Saturday, October 22, 2005
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT BENEDICT
Benedict was once considered a liberal, back during the days of the Council when he was young. Today the politically correct interpretation is that he has backed away from liberalism and moved into orthodoxy with enthusiasm. That would be reflected in his flirting with making the Tridentine normative. It would be reflected in his most recent demonstration of Eucharistic adoration. I am certainly in synch with him on these points even though I attend the Novus Ordo every Sunday.
While I don't believe a return to the Tridentine will cure our problems, it may be a beginning. Clearly the Novus Ordo has invited liturgical errors aplenty. It is hard to see how it can be rescued when the bishops defy the Pope on liturgical norms.
When I get most discouraged, I close my eyes and imagine that I'm in church kneeling before the monstrance. It helps. St. Don Bosco's prophecy that we will recover through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin and through the Euchrist courses through my thoughts as I puruse the current state of the Church. John Paul II had recourse to the Blessed Virgin. It appears right now that Benedict will have recourse to the Eucharist.
What I suspect is that Benedict is afraid. If he reverts to teachings prior to the Council, he will most likely unloose a firestorm of protest not only from inside but also from outside the Church. Perhaps he is afraid that nothing will survive. If I were a Pope, I would be afraid for the souls and the lives of Catholics all over the world if I were to do what must be done. In this he is standing alone. No one else can make the decisions that he must make. Yet he must make them soon, or the steam roller of heresy will be once again moving forward.
Right now the Church is in a holding pattern, and there is silence mostly. Almost a held breath, waiting to see what he will do. Perhaps one could even say the silence of Eucharistic adoration. Are we all kneeling at the monstrance even though a great many of us don't know it? Has Benedict brought the Church to the monstrance and laid it there, stepped back, and is now waiting for direction? Perhaps he knows all of what I've been blogging and doesn't know what to do. If he retreats into the norms prior to the Council, he will face the world in opposition.
Sandro Magister has made the observation that many more people are attending his liturgies:
But if one looks at the attendance figures for the Wednesday audience at the Vatican and the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the new pope is seeing twice the numbers of his predecessor.
From May to September of 2004, 194,000 persons attended the audiences of John Paul II. During those same months in 2005, 410,000 have attended those of Benedict XVI.
It’s the same for the Angelus: 262,000 were present over five months for those of pope Karol Wojtlya, and 600,000 over the same months in 2005 for the new pope.
These figures were compiled by the prefecture of the pontifical household, the Vatican body that oversees the audiences.
And yet Benedict XVI doesn’t practice any showmanship, he doesn’t stress any flashy phrases, doesn’t encourage applause or acclamation. He withdraws from the festive mass gatherings that continue to be organized in the style of pope Wojtyla. He arrives only to celebrate the liturgy and preach.
Are these Europeans mostly, or tourists? There is no way to know. If they are Europeans, it could be a good sign that a return to Tradition will bring on a period of growth for the Church. If they are tourists, they may be only curious.
As he backs away from the spotlight...as he points to the Eucharist...he in effect says look to Christ for your leadership, not to me. Yet he must lead.
The monks sponsoring centering prayer/contemplation and asking us to seek God in silence may be doing the work of Christ while intending to do something else. It really is in silence that we find God. Not in a mantra, but in the silence of listening. Because God does speak to us if we let Him--if we tell Him we want to listen--and it is often hard to hear His voice when there are other voices to contend with.
All things work together for good for those who love Him. He can make use of even evil for His purposes, and often does. Taking up a mantra is useless, but taking up relationship is the fulfillment of the Catholic life, and it is a moment to moment act. We seek Him, and He finds us. He finds us most especially in the Eucharist. Once one knows Him there, walking away from Mass is nearly impossible. The Protestants have kept a lot but lost the greatest treasure. And that is why, even though there are Protestants I greatly admire, I will never turn to Protestantism. That is why it is either Roman Catholicism, or if that fails, Orthodoxy. And if both of these fail, there is nothing left but atheism.
Friday, October 21, 2005
A Blog Observer, whom I presume is an old poster with a new name, has expressed his disdain for the Church as a response to the material I've been blogging, but the rest of you haven't said much.
Is this stuff with Gurdjieff and the monks old news that I'm just now stumbling onto and everyone else has known about for years, or does this actually interest someone else besides me?
Do you think Benedict knows about all of this? If he knows, is he in agreement with it? If he doesn't know, how does one inform him, or isn't that really an option unless the Boston Globe wants to do it?
Personally I'm appalled that Catholic journalism seems to be ignoring what is surely the second elephant in the livingroom. Is there some sort of code of silence that I've had the audacity to break here? What seems like a story that runs a close second to the sexual abuse scandal gets about as much attention as last year's Thanksgiving dinner. Not only did the bishops not defend the laity's children, they also failed to defend the laity's faith from those who are embracing heresy with open arms. Have any warnings been given?
Fr. Pacwa exposed the errors of the enneagram. Did his story make the headlines? Or did it land on the back pages of wherever he published it? Are the stories about the errors in centering prayer getting the attention they deserve? Is anyone trying to stop these monks from walking the faithful out of the Church?
Maybe the problem is that no journalist can determine what is solid ground here. If a Catholic publication exposes these questionable practices, and the Pope subsequently supports the practices, what happens to the publication? So journalists with a paycheck to defend have their fingers in the air waiting to determine which way the wind is blowing, and so far there is no way to tell? Is that what's wrong? Is that why this is being ignored? Or is it that I'm just the last person getting on the train and all the good seats were taken ten stops ago?
The silence is driving me nuts, frankly. Would somebody besides A Blog Observer please say something! I'm almost ready to welcome a diatribe from Mark Shea!!
A LIBERAL PRIEST, FREEMASONRY, AND MYSTICISM
In Marilyn Ferguson's 1980 bestseller, THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY, there is a chapter titled "Spiritual Adventure: Connection to the Source." In that chapter one can read that
Those who want direct knowledge, the mystics, have always been treated more or less as heretics, whether they were the medieval mystics within Christianity, the Sufis within the borders of Islam, or the Kabbalists within Judaism.
Now the here tics are gaining ground, doctrine is losing its authority, and knowing is superseding belief. (p. 370-371)
She goes on to describe the state of mysticism, telling us that in the mystical experience "There is no dualism, no separation of mind and body, self and others." She uses the same terminology used by G. I. Gurdjieff, "asleep" and "awake," to describe developing mystical abilities. Among the ways to achieve this ability is the use of drugs, which is a pretty good indication that the mysticism she describes is not the mysticism of the saints. Speaking of Aldous Huxley, she writes:
Huxley believed that the long-predicted religious revival in the United States would start with drugs, not evangelists. "From being an activity concerned mainly with symbols religion will be transformed into an activity concerned mainly with experience and intuition--an everyday mysticism."God is love. One of the Aquarian Conspirators said, "After many years of intellectual, left-brain pursuit of reality, I learned from LSD about alternatie realities--and suddenly all bibles made sense."
He said that he himself had been electrified by understanding fully, under the influence of mescaline, the radical meaning of the phrase
As our progressive Catholic dialoguers pursue mysticism as a unitive element in all religions, what exactly are they going to import? Even if the drug culture is locked out, mysticism can generate quite a wide variety of beliefs.
Take a look at Frederick Shade--a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church, the Worshipful Master in his lodge, and a masonic researcher.
On his Church webpage he offers an article titled "Notes on Mystical Christianity." There we can learn that he sees mysticism "as being central to the life and health of the Christian Faith and its Church." In Fr. Fred's mind "The terms pilgrim, mystic, people of the Way and contemplatives seem to be used interchangeably" in current conversations about mysticism. Quoting William Johnston, he tells us he has
...discoverd that mysticism is the exquisitely beautiful queen before whom the other branches of theology bow down in awe and reverence like lowly handmaids. I also saw clearly that this queen is the Lady Wisdom for whom all religions search and in whose presence all religions meet.
The monks of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue would tend to agree. However, Fr. Fred indicates that "instititionalised religion has placed Mysticism at the periphery."
For Fr. Fred the mystical experience amounts to the discovery "that there is one-ness underlying all things". I would assume from that, that the Liberal Catholic Church does not see in mysticism any kind of dialogue.
He mentions Medjugorje in the article, and he refers to A. E. Waite, a well known occultist. He refers to St. Augustine as well, and he gives us the "unity in diversity" argument:
This is the underlying and all-pervading principle, that mysticism is the essence, the unity, manifesting in diversity of form. And it is this essential unity within diversity which the LCC teaches, hence our respect for other religions.
I can think of at least one pope who would smile in agreement. How odd to find the words of a Pope coming from the lips of a Liberal Catholic priest. You can also find the words "meditation" and "contemplation" used frequently within this article. He explains the church to which he belongs:
The LCC is a new movement within the family of Christian churches; it is also a creature of the early 20th century. It has been given various labels owing to its several distinctive features. It has been described as being theosophical, gnostic, sacramental, occult, liturgical, and all of these are correct, up to a point. It is also a mystical church. And because of its inclusive nature and deep understanding of the spiritual aspect of man, the LCC does not see any of these features mentioned as being mutually exclusive or contradictory. Each of us will 'connect' with the Divine in our own way, and they are all valid!
He mentions Wedgwood, from whom the LCC takes their apostolic succession, indicating that Wedgwood was an active member of the Theosophical Society, like most of his colleagues in the Old Catholic Church. Wedgwood, according to Fr. Fred
...was a man of vision, of great intellect and spiritual insight....he could see a glorious future for Man and saw that the new movement, the LCC could be a bridge into the new millennium and the New Age. (The Jesuit anthropologist Teilhard de Chardin had a similar vision of the future of Man while in the trenches in France during the same period, and this experience became the basis of his later writings.)
He tells us that the LCC "was to be a theosophical church in the true meaning of that word - Divine Wisdom" and that it was to be "a church of and for "seekers for the Light" and so it must be a "church of religious and philosophic freedom." Therefore "The only qualification for admission to membership is a spirit of reverence for the sacraments and a willingness to worship together using the common form of Liturgy approved by the Bishop Founders and their successors."
According to Fr. Laurence Freeman of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue we have replaced the word "apostate" with the word "seeker" (see yesterday's blog) so the RCC must be right in tune with this LCC priest on that score.
There are other similarities. In Fr. Fred's paper "Many Faiths, One Brotherhood" we can read about "an evening of sharing among brethren of different faiths led by Wor.Bro. Shade. It reads like an interreligious dialogue event. I wonder if the Masons got it from the Catholics or we got it from them?
On the Church webpage you can read about Fr. Fred's membership in the Liturgical Development Commission, about his association for a time with the Victorian Inter-Faith Council; and you can discover that he calls his church a "faith-community" just like liberal Roman Catholics. And you can note once more that the LCC avoids "imposition of dogma." Even the altar pictured here looks a lot like a Roman Catholic altar. In fact it looks a heck of a lot better than some Roman Catholic altars!
Confirming the similarities between Freemasonry, the LCC, and interreligious dialogue in the RCC, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, in Bulletin 75 issued October 2005 tells us:
In the context of religious plurality, dialogue means "all positive and constructive interreligious relations with individuals and commuities of other faiths which are directed to mutual understanding and enrichment," in obedience to truth and respect for freedom....
The goal of dialogue is first "mutual understanding," to try to understand others as they want to be understood. Each person has to be open, ready to listen, to put aside prejudice, and learn from the other. At the same time, each must have the freedom to express their own conviction.
Anyone would be hard pressed to find a difference between the Liberal Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church on the subject of freedom of religion. It's a far, far cry from the Syllabus of Errors!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Thursday, October 20, 2005
VATICAN BAPTIST CHURCH
From a link sent in by a reader.
Should we be happy or horrified?
HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION PASSES THE HOUSE
Pro-family organizations are crying foul over the House passing language that would—in an attempt to codify specify rights for homosexuals—punish a criminal for perceived motivation.
The amendment, brought by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., was tacked onto the important and needed Children's Safety Act.
The language stipulates that crimes "motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of the victim" shall be punished by up to life in prison. It also authorizes $10 million to prosecute such crimes.
Thirty Republicans joined 192 Democrats in passing the amendment.
Bob Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, said gay activists and their supporters in Congress took advantage of the national distraction of Hurricane Katrina and the Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
"This was a total surprise—a sneak attack," he said. "We got 40 minutes notice that the vote was going to take place, which is hardly time to do anything that matters. And minutes after they passed that amendment, they passed the whole Children's Safety Act.
A COUPLE MORE COMMENTS ON CONTEMPLATIVE OUTREACH OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
before moving on to something else.
Remember that odd Episcopal church, linked on the CO website, St. Gregory Nyssen, that I posted links to the other day? Father Thomas Keating spoke there on February 17, 2001 according to their introductory page.
Returning to the CO links page, scroll down to the "Christian Meditation" section where you can find a picture of Fr. Laurence Freeman and a reference to he and Fr. John Main's World Community for Christian Meditation. There is a link there for "church of the future." The link is broken, but the subject intrigues, thus I went to Google with his name and the title. This article from The Tablet came up. There you can read Fr. Laurence Freeman's description of interreligious dialogue that admittedly makes it appealing until I remember Gershom Scholem's admonition that the visionary experience must be closely linked to doctrine or it becomes "mystical nihilism." Freeman writes:
...the Western Buddhists I have met generally seem to me people for whom Buddhism is a first genuine religious experience. Why this should be so in a Christian culture is a question for the Churches to answer. The large numbers of young people who frequent Buddhist meditation centres are attracted to Buddhist thought, or even to the Dalai Lama’s personal goodness. They are not apostates – they are seekers. When they find...a Christianity open to dialogue which offers them a spirituality of depth and a revelation of joy, they often embrace it with relief. The Dalai Lama told me that of the many letters he still receives because of The Good Heart, [his book] the ones that please him most are those from Christians telling him how it has helped them to embrace their traditional faith afresh.(emphasis mine)
Did you notice that subtle change in definition? "Apostates" are now "Seekers." It is being embraced by those under 30. Those are the very young people who have grown up in the post-Vatican II Church that has admittedly done a poor job of catechesis. Was that poor job intentional?
Freeman writes further:
One thing is certain. Without exploring new ways and taking the risk of sharing ourselves with others, particularly with Buddhists in the West, Christianity will miss its cue as the new millennium dawns. Either we become a global cult, or we go on to become a truly global religion. Yet we do not face the troubling future with quite the same anxieties or methods as the Euro-politicians or the global capitalists. As they are nervously realising, the world is too complex for a single solution. But those who live in the spirit know that the solution is simplicity. Unfortunately, it is much tougher than complexity. The recovery of the contemplative dimension of our religion and spirituality, theologically but especially prayerfully, is the most inspiring and hopeful movement in the Church. The way we pray is the way we live and believe. Lex orandi est lex credendi.(emphasis mine)
Freeman has just recommended that we become a global religion. But what religion? A combination of Buddhism and Catholicism would seem to be the answer from this Tablet article. But will he stop there? Perhaps not.
Immediately below the picture of Laurence Freeman on the Contemplative Outreach of Northern California links webpage is an entry "Contemplative Mind Society". There you can see that "Teacher formation" is given
Under the guidance of Parker J. Palmer, author of The Courage to Teach, the Fetzer Institute created the Courage to Teach program, piloting an approach to professional development called "teacher formation." This approach is rooted in the the (sic) inner life of the teacher is cruicial and valuable. Courage to Teach is devoted to deepening that personal wellspring from which we must drink in order to satisfy ourselves and to truly reach our students.
Nice sounding words until you discover that Parker J. Palmer is a Quaker. Palmer "served for a decade as dean of the Quaker Pendle Hill community outside of Philadelphia" according to this Willamette University website. The Pendle Hill Pamphlets website lists his publications. QuakerBooks.Org lists COURAGE TO TEACH at the top of the list on this website.
Even more interesting is an entry in the Rudolf Steiner Institute July 3-23, 2005 Catalog titled "The Courage to Teach: Finding Authenticity and Integrity in the Waldorf Classroom" a course being taught by Jack Petrash. The text being used in Palmer's A HIDDEN WHOLENESS: THE JOURNEY TOWARD AN UNDIVIDED LIFE. Mentioned in the course description is the COURAGE TO TEACH program developed by Parker Palmer.
The Fetzer Institute that helped Palmer create the Courage to Teach program is a major financial supporter of Anthroposophy. No wonder the Rudolf Steiner Institute uses the book. On the Anthroposophy in Australia website you can read about "Buddhism and Anthroposophy Presented by Prof. Arthur Zajonc, former program director of the Fetzer Institute and former General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America. Why are these monks linking an Anthroposophical/Quaker program? The Catholic Encyclopedia makes it clear that Theosophy, the spirituality from which Anthroposophy is an outgrowth, is contrary to Catholicism.
From the Encyclopedia entry on Theosophy:
In of a Christian ethical phraseology, theosophy in reality is a form of pantheism, and denies a personal God and personal immortality. Its appeal to the spiritual in man, and its striving after union with the Divine are based upon a contradictory metaphysic, an imaginary psychology, a system of ethics which recognizes no free-will, but only the absolute necessity of Karma. No evidence or proof is given for its teaching except the simple statements of its leaders. The denial of a personal God nullifies its claim to be a spiritualistic philosophy. Judging it as presented by its own exponents, it appears to be a strange mixture of mysticism, charlatanism, and thaumaturgic pretension combined with an eager effort to express its teaching in words which reflect the atmosphere of Christian ethics and modern scientific truths.
Anthroposophy is a variety of Rosicrucianism, or Wisdom Christianity. The monks have a category for "Wisdom Christianity" on their links page:
Fr. Bruno Barnhart, OSB Cam, who has presented for us in San Francisco, has a web site dedicatd to the wisdom tradition within Christianity, in particular, a non-dual tradition. He feels that this tradition has been revived among Christians today due to the impact of Eastern traditions which emphasize non-duality and remind Christians of their own tradition of non-duality existing along side the dominant tradition emphasizing relationship with God.
"Non-dualality"? That would be monism--everything is of one substance, including God? The only Christian tradition of non-duality is the tradition of the Gnostics. He is talking about Gnostic Christianity, not Roman Catholicism. In the linked "Christian Wisdom: A Special Kind of Knowing" article Barnhart talks about the "affirmative energy or breath within it" and tells us that "One knows through union with that which is known. And the culmination of this knowing is a 'mystical' or contemplative union with God." I would like to know how he explains that God is always and ever "other" to a Catholic and contemplation is a relationship with God, not a joining into non-duality.
Are we all supposed to become esoteric Gnostic Christians in order to become part of the global religion?
The Tidings reports on the first international religious conference of Buddhist and Christian leaders held at Loyola Marymount University June 3-8. Notice that Rosemary Radford Reuther is doing some of the talking:
Interreligious dialogue nurtured by Pope John Paul II must continue to evolve under Pope Benedict XVI's papacy or global ethnic and religious conflicts will escalate, said Buddhist and Christian leaders attending an international religious conference at Loyola Marymount University June 3-8.
As one of the first major interreligious meetings since the start of Pope Benedict's pontificate, the seventh International Meeting of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies drew 130 participants from eastern and western faith traditions discussing ways to increase mutual understanding and appreciation.
Conference participants in a June 5 panel offering perspectives on religious dialogue and Pope Benedict expressed both reservations and cautious optimism about the future of interreligious relations. Panelist Rosemary Radford Ruether, a professor at the Pacific School of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, said interreligious dialogue boosted at Vatican II by the "Declaration of the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions" has born enormous fruit.
However, according to Ruether, Pope John Paul II's "Dominus Jesus," a declaration published in August 2000 while the new pope served as head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), conveyed less than a friendly tone toward religions not affirming the salvific universality of Jesus Christ and put a "chill" on interreligious dialogue. "How [Pope Benedict] is going to implement that in his present papacy is still quite unknown," Ruether observed. "That [declaration] may not reflect what he's going to do as pope.
How he will implement Dominus Iesus is indeed the central question at the start of this current papacy. Who will you champion, Benedict XVI? Christ or world spirituality as global religion?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
A NATIONAL CATHOLIC PARTY ?
A reader sent in a link to this blog which asks Catholics to get involved with a Christian Liberty Party:
In September of 2004, Catholic author Steve Kellmeyer (who blogs at The Fifth Column) published an outline of what he called "The Christian Liberty Party". He seemed serious about it at the time, writing "I am interested in having this platform streamlined and clarified, so that it might become the basis for fielding candidates in the next election cycle."
I'd like to find out if Mr. Kellmeyer is still serious, and if he is open to taking this to the next level. I plan on sending him an e-mail, and I hope that other interested readers will do the same.
On the pro-life "right" we have the Constitution Party and the America First Party. These are defective on several levels, and their narrow appeal is not going to win many disaffected Catholics to their cause. However, I do think a Catholic-inspired platform - such as that suggested by Mr. Kellmeyer - can be broad enough to win the support of other conservative Christians looking for a political home.
If this idea interests you, please contact Mr. Kellmeyer with your thoughts.
posted Wednesday, 19 October 2005
I have more than enough to keep me busy just trying to find out what is undermining the faith and don't usually get involved with national politics unless the bishops are involved; but I thought I'd throw this out to the rest of you for comment.
The reader asked me what I thought of it. How about giving him your opinions?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I HAVE DONE IT !
ALL of the laundry baskets are empty. ALL of the laundry is folded and put away. ALL of the rags and scatter rugs are washed and stored. There is nothing on the basement floor beneath the laundry shute.
This happens about once a year so it's a cause for celebration!
CONTEMPLATIVE OUTREACH - CLEVELAND
I was not aware that there is a Benedictine Abbey in the Cleveland Diocese until a commenter in a blog below mentioned it.
The Benedictines of St. Andrew Abbey are located on Buckeye Road. Their Abbott Roger Gries (who has become Bishop Roger Gries) is (or was?) an active member of Contemplative Outreach Ohio according to the CO website which lists him as the presider of a First Friday Contemplative Liturgy on October 5, 2001.
The books of Thomas Keating, William Meninger, Basil Pennington, and Carl Arico are listed for sale at the Contemplative Outreach Ohio website as well.
It appears this website has not been updated recently.
For some reason the centering prayer umbrella website does not list any groups in Ohio.
The Contemplative Outreach Burmingham links the Contemplative Outreach Ohio website linked above.
This webpage of links lists Contemplative Outreach of Ohio and also lists Taize.
The webpage of Contemplative Outreach of Northern California links the same Contemplative Outreach Ohio website as well. This one is interesting. It leaves little doubt that Taize is very much a part of the program. You can find here "Weekly readings from Scripture used in Taize".
I'm not sure what this is, but it's there on the California Contemplative Outreach website under the heading "Wisdom Christianity":
Fr. Bruno Barnhart, OSB Cam, who has presented for us in San Francisco, has a web site dedicated to the wisdom tradition within Christianity, in particular, a non-dual tradition. He feels that this tradition has been revived among Christians today due to the impact of Eastern traditions which emphasize non-duality and remind Christians of their own tradition of non-duality existing along side the dominant tradition emphasizing relationship with God.
The "Mastery Foundation" is there as well. So is a link to "Taize", and one to "Spiritual Directors International".
Contemplative prayer is the essence of Traditional Catholicism, but this is not Traditional Catholicism. What the heck is happening? The website of "Sites Supporting Contemplative Living" is a conglomeration of the most Traditional with the most Progressive kind of Christianity.
There is a link for the Journal of George Fox which will take you here. This website says that The Journal of George Fox is one of the great religious autobiographies, and has its place with the "Confessions" of Augustine, Bunyan's "Grace Abounding to the Child of Sinners," the "Life of Madam Guyon, Written by Herself," and John Wesley's "Journal." Msgr. Ronald Knox, in his book ENTHUSIASM, Chapter XII "Quietism: The Doctrine", says "Other books, including those of Madame Guyon, were simply put on the Index; evidence, to be sure, that they contain false doctrine, but with no suggestion that they may not include much wholesome doctrine as well." (p. 260-261) If you think George Fox is a good source of Catholic theology, read the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on Puritains.
George Fox founded the Quakers.
These Benedictine monks are resurrecting an armload of old heresies while wearing the cloak of Traditional Catholicism! And it would appear they are doing it with the help of Pope Benedict, who has given his support to Taize.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!!!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
CONTEMPLATIVE OUTREACH LINKS ARTICLES ON MARITAIN
Someone asked about Maritain. The monks at Contemplative Outreach of Northern California links page offer a link to Inner Explorations. There you can find material on Maritain, including complete books. There is material about Jung there as well, but be careful. C. G. Jung was interested in the occult.
ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The church is located in San Francisco.
The Who We Are webpage shows a picture of the church interior.
The liturgical objects webpage has pictures. It appears that the altar is sitting at the center of the labyrinth. They have a Japanese Shinto Shrine and Ethiopian processional umbrellas.
Worship includes singing, circle dancing, reflection, and communion.
In their newsletter they advertise "SF Night Ministry Benefit" titled "You and the Night and the Music." One of the performers on the program:
Donna Sachet, Mistress of Ceremonies, has been applauded by San Francisco for her fun-loving spirit, quick wit, and musical talent. Miss Gay San Francisco 1993 and the thirtieth elected Empress of the City, she has received many awards including the Darrell Yee Award from the AIDS Emergency Fund, the Cable Car Entertainer of the Year Award, the International JosÃ© Honors Imperial Award, the Inter-Club Fund's Most Supportive Non-Leather Title Holder, the Castro Lion Club President's Appreciation Award, and the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club Community Service Award.
If you go to this page in the website, you can click the arrows on the right to go through the pictures of the 8 a.m. worship service held at the altar inside the labyrinth. It includes a circle dance around the altar.
For pictures of the 10 a.m. worship service go here. They use the umbrellas in this one.
I'm assuming this is not exactly a high church Episcopalian service. It doesn't look anything like the Episcopalian service I've been to. That one looked mostly like Catholic Mass.
Now, why does any of this matter? Because on the website of Contemplative Outreach of Northern California there is a link to this church down near the bottom under the heading "Vibrant Communities." Immediately below the Link to St. Gregory Nyssen Church is a link to Taize. One wonders if this is what the monks have in mind for Roman Catholics?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
FROM MY EMAIL
It will only take a minute to sign the petition to Congress opposing this evil legislation. Don't be fooled. If you oppose special rights for sexual deviants, if you oppose efforts to recruit your children into the homosexual lifestyle, if you dare to speak like St. Paul against men lying with men as with women - YOU WILL BE A TARGET OF THIS LEGISLATION!
Are you ready to go to jail for daring to condemn sodomy? It will happen here just like it's happening in Canada, Scandanavia, and elsewhere. Pray and fight while you still can.
Mary Ann Kreitzer
"The first law of history is not to dare to utter falsehood; the second, not to fear to speak the truth."
Pope Leo XIII
October 12, 2005
Federal "Hate Crimes" Bill Threatens Religious Freedom
The United State Senate is considering a so-called "hate crimes" bill (SB 1145 entitled the "Local Law Enforcement Act of 2005"), which was quietly passed by the House in September. The bill allows federal prosecution for crimes based on "actual or perceived" sexual orientation and, if signed into law, would pose a grave threat to ministers and religious organizations. Now is the time to sign an Urgent Petition to Congress to stop the hate crimes bill.
If passed by the Senate, the hate crimes bill would be the first and only law by the federal government that in any way gives special protection or benefits based on the status of sexual orientation. Giving special protection to certain groups devalues the lives of others who are not members of those groups. All crime victims suffer, and all should be treated equally under the law.
On a more sinister note, if the hate crimes bill passes the Senate, it will be coupled with the Hate Crimes Reporting Act of 1990 which mandated that the FBI include intimidation in its reporting of statistics on hate crimes. Therefore, because intimidation may also be considered a hate crime, ministers or religious organizations who speak out against homosexuality are in danger of being labeled with a hate crime. Such speech is already under attack:
• Eleven Christians were jailed under Pennsylvania's hate crimes law in 2004 for singing in a public park and preaching against homosexuality.
• In 1998 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution blaming religious people for hate crimes, declaring: "It is not an exaggeration to say that there is a direct correlation between these acts of discrimination, such as when gays and lesbians are called sinful and when major religious organizations say they can change if they tried, and the horrible crimes committed against gays and lesbians."
• A Canadian citizen was fined over $6,000.00 for running an ad in the newspaper where he quoted Leviticus 18:22, which states that homosexuality is a sin.
• A mayor in Canada was found to violate a human rights ordinance when she refused to declare Gay Day.
• A minister in the United Kingdom was fined £20,000 (approximately $35,000.00) for an ad that described homosexuality as an abomination.
• A complaint was filed in a Dutch court against Pope John Paul, II for his statement that "homosexual acts are contrary to the laws of nature." The Dutch court ruled the Pope's status as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican State afforded him immunity from prosecution. Other religious leaders would not be immune.
In 2001, we created a legal memorandum addressing a similar hate crimes bill. For more details on the dangers of such laws to minsters and religious organizations, you can read the memo on our web site. You must be informed about this threat to free speech and religious freedom.
It is not too late for you to make a difference! Please sign the Urgent Petition to Congress ( http://www.lc.org/Petitions/fedmarriage/hatecrimes_petition_form.htm ) to stop the hate crimes bill. We need thousands of people like you to rise up and let your voices be heard!
Catholic Media Coalition: In line with the Church, online with the world
GURDJIEFF'S STUDENT LORD PENTLAND
The Gurdjieff International Review has a webpage devoted to the pupils of G. I. Gurdjieff. One of the most interesting on the list is John Pentland. The website offers a link to a brief bio. of Pentland:
Lord Pentland (Henry John Sinclair) was a pupil of Ouspensky for many years during the 1930s and 1940s. He began to study intensely with Gurdjieff in 1948. Gurdjieff then appointed him to lead the Work in North America. He became president of the Gurdjieff Foundation when it was established in New York in 1953 and remained in that position until his death.
Does that name "Sinclair" ring any bells? Well if you know anything about Rosslyn Chapel, made famous by THE DAVINCI CODE, it probably does. Henry John Sinclair is a member of Clan Sinclair, the people who own Rosslyn Chapel.
A book review on the Gurdjieff Legacy website of THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR IN THE NEW WORLD: HOW HENRY SINCLAIR BROUGHT THE GRAIL TO ARCADIA by William Mann makes the connection:
Mann's exploration adds to recent historical theories about the Holy Grail by suggesting that the Scottish Prince Henry Sinclair [an ancestor of Henry John Sinclair, Lord Pentland]and the Knights Templar protected the Grail by transporting it to Nova Scotia in 1398.
The review mentions other books, including THE SWORD AND THE GRAIL by Andrew Sinclair and HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln; and it tells the same story Dan Brown wants us to believe is true--that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and started a dynasty.
In speaking of the claim that the Holy Grail was the cup used to collect Jesus blood, the report says:
Gurdjieff’s explanation concerning the Last Supper sheds light on the subject and provides a factual basis for the legends surrounding the blood’s value and perhaps, through distorted accounts, the Grail’s value. Gurdjieff explains that the Last Supper was a magical ceremony that was carried out to enable Jesus to communicate with his disciples after his death, as "Christ knew that he must die." Gurdjieff explained that Christ wanted to establish a permanent link with his disciples, and for this purpose he gave them his blood to drink and his flesh to eat. It was not bread and wine at all, but real flesh and real blood, for those who have an "astral body" can communicate with one another at a distance without having recourse to ordinary physical means. For such communication to be possible, however, they must establish some connection between them. The exchange of blood, which has special qualities, establishes a connection which is not broken by death. In her book, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, Elaine Pagels notes that after Jesus’ death the gospels relate that Jesus’ disciples experienced a great outpouring of visions and dreams. Perhaps these are distorted accounts of the fact that they were in communication with Jesus.
The report recounts the Priory of Sion theory, but admits it may not be true.
I wonder what Rafe, the Catholic Benedictine monk, thought of this aspect of the beliefs of G. I. Gurdjieff?
The Clan Sinclair geneaology is given at the website Electric Scotland, but don't expect it to make a great deal of sense unless you are into geneology. An awful lot of people share the same names. What is interesting, though, is that one of Lord Pentland's ancestors "signed the letter to the Pope asserting Scottish independence". It would seem that there was no love lost for the Pope in 1280. Perhaps that opposition carries over to the present day.
CHANNELING WITH CARLA L. RUECKERT
who has written A CHANNELING HANDBOOK. The first three chapters are online. The purpose of her book is to teach people how to do it. She believes that "People are designed to be channels."
The ways of approaching channeling that are available according to Rueckert include the spiritualist seance, the American Indian medicine person, the religious and traditional channel, the new-age religions, and "vaguely Christian sources which channel archangels, various lesser angelic presences, spiritual masters of various kinds, such as Kuthumi, and of course, Jesus, under various names." Edgar Cayce is mentioned as well, and the "contact with the plant devas" at Findhorn.
She also includes "The ascended masters...channeled by several large and organized groups of instruments, such as the Order of the Rosy Cross, Eckankar and Theosophists."
Rueckert makes a claim that it is essential to stay with a single doctrine:
Most of these systems teach the channeling in a coherent and useable format, and I can only recommend to those who are interested in this kind of channeling that, as always, discrimination should be used, and those powers of discrimination honed carefully, for although one system may seem much like another, each comes with a dogma or doctrine with which it is necessary to be conversant and to accept, at least in some part, in order for the student's experience with the system to be satisfactory. Indeed, part of middle America, the lodge--Moose, Elk, Mason, Shriner--is a good example of this basic gnostic kind of channeling. I am not saying that your husband or father, boyfriend, or nephew is channeling when he goes to a Shriner's convention. However, those who structured these organizations were certainly channeling this type of "wisdom" information.
She insists that channeling cannot be done for selfish purposes but must be done with the intention to service your fellow man, and talks about meditation and contemplation:
Through the use of tools such as meditation and contemplation you can begin and enable the process of refining your motives for seeking to be of service by channeling, and, meanwhile, the knowledge that such motives do not serve one well as a channel will help you to recognize times when you have gone a bit astray.
She speaks positively of religion and of silence:
The most effective way of immersing yourself, during your waking hours, in the subconscious powers of your mind is to meditate. If you are one of those people who has decided that you are some orthodox religious follower such as a Theosophist or a Christian, you are already going to church and may well have daily religious devotions and prayers. Meditation is recommended in addition to these things. Meditation is silent. The basic idea of meditation is that no rational processes are accepted in the practice. For this reason, those who teach meditation are usually interested in finding ways to still the conscious mind with all of its complex worries and chains of thought.
An immersion in silence is powerful. Even one such experience may be life-changing although that is not the norm. Perhaps the most important feature of your meditative practice should be its dailiness....Aim for doing it every single day. The length of your silence may vary although it is a good idea to become regular in your habits in order that you might do it at all.
That recommendation would fit with what is taught in centering prayer--silence and an empty mind. It is not what is claimed to be proper Christian meditation by the CDF. They recommend that meditation be a dialogue with God.
Monday, October 17, 2005
J. G. BENNETT ON SEX
Bennett was a disciple of G. I. Gurdjieff. Would his tape series on sex contribute anything to our understanding of the sexual abuse scandal in the Church given the fact that the monks (or at least "Rafe" in Snowmass) seem to have been interested in Gurdjieffian studies/enneagram?
Human Relationships Series
Individual tapes: $11.
Series Set of 3 tapes: $30 (code: HRSE)
The cosmic significance of sex & the role sex plays in the arising of diversity & stability in life. HR1, $ 11
Sexual function, regulation of sex energies, sexual relationships between men & women. HR2, $ 11
The place of sex in human life. The role of human sexuality in the formation of a soul. HR3, $ 11
Maybe not, of course, but it's an interesting discovery that at least one monk had a library full of Gurdjieff/Ouspensky/Bennett books. (See the blog immediately below if you don't know what I'm talking about.)
DR. BOURGEAULT ON TAIZE AND PSALMODY - AND FALLING IN LOVE WITH A MONK
The may 2004 Quarterly Newsletter of the Order of St. Helena includes an article by Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, Ph.D. titled "The Hidden Wisdom of Psalmody" in which she writes:
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. Their 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.
According to Bourgeault Taize chant is a "departure from the traditional understanding of Christian psalmody," but can she speak with authority?
The Order of St. Helena is an Anglican religious community for lay and ordained women according to their website.
Bourgeault speaks for The Contemplative Society, "an ecumenical, not-for-profit association founded in 1997 to encourage a deepening of contemplative prayer based in the Christian tradition...rooted in prayer, silence, mindful work, and in the 1500-year-old wisdom of our Benedictine contemplative heritage. There is a picture of Brother Roger on the website.
Another page in the website features a letter from Cynthia Bourgeault on the death of Brother Roger whom she refers to as "one of my own beloved mentors on the path. It was thanks to him that I became a Christian in the first place."
The "Program Components" page in The Contemplative Society website indicates that "Centering Prayer is the basis of our teaching, but all meditation paths are welcome and honored." They engage in "Wisdom teaching" and say about it:
Deepening contemplative practice leads to a deepening, or "wisdom," understanding of the Christian spiritual path. Through "Wisdom Schools" with resident teacher Cynthia Bourgeault and regular guest teachers, we attempt to awaken to the unitive dimension of the gospel and to encounter afresh the person of Jesus Christ as the source and fulfilment of our Christian Wisdom."
The Fall Schedule elaborates further on the teachings of The Contemplative Society. There you can read that
* The heart is "the organ of spiritual perceiving within each of us, created for awakening, reorienting, transformation and maturing."
* At the Society retreats seekers learn of "Jesus as Wisdom Master and inner teacher".
* You can study in their "Wisdom Schools." They tell the prospective student that "From time immemorial there have been wisdom schools to raise human consciousness and transform society, and work with the core practices that sustain this transformation of consciousness: meditation, contemplative prayer, lectio divina, the language of sacred gesture, and the daily practice of mindfulness, inner observation, and surrender."
* In Cynthia Bourgeault's session titled "Learning To See" "Unitive (or non-dual) consciousness will be explored with particular attention to kenosis, or self-emptying, the path taught and modeled by Jesus as the "royal road" to unitive consciousness."
* You can also discover that the May 5-7, 2006 program in Ottawa, Ontario will feature Cynthia Bourgeault and Richard Rohr.
This is where the mentoring of Brother Roger leads? Should a Catholic parent have a problem in sending their teenage Catholic son or daughter to Taize?
Well, her book, LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH: THE MYSTICAL UNION OF TWO SOULS is featured on the SteinerBooks website along with numerous books by Rudolf Steiner and other Anthroposophists, including one titled "Isis Mary Sophia." There is a category on the list titled "Channeling, Angels, and Past Lives." Robert Powell's book THE SOPHIA TEACHINGS is there. Powell is the translator of MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT. There is a whole series of Findhorn books, which should not be a surprise considering that Findhorn was the first New Age utopian community and uses channeling of elemental spirits to make vegetables grow larger than life, and since Findhorn uses Taize services. James Twyman's books are there. Twyman is the man who is resurrecting Catharism. There are books on meditation written by Steiner. Keep in mind that Steiner channeled his material--or to be more accurate he accessed the Akashic Record to obtain his information. There is a segment on Spirit Beings and material on Tarot Cards, and another on the Holy Grail. The list is an occult reading list par excellence. So what is a follower of Brother Roger doing among them?
Bourgeault's book is published by Lindisfarne Books. Some of you know the implications of that.
She has written a book on centering prayer.
She has written for "Gnosis" magazine.
Perhaps the most obvious evidence that the mentoring of Brother Roger has led Cynthia Bourgeault into territory that violates the First Commandment according to the CCC is this book review:
Love Is Stronger than Death: The Mystical Union of Two Souls
Lindisfarne Books 05/02 Paperback $14.95
Rafe, a 70-year-old Trappist hermit, met Cynthia Bourgeault, a 50-year-old Episcopal priest, at a monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. Their three-year love affair was, as the author puts it, "a union of hearts that would endure beyond the grave and allow us to grow toward one complete soul." Following in the spirit of Christ, they practiced radical self-abandonment, which in some spiritual circles has been called "the Fifth Way." In this pioneering work, Bourgeault discusses the nature of their conscious love and "the great grace of work together beyond the grave." Couples who feel a strong erotic connection, share a deep and rich spiritual practice, and are completely devoted to each other will find cues here on how to keep their dance going beyond death.
More than any other book in recent memory, Love Is Stronger than Death reveals the spiritual adventures available to those who are true soul mates. Bourgeault discusses the four building blocks of soul work beyond the grave: the reunion of souls, building the second body, the vow, and working in the wonders. She goes on to share her post-death encounters with Rafe and the manifestations of his "body of hope."
Whereas the traditional Christian idea of afterlife tends to emphasize souls at rest, Cynthia's experiences of Rafe involve mobility and majesty. She speaks of "the pure essence of his presence and the immense energy of his love — minus the physical body." And most amazing, Bourgeault has access with her beloved to a "book of life" containing "the sum total of their earthly impressions and memories, whether or not these experiences were actually shared in human life." This is a wonder inducing guidebook to the marvels of love and the spiritual life.
In other words, Episcopal priestess hermit Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, who was mentored by Brother Roger of Taize, is a medium who channels the Catholic hermit monk Brother Rafael Robin, with whom she began a love affair prior to the divorce from her second husband. That, in short, is what we are being told. Channeling is a practice of Theosophy and Anthroposophy and New Age religion, all of which are condemned by Roman Catholicism.
The monastery in Snowmass, Colorado where Bourgeault met Raife is this one. It is linked on the centering prayer website. These monks have a substantial ministry within Roman Catholicism.
It would be easy to dismiss the book report as the imaginings of a fevered reviewer if it were not for the words of Bourgeault herself. In the August 1998 issue of "Raven's Bread," a quarterly newsletter for hermits, in her essay "SoundingSolitude", she tells us that she is a professed hermit now living in British Columbia. She complains of the difficulties of "the craft" as it is currently practiced in modern life, and indicates Br. Raphael Robin was her hermit teacher in Snowmass, Colorado, a Trappist Monastery. She tells us that "Some people thought Raphael wasn't a true hermit - a position that he himself agreed with completely." And she tells us that
Rafe, I believe, was a dervish. The term is Sufi. It doesn't exist in western Christendom, where one must chose the fork in the road between "cenobitic" or "eremitical" expressions of the religious life. Dervish is neither - or both. Some dervishes spend their lives mostly in craggy solitude. Others, more typically, emerge from their solitude to teach or take on a disciple, to pass on their heartfire to another living soul; some even marry and raise families. But under this variety of lifestyles and circumstances, there is something unmistakable that characterizes a dervish - an innermost essence that is always there, regardless of the outer expression.
How does a Catholic monk become a dervish? Perhaps there are clues in Bourgeault's article in "Modern Paths". Titled "From Here to Eternity," in this essay she describes Rafe's reading material:
I didn't connect with Raphael right away. After that first conversation, there didn't seem to be any real urgency to get to know him better. We were already old friends, and there was an easy sense between us that the details of each other's lives would fill in as they needed to. He'd stop by sometimes with eggs or bread from the monastery, or to work on the old pump that kept the house where I was staying precariously in water. Little by little we discovered that we'd read the same books and wrestled with the same questions. Like myself, he was fascinated by G.I. Gurdjieff, that early twentieth-century spiritual genius who had laid out a path of transformation frequently referred to as the "Fourth Way." Most of Rafe's library up at the hermitage (in addition to his Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare) consisted of books by Gurdjieff and Gurdjieff's three most prodigious disciples, P.D. Ouspensky, Maurice Nicoll, and J.G. Bennett. In a self-taught fusion of Fourth Way ideas and Christian apophatic mysticism, his deepest wish was "to have enough being to be nothing."
Gradually over the course of the next two years, as I shuttled back and forth between Maine and Colorado, our lives became more intertwined. One dismally dark Maine winter day he phoned me up out of the blue to see if there was an uninhabited offshore island he might come live on — "to join you more deeply in what your life has been," he said. And one golden Colorado morning that next summer, in the back of the monastery chapel right after mass, he again took both my hands in his and searched my eyes with a look so full of solemn portent that I knew he'd be by later on and the love so long smoldering between us would burst into flame.
Is this what monastery life is about today?
CCC 2116: All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
Where were you taking Catholic children when you taught them spirituality, Brother Roger? Why are you condoning Taize, Pope Benedict?
From The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita: A Masonic Blueprint for the Subversion of The Catholic Church a booklet written by John Vennari:
Eventually, a Pope would be elected from these ranks who would lead the Church on the path of "enlightenment" and "renewal." They stated that it was not their aim to place a Freemason on the Chair of Peter. Their goal was to effect an environment that would eventually produce a Pope and a hierarchy won over to the ideas of liberal Catholicism, all the while believing themselves to be faithful Catholics. (p. 3)
Now then, to assure ourselves a Pope of the required dimensions, it is a question first of shaping for this Pope a generation worthy of the reign we are dreaming of. Leave the old people and those of a mature age aside; go to the youth, and if it is possible, even to the children....You will contrive for yourselves, at little cost, a reputation as good Catholics and pure patriots. (p. 8)
Pope St. Pius X, who ascended to the papal chair in 1903, recognized Modernism as a most deadly plague that must be arrested. He wrote that the most important obligation of the Pope is to insure the purity and integrity of Catholic doctrine, and he further stated that if he did nothing, then he would have failed in his essential duty.
St. Pius X waged a war on Modernism, issued an Encyclical (Pascendi) and a Syllabus (Lamentabili) against it, instituted the Anti-Modernist Oath to be sworn by all priests and theology teachers, purged the seminaries and universities of Modernists and excommunicated the stubborn and unrepentant.
St. Pius X effectively halted the spread of Modernism in his day. It is reported, however, that when he was congratulated for having eradicated this grave error, St. Pius X immediately responded that despite all his efforts, he had not succeeded in killing this beast, but had only driven it underground. He warned that if Church leaders were not vigilant, it would return in the future more virulent than ever. (p. 14)
It looks like St. Pius X was prophetic.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Another one's come and gone. On the plus side...I went to 12 today. The pews looked a little fuller, and the choir is singing again now that summer vacations are behind us. Some of their choices were uplifting. It's good to have talented singing during Mass once again. The weak substitute we have during the summer when the congregation sings lackluster hymns is a poor second. I appreciate my parish choir.
The homily was interesting. Father talked about the balancing act of serving the faith on one hand and the state on the other, and what happens when things get out of balance. He didn't give us any answers, but he did frame the questions rather well. It's good to know that our visiting priest is thinking about the contradictions. He held the Host and chalice up a little longer at the consecration while the bells continued to ring, making the point that this is the peak moment of the Mass, as those bells do so well. When he did this, I wondered if he had been thinking about the emphasis Pope Benedict is placing on the Eucharist being the summit of Catholic life.
Sigh. On the negative side...the "Parish Stewardship Assessment Guide: Circle the number that best fits your perception of your parish" survey was passed out today, with 19 questions, and answer choices ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. I imagine most of you have seen them. If only I hadn't been through this in a parish once before, back in the 80s. Back when the "Gift" program and "Christ Renews His Parish" were making the rounds of my former liberal parish, and I got caught up in the notion that I would only be a good Catholic if I got involved in parish life. It nearly cost me my faith back then. I'm in my present parish as a refugee, though after 15 years of membership, I guess I'm a parishioner by now.
When the survey was announced from the pulpit this afternoon by a member of the parish, immediately after the homily, I mentally backed up a little farther from Roman Catholicism, reminding myself that I didn't have to participate, that I could still be Catholic if all I did was seek the sacraments and attend Mass, that it wasn't necessary to panic. Not yet. But tonight I gave the first serious thought to looking at Orthodoxy, and at how very far short I am of the standards I would have to try to live up to if I made the switch. And how totally foolish I would feel walking into an Orthodox Divine Liturgy by myself and not knowing anyone there. The last forty years of Roman Catholicism have taken their toll. And as if it wasn't enough just to see it at the parish level, the stuff I've been uncovering in research is adding to the price.
But there are other thoughts as well. That research is teaching me a new gratitude for those sacraments, and its teaching me that I need to treasure them each time I'm present because there is a danger that they will be taken away, that there will no longer be priests who make them possible, if the situation in our seminaries and in our theology doesn't change.
My husband wasn't able once again to bring himself to attend Mass. That communion service we witnessed two weeks ago may have been the last straw for him.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for me.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
"THE ALCHEMIST" ???
RONCHAMP WAS NEVER CONSECRATED
Lee Penn sent in this article from "The Tablet" about the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp, a famous Catholic pilgrimmage destination because of its very unusual construction. Apparently it has been discovered that the chapel was never consecrated. That has been remedied. The last paragraph of the article is interesting:
THERE ARE, she claims, several clues in the design for Ronchamp that hint at Le Corbusier’s interest in blending Marian devotion with a sensitivity towards older mother-goddess cults – something that the discovery of the remains of ancient temples on the chapel site only reinforced. “There’s this idea that the three towers of the chapel represent Mary; his mother, Marie; and his wife, Yvonne; and the swollen, rounded and curved shape of the building suggests an interest in expressing an ancient female archetype,” says Dr Samuel. Other people would point instead to the seemingly emphatic Christian references in the building – the roof representing St Peter’s barque or Noah’s ark itself, or even the Church. Whether the official disquiet about the theological adventurism of Couturier and the spiritual pluralism of the chapel’s architect would have prevented its consecration is not known, but it does suggest a desire by the central ecclesiastical authorities to withhold their full sanction of the project and a wider unease with the then emerging cultural and generational shift towards the exploration of non-Western systems of thought. “All works must be formed spiritually first,” said Le Corbusier, and it only takes a visit to Ronchamp to realise that a convincing sense of the sacred doesn’t require official approval.
It's too bad Mark Irving didn't read the series of articles in "Architronic", the architecture journal originating in the School of Architecture at Kent State University, titled "Architecture and Theosophy." Susan R. Henderson, the editor of the series, discusses Le Corbusier's influences in her contribution titled "J.L.M. LAUWERIKS AND K.P.C. DE BAZEL: ARCHITECTURE AND THEOSOPHY"
TAIZE AND DANCE
In the Taize website there is a comment that dance in the evening that should take place in the cafe so that it won't disturb those who wish to sleep. It doesn't say what kind of dance they are talking about.
Quiet is essential at night around the tents and dormitories for those who wish to sleep. Those who, in the evening, want to sing, dance and chat are asked to centre their activities at Oyak and to bring things to a close at 11.30 pm each night.
This website shows steps in a "Rose of Taize" dance and mentions "Taize prayer" as well.
This website for Dances of Universal Peace includes Taize dances. One of these dance sessions--the last one--takes place at the Oblate Spirituality Centre.
The East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh offers a Taize Prayer Ministry which includes "Music and dance--sing-a-longs, movement to Taize chants; drumming circles" on its program.
There is Taize singing and dancing at Findhorn, and
tribal dancing during Eucharistic celebrations on this Taize website.
Is this where the push for liturgical dance is coming from?
The Jesuits are willing to help. Both Dances of Universal Peace and a team of speakers from the Gurdjieff Institute are included in this "Spiritual Synthesis - Practicing Integral Spirituality" workshop. And just what is "Integral Spirituality"? It's mix and match religion. It "provides us with an array of techniques and approaches to self and to life, drawn from different religious traditions" with Peter Savastano who is an "expert in Sexuality and Religion," among other things, according to the website.
How exactly does this go? If this is Tuesday, you must be Jewish?
If I discover the spirituality of all religions will I stop believing in any of them? What happened to the belief that Catholicism is the fullness of truth? Father Robert Kennedy doesn't seem to believe it anymore.
Some "centering" activity is included in two of the workshops.
The source of the Dances of Universal Peace is Sufi.
The Dances of Universal Peace were brought together in the late 1960's by Samuel L. Lewis (1896-1971), a Sufi Murshid (teacher) and Rinzai Zen Master, who also studied deeply in the mystical traditions of Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity. In this creation, Lewis was deeply influenced by his contact and spiritual apprenticeship with two people: Hazrat Inayat Khan, who first brought the message of universal Sufism to the West in 1910, and Ruth St. Denis, a feminist pioneer in the modern dance movement in America and Europe.
From his rich life experiences, Lewis in his early 70's began to envision and create the Dances as a dynamic method to promote "Peace through the Arts". From the early days and his original body of about 50 dances, the collection has grown since his passing to more than 500 dances which celebrate the sacred heart of Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Aramaic, Native American, Native Middle Eastern, Celtic, Native African, and Goddess traditions.
The Sacred Dances Workshop in Boulder, Colorado teaches Gurdjieff Sacred Dances. Their website tells us that the dances are "coming from the Sufi, Tibetan, Buddhist, Esoteric Christian and Pythagoran traditions, as well as those created by Gurdjieff himself." They also offer "inner and centering exercises" and "meditation's techniques" which help students find the "basic conditions for watching ourselves."
Sufi or not, you can join in the Dances of Universal Peace at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas.
You can find lots of information about the Dances on this man's website, but I'll be darn if I can figure out what religion he belongs to. Cathlosufism?
There are more, but I've had about all I can take for one day with this mix and match spirituality. I'll leave you with one last website which is completely off topic--but then it's my blog so I can ramble if I want to.
Sharon Abercrombie, Assistant Editor of "Earthlight" magazine, is a creator of Dances of Universal Peace. She has written an article on the Ecozoic Rosary, the brain f--- (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself!) of Connie Barlow and Sister Gail Worcelo--two that belong to the EarthSpirit Rising nightmare. Obviously this is way off the topic of Taize and Dance. I got here because of Abercrombie's avocation, and couldn't resist blogging it.
Oh great and mighty oak tree of ancient wisdom, as I bow down to you please speak to me of the universal peace that I am promoting through the love of your leafy branches and through my sacred dance of peace. Tell me of the wonders of nature worship and the new religion of brotherly luv that is dawning on the earth when all women and men will be kind to everyone and live in harmony. Speak mighty oak. Speak using my voice and my lips and my empty brain that you must fill with your great knowledge. I touch my forehead to the ground and await your revelation.
Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!