Saturday, July 09, 2005
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
Along with the report that the Diocese of Scranton ordained only three men to the priesthood this year, the Scranton Times has published a number of articles that outlines the financial crisis in the Scranton Diocese. I have linked the articles below, as well as a letter to the editor from a woman who rightly claims that the problem with the Church in Scranton cannot be reduced to "demographics."
"A tough calling"
"A host of challenges"
"Diocesan changes signal beginning of new chapter"
"Diocese to sell two churches"
"Facing deficits, Diocese to trim jobs"
"Letter to the Editor"
While the above articles identify changing demographics as the explanation for the financial crisis in the Diocese of Scranton, the real cause is a loss of faith, from the top down. When a diocese has been subjected to the queer governance of a bishop like James Timlin, who reigned for nearly twenty years in Scranton, the consequences for the faithful have always been disastrous. Taking only one revealing example, here is a shepherd of the Holy Catholic Church who loaned 2.65 million dollars to a homosexual cult even after their nefarious activities had been fully exposed. Compare that fact with the Diocese of Scranton's official "history," as posted on the diocesan web site, which praises Timlin's "financial acumen":
Bishop Timlin, a native of Holy Rosary Parish in North Scranton, would be in office during the one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary of the creation of the Diocese. In addition to bringing the Diocesan Synod to a successful conclusion, the Bishop had implemented a greatly successful plan of parish mergers, brought about by the unfortunate (and nationwide) shortage of Catholic clergy. In the area of Catholic education, the Bishop was faced with declining enrollments and escalating costs. By means of regional mergers, construction of modern facilities, innovative fund raising efforts, and a more equitable sharing of operating costs between families, parishes and the Diocese, a financial crisis has been successfully met. This, in addition to the "Bishop’s Annual Appeal," to meet funding for retired priests, seminarians, media efforts and evangelization, has singled out Bishop Timlin’s administration for its financial acumen and strong pastoral sensitivity.
How does this obsequious piece of flattery square with the reports recently published in the Scranton Times? As for Timlin's supposed "strong pastoral sensitivity," please excuse me while I vomit.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
Friday, July 08, 2005
RIGHT HERE IN MY OWN BACKYARD
In Akron we have Dominicans who run The Elms, a private girls school. The same nuns have a farm in Bath called Crown Point Ecology Center.
I've just noticed something on the Religious Communities and Centers on the Land website. Not only do they have "labyrinth groups", now I see that they are holding "dances of Universal Peace, and seasonal solstice and equinox activities (2005)."
Dances of Universal Peace are the invention of Sufi Samuel Lewis. We know what happens with liturgical dance. Can we expect anything Catholic to be going on here? Here is their home page. I don't see a Catholic image anywhere on the page. Nice labyrinth. I wonder what ten acres in Bath would bring on the real estate market?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
PENTECOSTALISM IN SOUTH AMERICA
A reader sent in a link to this Zenit interview, titled "The Most Allegedly Catholic Continent [ 2005-07-07 ]"
in today's news from which the following question and answer is taken:
"Miguel Pastorino on the State of Religion in Latin America"
Q: In the 1980s, experts talked about a massive exodus of Latin American Catholics to sects, going so far as to number their defection rate at 400 believers per hour.
Pastorino: Of course this "passage" of Catholics continues today. Not only is there an exodus to different Gnostic and esoteric proposals, Afro-American cults, para-Christian sects, spiritualism, and "platillista" sects [those that believe in UFOs], but there is also a silent turn to religious indifference, a product of the advanced secularization of large cities. The Pentecostal movement is the one that has grown the most, and there is nothing that indicates a stagnation; rather, it seems to be growing wildly. There is already talk of almost 150 million Pentecostals in Latin America, not counting the charismatics of other historical denominations.
There is a lot more in the interview. The Church should not have turned away from the cultivation of a personal relationship with God. It left the faithful wide open to embrace channeling as an alternative. As the Baltimore told us, we were made to know, love, and serve God. Knowing Him has become difficult to accomplish in the modern RCC.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
MY NEW CAREER
Thanks to links provided by a reader, I've found it! I must be qualified since I've been reading and blogging about this new Earth Spirit alive and growing in the Church for a while now. With a little effort I can probably speak the language.
Yes!!!! I'm going to take up Spiritual Direction. Looks like I could get a job in the St. Joan of Arc parish in Minneapolis. Yup, they have a whole list of Spiritual Directors.
I think I'll take Marilyn Groenke as my mentor. She's a "Psychic Energy Reader" from Minnetonka, who is listed under "Energy Healers/Body Work" at the St. Joan website. She gets $65 an hour. (Gypsy fortune telling has come up in the world!) See who she studied under:
Experience/Credentials/Training: Reading since late 80’s. Studied with Susan Viera, Echo Bodine, Judith Barnitt, Lee Ann Paradise, Maggie Reine.
Echo Bodine is such an interesting person. She even has her own radio show. Echo is smart in economics. She gets five bucks for two handkerchiefs. I bet you can buy those hankies for less than a buck a piece. That healing energy stuff she claims is in them doesn't cost anything. That's a nice profit! I wonder if Marilyn Groenke has gone into the handkerchief business. Hey, it beats the bake sale for a fund raiser anyday. Less work and it never gets stale.
Take a look at the classes Echo offers. With a list like that, you can make the First Commandment pack up it's doctrine and go away, knowing it's been outclassed.
I wonder if I'd need to join the Pleiadian Study Group listed near the bottom of Echo's classes? Maybe I could just learn channeling and take up my own spirit instead of borrowing hers? I see that Matthew Fox's former publisher is listed there. Barbara Handclow (sic) and her husband used to own Bear & Co. and publish Matthew Fox.
Barbara Hand Clow and Gerry Clow
Barbara Hand Clow, MA is the author of nine titles, including newly-released Alchemy of Nine Dimensions, as well as The Pleiadian Agenda, The Mind Chronicles series, Liquid Light of Sex, Churn and Catastrophobia. She holds a master’s degree in theology and is an internationally acclaimed ceremonial teacher. Gerry Clow is a Polarity therapy and Craniosacral practitioner. Together they founded Bear & Co. Publishers with Matthew Fox in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1983. They currently live in New England and the Dutch Antilles.
Bear & Co. is now part of Inner Traditions. Apparently channeling pays better than publishing. Lower cost of materials, I guess, plus the boss has a lot of influence. Hey, you can't do everything!
Can we say that St. Joan of Arc is no longer Catholic?
Where is their bishop?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
REWARDS OF VOLUNTEERING IN CLEVELAND
A reader sent in the link to the "Standard of Conduct for Ministry" document that he believes he may have to sign in order to continue his job as volunteer music minister in his parish. He was reluctant to sign it. I can see why. I think I'd have my attorney review it before I'd sign it. It reads like a legal document.
On second thought, maybe I wouldn't have my lawyer review it. Maybe, instead, I'd just resign.
IMAGO AND CULTIVATING CONNECTIONS
are sponsoring the EarthSpirit Rising Conference once again.
2005 EarthSpirit Rising Conference comes to Cincinnati
Cultivating Connections and Imago are pleased to annouce that Cincinnati's own Xavier University will host EarthSpirit Rising: A Conference on Ecology, Spirituality, and Community. We live in a time of crisis-crisis of Earth, crisis of Spirit, and crisis of Community. Many of us have come to recognize that these crises are not separate, but interpenetrating dimensions that must be addressed as a whole. It is only through understanding the deep interconnections between Earth, Spirit, and Community that we will be able to transform this time of crisis into a time of hope.
EarthSpirit Rising 2005 explores the connections between ecology and spirituality through the lens of community. We recognize that without community and collective action our hope for a more ecologically sustainable and spiritually rich world will never be realized.
Looks like it is taking place in a Catholic University again.
It also looks like the nuns haven't shied away from sponsoring it.
Matthew Fox and John Seed will be back again for encore performances. No mention of the Council of All Beings this time, though. Maybe they have decided to tone down the channeling. I wonder what Matthew Fox's "9 C's of Education" are? They have some ritual tucked into Malidoma Some presentation. They are going to talk about "Dagara cosmology"...as opposed to Catholic cosmology, one wonders?
The organizers are described here. Notice down there on the bottom the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University? That magical word "dialogue" that exempts Catholic facilities from teaching the faith...
Check out the "Conference Related Links". Foundation for Shamanic Studies???????????????
They are offering a Youth Conference for ages 8-14. Wonder what sort of program is going to fall under "creative expressions"? Would you trust your kids to a bunch of conference organizers who provided a lesson in channeling called Council of All Beings at a previous EarthSpirit Rising Conference?
They are having an EarthSpirit Rising Council of Earth Elders. The Earth Elders want to arrange the "transformation of human-earth relations." Did you know you can have relations with a planet? Stick with the nuns and they will guide you through "these times of great danger and great hope"...with the help of their "ally" gleaned from the Council of All Beings held at a previous EarthSpirit Rising Conference, perhaps.
Look at the lineup for the "Experiential Sessions"! It would take an entire day to explore all of these presenters. I'm intrigued by the "Sacred Body, Sacred Community" presentation "inspired by nature mystics." It includes "chants and circle dances that create a deep, connecting, and healing experience of being fully in our bodies, connecting with each other in a deeply reverent way, and celebrating the mutual blessing that we are to one another and the rest of the Earth Community."
In other words, scrap this God nonsence and deify ourselves and our dance partner? What else could "reverent" be about if not God?
What, by all that is holy, is a "nature mystic"?
Why is there not one single mention in this program of Jesus Christ since it's being held at a Catholic university and sponsored by a gaggle of nuns? Oh. I forgot. They're committed to "dialogue". A fancy way to exclude the Trinity from your consciousness.
Where is their Bishop? Why does he allow this heresy to continue unchecked and take place at a Catholic University?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Thursday, July 07, 2005
EMAIL FROM LEE PENN
Until now, I have said little in writing about Benedict XVI, or about his selection of Archbishop William Levada, presently ruling in San Francisco, as the new Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - Ratzinger's old job.
Below, I offer the data that I have in hand, suggesting that the appointment of Levada to the CDF my prove to be a disaster. I see two alert flags:
1. Levada's support for the United Religions Initiative, and
2. his sad record in dealing with abuse by Catholic clergy.
Defenders of the Pope say that Levada is academically and intellectually qualified for his new job, and that the past is not necessarily a prologue. That would be nice, biut I would not bet the rent -- or the beer money -- on this being so.
Use this data, or forward it to others, as you see fit.
Item 1 -- from my article published in March 2002 by The Christian Challenge, a traditionalist Anglican magazine:
URI Gains RC Support,
Despite Vatican Opposition
Report/Analysis By Lee Penn
The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC)
March 22, 2002
The Vatican has firmly opposed the "syncretism" of the United Religions Initiative (URI) founded by California Episcopal Bishop William Swing, but that has not stopped some U.S. Roman Catholic leaders from supporting the controversial interfaith venture anyhow.
In fact, the worldview of the URI, which some believe can lead only to a one-world religion, now appears to be common among U.S. Catholic leaders as well as Catholic religious.
The 2000 URI Annual Report's list of donors includes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, California (the first Catholic diocese in the U.S. to give official support to the URI); women religious from six orders, and male religious from two orders.
Newer URI backers within the U.S. Catholic Church include the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Interfaith forums and services which took place January 24 show that the Archdiocese, while not officially endorsing the URI, is cooperating closely with it. Moreover, several prominent Catholics in the Archdiocese, including the director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, serve on the URI board of directors.
The interfaith forum and prayer services held in San Francisco January 24 to coincide with the papal interfaith prayers for peace at Assisi the same day, show the extent to which URI beliefs and practices now influence the local Catholic Church.
At the Mass for Peace held at the National Shrine of St. Francis on January 24, Monsignor Robert E. McElroy, preaching about the parable of the Good Samaritan, said in part: "We must...create a common vision of the new heavens and the new earth which can be created by the conversion of the human heart: from war to peace, from hatred to love, from power to justice...Let us unite in prayer and action with the Hindu and the Orthodox, the Jew and the Buddhist, the Presbyterian and the Muslim, so that we can journey forth as Samaritans all, united in the search for true peace and true community."
On the afternoon of January 24, the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the University of San Francisco (USF) held an "Interfaith Dialogue," attended by 100 people, including Archbishop William Levada, who sat impassively as some Catholic speakers fudged on the Christian faith.
The event featured a multi-faith panel of discussion leaders, among them Fr. Francis Buckley, S.J., head of the theology department at USF. Buckley asserted in part that "All human religious traditions contain something of truth and value planted there by God, and a respect for God urges us to appreciate that truth and value, take it into our own hearts, and be enriched by it."
"Hence Catholic universities like the University of San Francisco should try to make Jewish students better Jews, Muslims better Muslims, Hindus better Hindus, Baptists better Baptists, and Catholics better Catholics. This calls for a paradigm shift,"from "distinguishing 'us' from `them,' to envisioning a powerful magnetic force, drawing all persons and institutions toward a mysterious center, and thus drawing them closer to one another."
Another one of the several speakers, Fr. Francis Tiso of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish in Mill Valley, California, avowed his love for "my Lord Jesus Christ" more clearly than the other Catholic speakers. He also noted that religious extremism is not the only cause of violence in the world, and that the faithful are persecuted.
Nevertheless, Fr. Tiso followed Bishop Swing's lead in going from rejection of religious violence, to rejection of evangelism, and linking the first with the last. He said, "Could we restrain ourselves from proselytism and coercion?" He also proposed that would-be converts to Christianity be sent back to their native faiths.
Bishop Swing described the URI's history, and said that people now see interfaith work as "essential" after September 11. He said, "We have to come to grips with the violence in our own scriptures, with all the times that we call people heathens, pagans, and infidels, and ... with how much of the religious market we wish to corner."
In contrast to all the other symposium leaders, Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin of the San Francisco Muslim Community Center spoke clearly and unapologetically from within his own tradition, explaining how the tenets of Islam are conducive to interreligious peace and dialogue.
Archbishop Levada wound up the event by quoting an aphorism by Catholic dissident theologian Hans Kung that is a favorite of Bishop Swing and the URI: "No peace among nations without peace among the religions; no peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions."
On the evening of January 24, there was a "Interreligious Prayer Service" at the Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. The bulletin for this service listed eight URI board members as prayer leaders or participants in the ceremonial lighting of candles for peace; they included Swing and one other Episcopal cleric, a Hindu nun, and a Muslim.
During the service, also attended by Levada, there were prayers and scripture readings from Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sufis, and Bah'ais, along with prayers and scriptures offered by Jews and Christians.
This--the sequential offering of prayers and holy texts from representatives of many religions during a single service-gave the archdiocesan prayer service an appearance of syncretism that the papal service in Assisi avoided.
In Assisi, the members of each religion prayed and held services in separate rooms, before gathering for speeches and non-religious ceremonies in common. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, wrote in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that Christians and followers of other religions "cannot pray together" because their prayers are expressions of different faiths.
*The Coming New Religion*
The Episcopal Bishop of Oregon, Robert L. Ladehoff, was listed as a 2000 donor to the URI. Other Anglican prelates who have stated support for the URI include former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold; James Ottley, former Anglican Observer at the UN; Samir Kafity, former Bishop of Jerusalem; and Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster (Vancouver), Canada.
The URI also has attracted support from New Age and pagan quarters. Donors include an elder of the Wiccan Covenant of the Goddess and the Lucis Trust World Service Fund. The Lucis Trust promotes the writings of Alice A. Bailey, a mid-1900s Theosophist who claimed to channel the "Ageless Wisdom" of the Tibetan spirit guide Djwhal Khul. Theosophy is a Gnostic movement that arose in 1875 and has had significant influence on New Age and occult movements worldwide since then. Dale McKechnie, Vice President of the Lucis Trust, said in 1998 that the teachings of Alice Bailey "oppose what would be called orthodox Christianity. The one overshadows the other."
A key URI supporter who has longstanding links with the theosophical movement, Robert Muller, a former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, has hailed Swing as a sage equivalent to Plato and Aristotle. In a vision of the world as it might be in 2013, Muller wrote, "Humanity is now a united world community of nations, not only economic and political, but also spiritual, following the path opened in the last century by Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant in the United Nations, by Robert Schuman in Europe, and also throughout the millennia by prophets and founders of religions, and by great sages such as Plato, Aristotle, Maimonides, Huxley, Albert Schweitzer, Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Bishop William Swing and others."
Muller assigns an ambitious role to the URI: "The role and responsibility of the new United Religions Organization and of the World Parliament of Religions will be no less than to give humanity a new spiritual, planetary, cosmic ideology to follow the demise of communism and capitalism."
Muller views the UN as central to the coming New Religion. In My Testament to the UN, he wrote: "At the beginning the UN was only a hope. Today it is a political reality. Tomorrow it will be the world's religion."
*Sources available upon request
Permission to circulate the foregoing electronically or reprint it is granted, including to other media outlets, provided that there are no changes in the headings or text.
Item 2: this article, published in November 2003 by The Christian Challenge:
Catholic Support For Controversial Movement
Grows Despite Hierarchy's Opposition
By Lee Penn
The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC)
November 14, 2003
THE VATICAN stands firmly against it.
Nonetheless, Catholic support for it has spread worldwide, beyond the usual array of dissident Catholic theologians, priests, and religious orders.
"It" is the eight-year-old, controversial interfaith venture, the United Religions Initiative (URI), founded by liberal California Episcopal Bishop William Swing. Far from including only the major ancient religions, the URI has opened its doors to "spiritualities" of all sorts, including those of the pagan, occult and New Age genre. Some critics point to evidence that the URI will act to distill from these many belief systems a one-world religion. Though still relatively unknown, the URI has grown to 201 chapters and more than 15,000 adherents around the world, and has attracted some major benefactors.
At Rome in 1996, Bishop Swing received a firm rebuff from Cardinal Arinze, who was then the head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue. According to Bishop Swing, the Cardinal "said that a United Religions would give the appearance of syncretism and it would water down our need to evangelize. It would force authentic religions to be on equal footing with spurious religions."
Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, who worked under Cardinal Arinze (and is now his successor), pointedly ignored Bishop Swing's invitation to attend the 1997 URI summit conference.
Since then, the Vatican has restated its opposition to the URI. In a June 1999 letter to Homiletic & Pastoral Review, a magazine for Catholic priests, Fr. Chidi Denis Isizoh of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said: "Religious syncretism is a theological error. That is why the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue does not approve of the United Religions Initiative and does not work with it."
As the San Francisco Chronicle reported in June 2000, "Swing found that the Vatican wanted nothing to do with his organization."
MANY CATHOLICS, however, are not following the Vatican lead. Open supporters of the URI in the episcopate have included Cardinal Paul Evaristo Arns (the retired Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil), Archbishop John Baptist Odama (from Uganda), Thomas Gumbleton (auxiliary Bishop of Detroit), and Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco (the retired Archbishop of that city).
William Levada, the Archbishop of San Francisco, has not officially stated support for the URI. Nevertheless, the Archdiocese of San Francisco is--in practical terms, if not formally--cooperating closely with the URI. Diocesan spokesman Maurice Healey agreed that "through its actions, the Archdiocese has viewed the URI positively." Fr. Gerard O'Rourke, director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the URI from its beginning; he served on the URI Board of Directors until 2002.
The Jesuit leaders of the University of San Francisco (USF) also support the URI. Fr. John Lo Schiavo, S.J. (Chancellor of USF) served through 2000 on the URI Board of Directors. In April 2001, Fr. Steven A. Privett S. J. (current president of USF) praised Bishop Swing's "realization that dogma divides and action unites" when he introduced Swing to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. The Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., (President of USF from 1991 through 2000) donated to the URI in 2000.
Sister Bridget Clare McKeever, director of the Office of Spirituality for the Catholic diocese of Salt Lake in Utah, publicly endorsed the URI in 2001.
The Catholic Diocese of Oakland, California, donated to the URI in 2000--the only Roman Catholic diocese yet to go on the record as doing so.
URI activities have also been supported by Catholic Relief Services, the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Religious Orders Partnership (associated with Global Education Associates), Pax Christi USA, and many orders of nuns.
John Borelli, Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said in November 2002, "Since the Archdiocese of San Francisco is involved in the URI, the Catholic Church is involved."
In March 2003, Borelli said, "My advice to Gerry O'Rourke from the start is that all kinds of interfaith activities are beneficial and he should be involved in the URI if he feels it is a worthwhile project." Borelli added that there has been "no formal communication from the Vatican to the USCCB about the URI." Thus, the USCCB bureaucracy is a de facto supporter of the URI.
Catholic support for the URI is worldwide. Five of the 37 URI Global Council members are Catholic, including Fr. James Channan, of Pakistan (a Consultor for the Vatican Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims and prior Vice-Provincial of the Dominican "Sons of Mary" order), and Fr. Dr. George Khoury (President of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Greek Catholic Church, in Israel).
Other prominent Catholics who have endorsed the URI include Fr. Thomas Michel S.J. (director of the Jesuit Secretariat for Interreligious Dialogue); Fr. Joseph Wainaina (who has been the National Pastoral Coordinator for the Kenya Episcopal Conference); and Fr. Albert Nambiaparambil, who served in the 1990s as Secretary of Interreligious Dialogue for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. Catholics in Belgium, Brazil, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and other countries have taken leadership roles in local and regional URI activity. Dissenting theologians supporting the URI include Paul Knitter (senior editor at Orbis Books and professor of theology at Xavier University), Leonard Swidler (professor of "Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue" at Temple University), and Hans Küng.
Sources available upon request. Permission to circulate the foregoing electronically, or reprint it, is granted, provided that there are no changes in the headings or text.
Item 3: from my book, False Dawn:
See pp. 161-165 for details on the collaboration of the Archdiocese of San Francisco with the URI -- there are lots of additional details and footnotes here.
The bottom line ... Levada supports Swing's United Religions Initiative. And the interfaith officers at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops are OK with that.
Go to World Net Daily's on-line store (linked from wnd.com), or Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or the publisher (reachable through http://www.falsedawn.us) to buy the book.
Item 4: this collection of newspaper stories about Archbishop Levada's less-than-glorious record pertaining to the sex abuse scandal in the US:
"ArchBishop Levada's 'Holy' Record"
(The MGR site is run by a Catholic mystic in Portugal, who is a severe critic of the hierarchy and an advocate for abuse survivors.)
If the Levada appointment is a practical sign of where the Roman Catholic Church is heading under Benedict XVI, then ...
This report from BBC journalists is the most up-to-date information on the London blasts that I can find right now.
The BBC also offers this account and this one.
A SEVENTH APPEARANCE AT FATIMA ?
Richard Salbato makes an interesting case.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
of the Trilateral Commission" at World Net Daily.
RUSSIA AND CHINA
have issued a joint statement on the structure of the emerging new world order.
The comment counter is screwed up again. Sigh.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
GOLDEN DAWN CORRESPONDENCE COURSE
Searching for more information about the Yesod Foundation, linked by the StarHouse "All Seasons Chalice" community led to The Witches Way website where a 180 segment correspondence course on the Golden Dawn is offered. A brief history of the Golden Dawn is given which includes the following:
Another magician who contributed to the enrichment of the tarot was Gerard Encausse, better known as Papus. Author of the celebrated book The Tarot of the Bohemians, he became chief of the order of the Rose-Croix, which was founded in France as an hermetic organization. Papus equated the Tarot with the Bible and posited that an entire system of metaphysical knowledge was contained within the cards that sythesized the teachings of many cultures.[Emphasis mine.]
So it would seem that Valentin Tomberg was not the first to attempt to synthesize occultism and Catholicism. At the time Papus was living and teaching, there was no doubt that his system was contrary to the faith. How did we come to the point where von Balthasar could approve of the same attempt while enjoying the status of papal theologian?
Notice that the description also indicates that the doctrines of Papus and other occultists "were disseminated by Albert Pike."
In any case, the 17th installment of the correspondence course is "Yesod - Foundation."
Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist for the newest Cirque du Soleil show "KA" at the MGM Grand is also part of the "Community involved in the making of Rediscovering Mary Magdalene—the making of a mythic drama" This film is partially based on the Gnostic Gospels, and is the work of a group calling itself StarHouse.
StarHouse has a Chalice Church. StarHouse women are involved in the exploration of the "ceremonial arts" concerning the "divine feminine" and "listening to the Spirit". Which one? "The Journey of the Feminine" program uses the rose motif. Does that mean they are channelers?
In reading through the rest of the descriptions of the members of this community, I noticed that Duncan Campbell takes the hieros gamos as one of the major themes of his work. I noticed that all of these people have top-shelf eductions and that they are a "trans-denominational community of people dedicated to honoring the earth and all beings through ceremony, theatre, music, and dance."
They have a facility located in Boulder, Colorado. Apparently Astrology is their "wisdom".
On the "Partners" webpage, All Seasons Chalilce indicates it supports the work of "Dances of Universal Peace". The Dances of Universal Peace are the work of a Sufi, Samuel L. Lewis. A Brief History can be read at their website.
They also link the Yesod Foundation. Interesting that a branch of Judaism is in league with an organization dedicated to the divine feminine and the redefining of Mary Magdalene. As in The Da Vinci Code? Does a branch of Judaism intend to overthrow Christianity? But wait...someone is going to tell me I'm in Lala land again with that question.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
The Diocese of Scranton has announced on its web site that Bishop Joseph Martino ordained three men to the priesthood on June 25, 2005. See http://www.dioceseofscranton.org/mainpage/index.htm. Thanks be to God, Deacon Joseph Levine, former superior general of the suppressed Society of St. John, was not one of them.
Most of you will recall that I sent out an alert on May 7, 2005 outlining why Deacon Levine should never be ordained. Many of you, in response to that alert, wrote or telephoned the Diocese of Scranton to request that Levine never be made a priest. The Diocesan file on Levine was no doubt overflowing with your letters and phone messages. Although no one was given a straightforward response from the Diocese, nevertheless your objections may well have prevented Levine's ordination to the priesthood.
It may be, however, that the Diocese of Scranton will try to ordain Levine next year once the furor over the Society of St. John has diminished. After all, Bishop Martino has made no statement concerning the ultimate fate of Levine, nor has Bishop Martino responded to the objections presented to him, including those in my own letter imploring him not to ordain Levine. Hence, we will watch and wait until we can be sure that this man will never become a priest of the Holy Catholic Church.
May our Lord bless all of you for your efforts to keep His Church untainted by the likes of Levine. You should know that there are more battles brewing in the Diocese of Scranton as the depth of the moral rot is slowly uncovered. We continue to receive word of predator priests operating in the Diocese of Scranton, and we will expose them once the evidence is clear.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
I THINK BENEDICT "GETS IT"
An article at Chiesa describes the new catechism, a compendium of the CCC. In this new issue are several works of art which Pope Benedict has insisted appear in their exact place in each version of this catechism that is issued. He considers the images to be vital parts of what the book has to say to the faithful.
The occultists know well the impact of an image. They fully understand that the image can transmit concepts wholly formed that would be rejected if transmitted in words. They understand the difficulty one has in arguing with an image as opposed to presenting contrary arguments to words. They understand, as did the early Christians, that an image can hold a group of people together as the fish held the early Christians together.
We have been a faith of words in recent years. Now comes occultism offering us new insights into the meaning of man employing the use of images to convey philosophy, and Christians are intrigued. That philosophy opposes Catholicism specifically because the elimination of Christ is the objective. It signals to us by that opposition what must be its source.
What response to this bombardment of images can the Church make? More words? But western civ. is bored with words and wants mystery not pedagogy. Words will be ignored as the world and the Christians with it turn to this novelty of images. Pope Benedict is trying a different approach. He is turning to the riches of Christian art to mount a defense. He is taking out and dusting off our wealth of images to respond to the images of the opposition.
How can one look at something of beauty without recognizing the Creator who made it possible? God is ever present to those with eyes to see Him. He put beauty into the world and appreciation of it into man for the purpose of communication. He tells us about Himself when we look at the beauty of His creation.
We have a treasurehouse in Christian artistic expression that can hold its own in the battle for souls. We just need to look again at what is there and relearn to appreciate what God has given us.
Just maybe the New Age has met its equal in Benedict!
A reader sent in a link to a review of one of Hans Urs von Balthasar's more controversial books, Razing the Bastions. Yes...I know...it's an SSPX website. The credentials of the author require that it be taken seriously regardless of the source of publication, so don't start with a condemnation of the source. Has anyone read the book? And if you have, can you give a counter-argument? And please, don't remind me that I haven't read the book. I'm making note of the fact I haven't read it right up here.
From the review:
For the author of Razing the Bastions old is bad and the Church is undoubtedly old, the oldest of the old. The most striking mark of her dotage is "the fact that Christianity has dissolved in the course of centuries like a crumbling rock into even more churches, sects, and confessions."7 A chilling exaggeration (as well as a bit old hat) to be brought up in 1952. His solution is simply preposterous: reduce the Catholic Church to simply another sect in the mosaic of religions. This from the highest and most spiritual motives based on the discovery of “human solidarity” and the subsequent elimination of the barrier between sacred and profane, the civitas Dei and civitas tenena.8 The traditional Church has outgrown its usefulness and now represents the forces of inertia struggling against real holiness.9
Would Balthasar be in favor of United Religions Initiative? One gets the notion from this passage that he would have been.
Human solidarity. That's the prescription for peace right out of the Masonic Lodge. (It is hard to overlook the use of the word "solidarity" by our recently deceased Pontiff.)
We have seen no "real holiness" come out of the changes. And in fact, it is to the traditional Church that Pope Benedict is looking to revitalize a dying Roman Catholicism. With one exception. Ecumenism will move full steam ahead. If Balthasar did claim that the traditional Church had been outgrown, and this theory has been proven false, was he wrong about ecumenism?
Yet how can we go back to what we once believed? How can we once again condemn all those outside of the Roman Catholic Church to eternal darkness? How can we deny the holiness to be found outside of the Roman Catholic Church? I, for one, cannot deny it, and I can't go back to that old way of judgment. Yet at the same time I also recognize that the Church did, in fact, teach it; and She taught it in infallible encyclicals. We can't simply sweep that fact under the rug like yesterday's tracked in mud. If those infallible encyclicals were wrong, today's infallible encyclicals are also subject to judgment. And then how much else is, perhaps, not quite what it should be or should have been? Theology collapses like a house of cards.
The review quotes Balthasar:
Von Balthasar is convinced that the Church is living at a privileged moment. She perhaps has never been “so open, so full of promise, and so pregnant with the future at any time since the first three centuries.”1
We now know that during that very time he spoke of, the internal rot that has festered and is now being exposed to view in newspaper headlines was in place. Von B, according to the review, spoke of a new Pentecost, but we see the result of this "spirit" and his pentecost has undermined the Church. Fruits do not lie.
And there is this passage from the review:
This agenda, accompanied by bursts of esoteric language verging on the mystagogical (probably taken from the Kabbalah), adds an indefinable sense of mystery to the theses that are expounded. The “invisible fragrances of the beloved” are scattered in the most worldly parts of the world. The “outer shells" are falling away, the “shells of error” break open and release the captive kernels of truth.21This is hardly normative Christian speculation but corresponds to a process known to the Kabbalists as the “gathering of the sparks” which has ancient roots in Gnosticism and more recent ones in the Zohar, specifically the Lurianic Kabbalah.22 In any case, it is out of place in the present work and had an uncomfortable reception in Judaism because of its tilt toward pantheism.
I have not read Balthasar. Did he fall into Kabbalism? His involvement with von Speyer would seem to indicate that he did. If he did, his theology is seriously suspect! The concept of the "gathering of the sparks" is a process of self-salvation. It is the Jewish solution to the lack of a Messiah. It leaves no room for Christ, obviously, since the Jews rejected Him.
Is this Balthasar's theology?
To accomplish this the Church must imitate the Lord's kenosis (emptying) and become merely “one religion among others... one doctrine and truth among others” just as Christ became one man among others.28 This, we are told, is the “good path” devised by Providence.29
One religion among others? One MAN among others? Are we to deny the uniqueness of Christ...the Godness of Christ? A Catholic cannot go there. How is it that such notions are attributed to a respected Catholic theologian?
The article makes the connection with the theology of Joachim of Fiore, a connection that has bothered me for some time. It speaks to this new Pentecost, this Baptism of the Spirit that we have picked up from the Protestants. Now it would seem that the idea can be found in at least one of Balthasar's books if this review is correct. Perhaps this was the source of the "New Springtime" we heard to much about and are still waiting for. How much of this book is the result of a visionary experience? The source of those visionary experiences is still in question.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
STANDING SELDOM BY THE CRIB, BUT OFTEN BY THE COFFIN
If you subscribe to NOR online and haven't already had too much of me here, my guest column from 2001 is up on their website.
Monday, July 04, 2005
VIVA LAS VEGAS
It was time for a complete break from the daily routine, and I've certainly had one. Three Red Hat Society friends and I decided to visit Las Vegas during the Red Hat Convention held there last week. Since the cost of the convention seemed to far exceed the value offered, we opted to skip the festivities in order to create our own. There is enough stuff to do out there.
Gambling isn't my idea of fun--I'm just too practical--but I had strict orders from my husband to at least play the slots a couple of times to get the flavor of the place. I obliged him, but didn't enjoy it; and had I quit after the first gambit, I would have come home $20 to the good instead of just $10. Watching the people and wandering through the hotels was better entertainment.
All of the hotels are connected to at least one other via walkways and trams. Going down to street level and rubbing shoulders with the uninformed is a last option. It's a surreal world where morning begins at two in the afternoon and night doesn't arrive until morning; where clocks are reluctant to appear.
Ground floor hallways that were an easy stroll in the a.m. became a crowded challenge-to-the-hurried by dinner time at New York-New York where we stayed. The hotel lobby is a warren of interwoven "bricked" streets and movie-set fascades of apartments, shops, and sidewalk cafes interspersed with real restaurants, lit by fake trees covered in white Christmas lights. The manholes in the "street" emit steam. There is a bridge that crosses the stream flowing through the lobby. The roller coaster at NY-NY goes right through the hotel. It isn't possible to avoid the casino because it's part of the lobby, and it's loud. Gambling machines emit their own distinctive sound.
Since the convention was held at the MGM Grand across the walkway from NY-NY, periodically Red Hatters wandered through our lobby in costume. Yes costume--not dress. No one would dress like that for any other occasion. The larger the hat and the more fake jewelry laden on, the better. Flowers and feathers were in and appropriate anyplace a Red Hatter wanted to stick them. With clothing being a required purple combined with red accessories, well-dressed Red Hatters most resembled circus clowns. There was a pajama party one evening, and ladies were wandering through the lobby dressed in purple satin pajamas and bedroom slippers as early as two in the afternoon. One had a giant purple stuffed bear. I wonder how she got it out there in a suitcase! After seeing the get-up, I'm glad I didn't attend the convention.
Then there were some other hotel guests. I watched them for four days and still can't fathom why parents bring children to such a place. There is nothing there for children to do except play games in the arcade where the noise is so great they are in danger of becoming deaf by evening, or frying by the pool which offers no shady spot where one can escape the merciless Las Vegas sun. Technically the kids aren't allowed in the casino, though since the casino is a part of the hotel lobby, they are in there by default--even children so young they require a stroller.
The strip is a long piece of eye candy. You can eyeball the Sphinx at the Luxor, the Statue of Liberty at NY-NY, the Eiffel Tower (scroll down and click picture for larger image) in the Paris section, a Spanish castle called the Excalibur, Ceasar's Palace (ok, maybe the real thing didn't look like that), the MGM golden lion, and more in one long glance. It's a world tour. In the Venetian, the ceiling mimics Michaelangelo's work. Outside there is a canal around the hotel where a guest can take a ride in a gondola. The Mirage offers a volcano at street level that erupts every fifteen minutes in the evening, complete with smoke, real fire, and rumbling. There is a white tiger in a habitat at the Mirage, and there are two lions at the MGM Grand where you can have your picture taken with a cub. You can observe dolphins or relax by an aquarium. Trying to see it all is exhausting. Distances are greater than they seem, and getting lost is a constant concern.
The best evening there was spent at the Stratosphere (click the arrow to see the top) where dinner at Top of the World provided a view of our surroundings from 1,149 feet; where the restautant makes a complete rotation every hour and fifteen minutes; and the service and food are five star. After dinner we went up two floors to the observation deck and watched Las Vegas turn on. It's quite a sight. There is an open-air mini amusement park atop the Stratosphere where you can ride the roller coaster, or increase the fear factor on a ride called "Insanity" that swings you out over empty space. You can see these riders as they swing away from the tower by looking up and out the window from your table in the restaurant. There is also a ride they call "X Scream" ,that I call "Death in Vegas," which leaves you dangling over open space and hoping that the brakes on the ride are still working.
Then there was another kind of ride. I knew it would be long, but I was determined to see the Grand Canyon, though not prepared for the reality of 8-plus hours on a bus. We left the hotel before 7 a.m. and didn't get back until 11 that night. The bus rolled over Hoover Dam on the way, snaking around the road construction. The Canyon was impressive but didn't sufficiently contrast with the man-made wonders of the strip so as to be fully appreciated. When you've been spending time in man-made larger-than-life, you become jaded. What should be spectacular was just a nice hole in the ground. I regret fulfilling a life-long desire to see it in this way. God's work deserves a better reaction from His human creation than I could give it after seeing the Strip.
We saw "Mystere," a performance of Cirque du Soleil--Circus of the Sun. This New Age circus is a breathtaking integrated exhibition of human athletic capacity and circus performance that must be seen to be believed. Cirque comes at you like a fireworks finale with no breaks to assimilate it. You must take it at face value and digest the performance later while trying to fall asleep. "Mystere" sends a message that seems to be just beyond reach. You have a sense of something more that you can't quite grasp; and since, like the circus big top, there is more than the main act going on at one time, you have a nagging suspicion when you leave that perhaps you just missed the key to the whole thing. Cirque is the ultimate in New Age performance, a perfect example of Las Vegas surreal.
In "Mystere" the stage moves. Sections of it break apart, portions rotate. The ground itself is unstable. In one scene the front part of the stage drops down leaving a void between it and the back part of the stage. Lighting turns the void blood red and smoke swirls in the pit. One gets the impression of staring into the bowels of hell. Out of the red rises a white head. The face cannot be identified with anything in particular, human or animal. It is larger than human. At the end of the production, this same face appears again. It is attached to the body of a snail. This snail inflates like a Macy's Parade balloon to fill the stage left to right, floor to ceiling. The snail remains on stage while the audience departs. It seems to be sending a message, but what message? Lucifer rising at a snail's pace? It's the only interpretation I've been able to make.
I remain fascinated by Cirque. Guy Laliberte, co-creator of this extravaganza, is listed among the world's billionnaires. There are currently four Cirque productions running in Vegas--"Mystere" at Treasure Island, "Zumanity" at New York-New York, "O" at the Bellagio, and "Ka" at MGM Grand. Additionally, Franco Dragone, another Cirque co-founder, will be staging "A New Day" with Celine Dion at the Wynn. Also there are Cirque performances in foreign countries, and Cirque touring companies in the U.S. Whatever the message of Cirque, a lot of people are absorbing it.
I'm trying to come back to reality now...to laundry and dinner and blogging, to the weeds in the garden that need attention...to what matters and what does not...to putting all of it in context. Las Vegas doesn't seem to fit anywhere. It's a dream world that has no place in the world of responsibility. This adult fantasyland is a place apart, a memory to be tucked away and then taken out and spit polished during a future moment of discontent, like a favorite toy or a treasured frivolous gift from a friend. Perhaps that's really all it was ever meant to be.