Saturday, October 15, 2005


One poster thought "O Salutaris Hostia" which he heard at Benediction along with a Taize chant was far superior.


This one is called the Ancient Traditions Community Church, and their website is copyrighted by Appalachian State Unniversity.

The church practices the Gurdjieff Work which includes movements and sacred dance.

The calendar of events includes such activities as a Fall Equinox Ceremony, Poems of Ecstacy, Gurdjieff Centering Exercise (Guided), ministerial training that covers history and study of Old Testament Writings from a New Thought perspective. The Introductory Class teaches

How to discern faith from belief; truth from dogma? De-condition from 2000 years of fear and authoritarian control. Find out the deeper meanings of the original Greek words used in the Bible. Explore the wisdom and methods of the early desert Fathers and Mothers.

My own particular favorite class in the ministerial training is the Willing Power class:

By letting go of my illusion of being "in control" I becoming (sic) "willing" to receive guidance from my indwelling Presence within.

Think about that in the context of de-conditioning "from 2000 years of fear and authoritarian control" which I presume means the Roman Catholic Church.

The class titled Gurdjieff: Opener of the Way uses the

methods and principles of Eastern Christianity, Tibetan Buddhism, and Mevlevi Sufism adapted for modern urban life. Includes spiritual psychology and cosmology. Answers the question: how does one learn to live what Jesus (Buddha, whomever) taught?

There are also drumming circles, and sacred geometry classes are planned for the future.

The Ancient Traditions page tells us that

We fight one another, then, over dogma, over our differing beliefs, forgetting that beliefs are siimply the human mind's best attempt at any given moment in time to describe this awesome, stupendous Universe and the Unspeakable Source of it All, ("God" for short), and our purpose within it. The ancient traditions all teach the opposite of attempting to nail things down: to Be in Question, always. The human mind may need to formulate "working premises" along the way, but these need to grow and change with every new insight, every new discovery, to which we are lead by our questions.

Is this what is more commonly known in Catholic circles as "development of doctrine"? I tend to see it as just the opposite of absolute truth.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Friday, October 14, 2005


Over the past several days I've been blogging about the activities of Catholic (and other) monastics. In particular this has led to Fr. Basil Pennington (deceased), Fr. Thomas Keating, Fr. Laurence Freeman, Fr. Richard Rohr, the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue organization, Action and Contemplation, the John Main Seminar, and the concepts of meditation/contemplation, the Gurdjieffian enneagram, and centering prayer.

Yesterday I linked Houston Contemplative, Contemplative Outreach, and centering prayer websites. All of these are interconnected, and all revolve around Keating, Freeman, Rohr, and a number of other monastics.

The 2005 Annual Conference of Contemplative Outreach includes a Taize Worship Service on Thursday evening, led by Susan Boulden.

Where does all of this lead? I think it leads to the Gurdjieffian Church, an emerging concept in worship.

G. I. Gurdjieff founded his center outside of Paris and called it the Harmonious Development of Man.

There is a church which uses similar language in its title called The Church of Conscious Harmony. This church holds a Taize service and a "contemplative lunch." It uses sacred chanting and Gurdjieff Music. It holds a "Midweek Contemplative Communion Service." Among the pictures across the top of the website is one of an enneagram. There is an icon of the Last Supper on the webpage. If you click the "calendar" link you will arrive here where you can see that they teach Centering Prayer.

If you go to this page in The Church of Conscious Harmony website, you can see the number of times that Catholic monastics Fr. Thomas Keating and Fr. Carl Arico spoke at this church. Clicking on the link provided there will enable you to hear what they said.

This church is not Catholic. Rather, it is the emerging church--the church that can accommodate more than one religion in peace and harmony. This emerging church has a logo. You can see it in the website header right next to the name of the church. It almost looks like one of the AOL symbols. They call it "The Mark" and that is the name of their newsletter. The meaning of the symbol is explained here. It really is an eye in a triangle.

To learn what the church teaches, go to the "Who we are" link on the left that will take you to the "Essence" webpage where you can discover that they teach "traditional Christian contemplative practices of silent meditation and active prayer" and that they are an "esoteric Christian school of the work of G. I. Gurdjieff."

For a better understanding of them, check out the Regeneration webpage where you will see the Tetragrammaton and a reference to the Holy Spirit. They are attempting to facilitate the spiritual journey for "People who want to make God-devotion the center of their lives while living in the ordinary world without the aid of monastery walls." That is the teaching of Gurdjieffian disciple P. D. Ouspensky's Fourth Way. This is a form of Russian occultism.

Read the 20th Chapter of the Book of Revelation.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation"

This document was issued October 15, 1989 by the Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith.

The document addresses the forms of Christian prayer and meditation as opposed to non-Christian prayer and meditation.

Some points from the document with my comments added between *:

- Christian prayer is always determined by the structure of the Christian faith, in which the very truth of God and creature shines forth. For this reason it is defined, properly speaking, as a personal, intimate and profound dialogue between man and God. *An empty mind cannot "dialogue".*

- grace...is not a good proper to the soul, but must be sought from God as a gift. Consequently, the illumination or superior knowledge of the Spirit ("gnosis") does not make Christian faith something superfluous. *In other words, the illumination found in other religions is not good for a Christian.*

- [The Early Church] Fathers insisted on the fact that the soul's union with God in prayer is realized in a mysterious way, and in particular through the sacraments of the Church. *The sacraments are the primary channel of grace. Dispensing with them is a bad idea.*

- The meditation of the Christian in prayer seeks to grasp the depths of the divine in the salvific works of God in Christ, the Incarnate Word, and in the gift of his Spirit. These divine depths are always revealed to him through the human-earthly dimension. Similar methods of meditation, on the other hand, including those which have their starting-point in the words and deeds of Jesus, try as far as possible to put aside everything that is worldly, sense perceptible or conceptually limited. *The Incarnation sanctified the sense-perceptible world. What God made is good and we shouldn't try to escape it.*

- With the present diffusion of eastern methods of meditation in the Christian world and in ecclesial communities, we find ourselves faced with a pointed renewal of an attempt, which is not free from dangers and errors, "to fuse Christian meditation with that which is non-Christian."...To this end, they make use of a "negative theology," which transcends every affirmation seeking to express what God is, and denies that the things of this world can offer traces of the infinity of God. *Dispense with doctrine at your own peril.*

- man is essentially a creature, and remains such for eternity, so that an absorbing of the human self into the divine self is never possible, not even in the highest states of grace. *We are not God.*

- the emptiness which God requires is that of the renunciation of personal selfishness, not necessarily that of the renunciation of those created things which he has given us and among which he has placed us. *Meditation that focuses on an empty mind is not Catholic.*

- God is in us and with us, but he transcends us in his mystery. *God will forever be "other."*

- On the path of the Christian life, illumination follows on from purification. *First you have to make the sacrifices and do the penance, then maybe God will give you the gift of contemplation. This is one reason why it is usually monastics in cloistered communities who embrace poverty and sacrifice who have been given this gift.*

- [The] method of getting closer to God is not based on any "technique" in the strict sense of the word. That would contradict the spirit of childhood called for by the Gospel. Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God, and the one who benefits from it knows himself to be unworthy. *Chanting OMMMM, or anything else isn't going to make it happen.*

- Some physical exercises automatically produce a feeling of quiet and relaxation, pleasing sensations, perhaps even phenomena of light and of warmth, which resemble spiritual well-being. To take such feelings for the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit would be a totally erroneous way of conceiving the spiritual life. Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience, when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to such an experience, would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations. *If your life doesn't reflect holiness, those nice feelings are not gifts of the Holy Spirit.*

- The love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality which cannot be "mastered" by any method of technique. *Forget the mantra. Take up penance.*

Thursday, October 13, 2005


meets in the Masonic center and offers Taize service and Assisi photos.


Just a side comment...I was in one Taize website this morning where I clicked the chant button and listened to about a minute or maybe two of the chant "Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom." That's all, just a minute or two. It wasn't something I had heard before. Now I can't get it out of my head. When the critics say it is hypnotic, they're not kidding. What would happen if I listened to an entire service?!


A reader sent in this link to the United Ecumenical Catholic Church - Australasian Region. Right now they have six parishes. They claim Apostolic Succession in the Costa line...a line about which I know very little other than it is schismatic.

I wonder how many of the priests who are no longer welcome in the Roman Catholic Church will end up in a church such as this?


Here's another one sent in by a reader. I think I've blogged this one in the past, but they have a new website. The link goes to pictures of the ordination of a woman priest.

This one is in Phoenix and one parish uses the Rosy Cross as a symbol for one of its parishes.

They have their own order of Franciscans, and the whole website looks a lot like Traditional Catholicism. Don't be fooled.

Here is the Taize cross in their website.

They use a line of succession I haven't seen before. Utrecht. Old Catholic?


The following quote is an excerpt from an online book by Tevas Raimundas OFM, titled Vatican II : The Church is opening up to the modern world. The book is favorable to Vatican II.

The schema on revelation is considered the most important theological text of Vatican II. On that committee is Father Congar, Mgr. Philips and Fr. Benoit, director of the Biblical School of Jerusalem. The Church does not draw from Scripture alone her certitude of all that has been revealed. Scripture is always read within tradition. Tradition transmits the word of God integrally. Old Testament: a preparation for the Gospel. Magisterium: he receives the "charisma of truth" : St. Ireneus. Scripture: the soul of theology.
Father de Lubac: "This is a great document. The schema is essential for relations with the Orthodoxy and is capable of reconciling us with them. I think that this document is the milestone which indicates that we have gone beyond the Counter-Reformation and anti-modernism."
Pastor Max Thurian: "The Catholic Church have brought to a more authentically traditional understanding of the problem of God's revelation to his people. It is one more proof that in the future the Catholic Church cannot live and progress unless she maintains dialogue with all Christians.

Pastor Max Thurian, a Calvanist according to some sources, was one of the Protestant Observers at Vatican II. And he was something else according to this anti-Novus Ordo website:

Novus Ordo worship service was written in the 1960s by a Freemason (Archbishop Annibale Bugnini ) and six Protestant ministers. In 1970 a photograph was published showing Paul VI posing with the Protestant ministers that had worked with Anibale Bugnini, head of the Consilium ad Exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia [Council to Carry out the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy], to draft the Novus Ordo worship service.

Not only were these six individuals heretics personally, but they were there acting in their official capacity as such. The six were Dr. George, Canon Jasper, Dr. Shepherd, Dr. Kunneth, Dr. Smith, and Brother Max Thurian, representing respectively the World Council of Churches, the Anglican and Lutheran communions, and the French Protestant Taize community.

After the Consilium had met and finished its work of suppressing the Traditional Latin Mass and replacing it with the New Order worship service, Dr. Smith, the Lutheran representative, publicly boasted, "We have finished the work that Martin Luther began."

Brother Thurian had been the subprior at Taize from its foundation in the late 1940s. In 1969 he expressed his satisfaction with the Novus Ordo Missae by stating that Protestants could now celebrate the "Lord's Supper" with the same prayers as Catholics. On May 12, 1988, the French daily Le Monde announced that Max Thurian had not only become a Catholic, but had been ordained to the Catholic priesthood by Cardinal Ursi of Naples, without being received into the Church, without the Profession of Faith, etc., a known scandal in Rome at the time.

Thurian's presence at the Council and leadership position at Taize is confirmed in an article at Latin Mass Magazine website by Cardinal Stickler:

It did not rework the Roman rite, which it was asked to do by the Liturgy Constitution of Vatican II, but uprooted it. Shortly before his death, the well-known Prior of Taize, Max Thurian, a Catholic convert who was previously a Calvinist, expounded his view of the reform in a long article entitled "The Liturgy as Contemplation of the Mystery" in L'Osservatore Romano (May 27-28, 1996, p. 9).

Yet despite the Latin Mass Magazine's claim that Thurian was a Catholic, at Vatican II he represented the Protestants, and he supervised a Protestant ecumenical community.

I wonder who is playing on the Roman Catholic team these days?

I wonder if there is a Roman Catholic Team?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


A reader sent in the link to this LifeSite story:

OTTAWA, Ontario, October 12, 2005, (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Canada’s Liberal Government will introduce The Lawful Access bill into the House of Commons next month that will require telecommunications service providers to install “intercept capable” equipment. This equipment will allow the government to monitor emails, internet chat, telephone and cell phone conversations. The legislation is similar to that already adopted in the United States.

Concerns regarding breech of privacy were quick to surface. Prime Minister Paul Martin defended the proposed legislation saying “"In every instance when the government brings forth this kind of legislation, obviously the question of civil rights is first and foremost in our minds and they will be protected."

Continue reading...


Taize services are offered by the Benedictines. They also offer a Mandala Retreat and a Labyrinth Retreat, plus centering prayer. I see that they are calling themselves "Sisters of Benedict" these days instead of "Sisters of St. Benedict."

The Benedictines' Holy Trinity Monastery offers Taize prayer on Friday night.

There are very many more Benedictines, both Catholic and Episcopalians, offering Taize prayer. There's really no point in linking to them here. If you want to look at them, Google Taize and Benedictines and you'll get your fill.

Taize with the Jesuits in Canada.

The Franciscans (these happen to be Anglican) like Taize.

So do the Independent Catholic Franciscans. Do go to their website and scroll down through their links. It's an education. Note down there on the bottom what they have to say about John Kerry.

The Franciscans of the United Ecumenical Catholic Church are praying for Brother Roger and have a Taize cross on their website. They prayed for those attending World Youth Day as well.

In fact, if you search the web for the various orders websites, you will find that Taize has caught on everywhere, and it is bound up with the centering prayer movement, with the meditation/contemplation fad, and with the enneagram.

Houston Contemplative is a good example of what I'm talking about. Look at the links there. Another page in the website lists the churches where Houston Contemplative holds workshops. Several of them are Catholic.

CenteringPrayer.com, the organization (or whatever they call it) formed by the same priests who are in the leadership positions at Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, link Houston Contemplative. Click the "Houston" link under "Texas". You will get this webpage (which is new, incidentally). The address there is 2211 Norfolk, Houston, TX. The Centering Prayer website lists the same address. The "Mysticism" page in the Houston Contemplative website indicates at the bottom that the Diocese of Texas clergy can get credits for attending this.

Why is the Diocese associated with this considering what Fr. Pacwa wrote about the enneagram coming from a channeled entity named "Metatron", and considering what this article from "This Rock" has to say about centering prayer? Are we talking prelest entrenched at the diocesan level? Could this shed any light on why bishops have allowed sexual abusers to be shifted from parish to parish? Inquiring Catholics want to know.

And a further question...Why is Benedict promoting Taize when the practice is this questionable?

What the bleep is going on here??

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


has a website. Nice labyrinth there.

It appears that he teaches literature in Sogang University. One of the pages in his website lists his writing efforts. The titles of his articles are interesting. None of them seem to be about religious themes. They are all concentrated on literature and translation. Nothing wrong with studying literature, of course. It's just that one would expect a monk to write about God once in a while.

This page in his website is very ecumenical. Lots of Catholic links there. Scroll down and see what other religions he is linking to.

From this webpage it's hard to tell what religion he is. Isn't that sort of odd unless you belong to a globalist religion?

There is a picture of him here. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom he will explain how he chose his name. Buddhist, not Christian unless you know the translation.

He offers pictures of prayer at Taize. I think that icon is Jesus, isn't it? But who is He standing with? If it's God the Father, where is the Holy Spirit? And how can an icon of God the Father be written? Or maybe it isn't an icon? Click the "song" link to get an idea of what the chanting at Taize sounds like. This is not Gregorian Chant! It is otherworldly, though. The "bells" link is nice.

His paintings are all Christian.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Can be read at Independent Catholic News, a news service run by lay Catholics in the UK.


A pocket-sized book published by the Catholic Truth Society in the UK addresses Catholic attitudes to extra-terrestrial life.

Independent Catholic News reports that with increasing numbers of people believing not only in the possibility of intelligent life on other planets, but even claiming encounters with aliens, it is not surprising that the Catholic Church is beginning to explore what effect the discovery of sentient ETs might have on Christian theology.

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.


This time on Long Island.


I found an article by Father Pacwa that I hadn't seen before, and in it he has some new things to say. The article is titled "Enneagram: A Modern Myth".

There is a segment titled "Where then did the Enneagram come from?" in which he documents Gurdjieff as the source, noting that Gurdjieff learned the Enneagram from Sufis in Central Asia, and that "originaly, the Enneagram had been used in Central Asia for fortune telling through numerology." He calls the system "pantheistic" and "monist." Fr. Pacwa notes the teaching of the stages of enlightenment as you move from your ego into your essence, that essence being your inner being which "has the same divine nature as God," a teaching that Ouspansky discusses extensively in his sleep inducing (Great phrase, Lee. Hope you don't mind that I borrowed it!) book THE FOURTH WAY.

But the gem I'm leading up to is this one:

Gurdjieff also came across a spirit that he used to get in contact with called "the pillar of time."

He notes Gurdjieff's amassing a fortune before he returned to Moscow having made his fortune through "shady techniques." He notes the eventual founding of Gurdjieff's institute in Paris, and he notes that Gurdjieff did not teach anything about personality types associated with the Enneagram. Neither did Ouspensky.

Fr. Pacwa goes on to note that when he took the Enneagram course he was told the myth of the 2000 year history of the technique.

Then he introduces "Don Riso, an ex-Jesuit, who studied the Enneagram from the same man that taught Fr. Pacwa, namely Fr. Bob Ochs. Both Riso and Ochs claim that Oscar Ichazo, invented the Enneagram.

Don Riso is the head of the Enneagram research and study in New York city.

Then Fr. Pacwa tells us this:

In one of Don Riso's books, he said that Oscar Ichazo, a Chilean occultist, is in contact with spirits like Metatron, the chief of the Archangels. I said wait a minute. Whose side is that Archangel on? I don't think it's St. Michael's.

Oscar Ichazo claims to have the source of all grace on planet earth today. All grace on the earth comes through Ichazo. He is in contact with all the ascended masters and is himself an ascended master. He was given the Enneagram personality types by his spirit, Metatron. Metatron told him to take the Enneagram — just as a drawing without any names on it — and on the Enneagram place the capital sins.

Wait a minute-how many capital sins are there? 7, so he didn't have enough, so he made up 2 more. For No. 3, appropriately enough, he added the capital sin of "deceit". Then for the No. 6 he added "cowardice". He put the other capital sins-I Anger, 2 Pride, 4 Envy, 5 Avarice 7 Gluttony, 8 Lust, and then of course, indolence is sloth. So he put the 7 capital sins plus deceit and cowardice on the points, and then gave them these names of ego-flattery etc. And that's all that he had. That's all that Ichazo had from the spirit.

Claudio Naranjo, also a Chilean, came down to Chile on a home visit from America. He met Ichazo and said, "I wasn't impressed with Ichazo when I first met him. But when I sat and meditated in his presence, I felt his power and I accepted him as a teacher. I became very fascinated with his Enneagram".

Fr. Pacwa goes on to recount the spread of the Enneagram within the Church:

Bob Ochs, after that course, came and taught it at our theologate, to people like Pat O'Leary from Cleveland, Colly Moloney in Canada, and later on, Gerry Hare who taught Richard Rohr. And I, who'd also taught Richard Rohr the Enneagram (before Gerry Hare taught him). We began to teach the Enneagram course, and it has spread from these people in that course at the Jesuit School of Theology. Don Riso, a Jesuit who'd studied under Ochs, has also been spreading it.

Today, there is not a single Jesuit in my province, or the next province over, teaching the Enneagram: there is not a single Jesuit left in the Society teaching the Enneagram. Either they've stopped teaching the Enneagram, or they've left the Society. Not a single one is left.

Pat O'Leary drove our retreat centre in Cleveland into the red so far that it went bankrupt. He was giving 52 Enneagram seminars a year at this place-plus going out to other places to give Enneagram seminars, and he is still driving it into the ground. Same thing has happened at the retreat house in Western Massachussetts and another one on the coast run by the Dominicans-two Dominicans, a priest and a nun, on full time Enneagram work. It runs them out of business. It's something that people in your dioceses better pay attention to.

Ahhh, no kidding Fr. Pacwa!

Fr. Pacwa's article goes on to critique the Enneagram in detail. If you want the details, go read the article.

Richard Rohr still teaches the Enneagram out there in Arizona at his Center for Action and Contemplation. You can read about it at Catholic Culture.

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

CAC's founder, Fr. Richard Rohr, is a prolific writer and retreat master. He has done as much as anyone to spread the study of the enneagram around the United States. He has been a prominent leader of the "men's movement" (see accompanying article, "Coloring Outside the Lines," elsewhere in this issue). And he has been a recent speaker at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (February, 1997), the New Ways Ministry Symposium in Pittsburgh (March, 1997), and the Call to Action Conference (November, 1996).

It is not surprising to discover, therefore, that much of Albuquerque's Call to Action activity emanates from the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) and from Holy Family Parish. The center describes its "vision" as providing "a faith alternative to the dominant consciousness." It is faithful to its vision.

There's more in the article at Catholic Culture if you want more.

Would you trust a priest who is teaching a divination technique that was channeled? Fr. Rohr would like you to trust him to lead you on a spiritual retreat of contemplation. The question is, is this the tried and true Catholic contemplation which is an infused gift of God--a gift that has been reserved in the past to the men and women in monastic settings, usually cloistered, where austere lifestyles of prayer, work, self-denial, and poverty are embraced. Today contemplation is being recommended for the people in the world living secular lifestyles. Is it the same gift from God? Or is it an hypnotically induced eastern meditation technique?

Contemplation is a big factor in Fr. Richard Rohr's spirituality as the name of his organization implies. As I was checking the linked websites in this blog, I discovered that apparently the Center website is being revised, since I could no longer access some of them. A webpage that described the "Internship Experience" which included references to contemplative prayer went down this morning.

Is Fr. Rohr running a Catholic spiritual retreat facility or is he running a Gurdjieff School that will teach you how to contact spirits? It's hard to say.
In any case, he is spreading his technique.

The World Community for Christian Meditation features Fr. Rohr at this year's seminar. This organization is closely associated with Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. In fact here at this website you will find:

Part of the genius of John Main and Thomas Keating and Lawrence Freeman is that they have provided ways into contemplation for ordinary people living very active lives in the world. Contemplative prayer, though a meditative discipline, can be integrated with life in the midst of society. But whether in the marketplace of (sic) in the cloister, the ultimate inner awakening leads to an experience of non-duality or unity in which the person encounters God and others in this unity, not in separation. This intuition is the fruit of thousands of years of mystical experience in the Indian tradition and verified by most Christian mystics. Jesus' experience of His Father is a model for a Christian form of advaita, non-duality or pure unitive relationship, expressed so eloquently in the words "The Father and I are One."

This is the oneness of monism--of pantheism--of the we-are-god people. Indeed Jesus and the Father are one. Both of them are God. We, however, are not God. The Monastic Interreligious Dialogue is not teaching Christianity. They are teaching Theosophy.

This lay movement isn't Catholicism, it's P. D. Ouspensky's Fourth Way. Ouspensky explains what he means by fourth way in his book titled THE FOURTH WAY:

The first way is the way of the Fakir. It is a long, difficult and uncertain way. A fakir works on the physical body, on conquering physical pain.

The second way is the way of the Monk. This way is shorter, more sure and more definite. It requires certain conditions, but above all it requires faith, for if there is no faith a man cannot be a true monk.

The third way is the way of the Yogi, the way of knowledge and consciousness....

Although in many respects these ways are very efficient, the characteristic thing about them is that the first step is the most difficult. From the very first moment you have to give up everything and do what you are told. If you keep one little thing, you cannot follow any of these ways. So, although the three ways are good in many other respects, they are not sufficiently elastic. For instance, they do not suit our present mode of life....But there is a Fourth Way which is a special way, not a combination of the other three. It is different from others first of all in that there is no external giving up of things, for all the work is inner. A man must begin work in the same conditions in which he finds himself when he meets it, because these conditions are the best for him....So at first one continues to live in the same life as before, in the same circumstances as before. (pp. 97-98)

Does that sound like what Fr. Richard Rohr is saying?

Gurdjieff opened a school outside of Paris which he named the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. The 2006 John Main Seminar will be preceded by a "Pre-Seminar Silent Retreat" titled "Harmony in the Soul" as you can see at the link above.

Language is interesting. Various philosophies have a jargon all their own. One of the biggies in Fourth Way schools is "awakening." Gurdjieff taught that we are all asleep and must learn to wake up. This awakening is an opening up to the spirit world. One presumes that would be the world of Gurdjieff, since it's a school teaching his methods. Are we then to discover Gurdjieff's "pillar of time" that Fr. Pacwa tells us he contacted, or perhaps Ichazo's Metatron?

Fr. Richard Rohr too tells us that we must wake up. At the very least it's a noteworthy similarity.

There are differences. Fr. Rohr's teaching on identification is not like Ouspensky's. Fr. Rohr teaches that we must identify with our suffering brothers and sisters. Ouspensky teaches that we must stop identifying. It is not unusual, however, for Fourth Way schools to put their own spin on the system.


Where you can see the Metatron Matrix.

Here you can see Metatron - angel of the presence from the Kabala. Melchizadek is in there too. And the angels Zadkiel, Jophiel, Uriel, and Chamuel. Lord Lanto is there as well. And Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail. Saint Germain is in there. (No he's not Catholic either.)

There is more to look at. Take your choice from this selection.


Fr. Carr linked this article in Dom's blog.

He also linked this article that cites Richard McBrien claiming that Benedict is more open to his desired changes in the Church than John Paul II was.


Ian Phillips Lawrence runs his own Gurdjieff Fourth Way school called The Institute of Universal Energies. You can see a picture of him here.

The Gurdjieff Internet Guide (GIG) interviewed Lawrence. Some of his answers are certainly interesting. Especially these:

GIG: From a very early age my parents told me I had insisted that I will become a priest. This never materialized as it always looked to me that I could not believe in the God I met in connection with the studies to become a priest. Did you encounter similar questions?

Ian: Not similar questions. It is clear to me that there is a 'gift for religion' - a sense that some people have and others do not. I have never had any doubts about the spiritual things I saw before me every minute of the day! However I have had an awful rough ride in respect of the 'Chruch'. It took me years and years to become dissatisfied with worship that concentrated only on 'the word'. Then I moved to that part of the Church that concentrates on the mystery of the Eucharist to the detriment of freethinking. I even trained for the priesthood in the Anglican Church - an excellent, though very limited and earthbound programme. It was meeting with the ideas of Gurdjieff that put me on the right track. My apprehension of religion was esoteric. Only the inner form meant anything to me. By equally good fortune one of my Work friends was a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church - which is dedicated to the esoteric and having no 'dogma' can concentrate on the Sacraments in a pure uncluttered way.

GIG: Did you become a priest?

Ian: After seven arduous years of training - yes. I was ordained in 1990 and have been given to (sic) opportunity to speak widely on Gurdjieff's ideas as part of the churches (sic) exploration of the esoteric Christian inheritance.

GIG: You live now in Liverpool?

Ian: Yes - it is the very positive result of the most severe demiurgic negative action I have experienced so far in my life. I was forced to liquidate all my assets in Carlisle but now have the advantages of managing the Liberal Catholic Centre in Liverpool - where I have had a group since 1988. In the past year The Institute of Universal Energies has been very creative - not least the re-establishment of the Diploma Course in Gurdjieff Studies in an email version!

Did you get that? A priest of the Theosophical Liberal Catholic Church runs a Gurdjieff Fourth Way school, and says his priesthood gives him more opportunities to teach Gurdjieff's ideas!

And he likes the Liberal Catholic Church because they engage in mysticism while rejecting dogma so that they can concentrate on the sacraments in an uncluttered and pure way. Like Taize?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Never thought I'd see it. The current issue of NOR includes an article by Robert Sungenis titled "Grand Detours From the Second Vatican Council"! Well, they do say the polar ice caps are melting.

Normally I'm a big fan of NOR, but one of the editorials in "New Oxford Notes" this month fails to get my vote. Titled "Hysteria Central", the editorial concerns Michael O'Brien's article in "The Catholic World Report" titled "The New Totalitarianism". NOR's comments open this way:

Michael O'Brien is an accomplished Catholic novelist. His strength is fiction. In The Catholic World Report (April), he ventures into nonfiction, specifically political science, and what he writes turns out to be fiction as well. He writes about "The New Totalitarianism" that is already here or on its way because of "hate" crimes legislation and same-sex "marriage."

The argument NOR presents is that "O'Brien doesn't understand that there is no such thing as a perfect democracy," and goes on to list instances where democracy fails, such as the fact that men had the right to vote long before women did, Japanese were held in prison camps during the war, filibustering in the Senate thwarts the will of the majority, and Mormons cannot practice their religion of polygamy, and a few others then goes on to indicate this is not evidence that "America was not or is not a democracy, that America was or is a totalitarian state or that it is headed toward totalitarianism."

NOR objects to O'Brien's claim that "because of 'hate' crimes legislation and same-sex 'marriage,'...that 'a whiff of Germany in the early 1930s is discernible in the atmosphere' and that 'for several years now we have lived in a situation very close to the crisis that Germany reached when the National Socialists' came to power. This is pure hysteria, and is so reminiscent of the New Left in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which claimed that Nixon was Hitler and America is Amerikkka."

NOR continues, "Your Editor lived in a police state, a totalitarian state, in 1966. That state was East Germany....There was no freedom of speech. There was no freedom of the press...There was some freedom of religion, quite curtailed..." and on to more of the restrictions imposed on East Germans.

Obviously this is not East Germany in 1966. By 1966 East Germany had been a totalitarian state for how long? Certainly long enough to get lots of restrictive rules into place because political power was concentrated and entrenched. But is the fact that we don't look like East Germany a guarantee that we never will?

In 1966 I could leave the garage door unlocked. The neighbors on my street did that by mistake a few weeks ago. In the morning all their tools were gone.

In 1966 I could go to the Cleveland airport on Sunday afternoon to sit on the open air observation deck above the boarding gates and watch the planes arrive and take off.

In 1966 those nifty little TV cameras that photograph me in banks, in stores, and at street intersections hadn't been invented yet.

Neither had the chip ID.

In 1966 it wasn't necessary to shred credit card solicitations before throwing them in the wastebasket.

In 1966 I didn't have to be fingerprinted to volunteer in my parish.

In 1966 students didn't have to pass through metal detectors in order to get to class.

In 1966 when I changed a savings account from one bank to another there was no security check on where the money came from and where it was going.

I flew to Vegas last June. It was the first time I'd flown since '83. A lot has changed at our airports. Instead of going to the gate with me and waiting for the plane to take off, my husband had to kiss me goodbye almost the moment he got through the door at the terminal. I had to take off my shoes and jewelry in order to pass through the metal detector on the way to the gate. And no doubt somewhere along the process some camera took a picture of me to have a record of my crime of getting on an airplane.

But of course we don't see this as totalitarianism because we see it as security just like we've been told to see it. Sort of like those mandatory seat belts we wear for our own safety.

When East Germany became totalitarian it was the result of a war. That isn't the only way it can happen. We can be persuaded that our best interests require ever-increasing rules and restrictions that limit our movement because our society has come to fear its individual members.

We are becoming increasingly lawless. What happens when the lawlessness escalates until no one is safe in their home? Think about New Orleans. Given such a dire situation, we would welcome greater restrictions and not see them as totalitarian but rather as a safety net. Like the frog in slowly heating water, we may not realize what is happening to us until our freedom is gone.

NOR, I usually like what you have to say and chuckle over your editorials. But this time, guys, I think you got it wrong.


I must have some brain cells out of place. Either that or I'm sleeping and this is a bad dream. Because in today's snail mail was a mass mailing from the Diocese of Cleveland, Legacy of Hope Jubilee Foundation, presenting me with an opportunity that could only come from someone in outer space. You know...where there are no newspapers and no internet.

It seems that in the midst of a continuing national sexual abuse scandal, with the shortage of priests becoming critical, with an empty seminary, and priestless parishes a reality or a looming threat, this Foundation wants me to spend $29.95 to get my very own copy of the Limited First Edition of "Pilgrims of Hope"--a reflection on the 25 years that Bishop Pilla has been in charge.

They sent my husband and me a nice glossy bifold color brochure along with a letter explaining my opportunity to order. Apparently they think that having my "own copy of Pilgrims of Hope will allow [me] to meditate upon its themes of Community, Faith, Responsibility, Justice, Compassion and Hope." I guess God got edged out by the social gospel.

They think that this book is a "fascinating and moving record of our time together" which will be "a source of continuing inspiration." To which I can only respond "Oy vey, please don't remind me!" I think I'll meditate on the heresy in the convents instead. Or maybe I'll spend my cash to get a copy of Donald Cozzens book (He's from Cleveland, you know) on the condition of the seminaries.

H-E-L-L-O Cleveland ?? Anybody home in the chancery?


The Sitka icon of the Theotokos is on pilgrimmage around the U.S. Pictures of the pilgrimmage are online at the Orthodox Diocese of Alaska website. Click the link for St. James in Ft. Collins to see the icon itself. Then look at the other pictures to see the inside of various Orthodox churches and the crowds of people who have turned out for the event.

The Orthodox seem to be able to bring the men out for these events as well as the women. The feminization of religion has not affected Orthodoxy like it has Roman Catholicism.

Justin sent in the link. Could these events have taken place during Divine Liturgy on a Sunday and thus explain why the men turn out for them, Justin? Or is this really a reflection of the difference between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism?

Something else to note. Several of these churches lack pews. Some have chairs. Some have neither.


A reader sent in a link to this Zenit article. It reports on the address Benedict made to the international congress on von Balthasar. I have some questions about its content.

1. The congress is entitled "Love Alone is Credible". Ok, love is good. But does that mean that justice is not credible? Is God not a God of perfect justice?

2. There is a glaring ommission in his statements. Von Balthasar's seer, Adrienne von Speyer, is not mentioned. Balthasar would not be Balthasar without Speyer. He made that clear before his death. So why is von Speyer such a well-kept secret? Why is no credit whatsoever given to her in these praises of von Balthasar? That seems to be a gross injustice.

Not only is no credit given to her, I know of no evidence that an inquiry into sainthood of von Speyer has been opened. Neither have her revelations been given Church approval. In fact those groups keeping track of which mystics have Church approval and which do not don't even seem to know she existed. Yet Benedict indicates that he and Balthasar "undertook numerous works together" and had a "common commitment in theological research." Could Benedict have been ignorant of Balthasar's source?

3. Benedict tells us that Balthasar "sought the traces of God's presence and his truth everywhere: in philosophy, in literature, in religions..." What religions did he search? Did he believe that the Catholic faith was lacking in some way and so he looked to other religions to fill the gaps? And if so, why?

4. Zenit tells us that Benedict believed Balthasar was "always breaking those circuits which often imprison reason, opening it to the realms of the infinite." So Benedict has alluded to Balthasar's seer. Why then did he not come out and say it--Balthasar relied on a visionary for his theology. Why the injustice to von Speyer?

He alludes to it in another place in the Zenit report as well.

A theology conceived in this way led von Balthasar to a profound existential reading. For this reason, one of the central topics to which he dedicated himself with pleasure was to show the need for conversion. Change of heart was a central point for him; only in this way, in fact, is the mind freed from the limits that prevent it from acceding to the mystery and the eyes become capable of fixing their gaze on the face of Christ.

Was von Balthasar also a visionary? Perhaps he was:

The example that von Balthasar has left us is rather that of an authentic theologian who had discovered in contemplation the coherent action in favor of Christian witness in the world.

What does one do in contemplation but gaze on the face of God? Unless, of course, one gazes on the face of an angel or a disembodied spirit. There are no guarantees. Which is why Orthodox mystics fear the experience and do not like to talk about it.

Monday, October 10, 2005


In an article about Richard Rose:

And his diligent efforts in creating and sustaining the TAT Foundation (TAT denotes “Truth and Transmission”) have fostered communication among hundreds of students of the Truth.


A reader has pointed out that our friend Phil Goodacre who defends Taize is reading TDaVC according to his website. You can see it over there on the left on his webpage.

I read the book too, when it first came out. So, Phil, what have you gotten out of the book so far?


that Catholic Charities has Gatherings? A reader sent in the link.

There is a post-gathering...er "Post Conference Tour"...sight seeing trip that will include a Taize ceremony.

Be one of the thousands of visitors who visit the Chapel for inspiration and renewal. Gaze out the Chapel window to tawny cliffs rising from the buff, desert floor, listen to the wind singing through the box canyon, and make a wish on the spires that glow from within. As a "special" treat, church personnel have planned a Taize ceremony for your tour.

Why do they call it a "gathering" one wonders? It could have been a "workshop," a "seminar," a "conference." Those are all more commonly used words for this sort of thing than "gathering." Even the travel agent appears to know that and calls the side trip a "post-conference" trip. Were the conference organizers influenced by Gurdjieff gatherings one wonders, considering that the Gurdjieff enneagram has had such wide distribution inside the Catholic Church.

I found another "Gathering". Hmmmm. According to the website, those who attend "are predominantly gay and bisexual." Wonder if this group follows the teachings of Gurdjieff as well? Could just be coincidental, of course.

Turning over "Gatherings" rocks reveals all sorts of things. Like this little discovery in "Spiritual Gatherings". Take a moment to look through the listed "Meeting format/content" list where you will find Ken Wilbur, Neale Donald Walshe, Gurdjieff, Contemplative Outreach-Centering Prayer Session, Fourth Way, Osho, Krishnamurti study group (He was a Theosophist), Sufism, Yoga, Zen, New Thought/New Age, spiritualism, even an "Axiom What the Bleep Do We Know!? Conference". All of this is part of the "Albigen System" (Would that be short for Albigensian, one wonders?) of Richard Rose who founded the TAT Foundation.

Now none of this would make a dust mite's difference if it weren't for the fact that down there at the bottom of the websites where the links are located--where you can click on "Retreat Centers" that will bring you to this webpage.

Yup, that's right. A large number of those retreat facilities are Catholic.

Oh, I know not all of them are. There's even a Maitreya Meditation Center. But isn't it just slightly odd that so many of them are? Would those be the retreat centers that pious little old Catholic ladies are supporting with the pennies saved out of their social security checks?

TAT? For some reason I have yet to learn what the letters stand for. It does occur to me that TAT are the letters of Talking About Touching--that controversial new sex ed program being forced on Catholic parochial children. Just another coincidence, I suppose.

Remember Osho from that list of "Meeting format/content" in the Spiritual Gatherings webpage up above? The one that offered "Gurdjieff, Fourth Way, Osho group of seekers in the Nashville, TN location? Here's Osho. Isn't that special?

Our Lady of Fatima, is it already too late?


The Vatican is sufficiently concerned about new religious movements and their effect on the faithful and impact on Catholic doctrine to have issued a lengthy statement on combatting their errors. Young people are especially vulnerable to New Age concepts because Catholic catechesis has been poor for the last few decades.

World Youth Day is intended to draw young people back to the Catholic faith, yet Brother Roger was present at the first World Youth Day, and Brother Alois was present at the recent World Youth Day in Germany as reported by Catholic News Service. Brother Alois is a Catholic priest.

That article indicates Brother Roger told the Pope he would be at WYD spiritually and that "our community of Taize wants to walk in communion with the Holy Father." It quotes Pope John Paul II as saying during a 1986 visit to Taize "Like you, pilgrims and friends of the community, the pope is only passing through. But one passes through Taize as one passes close to a spring of water."

Since Brother Roger was present at the first World Youth Day in 1984, this is a long-standing symbiosis.

"Christianity Today," in an article about Brother Roger's death compiled by Ted Olsen says that at Taize "worship of Christ [is done] in very simple form." That form has appealed to churches all over the world who are running Taize services, and according to Ruth Gledhill who quotes from the Taize songbook,

Song is one of the most essential elements of worship. Short chants, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. Using just a few words, they express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind.

The article indicates something else:

Few are aware of the extent to which the soft, rhythmic harmonic chants of Taize influenced the development of the new age and ambient genres that have moved into the secular mainstream.

Is this what Catholics have now embraced? It is what the New Age has embraced.

The first New Age community to form was Findhorn in Scotland. From the Findhorn website, the webpage on "Meditation," we can see that Taize services take place in two places daily." We can also read that "Meditating individually and collectively is a cornerstone of the spiritual practice in the Findhorn Community." The Findhorn website's "Community News" webpage carries an obituary of Brother Roger. There we can read that "Taize singing is a mainstay of Findhorn community spiritual practice."

Given such a predominance in a New Age community, an article at Beliefnet which addresses "Contemplative Practices," written by Cynthia Bourgeault, a resident teacher for the Contemplative Society, is pertinent. The article dissects Christian chant, contrasting it with Taize chant. It reads in part:

In Christian chant, neither the vibration itself, nor the music is sacred. Certainly Christian chant makes use of vibration as all chant does. But it is not primarily about sacred vibration. Christian chant is also not about the rhythmic, almost hypnotic repetition of a single prayer phrase or mantra--although the very popular Taize chant, named after a small monastic community in eastern France that began developing this new style of chanting shortly after World War II, works on this principle. This powerful new form of Christian chant resembles some of the more ancient traditions of Eastern and Sufi chanting. But it is a departure from the traditional understanding of Christian psalmody....

Singing contemplative psalmody is a matter of staying close to the meaning of the text, and being in it and with it.

She describes the source of Christian chant, mentioning in particular the fifth century Desert Father John Cassian, and takes note of where Christian meditation took a New Age path:

But [John Cassian is] not intending for us simply to say it over and over and over again like a mantra, a focal point for a kind of concentrative meditation. This slight but important misinterpretation was introduced by the late Dom John Main, founder of the Christian Meditation movement, who saw in Cassian's words an authorization in Christian tradition of a meditation practice he had first learned from an Indian swami. But while catching Cassian's words, he missed the intent of these words...

In Christian chant the words are important because they help us to know God better, to learn more about Him. In Taize chant the intention is to produce "peace, harmony and spiritual connection through the simple candle-lit worship service" according to the First-Plymouth Congregational Church which uses Taize services and lauds their "Sound of Silence." In fact the webpage indicated that in Taize services "The simple, repetitive songs wash over you like a mantra...They can act almost like a quasi-hypnotic trance." and "the spiritual magic comes through the power of simplicity."

The website tells us further:

There is no sermon or prepared message in traditional Taize services. Freed from the limits [of] doctrinal or theological concerns, the service is able to speak to each person's spiritual needs through music, scripture readings, prayer, and meditation.

Apparently so, given the prominence placed on Taize services at Findhorn.

My question, then, is why is the Roman Catholic Church, on one hand, trying to warn the faithful about the dangers of New Age, while at the same time the other hand is gathering up the youth and introducing them to that very New Age practice that She claims is dangerous to their faith?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Is something called the "stop exercise" taught there?

Sunday, October 09, 2005


The Association for Transpersonal Psychology offered a "Taize Morning Prayer" workshop at their 25th convention.


Described in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

On the Orthodox Church in America website.

In the Antiochian Orthodox Church. (Scroll down to "Pain Benit Bread")

Among the Greek Orthodox (Scroll down to the bottom, "the dismissal")


Let me say first that I used to be a consummate ecumenist until I realized what it meant where doctrine is concerned. Since that realization I've backed further and further away from my old position.

I see no way to hold to everything the Church teaches while at the same time joining ecumenical-interreligious groups enthusiastically. Membership in such groups presupposes that what I believe is equal to what you believe. To come to ecumenical gatherings without giving up what the Church has taught since the days of the Apostles is to insult those who adhere to a faith that has rejected some of those beliefs. Or to put it simply, Lutherens, Presbyterians, Anglicans, etc. have all rejected something the Church teaches. When all gather together to pray, the assumption is that all are part of one body.

As I understand it, the premise of Taize is that religious peace is possible if we leave our doctrine at home. This is facilitated by services that foster meditation-contemplation and periods of silence. Chanting and prayers are part of this as well. Those prayers must accommodate whatever faith is present or they insult some believers. We do not insult our guests, and the only way to avoid doing so is to avoid controversial topics--which means that the faith gets watered down to a few basics that we can all agree upon, leaving a vacuum that once was filled. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

What will step into that vacuum?

A search of the web indicates that all manner of beliefs step into the vacuum. I have posted links to some of those surprises. Because Taize services skirt divisive doctrine, all doctrine becomes permissible. Suddenly those who attend Taize services are a unified whole despite serious doctrinal differences. Prayer unites us. That is the whole premise of Taize.

Once the Church believed that to worship with non-Catholics was "indifferentism" or "syncretism". Indifferentism is discussed in "The Syllabus of Errors Condemned by Pius IX", (1864) No. 15-18; and in "Mirari Vos" (On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism) by Pope Gregory XVI, (1832) No. 13 and 14. "Mortalium Animos" by Pope Pius XI (1928), No. 9 says:

These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment "Love one another," altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching: "If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you." For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful?

Taize violates this encyclical. There was a time when Catholics were not permitted to enter a Protestant church. Mortalium animos addresses this as well in No. 10:

So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it.

Current practice of ecumenism-interreligious dialogue violates this Encyclical.

Some who make use of this method of prayer are advancing the Divine Feminine. Some who use it advance occultism. Both use Taize legitimately because Taize does not discriminate. I can believe in the teachings of the occultist G. I. Gurdjieff while attending a Taize service, and nothing encountered will conflict with my beliefs apparently. Emerging Church, FutureChurch, Alternate Worship all come easily under the Taize umbrella, and these groups are quick to embrace Taize. Taize, in other words, is the equivalent to what the Masonic Lodge proposes. We have, in effect, become Masons when we embrace Taize.

Taize, in essence, is liberal Catholicism disguised as ultra holy Christianity.

Maybe, given the instantaneous communication that modern technology has made possible, this was inevitable, since religion divides; but one cannot dismiss blithely the teachings of numerous popes down through the centuries who condemned Freemasonry. It was condemned just 21 years after it developed, and no pope has changed that condemnation until the 1983 Code revised the statements on Freemasonry.

Taize, in essence, is postmodern religion. It opens the door to New Age Christianity and says in effect we can make room for you in here. How this can have the Pope's blessing is beyond my comprehension.


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