Saturday, May 07, 2005
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL THE MOTHERS OUT THERE
especially the ones in the active mothering stage of life. You are the ones who deserve what we older Moms tend to get...a chance to rest and relax without child care duties to keep you hopping. The ONLY thing wrong with the post-mothering stage is that you have fewer years left to enjoy the fruits of all that labor.
Time to shut this blog down until Monday and go play lady of leisure for a while.
CRUXNEWS.ORG ? ?
Whenever the hit counter goes up, I Google "Carrie Tomko" to see if I can figure out why. The results can be interesting.
The count went up today. This is what Google found, and it has never found it before that I'm aware of. The webpage is dated Sept. 19, 2004, however. That may have been the date my article went up at CruxNews.com. It's a bit weird to see something you've written turn up in a website you knew nothing about.
Some of the links don't work. It does look like some of my favorite writers are part of it--Michael Rose, Fr. Wilson, Rod Dreher, Donna Steichen. I haven't read enough of the other writers efforts to have an opinion one way or the other, but they're part of the right crowd, at least IMHO. And so am I, for a brief moment at least. It's good to be thankful for small unexpected wonders.
The question was raised in a combox yesterday about the fact that Deacon Levine, Superior General of the SSJ, was not yet ordained. I emailed Dr. Bond to ask for clarification. This is his response:
Yes, it is truly incredible that Levine was made Superior General as a Deacon. Who knows what crazy thoughts led the SSJ members to elect him, but no doubt they somehow felt it would protect them since Levine was apparently not involved in the sharing of beds with boys and young men. All of the other SSJ priests--Fullerton, O'Connor, Carey, Sarweh, and Roberts--were too closely connected to the crimes of Urrutigoity and Ensey. In a word, I think the SSJ members felt the election of Levine would deflect criticism and give them a new start.
"Lauda" is right to say that the title "Superior General" was not even appropriate for anyone in the SSJ, but these grandiose titles were part of the way the SSJ attempted to fool its donors, and the Diocese of Scranton let them get away with it.
ReGAIN and NOR
ReGAIN's mission is to outreach, unite and support those touched or adversely affected by the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement. Past and present members and all those who quest for justice and truth, resolution and healing are invited to join in this endeavor.
The link to the ReGain website came from an article in the current issue of "New Oxford Review" that arrived today. NOR believes the charges against Maciel are well-substantiated. There is an article about the Legion in this issue by Cecilia H. Martin, Editor of The Catholic Advocate, as well as letters to the editor on the subject, and a long review by Michael Rose of Vows of Silence by Berry and Renner.
There is also an article giving an eyewitness account of some of the court testimony in the Shanley case. The writer does a good job of conveying the emotional trauma of one of Shanley's victims.
I got the sense from this entire issue that NOR is determined to get to the bottom of what has taken place in the Church, for which I'm grateful, and hopeful that they will succeed. We can't heal until whatever is lurking has been exposed to the light of day.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for them!
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
I need your help lest a former Superior General of the Society of St. John become a priest in the Diocese of Scranton. Please allow me to explain.
Recently I noticed a poster produced by the Diocese of Scranton with the pictures and names of those who were studying for the priesthood in the Scranton Diocese. Featured among these men was Deacon Joseph Levine, former Superior General of the Society of St. John. Needless to say, I was shocked to think that Deacon Levine might someday be ordained a priest of the Catholic Church. While I do not know for sure if he is to be ordained on Pentecost, May 15th, I am deeply concerned because this man is not a worthy candidate and should under no circumstances be elevated to the sacred office of the priesthood.
As most of you know, Deacon Levine became the Superior General of the SSJ after Carlos Urrutigoity, the former Superior General and founder of the SSJ, was exposed as a homosexual predator priest. While I have no evidence that Deacon Levine was personally involved in the homosexual molestation of boys or young men, Deacon Levine actively sought to protect those in the SSJ who engaged in these perverse deeds. In fact, upon his election to the office of Superior General, Deacon Levine publicly praised Urrutigoity in the SSJ's May 2002 Epistle. Deacon Levine gave this public endorsement of his predecessor despite his having been informed, as early as August 19, 2001, that Urrutigoity had a habit of sleeping with students from St. Gregory's Academy. Indeed, on that day Mr. Alan Hicks, the founder and headmaster of St. Gregory's Academy, personally informed both Deacon Levine and me that Urrutigoity was the object of a possible lawsuit for his "sleeping sickness." Moreover, Deacon Levine was fully aware by May 2002 that there was abundant and weighty evidence, including affidavits, establishing Urrutigoity's habit of sleeping in the same bed with boys and young men.
It was Deacon Levine's position, however, which he personally expressed to me, that Urrutigoity was like St. Ignatius of Loyola insofar as he operates on a plane "above the realm of human reason and prudence." As a result of this conviction, Deacon Levine turned a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence of Urrutigoity's gross immorality. Indeed, by that time I had made public the fact that Urrutigoity had been formally accused of homosexual molestation by three different people from three different places: first, by Rev. Andres Morello, the former rector of the SSPX seminary in La Reja, Argentina, where Urrutigoity was a seminarian; second, by Bishop Fellay on behalf of a young seminarian who had left with Urrutigoity when he was expelled by Bishop Williamson from the SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota, where Urrutigoity was a professor; and third, by a graduate of St. Gregory's Academy in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania, where Urrutigoity was a chaplain. This last accusation was made by John Doe and his parents in a federal lawsuit which, as you know, was settled yesterday at the cost of $450,550. In fact, the Scranton Times reported today that Bishop Martino intends to apologize to John Doe for the harm he suffered at the hands of Urrutigoity and Ensey. Moreover, in a written statement provided to the Scranton Times, Bishop Martino all but admitted the guilt of Urrutigoity and Ensey: "In view of the serious claims made by the young person and in light of the statements by the witnesses who supported his claim, it was determined that the just decision was to reach a settlement that will assist the victim and his family as they attempt to heal."
Yet Deacon Levine not only publicly praised Urrutigoity for his leadership, but he also credited Urrutigoity with transforming the members of the SSJ into a "disciplined religious community." Deacon Levine thereby sought to continue to portray the SSJ as Benedictine, a fraud initiated by Urrutigoity and perpetuated by Deacon Levine. Although the SSJ was nothing more than a group of diocesan priests with permission to live together, nevertheless the SSJ literature published under Deacon Levine's reign continued this fraud to the detriment of many unsuspecting Catholic donors.
In the same May 2002 Epistle, and throughout his term as Superior General, Deacon Levine also continued to deceive Catholic donors concerning the status of the Catholic city the SSJ had proposed to build. Although it was abundantly clear by this time that there was no hope of building on the Shohola property--in fact, the SSJ was secretly trying to sell the property--nevertheless Deacon Levine exhorted his supporters to continue to donate more money to a project he knew was dead. Today the Scranton Times reported that the Shohola property has been sold to repay the 2.6 million dollar loan which the Diocese made to the SSJ to cover their enormous debts.
Furthermore, Deacon Levine used his office as Superior General to defend the sexual predator priests of the SSJ and to attack me personally for my efforts to expose their crimes. In a six-page fundraising letter date June 19, 2002, which was sent to the tens of thousands of Catholics on the SSJ's mailing list, Deacon Levine repeatedly lied in an effort to protect the SSJ and defame me. Rather than list the libelous statements made by Deacon Levine (for which he has been named in a defamation lawsuit), I would encourage you to read my response to his defamatory remarks which can be found on the College of St. Justin Martyr web site at http://www.saintjustinmartyr.org/news/ResponseToDeaconLevine.html. You will see there why it is absolutely imperative that this man not be ordained a priest.
Finally, it should be noted that Deacon Levine was not willing to leave the SSJ until it was made clear to him that he could not be ordained a priest while remaining with them. There is no reason to believe, then, that Deacon Levine would not seek to rejoin the SSJ, or some other cult-like group, once he has been ordained. As you know, the SSJ is desperately seeking to re-establish itself under an Argentinean bishop, and those like Deacon Levine, who have a cultist devotion to the SSJ, are very likely to return to the SSJ if the SSJ is permitted to resurface outside of the Diocese of Scranton.
I have already written to Bishop Martino to beg him not to ordain Deacon Levine. I urge you to do the same. His address is 300 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503. Better yet, because the time is so short, please call the Chancery at (570) 207-2238 or fax the Chancery at (570) 207-2236. Even if you are unable to speak directly with Bishop Martino, please register your concern with whomever you do speak.
Thank you for your help in this extremely urgent matter.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION CONTINUED
A few interesting passages:
By 1988 the number of pilgrims had increased exponentially, but so also had the negative evidence surrounding the apparitions. In April 1988 Father Sivric's book appeared in French....For the first time now, Zovko's initial interviews with the seers were in print with all of the damning evidence about the children saying that the Blessed Mother was going to appear for "three more days" as well as the joking and laughter and Zovko's insistence that the children have the apparitions in the church. All of this contradicted the official version of the initial apparitions, which was now spreading throughout the world on the BBC/Everyman video.
One month later, another scandal broke. In May of 1988, Ivica Vego, the priest which the Blessed Mother had defended in his battle with Bishop Zanic, announced that he had been having an affair with a nun stationed at Medjugorje and that the nun was pregnant.
"I turn to you," Vego wrote in an open letter that was cuasing severe consternation among the Franciscans at Medjugorje, "in the most difficult moment of my life. I have been a priest for 10 years. I was a punished priest for 10 years. Except for six weeks, jurisdiction has never been bestowed on me. Eight years ago I was punished by being expelled from my native land. For seven years I was punished with expulsion from the Franciscan order and suspended "a divinis" [in 1981]. Our lives and our work were thrown in to the street. We died!"
Vego fails to mention that during this time he continued to function as a priest at Medjugorje, saying Mass and hearing confessions in direct disobedience to the Church. (p. 147)
Jean Galot, S.J. published the criteria for evaluating apparitions in 1985 in the journal Civilta Cattolica. Jones writes:
Galot has...astringent things to say about the "fruits" argument. "It is not sufficient," he writes, "to use the spiritual fruits alone as the criterion to judge the authenticity of the apparitions. Cases are known in which conversions have been substantiated in which the pretended apparitions have later been rejected by the authority of the Church as without serious foundation."
Gailot then goes on to list the criteria the Church uses in ascertaining whether an alleged apparition is genuine or not. The frequency of an apparition, for example, is an argument against its authenticity because it would arouse the image of a Christian religion that was nourished much more by actual visions than by the revelation brought in the past by the coming of Christ on earth. Piety would develop more as a function of constant apparitions than by the leap of faith, or again faith would tend to become a faith in the truth of the apparitions and would be founded on the testimony of those who see.
One should be skeptical if the messages entail "threats of revenge" if the message is not accepted or if the seers spread abroad a spirit of "denigration or revolt or disobedience to the authority of the Church." In addition, one should look for "progressive psychological formation...If the words of the apparition have not been suggested in a human manner by the surroundings, by preceding conversations, or by the hymns or songs of the crowd or by the seers themselves."
"Evidence of human manipulation" would also be a sign of inauthenticity, especially "when the beneficiaries of the apparitions determine themselves the place, the date and the frequency of the program of the apparitions."
Given Galot's criteria, especially as expressed in a quasi-official Vatican journal, and given the events which occurred over the summer of 1988, it was clear that the Church could never give its approval to Medjugorje. (p. 149)
Since Jones demonstrates that the events surrounding Medjugorje have violated all of these prohibitions, his analysis is justified.
Medjugorje, apparently, is catching. One who caught it is a seer named Tonie Alcorn who is known to those who follow the seers as Therese Lopez. According to Dr. Jones, by the age of 27 she was already on her third marriage. Between 1989 and 1996 she had 24 different credit-card vilations and debt recovery notices, the result of her fondness for an expensive lifestyle. She did drugs and bought a Porsche she could not afford on her salary for managing a Wendy's restaurant. She was under the impression she could create money by writing checks. She was so indifferent to her 3-year-old daughter that she failed to appear in court in her divorce case and lost the custody of the child. She also had a son by an unknown father. She became involved in an affair with Jeff Lopez while married to her third husband, and moved in with Jeff before her third divorce, subsequently marrying him. In order to afford her expensive lifestyle, she cashed the mortgage checks Jeff wrote, and used the money they provided. Ultimately Jeff lost the house on which he thought he had been making regular payments.
She was converted into a seer by the death of her second daughter Stephanie, and by the discovery, as Jones put it, that "a lot of money was changing hands in the circles surrounding Medjugorje in the United States, and when Therese understood that the old con man in her awoke as well."
Jones discusses an interesting experience of Father Jack Spalding who made two trips to Medj. and formed an adult Medj. prayer group at St. Maria Goretti Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. Jones writes:
Soon another lady from the adult prayer group, Annie, came to Father Spalding and announced that she too was getting messages from the Blessed Virgin, and soon St. Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale, Arizona, was attracting pilgrims of its own. In each instance, the spiritual entity was telling the seers to follow their impulses. At least that is what whatever it was ended up saying to Father Spalding, because before long he too was getting messages.
It seems that in November of 1988 Father Spalding was saying Mass in Scottsdale one Thursday evening. He remembers standing in front of the altar ready to give his homily when all of a sudden everything went blank.
"I didn't not only not remember what I was going to say in the homily," he recounted later, "but I didn't even remember what the gospel was."
Father "just stood there," wondering "what in the world is happening to me," when all of a sudden "this feeling came over me like I was being drained. And all of a sudden I heard myself speaking and it wasn't me speaking. It lasted about 45 seconds and it was over. And I don't even remember hearing what it was. But I just remember when it was over I was so tired that I could hardly make it back to where I was sitting."
This experience needed explication from someone who was used to playing in the spiritual equivalent of the big leagues, and so after he finished saying Mass, Father Spalding decided to consult Gianna [Bianchi, another seer]. After making it to the sacristy, Spalding asked Gianna, "Do you have any idea of what happened to me tonight?" and she said, "Yes I do."
"Well," Gianna told Spalding, "Our Lady told me that She doesn't want her children to have to wait for a week to hear what she has to say to them. If you will say, yes, she will use you like this every now and then." And so Father Spalding has been used ever since.
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
As you already know from James Bendell's press release yesterday, a total settlement of $454,550 was reached in the federal sex abuse lawsuit against Carlos Urrutigoity, Eric Ensey, the Society of St. John, the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Diocese of Scranton, and Bishop James Timlin. Below please find two links to newspaper articles concerning the settlement:
Not surprisingly, the attorney for the Diocese of Scranton has already claimed that the $454,500 figure is "misleading." Having ignored the truth for almost four years about homosexual molestation by SSJ priests, the Diocese apparently sees no reason to begin concerning itself with the truth now.
Yesterday also marked the flight of the Society of St. John from the property in Shohola, PA where the SSJ had planned to build their version of the Neverland Ranch, a homosexual playground where traditional families were to be enticed to deliver up their sons to the SSJ priests for "spiritual direction" in bed. The SSJ raised over five million dollars to construct their "Catholic village" in Shohola, but not a single building was ever erected.
I have been informed that the SSJ has fled to Argentina (as we reported long ago was their intention), but I have no firm facts as to their new location. The SSJ leaves in its wake untold spiritual destruction of young souls, to say nothing of the material resources wasted by the SSJ's efforts to seduce boys and their families. We do know some of the other victims of the SSJ priests who never came forward to testify, but the full extent of the evil done will never be known until the Last Judgment.
The courage of those who did come forward to testify against the SSJ, especially John Doe, has served to protect many who would have otherwise become victims of sexual abuse under the guise of traditional Roman Catholicism. While no amount of money could ever compensate John Doe for the harm done to him and his family, we pray he will find some peace in knowing that the large financial settlement of this case makes manifest that these priests were guilty as charged.
Sadly, the SSJ scandal is far from over. Urrutigoity and Ensey must still be laicized, a process which is supposedly underway, and a full investigation must be undertaken to determine the degree of guilt of the other SSJ priests. All of these priests--Fr. Daniel Fullerton, Fr. Dominic O'Connor, Fr. Basil Sarweh, and Fr. Dominic Carey--have lied to protect the predator priests of the SSJ, and all have been involved in deceiving Catholic donors. Moreover, Deacon Joseph Levine, who is now studying for the priesthood in the Diocese of Scranton, must never be ordained. As a former superior general of the SSJ, Deacon Levine not only insisted upon the innocence of Urrutigoity and Ensey long after their guilt was manifest, but he also perpetuated the fraud of presenting the SSJ as a religious community to unsuspecting Catholic donors.
The College of St. Justin Martyr and I still have three lawsuits against the Society of St. John and the Diocese of Scranton, and we will continue to pursue justice through the courts, regardless of how long it takes. Our story, and the whole history of this sordid affair in the Diocese of Scranton, can be found on our web site at www.SaintJustinMartyr.org/news/notices.html.
May our Lord bless all who have contributed to the nearly four-year effort to expose the predator priests of the SSJ, as well as the complicity of the Fraternity of St. Peter and the Diocese of Scranton.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
College of St. Justin Martyr
Friday, May 06, 2005
IS IT A MILESTONE ?
May 4th came and went without my hearing or reading a single comment about Kent State!
BENEDICT WELL VERSED IN U.S. ABUSE SCANDAL
Catholic News reports that according to Ann Burke, the judge appointed by the Bishops to investigate the scandal:
"What better position can we be in the Catholic Church today? To know that the [current] Pope read [the report], talked to us and followed through," Judge Ann Burke has told told CBS.
Burke was chosen by the US bishops to investigate the priest sex-abuse scandal on the National Review Board, a lay body set up to monitor bishops' implementation of sexual abuse reforms. She stepped down last May along with three other appointees of the twelve-member board who had all served for almost two years.
BESTIALITY IN SWEDEN
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, May 5, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Sweden, known the world over for its avant garde sexual mores has crossed yet another barrier in its moral descent with the news that sexual abuse of animals is on the increase. A government commissioned study has found that more than 200 animals, mostly horses, have been sexually abused in Sweden since the 1970s.
The Swedish Animal Welfare Agency collected its information based on responses received from 1,600 questionnaires sent to veterinarians, animal welfare inspectors and police agencies across the country. In the period 2000 to 2004, 119 cases of bestiality were documented, compared to just three known cases in the 1970s, 17 in the 1980s and 70 in the 1990s.
The author of the report indicated that the numbers may not correctly reflect the real problem. Katarina Andersson, said that the rise in documented cases did not necessarily mean that there was a de facto increase.
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
RE: Settlement of Sexual Molestation Suit
Date: May 5, 2005
From the Law Office of James Bendell
The defendants in the case of Doe vs. Diocese of Scranton, the Society of St. John, the Fraternity of St. Peter and Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity and Fr. Eric Ensey (U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Case No. 3 CV 02-0444) have agreed to a settlement with the plaintiff, a former student of St. Gregory’s Academy in Moscow, Pennsylvania.
Under the terms of the settlement the defendants will pay the plaintiff $255,000 in cash and future periodic payments of $199,550, for a total settlement of $454,550.
During the course of the litigation of this case, information was brought to light concerning the corruption existing at the Society of St. John, a clerical association approved by former bishop James Timlin, who allowed these priests to form a clerical association in the Diocese of Scranton and to act as chaplains at a boys’ prep school after they had been expelled from the Society of St. Pius X. The new bishop of Scranton, Joseph Martino, has since suppressed the Society of St. John.
This large financial settlement is a vindication of the courageous young man who brought this case.
The plaintiff was represented by attorneys James Bendell of Washington State, and Harry Coleman of Pennsylvania.
Contact: James Bendell
Crux News has linked a Times Leader story on the settlement in which Bendell is reported to have said:
Though the settlement and court dismissal mean there will be no legal decision on the case, Bendell said “I think a settlement of this size is basically an admission that the allegations are true.”
Thursday, May 05, 2005
CATHOLIC ALCHEMICAL GOLD
From the website:
One witness to the apparitions from Conyers reported that he had been called to the Catholic priesthood because of the experience. He tells us that when he left Georgia and returned to New York, he experienced more manifestations. While he had heard stories about rosaries turning to gold from Medjugorje and other apparition sites, his own had remained in the normal state of wood and silver. He then tells us, "I asked the Lord for a final sign, that if He really wanted me to become a priest, to transform my rosary from silver to gold. Shortly after, right before my eyes, the Jesus Christ on the cross and the chain links of my rosary turned gold."
Now go to the website to see what else is turning to gold before people's eyes. And find out where it's happening.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
ALCHEMY - CATHOLIC AND ROSICRUCIAN
One aspect of alchemy that I've glossed over in the past because it didn't seem all that important is that of finding a way to turn objects into gold. Those who sought esoteric experiences using alchemy tend to dismiss this economic aspect of the practice. Yet it remains a significant part of the field, and is sometimes thought to have been the source of funds for some Medieval magicians.
As the Crystal Links website explains it:
During medieval and Renaissance times, alchemy spread through the Western
world, and was further developed by Kabbalists, Rosicrucians, astrologers and
other occultists. It functioned on two levels: mundane and spiritual. On a
mundane level, alchemists sought to find a physical process to convert base
metals such as lead into gold. On a spiritual level, alchemists worked to purify
themselves by eliminating the "base" material of the self and achieving the
'gold' of enlightenment.
Today I'm looking again at this aspect of alchemy because of a passage in THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION. Dr. Jones is describing a letter he received from a friend, Denis Nolan, who became obscessed with Medjugorje. He writes:
On July 10, 1988, Nolan set off again but before leaving wrote to say that he
had "received an excited letter from Gerry Faust [former Notre Dame football
coach]. He had just returned from a pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, and
Medjugorje. He was excited about the power of God he experienced in Medjugorje.
A friend of his had a rosary that turned gold there and when he got back to
Akron, he found that the rosary that he keeps in his car in order to say it when
driving had turned bright gold. (p. 138)
Is this an example of alchemical gold? It's a curious coincidence, isn't it? Rosaries turning to gold comes up repeatedly in Catholic visionary literature.
Something else turned up in relation to alchemy in the passages about Denis Nolan. Nolan wrote to Dr. Jones:
Your mind is very bright...but sometimes your spiritual senses are way
off....And I am most shocked by what I consider an incredible density of heart,
or just plain stubborn bullheadedness, your lack of zeal for what God is so
obviously doing through Medjugorje....Now I'm beginning to understand. You won't
recognize the incredible thing that God is doing right now if you simply let
your critical mind lead you everywhere [emphasis mine] (p. 137)
The requirement to set one's critical mind aside is a technique that appears in occult literature. Rudolf Steiner proposes it:
The learner must be able each moment to make himself a perfectly empty vesselSteiner's techniques
into which the new world flows. Knowledge is received only in those moments in
which every judgment, every criticism coming from ourselves, is silent.
(Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY, 1910, p. 201)
serve the purpose of detaching the human soul from sense-perception and from
the brain instrument to which the intellect is bound at the outset. This
detachment cannot occur in man prior to his feeling the following: I now
visualize something by means of forces in connection with which my senses and my
brain do not serve me as instruments. (Rudolf Steiner, THE OUTLINE OF OCCULT
SCIENCE, p. 273)
And the result, according to Steiner:
I produce no thought associations; I surrender myself to what 'thinks in me.'
Then one is fully justified in saying, "Something possessing the nature of being
acts within me..." (THE OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE, p. 296)
the forces of Lucifer have penetrated into the human soul, [man] will bear itThis ability to channel is the spiritual goal of alchemy that goes along with the ability to turn base mental into gold. To find a Catholic encouraging a fellow Catholic to engage in the same pursuits is discouraging.
without difficulty when he becomes aware that the Luciferic beings with all
their effects are contained within the image of his own nature. (THE OUTLINE
OF OCCULT SCIENCE, p. 331)
Once this diabolical power gets a hold on an individual, it becomes very difficult to break. Dennis Nolon, a teacher of religion at Notre Dame High School, became obscessed with Medjugorje. However, Jones writes that
Nolan said that when he first arrived in Medjugorje, he couldn't pray and had
a deep spiritual sense that Satan was behind the whole thing. (THE
MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION, p. 134)
How could the hierarchy, including John Paul II, permit such a site of spiritual destruction to exist without condemnation for all these years?
NEWEST BOX OFFICE CONTROVERSY
Christian vs. Muslim this time.
From Middle East Online
Ridley Scott's crusader epic, "Kingdom of Heaven," gets its US release Friday, amid concerns that the film could fan religious tensions with its portrayal of the 12th century Christian-Muslim battle over Jerusalem.
In a world changed by the September 11, 2001 attacks and with US troops fighting in Iraq, the big-budget Hollywood take on the Crusades was always going to be a sensitive undertaking.
The very word "crusade," with its connotation of religious conquest, is troublesome, as President George W. Bush found out when he was widely chastised for using it to characterise the post-September 11 war on terror.
Even before shooting began on Scott's 130-million-dollar project in January last year, some academics who saw the script accused it of containing gross historical inaccuracies.
FUNDRAISING IN THE TOLEDO DIOCESE
or when did our churches become concert halls?
From the Toledo Blade
St. Richard Catholic Church in Swanton is looking to buy a new organ. The Toledo Symphony is looking for new audiences. Both institutions figure to improve their situations Saturday night when the orchestra performs music of Rossini, John Williams, and others at the church.
The program concludes the 20th season of Toledo Symphony's highly successful Neighborhood Concert Series. It will be the fourth year that the orchestra has performed at St. Richard.
The church has found that hiring the orchestra builds not only community but also revenues. Last year's concert, for example, helped grow the church's school endowment. This time around profits will go towards purchasing a badly needed organ, said James Riedy, the church's music director.
Toledo Symphony's current run of neighborhood concerts began with a 1985 program at St. Patrick's Historic Church in downtown Toledo. The idea was not new to 1985, however. Conductor Serge Fournier, who served as Toledo Symphony's music director from 1964 to 1979, pioneered the idea some years earlier when he took the orchestra into area community centers and churches.
Do you suppose that Mozart's Masonic Opera is on the program?
Code of Canon Law
Can. 1214 By the term church is understood a sacred building designated for divine worship to which the faithful have the right of entry for the exercise, especially the public exercise, of divine worship.
Perhaps they have a concert hall at St. Richard. Or is it that they've been taking Cathedral of St. John the Divine lessons?
MEET ADRIAN HOFSTETTER
Catholic Dominican Sister.
86 years old.
Ph.D. in Zoology
Masters in Ministry.
First book published by Lindisfarne, titled Earth-Friendly: Re-visioning Science and Spirituality Through Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Rudolf Steiner.
A few excerpts from the article:
Learning how to listen to the world she vowed to serve would soon take her in a very different direction, one that included Rudolf Steiner, psychodrama, and community-based activism. ...
Sister Adrian is connected to Rome only distantly.
She lives on her own, follows her own heart, works with other sisters, and is sustained by donations from her community. ..
many of the sisters, including herself, have turned to Buddhism and other Eastern religions in their growing frustration with the male-dominated Catholic Church. While Sister Adrian practices with a Buddhist group regularly, she still finds it "too rigid," and so takes what she likes and leaves the rest, meditating daily on her own.
This flexibility in lifestyle has allowed Sister Adrian to do some fascinating work. She and Claire Danielsson, a psychodramatist, met at a Pax Christ[i] meeting in Tivoli in 1968. Sister Adrian found Danielsson's work so exciting, she invited her to conduct a workshop at Creighton. The two joined forces in 1980 and founded Boughton Place in Highland.... Boughton Place is home to the Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute, Community Playback Theater, and cohousing and community facilitation programs. Sister Adrian has also been a deeply committed student and fan of the work of Rudolph Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy and Waldorf education, which has led her to continue her efforts toward creating sustainable farming, including her own garden.
She has an email list. Among the topics is "the growing possibility of impeaching George W." [Bush?].
She is a devotee of Jesus, but not a follower of exclusionary doctrine.
In other words according to this article, Dominican Sister Adrian Hofstetter is a dilettante who claims to be Catholic only when it is convenient or economically expedient. Otherwise known as a fraud.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Deutsche Welle reports:
The first college course on exorcism is being offered at a Catholic university in Italy. Already, priests from around the world are flocking to Rome to participate and study psychology, law and a history of satanism.
The university on the outskirts of Rome is about as far from Hogwarts as it gets. Sunshine streams in from a huge skylight above as a janitor pushes a broom across a slick, shiny floor and students mill about with coffee before making their way to class -- in black cassocks and dangling crosses.
Because beneath its modern veneer, the Vatican-backed Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, or UPRA, is grappling with demons. For the first time, this conservative Catholic university is offering Exorcism 101 this year.
"People are experiencing these things more for various reasons, but they are starting more and more to come to the priest and say I need some help," said Father Christopher Barrack, a priest from Lincoln, Neb., who was sent to Rome by his bishop specifically to take the 8-week exorcism course.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
ARCHBISHOP LEVADA OF SAN FRANCISCO
may replace Cdl. Ratzinger as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily.
MURDER OF AN ALTAR BOY - ABUSEr RING LINKED
Crux News links this story:
The investigator hired to probe the 1972 unsolved murder of 13-year-old altar boy Daniel Croteau says he now suspects that a ring of about 10 pedophiles, many of them priests, operated a sexual abuse ring that preyed upon children at the time Croteau was killed.
"These priests formed their own Internet before any Internet existed," said private detective and former state trooper R.C. Stevens recently. "It allowed them to exchange information and strategies, share children, and rid themselves of them."
He has been investigating the murder for The Republican since last summer. His interviews of alleged victims, including those who have already publicly accused some priests, point to a conspiracy among some of the predators to pass around children.
WHY HAVE PRIESTS NOT BLOWN THE WHISTLE ON THE INTERNAL SCANDAL ?
This is why.
Nesbella insists that he won't back down.
"Homosexuality within the Church is being covered up," he said. "We gave the bishops the chance to clean it up, and we're disappointed. They are merely continuing to cover it up. Our only choice is the secular court."
The Church's national program, Protecting God's Children, is not working, Nesbella said.
"It focuses on lay people, but remember, it is a priest sex-abuse scandal, not a volunteer scandal," he said.
"Nothing is being done to address the main problem, which is homosexuality in the priesthood.
"But I've learned that the sacred cow is homosexuality. You do not speak out against it," he said.
"In this diocese, I've been harassed and threatened for discussing this problem."
Blogger credit to Crux News.
THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION CONTINUED
Dr. Jones devotes an entire chapter to Bishop Paolo Maria Hnilica, who "defended" the Vatican in the Banco Ambrosiano scandal, incurring a multi-million dollar debt to an underworld figure in the process, and being accused by the Italian government of trafficing in stolen goods in his effort to obtain Roberto Calvi's briefcase.
Bishop Hnilica's consecration is in question. There are hints of his being a communist agent. There is a tape recording in the hands of the government of a conversation between the Bishop and an underworld figure that led to his indictment. The story is almost too fantastic to be real. It's certainly a long long way from being holy.
Bishop Hnilica is also implicated in Medj. In the mid 80s the Yugoslavian government woke up to the fact that there was money to be made off of the apparitions, and began passing legislation that would regulate it in such a way as to make the money accessible to the government. Room rates were fixed by the government and were paid directly to the government in the local currency, dinar, which was worthless outside of Yugoslavia. Jones writes:
As tourism increased, the Franciscans and their local supporters were faced with a new problem, namely, what to do with the money. If they deposited it in local banks, it became worthless as hard currency and subject to the government's draconian taxation policies. As a result, the promoters of Medjugorje were in urgent need of people willing to launder money for them, a process which involved getting it first out of the country.One gets the sense that there is a lot more to the Hnilica story than has so far been uncovered, and it ties Medjugorje into the Vatican Bank scandal and Roberto Calvi's murder.
Hnilica, according to one source close to the Franciscans in Medjugorje, was a major conduit of Medjugorje money out of Yugoslavia. The relationship was symbiotic in a number of ways. Hnilica was given access to money at a time when he was strapped himself [because of his underworld debt] and had just been turned down by the Holy See for a $10 million loan. He was also involved in a publicity campaign that could just as easily be turned to the benefit of Medjugorje as it was, at least according to his account... (p. 113-114)
The occult comes up briefly in Jones' discussion of the activities of the Gospa encouraging the ecclesiastical disobedience of Prusina and Vego, both suspended Franciscan friars who continued to administer the sacraments. The account is brief, but given the activities of neo-Cathar James Twyman that I blogged several weeks ago, it would seem that the occult is a distinct possibility in Medjugorje.
The real question, and the only one most are really interested in, is whether the apparitions have Church approval? No. Or disapproval? Well...sort of, and sort of not. Jones explains:
On May 23, 1985, the Vatican issued the first of its warnings on Medj. Archbishop Alberto Bovone, undersecretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent a letter to the Italian Bishops in which he announced that the Church did not allow the faithful to organize pilgrimages to Medjugorje. ...
On May 2, 1986, [Bishop] Zanic's commission--in reality, his second commission--dissolved after presenting its unfavorable verdict to the bishop. One month later, in June, Zanic sent the report to Rome and presented it to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. ...The negative findings were never published. (p. 124)
Instead, on January 18, 1987 another commission, the third, was announced, this one under the auspicies of the Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference. This was a Vatican effort to buy time with the hope of resolving the political situation. The statement establishing this third commission was ambiguous regarding pilgrimages. Jones writes:
The prohibition of pilgrimages, while in line with the warning of Archbisjhop Bovone a year earlier, strikes an odd note at the end of a document which, in effect, opened the gates for a flood of pilgrims, the most in the history of the apparition, which would last right up until the civil war made tourism impossible. (p. 125)
Finally in 1991
Zanic arrived in Rome with a report that condemned Medjugorje in no uncertain terms, he found a willing collaborator in Cardinal Ratzinger who was ready to "blow it out of the water." The pope, however, was not going to let that happen for a number of reasons. The one which this priest [unnamed, but associated with the apparitions for more than ten years] mentions is the intervention of Rene Laurentin. But the pope was favorably disposed for other reasons as well. "The pope is an apparition nut," claimed the priest. "He had rehabilitated Sister Faustina in his diocese and he felt that the Medjugorje visionaries were just as real." So instead of condemning Medjugorje, the Vatican apppointed another commission, which gave the impression that the whole thing was unsettled and that Zanic's authority got in the way. This state of affairs lasted for five years until the spring of 1991, when the Yugoslavian bishops finally condemned Medjugorje but in language that still seemed to allow for pilgrimages. (p. 127)
So it would seem that the apparitions, themselves, have been condemned, but pilgrimages to Medj. have not been condemned. The question remains what are pilgrims journeying to when they take this pilgrimage?
According to Jones an article which appeared in an Italian publication in February 1987 claims in the words of Bishop Mistronigo of Treviso, that the Pope
has shown that he knows and follows events in Medjugorje. He maintains there is nothing bad in them because people pray there, go to the sacraments and are given a chance to begin a more serious spiritual life. As to the belief in the real presence of Mary there, caution is to be exercised, and of course, bishops' assessments as well as theologians' are still to be unanimous. (p. 126-127)
What this seems to come down to is that the Pope was comfortable with failing to discourage outright fraud. Strange thinking, but not wholly out of line with a Pope who condoned the cover-up of a sexual abuse scandal. But is this the activity of a Pope who is about to be dubbed "Great"? A cooling of emotion regarding our late Pontiff is needed before anything foolish is decided on his behalf.
Dr. Jones explains further:
The Church could never give its approval to something this scandalous. So instead of deciding, the pope temporized. He appointed another commission, which created a breathing space during which Medjugorje would continue to grow and along with it the Croation nationalist pressure on Communism in Yugoslavia. ...Rome's political aspirations interfered with its sense of Church governance and the truth. ...The same Church that always wanted an independent Catholic Croatia knew that Medjugorje was an integral part of Croatian nationalism, and it knew as well that to condemn Medjugorje would have dealt a severe blow to Croatian identity and fundraising at the time.
On the other hand, the evidence against Medjugorje as documented by the local bishop, whose authority had been upgraded as a result of Vatican II, was so damning that anyone with a modicum of theological expertise knew it could never be approved. So Rome temporized and appointed another commission, which took five years to come up with a verdict. The years from 1986 to 1991 were, of course, five extremely crucial years, during which the forces of nationalism gained the upper hand in Yugoslavia and ultimately brought down the Communist regime there. But Yugoslavia was not Poland, and the religious forces which brought down Communism eventually set off a three-way religious war, as Bishop Zanic had predicted, between the Croatians, the Orthodox Serbs and the Muslims. So the apparitions of Our Lady, Queen of Peace set up the dynamic that led to the worst fighting in Europe since World War II and gave the world the new term "ethnic cleansing" as well. The promulgation of the Church's official position on Medjugorje coincided almost to the day with the dismemberment of Yugoslavia. ...
But if there was a geopolitical advantage in temporizing on the condemnation of Medjugorje, there was an ecclesial downside as well. It was a classic case of political goals in conflict with religious goals. ...The net result was a charismatic internal front in the Church, a group of people who would now be able to use Marian piety as a weapon against legitimate Church authority, specifically bishops. When it came to Medjugorje, the pope could attain his geopolitical goals only at the expense of his ability to govern the Church. (p. 130-131)
There it is again. Antinomianism. The underlying cause of the sexual abuse scandal? Given the two priests--Rohr and Rolheiser--who were on the program of the Cardinal Suenens Center's conference at Mundelein Seminary, and given the nature of Fr. Rolheiser's article on "Skin" which included a reference to "sexual sacrament", I think it is not unreasonable to believe there is a connection.
History would validate such a connection. Cathar history. Bogomil history. The history of heresy.
Did the Pope's embrace of phenomenology cloud his judgment over Medj? Did he opt for expediency in the form of people seen to be worshipping because his daily life revolved around the very people in Europe who were giving up on the faith? Did he grasp at this worship "straw" because of Europe's abandonment of Catholicism, making his daily vision a vision of failure?
Whatever is lurking under the sexual abuse scandal and the Medjugorje spiritual scandal, their source may be the same, and it may be a scandal sufficient to top both of these. We haven't heard the full story yet. Not by a long shot!
The more I learn about what has taken place in the Church over the last 20+ years, the more I have to fight off the desire to distance myself from something so scandulous and corrupt.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
SOMEBODY IS GOOD WITH A CAMERA
Check out the Photo Gallery and Events link for the Enthronment of Pope Benedict at the Orthodox Church in America website. The drop-down menu on the photo page has more pictures from the the recent events in Rome, and lots of pictures from Orthodox churches around America. The vestments are striking as are the inside of the churches. Some of them have pews, others don't.
THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION CONTINUED
Once the apparitions began taking place in the church, a genuine piety developed around them, fostered by the preaching of Fr. Zovko. As E. Michael Jones states it:
On one hot afternoon in June, something happened in a small village in Croatia; on a similar afternoon in July, [when the apparitions moved to the church] the local church and community absorbed that event into itself by validating it as real. In effect, the latter event is the more significant. In a sense, the significant point in the whole story is not that certain adolescent girls would claim to have certain experiences, but rather how the population in general and the clergy reacted to these claims. (THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION, p. 89)
Some time ago while I was researching the places where speaking in tongues occurs outside of Christianity, I came upon the book SALEM POSSESSED by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum. The book unpacks the Salem witchcraft trials of the 1600s. Regarding glossolalia, in speaking of the girls who first manifested symptoms of having been bewitched, the authors write:
as for the "foolish, ridiculous speeches which neither they themselves nor any others could understand," do they not suggest, in inchoate form, the Pentecostal gift of tongues which would figure so prominently in later revival outbreaks?
Even the more obviously painful symptoms which the girls manifested in their "fits"--the convulsive paroxysms, the hysterical muscular spasms--foreshadow the characteristic behavior of "sinners" in the agonizing throes of conversion. (SALEM POSSESSED, p. 89)
E. Michael Jones makes the same association. Using the book THE DEVIL IN MASSACHUSETTS by Marion Starkey to make the claim, he reinforces the fact that it was the community and not the actual event of the manifestation of supernatural experience that validated the event. He refers to it as "mass hysteria" and notes that a similar occurrence in the Middle Ages followed a condition of chaos. (p. 89)
In fact occult manifestations do seem to proceed from a chaotic situation, whether the chaos is in the political or religious realm. In speaking of the rise of occultism in Europe, James Webb describes the cultural melieu out of which it was formed:
[A]s man advanced to greater mastery of the physical, so his always precarious hold began to slip upon the more intangible aspects of his relationship with the universe. His society, his awareness, his methods of thought, and most importantly the conclusions he reached, were all changing round him. What is more, they could be seen to be changing; and this was frightening.
The Industrial Revolution reconstructed the European economy. Man's relations with man were altered; the distribution of population changed; communications improved so that news became not merely of parochial interest; and the very geographical barriers to speedy travel began to disappear. The scientific method resulted in Darwin's theory of evolution and the application of critical standards to accepted notions of history and religion....Ever since 1789 the threat of social revolution had terrified the guiltier consciences of Europe. (THE OCCULT UNDERGROUND, p. 6-7)
In the Church, since Vatican II, the faith has undergone momentous change. A time of chaos has resulted, making the faithful ripe for a tumble into occult manifestations, and we have certainly seen them develop. Dr. Jones writes:
By now the parallels betwen Medjugorje and Salem should be apparent. Adolescent girls started both phenomena, but the crucial turning point came when the clergy, influenced by the general atmosphere and the pressure of the crowds which they had, in effect, helped create, validated the girls' experience as genuine. The girls, surprised by the reaction of the crowd, became too scared to back out. The only safe route was to press on with the assistance of the clergy, whose personal needs were also satisfied by the alleged supernatural phenomena. (THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION, p. 91)
In SALEM POSSESSED, the authors ask the critical question:
How would the girls have responded if their ministers, their neighbors, or their families had interpreted their behavior as the initial stages of a hopeful religious awakening? (p. 27)
I think that Jones gives us the answer in his book on Medjugorje.
Turning back to Salem, the authors answer their own question:
The parallel is underscored if we turn a full 180 degrees and examine, from the perspective of 1692, the first mass outbreak of religious anxiety which actually was interpreted as a revival: the so-called "Little Awakening" which began in the western Massachusetts town of Northampton in 1734. Here, as in Salem Village, a group of people in the town began, unexpectedly and simultaneously, to experience conditions of extreme anxiety. They underwent "great terrors" and "distresses" which threw them into "a kind of struggle and tumult" and finally brought them to "the borders of despair."...
In Northampton in 1735 as in Salem Village a generation earlier, the young played a central role. In both episodes, the catalyst was a group of young people who had taken to spending long hours together, away from their homes. In Salem Village, these gatherings began as fortune-telling sessions and soon took a scary turn; in Northampton, they started as "frolics" but were soon transformed, under the influence of the town's young minister, Jonathan Edwards (later to become the greatest theologian of his era), into occasions for prayer and worship. (SALEM POSSESSED, p. 27-28)
What I find especially unsettling is that the phenomena almost appear neutral, and defined solely in terms of audience reaction, so to speak. Which almost subtracts God from the picture entirely, making it a man-centered event by which man psyches himself up into religious intensity, prompting the question "Is any of this religion stuff really real?" If we can so easily trick ourselves, what else have we tricked ourselves into believing? If the Church can put a positive label on Medjugorje, calling it the work of the Holy Spirit, or whatever, what else has the Church baptised that was not authentic?
Belief in the authenticity of Medj. was permitted in the name of overcoming communism. Hope was maintained that the same thing which happened in Poland would be repeated in Yugoslavia. Branding Medj. a disapproved apparition would have dashed that hope to pieces. But Medj. was not Gdansk. Poland is largely Catholic. Yugoslavia was a mixture in approximately equal proportions of Catholic, Orthodoxy, and Islam; and each faction opposed the other two.
Now that the Church has allowed belief to continue this long, how can She gracefully withdraw from approval of Medjugorje? The Ostpolitik of the recent administration has plunged us into a hellhole.
Bishop Zanic's episcopal commission was in session in Mostar in 1985. The commission attempted to sort out conflicting stories about a promise by the Gospa that a sign would be given, a shrine will be dedicated in Medjugorje in 1982 to commemorate the visions. Now in 1985 no sign had taken place. Bishop Zanic wrote a letter to Rene Laurentin, the main worldwide promoter of Medj., in January 1985 stating:
If the Madonna leaves a sign on the hillside as the seers and Father Vlasic have said and written innumerable times, which the whole world knows about and now awaits, I have already publicly announced and have also written that I would crawl on my knees from Mostar to Medjugorje, and I now add that I would beg the pardon of all humanity, of you, the seers and Father Tomislav Vlasic. If I see you after the gift of the sign, I will fall on my knees and kiss your feet. You have this on my oath, and you can publish wherever you please. This would be my indescribable joy and that of all the Church, the happiest day of my life. (p. 102)
He never did it because the sign failed to appear.
One year later, Zanic wrote to Laurentin. The knees of his trousers were still intact, but he was predicting that the "apparitions," which he now considered clearly a fraud, were going to lead to religious war in Yugoslavia. (p. 102)
The rest, as they say, is history. The war developed, and it interfered with pilgrimmages to the apparition site.
EMAIL FROM LEE PENN
USATODAY.com - Inventor creates soundless sound system
"Elwood "Woody" Norris pointed a metal frequency emitter at one of perhaps 30 people who had come to see his invention. The emitter â€” an aluminum square â€” was hooked up by a wire to a CD player. Norris switched on the CD player.
There's no speaker, but when I point this pad at you, you will hear the waterfall," said the 63-year-old Californian.
And one by one, each person in the audience did, and smiled widely.
Norris' HyperSonic Sound system has won him an award coveted by inventors â€” the $500,000 annual Lemelson-MIT Prize. It works by sending a focused beam of sound above the range of human hearing. When it lands on you, it seems like sound is coming from inside your head.
Norris said the uses for the technology could come in handy â€” in cars, in the airport or at home.
"Imagine your wife wants to watch television and you want to read a book, like the intellectual you are," he said to the crowd. "Imagine you are a lifeguard or a coach and you want to yell at someone, he'll be the only one to hear you."
Consider the uses, in the hands of the people who brought us the Soviet trials of 1937, or the POW camps in North Korea in the 1950s, or the Cultural Revolution in China, or the current prison hells of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay ...
1. Mind control and brainwashing
3. Induction of psychosis
4. Induction of new religious and political beliefs
and so forth.
Here is a sales page for the technology ...
Technology Licensing - HyperSonic Sound
Naturally, they just talk about the "nice" uses of the technology.
There are many reasons. The first and most important is the ability to direct or focus sound into a tight beam, similar to the beam of light from the flashlight described above. No other audio reproduction device available today provides this unique ability. The opportunities for applying this characteristic to the reproduction of sound are limitless. Think about the ability in a museum to direct the narration about a specific display only to the people standing directly in front of it. How about the potential to reflect the rear channels of your surround TV from the rear wall of your living room, by focusing HSS speakers mounted on the TV itself - no rear speakers, no rear wiring. Think about the ability to focus sound into a crowd of people on a football field and talk only to a selected few.
The following contains a brief list of other uses made possible by HSS:
- Automobiles - HSS announcement device in the dash to "beam" alert signals directly to the driver
- Audio/Video Conferencing - project the audio from a conference in four different languages, from a single central device, without the need for headphones
- Paging Systems - direct the announcement to the specific area of interest
- Retail Sales - provide targeted advertising directly at the point of purchase
- Drive Through Ordering - intelligible communications directly with an automobile driver without bothering the surrounding neighbors
- Safety Officials - portable "bull horn" type device for communicating with a specific person in a crowd of people
- Military Applications - ship to ship communications, ship-board announcements"
This story surfaced first on a conservative Anglican list several weeks ago, and respondent #1 said:
"As a premillenial, pretribulational Christian I see this new device as a potential tool for the Antichrist to carry out his satanic delusion when he comes on the scene. Already there is the ability to make images appear in the sky or in a room through optical technology that most people are ignorant of. The ability to send delusional experiences has become as easy as having the right equipment in the 21st century."
To which Respondent #2 replied:
"It seems someone needs some education in how to read the Apocalypse."
Let me make my response perfectly clear.
1. Premillennial pretribulationism, the eschatological belief system that underlies the Left Behind books, is a heretical innovation that arose first among Protestants in the UK in the 1830s.
2. Nevertheless, there are some things that the premill/pre-trib people have right ... according to Catholic tradition.
Christ will return again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
Before His return, there will be a global tribulation and a global persecution of the People of God.
The persecution will be led by an evil leader ... as symbolized in Rev. 13.
Here are the relevant citations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in the 1990s by Pope John Paul II:
Catechism of the Catholic Church - IntraText
"The Church's ultimate trial
675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.573 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth574 will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.575
676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. the Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,576 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.577
677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.578 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.579 God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.580"
The pre-mill, pre-trib respondent was right: this technology, and worse, will be used by the coming tyrants to remold mankind and to attempt to draw all away from God.
3. Denial - including a glib dismissal of the apocalyptic parts of the New Testament - is not conducive to spiritual health.
4. I am not venturing a time table, but the social/political/military trends all point to -- at best -- the immediate future resembling 1914-1945 rather than the "good times" of the 1950s or the 1990s. And if there is a world war and global "regime change," all bets are off.
For more on the present trends against liberty and human rights, read my Spiritual Counterfeits Project article, "When the State Becomes God."
When the State Becomes God, By Lee Penn (All rights reserved, SCP)
Whatever the solution may be, it begins with prayer -- including prayer for our enemies and persecutors.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Christ is Risen. He is truly Risen. To any Orthodox who might be reading this blog, may the Risen Christ fill your week with joy.
Justin sent in the following...
Read every year at Pascha. When the priest reads the sections "It was embittered", everyone in the congregation holds up their candle and shouts back "It was embittered!" When the priest reads the sections "Christ is Risen", everyone raises their candle and shouts "Indeed He is Risen!" It's very rousing!
The Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom
Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople
The Catechetical Sermon of St. John Chrysostom is read during Matins of Pascha.
If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived therefor. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.
And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior's death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
About St. John Chrysostom:
St. John Chrysostom ("The Golden Tongue") was born at Antioch in about the year 347 into the family of a military-commander, spent his early years studying under the finest philosophers and rhetoricians and was ordained a deacon in the year 381 by the bishop of Antioch Saint Meletios. In 386 St. John was ordained a priest by the bishop of Antioch, Flavian.
Over time, his fame as a holy preacher grew, and in the year 397 with the demise of Archbishop Nektarios of Constantinople - successor to Sainted Gregory the Theologian - Saint John Chrysostom was summoned from Antioch for to be the new Archbishop of Constantinople.
Exiled in 404 and after a long illness because of the exile, he was transferred to Pitius in Abkhazia where he received the Holy Eucharist, and said, "Glory to God for everything!", falling asleep in the Lord on 14 September 407.
NORTHEAST OHIO WEATHER
So far here today we have had sunshine, gray cloudy sky, hail, rain, and snow. Fortunately the snow melts. My husband has given up on trying to cut the grass which badly needs to be cut but is just too wet.
The trees have leaves the size of quarters and getting no bigger because it is just too cold to grow. They've been that way for about a week.
THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION
It's interesting to consider the political and social situation existing at the time the apparitions began on June 27, 1981. E. Michael Jones describes it as follows in his book.
John Paul II had visited Poland, setting off the Solidarity movement focused on the Black Madonna, which was undermining the communist hold on the country. In the Diocese of Mostar, some parishes had been run by Franciscans due to a lack of Diocesan priests. That lack had turned around, and the Bishop had sought to place diocesan priests in the parishes run by the Franciscans. The Franciscans resisted this move and refused to vacate the parishes, in direct defiance not only of the Bishop but also of their Superior General.
Fr. Zovko has been holding charismatic meetings that included mind altering encounter techniques. The two seers of the early visions, however, were not among the group of young people who attended these meetings.
The seers, often referred to as "children" were in fact teenagers. Both had come from dysfunctional families. Mirjana was considered to be a "Pankerica" or punk rocker. A term which apparently meant that she wore jeans and T-shirts instead of dresses, a style of dress that was considered very liberal. Some believed that she was immoral and used drugs.
The "children" gave out the story that they had been out tending sheep until the Bishop reminded them it was a sin to lie, at which point they admitted that they had gone up apparition hill to smoke. What they smoked is not known for sure. There is some thought that it may have been marijuana.
The area in which the apparitions took place is Bogomil territory. The heresy had never been completely stamped out. Jones writes:
In a conversation with a group of tour guides, Mirjana once related a vision in which the Virgin who appeared was then chased away by another Virgin, who announced then, "You see, even the devil can appear like me." The vision, which the tour guides are convinced was genuine, has a certain resonance with the religion of the Bogomils, which infested the area before the subsequent rise of Islam. Bogomilism was an essentially Gnostic heresy, which posited a rough equality of power between God and the devil. The region has been infected with it ever since. Even Yugoslav Communists like Milovan Djilas were, in a sense, Bogomil Marxists. (p. 83)When the visions first began, Fr. Ivo Sivric suspected his second cousin Marinko Ivankovic was the orchestrator. At one point Ivanka said that "Marinko writes up everything. I memorize that, then I read." Mirjana said that "Marinko says that we should tell the people as if the Gospa had said that people shouldn't come anymore, that the Gospa will not come anymore."
A rivalry developed between Marinko and Fr. Zovko when Fr. Zovko wanted the Gospa to start appearing in the church.
Shortly before the apparitions began, Fr.Vlasic was in Rome attending a charismatic conference and attempting to discern whether he should abandon his vocation and marry the nun who was the mother of his child, or abandon her and remain a priest. During one prayer meeting a prophecy was given "Do not fear, I am sending you my Mother." Fr. Vlasic took this to be a sign that he should remain a priest, and later saw in the apparitions in Medjugorje the fulfillment of that prophecy.
Bishop Zanic, believed that Fr. Vlasic was the instigator of the apparitions.
After the first six days of apparitions the seers announce that the Gospa will appear for only three more days.
Crowds began converging in Medjugorje almost immediately, making the scene begin to appear to have the same potential to overthrow communism that the Solidarity movement in Poland provided, and subsequently making the Vatican reluctant to view the apparitions negatively.
Jones quotes Fr. Sivric's speculation about what happened at the beginning,
that the visionaries themselves might have mounted the whole affair of the apparitions? One day, they might have been at loose ends, looking for something to do to relieve their frustrations. They had neither movies nor a discotheque in the immiediate neighborhood. They then thought of a worthy activity. On their own initiative they might have wanted to try something for the greater glory of God and the spiritual well-being of the people. They might have decided to try to shake the people up spiritually. (p. 82)Jones evaluates the early days of the apparitions:
But did the seers actually see anything? The two bishops who have handled the case are divided on the issue. Bishop Zanic is convinced that the whole thing was a hoax cooked up by the Franciscans to best him in their battle over the contested parishes. Bishop Peric, the current ordinary, feels that the children may very well be seeing something. The only thing he is sure of is that whatever they are seeing, it is not the Blessed Mother. That leaves, of course, only one other option. [Fr.] Philip Pavich is convinced that the seers are trafficking in spirits. He bases his judgment on years of experience with New Age devotees who come to Medjugorje to him for confession and oftentimes exorcism and then leave their New Age/Occult literature behind. But there is a fourth possibility as well. Judging from the psychological evidence, Marjana may very well be a "medium," i.e., a person who has an unusually sensitive relationship to the fears and hopes and sins and guilts which drive her community. It seems evident that she hears voices. In an interview with Tomislav Vlasic which got suppressed, Mirjana talked about a woman who once heard tapping on her window and then heard the same tappping on a sixth floor window after moving to a new apartment far away. The woman could be Mirjana, who moved from the village to Sarajevo. But what was tapping at her window? The answer, according to the Gospa at least, was "souls in purgatory." They "were doing so because she has forgotten to pray for them and they are demanding her prayers."
What we are talking about here is not demons then but ghosts, the souls from purgatory who still haven't found the final closure of heaven or hell and who come back to remind us, therefore, of some unrighted wrong. ...
At any rate, judging from the transcripts of the tapes, both Zovko and the seers were shocked by the size and vehemence of the crowds. Once this shock settled in and the seers were faced with the possibility of admitting that they had made the whole thing up, they got scared. And in a sense the seers hadn't "made it all up"; the crowds had collaborated in making it up with them. But the fact did not remove them from danger. Indeed, until the government--quite wrongly, it turns out--became convinced that they had nothing to fear from the apparitions and that they were in effect a boon to the economy, a number of people were arrested. So the seers, at first shocked by the reaction of the crowd and then amused and finally fearful, were only too happy to have someone take the whole thing off their hands.
Which is just what Father Zovko did. The so-called apparitions went from being a teenage prank or whatever their mystical origin was to being on their way to becoming a world-wide religious phenomenon when Father Zovko brought them into the church. "Ask the Gospa if she'll appear in the church," Zovko kept insisting throughout his conversations with the children, and finally he got his wish. ...
It happened on Thursday, July 2, 1981, the day on which the Gospa allegedly told the children her last apparition would take place. Toward 1:00 p.m., the place in front of the church was jammed with pilgrims, and the crowd grew larger with each minute. Before Mass began, the seers prayed the rosary, kneeling behind the altar. During the recitation of the rosary, the Virgin appeared in the church above the choir loft and bowed over the crowed (sic). Some people claimed that Father Zovko saw her too.
By the time the sermon came around, the apparitions were firmly in Zovko's hand. The sermon was dedicated to the general theme of conversion with particular emphasis placed on penance, fasting, and prayer. The huge crowd gulped it all down as if they were hearing the word of God for the first time. That word fell on them, according to Ljubic's account, like torrents of rain on a parched earth, and it gave birth in them to a renewed spirit and a renewed heart.
Inspired by the reaction of the crowd, Zovko then took on the manner of a Pentecostal conducting a revival. (p. 85-88)
We had our usual visiting priest yesterday for Mass. However, our pastor made an announcement before Mass. It seems that the American bishops disagree about how Ascension Thursday...ummm Ascension Sunday...will be handled.
Father listed the dioceses where we must attend Mass on Thursday if we happen to be visiting there. But if we remain at home on Thursday, we do not need to attend Mass on Thursday as Ascension will not take place until next Sunday in the Cleveland Diocese.
Now it occurs to me that our Bishop is so concerned that all will follow the same posture during Communion, that he issued a special teaching on this topic. When it comes to celebrating the great feast of the Ascension, however, he is not apparently concerned that all will not follow the same teaching.
One wonders if we condemn our soul to hell if we happen to be visiting a diocese that celebrates it on Thursday and neglect to attend Mass. Wouldn't it make more sense to follow the teaching of the home diocese wherever we happen to be?
I suppose it would be possible to actually miss the Mass at which the Scripture readings for Ascension are used if we happen on Thursday to be in a diocese that celebrates it on Sunday, and then find ourselves on Sunday visiting a diocese that celebrated it on Thursday. Conversely, it would also be possible to celebrate it twice, depending upon travel arrangements. I guess that won't matter so long as we stand and sing during Communion, focusing our attention on our fellow man while ignoring Our Lord who has just come to visit with us in the Sacrament. Strange, is it not?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!