiritual. Consequently we generally lack the
courage to accept a theology of sexuality that is earthy enough to do justice to
how shockingly physical the incarnation really is. In sacramental sex there is
eucharist. Just as in eucharist, God enters, caresses, and kisses human
skin....God becomes more than words, more than a belief, more than a teaching.
In the eucharist, God...becomes the great healer who touches, caresses,
massages, and kisses our skin.

Picture it. The lecture hall is full of fresh faced innocent seminarians preparing for a life of celibacy. Out comes the lecturer who tells them that sacramental sex is eucharist and their skin is burning to be touched. What is supposed to be the intended results of these words of Fr. Rolheiser? This is the priest who lectured to the rectors and key seminary personnel on "Affective Conversion" at Mundelein Seminary through the sponsorship of the Cleveland Cardinal Suenens Center. Along with Fr. Richard Rohr. And we wonder why we have a sexual abuse crisis.

Fr. Rolheiser's DVD, "Spirituality and the Two Halves of Life" is featured on the Channel Queer website. Anyone want to guess why?

An article at the Monterey Diocese Watch website explores Fr. Rolheiser's explanation of purgatory, and concludes that he denies it.

He was scheduled to talk about the Eucharist on the calendar of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois in March. It's not clear from the calendar whether this was the sexual eucharist or the Real Thing.

Marianland.com features Fr. Rolheiser's video prominently. Notice this at the end of the description of the video: "This enriching video experience was taped before a live audience at the King's House Retreat and Renewal Center in Belleville, IL. It is presented in three parts and is perfect for use in groups or for individual reflection."

Did you get that word "Renewal" up there? As in Charismatic Renewal?

Marianland bills itself this way on its homepage:

Largest Roman Catholic Marian Pro-Life Resource Web Site
From A to Z
Large Variety of Spiritual Food from the Rich Garden of the Holy Roman Catholic
Largest Selection of the Finest Catholic and other Christian Videos,
Books, Music, Statues and Church Supplies

Uh huh.

Here he is on the website of the Seattle Archdiocese, presenting a poetical pantheistic jumble of nonsense he calls "Priestly prayer: Prayer for the world."

I submit to you readers the evidence of the theology of Fr. Ron Rolheiser as an example of prelest existing within the Charismatic movement, based on the evidence that the Cardinal Suenens Center sponsored his talk at Mundelein. The antinomianism label seems to fit.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Thursday, April 28, 2005


By Richard Rohr.

At Amazon.

Reviewed at Spirituality & Health:

Richard Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, leads this men's retreat in which he uses the myth of the Grail as a spur to inner work. As he puts it, "the journey involves finding the courage to go down into ourselves and take responsibility for what's there. All of it." Rohr challenges retreatants to get in touch with their shadows, their unconscious, and the labyrinth of failure. He finds in the struggle of Jesus the means to grapple with these mysteries and to talk with one's demons. The path to wholeness, both for men and for the Catholic Church, according to Rohr, lies in "bodily, imaginative and epiphanic knowing."


Fr. Richard Rohr's theology, as Fr. Sibley explains, is heretical at least in part. His radical grace that abandons "strict dogma and highly structured formulae" is in fact antinomian. He perceives himself above the dictates of the Church of Jesus Christ, and eligible to generate his own version of theology while calling himself Catholic.

How many does he infect with this faulty theology through his talks about radical grace at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in the Cleveland Diocese? We may never know.

But it doesn't stop there.

Fr. Rohr is also a proponent of the occult enneagram. His website indicates:

Scripture as liberation, the integration of action and contemplation, community building, peace and justice issues, male spirituality, the enneagram, and eco-spirituality would all be themes that he addresses in service of the Gospel.

Mary Jo Anderson explains:

Shrouded in an ancient, semimysterious past, the Enneagram Theory of Personality is often compared to the better-known Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory. What most Catholics do not know is that the Enneagram has its origins in the occult, specifically in alchemy, Sufi mysticism, whirling dervishes, astrology, Hindu mantras, and the occult Kabbala. ...

As the popularity of the Enneagram grows, so does the concern that this bogus New Age practice is being more widely accepted among Catholics. That's the opinion of Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., of the University of Dallas. Pacwa is best known for his witty and intelligent debunking of the New Age movement. "I was one of the first teachers of the Enneagram in this country," he reports, "and I learned it in Chicago from Father Bob Ochs. I taught it to Father Richard Rohr in his kitchen! Now he is an Enneagram expert with books and tapes, hopping across the country giving workshops." ...

Pacwa's book, Catholics and the New Age Movement, devotes a chapter to the Enneagram, "Occult Roots of the Enneagram." An enigmatic Greek Armenian, George Gurdjieff, born in Russia about 1870, is generally acknowledged as the bearer of the enneagram to the West.

Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal mentions Gurdjieff in her book The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture:

Destalinization and the collapse of communism created favorable conditions for the occult revival that is so apparent in Russia today. Open interest in the occult surged in the Gorbachev years (1985-91). ...

Theosophists, Anthroposophists, and followers of Gurdjieff and Uspensky have emerged from the underground. The Symbolists and the God-seekers are in vogue, so the occult ideas embedded in their writings are finding a new audience.
(p. 29)

This is further evidence of the antinomianism embraced by Fr. Richard Rohr. What place does this have in the beliefs of a Catholic? Yet there is little doubt that it has gotten into seminaries and retreats as Anderson's article indicates. The occult has found a warm and embracing home in Catholic spirituality through deluded priests like Fr. Richard Rohr.

The Catholic Culture document library also reports on Rohr's efforts to spread the enneagram:

The Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) is situated on the parish property of Holy Family Church in Albuquerque. From this site, retreats and workshops are made available to the city's progressive Catholics. The center is New Mexico's Call to Action hub, and well-known CTA personalities, such as radical feminist Rosemary Radford Ruether and '60s war protester Daniel Berrigan, have been speakers at the center in the last several years; also offered are alternative spirituality programs, such as Dr. Ruben Habito's annual retreat weekend at the center that includes "instruction in the elements of Zen practice."

CAC's founder, Fr. Richard Rohr, is a prolific writer and retreat master. He has done as much as anyone to spread the study of the enneagram around the United States.

It would seem, then, that The Cardinal Suenens Center, an institution with the sonsorship of John Carroll University, is promoting occultism to Catholic pastoral leaders with Bishop Pilla's blessing, or at the very least without Bishop Pilla's censorship. The Diocese of Cleveland website's official calendar announces the March 8, 2005 Richard Rohr event.

The Cardinal Suenens Center and the Charismatic Movement would seem to be of a piece.

Cardinal Suenens' support was the backbone of the fledgling Charismatic Movement. He did as much as any member of the hierarchy to make the Charismatic Movement happen. The Center dedicated to his name is also dedicated to carrying out his ideals. The involvement of the Holy Spirit is paramount to the work of this center.

Fr. Rohr is scheduled to lecture at a Catholic Charismatic Renewal event in England on September 10-11, 2005 titled "Come and See" at the Cathedral in Liverpool. Apparently the Catholic Charismatic Renewal across the pond is comfortable with occultism as well.

The Harvesters, a men's organization which comes out of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal features a team member who has studied the Enneagram:

GREG McCRAVE I was born and brought up on the Wirral 40 years ago. I live in Preston and am married to Rose. Together we have two children Joseph (14) and Bethany (12)."... "I've a degree in Religious Studies and my list of spiritual interests are: involvement in every parish ministry known to man (except flower arranging but wouldn't mind trying to prove that I am in touch with my feminine side!); the Enneagram (a great tool - especially for men - as gives permission for us to talk about and discover more about ourselves); Justice & Peace and Fairtrade; Scripture study; Contemplation and Meditation; Contemporary Christian Music.

Again it is obvious that occultism has found a home in the Charismatic Renewal.

Last October the Advanced Enneagram was on the calendar of the Diocese of Oakland, specifically on October 30. Occultism is apparently at home in the Oakland Diocese as well as the Cleveland Diocese.

In San Francisco the online magazine "Charismatic" features a story on page 10 titled "Vocation--The Call" by Rich Heffern which references the Enneagram:

I wonder if the whole identity-in-diversity question doesn't go much further than just the four or nine types we see in the Myers-Briggs or Enneagram models...down to that unique individual image that resides in each and every one of us many billions on the planet.

The article also references radical Eco-spirituality promoter Brian Swimme as well, but that's a matter for another day.

In light of the Swimme reference, it's worth noting however, that on Richard Rohr's website, Center for Action and Contemplation, there is ample reference to centering prayer, and the calendar features a "Summer Solstice Celebration scheduled for June 15, 6-9, which includes walking the labyrinth. It is scheduled to be held in the CAC garden/labyrinth. More evidence the center is comfortable with occultism.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Authentic charism of the Holy Spirit.


Authentic charism of the Holy Spirit.



One of last Sunday's readings concerned the various dwelling places in the House of the Lord, and it was the reading that our visiting priest chose to focus on in his homily. He introduced it with this joke...

Two men were standing in St. Peter's gatehouse awaiting the assignment of their living arrangements. One was a preacher and the other was a taxi driver. St. Peter called up the taxi driver first and told him: "Your house is located on Cloud Street, third house from the corner. I hope you enjoy living there."

Wow! thought the preacher. I've seen the houses on Cloud Street. He was just a taxi driver and God is giving him a 30-room mansion. I wonder what He will give me?

St. Peter called up the preacher. "You will need to see St. Thomas in the brick building at the entrance to Tent City. He will show you where your tent is located."

"A tent, St. Peter?" the preacher responded. "I spent my whole life in the service of your boss. Don't I get something better than a tent? You gave a taxi driver a mansion."

"Ah well, you see it's like this," St. Peter responded. "Up here we reward results. When you preached, people fell asleep. When he drove, people prayed."

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


From March 10 to March 24 Fr. Bryce Sibley posted several blogs reviewing the theology of Fr. Richard Rohr on his weblog. Fr. Sibley was critical of it. Here are some of his statements:

But as a Catholic priest, instead of attempting to renew these Sacraments and
the rituals surrounding them, Fr. Rohr has taken it upon himself to create new
rituals that he believes will speak to the men of today. In fact, the appendix
of Adam’s Return gives the outline of a sample rite for men. The sponsoring of
such rituals for men is one of the main activities of his Center for Action and
Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM and men from around the States pay hundreds of dollars to “find themselves” there. For most Catholics, the problem with these
male initiation rites should be the fact that they draw from and resemble
various pagan rites of initiation. Sure, they might bring about a renewed sense
of consciousness, but I do not think from reading and hearing what Fr. Rohr has
to say about them that they could be called Christian or much less Catholic.

- - - - -
Although I am no expert on the thought of Duns Scotus, I feel quite certain that Fr. Rohr’s claim does not represent the thinking of the “Subtle Doctor” nor the Franciscan School. Fr. Rohr is correct in saying that Scotus put a great emphasis on the Incarnation as an act of divine love, however to claim that he said that the Cross was not necessary for redemption would make Scotus to hold a heretical position; however, from reading the above paragraph, it is apparent that Fr. Rohr holds such a position.

- - - - -

Fr. Rohr’s support of homosexual advocacy groups such as Soulforce (and thus his implicit support of homosexual activity), is a radical contradiction to the apparent importance he places on sexual difference in his Male Spirituality talk, since homosexual activity is the ultimate denial of sexual difference. As the Catechism states, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC 2357). “They do not proceed from an genuine sexual complementarity” clearly states that homosexual activity runs counter to the God-given meaning of sexual difference.

- - - -

My ultimate problem with Fr. Rohr’s presentation of his so-called “Male Spirituality” is this. He can call this spirituality and the beliefs that inform it anything he wants, but he should not call it “Catholic.” He claimed at his talk that it is in the “larger Christian and Catholic tradition” not the 1950’s tradition that some might envisage. However I do not believe that you can call referring to God as Mother, advocating homosexual unions, denying the spiritual reality of original sin, and denying the necessity of the Cross for redemption as residing with the “Catholic” or even any “Christian” tradition. This is at least disingenuous and at most heretical on his part, especially coming from a validly ordained priest.

That is just a sample. There is much more in the weblog which anyone interested in Fr. Rohr's theology would do well to read. Fr. Sibley is intending to publish his comments on Fr. Rohr's theology.

That brings me to the current issue of the Cleveland Diocesan publication, the Universe Bulletin.

I don't subscribe. I used to subscribe, but got so bored with it that I didn't renew. However, last Sunday at church issues of the current Bulletin were provided for the taking, so I took one. This issue has a lot of material on the Popes, naturally. It also has an article by Dennis Sadowski, Editor titled "God's radical grace: Franciscan guides people inwardly to seek hope in a divided world". The Franciscan is Fr. Richard Rohr.

Sadowski opens the article with an Editor's note:

Author, retreat director and inspirational speaker Franciscan
Father Richard Rohr visited the Cleveland Diocese in March to speak at the
Center for Pastoral Leadership as well as at a program sponsored by John Carroll
University's Cardinal Suenens Center at Gesu Church. Father Rohr spent
75-minutes with the UB discussing his work and his vision for a just

According to the article, Fr. Rohr was ordained in 1970, and served in the Cincinnati diocese where he "helped establish the New Jerusalem Community there. New Jerusalem offered people a chance to be more deeply involved in the work of justice while building a caring Christian community."

The article tells us that "The idea of seeking radical grace guides the work of the center....By radical he means that it is 'at the root' that God's grace is moving people toward the revelation of justice."

It continues

The Franciscan cautions people about staking out the moral high ground and then feeling superior to others. He says that has become the norm among many Christians--Catholics and Protestants alike--who have turned to strict dogma and highly structured formulae to find the way to salvation.

The idea of radical grace often frightens those who prefer to follow strict rules and behaviors, he says.

In other words, Fr. Rohr doesn't think adhering to Dogma and strict rules is the way to go. Instead he would prefer...what, exactly? Judging by what Fr. Sibley has stated, what he prefers is do-it-yourself theology.

The picture of Fr. Rohr in the UB shows an older, balding, bespecktacled man in a dark colored shirt. One would not be able to identify this man with the priesthood from the picture.

Curiosity sent me to the Suenens Center. Their website could use some updating. They are focused on "Renewal." What sort of renewal are they going to get with Fr. Richard Rohr?

They are focused on ecumenism, and on the charisms. As Cardinal Suenens is quoted as saying in this issue of their newsletter "The Spirit must always free the Church from its narrowness..." That seems to be what Fr. Richard Rohr means by his radical grace.

But we Catholics are about rules. We believe there is such a thing as truth and that the truth doesn't change. We believe that creating theology out of whole cloth is not the Catholic way. We believe that theology must be consistent with the long Tradition of the Church going back to the apostles. So where is our Bishop when an heretical theologian is brought into the Cardinal Suenens Center to give a talk? Is he clarifying the errors presented so that the flock will not be led astray? No, he doesn't seem to be. Is he designating a reporter for the Diocesan newspaper to write an article that clarifies the errors presented? No, he doesn't seem to be. Is he remaining silent when a reporter sings the praises of an heretical theologian in the Diocesan publication? Yes, one would get the impression that he is. Could it then be assumed that perhaps he agrees with Fr. Richard Rohr? You be the judge.

The Newsletter of the Cardinal Suenens Center presents the panel of speakers for the "Affective Conversion As Theme for the Third Conference for Seminary Personnel" which was scheduled for July 11-15, 2004. Fr. Richard Rohr was on that panel as well. Is it any wonder, then, that the Cleveland seminary spawned Fr. Donald Cozzens expose? Once seminary personnel are given the go ahead to ditch doctrine and pursue radical grace, there are no barriers to where this "grace" will lead.

Why also, one wonders, would the Cardinal Suenens Center want to entertain the words of an heretical speaker? Don't the Charismatics pride themselves in their adherence to doctrine? Or is it perhaps that they pride themselves in adhering to whatever theology someone ordained gives them, without asking questions? After all, if you commune with the Spirit, as apparently Richard Rohr believes that he does, anything is acceptable, even heresy.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Zenit reports.


Beliefnet commentator Paul Wilkes offers his 16-point litmus test for Pope Benedict. He recommends posting it up on the fridge so we can check it periodically to see how the Pope is doing.

Ok, maybe the idea has merit. What I can't see is the answers to these questions that Wilkes would like me to look for. When Wilkes gives Benedict a passing nod, I'll be the one shaking my head and saying too bad, he had such promise.

On the other hand, I hope and believe that in the days ahead I will be the one applauding on these points, and Wilkes will be the one gnashing his teeth.


Boston.com reports:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson has filed an amended bankruptcy organization plan, seeking to cap its payout for sex-abuse claims at $20 million. A plaintiffs' lawyer said the amount wasn't enough and vowed to challenge the proposal.

Initial payments to alleged abuse victims would range from $100,000 to $600,000, depending on the severity of the abuse, according to the amended plan filed Monday.

The bankruptcy court has logged 103 abuse claims against the diocese, which in September became the second in the country to file for Chapter 11 reorganization protection in the face of litigation stemming from alleged sexual abuse by priests.

Of course no amount of money would ever be enough to compensate a victim for sexual abuse by a priest. Their life was irrevocably altered by the experience, and money can't fix that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Trying but failing.

A reader sent in this Ananova article--a female reader.

Is it really just about the physical sensation and nothing else? Is a mind behind the body just incidental to what's important? Because if a warm recepticle is all that is requied, it really doesn't amount to much, does it? Not much more than a chocolate eclair or a swim in a heated pool. And if it doesn't amount to much, why is all the fuss made about it? And why does it occupy so much mental energy?

On the other hand if it is more than a mere physical sensation, how can an artificial piece of equipment substitute for real human contact? And what does it say about the person who chooses to make use of the piece of equipment...about his mental capacity and emotional maturity? Nothing positive.

Then again perhaps this is just a boy toy. Sort of like the Corvette or the motorcycle, or maybe even a new piece of exercise equipment. Something to occupy the guy who can't get the real thing. An ego trip where the user consoles himself with no strings attached. Something to talk about when the women aren't around and there's nothing left to say about cars and football and nights spent on the bar stool.

Or is this all about wall street and ad men and stock options? Leave it to a clever inventor to find a way to market what was never intended by the Maker to be sold. A way to sell what is available free of charge to those who are willing to pay with their commitment instead of their disposable income.

There really is just one more question to ask. Does the owner give this mechanical creature a name...maybe even his name...and talk to her as he avails himself of her services, and does she answer back?


Since the Second Vatican Council there has been increased emphasis on the social gospel. Perhaps this is a correction of what was perceived as a past failure to emphasize the needs of the poor prior to the Council. It cannot be said, however, that the missions in days gone by failed to address those needs. The approach, though, was different. Missionaries provided for material needs in order to display the goodness of the God they were bringing. The emphasis was not on the material needs, but rather on the spiritual treasures that came with them. Nevertheless, the material provision cannot be denied.

Addressing material needs is a theme not limited to the Catholic Church. It is also a theme of Freemasonry. The Lodges are quite proud of their charitable works.

This website explains the Irish Masonic charities.

These are the charities associated with the Grand Lodge of Georgia.

The Ohio Grand Lodge website lists Masonic charities.

Those are only a few examples.

Some argue that Masonic charities help only the families of Masons, but not all of them are so restrictive. I know of at least one Catholic who was helped by a Masonic charity.

In addition, the tenets of Freemasonry are associated with the moral improvement of the members, and charity toward your fellow man is a significant part of this morality. The Mason is focused on service to his family, his community, his world. The Lodge motto is liberty, equality, and fraternity. Sometimes it appears that the Masons get the social gospel better than the Christians do. The Church and the Lodge are in agreement on the Second Commandment of Christ.

It is in the First Commandment where the major disagreement arises. The Lodge does not define God. The Lodge accepts any concept of god that man can devise. The Lodge considers all gods to be equal, and equally worthy of respect. The Sacred Book of the Law adorns the altar of every Masonic Lodge, but the book of choice varies according to the religion of the members. At times there are two Sacred Books, when more than one religion is represented by the membership. At the same time the Lodge forbids discussions of religion because it is believed that such discussions cause divisions between men. The Lodge is focused on this world.

There is no denying that this tolerance can be conducive to peace on a surface level. Lodge rituals are altered in various rites to accommodate variations of religious expression. The English Lodges use a ritual reminiscent of death and resurrection for the First Degree—a story of death and rebirth into the light of Masonry. Part of that ritual revolves around the symbolism of Jacob’s Ladder from Genesis.

Michael Baigent explains this in his Letter from the Editor, Issue 28 of “Freemasonry Today.”

Yet the God of the Jews is not the same as the god of the Lodge, because a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Pagan would be uncomfortable with this definition of god. And so the god of Masonry must be a syncretistic image good for all present.

In summary, then, Freemasonry concentrates on the moral improvement of man and the marginalization of god in the name of peace.

In reading Masonic philosophy, after a while it begins to sound much like the Catholic social gospel as we have heard it expressed since Vatican II. Much concentration on the horizontal, minimal concentration on the vertical. Find God in your pew partner. Don’t put too much emphasis on the vertical and transcendent. Small wonder, then, that Catholics today find nothing wrong with Lodge membership. What they hear in the Lodge is not contrary to what they hear in their Church.

The social gospel has enjoyed major emphasis in my Diocese of Cleveland. For years the only time we heard from the Bishop was each May when the annual Diocesan Catholic Charities appeal was about to be launched. It reached the point in the late 90s when it seemed that the bishop viewed middle-class Catholics as little more than a checkbook that could be tapped for his charitable programs. Bishop Pilla had his mind on the poor, and seldom departed from that theme to address the spiritual needs of his flock.

Cleveland is not alone in having this concentration, but Cleveland stood out. The Cleveland Catholic Charities has earned international acclaim according to Yahoo Financial News which reports that the Cleveland program has “earned high praise from the Vatican as ‘the largest diocesan system of social services in the world’.” According to Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome.

The Lodge would approve of the charitable efforts of Bishop Anthony Pilla.

It might be argued that the Lodge would approve of some additional efforts of Bishop Pilla. He even makes reference to “the impulse…for a practical commitment to building a more just and fraternal society” in material he distributed recently.

During the last ten weeks, Bishop Pilla has instructed each parish to publish and distribute his “Liturgical Notes.” These have been a weekly two-page explanation of the Year of the Eucharist, and how this relates to the Liturgy.

I’ve perused them briefly then saved them for a second reading in a single session so as to get the full impact of their content as a single package.

The notes begin, in issue Number 1 and 2, with an explanation of the need to see that Christ remains with us in the form of consecrated bread and wine. Bishop Pilla speaks of the words of Pope John Paul II in Mane Nobiscum Domine which tells us that “Through the mystery of his complete hiddenness [in the Eucharist] …believers are led into the depths of the divine life.” He tells us that among the things we could do especially during Lent to make our life more Eucharistic is not only to “Participate in daily Mass”, but also to “read, reflect upon, and pray with the Scripture readings for Sunday Mass during the prior week, go to church a little earlier and stay after Mass to pray, spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, study the Church’s teachings on the Eucharist.” Only once does he include a reference to the horizontal dimension of the Gospel: “Live the Eucharist by engaging in works of charity, especially on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged” in this installment.

In issue No. 3 he asks us to probe the deeper meaning of the Church’s Liturgy and its sacramental signs.” Here he begins to talk about the need for a “deeper communion with the Trinity and one another,” and the fact that “The Risen Lord is with us—in priest and people, [and] in Word.”

In Issue No. 4, he talks about the disturbing nature of liturgical deviations from parish to parish, and the need for catechesis.

Issue 5 discusses the need for “the unity of the People of God.” He writes that “Liturgy is not to be subjugated to the personal whim, either theological or liturgical, of the pastoral or religious leadership of a community with regard to what ritual norms will or will not be implemented. It is not subordinate to the personal piety and devotional practices that serve to complete Christian spirituality. Instead personal spirituality and devotions must harmonize with the Liturgy ‘since the Liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them”. He adds “I believe that this requires a ‘substantial unity’ within the liturgical life of our local church….I have had lay faithful tell me of their distress at a lack of some sense of liturgical uniformity from parish to parish.”

By Issue 6 we are beginning to get the focus of his concern. He is not discussing the disturbing aspect of inventiveness on the part of diocesan priests. No, his focus is on the nasty habit of the laity of kneeling during Communion. Referring to JPIIs words in Mane Nobiscum Domine he writes:

His words challenge our temptation to privatize Eucharistic celebrations, to make our reception of Holy Communion merely a matter between “me and Jesus.” Christ has given us the gift of Himself in the Eucharist in order to help us embody Him in our daily living and loving. …How can we say that we will go forth from the Eucharist to serve Christ in others, if we do not recognize Christ in the very people who have gathered with us in prayer at the Eucharist? In emphasizing the communal dimension of our liturgical celebrations, the bishops at Vatican II sought the graced means by which we may become what we celebrate: the Body of Christ. Internally and externally, by actively participating in prayer, song, silence, posture, symbol, and sign, we learn what it means to live as His Body, the Church.
In Issue 7 he speaks of “fraternal unity” and speaks of the “Catechesis on the importance of uniform postures, gestures, actions, and processions.” He adds: “The Communion hymn accompanying the entire Communion procession, beginning as the priest celebrant receives Communion and continuing until the final member of the liturgical assembly has received Communion” and moves on to “Standing as the posture for receiving Communion” and “Communicants standing and singing the Communion hymn after returning to their places”. He does include Cardinal Arinze’s permission for “personal piety” expressed by kneeling, but one gets the impression that is merely giving lip service to it so that no one can bring it up.

There even seems to be a veiled threat regarding the pastor’s implementation of this posture during Communion: “I also expect that proper catechesis has or will accompany their implementation. It is unfair to our people merely to say: ‘This is what the bishop wants.”

One immediately wants to add “what will happen if the pastor doesn’t give “proper catechesis”?

By No. 8 he is talking about the communal and unitive aspects of Communion and tells us that “this is not a private moment. It is not simply a time for personal devotion.” He is willing to concede that

When the distribution of communion is finished, as circumstances suggest…

“Circumstances”, are that Mass must finish on schedule so that the parking lot can be emptied before parishioners arriving for the next Mass begin to arrive. Bishop Pilla knows this.

the priest and faithful spend some time praying privately. Otherwise the GIRM presumes that the entire liturgical assembly is engaged in communal actions, primarily the Communion procession and singing the Communion hymn. Our prayer during the distribution and reception of the Eucharist is the Communion hymn. The hymn is not just traveling music or a fancy way of dressing up this ritual moment. It is our prayer. …

Ah yes…”Eat His body, drink His blood, and we’ll sing a song of love, aleluli, aleluli, alelulia.” Sigh. Visions of the natives dancing around the boiling pot abound.

Regardless of what posture individuals may take after receiving the Eucharist, joining in the Communion hymn as our common prayer reveals that Communion is about communion with Christ and one another. In our diocese, we have also tried “to highlight more clearly the ‘communitarian’ nature” [emphasis mine] of the Communion Rite by encouraging standing throughout the entire Communion procession for those who are able.

GIRM, #43 states that “the faithful should stand…from the invitation,
Orate, fraters (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below.” These exceptions include when the liturgical assembly “may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed” (meaning, after Holy Communion has been distributed to everyone) and, in the United States, during the Eucharistic Prayer when the faithful ordinarily kneel. The other time when the faithful may kneel before the end of Mass is when the priest celebrant elevates the Eucharist and says: “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…” However, the GIRM allows the diocesan bishop to determine another posture for this ritual moment. In the Diocese of Cleveland, we stand during the priest’s invitation and our response: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you…”

Since implementing this norm in our diocese, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments continues to offer clarifications on the Communion Rite. It has proposed reasonable exceptions to this norm: namely, those who are unable to stand due to age, infirmity, or personal piety. In fact, these were noted in the first round of diocesan catechesis that we did in the Fall of 2003.

Since then, Francis Cardinal Arinze, the Prefect of the Congregation, has reminded diocesan bishops that directives about posture should avoid any appearance of rigid regimentation. I believe that we have done this…

However, I am unaware of any documentation that allows entire communities simply to ignore this norm because they do not like it or because it interferes with their private prayer.

Apparently in Bishop Pilla’s opinion it is not possible for an entire parish to be pious enough to want to kneel.

A period of silence after Communion interferes with the time schedule. A period of silence for private prayer before Mass begins it not possible because of the commotion of parishioners arriving for Mass. A period of silence after Mass is not possible because of the commotion of departing parishioners. Most churches are locked when Mass is not taking place.

In short, eliminating a period of silence after Communion insures that there will be no opportunity for the laity to pray privately before the Blessed Sacrament so as to make a personal thanksgiving to the Lord who has sacrificed Himself for them. This directive of the Bishop puts a barrier between the Communicant and his Lord, between the pious and the object of that piety. It forces the laity to be content with a man-focused Sunday worship experience which is not in line with the directive handed down by Cardinal Arinze nor consistent with the desire to worship God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is, however, consistent with the thinking of the Lodge, where the emphasis is upon the needs of your fellow man and a de-emphasis on the transcendent aspect of God, particularly as He has manifested Himself to us in the body of Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


According to Michael Brown:

But the devil does not simply stand for "sin"; he is not a mere symbol or image; an approach of denial is one authored by Satan himself, said Benedict XVI. He described sociologists and philosophers who have dismissed notions of the devil as possessing a philosophy that "consists merely in banal, uncritical assent to the convictions of the present time."

One of then-Cardinal Ratzinger's most celebrated books, Dogma und Verkundigund, treats the topic of the devil as one of the "major themes of preaching."


seems to have been the abortion clinic policy. Or perhaps it was just that no one had clocked in yet and so didn't feel they needed to respond to clinic business. The story at the LifeSite website is also linked at Crux News.

ORLANDO, FL, April 25, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Angele, a single mother in her thirties with two children, thought that abortion was the answer to her circumstances. At almost 23 weeks gestation, she entered the EPOC Clinic in Orlando, Florida. Little did she realize that the next day she would give birth to a live, perfectly healthy boy whom she named Rowan. Cradling Rowan's moving body, her screams for help were ignored by abortion clinic workers while her son took his last breath.


Crux News has linked a blog that shows the new use a church has been put to in Belgium. Are those swastikas on the floor?

Monday, April 25, 2005


at the Envoy website on The Da Vinci Code that is worth reading especially if you haven't read their book. Here's an excerpt:

Fiction, especially best-selling pulp fiction such as The Da Vinci Code, has become a major means of "educating" the masses about many, varied topics, but especially those issues that are controversial and can be easily sensationalized. The belief that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, had children, and was not divine in any way has existed for several decades in American pop culture. Yet many, if not most, readers of Brown’s novel seem unaware of this–even though the novel provides the titles of several books written in the last two or three decades proposing such beliefs, most notably Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Dell, 1982) by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.
Put succinctly, here are the major problems with The Da Vinci Code:

It attacks the Catholic Church and her beliefs about Jesus Christ, the Bible, and Church authority.
It claims to be completely accurate and based in fact, but it is not.
It rewrites and misrepresents Church and secular history.
It promotes a radical feminist, neo-gnostic agenda.
It propagates a relativistic, indifferent attitude towards truth and religion.


A reader sent in this article at Catholic World News:

It is an unsigned document, consisting of about ten sub-parts, which provides a picture of the situation of the clergy in various countries of the world, particularly Europe, Africa, and North America. We were not told who the author was, but certainly it was someone viewing the Church situation from a privileged vantage point, and very much an insider's one.

The "lack of integrity" of too many priests is put in stark relief: violation of the rules of celibacy, obviously, but not only that; problems tied to money, problems with the use of the faithful's contributions, and problems concerning the confessional as well. One example cited was the case of two young priests, guilty of violating the secrecy of the confessional and for that reason reduced to the lay state for thirty years by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "Time was when the secrecy of the confessional was an impregnable rampart," remarked the aforementioned cardinal. It is likely that this document was the basis for erstwhile-Cardinal Ratzinger's seemingly harsh interventions.

There's more. Cardinal Ratzinger was upset with what he knew, and his words convey the depth of his concern. Pope Benedict knows the truth because he has been dealing with it as it unfolded. It doesn't seem likely that he will ignore it. How will he attempt to heal the damage that has been done? Will he reveal the ugly truth in detail? Will heads finally roll?

One would like to hope this will be the first item on his agenda, considering the size of this particular elephant in the livingroom. If it is not an early item on the agenda, those of us who have been following the unfolding of the scandal will become even more cynical, and speaking for myself, may lose the struggle to hold onto belief in the Church and Her shepherds.

Please God grant that some justice may finally emerge...that some assumption of responsibility will finally take place...that a depth of sorrow will finally be expressed in meaningful ways for the depth of offense against God and His children that has taken place...that the whitewash will finally end...that a way of reconciliation will open and the Church will be cleansed of this foulness.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


There is something appealing about Pope Benedict that is uniquely his, that is not a carryover from John Paul II or a preconceived image of the papacy itself. I couldn't put my finger on it until this morning, but this seems to be it. He brings God the Father immediately to mind, while JPII brought to mind God the Son.

It's probably his white hair. But more than that, the picture of him that is emerging is one of absolute clarity on doctrine and truth and a staunch defender of it, while at the same time he is enormously compassionate, and totally lacking in pride and arrogance. He is wise as only someone who has lived long can be wise.

That's the way of a father, more than the way of a son. And so in Pope Benedict I see a loving God the Father leading his children home.

It's inevitable that in the first emotional rush he will be placed on a pedestal. Time will tarnish the pedestal, unfortunately. He is human afterall, and he can't hope to live up to everyone's expectations. Our enthusiasm will be dampened as he settles into the nitty gritty of everyday, and we dislike something he does or says. When that happens, I hope that I can still hold on to this image of compassionate Father that I see in him today.


is a picture of Pope Benedict holding his? crucifix. It looks so much like the one JPII used. Is it the same one? A duplicate? A standard Papal item? Different in some way?


A history of the origins of Freemasonry is presented at the website of the Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland - The origins. It includes the members of the Rosy Cross. Because the passage is presented in a single paragraph which is difficult to read, I've taken the liberty of breaking it out into several paragraphs:

With this "Renaissance", which marked the era of the "great discoveries", there appeared scientific break-throughs, and, with this, a new and more rational approach to the world knowledge. The birth of this modern scientific thought, between the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century, was represented by the Rosy Cross movement.

Generated by leading thinkers who were, amongst others, Michael Maier (1568-1622), Robert Fludd (1574-1637), Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), Jean-Valentin Andreae (1586-1654), this movement went off in search of lost wisdom which, once found again, would permit a new understanding of the Divine, of the universe and of human nature. For that, these thinkers depended on the study and development of the sciences, in which mathematics and especially geometry, mother of architecture, were considered to be of the foremost.

Several societies of the Rosy Cross were therefore created all about in Europe, but notably in London, where Alchemy was at its peak and where the followers of the Rosy Cross played an essential role in the founding of the Academy of Sciences, which is now called the Royal Society. A number of the Rosy Cross members were also Freemasons, such as Christopher Wren, Superintendent of the Royal buildings; Robert Moray, chemist and mathematician, first President of the Royal Society; and the historian, Elias Ashmole, who created a society having for purpose the symbolic edification of Salomon's Temple, which being interpreted according to the Rosy Cross's ideal, the Temple unifier of sciences.

The famous Royal Society, in which the Rosy Cross, Isaac Newton and the physicist and cofounder of the Grand Lodge of London, Théophile Désaguliers, took part, was then one of the melting pots in the synthesis of the Rosy Cross and Freemasons.

The members of the Rosy Cross were considered from the beginning by the founders of modern Freemasonry as "Brothers belonging to the same Fraternity or Order". It is this revival of ideas, brewing up notably in the Lodges, from which was born "modern" Freemasonry, described as "speculative" at the beginning of the 18th century.

The Canonbury Masonic Research Center website also mentions Elias Ashmole in connection with John Dee. You will find the mention in the public lecture scheduled for May 18, 2005 by David Rankine, an "author, researcher, and practising magician". The title of the lecture is "The Angelic Legacy of Dr. John Dee". From the website:

The importance of Dr John Dee's skrying work with Edward Kelley, and the subsequent Angelic material received, is now well known. In the late 19th century the Enochian system was revived within the Golden Dawn by its founders Westcott and Mathers who were also prominent members of the Societas Rosicruciania In Anglia. Subsequently this system of working with Angels is now acknowledged to be one of the most interesting areas of modern esoteric practice. Current research reveals the level of practice of Dee's Angelic material by magicians throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Dr John Dee's work, was preserved by such men as Sir Hans Sloane and Elias Ashmole, and expanded further by Dr Thomas Rudd. The role of the Enochian system within the Grimoire tradition of the Renaissance will be considered in detail, as will its continuing influence on the subsequent esoteric traditions that have come into being in more recent times.

Robert Macoy (1815-1895), in his book General history, cyclopedia and dictionary of freemasonry, currently reprinted by Outlet Book Company, Inc. as A Dictionary of Freemasonry, offers a timeline of the founding of the Craft. The entry for 1646 reads as follows:

The Masonic corporations in England, in which for a long time the majority had been composed of learned men, artists, men eminent for knowledge and position, who were received as honorary members, and termed accepted Masons, no longer busied themselves with the material and primary object of the association. It was at this time that the celebrated antiquary Elias Ashmole, who founded the museum at Oxford, having been initiated, rectified and composed the formula for the society of Rose-Croix, consisting of ceremonies based on historical allusions, and the communication of signs of recognition after the manner of the Freemasons. This labor inspired him with the idea of composing new rituals for the Masons, and accordingly he composed and substituted for the rituals in use a new mode of initiation, based, in part, on old Anglo-Saxon and Syriac manuscripts, partly on the Egyptian mysteries, and on what he supposed to have been the form of initiation among the Roman architects. These rituals were adopted by the London lodges, and soon after throughout England. (p. 25-26)

Dr. John Dee, then, is an historical figure with a strong input into Freemasonry through his admirer Elias Ashmole.

I recently blogged some of the material from the ninth chapter of the Calder Thesis MS online at the John Dee Society website. The tenth chapter mentions Elias Ashmole in the following comments:

Moreover, Dee himself had never wholly abandoned the practice of scrying, though he never found an assistant so fluent and satisfactory as Kelly had proved (49) and it is doubtful whether such an occupation could be kept entirely secret. Renewed rumours had led him in 1595, just before he was presented with his wardenship to print a public letter, to the archbiship of Canterbury, which had perhaps only served to give further currency to the slanders. It is one of those works which Ashmole spoke of later with italicised eloquences: "His great ability in astrologie and the more secret parts of learning (to which he had a strong propensity and unwearied Fancy) drew from the Envious and Vulgar many rash, lewd and lying Scandalls upon his most honest and justifiable Philosophicall Studies; and many times forced him out of the bitternesse in his Soule (which was even Crucified with the malice of impudent Tongues) most seriously and fervently to Apologise." ...

The subsequent fortunes of his name have been related in a previous chapter, but it may be repeated that already in the half century after Dee's death it figured in a multitude of different contexts. His son fostered the legends of his alchemical achievements, scientists occasionally still referred to his work on the new star, technicians, popular writers on mathematics, and educationalists continued to speak with gratitude and respect of his edition of Euclid, and the annotations and preface he had appended to it, the last of which was to be twice reprinted; his manuscript on the calendar was cited with approval when the prospect of reform recurred periodically as a matter of astronomical and public interest in England; some of his proposals in General and Rare Memorials, it seems probable excited the interest and approval of Sir Harry Vane; connoisseurs of the occult such as Ashmole and Digby assiduously collected his manuscripts in this kind (72), and very early the Rosicrucians busied themselves in annexing Dee's memory to embellish their own sect, and in employing the Monas as a shewstone to reflect the contents of their own imaginations.

It would seem, then, that a man who was involved with spiritualism, who employed the services of a channeler who used a gazing glass, was also a major influence on those who ultimately founded the Masonic Lodge.

Dee's channeler, Edward Kelly, according to chapter nine in the MS, never trusted the spirits they contacted:

Not Dee, but Kelly alone, ever entertained doubts as to the nature of the spirits. Dee had frequently to reassure him, and indeed pledged his soul as to their truth. For when the first intimations were received that the spirits desired their "cross matching," Dee wrote "Hereupon we were in great amazement and grief of minde, that so hard, and (as it yet seemed to me) so impure a Doctrine, was pounded and enjoyned unto us, of them whom I always (from the beginning hitherto) did judge and esteem undoubtedly to be good Angels: And had unto E.K. [Kelly] offered my soul as a pawn to discharge E. K. his crediting of them, as the good and faithful ministers of Almighty God." But in general Dee's credulity, if it is so to be called, was only in proportion to the spirits' promises to him; and he seems to have regarded it only as a test of his faith when they proved so niggardly in small material matters, certainly never doubting that they had power to perform what they declared, in spite of the adverse indications that continually occurred.

Elias Ashmole has not lost his Masonic appeal. In the current issue of "Freemasonry Today" - Issue No. 31 - Referring to an article in this issue Michael Baigent tells us:

Ashmole had a life-long interest in alchemy and in 1652 published a compilation of alchemical texts....Despite his scholarship, his interest was not just intellectual, he knew the secret of the Art. He knew that it involved an experience; one that would change a life. In his introduction to his book he revealed that any true lover of wisdom, "...rejoyceth not so much that he can make Gold and Silver, or the Divells to become subject to him, as that he sees the Heavens open, the Angels of God Ascending and Descending, and that his own Name is fairely written in the Book of life."...

So we should spend a moment listening to Elias Ashmole reaching out to us across the centuries. Ashmole is telling us that the physical rewards of effort, the wealth or the power, are nothing compared to the experience of seeing 'the Heavens open'. He knew more than most of his contemporaries that this is true initiation. But he also knew that it comes after a journey, one which is informed by symbolism. The student becomes master of his Craft but the temple he might build is nothing unless the Divine should fill it.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have had the heavens embrace us with its sudden burning light; but most of us on the journey towards the morning star long simply for that brief moment when everything stops, as though reality, in its rush and haste, briefly misses a gear; when the screens which separate this world from the other draw slightly apart.

The same issue of "Freemasonry Today" offers a review by Baigent of Tobias Churton's book Magus: The Invisible Life of Elias Ashmole. The review offers a brief biography indicating Ashmole became a Freemason on October 16, 1646. He is "often dismissed as a dilettante by masons who should know better" and he was a Hermetic philosopher and astrologer. In describing his religion Beigent writes "his religion was cosmic, Gnostic and personal. This was, I believe, his ideal Church for England. Churton writes almost wistfully as if he too believes such would be an ideal Church. As wistfully, I find myself in agreement."

Ashmole, following in the footsteps of John Dee who employed the services of a channeler to contact angels who were thought to be devils by the said channeler, was one of the first recorded non-craft members of the English Lodge. Today Michael Baigent is enthusiastic for a religion focused on contacting these same angels, and believes Lodge members should take Ashmole seriously.

If the Catholic Church forbids the use of gazing devices and seeking to contact disembodied spirits, how likely is it that what Dee, and subsequently Ashmole, and presumably Baigent or other members of the Lodge contact, is not a fallen spirit? Which really comes down to the fact that Masonry, or some branches of Masonry, or irregular lodges, or clandestine Masonry...who on the outside can really know?...is an organization in the business of promoting channeling as a form of "religion."

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


First it was the black-headed cardinal at our feeder that the "expert" in the birdfeed store assures us is the result of feather mites. Why only cardinals have feather mites, and only some of them at that, is a mystery for which no one has an answer. The cardinal is back again. First he had a grayish white patch around his eye. Gradually his whole head turned that color. Now he's turning black on top. Maybe it's just the summer variety of cardinal haute couture.

Ok, I can take that in stride. It's a fluke of nature that has just developed recently and didn't affect the cardinals at the feeder for many years.

But now comes the exploding toad:

Hundreds of toads have met a bizarre and sinister end in Germany in recent days, it was reported: they exploded.

According to reports from animal welfare workers and veterinarians as many as a thousand of the amphibians have perished after their bodies swelled to bursting point and their entrails were propelled for up to a metre (three feet).

Either the German toads are so elated over the election of one of their own to the Papacy that they burst with happiness, or the Mother Nature Goddess is on a rampage. Maybe she has a headache.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


First from the Novus Ordo Watch Website:

Novus Ordo Watch has been selected by Library of Congress as "historic collection of Internet materials related to the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of a new Pope."

Then from the Catholic and Enjoying It Website:

The Most Awesomely Cool Letter I've Gotten This Year

Ya gotta understand: I'm a big history buff, so this means as much to me as having a louse named after him meant for Gary Larson.

To Whom It May Concern:

The United States Library of Congress preserves the Nation's cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library's traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including Web sites. The Library has selected your site for inclusion in the historic collection of Internet materials related to the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of a new Pope, and we request your permission to collect and display your Web site.

The following URL has been selected:


The Library of Congress or its agent will engage in the collection of content from
your Web site at regular intervals. The Library will make this collection available to researchers onsite at Library facilities. The Library also wishes to make the collection available to offsite researchers by hosting the collection on the Library's public access Web site. The Library hopes that you share its vision of preserving Web materials about the death of Pope John Paul II and permitting researchers from across the world to access them.

If you agree to permit the Library to collect your Web site, please click the following link to signify your consent. This link also includes a separate consent for permitting the Library to provide offsite access to your materials through the Library's Web site.

[link code]

If you have questions, comments or recommendations concerning the Pope John Paul II Web Archive, please e-mail the Library's Minerva Web Preservation Project at minerva@loc.gov at your earliest convenience.

Thank You,

Minerva Web Preservation Project
Library of Congress



- - - - - - -

{I wonder how they like those icicles down there? ;) }


There are a lot of stories of him around. This one happens to be my favorite:

The same churchman said that Cardinal Ratzinger was a cat lover. "Every time he met a cat, he would talk to it, sometimes for a long time," said Cardinal Bertone. "The cat would follow him. Once about 10 cats followed him into the Vatican and one of the Swiss Guards intervened, saying 'Look, your eminence, the cats are invading the Holy See'."

It's told even better in this article:

When he was a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI often delivered sermons at the German-language church in Campasanto Teutonico near St. Peter’s Basilica, but his most heartfelt talks might have been the ones he gave after Mass.

“I went with him once,” said Konrad Baumgartner, head of the theology department at Regensburg University. “Afterwards, he went into the old cemetery behind the church.

“It was full of cats, and when he went out, they all ran to him. They knew him and loved him. He stood there, petting some and talking to them, for quite a long time. He visited the cats whenever he visited the church. His love for cats is quite famous.”

Forget theology.

First I want to know if he is giving lessons in "cat". How does he do that? They always run away from me!


who talked about Pope Boniface three times in the homily. He prayed for Pope Boniface as well. He forgot the "Christ Have Mercy" in the Kyrie, using "Lord Have Mercy" three times instead.

I guess we must have unnerved him.

I have no idea who he was.


and probably won't stop until morning. We have little accumulation on my street because the temperature has stayed just warm enough to keep it melting as it comes down.

Spoke to relatives in the Cleveland suburbs today. One has 16 inches on the ground. Another has 5 inches and can't get out of her drive because the street plow sealed off the end of the drive with a wall of wet snow too heavy to lift with a shovel. A third lost electricity around 7 a.m. and didn't get it back until 3:30 p.m. That meant that the house which was registering 65 deg. when she woke up just kept getting colder since the furnace doesn't work without electricity.

Pictures on the evening news show power lines down, and trees blocking streets. The snow is clinging to the blossoms and newly forming leaves, making the package too heavy for the branches. There are accidents blocking roads as well, hampereing snow plows. One poor family has a backyard wedding scheduled for May 4. Three trees are down in their yard, all near enough to the house to possibly have caused minor damage.

As I said, talk about weather can actually be interesting in Northeast Ohio.


"Axel Pohlmann Reports on Discussions Between Freemasonry and the Catholic Church"

That is the title of an article online taken from the current issue of "Freemasonry Today" - Issue 31, edited by Michael Baigent.

Read the article and you will learn that Catholic priests and laymen met with a representative of German masonry in November 2003 after a period of silence that began in 1980. That silence had followed a period of "friendly and open discussions between representatives of German and Austrian masonry and of the churches" of Austria and Germany which had "led to a declaration of good will, instigated by the Viennese Cardinal Konig, and then carried to Rome to influence the new Code of Canon Law."

The article is correct in stating that the new Code of Canon Law, issued in 1983, does not specifically mention Masonic Lodges. Provision 1374 states: "A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict."

However, Cardinal Ratzinger clarified the passage with a declaration issued on Nov. 26, 1983 which reads in part: "the Church's negative judgment in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and, therefore, membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful, who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion."

Now, according to the article, two experts in Church law have rendered an opinion that contradicts Ratzinger's statement:

A Jesuit priest, Dr. Reinhold Sebott, professor of Church Law in Frankfurt, together with the director of the legal department of the Hamburg archdiocese, Klaus Kottmann, reported on the history of the difficult, sometimes violent, and always uneasy, relationship between Catholicism and Freemasonry, and on the current situation.

It certainly came as a surprise to many listeners that both Catholic law experts hold the clear view that a Catholic's membership of a masonic lodge does not necessarily mean that he is not on good terms with his church. It seems important enough for Catholics all over the world to quote their result literally:

1. The Code of Canon Law as amended in 1983, in contrast to its predecessor, no longer threatens a Catholic who is a member of a masonic lodge with ecclesiastical sanction.

2. The declaration of the German bishops of 1980 on the incompatibility of membership of the Catholic Church with masonic membership was extended to the whole Church by the corresponding declaration of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 1983.

3. These declarations mean that a Catholic's membership of a masonic lodge seems to be impossible and thus is disapproved on a moral, not necessarily criminal, basis.

4. Only by examining the individual case may the Church shed light on whether this Catholic by his convictions fulfils other criminal offences such as heresies or apostasies which might lead to consequences.

5. But when a Catholic in his conscience comes to the conclusion that the prohibition of membership (incompatibility) pronounced by the official Church is wrong, this decision must be respected by the Church.

The article concludes with the analysis that the "statement is based on the dictinction between a crime (a violation of church law) and a sin (a violation of moral law, in this case as defined by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith). As church law does not specifically forbid masonic membership, and the law must be strictly interpreted, there can be no crime in being a member of a lodge..."

Perhaps Dr. Sebott and Klaus Kottmann could be persuaded to take up a career in politics full time and leave both the Church and the Lodge in peace. No wonder Catholics join the Lodge thinking they are doing so in good conscience.



For the correct story on Catholics and the Lodge, go here



Check out the Goddess litany at Threshing Grain that comes from Mount Saint Agness Theological Center for Women, a Sisters of Mercy facility. According to the blog, Sister of Mercy-Mary Aquin O'Neill was on Meet the Press this morning. I wonder if she prayed to Isis for a successful appearance?


"My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord," said Benedict, 78, the German former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

It's a motto we all need to take and live by.


is crazy. There's an old saying here that if you don't like the weather wait a little while and it will change.

Last Tuesday when I got impatient with waiting for white smoke and took off to the mall, I didn't need to wear a coat. The sun was out. The stores were hot since most of them didn't have the AC turned on yet. The thermometer registered 81 deg. Summer seemed to be here. Some of the area offices turned on their air.

This morning the sky is gray and filled with blowing snow. The white stuff is on the ground; the trees and bushes have their sprouting leaves covered in it. The garage thermometer registers 29 deg. The furnace has been coming on. The weather report predicts 3 inches, accumulating only on the grass.

Weather is a constant topic of conversation in Northeast Ohio, as it probably is in most other places; but perhaps the conversations here are a little more interesting than elsewhere.

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